Mislead by Rental Description of ‘Entire Home’

At the end of January 2022, I reserved this place under the search setting “entire cottage.” I expected this cottage to be entirely available to us for two weeks.

At the time of the reservation, there was no mention on the description that this was a four-bedroom apartment on the main floor of a house. There was still no mention in this description of a tenant living upstairs. This was information buried under a large amount of text under “house rules” at the bottom of the page.

On the reservation page, the description said only “entire home”, “entire cottage” and ” you’ll have the cottage for yourself”. The picture of the entire cottage was there on the main page. The rental also came up under a search for “entire home”. There was no mention, in the description, at the time of my rental, that this was a four-0bedroom apartment on the main floor on a house.

After a few days, I accidentally found out on the web, looking for the address, from an old sale listing, that the cottage actually has two apartments. I went back and searched on the site of the cottage and I found the “house manual” where it was indeed mentioned under a long text about house rules that usually is read just before checking-in that there was another apartment upstairs with a live-in tenant.

This is not what I wanted to rent for two weeks as a cottage retreat. By then the cut-off for free cancellations had passed by a few days. I contacted the host and told her that unfortunately the cottage is not what I had in mind when I rented, and that I would like to cancel. She said it was fine and I went on and cancelled. Then I asked if she could confirm that I can be fully refunded, given the situation. The host did not answer for three days and then I requested the refund through the resolution centre.

I was charged 1,600 Canadian dollars although I cancelled 23 days prior to check in date and the host rented the unit for the majority of the two weeks to other people. I cancelled three or four days after the cut-off date and I explained what the misunderstanding was. I was left with this huge bill for nothing, while the host got $1,600 and rented her cottage for additional income during that timeframe.

What followed was a two-month long exchange with different employees from Airbnb: ambassadors, supervisors and I was told a manager, although I could not verify that I was indeed talking to a manager. I have asked to escalate the case further at each step. I have now waited for almost another month for someone to contact me to no avail. At all these levels I was told that the host did nothing wrong, that Airbnb allows for such important information as the type of the house to be under “house rules” and that I am to respect the Airbnb cancellation policy and that Airbnb apologize for the “inconvenience” — the inconvenience being that I am left with this huge bill.

I have been made to wait, to start talking with ambassadors all over again. In one case I had to insist to have my case escalated and in the last instance the case had been closed even though I had requested to talk to a higher employee. It has been a nightmare to deal with Airbnb employees for the most part. I have asked for verification that the description did not contain the information “apartment on the main floor of the house” at the time of my rental. Nobody followed up on this.

I find this situation deeply unfair to me. I have been an Airbnb customer for ten years, have excellent reviews, and could very well be called a “superguest” if such a category existed. I know how to look for rentals on Airbnb and never had any problem. I was misled by the description on this rental property. Never in my ten years of experience was such important information — the type of lodging and whether there were other tenants — hidden under house rules.

A quick look at this category over other rentals showed that usually house rules are additional rules for when entering the house, while the description part — at the top of the page, right next to the rental details — contains all that is essential to know. I have never expected a cottage listed as “entire cottage” to have another unit in the same house.

While I understand that the host is protected under the Airbnb policy, I feel that customers are not. This is a case that might be okay by the Airbnb book, but it is a case that shows how some loopholes in the Airbnb policy can be used, intentionally or not, to mislead customers. If the host is not at fault in this case, I feel Airbnb should take responsibility and reimburse me. I also feel Airbnb should apologize to me for the way I was treated: lack of transparency for the most part, having to go in circles and explain my case all over again, no follow-up of simple verification demands.

It’s been three months of dealing with incredible frustration, loss of money, long wait times and frankly quite poor customer support and understanding.

AirCover: Pretty Webpage, No Substance or Truth

Airbnb’s “AirCover: Top-to-bottom protection” is a load of lies. Most of what is on the website is completely untrue. “Host damage protection covers you if your place or belongings ever get damaged by a guest during an Airbnb stay” — that’s the protection promised by Airbnb. The host damage protection Airbnb says it has is 90% of the reason I felt comfortable enough to list on Airbnb. But as I’m seeing from all the comments, it’s all completely untrue and just a scam from Airbnb to get us hosts to list with them.

I had a guest damage the washing machine making it completely inoperable. After submitting every single thing required as listed under the reimbursement process on the host damage protection page, I was told that wasn’t enough and they needed a “damage report from a reputable company.” They then told me that the first one submitted wasn’t good enough because it didn’t say with “certainty” how the guest broke it.

It took me almost a month of going through every repair company in the city to find one that was willing to guess with “certainty” how the guest might have broken it. Most companies either told me that wasn’t their job, or they didn’t want to guess in writing due to liability issues with the third parties involved. After getting a sufficient damage report submitted, I was told “we will proceed with the payout.”

“Oh great,” I thought.

Five days later I’m told because the washing machine was ten years old that it has no value and they will pay $0 for its repair or replacement. Why did they jerk me around for a month to get a damage report if they had no intention of paying in the first place? Then said they contacted their supervisor and will pay 20% of the repair.

Basically the fine print under host damage protection means for my listing that, with the exception of the new fridge and hotplate, the guest could destroy every other appliance and piece of furniture in my unit and Aircover would pay me $0 to repair or replace the damaged items because of the “proper deduction for obsolescence and physical depreciation.” This wouldn’t have bothered me so much if they were just honest up front about it, instead of telling hosts lies like “host damage protection covers you if your place or belongings ever get damaged by a guest during an Airbnb stay.”

In Canada I could not find a home insurance company that would cover anything to do with Airbnb. I had an almost impossible time trying to find insurance that would cover just me because of the Airbnb rental under the same roof. I finally did, but they won’t cover anything related to the rental. I foolishly thought that would be fine because Airbnb offers and brags about their “$1M damage protection,” which doesn’t actually exist for hosts.

Lesson learned. I will keep looking to find insurance to cover my listing. In the meantime I’ve taken down my listing and am trying to decide if I even keep using a company like this that lies up front to their hosts. I will probably end up switching to another company that is at least honest up front about what they cover and don’t cover.

False Advertising for Unsanitary Airbnb in the Mountains

I stayed at an Airbnb for a family ski trip with adults, children and grandparents age 6 to 70. This trip was a Christmas gift to my family.

Upon check in, I advised the host that there was an entire dishwasher with unclean dirty caked-on dishes. She apologized, said she hired new cleaning ladies and would talk to them, stated she would send someone over the next day to empty the dishwasher but never did. I cleaned other people’s dirty dishes before we even dirtied any.

The property was run down and not the cleanest, and became unsanitary when the snow melted on Feb. 16. There was no Xbox as advertised, and the pool table not functional. The hot tub was dirty and cloudy and not full. The host sent over a maintenance man who put chemicals into the hot tub and said he would be back in the morning to fill it and never came back or fixed anything else. The hot tub was cloudy, remained dirty until the day we left and was missing a foot of water.

The property advertised a large deck with mountain views which was full of snow, not shoveled or maintained and not usable. The snow began to melt and when it did there was about 20 piles of dog feces all over the deck, becoming unsanitary. The host refused to take responsibility or acknowledge the issue and even went as far as falsely claiming that I left the dog feces — we do not own a pet or a dog and did not bring a dog on this property. Airbnb also did not care about this issue.

The conditions of this place were very embarrassing and became absolutely unsanitary. What was very sad were the tactics and nastiness the host has used against me. She went from apologizing to bullying when she didn’t get her way. She called me a disgusting human, a liar, a hypocrite, and a scammer and accused me of planning this to try and get a free trip.

I am a professional person, an ambulance communications officer and investigator and of good moral character. I did not want a free trip; I wanted a clean Airbnb with everything as advertised and just some respect and fairness and truth. I have absolutely no words to describe how sad this makes me and how disappointed I am in the accommodations but moreover how the host treated me as a customer, how she bullied me and was completely dishonest to try to push her agenda against my claim.

The worst part was that there was zero accountability from the host and Airbnb in regards to this which inevitably means they face no repercussions and will do it again, which does not sit right with me. This was my first vacation since COVID started and I don’t want anyone else to get sick or have their time ruined by unsanitary conditions.

Lying Airbnb Superhost in Vancouver Kicks us out

Compared to other stories, this is not the worst, but it was truly upsetting, especially for old friends, one of whom was dying. We rented an apartment with a view, which was beautiful, but nothing else was up to snuff.

The apartment was so tiny that one of us had to sleep on a love seat (the only soft, albeit uncomfortable, place to sit in the place) and another on the floor of an unheated, cold, windy porch since there was not even floor space inside. We were charged extra for a third adult, with no mention that the apartment was really not meant for more than a close couple or an individual.

The Airbnb property manager refused to give us more than one key, because he didn’t like the woman traveling with us (three retirees from different parts of the world). The Airbnb “Superhost” said the security guards would let us up on the elevator to our floor and we could deal from there, if we wanted to go out individually. The security guards would not let us up and thought that the manager was a scammer. We had a difficult time trying to coordinate our schedules so that we could get back in since our phones didn’t work internationally and we couldn’t buy any phones for short-term use. There were many uncomfortable situations.

We at least knew that the manager did have the owner’s permission since we were kicked out (without a word of thanks or accommodation) one evening so the owners could come in with their contractor. Much to the manger’s chagrin, we were late getting out so we met the owners, but couldn’t stay because there was literally no room for six people in the apartment.

This was not an inexpensive rental. We would have done better at a hotel down the street. So, beware, shop around, and don’t always trust Airbnb reviews.

Airbnb Booking Leads to Trailer Park Nightmare

I booked an Airbnb in Canada for myself, my girlfriend, and her three kids for a trip around Alberta for a couple of weeks during the summer 2021. It was in a mobile home park, but Airbnb did not tell us it’s a mobile home park on the website. It was one of the very few Airbnbs in the area. I believe there were only two or three that could accommodate five people.

When I was on Airbnb’s website, there were about nine or ten pictures of the unit and I’m believe about five of those pictures were of the kitchen: pretty much five of the exact same pictures. It looked okay in the pictures; there was nothing to see or identify that there was anything wrong with the house, which in the end was not a house. It was a rundown 60-year-old looking piece of crap trailer in a trailer park on the outskirts. There was a lock box that had the key for the trailer in it that was attached to an old wooden fence. Anyone could have come along, broken the fence, and taken the key.

As you enter the trailer you have to climb up these rickety stairs on to this wooden deck that looked like you would almost fall through. The door to the trailer was an old wooden door where the lock on the door barely locked. There was an approximately two-inch gap on the bottom of the door; mice or anything could have come in with no problem. Everything in the trailer was like a step back in time.

They listed it as a two bedroom: there was one full bedroom in the back of the trailer and the other bedroom was part of the kitchen where there was a curtain and a old rickety wooden bookcase that had been laid on its side to kind of make it look like it was a separate bedroom from the kitchen when it really wasn’t. There were no towels in the bathroom. Barely any hot water. The floor was disgusting; there are parts of it that I swear to god I thought I was going to fall through a number of times. Everything in the kitchen was plastic like it was made for a 50-year-old daycare.

The trailer park was full of noisy neighbors partying and yelling for half the night. It was a very disgusting experience I would never ever stay in the area again. When I called Airbnb after it was over to tell him about it then complain I got zero customer service from them: no returning my phone calls, no answering my emails, nothing. I love using Airbnb. I have used it a number of times and this was the first time I had ever experienced a problem residence. I just wish that Airbnb had much better customer service than they do.

Reasons to Stop Using Airbnb in the Future

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I booked a trip to Montreal for February of next year to get out of my city and celebrate my graduation. The Airbnb I selected did have a strict cancellation policy which wasn’t an issue at the time because I had no intentions of cancelling. However, very shortly after booking the COVID situation in Montreal became dire with the whole city declaring a state of emergency. This week, Quebec reported nearly 10,000 cases. Montreal is on a complete shut down and will likely have similar strict measures in place come February. I decided it was best to cancel my trip early instead of waiting and having to do so last minute.

I contacted the host, whose profile says “response time one hour”. He did not reply to any of my messages. I contacted Airbnb customer service, which was of no help. They took a patronizing, condescending tone with me and constantly reiterated the “policies” by which their hands were tied. Airbnb does not protect customers in the case of COVID-related travel bans, closures, etc. Thus, even if I wanted for an official travel ban to be enacted, I still would not get my money back. My best option was to request a refund from the host. I did this and the host declined, citing this ‘policy’. Airbnb will not issue any credit to my account either. I have effectively lost my deposit.

Firstly, I do not think it is ethical or socially responsible for Airbnb to allow such policies in a pandemic. Obviously we’re all tired of this and want to get out and travel. However, there should be measures in place to protect customers in the event of unforeseen circumstances. I am aware the host has a strict cancellation policy, but this is an exceptional circumstance and I was at least providing him enough notice to find another guest.

I have accepted that I have two options: I can go through with my trip (or try to) or cancel now. I did not anticipate things would get so bad so fast and I do not want to risk traveling in February when COVID is likely to still be ravaging Montreal. I have decided to wait until the very last day to cancel my reservation, in hopes that it lessens the chance the host can find a new guest. I am also deleting my Airbnb account immediately after and will be boycotting the service going forward. When I think about it, I’m not saving that much money compared to a hotel. Maybe hotels will cost more, but I also won’t have to pay a cleaning fee and be responsible for cleaning the place lest I get tacked with additional fees and a bad review.

People like this host make the world a worse place to live in. Airbnb’s treatment of their customers is beyond poor. I refuse to give any more of my money to this platform. I always knew it was unethical, but I compartmentalized what I knew because part of me did like what Airbnb had to offer. The reality is, Airbnb is contributing to rising rental prices and housing scarcity.

If you’re on the fence about Airbnb or questioning whether you should boycott it, let this be a sign. At the end of the day, once they have your money, they couldn’t care less about you as a person. Customer service is not a priority once you’ve already paid them because absolutely nothing is forcing them to deliver. Put it this way: if a hotel has your money and for some reason you can’t travel due to unforeseen circumstances, they aren’t going to waive some draconian policy in your face and talk to you like you’re stupid. They will refund you or compensate you in some other way. A hotel isn’t going to charge you more money for not cleaning your room or subject you to a rating system that serves to encourage guests to ignore obvious problems with the unit and accept subpar service.

 

Shady Superhost Makes Airbnb Stay a Nightmare

I booked a comfortable little apartment in Quebec for my family vacation this summer and it turned out to have a crazy owner and a crazy drunk neighbor with a dog who bit my child and who killed a hen in front of our eyes. The place was dirty, with an inch of dust and hairs on the floors, and strange stains on the upholstery of the chairs. It smelled like a medieval pub. The dishwasher was rusty with broken parts, the rust stayed on the presumably washed dishes afterwards.

The place was so small that once you got in the room there was no air; you had to keep the window open all the time and there was no mosquito netting in either bedroom. The host was crazy; he insisted on entering the premises while we were out, lying that the previous tenant forgot a coffee maker. One day he thought there was nobody home and tried to get in the house, but it was locked and as I shouted he ran off.

He found occasion to come every day. Once he walked with a chainsaw back and forth in the backyard, which was creepy enough for me. The neighbor is a crazy local drunk that drank wine and then got in her car with a friend of hers. There was a child with them as well. She assured me that her dog was very well behaved and I let my children play with him. At one point the dog started chewing my son’s shoes and at the end he attacked my son, knocked him to the ground, and bit him. The dog owner was drunk and didn’t even care enough to do something. Several days later the same dog killed one of the other neighbor’s hens in front of our eyes.

On top of everything, the host left an awful review on my Airbnb profile claiming that I broke his fan and the garden parasol, which was a complete lie. I was mislead by all the positive reviews on his profile and I wondered how someone can give five stars for a broken rusty dishwasher, dirty floors, non-working TV, dirty old magazines and broken kitchen table. The only explanation for me is that these are his friends.

On top of it, there were three spoons in the kitchen, three bowls and three tea cups for a family of four. I claimed a certain amount of the paid sum from Airbnb but they did nothing. The host also refused of course. The price was equal to a hotel stay and I regret not making a reservation in the nearby hotels. There were hotels much more close to the national park and way more beautiful and clean. The property is on a provincial road with a 90 km speed limit. The closest shop was 2 km away and there was nothing in it.

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Airbnb Implied We Should Risk our Lives and Health for Booking

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My family is living in Vancouver, Canada, and we had an Airbnb booking from Aug. 18 through 22 in Penticton for our vacation. I had to cancel it two days before our booking because of wild fires and consequent air quality issue.

Wild fires were literally burning every route from Vancouver to Penticton. If we were going on our vacation, we literally had to drive through the road on which wild fires are burning. Consequent air quality was also an issue. Wild fires were not burning in direct vicinity of Penticton, but multiple wild fires were burning within a one-hour drive of the area. The air quality in Penticton was extremely unhealthy.

Airbnb implemented a new extenuating circumstances policy in January that states: “When this Policy allows for cancellation, it controls and takes precedence over the reservation’s cancellation policy.” I believe my case was definitely an extenuating circumstance as no one would go on a vacation in such circumstance risking the health of my children as well as that of myself and my wife.

I contacted Airbnb’s Online Support, but they rejected my refund request. They said my case was not an extenuating circumstance. They didn’t consider my case as an extenuating circumstance, and that automatically means that they think I should have risked my family’s life and health to honor my Airbnb booking. They never said it directly, but what else could it mean?

I asked them: Would you go on a vacation in that kind of situation? I asked multiple times, but they never answered this question.

I almost gave up on getting the refund, but I thought that I at least deserved an answer. I asked them to explain why my case was not an extenuating circumstance and explain why the extenuating circumstances policy can not be applied to my case. They never answered these questions, and they closed down my session. Now they are completely ignoring me.

Airbnb Literally Endangering People’s Lives for Profit

After making the responsible choice last year to cancel all reservations when the pandemic hit and subsequently not receiving any compensation, I received $25. I took it as an opportunity to review my cancellation policy to better protect myself to reflect the new realities of travel.

Fast forward a year later and I made my place available for the month of April and received three bookings, two of which my guests responsibly cancelled due to the lockdown in the province of Ontario. The third one admitted her travel was unnecessary and that she was coming to walk around with her boyfriend. Now she booked a non-refundable option but would not cancel the reservation because she did not want to lose the money despite her choice to book a non-refundable option. Again being responsible, I chose to cancel and the guest was refunded.

I am not the brightest, but I am failing to see how after I adapted and my guest booked a non-refundable option, how she is still being refunded. At first I was upset over the money but at some point it’s not about the money. It’s about the safety of my community and I couldn’t believe the position Airbnb put me in. They refunded some person who booked a non-refundable option and did nothing to respect my cancellation policy or do the right thing and cancel all reservations in Ontario.

This didn’t sit well so I asked them to donate the money to Black Lives Matter (I am a Black person so figured this money could go to some good) instead of refunding this low life guest. They refused, stating their policy. I was laughing at their “support” team. The guy clearly was in no position to even have a conversation and was reminiscent of a robot, programmed to repeat the policy and failing to understand what “human” is.

Companies like these are greasy and hope the collective group robot think pushes your billion-dollar company to higher profits while putting the lives of people at risk. The fact that they are allowing hosts to operate in Ontario at the moment is baffling. They are literally putting profits before the public good and this goes for housing as well. Simply ruining communities.