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False Advertising for Toronto Airbnb the First Time

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I was a first-time Airbnb user for a trip to Toronto in August for four people. The listing was advertised as a ‘2 bedroom luxury retreat’. While the location and view were great, the condo left much to be desired. It was definitely not luxury – more like shabby, and I don’t mean shabby chic.

I think the photos on the listing were probably the sales photos used to sell the unit to the host because nothing other than the view was like the photos. Not one single piece of furniture, all wall hangings, nor appliances were as in the photos.

In previous correspondence with the host, he had said that the unit had been painted and wouldn’t look like the listing photos. He never said the listing photos were a complete fabrication. The luxury condo looked like a poorly maintained frat house. No toilet paper or anything to dry a dish was anywhere to be found. The listing photos showed plush white towels; what we got was one small threadbare towel each.

To say we were disappointed was an understatement. The host who seemed so responsive prior to the final payment went completely dark once I contacted him about basic necessities and never followed up during our five-night stay. So, I wrote a negative review, and surprise – the host then immediately contacted me via phone calls and texts, saying he was taking the unit off Airbnb and moving in himself, that it was listed for more money than it should have been, etc.

He wanted me to change my review as it would affect the other unit he had listed with Airbnb. He offered a refund via e-transfer for our disappointing stay. I foolishly changed the review.

Guess what? That was a week ago and I never heard from him again, nor did I get any refund. Lesson learned and Airbnb may not ever see me using their service again. Only thing I’m sorry about is that I never took any photos of the actual condo to be able to post here alongside the fabricated one attached that I found in deleted emails. The listing is not online anymore.

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Airbnb Nightmare in Cottage Country, Ontario

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I sent photos below to Airbnb to show the unhygienic and gross hellhole that was misrepresented as Muskoka Rocks in Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada. It was filthy, unsafe and disgusting. It was impossible to stay and the host could not have improved our stay within hours. The house we stayed in was not the house in the picture on the website. It was a firetrap and was unlivable.

We have asked for a refund but got no response except for an offer of $200. This rental was $1600 for six nights. We went for a small getaway to celebrate one year of my companion being clear of Stage 4 cancer. I’m disappointed and disgusted by Airbnb’s lack of humanity and moral accountability. The host deliberately misrepresented the place and even put another gorgeous house on the site. Our one-star review has never appeared on the site. Any advice or help is welcome.

Airbnb From Hell: Unionville Nightmare

I am an international student and was bound to Airbnb due to the fact that I had paid long term fees and withdrawing would mean I would lose close to $2000. That’s a lot when converting into Indian Rupees for a guy who just got here. Now that the nightmare stay is over I can tell you safely that this is not where you want to live ever, for the following reasons:

I got in a few days later than my girlfriend and the first greeting I got when I arrived was the host telling me that my girlfriend had a lot of men in her room overnight in front of my friend who dropped me there. I was aware that her brother came to meet her and another aunt and uncle. They did not stay over. I don’t know how she can talk like that about another woman.

The host was super creepy. She kept micromanaging how much water we used in the kitchen, listened to and yelled at me about how much water I used while taking a bath, and argued with us everyday, telling us that she did not want us there. I take 5-minute baths literally and she had a problem with that too.

I was racially abused here by being asked how I have money to pay for the apartment because I’m an Indian. She used to tell us to not talk to her neighbors because they were jealous of her and when her neighbors spoke to us they told us that we needed to be careful. We didn’t know why they warned us at first but then we understood what they meant as the days followed.

All amenities that were mentioned as “provided” were not provided. She gave us one towel for two people. Luckily I had my own. No toilet paper, no bathroom amenities, no kitchen utensils, nothing. We had to get all of them on our own and they were used by other people living in the house too. She messaged me saying it was not her responsibility to provide them. I don’t know where that chocolate bowl picture on the profile is. Never saw it. Don’t expect anything of that sort, let alone a towel if you’re lucky.

There were dirty bedsheets and pillow covers that were on the bed and she conveniently blamed us for dirtying them when we arrived. We didn’t argue because of the irritation, bought her a new bedsheet and pillow cover and she didn’t let us use it. We were told to get new ones on our own and put them on the bed.

I cleaned the garbage out of the whole basement every week though it was a lot of people’s garbage, including the washroom that multiple people from the top floors used. I had booked the second floor but was forced to live in the basement. All tenants in the house used the basement to enter and exit right from the third floor to the basement and I had to clean and mop it all everyday. I still got yelled at by the host because someone in the house left a shoemark or left their dishes in the sink.

The host entered our room without us in it, went through my girlfriend’s jewelry and also stole a jar and perfume of mine. Things just went disappearing all the time.

Almost everyday I was yelled at for being a student and not working. I had so many projects and assignments to do as a graduate student and chose to save working for after I graduated. That was none of her business but she kept saying that I was useless because I did not work though her money was paid in full.

There was no heating provided and no window in the room I stayed. I got myself a small heater to stay warm as it was freezing cold in the basement and during the summer it got very stuffy. I needed the fan to basically survive. She yelled at me for that too.

All of her doors creak and are unaligned so they make sounds when closed. I got yelled for closing the door because it made noise.

Her daughter screams at the top of her voice, and disturbs all tenants by whacking their doors. The other tenants have told me that her daughter and the host randomly entered their rooms once without even asking or knocking while showing someone else the room. Imagine this – you have zero privacy here.

She was charging me $30 for a small load to wash and $60 for a large load to wash and get this – no dryer allowed. I had to go to a laundromat every week to wash my clothes due to her ridiculous prices.

I had to call Airbnb for help and get some sort of a restraining order for her to stay away from me and she did. Towards the end, all the messages and yelling began.

The tenant on the top floor also wasn’t allowed to enter through his own entrance. His key was taken away and he was forced to take the basement route and climb up every day. One day he was stuck in the basement because she, like a genius, locked the main basement door. He was stuck downstairs for two hours.

On the day before my last stay day she tried to illegally force me into paying more money to her for cleaning as she said apparently cleaned the house for three days the whole time I was there (82 days). I swept and mopped every corner of that basement every night. I don’t know what in the world she thought she was doing.

I ran away to a cousin’s house the night before the last day for I did not feel safe anymore with this person around. Her behavior was very rude and unethical and this is the worst experience I have ever had with an Airbnb across the globe be it in Asia, Europe and even around Canada, especially for long-term stays. There were days when I thought of calling the police because I was sure that it was pretty illegal how we were being treated. Honestly, no joke, I think this person really needs some help.

The shocker – her mother is the only sweet person in that house. She helped us a lot. She was super concerned about our well-being after every time that the host yelled at us. Still, do not come here. I have every demeaning message she had ever sent me from day one, all the BS that I was dragged through. Though she was specifically told to message me on the Airbnb app, she chose to keep yelling at my girlfriend and I via text.

I am glad that this is over. You don’t know how much I hated living in that house. I used to stay out all day just so I didn’t have to see her or even see the face of this house. Imagine the worst part of your vacation or life is the house you have to go back to everyday. That’s what this house can make you feel.

Airbnb Can’t Understand How Cancellation Policies Hurt

The situation: I booked an expensive condo in Montreal for the Osheaga Music Festival. I had a situation that made me not be able to make it for those dates in early August. I was confused by the language on Airbnb and thought I had up until 14 days from the check-in date to cancel. I let the property management company know more than 60 days in advance. They refused and said the only option was to pay them $1100 to cancel.

The property management company (not the real host) was really hard to deal with. They were uncompromising and only gave me options that would allow them to rebook the listing and still get my $2200. I even said I would be willing to pay the cancellation fee of $260.
They were argumentative and kept giving me false and confusing information. They claimed they had to pay more to Airbnb to have a strict cancellation policy. That turned out to be a lie. I felt it was really unfair given that this was the most popular weekend in Montreal for the entire year and I gave them 60 days notice of my need to cancel.
They claim to have a deep empathy for guests in their mission statement. This doesn’t seem to be the case. They are currently hounding me to cancel or lose my money.
On a more human note, I am getting married a week from now and this situation has made things really stressful. Before you book with any of these companies I strongly encourage you to remember how much time and money you will lose if something goes wrong.
I live in San Francisco and know a couple people who work in data for Airbnb. They said that having a more apparent cancellation policy would lower conversion and revenue.
The company claims to bring people in different communities together and make people feel welcome. I toured their facility a while back; they have designed a conference room modeled around the first Airbnb (the founder’s home). The HQ is like a palace with things like on-tap beer and wine and dedicated sleep rooms.
Let’s just say they don’t seem like they are hurting for money. Unfortunately it has devolved into a money/IPO-hungry company that doesn’t really care about guests. The issue is compounded by all these third party property management companies that are more driven by the rips they make off the actual owners of the property (the true hosts).
Airbnb is probably going to try to go public this year. If you have been screwed by them I encourage you to voice your opinion. Here is a link to a recent article regarding an Airbnb guest that was confused by the deceptive language on the Airbnb website.

Mentally Unbalanced Host Does Everything To Stop Me

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It started off as a decent listing on Airbnb with two good reviews. Since it was in the middle of downtown Toronto, a high-end neighborhood, I decided to book for 15 days.

The photos represented a photoshopped version of the real space, and the information about cleanliness was far from accurate. On the first night (check-in at 5:00-6:00 PM), the host arrived and immediately started talking about her interview and her concerns about not getting a job. I thought the condo was hers and she would have a room instead I found only one room and she says she sleeps on the couch.

She jumped right into a sexual harassment case she experienced at her university and I quote: “My professor tried to have sex with me in exchange of ideas.” She proceeded by stating, “This triggered bad memories of my father touching me…”

In one sitting, she also stated that this case at the university ended with her at the mental hospital. She said she was dumb because she was not that smart in school and had trouble with the English language when they moved from China (when she was in high school until she reached university).

She went on to mention that she was afraid that if she did get this government job, since the majority of employees in that department are men, she believed that they would think that it was “okay to have an orgy with her…”

She then mentioned that she attempted to take her own life a few times, and put out her wrists and showed me. I told her that government jobs are far from a certainty for having such things happening.

After trying to console her and encourage her to use good words, she stated that she got this interview because her other professor sent a recommendation and if it was not for her, she would not have gotten interviewed. Once again, I tried to help her by encouraging her and stated that the economy was not going well and that people in the city of Toronto are complaining about the rent hike, especially those with children and parents to take care of.

She stated that they shouldn’t have gotten married and had kids, instead they should’ve taken OSAP, studied, and ultimately focused on their careers. Obviously I disagreed and said that her comment was absurd. I mentioned that there are many like me who graduated with two degrees yet finding a decent paying job is difficult, especially as an immigrant. She disagreed and said everyone with a degree gets interviewed and gets a good job. Since she raised her voice and tried to force her opinions on me, I left the common area and went to my room.

Moving on, I started to find that the bathroom and other spaces were dirty. I looked for cleaning supplies but couldn’t find anything except dish soap. Hair was everywhere and even the toilet seat was dirty. The shower was so small. The water pressure is high, but the downside is that the water doesn’t drain and starts to rise. Hair and other things start floating… totally gross.

I asked her about cleaning supplies, and she told me to use the wet cloth. I tried to explain about different types of cleaning detergents, but it seemed she did not understand. Hygiene is extremely important, especially when sharing a space.

The next day, I contacted Airbnb and told them the whole story. I shared photos and explained in detail the mental issues that this host has and how it was definitely not safe for me. They told me that they would review the photos and then issue a refund for the rest of the time I booked.

After a few hours, they said that the apartment was not that dirty and therefore no refunds will be provided unless they inform the host about all the reasons why I am uncomfortable staying there. I suggested not to tell her all the reasons as I was afraid that since she was in a mental hospital and tried to take her own life, she might try to hurt me as well. I emphasized that the place was not clean but most importantly, it was not safe to spend 15 days with someone who is obviously mentally ill and does not have any friends.

On the third day, I spent the entire day out. The host messaged me every hour. At 11:00 PM, she sent her last text saying “it’s almost midnight, where are you?”

Airbnb informed her that I had to leave due to an emergency, so when I arrived, in a very condescending way she said that she did not believe me and would not issue a refund. We got into a heated argument and at the end of it she agreed that if I found someone else to take over the rest of the days she would issue the refund.

The next day I found a new guest who was interested, but she asked if the host was the owner of the condo. If she was not, she would ask me for a document that showed that the host had a lease and that she would not get kicked out if the condo management found out about her using Airbnb. The host confirmed to me that she only rents from the condo owner and since she cannot find a job due to her sexual harassment lawsuit, she makes money by renting the condo through Airbnb, which pays all her bills.

She continued to say that the lady who booked a two-month stay (before I booked) had cancelled early. She does not issue refunds because she uses the money to pay her rent and bills. After a few hours, she came into the room and interrogated me about the new guest. I informed her that I was not feeling well and that we had to wait until she sent a request on Airbnb to book.

She refused to listen and instead came in the room three times while I was trying to rest and refused to leave. She insisted that I was rude because I was not giving her my full attention and eye contact. I told her that I was not well enough to give her all my time and that she should leave because I wanted to rest. She refused to leave, so I raised my voice and freaked out, telling her to leave and to close the door.

She came back again and told me that she was not going to issue a refund if the next guest booked because now she was afraid I would inform condo management, which would result in her getting kicked out. She insisted that I tell her when I will be leaving the condo and when my flight will be. She also told me to turn the volume down (I was listening to a lecture on YouTube at low volume, but she wanted complete silence and insisted it was music). She finally left.

I then informed Airbnb that I would be leaving and my friend would come help me with my bags since I am afraid she will physically hurt me. My friend arrived around 11:00 PM. We got the bags out, when the host got up and followed us to the room and then to the door. She asked my friend if she would be spending the night and she replied by saying, “No, we are only getting the bags out.”

The host followed us to the door and said, “What’s this? You didn’t tell me of your plans. Where are you going? You can’t do this.”

I told her that I was uncomfortable staying there and thus I was going to stay at my friend’s for a couple of nights. She asked for the key but I repeated: “I will come back after a few days as I need a safe and sane space.”

Airbnb contacted me the following day after speaking to her, and they asked me to free up the dates I had booked and to return the key. I told them that I would only accept that if she sent me the refund, but somehow they kept insisting I free up the dates for other guests to book.

I finally agreed after a day, but it turned out that they were siding with her in order for her to get the keys back and to have the space all to herself while enjoying a free $700 + Airbnb fees. In addition, she filed a complaint to charge me an additional $300 for key replacement. I finally returned the keys and asked her to confirm with Airbnb.

Once I left the public place where we met, she followed me. She tried to take my photo and then kept asking when I would be flying. I told her that it did not concern her and to stop that behavior. In the end, the other guest sent a request to book but she rejected it because she wanted the guest to give up her ID. The new guest told her that she would only show her in person, but she declined.

Airbnb refuses to assist, stating it is the host’s choice to do as she pleases. They had already promised that they would assist in helping book the new guest I found and then help her issue a refund. The hosts now says that she will not issue a refund if the new guest cancels within 48 hours.

I informed Airbnb that this was a trend and it is unfair to bill people just to chase them away and keep their money. The host switched to contacting me via Airbnb to inform me that she rejected the new guest’s request. She said she would charge me for the stress I caused her if I reported her to the building management. I then told her that I will report her to the condo management and the police since she is trying to get more money from my card.

I am truly fed up and will not use Airbnb anymore. I am sick of the threats and attempts to extract more funds from me. How do I get my peace of mind back? How do I get a refund? How do I get Airbnb to ensure that the guests are protected from such fraud and aggressive psychotic behavior?

Airbnb Doesn’t Live up to Expectations

I recently booked an Airbnb in Toronto to visit my granddaughter. The apartment is in what looks like a city housing building in a very rough area of Toronto; the building and grounds are in a state of disrepair, and the elevators were scary to ride. I would never bring my granddaughter there for a sleepover. The apartment was a mess; food was left over from other renters, and all the dishes were sitting in a dirty dish rack on the counter. The beds were just a bunch of mattresses thrown on the floor with no couch and no living room. The furniture was all beat up with blankets thrown over them, and broken old pictures taped for repair. The stove was not fit to cook on.

I have been trying to reach the host, and much like Airbnb he took my 500+ dollars and became unreachable. The Airbnb folks are turning their backs on me. When I asked them how this location was approved, they stated they cannot check each location, and became very rude and short on the phone. If you are booked into an unacceptable location, Airbnb could care less. I have resigned to the fact that I have been ripped off by both Airbnb and the host and am hoping this post will avoid anyone else booking this Airbnb hellhole. I stayed there one night, paid for five, slept in an office chair and picked up take out. So much for Airbnb.

Nightmare in Quebec Followed by Inept Airbnb

I reserved a non-smoking room through Airbnb for 30 days at the last minute due to a change of plans. Upon arrival, the entire building smelled like an ashtray and the room was even worse. As a non-smoker, I was literally gagging and knew this wouldn’t work.

Upon further inspection, I discovered stains on the cover that looked liked dried blood. I pulled back the cover and saw dirt, a paw print, and hair (presumably from an animal but at this point, it didn’t matter). I notified the hosts who sent around an air freshener and finally some clean sheets.

The hosts refused to issue a refund and wanted to keep the entire fee (over 1,200 CAD) for a few hours’ stay. I was out of there as soon as another place could be found. I went through two case managers, who decided the best solution was to allow these creepy scamming hosts to keep half of the fees.

I pointed out to the case managers that it’s illegal to obtain funds through misrepresentation of goods or services but they evidently weren’t bright enough to grasp basic legal concepts. They gave me their final final decision tonight and basically told me to get over it. That’s not going to happen; I don’t like scammers. At least I will be going down swinging.

Host misrepresented himself and Airbnb didn’t give me a full refund

I’m a long time user of Airbnb and have had no problems using them up until now. This last instance has totally soured me on the experience. The lack of help and support that I have received from their customer service makes me never want to use them again.

I was travelling to Montreal for Canada Day weekend and had booked a two-bedroom apartment for $700. While driving from Toronto to Montreal, we received a call from our host indicating that she couldn’t host us anymore due to flooding. I then went back and forth with customer service on the phone trying to find a suitable alternative. I had to find a similar place at the last minute on a high demand weekend and the $350 credit they gave me didn’t cover the extra cost at all.

I finally thought I had found a suitable location based on the recommendation from Airbnb’s customer service. It was $1500, which was a lot more than what I had wanted to pay, but it met all the requirements. About five minutes after booking I received a call from the new host. He then told me that if I wanted to stay at his place I would have to pay an extra 15% in cash on top of what I booked because of Montreal property taxes. This is not true at all; I stay in Montreal all the time and no one has ever charged me this.

The place I wanted to book was not available since it was new and the host said he had an alternative place at which I could stay. There was no way I was going to give this guy an extra 15% payment for a place that I knew nothing about. I called Airbnb customer service to cancel this booking because this did not seem right at all. I was in the process of cancelling this booking with an agent but the phone connection cut and it wasn’t finished.

I had to book a new location quickly because I was almost in Montreal and I still didn’t have a place to stay. I proceeded to book a new Airbnb for the weekend. Based on my original conversation with customer service I thought I was going to be able to cancel that Airbnb with the individual that was misrepresenting himself, but I found out that he had a very strict cancellation policy and after talking to customer service Airbnb would only give me a partial refund of $514.

I was literally booked with this guy for an hour and I would have stayed there had he not tried to hit me up for an additional 15% and had it been at the actual place he was advertising. The next day I argued this point with customer service but apparently it’s totally okay for their hosts to do this and that they would see what they could do. I’ve tried contacting Airbnb since then but they keep on telling me that the case manager is the one I need to speak with and that I have to wait for her to call me back. I never receive a return call probably because they just want me to get fed up and pay.

Unsafe House for Children on Graduation Night

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We booked this house for our kids to stay in downtown Ottawa after their grade 12 prom. The host charged five times the regular price but unfortunately, the kids paid it because there were few options for them that night. That price was robbery alone. The host knew our kids would be there and we assured him there would be no problems: no mess and no parties. It was for them to sleep after the final prom party and get up in the morning to meet others for a final graduation breakfast.

We parents (four of us) went to the house first and it was uninhabitable; the temperature was 33 Celsius. We walked in and there were two useless fans and the smoke detector had been unplugged. There wasn’t even any soap in the bathroom. It was so hot and humid. The smoke detector was disabled by the host during the day.

We contacted him for more fans but there was no reply. We told him it was unsafe and against the law to not have a working smoke detector but he did not take responsibility for his house. Our kids could not even stay there as it was stifling hot, too few fans and the detector had to be unplugged or the alarm continued to run. He replaced the detector the next day but that was too late for our night. He would not refund the price of the rental and ignored our request for more fans the night of the rental.

Airbnb offered $100 of the $700 rental for the house yet the kids did not even sleep there. They went in, changed their clothes, and left. We grabbed their stuff and we would not let them stay there, as it was unsafe to stay there. He should not be allowed to rent out a house when it does not meet safety standards. This is unacceptable, irresponsible and to not refund us is robbery. It is illegal to disable a smoke alarm and he did that before we entered the house.