Tricks and Traps When Using Airbnb Platform

Strict cancellation terms: if you book two months before, but cancel one month before, you will be reimbursed only 50%, even in low season. This is the choice from a “host” who, since my cancellation, has earned three nights without having hosted anyone and maybe accepting other guests.

I kindly requested a partial reimbursement from the host, attaching medical certificates of treatment, but he did not deign to answer. If he had done so I would have immediately asked Airbnb to intervene, because there are only 14 days to make a complaint. The host certainly knew, was silent, and waited.

Airbnb tries to convince you to buy their service of “free cancellation within 48 hours” but this is effective from the time of payment, not 48 hours before staying (which would obviously be disadvantageous for hosts). It can be misinterpreted.

If you look hard you will find the number of guests who have used the house, and much more in evidence like the number of positive reviews. Subtract the positives from the total number of guests and you will have a more realistic idea of ​​the appreciation of the place. It is not transparent because negative comments are censored.

I had booked two weeks in two different houses, then canceled the second due to the need to use a vacation for medical treatment. With the remaining house, however, it did not go well: we arrived on a rainy day and there was a strong smell of dampness. The radiators were never turned on and there were no instructions, so time was lost to avoid getting cold at night.

Everything was clean except for the shower (of which there were no detailed photos in the listing) and some details in the kitchen. The indecent thing is that two days after the check-in the host told me that due to the risk of clogging the drain, I had to throw used toilet paper in the basket.

I left, he repaid me, but in any case he kept 40€ of “cleaning fees” over the two nights. In general it is better not to risk ruining your holiday. Choose a hotel directly or take a vacation in a tent or campground if you want to save money.

Another Person Staying in my Booked Airbnb

My worst Airbnb experience happened in Tours, France. I arrived around 21:00 to pick up the key from the box to the apartment just to find out there was no key from it and there was already someone staying in the same apartment. The other guest was surprised too. It happened that this other guest had a cousin living in the same town, so she left the apartment for me.

At first I was happy that I didn’t have to look for another place to stay… until I entered the dirty apartment. There was hair on the sheet, wet towels, and crumbs on the table. The host promised me clean sheets just the next day, but she gave me a refund for a one-night stay. The most ironic part is I got a bad review stating that I left the apartment dirty. I left it the same as I found it and a cleaning fee was included. Not recommended.

False Review from Airbnb Host in Bosnia

Not a terrible experience – and actually I do not have anything negative to say about Airbnb itself, just this host. Two friends and I were on a road trip through Bosnia and Montenegro. Using the filters “3+ bedrooms” (not people) and “entire property”, we booked a place in Trebinje, Bosnia as a base prior to the Montenegro border crossing.

The confirmation said the property had four bedrooms and was for 16+ people. As a relatively regular Airbnb user, this isn’t unusual and the prices were not out of kilter with other “entire properties” in the town. We checked in around 6:45 PM, and were shown (by a rep, not the host) a one bedroom apartment “for 3 people” because “this is what you booked”.

Well, my confirmation said different and the rep agreed; she called the office and we were told we could have the connecting one bedroom apartment if we paid cash. Red flag alert. They told me it would cost more on Airbnb – which I knew – but felt very scammy at the time. We were the only people staying at this complex. We would’ve paid extra cleaning fees had they given us the separate bedrooms we’d booked, but they wouldn’t move at all.

Rather than give them a penny, we spent about 30-45 minutes arranging alternative accommodations. Our next host came to our rescue and left a family celebration to check us in one day earlier. She was amazing and her place was awesome.

We did get a full refund, and Airbnb called me multiple times to make sure we weren’t stranded which was impressive (if unnecessary). We never got an apology, just a rude and dismissive attitude. So I had the choice – write a negative review and get one back in return, or just leave it.

After giving them two weeks to correct their listing I went for the negative review so no one else would have the same problem. Then I got this back: “This guest is very complicated. They booked one apartment for 3 persons. When they arrived we give them option choose apartment which most suitable for them, but they wanted apartment with 3+ bedrooms or whole Villa (our Villa has 9 AP). We explained them that it is not possible, because price for theirs reservation was 35$. After check in they used apartment 2-3 hours, showered and then say that they are not satisfied and wanted bigger apartment. We could not offer them it for 35$ and we refunded them all funds. They leave our apartment after 3 hours of use and leave it messy.”

Essentially a flat-out lie from the host. However I hadn’t told them I’d taken a video before we left (decide for yourself how “messy” we left it). We never had a choice of apartment (I’ll take what I booked, please), I had complained immediately, we hadn’t used the shower, was there less than two hours and that time was spent frantically on the Internet and calling to sort out accommodation at 7:00 PM in an unfamiliar country.

I tried to link the YouTube video in my Airbnb response but Airbnb blocked it. Hopefully this can come up if anyone searches for this place in the future. At least I’m telling myself that for the satisfaction – screw this host. Not really Airbnb hell, but liars should always be called out if you have evidence to refute.

Odd Airbnb Host and Bad Room Causes us to Leave

My mother and I wanted to stay in NJ close to NYC for a weekend. We booked a single room only to have it changed to another location at the last minute. We accepted just to not cause trouble.

We arrived at the time that we and the host agreed on and lo and behold, she wasn’t there. We waited an hour in the New York summer outside of the building only for a completely different person to arrive because apparently the host was out of town but didn’t tell us until that day.

We finally got in and the place smelled like cheap perfume or some garbage air freshener. We soon found out that there were four other people in this one apartment and only one bathroom. The kitchen was so cluttered that they stored the pots and pans inside the oven. They obviously hadn’t cleaned out the fridge; it had leftovers from the last guests and expired juice.

The bathroom had tiles falling down from the ceiling and I almost fell in the tub because the mat they put in was so slippery. Our bed was just awful; the sheets were mismatched and hideous (I know, small complaint, but it sucked). The room was obviously not up to code, no smoke detectors, and probably overall the listing was illegal in the first place.

I felt unsafe, it was hot, the host barely spoke english, and the other residents in the apartment locked the deadbolt, leaving us locked out until they finally heard us knocking. Just so disorganized, dysfunctional and messy. I’m paying for a hotel or a hostel in the city next time because this blew so badly.

Playa del Carmen Airbnb Misrepresentation

My kids and I stayed in this unit for only one night and left early the next morning – less than 12 hours. We were in Playa del Carmen before heading to Cozumel to get married and then left immediately for our honeymoon.

Upon return to the country from our honeymoon, I attempted to write a review on both properties we stayed at, but apparently there is only a 14-day window to review properties. I had missed that window given I was on my honeymoon. It is imperative that future guests are aware of the status of this unit and that the host is notified that their advertising and preparation is inaccurate, inadequate and unsanitary.

Here are some of the issues. We arrived at the unit late at night to find that we were given an inaccurate entrance code on the security gate and the front door. We had to contact the host who showed up 30 minutes later to let us in and verified that he had provided the wrong code. We were let into the unit, dropped our bags, used the bathroom and discovered that there was no soap or toilet paper.

We are a family of seven and I had to go feed everybody after a full day of travel before returning to go to bed. I texted the host to let him know there was no shampoo, soap, or toilet paper and while we were at dinner, he dropped some off at the front door. We returned to the unit close to midnight and found the sheets on one of the beds was dirty, with hair and grime on a pillow.

We rented the unit because it could sleep all of us yet there was no bedding for the fifth bed. I gave up my bedding in order for my daughter to sleep on the pull out futon. Furthermore, the unit had not been cleaned much, if at all. There was a half drunk bottle of vodka sitting at the bar, the kitchen area was extremely poorly equipped and dirty, and the smell in the unit was terrible.

Left Airbnb Early to Escape Disgusting Property

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When arriving at our accommodation after a very long flight, we saw the property hadn’t been cleaned. We contacted the host by telephone and he sent the cleaner in. She told us that it would only take her a half hour to clean.

When we came back all she had done was put some clean towels and made the mattress that was on the floor (no actual bed). We had to book into a hotel for our last few days of our trip at an extra cost to ourselves. We would have checked out sooner but we couldn’t find a place to stay at short notice.

This decision was due to the lack of cleanliness and mice infestation. There were mouse droppings and urine on the kitchen work surfaces and floor every day. The last straw was the appearance of some kind of cockroach which we had to kill. We were unable to sit on the sofa due to it not being fit.

The tap in the kitchen leaks water every time you turn it on, most of the lights don’t have bulbs that work, the toilet seat is old and dirty with the lacquer peeling off, the fridge has brown ice forming thick at the top (unfit for use), there are mouse traps that are not even in use making them pointless, the carpets are frayed and dirty, and the paintwork is dirty. We don’t want to touch the handrails which are wobbly and dangerous, and the bed advertised is not a bed; it’s a mattress on the floor. There was no mention of restricted headroom in the bedroom. The soap was dirty and used. There was a smell of gas. I have taken photos that I have attached. The property was dirty, tatty, tired and it smelt. As for the dishwasher, it was filthy with a moldy plate in it.

We found it really difficult to contact Airbnb whilst in NYC and their terms for resolution were that you had to complain within 24 hours of arrival. They also state that you must not contact the host directly with any problems and it must go thorough Airbnb, which is easier said than done. Of the £1026.00 that we paid Airbnb offered us:

I’m your case manager from Airbnb, I hope you are doing fine. Thanks for contacting us regarding your reservation. I’m sorry to see the condition of the accommodation you stayed at. I have gone over your refund request, and even though not all conditions have been met according to our Guest refund policy, I do think it is fair that you receive a refund after seeing the pictures that you made. After considering, I have refunded you one night and 50% of the cleaning fee, for a total of £167.19. This amount has been sent to your card and you will receive a confirmation email about this shortly. Please let me know if you have any further questions for me. Wishing you a nice day.

Hope Making Good Curry was Worth it

I’ve been a host with Airbnb for years and found with solid house rules, filtering guests with no government ID through using Instant Book and reminding guests using a house manual including rules, I’ve had no problems.

I recently had guests who cooked curry every night for a week and the cleaning was a nightmare. I hadn’t thought to put “no cooking strong curries” in my house rules. The whole guest suite needed cleaning, including the walls, curtains, verticals, lounge and I had to hire an ozone machine to do the rest.

One week later, the smell had gone. This could happen with any rental, so it’s important to add this rule into a contract or house rules list.

Even though the guest was non responsive to my request for payment, Airbnb followed up immediately (after their 72-hour wait for guest to respond time), and refunded the costs of this incident. So even though my curry nightmare was not good, Airbnb was responsive, positive, caring and great.

Many of the things I’m reading on this site may be due to hosts not choosing to set firm enough boundaries and house rules. Those who choose anyone as a guest over filtering guests with ID, are always running a risk no matter which platform they choose to list their property on. I’ve found Airbnb to be nothing but wonderful.

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When your Condo gets Trashed by Spring Breakers

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My condo located in Destin, Florida sleeps six. I booked it to a seemingly sweet couple, but in reality, it turned out to be twenty spring breakers who trashed my place. My housekeeping company charged three times the departure cleaning fee and rightfully so. All of my bed and bath linens were destroyed along with many other things.

I filed my claim with Airbnb and sent my housekeepers’ images. The response I got back from Airbnb was that the guest had already paid a cleaning fee. My reply was the cleaning required to perform a necessary departure clean of one hour is far less than the real cost of four additional hours to clean up after 20 spring breakers partying like rockstars for a week. Airbnb indicated that the images didn’t look that bad.

It appears that Airbnb is now setting the cleaning rates nationwide. My housekeeper has taken great care of my unit over the years. Airbnb charges whatever they want for their services and now seems to be deciding the fees on other businesses also. If 60 images of a trashed home are not enough for Airbnb, what is?

It’s crucial for owners who become hosts to know that Airbnb is not going to cover the cost of your vacation rental getting trashed by the guest. They surely did not mention that to me when I was signing up. Now the fault and loss of cleaning up after a lousy guest are dumped on me and the local cleaners and housekeepers. Without my housekeeper, I do not have a vacation rental.

If you are a guest through Airbnb go ahead and trash that unit. The cost to clean it up is on the backs of the cleaning companies now who are being forced by Airbnb to clean it up for free. If I don’t pay my housekeeper, I will receive a lien on my property.

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Asking for a $60 Fee just to Clean the Dishes?

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I was staying at an Airbnb in New Zealand. The place was good and the host seemed very nice. The problems started to occur when we checked out. We ran out of time (we were travelling far away that day) so we didn’t wash the dishes for our breakfast. It was kind of messy in the kitchen but we didn’t break anything and we reported the right number of people for check in.

After we left, the host got angry and wanted me to pay $60. I just don’t get it: in the house rules, they stated the fees only applied when we smoked, not for the dishes. I’m confused: can someone tell me what should I do? Other Airbnb properties seemed fine when we left the house with dishes unwashed. Should I reject or accept the request? Please help me understand.

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Airbnb for Business Trip, Never Again

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I often choose Airbnb for both personal and business trips, having faced a range of experiences. But this last trip called for an end to the use of Airbnb for business trips for me.

I booked two nights in Paris, in a small apartment next to my meeting location. The check-in scheduled at 3:00 PM went okay (the sitter texted me the code to enter the building and left the key under the mat). On the mat were also a used coffee pod and pieces from the wrapping from an ice cream cone that I decided to pick up and put in the garbage inside.

The surprise was when I entered the apartment… I have seen accommodations from sparkling clean to a bit dirty but this was a nightmare. Some of the highlights: the rest of the ice cream paper was inside on the floor, next to an overflowing garbage can. Dirty dishes were in the sink, etc.

I went to the bedroom to drop my bag and realized the bed (which seemed to have been made) had dust everywhere on it and several large stains (of what I think was blood). There was also a cigarette butt on the floor of the bedroom.

The bathroom next door had a disposable razor on the floor, a full garbage can with what looked like blood from used tampons dripping on its inside, a very dirty (grey) towel (that used to be white) on the floor. It was the same story everywhere, including Chinese food in the microwave that smelled very bad – it could have been there for days. The same food was also on parts of the inner sides of the microwave. There was old food in the fridge, a dirty toilet, etc. I don’t think that my own apartment ever been that dirty, even as a student.

It was clear I could not sleep there so I contacted the Airbnb sitter, who quickly apologized and said the cleaning people have probably not cleaned the place yet. I was actually okay with it (it happens) and said I was going out so the cleaning people could do it then. I came back over an hour later, and nothing. I texted again the sitter, asked if he could follow-up with the cleaning people, etc.

I also decided to send a formal message (not only SMS) to the host to describe this, and to contact Airbnb customer service. The customer service was fairly quick to respond and said they would help. Their help was basically to try to negotiate with the host that things got cleaned. After that, I kept chasing customer service for actual action until they just stopped following up.

In short, they have done nothing for me that helped. The cleaning person came around 6:00 PM (three hours after the check-in; there was nobody staying the night before, by the way), and did the bulk of it but still left the apartment in a state that is worse than any Airbnb apartment I had stayed in before (full garbage left, dirt and waste under the bed and in every corner, microwave not cleaned, etc).

However, I had clean bedsheets and towels and decided to stay as it was 8:00 PM in Paris and moving anywhere would both cost me a lot of money and also be hard to arrange. Generally, the sitter was responsive but blamed the cleaning company.

I never met or heard from the host (something more and more worrying in the Airbnb system). Airbnb customer service did not look for another accommodation (something I asked at first) and never offered any compensation. They never responded to my last messages. This impacted the only half-day of non-business time I had in Paris.

So this is it for me. No more business trips on Airbnb. Between difficult check-in, last-minute cancellations risks and this latest experience, I’ll get back to hotels for that.