Worst Airbnb Experience at their HQ, San Francisco

We rented a unit for a month and regretted it. Read this to understand what you might experience at an Airbnb location. When we arrived, the owner gave us a key, took us through a dark garage, opened the door and wished us luck. When we walked in, the place smelled bad. The owner gets paid for cleaning between Airbnb visitors but it didn’t look clean when we arrived.

However, we had been traveling for ten hours so we just collapsed. There was no welcome card, no information about the area, or even basic information like which day the garbage would be picked up. It turned out that the regular entry to the apartment was down a dark, dank, dusty hall that looks like no one has been there for years. Spooky.

The bedding looked very used. On top of that, the mattress squeaked with every movement. When we took their bedding off, we found stains and rips in the mattress protector. If you are allergic to dust mites, good luck; no amount of Zyertec will help.

The next morning we went to IKEA and bought our own bedding. My husband was starting a new job the next day. When he left for work I bought my own cleaning supplies. There was no mop or broom or anything else to keep the apartment clean. No paper towels. Nothing. Yet the minimum rental is a month. I guess you’re just supposed to let it get dirty.

I started cleaning. It took days. When I mopped the floor, the water was black. Whatever I wiped showed layers of dirt: the tables, chairs, headboard, cushions, the shelves, everything. I took videos to show my family and friends. They couldn’t believe that such an expensive place was in that condition.

We decided it would better if we covered the couch. It smelled bad. There was an old carpet that looked very dusty, and it was. When I lifted it to clean there was a cloud of dust. We set it aside, not wanting to it to foul the air through our visit.

The kitchen utensils look like a mixed bag of whatever other visitors may have left behind. The sprayer on the sink was rusty and there was rust on the refrigerator too. We didn’t want to touch the dishes so we ate off of paper plates and plastic utensils. When we sat down to our first meal at the table, we could see sticky spots from previous visitors.

When you see the picture of the outdoor patio it looks inviting. In fact, all the furniture is covered in dirt and mold. I tried to clean it but it was way too beat up and old. The chaise has a couple of old, moldy cushions. You can’t sit on the furniture anyway because it’s falling apart.

It would be nice to open the sliding door to the patio for the pleasant air. Unfortunately, there is no screen and the bushes are filled with mosquitoes. When we did leave the door open, bugs and flies would come in. On the walls you will find squashed mosquitoes left behind by other visitors. My husband was bitten many times. I took pictures of the red blotches on his face.

The door to the unit is next to the host’s garage. Several times we opened the door to find that their car had blocked our exit. Either we had to climb over the bumper or push through the bushes to get out. This was unsafe.

I hope you’re not looking for a quiet evening. On random evenings you’ll hear pounding on the ceiling. It’s the kids jumping and running around above you.

Now about safety; the address is “2022 A.” The main house is “2022.” The only indication that there is an entrance to “A” is a tiny half-inch letter. If you have any mail or packages, you’re in for trouble. Twice the owner took my packages and opened them. A bigger problem is theft. Two very large packages were delivered at the owner’s door. They were new clothes that I had specially ordered. After a couple of days, I noticed that they hadn’t been delivered to 2022 A. They were stolen, so we had to file a police report. I have my copy.

Here’s something else creepy. I was in the kitchen and I heard a noise in the bedroom. I went to see and found that someone was trying to get in from the main house through the door from the owner’s garage. It was a woman who called herself the nanny. If I hadn’t remembered to lock the door while I was cleaning, the owner and other people in their house could have just come and gone unannounced. Don’t leave anything valuable behind.

We left ten days early, and we were glad to go. I know what the owner will say: “Why didn’t you tell me?” Shouldn’t an owner who constantly rents their property do more to make it livable, clean, sanitary, and safe? Is it our job to point all this out to the host, who lives upstairs?

The second bad experience was trying to post a review on Airbnb. We posted our review at the end of our rental which meant it was available for Airbnb to review at any time. They waited 14 days to see if the owner was going to write a review too.

After 13 days and 18 hours (late in the evening) Airbnb sent an email saying: “I wanted to reach out to you about the review that you left about the host. We wanted to let you know that we investigated the review and in the review you give out the address of the listing which is a violation of the Airbnb Policy, so because of that we will have to remove the review.”

We hadn’t listed the address, only the street numbers because of the problems we encountered. But, okay, no problem. We could make a tiny edit. However, by the next day they said the “time limit” to edit the review was up, so it did not appear.

I called Airbnb four times and also emailed them. The operators were pleasant but in the end, no one would listen. I simply explained that they had not given us any time to make the tiny correction and that we wanted to post the review. We let the host know about our review. She immediately threatened us writing, “Do not spread a bad review and rumors. I would consider it libelous to do so. The Airbnb lawyers will handle this.”

Airbnb prohibits “extortion” saying, “reviews are a way for Airbnb guests and hosts to share their experiences with the community. Any attempt to use reviews or review responses to force a user to do something they aren’t obligated to do is a misuse of reviews, and we don’t allow it.” That includes “hosts asking a guest to take specific actions related to a review in exchange for a resolution to a dispute between the parties.”

Beyond that they say the hosts and guests agree to follow all Airbnb guidelines and policies, including the Extortion Policy and that failure to do so may result in the restriction, suspension or termination of your Airbnb account. “If you think you’ve experienced extortion, please contact us”, which we did. There was no response. I know this is a lengthy review but if your experience was like ours, you will regret not paying attention to this story.

After Night in Toronto, Never Booking Again

I just stayed at an Airbnb for the first time on Halloween, in Toronto. I live in Toronto but wanted a place to stay downtown after going out. I only booked one night for me and my friend. In my request, I had mentioned that we might be checking out at 10:00 AM (check out is 11:00 AM) because of work the next day.

Upon check in, it took the front desk 15 minutes to open the door, and when we told them we were a “guest of [host]” she looked at us like we were crazy.

I said “for an Airbnb?”

She said “well do you have a key?”

Puzzled, we said no and she literally just told us to go upstairs, without showing our ID or anything. Later on, when I had another friend come by to do our makeup, they wouldn’t let her upstairs at all and insisted I come downstairs.

The place was honestly small, but it was cute. We got ready, had a few drinks and went out for the night. We came back to the condo early, because we honestly both don’t drink often and got pretty sick and wanted to sleep.

The next morning, I called in to work saying I would be starting at 1:00 PM instead. This was at 9:30 AM. My friend was still sleeping since she was a lot sicker than I was. When I got up and showered I noticed mold in the shower, which looked like they tried to cover it up.

As soon as I got out of the shower, at around 10:00 AM, I heard a knock on the door. The cleaners came early assuming we would have checked out at 10:00 AM. I kindly told them that there had been a change of plans and we need to stay until 11:00. This was mainly because we needed to clean up and pack, but my friend was still sick.

Now, I understand that I had mentioned to the host that I might check out early, but this does not change the check out time. Especially if it was only an hour difference and was never confirmed. I spent the next hour packing and cleaning up, the cleaners knocked on the door 15 minutes before 11:00 and my friend (who was sick) answered in, to be honest, a rude tone at first but then quickly apologized.

We talked to the cleaners for around 20 minutes before leaving. Well, they talked about nonsense to be honest. Now, the property may not have been sparkling clean, mostly because of all the sponges and counter towels left for cleaning smelled terrible, but the place was not “disgusting”.

This is what the host chose to write about my stay. He even accused us of chipping the porcelain in the bathroom. I don’t even know how that could even happen. He was petty, complaining about little things like coffee stains, shoe marks, stickiness on the counter or towels/sheets having makeup on them. Wouldn’t you have to wash them, anyway?

He wrote more than an essay on how disgusting we left the place, how we checked out twenty minutes late and made his cleaners wait an hour that he paid them for. He proceeded to over exaggerate so many things: the wrappers in the bedroom, and the ashes on the balcony (smoking on the balcony was allowed).

This guy literally disgraced my name on Airbnb and I only stayed one night. I barely had enough time to make a mess, let alone clean up. I was extremely rushed out during a hangover. In his review about me, he made it seem as though I missed work because of my “heavy drinking” and questioned my personal character. So uncalled for.

He then proceeded to BS how he paid his cleaners over $800 for three and a half hours of cleaning? Firstly, the cleaning ladies looked like they were his mom and grandmother based off of his picture, and secondly can I become his cleaner? What is that, $50 an hour? Pay me and I will leave the Airbnb spotless.

Jokes aside, you pay a service fee and a cleaning fee, and all of a sudden $130 a night is $250 and he wants the place spotless before I leave? I have to get on my hands and knees and scrub his damn floor? No thanks. Never again – back to hotels for me. As a suggestion to future renters of Airbnb, take pictures before and after you leave.

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.