Airbnb Bat Hell in Malaysia – Why is it still listed?

I booked and prepaid in full for a house near Terengganu, Malaysia for our main family vacation in July. Before doing so I checked out reviews which were positive. I also kept in contact with the owner through Airbnb’s website. We had a long-haul flight from Abu Dhabi to Kuala Lumpur followed by a domestic flight to Terengannu. Our party consisted of three adults plus our six-year-old twins.

We were met by my friend who lives locally and drove a hire-car to the house. An old lady who spoke no English met us and we had some trouble opening the door which should have tipped us off that no one had entered in quite a while – certainly not to clean. The house looked like the photos on Airbnb but, within a few minutes we noticed a bat flying in the entrance hall. Then another bat appeared and another… and another. Three things I know about bats: they like unoccupied buildings; they are nocturnal; they live in colonies.

By now my young girls and wife were screaming so I got them into a bedroom while I dealt with the bats. This entailed killing them one by one. It was obvious we could not stay there. The bedsheets had not been laundered in months and my wife found a rodent’s decomposing body under a bed. Clearly, no one had entered this house in months as they would have known about the bat infestation.

The owner came but said she could only reimburse me at the end of the month. In that event, it would be two months before I was repaid. Now we had to find a hotel suitable for a family which of course turned out to be expensive. For the next month we had to move every few days and lacked a set base. On return to Abu Dhabi I contacted customer service and eventually got my money back; however, there was no compensation for my extra expense and inconvenience.

The worst thing is that this property is still on Airbnb’s site along with my negative review. What does a host have to do to be deleted from their site? I challenged Airbnb about this so they know the story with this house and owner – a perfect illustration of how they value hosts more than guests. The property is still on their site. The key lesson I learned is never ever to use Airbnb again but to use booking.com when you can pay on arrival. If booking a place near Terengannu take great care.

Airbnb Nightmare at Hong Kong Property

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I stayed at an apartment building in Hong Kong called The Sparkle in the Cheung Sha Wan area in Hong Kong through Airbnb. Pictures of the apartment showed an upscale, clean apartment in Hong Kong with a list of basic amenities. Problems started appearing the second I checked in. The apartment was clearly not cleaned and had tons of dust, debris, hair all over the floor and surface areas of the apartment.

Small shards of glass were found throughout the apartment. I notified the host and he claimed he sent someone twice to the apartment during my stay to vacuum/clean but I was still able to find glass on the floor throughout my entire stay. I was cut twice by glass and was forced to wear shoes inside the apartment during the entire stay.

Cockroaches were in the kitchen and other bugs were found in the bathroom. I notified the host and he had to bomb the apartment during my stay. After he bombed the living area and kitchen I turned on the ventilation system in the kitchen and a very loud grinding sound came from the system; I had to turn it off immediately.

The washing machine broke the first time I used it and the host waited almost a whole week before he sent someone to fix it. The kitchen door handle kept falling off of the door and the knob in the shower fell off the first time I used it. The place was overall very dirty and not maintained, in clear violation of Airbnb safety and cleanliness policies.

When I spoke to Airbnb, the first couple of representatives and case managers didn’t seem to care at all. I eventually spoke to a case manager who basically lied to me by promising a full refund of the Airbnb service fee and 50% of the host fees. After speaking with him several times I asked him if I needed to file a refund/claim through the Airbnb platform and he told me no and that he would refund it automatically at the end of my stay.

After the trip ended, I expected a refund of what was promised to me – which didn’t happen – and got the runaround talking with different representaives and case managers. I probably spoke to about five representatives after my return inquiring about my refund and all of them basically didn’t care and were flat out rude except for one who was very nice, respectful and understanding. She had asked me to file a refund claim through the system which is currently still being processed.

This is my first experience through Airbnb and unless they give what was promised to me by their case manager and an apology, it will definitely be my last. I will not be recommending Airbnb to anyone and will be sharing my horror story with anyone who considers a stay through Airbnb. What I did expect was courtesy, understanding, fulfillment in terms of promises, and working with the host or guest through problems. So far, Airbnb as a company has not only proven that it does not care about guests who stay at the homes on their platform but also make false promises to their customers.

Hell’s Kitchen, Airbnb Nightmare Apartment in NYC

I just got back from four days in NYC. I rented an Airbnb from two guys who had an apartment in Hell’s Kitchen (okay, should have given me a clue). Upon arrival everything seemed okay; there were no dirty dishes in the sink, and the toilet looked clean enough. THe tub was stained, but acceptable (not taking any bubble baths in it anyway, so sufficient for showering).

However, upon closer inspection, I came to discover that the whole place was filthy. Dirty dishes were left in dishwasher (no dishwasher fluid to clean them with either). The couch was stained, and there were stained, dirty duvets and sheets. Sheets were crumpled and did not appear to even be clean. Baseball-size balls of hair and dust were around the entire apartment, especially on the baseboards and beds. There was a repulsive oven (it set off smoke alarm when we tried to use it) complete with an old hard, burned French fry, and a dirty refrigerator.

The list went on and on. We stayed in a tent in the Sahara Desert once that was cleaner than this place. I immediately texted the owner (he didn’t respond to us, so called another guy in charge) that a cleaning crew needed to be called. Of course, we were assured that one would be there first thing in the morning. We used the towels – that did seem clean – to cover the pillows and ourselves so we could sleep. Suffice it to say that the “cleaning crew is coming” lie was told to us for three days.

The final night the guy texted us at 9:38 PM wanting to send a cleaning crew. In retrospect we should have said yes, as my guess is he was bluffing then too, but trying to cover his #$%. By that time we had bought new sheets after hiking over two miles to BBB and back. Finding this was no easy task in NYC. Quite pricey too, as there’s no Walmart in NYC.

When I got my invitation to post my review, I was loaded. Like I said in my review, I’ve seen animal cages that were cleaner than this apartment. Every night when we returned to the apartment because we’d left for the day – so this magical cleaning crew could appear while we were gone sightseeing for the day, as we had been told over and over by the host – only brought more disappointment, frustration and a string of phone calls to the host and Airbnb. We came to believe that the elusive “cleaning crew” must have lived in the land of the unicorns and lost their metro passes because they never came.

I just got a review from the host. I use that term loosely, as it implies that these guys did something to treat us as guests. He slammed us (me) with a vicious lie saying that we put our used linens and towels in the bathtub (no exit instructions so we called Airbnb and told them what we were going to do; they okayed it. What do you do with dirty linens and towels anyway? This is what we do at a hotel) and urinated on them. What kind of sicko mind can even come up with a defense that gross? Of course you can’t photograph this and he knew that we were staying with a child – pretty low buddy, blame the kid. Little does he know that this child is not a “child,” but a mini-adult who definitely does not wet the bed if that was his implication.

Anyway, I was pretty much pleased with Airbnb for giving us a full refund and eventually resolving our complaint, but it did take five different reps and a lot of phone calls. I also had a lot of pictures (that I really don’t want to post in case I need them for further action) and evidence to present. Even though I probably won’t use Airbnb again, I can say that I’m overall satisfied with Airbnb. It still makes me mad that these guys are out there, ruining other people’s vacations.

Even after this review, they can just list under other names and open new accounts? And the reviews? These guys were Superhosts with 21 positive reviews. It’s not like I didn’t do my due diligence. Buyer beware. All I can say is the next time I’m in New Orleans I’m buying two voodoo dolls.

Blood and Feces in Bed: Airbnb Still Running the Gamut

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I am a point of contact for my neighbor’s property. He has been stranded in Puerto Rico for the past six months and needed an intervention on his home to generate income. One of the first guests to stay from Airbnb was from LA. After multiple requests to check in early and check out late, I explained to her we had guests checking out on her check in day and guests checking in on her checking out day. Despite illicit check out instructions with emphasis on punctuality, she took it upon herself to check out four hours late. The guests scheduled to check in had to be diverted to another property.

To add insult to injury, upon entering the property it was immediately evident that she had not bothered to lock any of the doors, failed to turn off any of the lights or AC, left all the windows open and garbage, cigarette butts (the property was listed as non-smoking) and refuse all over the house, lawn, landscaping, etc. There was human feces, human blood and food left in beds, bath towels had been used to mop the floor, and cough syrup/alcohol bottles were everywhere.

When she was confronted with the damages, she didn’t even deny she had done them. She stated:

“Not locking the doors and the smoking rules I do take responsibility for. I should’ve remembered to lock up. As far as the mess, you already said you had a cleaning crew coming so why would I take it upon myself to clean the house when the rate includes a cleaning service? Unfortunately being a female at times comes with unexpected surprises like a period. So I’m sorry that it happened but also can’t control Mother Nature.

You also did not have any paper towels in the house so when we did spill we had to use the towels there to clean up. The cleaning crew never came to knock on the door or came up. If they had come then we would’ve left immediately. Unfortunately, we couldn’t leave right at 11:00 AM. The car we parked we did move. We were told to park closest to the trash cans so we did. We were told that having the truck there would not be an issue. I did not check this thread for instructions on self check out. I feel the morning we were leaving is a little late to do that; I wouldn’t have thought to look here on how to check out. Usually hosts are a little more prompt with that information. I apologize for not locking up and forgetting to turn off the A/C.”

True to form, Airbnb diverted my calls to their call center mill abroad where ineptitude seems to be bred in a flurry. A “trust and safety” bot, ignoring dates, photos, and previous conversations with other agents responded:

“I’ve been notified of your recent call. I understand this is not the outcome you were hoping for. I want to reiterate that this decision was made after careful review of all documentation and communication from both parties, and is in alignment with our policies and procedures. Please be advised that, per our Terms of Service, Airbnb reserves the right to make the final determination with regard to these disputes.

We are unable to reconsider the decision made in this case — we’ve issued our final decision and will uphold it accordingly. As further communication will not change the outcome of this case, we must respectfully disengage from further discussion.”

Zero regard for facts, evidence or just simple common sense.

Cancelled Less than 24 Hours before my 30th Birthday

To start, I want to say that I normally love Airbnb. I have rented with them for years and years and never had an issue. Until now. I was so excited to celebrate my 30th birthday in Palm Desert when I learnt that the host cancelled less than 24 hours before we were supposed to arrive. The host initially offered absolutely no explanation but later told us that the city of Palm Desert would not let her rent the place out any more and she had to cancel all future reservations as patrol officers were writing citations for her guests.

I understand she had to cancel all future reservations. However, every other guest had at least a week to find new accommodation whereas we were struggling to find a place for the very next day. As such, I spent the majority of my Sunday in California trying to find a new place that looked like it would be enjoyable for the group, missing out on the activities we had planned for that day.

It was totally unacceptable that Airbnb wasn’t willing to help at all. We booked this reservation in November for my 30th birthday trip. The cancellation was so last minute that hotels in the area were already sold out and many of the other Airbnbs were taken. Making matters worse, the group had already flown from across the country (from New York and Boston) and internationally (four from Canada and another one from Australia) leaving us no option but to take another Airbnb that was less than desirable.

The house we originally booked was well decorated, homey and simply adorable. The house we settled for was gaudy, cold and tasteless. In addition, there were a number of rules when checking in that made it difficult for our group to access the house, including threats that we might get turned away at the gate upon arrival if we mentioned we were renting the house instead of friends of the owner.

When we arrived, the backyard was an absolute mess, as was the pool. I took many pictures of this but Airbnb reps didn’t seem to care. It took many calls to get the owner to send someone to clean the pool (which was un-swimmable for the first full day of our stay) and clear all the debris. When they did, it was a few hours of noise and a terrible smell of gas from the air blower they were using. Lastly, there was constant construction at the house next door to us, making it difficult to have a conversation outside.

To me, it’s crazy that Airbnb isn’t willing to help at all or offer a future credit to try to make it up to me. It was as if I booked at the Four Seasons and ended up at a motel down the street for an additional charge. I was charged an extra $380 for the extra cost of the new house, which was one of the only ones we could find in the area. I was told that would be covered. I am an avid Airbnb user and am always willing to spread the word about the company in a positive way, but really think this is insane.

Case Closed, Reopened, and Cleaning Fees Deducted

My Airbnb guest arrived and found the house to be “beautiful.” Three days later she decided to leave. She complained about crumbs in the toaster. I offered eight separate times to send up the housekeeper but she refused. She stayed another four days. She wanted a refund for the last three days. A claim was made and the cleanliness issue was not found in favour of the guest as under the guest refund policy it states very clearly that the guest must try to resolve the problem. She refused to have the kitchen re-cleaned so under no circumstances did she try to do this. The case was closed. Two weeks later it was reopened and £500 was deducted from my account for a “cleanliness issue”. Airbnb meanwhile paid $900 to the guest. I sent in all of the texts with the guest as additional proof that she failed to comply. There has been no response from the case manager. The case has been closed. Four other Airbnb case managers have failed to provide an independent review. I suspect fraud.

Super Entitled Host Convinces Guests to Leave

My wife and I booked a place for a week plus that was described as “usually booked” (probably a trick of the website). The place looked great in the photos, in Islington, London. When we arrived, the place was hotter than Hades, not aired out, and not well cleaned (even though of course we had paid for cleaning). There were two rolls of toilet paper for a week but it gets worse.

The couches in the living room were lumpy and basically unusable; one reason we booked the place was it had advertised a washer/dryer behind a door which was locked. Although the agent kept insisting the door could not lock, after we went back and forth a couple times, she sent someone over to check – guess what? It was locked. So one of the main reasons for booking was gone. The agent did offer to let us have cleaning at a dry cleaners’ done for free.

On the second to last night we were there the owner tried to have the agent make us to be there at a certain time to let a gardener in before other guests arrived the following weekend. We said no. Finally, having been totally fed up I asked for one night’s rental back as a refund which we received. The host was either new, uncaring or both.

First Time Using Airbnb Will Be My Last Time

My childhood friend and I were planning a girls trip to Washington DC. I’m a savvy, frugal traveler and always do very well researching and booking hotels. I suggested a few hotels where I had stayed, but my friend insisted on Airbnb. I should have just said no, but didn’t want to seem bossy and figured it couldn’t be so bad.

She told me she found a small place for $72 per night. I wasn’t impressed with the pictures, but she liked the place. My friend then emailed me and told me that my half for the three nights would be $225. I thought it was $72 per night. I know there are taxes and a cleaning fee, but to double the price seems ridiculous. I had already booked my flight and didn’t want to deal with a confrontation, so I just let it go.

The host sent us a text about an hour before our arrival that the cleaning crew was late or something. No big deal. The unit was in kind of a brownstone on the ground floor. The place was dark, dank and reeked of mold. It was a nasty odor.

The host informed us that the laundry in the dryer was taking a long time and to “throw another 90 minutes on it”. The reason it wasn’t drying was because he had stuffed four towels, washcloths, a hand towel and a set of sheets into the dryer (and these are the small stacking washer/dryer). I took half of it out so that it would dry. The host never came back and took care of the laundry. I had to fold it.

My friend took the bed in the bedroom, which left me on a pullout that looked like it had come out of the dumpster. If you laid back too far on the bed, the bottom would come off the ground. There were also broken springs in the mattress. My friend kept insisting “well, this is ok…”

The next morning, I was trying to dry my hair (thankfully I brought my own hairdryer because the unit didn’t have one, nor did it have an iron). This blew the circuit, which shut off the power in the unit. We sent the host texts and emails. A while later (after we left) he replied and told us how to switch the breaker… seriously. He wanted his paying guests to do it. I refused and told my friend the power would be on or I was going to a hotel.

Our entire trip my friend complained about the rain (it was misty). She complained about the heat outside. She complained we walked too much and her feet hurt. However, she kept trying to convince me that $150 per night for a dump that was out of the way was a good deal.

Shortly after we left, while waiting for our train, the host sent an email asking for a five-star rating and good review. Unfortunately, my friend booked it or I would have blasted the hell out of him. Ironically, the place had good reviews. I’m certain they were fake reviews from his friends because anyone paying $150 per night for that dump wouldn’t be happy. If you can’t afford to stay in a safe, clean place then maybe you shouldn’t travel.

San Diego Airbnb Gem Turns out to be Nasty

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The tags more or less say it all. We arrived to an overwhelmingly bad smell, a mixture of body odor and dog pee. It turned out the sheets were dirty – I mean really dirty with hair on the pillowcase and a horrible smell. We contacted the host who sent out her mother (the head of housekeeping) to put on fresh linens.

Fortunately, we lived close (long story) so we went and brought our own bedding. After removing all of the bedding the whole house smelled better – except the dog pee – so we sort of got used to it. The bath linens were dirty too. The towels smelled of mildew but the hand towel smelled of ass, literally. I found out the hard way after washing my face. Looking closely anywhere showed a lot of dirt including dust, stains, grime, hair, spider webs, spider shit, rat shit, mildew, and more.

The filth kicker was the cabinet above the kitchen sink. There was an opening to the outside and rats have been coming into the house. Two un-set rat traps still with peanut butter residue sat patiently waiting to be used again and were peppered with rat shit. Another cabinet had three other rat traps in it as well.

The amenities consisted of a used roll of paper towel, a nearly empty bottle of dish soap, a mishmash of silverware not even making up a full complement, some pots and pans but no colander for making spaghetti, and just random barely acceptable $1 store plastic ware. I mean it has some charm, but this crap sets the stage for a lovely four-night stay.

During the stay we discovered the casita next door had a couple in it on a vacation where they never left their unit, talked and laughed loudly all day and night with their windows open we think on a recreational weed holiday. On the other side the neighbors had a nest cam pointed out their window at the Airbnb unit looking past a fence cut down low for visibility and peering into the bathroom and kitchen windows. With no fan in the bathroom you open the window only to be filmed while showering.

When you go to write a bad review and you dispute the $85 cleaning fee, this is the response you might get: “We have to keep traps because of the surrounding fruits trees. I’m sorry that you experienced uncleanliness. I will bring this to the cleaners attention. I just ask you to not write me an awful review. Thank you for your understanding.”

Fortunately they refunded that fee. I am absolutely stunned that anyone recently even wrote a positive review.

Racist Host Can’t Help But Write Negative Reply

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I have had a pleasant trip using Airbnb over the last month until I read the messages from a host in Florence. I stayed in Florence and the bathtub in the apartment was so clogged that the water covered my feet while showering; hairs floated. I mentioned this discomfort in my review, and the host seemed to be very dissatisfied with the problem I raised.

According to her, the apartment was in poor condition and the water went down a bit slower but her apartment was clean. Yes, it may be true some hairs from the pipe came out and her tub had been clean. However, how could I know the status of her entire building?

Her public review wasn’t that bad, but the private message was terrible. I can not stand this discriminatory statement. She has a huge bias for the people of my country, and this kind of person should not be an Airbnb host.

[Translated and edited public review] Thank you for the kind review. I would like to point out that some of what he wrote was incorrect: the apartment is advertised as clean (including the tub), but unfortunately the internal condition of the pipes does not depend on cleaning. This can happen in an apartment in which the speed at which a bathtub drains is slower than it should be. It certainly does not depend on cleanliness, so I hope you will take care of it in the future 🙂

[Translated and edited reply] The tub was clean. It simply drains slowly. Next time, go to a hotel. This is the usual attitude I see from Koreans. You’d better get an education, and learn not to be so unpleasant. It is no coincidence that I don’t have other negative reviews. I hope we don’t see each other again.

Do I have to deal with hosts like this because I just left a review that does not appeal to one host?