Our group of 18 rented out a cottage this weekend. Our stay was great. Our host was great. We had no complaints about the property. After checking out, I wrote a great review and our host left us a great review as well. We left the place immaculately clean (especially since there were 18 of us). Later that evening, I got a message from our host (through text) that their neighbour was very unhappy and that there had been a lot of noise, excessive partying and loud music playing. During our stay, we did not have a complaint by the neighbours even once and we were very respectful about turning down the noise after 10:00 PM. I only remember us getting loud while playing card games since we get competitive, but that was way before 10:00 in the evening. Anyway, I told our host that wasn’t the case with regards to the neighbours’ complaint and that we were very respectful and apologized for troubling their neighbour. They seemed very understanding and thanked me for clarifying what really happened. I was wondering if there will be any repercussions on our end since we’ve already submitted reviews? What’s the worst that can happen if they don’t believe us?
I had a guest who is actually from across town in Halifax. She stayed at one of my properties for two nights. She arrived by bus and went to my neighbour’s house by mistake. She had a very powerful personality and I think she was upset or insulted when I went out to do my yoga, work, and meet with friends. She used all of my toilet paper in two nights. I hope it was just in her bag and not in my drains. She complained about my towel detergent and all her illnesses and sensitivities. I asked for her passport, as I noticed my listing somehow had the validation restriction lifted. She was very upset. I explained the Airbnb website asked to show ID.
Then she commented on my insulating plastic wrap on my china cabinet handles. This is my house and I have this cabinet for my china. There are plenty of dishes to use for my guests in the kitchen. What concerns me now is the long letter she wrote over nothing; it was a personal attack on me and my character. I have not experienced this disrespectful behaviour from any guest. She was so overbearing. I am afraid to write a comment about her and feel she will definitely downgrade my rating due to her own unhappiness. What do I do? I am getting my lock changed at a cost of $117, as I feel this lady was so unbalanced. She wrote about a towel that she was concerned about but that is minor. I told her not to worry about it; there were only three there. I usually put four but I could read her aggressive energy and just wanted her out. I offered to give her a lift in my car, in a diplomatic way. This was a guest from hell. I lost money to host her, but learned my listing validation was turned off.
On July 11th, 2017, I received an award from Airbnb for being a Superhost for four quarters, something I have consistently achieved over two years and seventy guests. I have since received appalling ‘service’ from Airbnb. There are two types of Airbnb hosts: the rich landlords who own multiple properties and offer nothing but a bed and a coffee machine and make a fortune. Then there are people like me for whom this is an important living in a depressed economy. I pay tax on Airbnb earnings. I go out of my way to offer five-star service, gourmet breakfasts, quality linens, and thoughtful, discreet care.
I have just had someone flounce out swearing abuse – while I was doing online teaching – after a week here. She booked for a month. In that time she clogged the plumbing so a plumber had to be called; I didn’t charge her. She broke the kettle, claimed it was my elderly cat who can barely get onto a sofa, never mind leap onto a kitchen shelf. The kettle was fused to its base and could not be turned on, heaven knows how the guest did that. She broke an antique bookend; I asked her to superglue it. This was something precious to me that I’ve had for two decades and from my gran. She claimed she needed an alarm and I must buy her one – this from a Luxembourg citizen who had lived in Boston for six years and recently flunked out of college. I looked at IKEA, couldn’t find one and suggested she try CVS or Target.
She managed to break the cupboard door – not sure how – and I couldn’t figure out how to fix it. The damages exceeded $600 and when I tried and load claims onto Airbnb it refused to accept pictures. I’ve sent in two queries about this no response. The Airbnb person tasked with this case has treated me with disrespect and contempt. He promised to take this matter higher early last week. Nothing.
The guest said the room was not cool enough for her. In three years I have received no similar complaints; the house has air conditioning, is surrounded by trees, and there is a spare fan in the room. I bought another high-end fan – for $67 – and she managed to break that one too. I have no idea how. She was only paying $100 a night (in exclusive Wellesley) and got breakfast each day: a poached egg, two chorizo, avocado with supergreens, rye toast, wild honey, raspberry yoghurt (organic), herb tea, and orange juice.
She went through five toilet rolls, two boxes of tissues, and two boxes of candies in addition to finishing two new containers of body wash in a week. I did two loads of laundry for her on Saturday – washed, dried, folded, and put it in her room – and there was not a word of thanks. On Sunday she demanded I do another two loads: a bra and two panties for one load (whites), then for colors a towel (her own – I gave her three fresh towels on Saturday and fresh bed linen). I said such a small load was environmentally unfriendly. She freaked and was verbally abusive, shouting and bullying me.
I was in such a state afterwards I locked myself in my room and sat on the phone for forty minutes trying to get help from Airbnb. There was no answer, so I emailed them and went to their host forums. No help. Airbnb phoned me last week on the guest’s behalf and only when I mentioned my email did the representative say: “Oh yes, it is here. I haven’t read it.”
I told him everything I listed above. He called me back and said I must refund the guest, despite a strict cancelation policy saying I don’t give refunds and even though I was not in the wrong. He says the guest was complaining that she was too warm in her room (she’s also over 6 feet, overweight and on multiple medications – by her own account – for anxiety, so that might be a contributor. I’m 5’2″). I noted how I tried to help her, including two long sessions of unpaid counseling (I’m a trained trauma counselor). I recommended she go to an acupuncturist to assist with her nerves; she went twice.
I told Airbnb after incessant bullying from him I was prepared to give the guest half of her payment back. The representative from Airbnb started yelling at me; I twice had to ask him not to yell at me… this to a Superhost who has just received a rare award from them and who has 70 glowing reviews.
When I was teaching over the internet on the guest’s last evening – which she knew – she came in the room, music blaring, shouted at me, and began banging doors. Really bad conduct. I later audiotaped her ongoing abuse. I was so frightened of her that I stayed in the living room, curtains open, lights on, hand near the phone in case I had to call the cops.
I apologize for this story being so long but if you have the time, read it all the way through. Someone also tried to book with me then refused – the second person in a row because there are so many verifications now loaded onto my profile that a guest has to supply a passport (which most Americans don’t have), a drivers license, and two other forms of ID. This person declined to book – and frankly I would not give my passport details either.
I wrote querying this last week. That too has been ignored. Many hosts are like me: ordinary folk, trying to make ends meet. We are the bedrock of Airbnb. We do right by everyone, our mostly wonderful guests, and we pay tax. We buy superior foods and linen for our guests that we deny ourselves and yet there is still no support from Airbnb and sometimes frightening situations.
We booked a trip for ten nights in Barbados for my family of four. Upon arrival at the property, we heard hysterical dogs barking. The neighbor had a dog pen less than 30 yards from the house we were renting. The pen had about five dogs which spent every waking moment inside. When the host came about twenty minutes later to greet us, we expressed concern as we had a one-year-old who doesn’t do very well sleeping in new places, especially if dogs were barking aside. He told us that they would calm down. I wasn’t looking forward to our son and the rest of us being woken up at 1:00 AM to those dogs carrying on next door.
When we got settled into our tropical vacation cottage, we came to realize the place was filthy. Every piece of furniture was stained, and the floor hadn’t had a good mopping in weeks. I have pictures of our black feet. The kitchen was disgusting. One of the policies of Airbnb is that the properties must be clean, a policy they don’t care much about. There are even other reviews of the property (which we came across after the fact) pointing out how unclean this property is. The next day we asked to leave. We told the host about our issues. He said he had a little apartment in town that we could use, but the neighbors are less than desirable and it’s very tight quarters. He told us to think about it and contact him later.
We decided that we weren’t going to spend our 11-day vacation in some little dumpy apartment. We needed to be refunded and move on to another property through someone else. He told us via email that he wasn’t going to refund us anything. Airbnb asks that you place complaints within 24 hours; ours was placed 27 hours after check in. Keep in mind we’re in a foreign country trying to find a place to stay on very slow internet with two children. By 2:00 PM on the second day we found and paid for another property using Homeaway.com and then left. After returning home, we contacted Airbnb again for a refund, supplying a detailed account of our experience and about a dozen photos of the filth. After going through the process, which took three weeks, we were told that because we didn’t contact them within the 24-hour period there was nothing they could do, but they would refund us one night’s stay. We paid for ten.
We tried numerous times to contact Airbnb after this despicable explanation and were completely ignored. We never heard from them again. We were out $1200. Then we decided that since neither the host nor Airbnb were going to do anything for us after a three-week runaround, that it was time to leave a review. But no, you only have two weeks to do that. That’s right: if you don’t leave a review within two weeks of your check out date, your window closes. We got completely screwed out of $1200 and couldn’t even leave a review. This was the last time we’ll ever use this horrible, disgusting company again. What a horrible disappointment. Beware folks!
Airbnb has some of the most clever travel scammers online that have ever existed. I decided to surf the vacations options for the summer using Airbnb (my first big mistake). I forgot that about a year ago in order to set up my account, I provided a payment method, which was my debit card (the biggest mistake). So, while trying to make a reservation, I desperately tried to check where my payment information was stored, and I couldn’t find it: not in my profile settings, and not anywhere else. Being an IT professional, I clicked each and every available option. Then, when clicking the “reserve” button for the reservation, I was expecting to see what every consumer is supposed to see: a message confirming that a certain credit or debit card will be charged for such an amount for the vacation…right?
I was never informed that Airbnb would be charging me the entire vacation price up front. The next thing I realized they took over $2000 from my debit card causing me to lose lots of money in the form of bank fees. I don’t even want to start on how many resolution tickets I had to open with Airbnb and how much of a genius one has to be to actually find a way to contact Airbnb. You can find plenty of those stories here already.
I was lucky enough to speak with Airbnb on the phone twice where customer service is no more helpful than the sun in the middle of February. They just politely act like messengers who will “make sure to escalate your matter ASAP” with promises of a big guy with the awesome authority to get back to you within two days and resolve all of your issues. This never happens. Escalation through online resolution tickets is even more fun. You’d have to be Einstein to find a way to open one, then when you do you will be blessed to get their response via email in a week or so. The best part is the email rep is prompting you to reply back directly if you have further questions or need help. So, when you naively do it you will immediately get a message that your email is undeliverable.
Here is my question to Airbnb Hell readers: how many stories do you need to be posted here before bringing Airbnb to court? I think there are plenty already. It’s time to act.
I’m not even an Airbnb user and I absolutely can’t stand them anyway. So many people in my building rent their flats to tourists who get insanely drunk, shout like crazy day and night, make a mess of our shared toilets, and won’t go to sleep cause they’re too busy shouting or taking drugs and yelling (I live in Amsterdam). This is a sort of mixed industrial area, and our walls and ceilings are pretty thin. There’s no isolation so since the whole Airbnb hype started, life has become so much less enjoyable, more like a living hell. Our building has now suffered from so many incidents: things get stolen, Airbnb people ring your doorbell at night because of course they have no idea which doorbell to ring when they’re so drunk and drugged.
Can anyone just sue Airbnb? The world was a better place without it. The worst part is that my “friends” don’t ever have space in their house for me anymore because they’re all renting their spare rooms to Airbnb users. When I’ve needed a place to stay, everyone says no because they have Airbnb guests. Honestly, that means those “friends” suck, but it’s also creepy that everyone is letting strangers stay in their houses. From what I hear, this site is way more expensive than most hotels anyway. Why not stay at a nice hotel where you’re provided privacy and security? People are weird.
We have had three terrible experiences using Airbnb. After reading this blog from both guests and hosts, it appears Airbnb doesn’t discriminate on whose money they steal. We have been told to lie and say we had not rented the property through Airbnb, that we were friends with someone in the complex (they provided a name). Then when we left an unfavorable review because of some issues with the apartment, the true host posted that we threatened him; we never even dealt with him in person. The second time, when we received the itinerary my husband Googled the address to find it did not exist; there was only a commercial building at that address. We contacted Airbnb and they told us to cancel. We received $74 of the $447 as a refund. Because we had already planned that trip, we looked for another apartment, which we found and booked. Upon arriving, we found that the apartment was not quite as it was described in the posting. After our stay, we once again left an unfavorable review on some of the noise issues, but again, nothing that prevented us from staying. After we posted our review, we received a message through Airbnb from the host that the couch smelled of urine and requested we pay an additional $275 for cleaning. Of course we denied it. We have all the text messages and emails to support our claims. Something needs to be done to stop Airbnb from their unethical business practices. They are stealing from hard-working middle class people. We are willing to help any way we can.
We booked a stay in an Airbnb for four nights in Toronto. The location was great. However, there were a few major issues:
- The bed was terrible. There was no box spring or support for the mattress, so it sagged badly.
- Not an inch of closet space or a single drawer was available.
- The apartment was not very clean.
- Living room was totally open and exposed for the neighbors to see; there were no blinds or curtains.
- The patio advertised in the listing didn’t have any furniture on it at all.
- Light bulbs went out and there were no replacements.
- The nightstand had dildos, vibrators and owner’s underwear inside.
I gave an average review on Airbnb. They cut my review and only posted the positive: the location. How would the next renter know about any of the problems? This is the second time I had a problem with an Airbnb rental. I’m not likely to rent through them again.
I prefer to not even recollect the awful experience with a past guest, but I’ll try (above all mine is a criticism against Airbnb). Basically the guy started complaining from day one. He seemed to be bent on finding any hidden cracks and obscure issues – a truly nasty character who refused to provide the time he was arriving and then dared to complain he had to wait in his review (like it was someone else’s fault?). However, that was only the start. After three weeks I was left with two broken appliances (cooker and washing machine) and for the very first time I decided to use Airbnb’s Resolution Centre (after having about ten guests and very positive reviews).
The documentation they requested was nearly impossible to provide. The appliances had been there for nearly 20 years (but Airbnb wanted the receipts). Secondly, I wasn’t in the property and most of the documentation requested was out of reach; I was miles away from any “useful” documentation, but I posted the bill from the technician and the receipt for the new washing machine. The technician was paid the day my nasty guest left, as he didn’t notify me of the issue (the cleaners found out) and I had to fix the problem for a new guest arriving the next day. So I had to order a new washing machine just the day after receiving confirmation the old one was properly broken.
The other problem – the gas cooker – we discovered later on (remember: I wasn’t there and couldn’t verify these issues on the spot) that there was no cooking involved. The guy took some pictures of the burned knobs but no picture of any meal he made? A burned chicken? Or any dish ready to enter the oven? Nothing whatsoever. The cooker oven (electrical) was then turned on and left unattended for how many hours? Days? That’s a very good recipe to burn any cooker! It’s called inappropriate use or negligence, but the guy clearly omitted this fundamental detail (of course, I’m not there) and blamed me for being irresponsible for not providing an extinguisher and access to the gas canister and assembly.
Now, I’ve been a guest in certain properties advertised on Airbnb and I can assure you none had facilities which are common in hotels (would you paint an escape route in your house?). So basically the guy wanted the professional approach of an hotel at a fifth of the price. In my opinion we have a typical opportunist who deliberately stays in Airbnb properties (many like mine) where he knows there is no extinguisher to be found and he knows there is no escape route marked on the wall, then deliberately uses these issues as weapons whenever he files a complaint with Airbnb.
So the company is a lame duck; they can’t see this guy for what he is and boot him out of the system. Let’s face it: Airbnb can’t check all these properties and can’t compete with hotels in terms of a professional approach to guests (in general, certain hotels lack that too). This is the root of the problem. When first approached, Airbnb staff seem reasonable; they promise you a full investigation. The truth is that they don’t really want nor need to find out. I’ve received two calls from their headquarters in California during the period of the investigation. The phone rang only once and as I tried to answer, they hung up (so they can safely say, “look we tried to contact you but you didn’t answer the phone”?)
Their task is simple, to discourage complaints and break down any attempts at compensation: you start complaining and they put you under immense stress. It reminds me of the origins of eBay – does anyone remember the reviews? On paper you might have the advantage but Airbnb has the perfect solution: they encourage your opponent to escalate the matter (even without any evidence) and they too are allowed to ask for compensation for issues which were never ever mentioned during the whole stay. For example, my guest never complained about the Internet or noisy neighbours but all of a sudden these and other issues were presented and the guy is encouraged to request the full amount he paid back into his pocket? What kind of mind game is Airbnb playing here? This is the cheapest trick, the kind kids do in kindergarten. The guy shouldn’t be credible (not if there was no previous complaint), so how can Airbnb fall for it? They aren’t failing to investigate, they are just at the mercy of nasty guests like mine. Enough of Airbnb.
I’ve been a host for three years now and have stayed in Airbnbs around the world several times. After several years, I have finally had it: I am ending my relationship with Airbnb and moving on to long term renters. I have two listings; one is private room in my condo, and the other is an entire home (one-bedroom condo) that I purchased for the sole purpose of renting it out. This post is to discourage others from becoming involved with Airbnb. It’s been a rough ride these fast few years… In the early days, there were sweet guests who brought gifts, followed the rules and genuinely wanted to get to know the person they were living with or living under. Over time though, guests seem to be more driven by finding cheap accommodations and the demands are ever increasing. They expect deep cleans of the condo but argue with me over the cleaning fees, ask to borrow my car, and complain about the pillows being too soft or hard. They will empty out my mini bar and leave no monetary contribution, walk around in their underwear, be mean to my cat, etc.
The listing says the condo is not metro accessible but they didn’t want to pay the high rate to stay on the metro line and don’t have a car to get to the grocery store. If the condo doesn’t have something in stock like some flour, they simply knock on a neighbor’s door (which is terribly rude – they don’t have a rapport with that person and sometimes don’t return the item they borrowed). Airbnb requires guests to list a phone number but many times I’ve found that number is not the actual guest’s number or the guest doesn’t have an international plan and his phone is useless. There were some guests that had me constantly running back and forth: they needed more baking sheets, then a crock pot, vinegar, and sunscreen, and they didn’t even have the courtesy to leave a review.
The maximum occupancy is six guests but I charge an additional $5 after two guests; somehow, magically, no one ever has any party larger than two. I realize I could snoop around or try and check in and maybe I could see how many folks are staying there, but the minute I say “Hey, the listing requires an additional $5/person and you have six here so I will be adding $100 to your stay,” I am basically asking for a terrible review. I have seen the nicest people turn vicious and threaten to say I am prejudiced or discriminating. The accusation is already enough to ruin people nowadays. Airbnb touts this “trust community” but over 90% of my guests are first time renters and many of them rent infrequently.
Airbnb asks that I leave fresh flowers, breakfast foods, wine and beverages, games, and snacks. Less than 5% of guests have ever just left a few dollars. A Sam Adams beer might be $7 from a mini bar in a hotel, but you can’t leave $1 for the two you drank? Really? This is how you would treat a friend who was hosting you? Guests have broken things in front of me; I have taken diligent pictures, submitted my quote to Airbnb’s Resolution Center, where as always the guest refuses to pay, and even though I have a Security Deposit and have been a Super Host for three years I have to go through Airbnb’s insurance policy for a $12 plate. I have made a lot of money with Airbnb but I constantly check myself to make sure I am not being greedy and overcharging.
Sometimes, peoples’ personal stories do make me empathize. I’ve let pets stay on request, allowed early or late check outs when I can, picked up items from the grocery store, and given rides to the city center. Guests will ignore my calls for a day then expect me to pick up after two rings every time. As a host it just comes down to Airbnb as a company. I don’t believe they will take care of me if something bad happens. I’ve often wondered if convicted sex offenders can rent out rooms in homes (how would we know?). Airbnb puts all the tax strains on me and forces me to pay the occupancy tax (which I’m happy to do, but it would be nice if they took on the administrative burden).
Despite three years of loyalty I never get a thank you card or Airbnb travel credit, and in the hospitality industry usually employees are at least reminded how important they are. Last but not least, I feel really terrible for my neighbors. Over the years some have been kind while others have gone to the Condo Board and local county government. There was one gentleman who lived in the building who wrote his congressman, county officials, and attorneys. While he was a little over the top, I get it: he wanted actual neighbors and not a revolving door. Who would buy the condo next to the full time Airbnb? If I ever thought I was hosting individuals who were going to have a disruptive vacation I would never have accepted that reservation. It is so hard to screen guests because I only see a picture and a paragraph or two, and anyone can say they are in the area visiting family or friends. The review system is pretty hit or miss; sometimes it’s hard to leave a negative review because I have to question if I’m being too judgmental or expecting too much from the guests. Goodbye Airbnb. You just saw a little piece of your paycheck prance over to YourHomeSuite.