Airbnb Nightmare you Wouldn’t Wish on Anyone

VRBO

We booked three weeks with what on first meeting appeared to be a friendly South African immigrant couple in Allandale, Governors Bay in New Zealand. When we arrived, we were disappointed to see that the kitchen and bathroom were filthy, and the mattress badly stained. For $83 a night, it should have at least been clean.

While I was out for a drive the next day, I was told by one of their neighbours that the hosts are illegally subletting the downstairs unit without the owners’ permission and expressed concerns for anyone staying with this couple. They didn’t go into detail. That was our first warning.

Within 48 hours, one of the hosts had entered our downstairs unit twice without our permission while we were out. Despite us telling them we were on a working holiday and needed a secure space in which to lock away my husband’s laptop and work files, they told us they wouldn’t be locking the upstairs area they rented (which had internal access to our unit), so our possessions were not safe while we were out.

She then made numerous demands for us to mind and socialise her unruly and poorly trained 50-kg dog, and feed her chickens, none of which we should have to do in an Airbnb but we complied with everything the host asked for out of the kindness of our heart.

Our petite dog was hurt by her dog two days in a row while they were out and so we placed her in a kennel to keep her safe. The host gave us no peace from one day to the next. She repeatedly trapped my husband on the way to and from his car to make conversation when her husband was not around.

When on the third day I explained to her that my husband works 40-50 hours a week, that we were exhausted, and I asked her for much needed space and privacy, she became repeatedly vindictive. She started sending texts to us via the Airbnb site making false allegations with an attempt to have us kicked out and lose our payment for the two remaining weeks.

She then involved her husband and together they constantly harassed us until we no longer felt safe and went to stay elsewhere for three days for some peace and quiet. Numerous calls and texts followed from them both.

We told them that we were leaving and that we would be back to collect our belongings. Her husband then told us we were not permitted to return to retrieve our belongs and threatened us. We had no choice but to call the police, who came to the property and kept them away from us while we gathered our things to leave.

We would never recommend anyone stay here. It was exhausting and we felt very unsafe with this couple living above us, and are very relieved to have made it out of there in one piece.

VRBO

Birthday at New York Airbnb Gone Wrong

VRBO

I got about five friends together for my birthday at a park in upstate New York, then it started raining. I found an Airbnb that seemed large enough for my friends and since none of us were from the town we just wanted a place to chill and wait out the rain for an hour or two. For $125 it was fine.

We arrived and brought up our coolers. Not even five minutes after we arrived, we got a knock on the door and this tall man counted us out. There were six of us and I said six on the reservation. He left and was very rude.

Then about ten minutes after that I got a call from Airbnb saying I was breaking the rules with having too many people and having alcohol in the apartment. We were all obviously over 21 and there was no rule against having alcohol.

At this point I was very annoyed. Luckily I had “I Love Lucy” on DVD and brought that into the room. We were all on the couch watching it. We didn’t even finish an episode when we got another knock on the door with a different woman bursting into the room, and saying that we unplugged their camera in the living room.

Now we knew we were being filmed in the apartment and decided to leave within 45 minutes. I’m starting to think they did it on purpose to take my money and get us out asap.

VRBO

Harassed after a Stay at an Airbnb Hostel

VRBO

My first experience was so bad and eye opening that I refuse to use Airbnb again. I was heading to Toronto for a wedding and needed a room for the night. I knew I’d just need a place to sleep so I found an inexpensive room. I can’t remember what I paid, but it was around $45.

The way it was written, it sounded like it was an in-law suite. I figured they probably meant it was just a single room with a shared kitchen but the description was badly written.

When I pulled up, it was one of the largest houses I’d ever seen. I knocked and several Chinese people answered the door. I’m an ESL teacher specializing in Chinese education and it’s Toronto; I wasn’t put off by this… until I found out none of them were the owner. They said I needed to call the host and they gave me his number.

He appeared a minute or two after I called. He started giving me a tour, asking what room I’d like. I noticed very quickly there were like ten people living here and room for probably twenty – all Chinese. He appeared to be running a hostel. As he was giving me the tour, it was clear he had no idea why I was there. I explained again that I was there for Airbnb.

“Oh!” He says. Gone goes the offer of big rooms upstairs. He led me to a small room in the basement. It was relatively clean, just a little dingy. I got ready and then left for the wedding. When I got home after midnight, the residents were in the kitchen and super loud. I debated just abandoning it and driving home at 2:00 AM tired, but didn’t.

I got home and the host starting texting asking I leave a review. He left me a nice review; I didn’t return the favor. I left an unfavorable review explaining it was a hostel with loud residents and a host who doesn’t know who is coming and going.

He then proceeded to text my personal phone, harassing me about it, saying I was an idiot for thinking I would get an in-law suite for that price; I should have known there would be other people, etc. At this point I blocked him and contacted Airbnb. He was apparently “talked to”, and I was told to block him. No offer of compensation, which is fine because I said outright I wouldn’t be returning.

VRBO

blank

Airbnb Host has not been Responsive and Lied in Reviews

blank

I usually have pretty decent luck with Airbnb but not this time. As guests, we understand that things and issues can happen all the time. When things happen, hosts should respond promptly and try to resolve the issue as best they can. However, this is not what we’ve experienced; our host is not helpful and ignoring us when we seek solutions, even if the damaged amenity is the bedding.

In short, this is what happened. We found the air mattress at our Airbnb damaged so we notified the host immediately for a solution because we wanted to sleep comfortably on something, not on the hard floor during winter.  The host acknowledged the issue, then ignored us.

We contacted Airbnb customer service regarding this issue, the host being very unresponsive when we, the guests, were trying to communicate. The issue turned into a claim and guests are eligible to request a refund from the host. Our host was not happy about the settlement of the claim and wrote a crazy review accusing us.

In a more detailed fashion, this is what happened. We booked this Airbnb for our ski trip. Although it is a studio, the listing said it can fit six people. We were a group of five so we thought it would be fine. Users on Airbnb might notice that the housing price varies by the dateby a lot; the place usually is around $170ish per night and due to the holiday season, we paid almost $500/night.

The night when we arrived at the studio, we found out there was a hole in the air mattress and immediately notified the host to see if there was any way she could fix it. The host replied: “Oh no! There’s a leak in the air mattress? I’m so sorry I don’t have another. How else can I fix this?” We were very surprised that the host was not aware of the damage to the air mattress.

Most hosts check the key amenities after the previous guests check out and before new guests check in. There are also dishes in the dishwasher that we were not sure were clean or dirty from the previous guests. I guess she didn’t check carefully before we arrived. We were also surprised that she didn’t have a spare air mattress and was asking the guests for a solution. We were already pretty tired from skiing all day and really needed comfortable sleep to recover.

We then messaged her: “I guess we need to figure out ourselves how to squeeze five people in one bed and sofa? We are also going to stay tomorrow night. Anyway, can you fix it tomorrow so everyone can have a comfortable sleep?” The host didn’t reply to us the entire night, and the last message we sent her was only around 9:00 PM.

This is the first time we experienced this. Our past Airbnb hosts have all been very responsive and able to fix issues very quickly. We weren’t sure if she was going to help us to resolve the issue so we reached out to Airbnb customer service about the situation with a picture of the hole in the mattress. They provided us with a couple options but none that could help us the first night. We squeezed three people in one bed and two people on the sofa. It was really really uncomfortable. Customer service also mentioned they were going to reach out to the host regarding this matter.

Finally, the host replied to us the second morning saying she was really sorry about the air mattress and she had another mattress at another rental she could bring over around noon - 1:00 PM. I then gave my friend’s contact information to her since she would be staying at the Airbnb the entire day and the rest of us would be out.

Around 5:00 PM we went back to Airbnb and my friend told me the host hadn’t showed up yet. I then checked my message inbox and ddn’t see anything about rescheduling the time or a delay. A couple minutes later, I got her message saying she would be there in 30 minutes. About an hour later, she still hadn’t show up. I messaged her asking when she would be there and she replied: “On my way up.”

About five minutes later, she finally showed up with air mattress. Because of the lateness, I thought she lived pretty far from there and it took time for her to get to our place because of the snow. I asked her: do you live in town? She pointed at a house right outside the window saying: I live right there. I was pretty shocked at that moment . Why did she ignore us the first night and take so long to get our place if she lives next door?

Another issue came up when the host was trying to set up the air mattress for us and she realized that she didn’t have the air pump; we couldn’t use it. She then went back to her place and found a cot and asking us if that was okay. I said yes because it was better than nothing.

I also want to note  the sofa bed and cot were not comfortable at all; we kept rolling and sinking to the center since none of them have support from the bottom. The only comfortable bedding is the bed. I talked with Airbnb customer service again regarding the second night situation updates and they suggested I initiate a conversation with the host to request a refund regarding our first night’s experience. They can start there once I’ve initiated the conversation.

Based on Airbnb’s refund policy,  if key amenities are missing or damaged, the guest is eligible for the refund from the host. We then sent the host a request for a possible refund due to missing/damaged amenities. Of course the host didn’t reply to us at all so we had to reach out to customer service again. Reaching out to Airbnb customer service is a very painful experience; once your claim gets assigned to a case manager, you can only work with them on your case. There is no way you can directly contact them. The only way is to write an in-app message and hope they see it and get back to you.

My experience of getting a response from a case manager on this case has never been shorter than one day. After a couple days of waiting and calling the Airbnb customer service number to ask them leave a note to my case manager for an update, my case manager finally got back to me, saying that he was unable to reach out to the host and they want to talk to the host in order to make a fair assessment about the claim.

Two more days later, and my case manager said he was able to speak with my host and sent me this message : “The host was a bit surprised about my request, and she also mentioned that there were scratches on the pots/pans.” The host probably thought that she could not get away from the refund so she started making things up.

First of all, based on Airbnb’s refund policy ,  if key amenities are missing or damage during our stay, guests are eligible to request a refund. She shouldn’t be surprised at all because we were missing one bed on our first night’s stay. Second, the scratches on the pots and pans were already there when we got there. It is ridiculous to claim they were made by us.

I asked Airbnb customer service if she wanted to report the scratches on the pots and pans against us, she should provide before and after pictures with a timestamp matching our stay (we were pretty sure such photos didn’t exists because they weren’t made by us). After more waiting, an Airbnb case manager replied that they haven’t heard anything back from the host in regards to the pot/pan scratches and were able to settle my claim about the damage amenities.

The settlement result was we received a refund of our first night’s stay. A couple hours after I got the news from the case manager that the claim was settled, the host left this crazy review accusing us of everything. She didn’t respond to customer service in a timely manner but she wrote bad reviews promptly. She just relentlessly made things up… such a crazy and ridiculous host.

In the review she wrote we:

  • Trashed her place. The fact she rented it out to another group right after we left probably meant we didn’t trash it enough.
  • Abused her kindness. Hmmmm, if lying and slow replies are considered kindness then I think we did abuse it.
  • We lied about our dog being potty trained, if our dog pooping outside is considered as lying about potty training. We didn’t even talk to her about anything in regards to dog potty training because our dog was well trained a couple years ago.
  • We filed a complaint against her because we didn’t know how to use the pull-out bed. I need to be honest about this one; we didn’t know how to use the pull-out sofa when we first arrived, but that was not the reason we filed a complaint against her. Though the pull-out sofa was very uncomfortable, the claim was about the air mattress leaking (damage/missing amenities). We were unable to sleep on it.
  • I think she forgot to mention about the scratches on the pots/pans which she mentioned to customer service. I think she needs to add that to the review just to keep her lie consistent.

The Dark Side of Airbnb for Female Travelers

We are a group of backpackers who have stayed in many Airbnbs. In all our stays, we had pleasant and safe experiences apart from our most recent stay which was awful beyond words. Our stay at an Airbnb in Kalpakkam opened our eyes to the dark side of Airbnb and safety.

We had to encounter probably one of the most horrible experiences of our lives by staying at this place. We encountered a host who abused, insulted and shouted at us. It’s only now that I am reading the reviews of this property and I can see the abuses hurled at by the host even while answering. It was a grave mistake that we did not really read the reviews properly while booking.

On January 3rd, we had a long, tiresome journey from Pondicherry to reach this place at Kalpakkam, near Mahabalipuram. When we came to this Airbnb we were quite upset to see that the beach beside the property was littered with garbage and local people in the area openly defecating in the beachfront. In addition, the rooms were not really tidy. The air conditioning in one room did not cool properly and the toilet in one bathroom had no flush. To be fair it is mentioned in the property description that the flush was broken and would be fixed after January 2nd (we arrived at the property on the 3rd and we had booked this place two months in advance).

After we arrived, we called the host to inform him out of courtesy that we had arrived and we were facing some issues regarding the AC and also mentioned that the flush was broken (yes, it is mentioned in the property listing but it also says that it would be resolved on the 2nd). There was no confrontation from our part and we casually happened to speak with the host about the issue. Immediately the host got furious and asked us to cancel the reservation.

The property is in the middle of nowhere and we had girls in the group. Obviously we couldn’t cancel and find alternative accommodations when it was already dusk. Within ten minutes or so, the host turned up with his mother at the place and started shouting and abusing the girls. We were unable to comprehend why would a normal person behave this way, unless the person is not really sane.

Apparently the host was quite upset because he has “sentiments attached with his home” and that we dared to complain about. However what remains inexplicable is the reason the host would shout at us, abuse us, and ask us to cancel the reservation when it was quite apparent that the location is remote, there are several girls in the group, and it was almost dark.

The host used insulting statements like “Why [would] Airbnb send such characters?”, “Get out of my house”, and “Who are you?” When we said we were not going to leave without talking to Airbnb, he shouted “Airbnb is nobody. This is my property – Airbnb cannot stop me” again and again.

This entire experience made us feel utterly unsafe and stressed. The most unfortunate thing is the fact that our female friends had to suffer such abuse. In a civilized society, no gentlemen would ever assault women, but this vile creature of poor manners is not man enough for civility.

One of our members had a nervous breakdown because of this episode. We are not used to abuse and altercations and we have unfortunately not taken any lessons on how to handle an adult who would bully and shout at you for no apparent reason.

Furthermore, the host said that he only wants “local people” to stay at his place. Apparently we are neither Tamil nor South Indians; he was implying that he does not want people from other parts of India. This was most insulting, humiliating and the highest form of discriminatory abuse. We were so stressed and traumatized that we could not sleep that night.

Apart from such an awful host, there was a group of boisterous local guys in the next house in the same property (probably belonging to the same owner). They were making catcalls, hooting and flashing lights at the girls of our group. It was an isolated place and naturally we were terrified for safety reasons.

To sum up, our New Year party trip was ruined by an unmannerly and unstable host who abused us and we had to endure these insults since we were trapped because of the location. I was constantly reminded of this quote by Gandhi throughout the frightening encounter: “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” But alas, since I am no Gandhi I cannot forgive or forget this horrible episode.

Though we had booked this miserably grotesque place for two nights we left the next day in the morning as apparently we had an appalling stay and felt extremely unsafe and violated. This property is in the filthiest of places with an evil-mouthed, pathologically-egocentric and abusive host.

Airbnb has been requested multiple times to delist this property for the safety of guests. I am waiting for Airbnb to take appropriate actions. We managed to take a small video of the episode. Since we were not smart enough to take the video initially we missed the most insulting parts. But still, this video will give you an idea on how unsafe Airbnb is, especially for women.

Airbnb Host Opens Claim After Claim

An Airbnb host has opened several claims against me. All cases have been ruled in my favor but he keeps opening others. The first was for asking me to pay additional fees including utilities when they weren’t in the listing. I had paid $460 without valid bills.

Forty days after check out, he asked for more. I refused because he refused to give me valid documentation for the bills. He opened a damage claim on day 55 saying I damaged the coffee table. I had images and videos of me checking in and out. Airbnb closed it and then refunded me for the utilities.

He then today opened a damage claim to replace the stove for $600. He didn’t say what was damaged. I sent images and videos of the stove upon check out in clean and working condition. I think what he is trying to do is that I told him that I didn’t think his cleaning person did a good job or that he never changed his drip pans. I bought new ones for him for $13.

I don’t know what to do and it is causing me stress. He also kept showing up to the property like a stalker because 60 days after check out he keeps contacting me for more money. I’m not sure what to do and I hope Airbnb will once again rule in my favor. I sent them everything on all of the other cases but they keep letting him open cases.

Even when I was there he said I might see him like ten times a day to check on things and I asked him to text me to let me know so I will be aware someone is coming into the property. This has caused me stress and depression that even after checking out 60 days ago I have to keep dealing with this.

blank

Host Tries to Claim an Extra $1500 with Fake Photos

blankblankblankblankblank

A group of friends and I were delighted to find a listing that had private rooms and bathrooms for each of us in Hong Kong. We booked way in advance before the protests started, and the entire listing was over $1300. Later, as the protests got more intense, that particular area became quite the hotspot. I saw videos online of bricks being torn up to create roadblocks, of police tear gassing protesters – all within a block of the Airbnb.

I contacted the host to see if we could cancel and got our first lie in response – that the Airbnb was ‘far from the protests.’ She said we could cancel but we’d lose half of what we’d paid. $600+ is nothing to sneeze at, so we reluctantly decided to risk it. Luckily, the situation calmed down.

Upon arrival, it was clear she was lying. The sidewalk in front of the Airbnb was cemented over because, though it wasn’t featured in the videos, it had been torn up during protests. That was no big deal compared to the actual Airbnb itself and her later behavior.

We checked in, and all the rooms except one (the one heavily featured on the listing) were much smaller. The photos, on closer inspection, had been taken with a fisheye lens to make them look bigger. The size we could live with. The smell and grime we could not. The place smelled of musty mildew and that smell never went away.

The bathrooms were also tiny, having the shower placed pretty much above the toilet. Again – this wouldn’t be that bad if it weren’t dirty. One toilet was so close to the wall you couldn’t sit without your knees touching the wall. The person in that room gave up after a night and got a hotel room for the rest of his stay. The rest of us endured but also got hotel rooms for two nights.

We were not aware that we could have complained to Airbnb and gotten alternative lodgings. I had never encountered such a situation before, having had positive experiences, so we assumed that if we were to back out we would be out of $1300. Now I know better.

After the stay, I submitted my review, and after discussing it with my fellow travelers, got over my dislike of confrontation to ask the host for a refund. She offered to refund just the cleaning fee of $60. I then submitted a formal request for a refund via the resolution center, and this is where it gets crazy.

She claimed the place had been professionally cleaned (please look at the photos and tell me if you think that counts as professional cleaning) and threatened to report me to the police and said she would be charging me for damage. What damage? She sent me a request for an additional $1500 for stained white sheets, complete with photos. The photos were fake. We had taken a video before we left that clearly showed the sheets provided to us in completely different colors and patterns.

I refused to pay this, of course, and this was the final straw that made me escalate to Airbnb support, who – to their credit – gave me a 50% refund. The host sent me one last message before I blocked her, saying she’d reported me to police for refusing to pay. Needless to say I will never use Airbnb again if I can help it.

blank

San Juan del Sur, Nicaraguan Hell Vacation

blank

I stumbled down the hot street looking for rooms when suddenly a gate opened on to a large property and I peeped in. I pushed past the garden fixture, a young teenage fella hired for general property duties, towards a frazzled woman of about 60, wiping sweat off her forehead and giving the fixture a look for letting me in.

“What can I do for you?’ She was a Brit.

‘I’m looking for a room,’ I said, dropping my suitcase. She looked me up and down, asked me a few pointed questions, then walked me back to a room in a house two houses back from the first, each with a pool.

Thus was the beginning of the worst holiday I’ve ever had. My first Airbnb and my last. I surveyed the room: art deco, clean. We agreed on $45/night, but I was disappointed to learn that I would be sharing the house with her disgruntled husband, an inveterate television watcher, late night snacker, ball scratcher.

Any question I asked him he directed back to his wife. I asked for a key to my room, but there was none. She said, ‘Well, just hide the things that are important to you.’

Easier said than done when you have a suspect roommate, whom I was soon to meet. I dove into my bathing suit and went out to the pool, where I was introduced to a disheveled woman in her seventies from Chicago with a humped back, and a distended stomach the likes of which I had never seen. But for her long, tangled gray hair, you might have thought she was pregnant due to the protrusion of her stomach, accentuated by stick-like legs that reached, crablike, to suck and the ground towards her. She ground her teeth and smoked beside the pool.

I bumped into her in the hall the next morning and my good morning wasn’t exuberant enough because from that moment on she ignored me. I didn’t exist. It was weird. When I sat outside, she’d pull her chair around to make sure her back was to me. In the kitchen, she turned her back, when she walked out the door, she walked right by me. When her son visited with friends, she did the same. She was unbelievably childish and it became a real pain in the arse for everybody.

The house was super noisy; you heard everything and you had little privacy. Every time a door shut, it slammed and rattled through the house. Every door also squeaked. I asked my host why they didn’t oil the hinges and she said she wanted it that way so she knew what was going on. I wound up slamming my door harder, just to ease her mind.

‘Oh I feel like I’m in between the two of you, now I feel awful. I don’t want to be in this position,’ said the host one morning. ‘I just feel awful.’ She then patted my arm and said ‘be the bigger person.’

Later, she and I were sitting at the kitchen table having coffee (although it was a bed and breakfast I had yet to get any breakfast) discussing alternative medicines. She spoke of her chronically upset stomach (viciously throwing up for hours my first night there), her constipation, along with her dazzling display of varicose veins.

‘Urology,’ she said. A blank look formed in my eyes. ‘You know what that is don’t you?’

‘Uh, yeah?’

She explained urology. ‘It’s when you drink your own urine.’

‘Oh,’ I said. Okay, look normal now, I thought, thinking back to the orange juice in the fridge.

‘It’s very good for your health because you’re drinking your own bodily fluids.There’s nothing wrong with it.’

Did I say there was? Okay, time for a swim.

She couldn’t take the situation with the other guest anymore and feeling forced to choose, stopped talking to me; the guest was a snowbird, after all. There was silence from the host as she dusted while I made coffee. No “How’s your room? Do you need a towel? Are you having a good time?”

It was awkward and I rued having paid her for the week because there was no way I was getting a refund. Mostly, I resented them when they sat around smoking dope and didn’t even offer me a toke.

The host was obsessed with money, or lack thereof. Her husband opened up to me about how much money they owed. I was somewhat relieved when she stopped talking to me because she pissed and moaned about money constantly: the downturn in tourism, their loans, her daughter’s expensive school in France, the houses. She was so self-absorbed.

The people who stayed at the fourth house on the property were unhappy. They were up on a bluff and they had no air conditioning for the perpetual burning sun, and no screens for the wind that brought dust, delivering massive gobs of brown sand to every surface inside. The floors were sandy.

The guest had to go to the doctor because of a bronchial infection. She was coughing up great gobs of yellow… let’s not get too descriptive. She couldn’t get any rest, either, because there were chickens right under her window that woke her up every morning at five. Not to mention the dogs that barked next door. When she asked the host about getting the house cleaned, she said:

‘Yeah, if you want to share the expense of that.’

‘How much would that be?’

‘Eight dollars.’

Yes, in spite of her avowed devotion to spirituality, she was cheap. I couldn’t wait to leave. It’s hard staying in a place as a guest where the hostess is pretending you’re just not there.

The Airbnb Amityville Horror in Holbrook

The place was in a reasonably quiet neighborhood in Holbrook, NY (Long Island). The price seemed reasonable (before I found out why it was so low). After instant booking, the host sent a novel’s worth of questions that were already answered in my booking. I reiterated all the answers verbatim from my booking. I got the sense that either the host gets a lot of people who jerk him around, and/or he doesn’t understand how to use Airbnb to set the expectations for a clear-cut host/guest stay.

In any event, I ended up requesting the day of my check-in to show up earlier than the agreed upon check-in time as per Airbnb. I received no response, so I slowly headed over, given I was provided full check-in instructions.

I got to the residence, and entered the room easily. However, I noticed the room had a strong, overwhelming smell of vinegar (either the paint, cleaner, or both). Also, the air conditioner unit in the wall was caked with dirt inside it.

I was exhausted from walking across town from the prior Airbnb (it was a really nice day and I needed the exercise), so I decided to take a shower. I walked in the bathroom, and the first thing I noticed was the bathroom window was the size of a person, both horizontally and vertically, with no curtain, blinds, or other visual blockage.

The neighbors, and folks from the street can literally see you naked and watch you do your business in the restroom. I was provided a humongous, bathrobe sized towel as a part of the guest amenities, so I used this as a curtain, and left it hung up until I could discuss it with the host.

I then proceeded to take a shower. While the host did provide soap via a public restroom style soap dispenser (most normal hosts just put a bottle of nicely scented body wash in the shower instead of trying to treat guests like YMCA members), no matter how hard you pushed the soap dispenser, very little to nothing came out. It appeared to be either empty, broken, or both. Thankfully I came prepared for unprepared hosts (you need to with Airbnb), so I simply used my own soap.

I finished up and got to my door, but promptly forgot the correct four digit key code. I had been diagnosed with heat exhaustion by a doctor earlier in the day, with suggestion I had a minor heat stroke (too much fun in the sun). So, my short term memory took a hit. I also had not brought my cell phone, so I was really up ‘S’ creek without a paddle. I walked outside, to a side door of the host quarters. I knocked but nobody responded. I figured the host would mosey around eventually, so I posted up on the stoop and waited.

After about ten minutes or so, a guy who looked nothing like the host’s picture showed up. I introduced myself and shook his hand, asking him if he was the host. He said yes. Not to be mean spirited, but the guy in front of me either smoked meth, drank way too hard, or has a condition, as he looked nothing like the guy in the picture. The guy in the picture had black hair. The guy in front of me had white scraggly hair, was missing teeth, had glasses, and looked wild eyed.

Regardless, I proceed to explain verbatim how I had heat exhaustion, apologized for bothering him, and just needed to get back in my room. He walked upstairs and punched in the key code. I then thanked him for his help. As I was doing so, he rudely interrupted me, and abruptly shouted at me that I could not leave my towel on the metal banister.

I immediately thought, “Is this guy for real? I just explained in very clear terms how I accidentally locked myself out given my heat exhaustion, and he is acting like I just committed murder on his property.”

He then immediately proceeded to chastise me about his bathroom carpet being wet, and how I need to replace it. Again, I looked at this guy and thought, “How many shots of vodka did you down, and/or bong hits did you rip before you came up with that one?”

I just shook my head in disgust, walked into my room, and closed the door. I got the immediate sense that this guy either has an undiagnosed (or diagnosed) mental illness, he has a learning disability, or cut to the meth/alcohol suspicion above. Regardless, I knew this guy was going to be trouble if I didn’t settle it immediately.

I called Airbnb and advised if the host doesn’t change his tune pronto, along with deal with all the outstanding problems, I’m leaving tonight, with the expectation of a full refund. Airbnb said that his son is actually the one who runs the thing, not the host. I called the son, who seemed reasonable, noted his father has a ‘strange’ way about him (no ‘S’ Sherlock) and explained all of the above to him.

The son said he would talk with his father to set him straight, and all the issues will be addressed exactly as I advised: the temporary curtain will remain until a permanent one is installed; the host is going to ‘back off’, never enter my room for any reason, and not communicate directly with me going forward; the soap situation will be straightened out; towels will be placed in the common area, replaced daily at the guest’s discretion; the host will stop conscripting guests into ‘free help’ (ordering guests to replace bath mats, tie up trash bags and throw it out daily regardless of if trash is actually put in them, etc.).

Given how sincere the son seemed, and how he was profusely apologetic of his father’s behavior, I figured he would set the matter straight, and I agreed to stay on these conditions. I then started to take a nap, and not a few minutes into it, the host loudly stomped up the stairs, waking me up in the process, and dropped a giant plastic bin from waist high onto the floor, making a loud crashing sound.

I opened the door, and saw that the temporary curtain had been removed. I immediately called Airbnb, advised how the son said one thing, and the host is doing exactly the opposite of what was discussed. Given how Airbnb has no immediate influence or control over the host (and obviously neither does the son), I advised Airbnb I was leaving immediately to book a hotel outside of Airbnb (I tried booking an Airbnb but everything was either booked, or not ‘Instant Book’ so had to move on). I also advise the host of the same via the Airbnb platform and text message as I was leaving the premises.

Once settled in at the hotel, I attempted to request a refund from the host directly. Here are the points made to the host verbatim, and the host’s one-star, reality-denying, insult-the-guest’s-intelligence responses:

Me: No concerns were addressed with my discussion with the son in any way.

Host: This is not accurate. My son spoke to you for 10-15 minutes and all concerns were addressed.

Me: I walked in and the room smelled like vinegar.

Host: We use all natural cleaning products, that may be what you smelled.

Me: The air conditioner was filthy and caked with dirt.

Host: You did not discuss this at any time during your reservation, nor did you mention this on the call with my son. I would have been happy to come take a look. Please send photo documentation of this so I can see where the problem lies as I’ve cleaned that before.

Me: The shower had no soap.

Host: The shower soap is clear, so it makes the dispenser look empty. I did take a [SIC].

Me: The host is overbearing, maniac, and doesn’t understand basic human interaction.

Host: We’ve had a lot of great reviews and guest stays. We’re just trying to be good hosts here. After speaking to my son and him having thought all of your issues were resolved, you left without a word.

Me: The temporary window curtain I placed was removed by the host so neighbors could see guests naked (ridiculous).

Host: Again, we’ve had a lot of guests, none of whom before you have complained about the window. Besides the fact that I’m sure the neighbors have no interest in seeing you naked, I’ve already ordered some window fogger to make future guests more comfortable.

Me: The host refused to put towels in the common area.

Host: In our house rules we ask that guests do not leave belongings in the common area. It is a hazard and can cause an accident. You were asked to leave your towel in your room.

Me: I left shortly after my arrival due to the above.

Host: You did not leave shortly after your arrival. You were here until late evening, and even showered/bathed in the house. For a one-night reservation you did check-in, use the bed, use the room, etc.

The bottom line is the host treats people how a librarian on a power trip would treat guests: rudely, with contempt, heavy handed, and ‘doubling down on wrong’ at every turn. Airbnb gave me a full refund, and I would never do business with, let alone with Airbnb, with this guy, or his son. If you enjoy being mistreated as a guest, then please by all means, book away. Good luck to you. You will need it.

blank

Airbnb Refused Refund Despite Published Policy

blank

My husband and I booked with Airbnb to go to our annual beach vacation in Lewes, Delaware. Unfortunately, we had to cancel due to severe weather conditions that made it unsafe to travel. According to Airbnb policy, that is an “extenuating circumstance” which allowed us to receive a full refund. The Airbnb manager agreed that it was unsafe for us to travel and we were entitled to a full refund.

However, our host was completely insane. She was rude to me despite the fact that I was always polite to her. She refused to “agree” to the refund. Why she needed to agree when there is published policy is beyond me. Airbnb published the policy and its up to them to enforce that policy with their hosts whether their hosts like it or not.

We are still owed over $500. I have provided Airbnb with the detailed weather warning and report from NOAA. Their own manager agreed it was unsafe for us to travel based on the weather warning from NOAA which the manager verified. Airbnb policy states that I’m entitled to a full refund based on “extenuating circumstances” in this event. I’m still waiting.