I Lost $1500 After a Weird Airbnb Stay

I booked a few weeks at an Airbnb in Frenchs Forest, Sydney. From the start the host was plain weird: she wanted me to text if I was going to be home later than 9:00 pm, she complained if I had more than one light on in a room, she said I couldn’t use my laptop in the lounge, and she played a gong and bells in the middle of the night, waking me up. Once she did this at midnight. She even smoked right next to the bedrooms even though she advertised the place as non-smoking. To top it off, she had a three-hour raging argument with her adult children one night. I left the next morning but, as I paid in advance, only received a refund for two nights from the 25 I booked. Airbnb even had the gall to say they were kindly not charging me two extra nights. I am short $1500. There’s no way for me to post a review so that others know about it. The host is a bit weird: a few days after my stay my credit card was tapped and the only person to have the details that were used on the fraud was her. I believe she got my card details from my room.

Airbnb Host Disguised as Guest Screams

We organised a trip to Singapore to surprise a dear friend and booked an Airbnb for four people which apparently had 400 positive reviews. When we arrived, we were greeted by a friendly Filipino lady. She explained to us that there is another guest staying so we just need to keep our volume down (fair enough). The aircon was also leaking. Not long after, we heard loud noises of someone seemingly playing video games coming from the living room. We ignored that, though we were told to be respectful and keep our volume down.

While waiting for our last remaining friend to arrive, we were getting ready to head out. One of our friends then came over to the apartment to wait for us while we are getting ready. The person who was playing video games earlier started to go berserk after seeing our friend appearing in the apartment (we had booked for four but there were only three of us in the apartment at the time of our friend’s arrival). Although we tried to explain to her over and over that our friend is not staying overnight, but just here to wait for us to get ready and go out, she went ballistic and shouted: “Get out of my house! Get out now!”

We only found out she was the host after this whole incident (we always thought she was just another guest staying in the place). So the person who insisted she didn’t want any noise in her place was shouting at the top of her lungs. The nice Filipino lady was actually not the host (we suspected she was the housekeeper made to do business for her by the way the host talked to her). We didn’t want to leave before she refunded our money, but she went ahead and switched off all the electricity, wifi, and anything else that she could.  After that we were left with no place to go, in a foreign country, having to find other accommodations at 7:00 pm.

The next day we continued to receive threatening messages saying that we were disrespectful and she would pursue legal action if we posted anything online. What a wonderful first experience with Airbnb! The problem is, no one is allowed to leave any feedback before completing a stay. Very often the reviews would be skewed towards the positive. So people like us who got chased out for a small matter were unable to leave any feedback on Airbnb. Although the host cancelled our stay on the day we arrived, this was not shown on <a href=”https://www.airbnb.com.sg/rooms/3775738″>her page</a>.

Airbnb’s Model is Designed for Scammers

We booked and confirmed a two bedroom apartment in midtown Vancouver four months in advance. Everything seemed fine except the host told us she did not have “front desk” privileges and access would be via the side entrance. The host’s name was Ashleigh P. A few weeks before leaving for Vancouver, I noticed her listing had disappeared from Airbnb. I messaged her and she said she had to take it down because she was getting too many requests. She replied using the name Nicole P. One week before leaving for Vancouver I contacted Airbnb to discuss my rising doubts. I was told there was no need to worry. They were confident everything was above board. Why were they so dismissive?

Five days before arriving I got a message reminding me she had no “contract” with the management at her condo for concierge services so she would meet me personally to let me in and show me around. At 8:30 AM on the morning of the booking I was boarding a plane to fly to Vancouver and I got a text saying to meet her at a different address in Vancouver. I called Nicole/Ashleigh and she told me she could not provide the apartment to which she agreed as her access pass had been blocked but she moved us to a one bedroom in a different area of town. She was not prepared to explain or “argue with you about this.” The booking had been changed and she had no obligation to do more.

What transpired was that she had been subletting an apartment illegally in a building and the owner/building management found out and blocked her access. She had been doing it successfully for some time and had good reviews but now had been caught and barred. Obviously, the assurance she had given Airbnb was false. When I raised this with Airbnb they said: “We have hundreds of thousands of hosts. We can’t verify all their claims.” Airbnb cancelled the booking and helped us find another that we had to accept with just four hours’ notice. It was a long bus ride out of town and the unit was on a very busy highway. Our holiday was completely ruined.

What is my complaint? Airbnb said Nicole told them she had a last minute hiccup and they accepted her excuse. They agreed it was unacceptable but they had absolutely no plan to do anything other than help me find an alternative accommodation; after all, she was a successful host (i.e. she made big money for Airbnb). I was told this really did not happen often and I was unlucky. I was told four times that Airbnb took great care to look after their customers and that my experience was unusual. The bottom line is that Airbnb will keep Nicole/Ashleigh. She is a valuable source of income to them. They understand what has happened but if she tells them she is okay to offer an apartment then they will take her word for it. Airbnb’s model is set up to facilitate scamming and they know that, believing they can “manage” victims when they inevitably emerge. It’s a “let the buyer beware” portal. So beware.

Crazy Host POUNDS on the Door for a Simple Message

Airbnb sent me a review reminder stating clearly that I had through September 9th to post it; I tried to do so and the website wouldn’t let me post a review. When I spoke to customer service on the phone the agent said that there is absolutely nothing they can do to help: the company’s program code is the code; this is just the way it is and there’s nothing anyone can do to change anything in it (and it was more than clear none of them care to, no matter what problems it results in). The email reminder I received gave the wrong information, since in reality, customers only have 14 days on the clock to submit reviews, starting from some nebulous time of day that was never made clear to me throughout the entire 24-minute conversation. In short, their website actually shut off the possibility to post my review sometime part way through the 9th. When I said that sending emails with dated statements like the one I got is plain misleading, the agent repeatedly weaseled out of agreeing and kept either referring to the company’s terms of service – which according to him mean we agreed to everything and anything the company does – or saying the meaningless phrase “I respect your opinion” and nothing else, in an annoyed tone that made it more than clear that he absolutely does not.

There isn’t even any option to file complaints at this company; they only “take suggestions.” You can probably guess how likely I think it is that they ever do anything about any of these suggestions. In short, sometime back in the dark ages they had programmers do the original code on their website, and ever since then everything is set in stone. They just don’t feel like paying anyone to do any additional work to fix anything, and never will.

Why do I want to post this review so much? I had a hellish experience that ruined nearly my entire vacation, and I wanted to warn other users from suffering the same fate. It was so bad that I needed a lengthy mental break after this so-called vacation and didn’t feel emotionally ready to compose my review and go over the whole traumatic experience again until the last day – what should have been the last day I could post it where it rightfully belongs, on that host’s listing.

Below is the original review I was going to post with a 1-star rating. However, I’d like to add something here I didn’t write in the original review because it seemed almost too crazy to be believable, given that this host (somehow) has a very high rating on Airbnb. About a day before I was scheduled to leave the place, the host came up and suddenly started pounding on the suite’s door, shaking the wall so strongly that I thought she must have been using a bat or a brick. As I was in the bathroom at the time, I was unable to come to the door for 4-5 minutes. She kept pounding on the door nonstop the entire time, so violently I was certain she was going to break it down; it seemed she really intended to do so. The noise and duration of it, even through my earplugs, was sheerly unbelievable. The experience for me was like unexpectedly finding myself in a scene from a movie when police are trying to break down a reinforced door. Just about the last thing you want or expect to experience on any vacation. I thought for certain there must, surely, be some terrible emergency going on to justify her doing something so unprofessional and frightening to a paying guest.

When I answered the door (as soon as I humanly could and wearing only a towel), I was first shocked that the woman turned out to not be holding some sort of blunt object with which she’d been performing that violent pounding, and secondly that her hands were not bleeding from it. I asked her if there was some kind of emergency. She said “no,” with an oddly matter-of-fact tone and facial expression of the kind you’d expect to get from a neighbor who’s politely asking to borrow a cup of sugar after having daintily and briefly knocked on your front door – as if what she just did was absolutely normal and she does it all the time. She claimed she was only “concerned” that I hadn’t answered her numerous calls, texts and emails. She didn’t apologize for the insane pounding or seem to realize that she’d just done anything odd.

It became clear during the following conversation that this entire scary episode was only because she wanted to know exactly when I was leaving; she wanted me to clear out as early as possible the next day so she could have time to bring in cleaners before the next guest showed up. She told me that the check out time was 11:00 and I should leave by then, even though her listing clearly states that it’s 12:00. Apparently it was my problem that she had back-to-back guests and scheduling difficulties. The weirdness and unprofessionalism was plain astonishing given the very large number of years she’d been renting out the place, and just how much money I’d paid for this rental in a private residence. She sent a terribly phony sounding apology a full two days after the incident (half blaming me for not answering her mountain of calls and messages on my vacation), clearly because she was wary of a very justifiable negative review or even a complaint to the website.

This incident was just the icing on top of an entire cake of unpleasant things that filled my stay at this place. The original review:

Well, it is a beautiful house, and it is actually within close walking distance of Middlebury town center, the university, etc. (unlike many other Airbnb offers in the area that claim to be close and turn out to be miles away.) & the 2-room suite looks nice. The bathroom also looks nice but certainly not close to hotel standards, as some of the plumbing is noticeably old: the toilet has to be flushed multiple times. Shampoo, conditioner & bodywash are provided, but the towels are the most harshly starched, wooden pieces of fabric I’ve ever touched anywhere – bringing your own is a must. More significantly, if you’re looking for a restful vacation, you’re highly unlikely to get it staying here: – The bedroom has no blackout curtains like in hotels and the windows face east: in summer that means you get to wake up around 5:30 am and be tired all day, every day. – The house is on a heavily used road and traffic starts up early: heavy, noisy trucks and the like drive by all day. – There are frequent emergency sirens heard as well – surprise: the place is near a police station. – There’s a very active business running in this house: employees and customers are in and out all day during the week, including on the 2nd floor right next to the guest suite; the acoustics and creaky wood floors of the house mean that you get to hear non-stop noise anytime you’re there morning to evening.

After I left I discovered a small mountain of emails, calls and texts – some sent before 6:00 AM; I’m glad I had my cell silenced – that the host sent me during the last two days of my stay, most of them desperately wanting to know when exactly I was leaving (apparently they’re not even aware of their own listed check-out time). I didn’t see these at the time as I don’t check my phone or email while I’m on vacation – being as it is, in fact, vacation. But you can judge for yourself how pleasant that kind of thing will be when you’re meant to be resting and relaxing on your rare time off. I would have thought that a note under the door would have sufficed for any urgent communication – like they do in hotels – and been more sensible and professional.

Crazy Airbnb Host in Bologna Keeps Calling

Recently my boyfriend and I stayed in an apartment in Bologna, Italy. We had a rather unfortunate start with poor communication from the host about arrival times and confusion about who would be greeting us, leaving us stranded outside the apartment block for over an hour in 34-degree Italian heat with no water, no access to a toilet, and no contact from our host in response to our phone calls and messages. The stay itself was relatively good once housekeeping had let us into the property, though we had some slight issues with the area around the apartment being quite dodgy; this left me in particular feeling quite unsafe.

We returned home yesterday and I wrote a review about my experience. This afternoon my boyfriend received a missed call from our host. Confused by this, I emailed the host asking why he had been calling my boyfriend from Italy. At around 10:00 PM English time I received a barrage of messages from my host, whereby he advised he was calling to “thank us” for the bad review and continued to shout at me about my review, how he felt it was not accurate. When I tried to explain I felt I wrote a fair assessment of the situation that happened he then called me a “ugly little princess” and told me to “stay away from my balls.” He stated that I was not attractive to him and never will be and he has better things to do with his time than talk to me… when he took the initiative and went to the effort of contacting me from the start.

I have since had to contact Airbnb to ask them to intervene as the correspondence is becoming prolonged and making me feel uncomfortable. They say they will investigate. However, I don’t have high hopes after a brief dalliance with their customer service department while staying in a moldy apartment in Tokyo; at that time, they essentially told me that the host had such amazing reviews they felt my opinion went against this and they didn’t personally agree. Even though I had photographic proof of the endless black hairs in the bed and the mold in the bathroom.

Unstable Host and Airbnb Turned my Vacation into Hell

My first and last experience with Airbnb pointed out a fundamental flaw in their business model: hotel, motel and even most B&B operators are professionals; Airbnb hosts are amateurs. Because of that, they may not understand they are in the hospitality business, and Airbnb guests can be the unfortunate guinea pigs. As soon as our family arrived at our condo, our host came around and seemed to be spying on us. That evening she chased down a group of us out for a stroll; she asked them how many were staying at the condo told them she suspected more were staying there than she permitted. Later that night she pounded on the door and loudly proclaimed the same accusation. We explained that we had only six staying there (the two-bedroom unit was advertised to sleep six) and two people visiting who were staying elsewhere. She demanded we leave. When we refused, she picked up her phone and dialed 911, claiming she was the victim of assault! When asked if she had been physically assaulted, she replied “no, but I have been verbally assaulted.” When that apparently didn’t impress the operator, she claimed she had “nine drunk tenants and I want them out.”

We told her if she wanted in the unit she would need a warrant. Eventually the police arrived, and she demanded through texting that we come out and meet with the officer. When we didn’t respond, she called Airbnb. To my shock, Airbnb texted me that they had a serious complaint against me and that they had cancelled the reservation and ruled that a refund was not permitted! The next morning, this obviously emotionally unstable host opened the front door and pounded on the wall, shouting: “Your reservation has been cancelled and you need to leave!” We knew she had no legal right to evict us, so we stayed; however, the stress ruined our vacation. And the fact that Airbnb supported her madness only added to the nightmare. Beware of Airbnb… you will be subject to the whims of your host and the company will not have your back!

Airbnb Theft: Montreal Penthouse Hell

Guests beware: you are not protected by Airbnb if your host enters unannounced and without consent. I had the left the residence for a few hours only to return to find out the host had entered the property while we were away and had gone through our belongings and left a visibly noticeable mess. My first reaction was to take photos of everything, email Airbnb and then text our host to notify him of what we had occurred. The reaction from our host was blasé; he had forgotten some of his belongings and was in a hurry so he came back to his apartment to find them. After confronting him about why this was unacceptable, he tried to justify his actions by telling us that he also came home to give us quilts…. the weather for that scorching July summer day was 33 degrees Celsius without considering the humidity and the lack of any central air conditioning.

We were robbed of our money and a few pairs of ladies underwear according to my female friend. What did Airbnb do? Nothing! I consider myself to be fairly progressive with my use of user driven business applications such as Uber, eBay, and Stubhub, and for the most part have had extremely positive experiences. However, in the rare case when I, the consumer, have needed assistance to protect my well being, they have always been incredibly responsive and empathetic to my customer experience. I have yet to hear from Airbnb, and its been three weeks and counting.

Airbnb Hell-sinki Apartment Nightmare

In early June 2016 we chose a apartment in Helsinki for three months and I decided to rent in the Hagaa Area (pictured). Normally, this would come to €130 but because it was a long term arrangement the host offered a discount of €100 and told me she couldn’t make this deal through Airbnb; I should pay cash at arrival. Usually apartments in this area rent at about €1,000 a month: they’re very old and under renovation. Some people even block the entrance; my kids had to leave by the emergency exit, which was surrounded by dangerous equipment and tools.

Anyway, I had to pay €3000 a month plus a €70 cleaning fee. When we arrived, the host told us the renovation had been finished and they would clean up the stairs soon. However, the next day we realized the real situation and complained. The host told us she didn’t know anything about it but cut off the electricity and water for many days following our arrival. When we checked out, she sent us a list of damages and quoted us €1,200 for a small kitchen table and €240 for a cleaning service… I had thoroughly cleaned the apartment before we left. Now she’s threatening to report us to the police and slandering us by saying that I committed a crime by damaging the kitchen table. Be careful from whom you choose to rent. You never know what will happen to you.

Airbnb Nightmare in Santa Margherita, Italy

My daughter and I were traveling in Italy and we decided to spend our last ten days on the Italian Riviera. We found an apartment in Santa Margherita that seemed to suit our needs: walking distance to town, two bedrooms, nice views. Our host, Angela, was super sweet in her responses to me prior to booking, confirming that she has wifi (very important to both of us) and the town was within walking distance. She said her English was not great but she communicated very well prior to booking. After booking, I had to ask her for the address, twice, as it was not given to me through our Airbnb booking. She also told me to converse with her son via WhatsApp instead of with her through Airbnb messaging. I told her that I do not have WhatsApp and would continue to contact her through Airbnb.

Incidentally, my daughter was sick so I was anxious to get to the apartment and get her in bed. When we got to Santa Margherita after a long train ride (without wifi), I found a message from Angela saying that we needed to copy our passports before she would allow her cleaning person to let us in to the apartment. I asked her where we could have that done (at 4 pm). The only information she would give us was to ask around a certain piazza in town… which we did – two places – and were told that there were no shops that had copying services. So we asked Angela if she would please at least let us drop off our luggage before we continued to look for a copy place and to please give us an actual address of a copy place (nowhere on her Airbnb page did it say that we had to copy our passports). My daughter and I had to keep going to the harbor to get free wifi to contact her.

This was Angela’s reply:

“Sandy, I’m telling You the way to reach the House, not going around the city. Piazza caprera, via palestro, piazza mazzini, via belvedere. from Piazza caprera to Piazza mazzini there are shops for the copy. You had to ask , no sing out of door. I’m sorry for Your daughter but I give You phone of my son , he speaks well , Why you haven’ call him? Why You havent’ call taxi? with heavy luggages and daugther not in well? I in Liguria the streets are steep, no good for person not in well and heavy luggages. Yesterday i give You a lot of facilities, but you wat speak only with airbnb airbn site!!! I you want to help must help!!! In my ad I specified that it was necessary passport copy ’cause you did not before ? I suggested You different formulas but you refused, how may can help You if you don’t want?”

Anyway, my daughter and I went to the apartment, which was up an extremely steep hill (not advertised). Angela’s housekeeper met us, at which point I started to cry as my daughter was so sick. The sweet housekeeper asked me for five euros and went into town to copy our passports but asked us not to let Angela know that she had let us in. The apartment was disgusting. The “views” were of a parking lot and a construction site. There was white powder all over the tile floors; we assumed it was for ants, which were everywhere. The TV didn’t work (no biggie), the shower didn’t work (could only take baths), the beds were horribly uncomfortable, the apartment above was under being renovated so we heard nothing but saws, and we could only get one of the burners on the stove to work, which was enough to make my daughter tea (but there was no teapot).

Once the housekeeper returned, I went back into town to use the free wifi and asked Angela four times for her wifi address and password. No response. So, I contacted Airbnb. No response. The next morning, I got a message from Angela saying that we had to go into town and PURCHASE wifi! Airbnb finally wrote back saying that it looked like my problem was solved because Angela responded. I wrote back saying that we were in an Airbnb nightmare. Airbnb called me. Mick, in Ireland, took our case and told me that he was stopping payment to Angela. I told him, in that case, we needed to pack our belongings as her correspondence to me was so mean (I have many examples) that she would probably confiscate our belongings. So, my ill child did just that and went back into town. However, Mick never loaded the right page to my Airbnb conflict page so I was unable to upload pics of the dirt, the broken window, and the things that weren’t working. I was sobbing.

Finally, I called, again, and got Brittaney in Denver, who loaded the correct page. Once she had our pics, she helped us find another apartment in the next town, Rapallo, with our host, Luca, who was such a sweetheart. And we loved his apartment. He met us, didn’t speak English but had a friend on his phone who acted as our interpreter, brought us espresso pods, milk, bottled water, and croissants (none of which Angela provided). Luca, alone, restored our faith in Airbnb. However, Angela then tried to get 1500 euros from us, although our total fee for our stay at her place was a little over 900 euros. It took two weeks but Airbnb finally closed the dispute – my guess is because she never proved damages – which, of course, there were none. I know that this site said it doesn’t want too many curse words but — Angela, you’re an asshole and shouldn’t be a host! I purposely left out that I am an Airbnb super host: five stars, with 80 ratings. This type of host ruins things for the rest of us. Angela still has her listing and no one looking at her listing will ever know of my nightmare experience, unless they happen to look here. Thanks for letting me vent.

Death Threats from Airbnb Host in Caribbean

A year ago, my girlfriend got me a birthday gift: a trip to a Caribbean island! However, we had to cancel at the last minute due to our Airbnb host sending us crazy private messages before we got a chance to get to the place where we wanted to go. We filed an appeal with Airbnb to get the refund then the host went completely insane on us: death threats, stalking, criminal harassment. We filed a police report and they could not do anything of course… Airbnb sided with their host, would not let us post a review, suspended the account, and covered up their mess as best they could after we provided a copy of the police report as well as all the creepy and harassing messages and death threats. We have shared our story with over a hundred people and they were completely freaked out and said they would never support Airbnb for covering up criminal activity. They are a joke and it is only a matter of time before people start dying then they might consider a screening and application process for hosts…. but I doubt it…