Moldy, Faulty Wiring, Broken Windows, Next to a Prison….

Dangerous safety and health issues, among many other problems, prompted us to leave our Airbnb in Buena Vista, Colorado after one terrible night. We have stayed in comparably priced facilities in Colorado and have never encountered anything even remotely this bad. Good luck getting any money back. We aren’t the only ones to have problems with this property either.

1. The house smelled moldy, especially in the downstairs bedrooms. In the kitchen trash were the lids from two “Damp Rid Odor Genie” units which confirmed that the place had moisture and odor problems. We both had runny noses for the remainder of our trip.

2. The smoke alarm was in pieces on a shelf. In a house with iffy wiring (#3) that was of particular concern.

3. When I plugged in my phone charger in I found another plug in the socket, connected to an extension cord-type wire that ran outside through a hole drilled in the window frame. In the kitchen there was another jerry-rigged extension cord for a light fixture, with a broken in-line switch. Upstairs there was a light over the bathroom sink similarly jerry-rigged. It did not work at all.

4. During the night I got up to close the window, which was open when we got there. It would not work. The next day I saw that the closing mechanism was not connected to the window itself. When we left the next day we closed it and another window by going outside and pushing them shut.

5. In one bedroom there was a large hole in the floor that had various odds and ends stashed in it.

6. That bedroom contained a laundry machine which still had wet items inside from the previous occupants.

7. The kiva fireplace was blocked by a large TV set.

8. The wifi worked properly only in the kitchen.

9. Both bathrooms had problems. The tub downstairs was very slick, the cold water control hard to shut off, and the toilet seat was terribly discolored. The upstairs shower had the hot and cold controls reversed. When we hung a towel on the hook by the shower the hook came out of the wall.

10. The front door lock and deadbolt were hard to operate, somewhat of a concern given the men’s state prison a short walk from the house.

11. The sorely needed “warning tape” on the many interior steps was worn off in places.

We have photos to document the above. Per this KKTV report the owner does not like negative reviews, which is the only leverage customers have. In short, stay away.

Airbnb Host Locked Women out of Granada Apartment

My daughter just made an emergency call to us from Granada, Spain. She and her friend have a room in an Airbnb apartment, and went out for the evening. They came back about 3:00 AM and the host (a woman) would not let them in. They have been outside for hours, and called the police, the American Embassy, and Airbnb, and no one would help them. These are two young girls (about 22) who have recently graduated from college. Their passports are in the apartment, so they cannot get a hotel room or anyplace else, until they get their passports. This woman is horrible. They know she is doing this on purpose – this is a horrible and scary situation. Their bags and all IDs are inside this woman’s apartment. Airbnb won’t do anything. They should not have such despicable people as hosts that would abuse their guests… Airbnb has put my daughter and her friend in an unsafe and scary situation.

Mykonos Villa Robbed, But Airbnb Nightmare Did Not End

My objective here is to raise awareness about how unsafe any vacation rental can be if you don’t ask the right questions early enough in the process. This is especially true if the owner has not taken even basic security measures, which Airbnb either does not require or does not concern themselves with. It is your responsibility as guests to ask.

This was our first and last Airbnb experience. Airbnb allowed us to walk straight into a mine field. Airbnb did not respond to our emails for help for 11 days. When they did, it was a form email requesting that we (1) get a police report; (2) document what was stolen; (3) prove our ownership of those items. For parents, if your children are the “guests” and you are not travelling with them, then a little forethought about what to do if trouble occurs would be good planning. If you are still going to use Airbnb, here are the top ten questions we did not ask but should have:

1. Is the villa an actual home or an investment rental property overseen by a management company?

2. Where does the villa owner reside? Are they in the country? What will be their physical proximity to the villa while you are renting?

3. Does the villa have a security system? Does it work? Are there instructions for use in the event one exists?

4. Is there a home safe in the villa? Is it operational?

5. Does the villa have external lighting or motion detectors?

6. Who has keys to the villa other than the owner? Have any keys been given to maintenance personnel or former contractors? Are all owner’s keys accounted for?

7. What is Airbnb’s policy for refunds for robberies/evacuation? While their refund terms and conditions state that you must report any dissatisfaction within 24 hours of arrival, why did Airbnb pay the owner when a complaint was already sent via email within 12 hours of our arrival? By the way: no one answers a phone at Airbnb. Do they even have customer support? Who takes priority, guests or owners, or neither?

8. What is Airbnb’s advertised response time to a serious matter such as a robbery? We arrived at the villa at 5:00 PM local time June 7th; the robbery was reported to them June 8th at 5:00 AM local/10:00 PM PST June 7th. We received an email response June 18th.

9. Does Airbnb know that their online availability calendars are excellent for determining when units are occupied and precise arrival dates? I’m guessing the best day for a robbery is the first night.

10. Does Airbnb know that their interior and exterior photographs are useful for would-be robbers to study floor plans and access points?

We were robbed on our first night in an Airbnb at 4:00 AM. We interrupted the thief (in a ski mask) in the third bedroom after he had already ransacked the first two (all the bedrooms were occupied). We chased him out of the house. The adjoining villa was also robbed where the thief knew exactly how to enter (broken door that was not obvious to guests) and had a key to our villa (from a former contractor). Thief took mostly cash.

The real terror occurred when the thief returned later that same day in broad daylight. The adjoining villa guest engaged him (slashed his tires, etc.). In retaliation, the thief called “friends” and within minutes a half dozen of his buddies arrived. Outnumbered and seeing no positive outcome, we reached out to local friends who found us another accommodation.

Robberies are not uncommon on Mykonos; it is a high-end island, with lots of private expensive villas and plenty of opportunities to steal. The police are not equipped to deal with the massive influx of people during high season; when they finally arrived at the behest of the villa owner’s management company we had alerted, they arrested the thief for drug possession. No cash or possessions were recovered. Knowing his “buddies” were still on the loose, not knowing his intent for returning, and knowing he had a key, we could not stay.

Sound security measures are available on Mykonos for those owners using common sense. At our next villa we found: external cameras throughout the property; external lighting and motion detectors; management residing across the street who lives on the island; home safes in villa that were functioning. These are basic security measures. The Greek people who helped us at the next villa were extraordinary. They too were upset that guests on their beautiful island were victimized. They value having guests and depend on tourism for their livelihood.

What is Airbnb’s responsibility? Is security ever mentioned in an Airbnb listing? Do they deliberately avoid the topic? It’s probably not good for business. Airbnb leaves it to you to address the security/safety topic. If you arrive at a villa and see that basic securities measures are lacking, it is not grounds for a refund. It should be. In one respect we were lucky: the owner was so appalled by our experience she refunded our payment directly to us that day. Ironically, the owner was afraid Airbnb would not be forthcoming or helpful. Mykonos is an amazing island, but you must use common sense and take responsibility for your own safety if you are using Airbnb. At every other accommodation we did not book through Airbnb (Santorini, Kefalonia, Zakynthos) we found all the standard security measures one would expect to find in a high-end property. Shame on Airbnb.

Unsafe and Dirty Apartment in London, Still no Refund

Last month, my boyfriend and I booked an Airbnb in the Shoreditch neighborhood of London for three nights. The experience was unpleasant from the beginning. We picked up the keys from a coffee shop and the baristas were short with us and unfriendly. We then entered the apartment, which was advertised as a studio, but was completely misrepresented. The apartment did not have the amenities of a studio (it was nine square meters in total with only a microwave and small fridge, making it technically count as a studio). It was dirty, and had towels left in it that were already used and falling apart. The worst part was that the apartment was completely unsafe.

When I say unsafe, I mean that when we entered, the front doors to the apartment had been left wide open. It was easy for anyone to walk directly into this apartment building, go upstairs, and break into the rooms. The front doors were left open every single time that we entered and exited the apartment building. Our personal apartment door did not have a lock on it that was very secure, so we were completely vulnerable to any intrusion. It had the lock of a bedroom door, and a dent in the wall seemed to indicate that it had already been easily kicked in in the past.

We decided to call Airbnb customer service. Our customer service representative took down all of the information and ensured us that safety is the number one priority of Airbnb. We had to wait on the phone for 40 minutes (and this was an international call since we were not calling from our home country) and then explained the situation and how we felt extremely unsafe in the apartment for another 30 minutes. She told us to take videos of all of the extreme noise, dirtiness, and the unsafe and opened doors so that we could send them to her later. She also said that she would call us back within five minutes so that we could proceed with the case by sending all of these videos, and that most likely Airbnb would change our apartment for us that night.

The problem is that we never received a call back from Airbnb, and after a horrible night of sleep (the bed was caving in, there was noise directly outside the door, and someone even banged on the door in the middle of the night) we decided to check out in the morning. I am still shocked that there was absolutely no response from Airbnb when we had stated that we were experiencing huge safety issues. We tried to explain the situation to the host, but she was just rude and told us to deal directly with Airbnb, as the person kicking in the door was probably just drunk (this was clearly because this apartment scam has probably been going on for a while).

I had to look for another nearby hotel and spend extra money just so that we could sleep in a safe place, with no guarantee of a refund and no response from Airbnb at this point. When I arrived back home, I again called Airbnb and sent all of our receipts from the new hotel, all of our information (the videos I took, the photos, and the communications we had with the host and Airbnb), and spent approximately ten hours of my time going back and forth explaining this situation and sending all of my documented information. It is clear that we deserved a full refund, and even something extra, considering all of our time spent documenting, talking on the phone, and sending details over emails. It is clear that this shouldn’t even be a question as we were left with no response in an unsafe apartment.

However, first Airbnb offered us no refund (even though over a phone call, which customer service said had been recorded, they agreed that we should have a refund). After I insisted to have a second and third opinion on the case, we were offered only a one-night refund and a $100 Airbnb credit. This is the worst example of customer service I have experienced in my life. Our main contact told me over and over again that she had no decision making power over our case and that I was not able to speak with someone with decision making power. As stated before, she even agreed that we deserved a refund, but she was not the one deciding. How can it be explained that I could not even speak with an official decision maker?

It seemed like I spent hours playing a cat and mouse chase with no real winner and no clear answers. Why were we never given an explanation of how this refund was calculated? Customer service told me that we met all of the requisites for a refund, however in the end this randomized refund was offered to us with no real explanation of how it was calculated. It is clear that it is just in their interest to give no refunds to customers, as I had to even insist to get this partial refund; their first offer was no refund for no valid reason. I asked in various emails how this was calculated with no response.

I was also even told at one point that only my boyfriend could be in contact with Airbnb since the reservation was made on his account. So are only the guests that make the reservation valid guests? Do they discount all other members of the reservation in times of disagreement? This was also clearly a way of just trying to not deal with me, as I am a native English speaker and my boyfriend is Italian, so of course it was easier for me to be the one to explain this situation in my native tongue. I found this response one that just tried to avoid dealing with my level of discontent as no real answers could be provided.

This offer of a partial refund took almost a month to resolve. This is extremely slow, and as of today it still is not even listed as refunded in my boyfriend’s account. How can they explain that a company that is supposed to be prided on efficient service takes so long to answer a customer service query? I have never experienced such a terrible example of a company solely asserting their market power without caring at all about their customers’ experience. Clearly I won’t be using their services again and hope that this example makes others think twice before paying them for a service without any guarantee of true care for their customers.

Stranger came to my door but I’m not on Airbnb

I am not a host or a guest. A week ago Friday we had a lady show up at our home saying she booked our property and wanted to get into our home. After a lengthy discussion with this lady, we looked at the Airbnb listing and it was indeed my address. However, nothing matched my home’s description. There were lots of misspelled words, and the “host” spoke about Satan. The whole post was a sham. We both contacted Airbnb several times to take down the post. We explained to them how it’s a safety issue and eventually someone will come knocking that paid for the house and wants in and won’t be as nice as this lady was. Airbnb has not given this guest her money back, nor have they taken down the fake listing. I’ve made several phone calls within a week to this place, as well as emailing and calling them out on Facebook. Nothing is being done. This is so ridiculous that I have to check online everyday to see if my home has been booked and if an unwanted person will be arriving. Why can’t they just take it down?

Airbnb Fail, Kicked out of Barcelona Flat

On May 24th, I stayed for one night at a flat in Barcelona, and it was an absolute disaster. That night, things were very loud. Despite going to bed at 10:30 PM I wasn’t able to fall asleep until 3:30 AM when the party outside my window finally died down. These conditions were not conveyed to me ahead of time. I calmly approached my host about this the next morning at 8:40 AM. Rather than trying to resolve or talk through the issue, she canceled my reservation and demanded I leave the flat by 12:00 PM. I received a refund at 9:30 AM after which I frantically tried to contact Airbnb for support while I searched the website for alternatives. I couldn’t get ahold of anyone from their support team, and the website yielded “zero available rentals during my preferred time frame.”

By 9:40 AM, my host became hostile. By 9:55 AM, she was back at the flat demanding I leave immediately. She threatened me by saying: “We can do this the easy way or the hard way. Don’t make me call someone to remove you.” I tried to reason with her; I was afraid and alone, and I felt it best that I leave immediately. I hailed a taxi to a nearby hotel where I shelled out 500 euros per night for the remainder of my trip (2500 euros total). This was five times what I had budgeted for the trip – the host’s flat was only 80 euros/night. Seven days later, I still have not heard back from Airbnb support on this issue, despite sending the desperate email attached. I am massively disappointed with their vetting process for hosts, and for their lack of customer support in resolving the issue and making me feel like a valued customer. I have three upcoming trips planned with Airbnb over the next six weeks, and I’m tempted to cancel them all.

Extremist Political Signs at Airbnb in Bozeman

I booked a stay in Bozeman, Montana with what turned out to be an unusual host named Stacey. When I showed up at the place, I noticed there were extremist political signs all over the front yard and in the windows. Venturing inside, I found much more. I texted her that her place was just too weird for me. She would not provide a refund. She seemed a little strange, so I expected that. What I didn’t expect was the runaround and no support from Airbnb. I did not feel safe at this host’s house, I spent no more than five minutes there, and Airbnb would not refund anything. To add insult to injury, they wasted a huge amount of my time on numerous emails back and forth for nothing. They would not even allow me to post a bad review on this crazy host’s listing to warn others about her. Airbnb Hell, please take my $5 donation to fight Airbnb.

Driveway from Airbnb Hell in Montacino Italy

We booked a house in Tuscany through Airbnb last week. Unfortunately, we couldn’t even check in because the driveway road (a treacherous footpath) was so dangerous we were afraid we would destroy our rental car or get into an accident. This left us stranded at 1:00 AM, forcing us to find a random hotel 30 minutes away after driving for nearly three hours. We called Airbnb Customer Service immediately to file the report and even spent part of the next day capturing pictures of the road on foot. Despite all of this, Airbnb refuses to refund us, won’t reopen our claim, and wouldn’t even let me speak to a supervisor. I was a loyal Airbnb customer for four years but I will never use them again. Never.

Terrible Experience with Airbnb: Homeless Night in Tokyo

We had a very terrible experience when traveling with Airbnb in Japan. My wife and I booked a room on Airbnb in Tokyo. Unfortunately, we encountered a very rude and aggressive host. His room was very dirty, and lacked essentials. We tried to contact the host, and hoped he could do something to resolve the problem. The host said: “How much did you pay? Just 3000 yen. You want 30000 yen worth of service? That’s impossible.”

Even worse, the host became very aggressive, trying to force us to move out of his room at midnight after he knew we reported the problems to Airbnb: “If you think my room has problems, I don’t think you should stay there tonight. Move out… You’re staying in my room, right? Well, I have the right to refuse your stay. Are we clear?”

We felt very scared because we did not know what this aggressive host would do. We had no choice but to leave that room as soon as possible. We tried to contact Airbnb but no one came to help us. There was only a phone number. What was worse, we were not able to contact Airbnb using this number but had to wait until Airbnb called us back. After more than an hour, there was still no solution from Airbnb. They just asked us to wait until the next day to contact the host for a resolution.

We felt so scared and hopeless that we had to move out of that room. We walked around the streets all night, feeling cold and hopeless, with no solution coming from Airbnb. What else could we do but wait for Airbnb’s call? Around 7:00 AM the next day, we finally received a call back from Airbnb. The agent asked us to find another room on Airbnb, and promised this problem would be resolved by 11:00 AM. However, we did not get any call or email by 11:00 AM. After a long night, we felt very exhausted and sleepy. We did not have any energy to wait for Airbnb’s solution. We were exhausted dealing with Airbnb, so we found one of the cheapest hotels in Tokyo and booked a room.

The email from Airbnb arrived at around 2:00 PM, but there was nothing meaningful:

“How are you? This is XXX, one of the Case Managers, and XXX’s colleague. My sincere apologies for what happened. I can only imagine your frustration about it. My colleague XXX will be in touch with you in regards to the refund/compensation request.”

Around 11:40 PM, we got Airbnb’s email and agent XXX told us our payment had been refunded. That was it. No compensation at all. We tried to contact him about the hotel bills and our homeless night. Airbnb closed my case again and again. We just wanted to share this story with someone who has used or will travel using Airbnb. It is really a huge risk traveling with Airbnb when you encounter the kind of host I mentioned. Airbnb can’t do anything for you. Nobody comes, there is no solution, and there’s no compensation even you are in danger. You have to wait for their call or email during their business hours. We wondered what the service fee charged by Airbnb is used for, as there’s no supervision of the host, and customer service did nothing helpful.

Today, the Airbnb agent’s attitude made us very mad. We never saw a big company bully their customers like Airbnb. What Airbnb promised was nothing; they could go back on their word whenever they wanted. Their arrogant attitude left us no choice but to share our story with the public. We are puny to Airbnb but we believe there are some people who have experienced the same situation as us.

Dirty and Unsafe Airbnb for Vacation in California

This was my first trip to California. I have wanted to visit since I was a child, so for over 40 years. Now with the whole family – my wife and three teen daughters – it was about to come true. I was initially going to use VRBO which I have used with great success in the past but found what I thought was a great deal on Airbnb. Since I heard all the buzz about Airbnb, I thought I would give it a shot. What could the risk be with Airbnb behind me? Ha ha…

The fact that the apartment was in Downtown LA was some concern to me but not having been to California and in the excitement of the moment, I neglected to research just how much traffic there really is in the area; I will accept responsibility for that. Prior to booking I did repeatedly ask the host about the safety of the apartment and the surrounding area and was met with the response: “It will fit you perfectly.” Upon arrival, the initial impression of the complex was acceptable with a nice looking pool, architecture and grounds. However, once we began the ascent into the facility I began to have that sickening feeling when something just isn’t right. Musty odors and the smell of drugs were present as we walked the halls to the apartment. Once we entered I immediately tried to remain calm,though I was not pleased with the condition of the beige carpet, paint peeling off the walls, and a refrigerator containing old food.

Needless to say, below is what I wrote to our host and a representative after I decided to leave the following day. Yes, we stayed the first night as we were all exhausted after the seven-hour flight and fighting traffic to the apartment.

Hello Mike,

After some careful deliberation, we have decided not to stay in your rental due to the reasons listed below. As a result I would appreciate a refund for the balance of the days we will not be staying as even a cleaning will not make up for the fact that my daughters are uncomfortable with the environment and I don’t wish to subject them to the marijuana odors that waft through the halls or patio doors. I would appreciate your cooperation and will leave the keys with the concierge.

– Dirty, not cleaned well or recently

– Carpets are dark with dirt blotches and contained some sticky substances. I was afraid to remove my shoes.

– Old food in refrigerator and cupboards

– Smells of pot were frequent and loud neighbors stomping and slamming doors

– Unsafe surroundings not as described. My daughters were harassed outside the apartment even by pool area

– Sirens going several times throughout the night

– Dining seats are all stained, not appealing to enjoy a meal

– Food spillage down the kitchen cabinets and stove top dirty, making it unappealing to cook.

Following the above message to the host, I received a message from Nick at Airbnb who indicated that I had not followed Airbnb policy (when in fact I did, other than waiting around for the host to provide a resolution… with only five days available and the severity of the situation, this was not possible) and that I could open a refund request in the resolution center, which I had already done.

My response to Nick:

My first email was to Mike the Airbnb host, and I then opened a case with Airbnb within the 24-hour period as per the guidelines. Mike has rejected my refund request, following which I selected the option to involve Airbnb. As to finding a remedy, this situation was not able to be remedied in a timely manner as we are only in California for five days and it would be unreasonable to believe the apartment carpets and seating could be shampooed and other areas brought up to a clean standard in a reasonable time frame. Please review the pictures, as I am not sure anyone could clean what should have been done before even stepping foot in the facility. I was not about to put my family through this type of situation any longer than was necessary especially for Mike to come by to talk. The only resolution suitable would be a refund as these are distrustful and manipulative tactics simply to rent out his location. In addition, the safety factor is completely beyond the host’s means to correct, along with the elements of drug use; they are out of his control. My primary concern at this point is to ensure my family has a safe clean location to spend the rest of the short vacation in the time we have left. Had the host represented the location as not suitable for families this issue could have been avoided. I even questioned the safety of the location and was met with: “It will fit you perfectly.” I have used VRBO and hotels without issue in the past so this was a very stressful situation and caused me to seriously not trust Airbnb fpr future bookings, especially if there will be no support or protection for guests. Perhaps the host should have been more thoroughly vetted, as I would be shocked if any family would find this location acceptable. I have initiated the process to involve Airbnb and get a full refund.

Nick’s Response:

Hello Adam,

Thank you for your patience while I reviewed your case. I appreciate the time you’ve taken to share your concerns and perspective on this experience. Based on the information provided, I have decided that any refund will have to come directly from Mike based on our refund policy which you can read upon within the previous email. Thank you again for your understanding and for your valued time and contribution.

Best wishes,

Nick

So even after providing pictures as to the poor cleanliness of the apartment and the fact that my daughters were harassed – two conditions specified by Airbnb as reasonable – our request for a refund was still rejected. This issue is current as of April 26th, 2017 and I am still trying to fight it. Although with no response to my emails and no contact information for Airbnb as they don’t clearly list any means of reaching a representative or manager, it is tough. I do appreciate the contact information for Airbnb found on this site.