High-Risk Area Absent from Airbnb Reviews

I recently traveled to New Orleans with three other couples. I did not properly investigate the neighborhood and when we got there we discovered we were in a high-risk crime neighborhood. While we were there we had to run to the local Dollar General store and witnessed an assault of a homeless man right before our eyes.

There were no negative reviews mentioning anything about the neighborhood. I asked the host and her words were “it is a perfect neighborhood”. We went into the local chamber of commerce and Tripadvisor offices for things to do on our first day and both places stated we were in a very scary neighborhood.

I reached out to the host to ask her in the future to tell the truth about the neighborhood. I even tried to post a negative comment but they did not post it. Trulia is a great resource to see crime stats for neighborhoods instead of believing the reviews. Airbnb obviously does not post bad reviews. Has anyone else had this problem?

Held Against my will by an Airbnb Host

During my checkout, the owner of the apartment held me against my will inside the bedroom of his apartment because I told him I wasn’t going to pay for the already faulty shower screen door.

During my stay, the shower screen door broke off from the hinges and fell on me. I then removed the door completely as it was dangerously hanging off its hinges, which I then placed aside. I sent a message to the host (the daughter of the owner of the apartment) and explained this to her.

During my check out – and just before this all kicked off – the owners of the property came to the front door and I invited them inside. I was running a little late during due to my packing, and they were kind enough to give me a later checkout. As I was in the bedroom zipping up my bags, they inspected the shower screen door. They came back to the bedroom and insisted I pay for it there and then.

When I declined this absurd request and told them to take it up with Airbnb, things got nasty. We went back and forth a few times on the matter until he lost his temper with me and he began raising his voice. I told him I was leaving the apartment which is when he locked the bedroom door with me inside. He told me that he was going to lock me in until the police came because I owed him money for the apartment.

When I tried to leave, he became physical with me and pushed me back into the bedroom. I ended up ripping the door from its hinges so I could escape. I made a run for the front door, where he tried to do the same thing. I forced my way out the front door and managed to get free. It wasn’t without injuries and damage to my property. I sustained a torn ligament to one shoulder and a dislocation to the other.

During the ordeal, irreparable damage was also done to some personal belongings inside my luggage. I am now trying to figure out what to do in terms seeking damages as a result of this experience. Any help in terms of being pointed in the right direction would really be appreciated.

Airbnb left me with a dead body, $50,000 in damages

There was a story that was aired on the local news the morning of July 28th, 2019. This story included vague details of a pool party that went wrong and the death of a Clay High School student by gunshot. Including only one side note was that it was an Airbnb listing.

There were many details that the story failed to capture. I am the homeowner of that Airbnb listing. I had listed the home on Airbnb just over a year ago as an entire house rental, private property with horses and country escape at around a $500/night booking fee.

Of the seven or eight bookings I had, it was a great experience, until it wasn’t. I had a one guest for a one-night booking the week prior to July 27th. This person had a verified Airbnb account that included one five-star review. They didn’t offer a lot of details about their stay but like every time before, the house was prepped, the key was left, and I was gone before they arrived.

I was notified by a neighbor around 1:30 AM that something seemed wrong with the amount of cars at my property and traffic in and out. I immediately called the police to assist in removing anyone from the property, as they were all trespassing and likely causing unspeakable damage to the home.

The shooting happened shortly after that, before the police even made it there, leaving one 18-year-old man dead in my driveway. This one guest rental was a 200-300 person party of underage people and dangerous criminals. There were Hennessy bottles thrown at my horses who were on the property during this time, luckily not causing any significant harm to them.

Upon further discovery, the actual verified guest has an extensive criminal background. There was blood throughout the entire home, over $20,000 in building damages and another $30,000 in personal property that was either stolen or ruined. Although the local police recommended bleach and water, I hired a hazmat crew to come and disinfect the home and clean the immense amount of bio waste that was covering my walls, floors and furniture.

People continued to return to the home in the days following so for the safety of my family I hired private security to protect the home and property. These people are and have been at war with each other. My home just happened to be the location that the battle was fought at.

I live with the reality every day that every single person who had access to my home can clearly tell it’s only a young woman and a five-year-old boy who live here. Of all the things damaged and all the pain this has caused, there is no greater fear than the idea that these monsters could come back and harm myself and my son.

My story isn’t about publicly shaming those who did this. My goal, however, is to shed light to the darker side of hosting for Airbnb and the complete lack of restitution that they have offered per their Host Guarantee and the lack of actual vetting they do to verify a guest. Almost three months, over 50 emails and communications, and they have decided to wash their hands of this due to the fact my personal homeowners insurance stepped up and covered just under $20,000 of the damages.

The process of their Host Guarantee is basically a death march to the point hosts rely on personal finances and their own homeowner’s insurance to begin the process of putting their lives back together. Although my insurance was amazing in the process, there is still $30,000 of personal property that was accounted for in detail as a loss.

The Host Guarantee specifically states (per their contractual agreement) that they will pay the difference of insurance claims. The most recent communication is that they took a if/then method stating that if my personal insurance has stepped up, then Airbnb is free and clear of any liability.

I hope to share my experience so those who are simply doing this to share the experience of their home, improve their homes for their families, or even just make some side cash on their primary residence know that if something does go wrong, Airbnb will not stand behind you.

Faulty Electrical Appliance Nearly Caused a Fire

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We returned from a weeks trip to Trulli Margherita, a traditional Puglian villa located in Gorgofreddo, Puglia, Italy. We experienced a number of complaints and inconveniences, as well as one distressing, near fatal electrical fault, that unfortunately put a dampener on the rest of our stay.

Although Airbnb and the host were quick to handle most of the complaints we were certainly not happy with how our main complaint was handled. To summarise our complaints briefly:

  • The electrical plug-in fan caught fire, causing a plastic smelling smoke to fill the bedroom in which our 6-month old baby was sleeping.
  • There was no air-conditioning in the bedrooms.
  • ‘Trulli shaped’ wood-fired oven locked away, not for guest use.
  • Bedside lamps to the second bedroom were not working on arrival, maintenance had to be called to replace them.
  • The house bathroom shower valve broke, maintenance called again.
  • Maintenance again called to provide more wine glasses

Our main complaint about this listing would be about an electrical plug-in fan provided in one of the bedrooms. To our horror, it caught fire and filled the room with plastic-smelling smoke. Our 6-month baby was sleeping in this room, so you can understand our distress at having to rush him to A&E to check he was okay. Please note we were sat outside in the courtyard area, checking on him at regular intervals as well as keeping an eye on him via video monitor.

After a few hours in the hospital, trying to convey the issue with a major language barrier, he thankfully checked out okay, but on doctor’s orders we had to follow up with another hospital appointment the next day and a further GP’s appointment again once we were home to be certain. This added incredible stress and anxiety to us for the rest of the holiday.

The host, although quick to respond and apologise for the incident, only offered a mere 10% refund as an apology (a sum we would have expected for the misleading description about the wood-fired oven alone), and no explanation as to whether the appliance had been checked over beforehand. We felt rather insulted at this small offer and upset the matter had not been taken more seriously. If we hadn’t checked on our baby at that time, the situation could have been a lot worse, even fatal.

Please note there were no fire alarms in the property that would have alerted us to this incident. We were further insulted during a phone call with the host where they stated the 10% refund from the owner was offered so we didn’t write a negative review – a rather tactless remark to make about their own self interests, in light of the serious nature of the incident.

To add insult to injury, during further discussions with the host after we arrived home, they claimed the fan was only for decorative use, and that we shouldn’t have been using it in the first place. This was never stated in writing or conveyed verbally during check in. If this were the case, why would they place a functioning fan in a bedroom if it were not for use in the first place? Especially a room with no air-conditioning? Very misleading if true, but we feel they are now only saying this to relieve themselves of responsibility and to avoid a case of negligence in terms of electrical safety.

Our next complaint would be about the ‘Trulli shaped’ wood-fired oven that is listed in the description of the property. On arriving at the property, we noticed it was actually locked away. We enquired with the host about this and they apologised about the misleading description and offered for the owner to come around and light it. Although a kind gesture, this was inconvenient and inflexible for us – we did not particularly want to ‘book’ in a time with the owner.

Overall it was disappointing, as the amenities and features of the property were some of the reasons why we booked it in the first place. Air conditioning is listed as an amenity; however, it is only offered in living spaces, not bedrooms. Again, a rather misleading description of the property. We had a few restless nights’ sleep due to the heat as a result.

The other maintenance issues, although not serious in nature, were just more inconveniences to us during our stay. We certainly got to know the maintenance man very well. Aside from our complaints and credit where credit is due, the Trulli itself is very charming and cosy – maybe a little basic – but perfect for a family getaway.

The real seller, however, is the spacious external, covered seating area and poolside. It was a shame the wood-fired oven was not for use, as we were looking forward to making pizzas out there. Other than that, the area was very good for evening dinners and sunny days lazing around the pool, which is exactly what we were after.

The area itself is a bit off the beaten track (hire car a must), but this rural setting was exactly what we were after. Within walking distance there is a well stocked ‘corner-shop’ as well as a charming pizzeria. Alberobello and Castellana Grotte (amazing caves) are both a 10- to 15-minute drive and well worth a visit. Monopoli and the surrounding beaches around 20-25 minutes and again worth seeing.

Unfortunately as a conclusion, I cannot recommend this listing to anyone, not until the owners, the host or Airbnb confirm there has been some sort of electrical safety check to assure users it is safe to stay in. They also need to go back and accurately re-write the listing description about he wood-fired oven and air-conditioning. A real shame, as otherwise it would have been a good stay.

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Do Not Stay Here: Horrible Experience in Halifax

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My daughter, best friend, and I visited Halifax for a long weekend expecting to stay at a comfortable, new clean condo which is not what we got. When we arrived to the address we were shocked to see a full on construction site. This property was still being developed. The exterior of the building looked completely unfinished and there was no marked address. The building was completely covered in scaffolding and the grounds were a construction zone with workers and machines all over the place.

We drove right past it because we couldn’t even imagine that it would be possible to list a place on Airbnb that had not fully been built. Our host had not sent any check-in details as he had promised to do. Picture three women traveling and arriving to this sketchy construction zone without any check-in details.

I texted him and there was no response. I finally called a phone number and spoke to a woman who seemed like she worked for property management company who advised me that the cleaner was still cleaning up the suite. They finally sent us check-in instructions but the lockbox was empty. Thankfully the cleaner came down and was quite nice and offered to let us put our bags in the unit and that she wouldn’t be too much longer. We opted not to do this and grabbed some food while I scrambled to find alternative places to stay for the weekend.

Upon getting the key, we parked our rental car in the most shadiest, filthy dump of a garage where there was piles of garbage and barely any lighting. It felt dangerous, dirty and totally unsafe. The unit itself was as the pictures presented. Not sparkling clean, more of a surface clean and the windows were disgusting, covered in mud from the construction. The lobby and hallways were unfinished and the same went for the elevators. It was all very sketchy and unsafe.

It was also quite warm in the unit. I had asked the host if there was AC as many reviewers had mentioned there weren’t any. He said yes, which was not the case – he had two upright fans, not an AC unit. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find an alternative place to stay as the city was hosting a film festival along with back-to-school events and there weren’t any other places to accommodate the three of us.

On Friday morning we were awoken at 7:00 AM by drilling sounds that felt like they were taking place outside our window. I even wore earplugs but that didn’t make a difference. On the last night of our stay I messaged the host to see if we could check out half an hour later at 10:30 AM. Please note check in was at 4:00 PM and check out at 10:00 AM, rather early and late by normal standards. He flat out refused, making up some bullshit excuse blaming the cleaning company’s policy that the cleaners are scheduled to be there at that time.

The next morning he must have felt bad and sent me a message at 9:30 AM saying a half hour was not going to be too much of a problem. At that point it was too late. We wanted to get the hell out of that that construction disaster. I would not recommend this place to anyone. The reviews noted construction which differs from you are staying at a construction site.

Airbnb Retaliates for Reporting Dangerous Hosts

Airbnb retaliates against those who report dangerous behavior by hosts (such as making solo female travelers run for their lives from the property when they’re chased by deranged guys) and gender discrimination/harassment by host. They start off by not taking any action against hosts and allowing them to continue operating (while lying to guests that they took action), even allowing hosts to leave false negative reviews for guests.

They know that some guests have to spend a night in a car after running for their lives from the property, as all was immediately reported to Airbnb. Guests insist that Airbnb take action, and they delete the guest’s account. It’s only a matter of time until next person is killed, like Carla Stefaniak, or harmed in the listings of this ruthless, irresponsible and greedy company. They must be stopped.

I was terrorized by a host who is the owner of Robert’s Redneck retreat Cabins (operating under a different name on Airbnb), made to leave the property out of fear for my life and was insulted and harassed by this host multiple times. All was immediately reported to Airbnb; I couldn’t find another accommodation on Friday night and spent the night in a car by the roadside.

Airbnb deleted my account when I said I’d go public since they’re not taking action and even allowed the host to leave me a bad review. This blog details the incident and pictures, as it’s too much to put in one post.

Government Authorities Should Take a Closer Look at Airbnb

Airbnb made a business decision to censor the photograph of any potential guest so that you cannot see who you are letting into your home. This is an extremely biased moved because the guest can see your picture and make a decision but a host cannot. I had a 30-year-old woman from Canada who came to the UK to study and who booked to stay two months with me after her studies had completed.

After staying two weeks, I subsequently found out that she failed all of her exams and she declared herself to be mentally ill. I live alone and became insecure and afraid because she woke up early one morning accusing me of looking through her bedroom window throughout the night. Then she freaked out saying that I was checking on her food. She spoke about having a breakdown a few years earlier where she just got on a plane from Canada to Paris and ended up sleeping with men in cars to get by.

She said that when things got really bad, she used her status as a vulnerable adult and presented herself to the French Embassy asking to be sent back to Canada. The more she talked, the louder she became. I called my sister and kept her on the phone while I tried my best to talk her down. Eventually she went off, ranting and raving. I locked myself in my bedroom and called Airbnb. I was put on hold and no one came back to me.

The next thing I knew, the woman had run through the door, so I decided to email Airbnb over and over again. I also called and got promises of a return call. The next thing I knew, my doorbell was ringing really loudly. When I answered it, there were three policemen standing at my door. This mentally ill woman accused me of throwing her out, so I had to defend myself to the police by showing them that, unbeknownst to me, she had cancelled the remaining six weeks and that this was a ploy for her to get a full refund from Airbnb.

The police were good that day and suggested getting her out as quickly as possible. The so-called mentally ill woman was good; she knew how to work the system by professing to be mentally ill. The police packed her things in their police car and took her away. Would you believe that this woman texted me afterwards, apologising and saying that it was the only way that she could get someone to move her things for free?

Furthermore, a liaison person arranged for her paid flight back to Canada and she boasted that she got a full refund from Airbnb who had initially told her that she would have to forfeit a 30-day cancellation fee. For 12 hours, Airbnb never got back to me nor supported me through this awful ordeal. When I called they refused to give me my full cancellation fee no matter how I argued. They give extremely poor service and lied nonstop.

Things could have really gotten out of hand. It could have been a physical altercation if I had not played it cool that day. It was an awful experience and Airbnb did nothing. The authorities need to look into this organisation. The way this organisation runs things, someone is going to get killed one day. You just don’t know who you are bringing into your home.

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Fancy a Summer Holiday on a Building Site?

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I went on holiday with my two daughters in Senegal through Airbnb. The apartment was directly located above the host’s accommodation and we rented it for a month. In order to access our apartment we had to go through a garage and squeeze pass a dusty car as well as a bicycle and a motorbike. When we first arrived, the car was only an inconvenience in the evening but after five days the car never moved (please find the attached picture).

On our arrival we noticed a scaffolding at the same level as the terrace which we had direct access to. The host informed me then that they had started some renovation work such as the inside roof being repaired which were not quite finished. He informed me that it would take no longer than three days to finish.

At that point I asked the host to ensure that the dust on the terrace would be thoroughly cleaned as it was really bad upon our arrival. They did clean it after my request. The following day I rapidly noticed cockroaches in the kitchen, bathroom (cockroaches were coming out of my toiletry bag), in the living room, on the tables… everywhere.

In order to have access to the wifi we had to go downstairs in front of the host’s apartment, despite the fact the access to wifi was mentioned on the booking and there was allegedly a working connection inside our apartment. The TV was not working. When I mentioned it to the host his reply was “the previous guests did not watch it.”

I informed him that my children do watch some TV. He then told me he had to ask his wife to renew the TV connection, which took a week.

I hear you saying: “Why on earth did you stay there?”

Well, here I am in a foreign country with my two young daughters, having nowhere else to go with a limited budget as the hotels were extremely expensive. I took it upon myself to never cook in that filthy place; we always ate outside. I was physically and mentally exhausted. Thankfully we went away for four days to a secluded area.

This gateway gave me the chance to reflect on what I was experiencing as I did not inform anyone in my family in France. My husband was not aware nor was my mum or my siblings. I truly did not know what other options I had but to bear with it.

Upon my return and back to square one, i.e. my holiday from hell, the cherry on the cake was the host had started building work around the entrance and pool area. They were actually building a roof with poles and beams everywhere. We actually had to walk beneath it all with no head protection in order to get to our apartment.

At that point, the penny dropped and I realised for the safety of my children and indeed myself we had to get out of that place urgently. That is when I asked for help and informed my family in France. I told the host (her husband at that point was away in France). She told me the work had to be done as the wooden roof was becoming unstable and was an immediate danger to the occupants. Therefore it had to be fixed urgently, however she told other parties including her own husband (who confirmed it in writing to me) that his wife wanted to surprise him whilst his was away with a new roof.

I told the host I had to seek an alternative accommodation as not only was I exhausted, my children were suffering with the dust and the noise, but most importantly were living in an unsafe environment on all levels. We finally moved out, and found a place where we managed to get some rest and make the most of the holiday we had left.

I spoke to different people in Airbnb. However, the person in charge of my case is offering me 100 dollars for the inconvenience of not using the swimming pool. Please find my photos and hopefully my videos in relation to this case.

Risks for Hosts and Guests in Unapproved Sublets

I own approved short-term accommodation in Australia. The state government and the local authority require me, as part of the conditions to operate, to comply with requirements of health, safety, insurance, and local amenity or I can be closed down and/or fined.

For example, doors leading into or out of the accommodation cannot have a lock on the inside requiring a key to be opened in case of fire, the smoke/fire detector system is superior to that required for normal residential use, linen must be washed every three days in at least 90 degrees Celsius (194 degrees F), pests (cockroaches, rodents, flies etc) must be controlled by regular fumigation/baiting/barriers, and pets are not allowed in the kitchen, bedrooms or swimming pool area due to disease.

Very strict rules are in force if I supply any food, e.g. sugar cannot be available in an open container, milk must be date stamped and in an unbroken sealed container and refrigerated below 4 C with logs of purchase and use by date, and the fridge must have a thermometer and be kept below 4 degrees Celsius. Regulations for the swimming pool are horrendous but all for the health and safety of guests. I also have to pay a yearly license fee to operate.

The premises are regularly inspected, without notice, by Government Health & Safety Officers. These measures obviously cost more than that of normal residential accommodation as they are over and above the usual requirements. Consequently, I cannot compete in price with an individual who rents out on Airbnb a spare room in their home or the whole of their accommodation when they go on holiday. Airbnb encourages people through incentives to let out their accommodation, with no checks of their legal standing to do so. Unapproved and illegal lets regularly crop up on Airbnb before the authorities shut them down.

People being people seek the cheapest deal and so bypass me in favour of an Airbnb sublet. This causes loss of business for me. It also means guests expose themselves to hazards, disease and financial risks by staying in unapproved accommodation.

For example, a recent newspaper report of an illegal Airbnb property advertised as ‘family friendly’ had a young family as guests over Christmas. The property had swings built by the owner. The father was pushing his two young children on the swing when it toppled over as it was not anchored in the ground. The younger child was crushed and killed on the spot. The other child was admitted to Intensive Care at hospital with life threatening injuries. The owner had invalidated his insurance as he was operating illegally so stands to lose his house in litigation for personal damages/injury. He was also fined by the authorities.

This would not have happened it he had stayed in approved accommodation such as mine. Bear in mind that all insurance is invalidated if not operating legally or to purpose. Most homeowners have residential property and contents insurance. Insurance companies view letting out a room or property to the public as a commercial activity and not residential use by the owner/occupier. Thus any claim for third party liability, damage, loss or injury will be dismissed by the insurer if found the property was not used in accordance with law and insured purpose.

We all know how insurers try to evade paying out if possible. This means a guest must proceed against the host’s personal assets, which may be nil if renting and not an owner or insolvent.

The choice is yours: make some bucks via Airbnb and risk losing your home or being declared bankrupt if things go wrong as well as being prosecuted, or, if a guest, save a few dollars and risk sickness, injury or death without benefit of the host’s insurance, if any, if let out illegally.

Men Break in at Night while we are Asleep

This summer, my girlfriend and I stayed at an Airbnb in the South of France for three nights: a one bedroom apartment in the heart of the old city of Aix-en-Provence. We arrived around 6:00 PM. The young guy who greeted us hadn’t finished cleaning up the place yet, so we just left our bags there and went out for dinner.

Fast forward two days. It was around midnight and we had just gotten back to the apartment after a long day. We went to bed, exhausted. I woke up around 9:00 AM, walked into the living room to grab my laptop from the couch – no laptop. I looked around; no phone either. Maybe I left it in my bag? No bag. My girlfriend’s bag was also missing.

I noticed large black footsteps on the tile floor (looked like a construction worker’s boots). I noticed that the window was wide open. My girlfriend still had her cell phone; she kept it in the bedroom during the night. We did our best to stay calm and focused.

We called the host who said he would be there in about an hour (he lives in neighboring Marseille). Meanwhile we went to the local police office to file a report. When we got back, the host was there, searching for any damage to his property. At first he said it didn’t look like there was a break-in. I showed him the footsteps.

Then he blamed us for leaving the window open. I pointed out to him that it had been 110 degrees out, that we were up on the second floor, and that the apartment had no AC. I also pointed out to him that the other window in the living room was broken, and also the window in our bedroom (though that one has bars). He shrugged and blamed the damage on previous Airbnb guests.

Then his tone changed a bit. I think he realized that we were still in shock and at a loss about what to do next. He admitted that when we called him he suspected we were lying, but that he believed us now. He assured us that all would be taken care of, that he had insurance, as does Airbnb. That we would get compensated for our stolen goods (computers, wallets, bags, phone, etc.). He promised to help us as long as we didn’t mention anything about the break-in in our review.

Awkward pause. Then, more gently, he asked us to please check out as soon as possible, since new guests are coming, and he needed to clean the apartment. Another awkward pause. My girlfriend reminded me that we still had lots of stuff to take care of (calling our banks, credit cards, my phone company, getting cash somehow…) so we may as well head out anyway.

Once we started packing all our stuff, she also reminded me that he was a Superhost so he must know how to handle everything with the insurance. I expressed to him my concern about the next guests – maybe the burglar is targeting this apartment? He reassured me it was all fine, and that he would just tell the next guests to lock the windows before they go to bed.

Once we were out on the street, all the admin stuff took us longer, and we ended up having to stay in Aix for one more night. We called the Airbnb host in Avignon (the next town on our trip, where we had another booking for three nights) to tell him what had happened, and that we would only arrive the next day. He said no problem, but that he must charge us still for that unused night. We understand. It’s not his fault that we were victims of a break-in, after all.

It is at this moment that our vacation officially ends (not on paper, as we are still in France, but for all other practical matters) and the saga with Airbnb’s customer service begins. It was the usual progression of “we will call you back” then “please send us the police report for the Nth time” then “please send us all the receipts for the stolen items for the Nth time” then “sorry we can’t help you” then “we can offer you $100 as compensation” then finally “we can offer you $500 out of our goodwill and the case is now closed.”

It took three weeks of constant calling to get to that point. $500 barely covers 10% of what was stolen (not to mention the stay itself, the extra night in Aix, and the lost night in Avignon). That aside, what shocked me most was how little Airbnb seemed to care about our overall experience and about the safety of future guests at that specific Airbnb.

The host, on his end, was always “on vacation” or “busy” when we tried to reach him. He never filed a claim with his insurance (does he even have insurance, we began to wonder). He continued to rent the apartment to guests nonstop through the Airbnb platform.

I became a little paranoid: who knows how many times that apartment has gotten broken into? Who knows how many other former guests now wake up in the middle of the night from nightmares about a man breaking into their apartment? Airbnb knows, but not the rest of the Airbnb community, because we were cheated into not mentioning it in our review. I’m angry with myself for agreeing to that deal. I’m angry with Airbnb for not caring about anything or anyone excerpt for their own profit and growth. Let the truth be known.

UPDATE: Now at nearly four weeks since the incident, we managed to get a hold of the host. He began by apologizing that it didn’t work out with his insurance in the end. He assured us that he did his absolute best. The reason the claim was rejected? We left the window open.

We told him we had done our research on the topic – that an open window voids insurance in France only if the break-in happens on a first floor/garden level apartment. He insisted that his insurance told him otherwise. We asked for the type of insurance policy he has, but he refused to tell us.

Finally, clearly angry at this point, he told us the name of the insurance company, then hung up the phone. We tried calling him back, but he wouldn’t pick up.

We then called the insurance company he had just mentioned, gave them his name and address, explained the situation, and they informed us that a claim was never made. They also told us the type of insurance policy has has: the most basic policy (what in France they call “Assurance Habitation”), which only covers his own belongings in the case of a break-in. Definitely not the insurance policy one should have for a full-time Airbnb rental.

As we had suspected by this point, his whole promise of helping us get reimbursed for our stolen belongings was a charade – a way to manipulate us into not mentioning the break-in in our review during high-season.

As for Airbnb? They know the full story. We’re still waiting for the promised email from their elusive case manager.