Lost $1000 to Avoid Sleeping in Filthy Airbnb

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Once you click “book” on Airbnb, your money is gone. Misrepresentation and filth are not enough to get your money back. I booked what was represented as a beautiful waterfront home where I could work for a week. I booked just a couple days in advance.

Upon arrival, it was a rundown cabin, part of a rundown crowded campground. On top of that, the place was filthy with sticky residue on the appliances, light switches and mystery drippings on the walls. The bathroom was disgusting with a moldy shower curtain and orange slick grime that’s hard to see in the pictures. The grounds were a mess with cars, debris and junk.

I texted the owner via the app immediately (because all communications had been through the app). I said the place was not at all what was represented and that I was leaving immediately. She did not respond. I immediately contacted Airbnb via the app as well and they did not respond either.

The next day Airbnb got back to me to say they had to ask the host for the refund. I never heard from the host. Surprise: the host declined. I suggested a 50% refund to settle, which was generous in my opinion. Airbnb said I needed to go back and take pictures (a two-hour drive). I made the trip back to the property and took pictures of a clearly moldy shower curtain, sticky surfaces and junky grounds. The host noticed that I was returning to take pictures, so the property was actually an improvement compared to the views on my original arrival.

Airbnb said the host refused the refund because I didn’t speak to her in person. When did that become a requirement? Then they told me they could not refund the money because I didn’t take the pictures that first day and never explained why they sent me back there. I gave up and posted a negative review on Yelp and cancelled my Airbnb account. I lost over $1,000 to avoid staying in filth. I will never use Airbnb again and frankly think this sort of thing needs to be better regulated.

Months later, a person I suspect to be a friend of the owner tried to comment on my Yelp review but that was rejected. The post was just a bunch of name calling. Now more than nine months later, the owner apparently did some research to find out my profession (attorney) and posted a response to my Yelp review trying to deflect from the photos of the grossness and reality of the junky grounds. I never mentioned my profession.

Another guest recently posted more photos on Yelp of the disgusting level of filth complete with another moldy shower, exploded food left by others in the microwave and more. Airbnb has yet to hold this property owner accountable despite pictures. Even the more positive Yelp reviews from guests expecting a campground experience note the need for better maintenance.

The stalking behavior by the owner in digging around to find out about my profession so many months later is disturbing on a whole different level. And there is yet another Yelp review describing how the host cussed out their group when they complained about the mess.

What does it take for Airbnb to hold a host accountable? I read an article about a Boy Scout troop that booked a place in Florida. When they contacted Airbnb to report that two different listings were using the same information, Airbnb protected the hosts. The Boy Scout troop showed up to literally no place to stay and it made the news. Apparently you need a news story to hold hosts accountable if they are making money for Airbnb.

Don’t trust Airbnb for reviews. When I tried to post my review on Airbnb, it mysteriously went into the cosmos. When the world settles down a little bit, I think we need to look to our legislators and consumer protection laws to make some changes. In the meantime, I suggest using VRBO and VACASA. They cost a little more but they also have higher standards in my experience. Take lots of pictures upon arrival in case you need documentation for any reason and let karma take care of the rest.

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Listing from Hell and the Song that Made it Worse

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I showed up, escaping Hurricane Ida, to an Airbnb in Houston. It’s Labor Day weekend and we had dogs in tow, so the pickings were slim. Still, this looked okay. Four of us were splitting the property; it was 3 bedroom/3 bath, a townhouse, in a nice part of town. I lived up the street when I came here for medical treatment two years ago.

I showed up and there was no key where it was supposed to be. The provided garage door opener didn’t work. The entire place smelled like mothballs and the modem and router were on the floor in the foyer. There were giant stains on the carpet up and down the stairs. It wasn’t clean and hadn’t been vacuumed. The furniture was split and there was just a sofa. No other furniture was provided in the living room. There were large water stains where some of the plaster had fallen from the ceiling in the living room.

There was a pool table (“don’t sit on the pool table” as if it was some heirloom and not a piece of crap from Walmart) but no tables — literally no tables anywhere. There were two stools to use at the counter in the kitchen. No coffee table. No end tables. The third bedroom was also locked from the inside.

The best part was that the host called himself “Premier Lux.” There was a plastic wrapper on the box spring of one of the beds. None of the bedsheets had been changed. You could see the outline where someone had slept in it. I refused to touch any of the linens because this screamed “bedbugs” to me (and I’m far from bug phobic). There was a large cardboard box of dirty laundry in the laundry room.

To recap: it was filthy, I couldn’t lock the front door and one of the bedrooms was mysteriously inaccessible because it was locked from the inside. I kept wondering “who is in there?” The entire place looked like a crew of eight 20-year-old frat boys had just moved out a few days before after a four day bender.

I turned to Airbnb (I am a host in New Orleans, so I know their drill pretty well). To make it “better.” Airbnb put me on hold to get a “Support Ambassador” on the line. So it started. Their horrible Airbnb song — you know the one, in which the waify girl singer that they always play on repeat to make people hang up, saying “Followww me”? Follow her right to the depths of hell.

The support person claimed he had to come back every two minutes to ask me again “may I put you back on hold” and the song started over again from the beginning. You heard that right. He claimed he had to get “permission” to put me on hold again. I’m 57 years old. I’ve never encountered that particular piece of customer service nonsense.

If I had any hair left, I would’ve pulled it out. It took 45 minutes for a “support ambassador” to come on the line. So I listened to the first two minutes of that “song” (it’s really a musical abortion) 22 times. Ultimately Airbnb made it right and refunded all of my money (and added a $200 coupon for next time), but not before adding heavily to my post-hurricane stress and aggravating me beyond measure. When they cancelled the reservation (and refunded my money) it was as if the host had cancelled, so I can’t leave a review. The listing is still there for the next sucker.

Needless to say, the host never responded to my phone calls, Airbnb messages or text messages to his phone. He’s a scuzzball who should be banned from Airbnb, but likely will not. I’m only posting one photo because it was the most bizarre. The huge box of dirty laundry waiting to be washed. That kind of summed the whole place up in a nutshell.

Exposed Jagged Glass, Bloodstained Sheets, Delusional Host

It took weeks to resolve our bad stay with Airbnb and, since it’s not actually resolved in my eyes, I have a tale for the sore-eyed.

My husband and I reserved a stay in a Catskills Airbnb with a hot tub, described as “clean” and “well-kept.” Suffice it to say it was neither: mildewed pillowcases, pillows yellow with the drool of years past, and I found lots of similarly stained sheets in the closet when I tried to change out the dirties (none were clean but all backup bedding had stains, and a lot of blood). The duvet cover had never been washed. My mistake was thinking that the host’s cranky answers to any negative reviews might have had some merit, and there were 180 reviews before my scathing one. Another mistake: not reviewing all of them.

Airbnb immediately refunded the cleaning fee after I send photos of the gross situation. Getting any further with support after that first level is like pulling teeth. I requested a refund of the service fee as well because in my humble opinion the listing should not be active. I researched their hygiene and cleanliness standards; feel free to send your photos in if you have a dirty experience like we did.

We did stay for the three days because the Catskills rental market is hot this year, and not a lot of rentals were available. We also have a dog — how many other rentals were likely to allow pets? Was Airbnb really going to pay for a stay at a swell, canine-accepting place like the Emerson Spa? I didn’t want anyone to crash right into our three-day stay, which we do annually after dropping the kids off at camp. What was the owner going to do, even if I did spend half the time on the phone with Airbnb support, send his crappy cleaning person in to do another bad job, and FedEx us new pillows?

We were worn out from waiting for a response from Airbnb about the host’s responsibility to provide a safe place. I accepted their inadequate offer of a $100 coupon instead of refunding the service fee. At this point it really wasn’t about the money; we didn’t want someone’s innocent six-year old gashing their chubby little finger on the exposed glass as host advertised as “fine for children six and over.”

At one point I had to rethink what other people consider “clean” and “hygienic,” but that morphed into wondering why anyone would think we’d want to shell out $300 a night to sleep on bloodstained sheets? I got my answer when I saw his “review” of us which wasn’t even posted as a review. The host simply responded to my honest review. He sounded positively unhinged.

Airbnb Guest: The Closet is Not a Bathroom

I’m going to share with you our very worst Airbnb experience. We have a suite in our house. It was Valentine’s Day and this couple rented our place.

They showed up and everything was fine. The next morning they messaged, “Can we have a late checkout?” and we said, “Yea, sure. You can check out at 12:00 PM.” because our checkout is normally 11:00 AM and we had more guests coming.

We do all the cleaning ourselves and so we had to get it ready for the next guests. Luckily I was gone to lunch with my sister-in-law and so my husband went in at 12:00 PM.

I received this message from him: “I don’t know what went on!” He sent me a picture of poop on the floor in our Airbnb in the closet. How bizarre — this has never happened.

I was like, “Ok, I can come home… I’ll try and come home.” We have three kids. It’s hard to clean when you have three kids and we were trying to get it ready for the next guests.

I got home and the story got worse. My husband started cleaning more and he found that our guests had pooped in our hamper in the closet. There was a lot of blood and we ended up having to throw away bedding, sheets, our hamper, pillows and towels. It was disgusting and we were shocked.

We messaged our guests. We had taken pictures of everything and she acted shocked too.

She said, “I had no idea that happened. I am so sorry.”

We still said, “We need to charge you.”

We got it all cleaned up, but definitely, hands-down, worst Airbnb experience we had. I don’t think it can get much worse than that. Our guess is that they were super drunk or or using drugs or something and thought, in the middle of the night, that our closet that’s in the bedroom was the bathroom and the hamper was the toilet.

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Host of Dog Beach Penthouse Lies, Making Guests Leave Early

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What can I say? We were told this was a special place: lots of great reviews; $300 a night; accepted small dogs. We arrived and used a Schlage code on a half installed security door. Mind you the lock was not even installed properly. The main doors were open as were all the sliding doors. The main door after entering the security door did not have a lock on it at all so we couldn’t feel safe.

We put one of the ripped chairs under the entry door that didn’t have a lock to help keep us safe when trying to sleep. We could see the door lock installed on the security gate wasn’t installed and there was a gap. You can stick your fingers in the gap and move the lock to open it. It wasn’t installed on an entry wood door. Unsafe and scary, though that’s another issue.

The bed sunk in the middle. All but one of the sliding doors wouldn’t lock. Once inside, the walls were filthy, along with the floors, furniture, bathrooms, vents and stove. There were missing blinds so we couldn’t close them. Faceplates on electrical outlets were missing. They had the cheapest paper towels and toilet paper and bath towels that looked like something I would use on my dog when giving them a bath.

This place was a dump. Probably worse than a Motel 6 at $300 a night. We left the next morning and vacated. We filed a complaint with Airbnb for a full refund for being an unsecured property with no locks to keep safe along with a dirty environment. I’m still waiting. Airbnb doesn’t allow uploads for videos so take a lot of pictures of any issues you might have. Hosts are scamming people. Stick to name brand hotels. Our first and last stay at Airbnb.

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Airbnb House of Horror Contained Blood and Mold

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As a travel nurse housing can be difficult in some areas. I turned to Airbnb which is a last resort for housing. The host only showed four pictures: two of the front of the house and two of the front rooms. When I walked into her house it was a nightmare. There was blood on the fireplace glass, mold on the carpet, open containers in the refrigerator, urine on the bed hidden with a sheet, who knows what in the shower, and these were just a few things.

We booked it out of there. I returned the key to the neighbor I got it from and he looked shocked. I told him that house was nasty and unlivable. We called Airbnb and they were horrified. We called the host twice and emailed three times with no response. We sent her the pictures. A day later she cancelled so I got a full refund and Airbnb refunded me half of the cost for extra expenses that I incurred because of the host. I am still traumatized by the photos. She also didn’t have any reviews since 2018 but I gave her a chance. Big mistake.

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Host Shows Deceiving Pictures of Airbnb Room

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This host’s room at a Hollywood, Florida ocean resort was a complete dump. She posted pictures of the room to be nice and clean. When we got there the room smelled of mildew and an old motel room.

The room isn’t updated. It has a worn out kitchen area, and bathroom. There was a stain on the toilet seat so I knew they didn’t clean the bathroom. The bed cover had a stain on it, and there were dirty utensils. I couldn’t deal with it. Even my ten-year-old didn’t even want to sit on the bed. He told me he was gonna lay on the chairs if we had to still sleep there. Even my mother didn’t like the place.

The hallways were dirty and the carpets too. The people staying there looked sketchy. The lobby ceilings had huge water stains and holes. Airbnb wasn’t really a help by taking down my review which I couldn’t believe. I showed them the pictures compared to the ones she posted and they still didn’t budge and only apologized and gave a refund. I had to pay for one night and the cleaning fee which I felt I shouldn’t have had to pay, especially checking out an hour later.

Airbnb stated I should have called them before checking out and would have gotten my full refund. They don’t state that in their policy at all; they just state to contact the host. From here on, I am not booking hosts with few reviews.

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Do Not Stay at the Lodging from Hell in Ghana

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Airbnb has unethical and deplorable practices. They would do whatever it takes to make sure their “Superhosts” keep their status, even if the reviews are honest. I read an article online about Airbnb removing a guest’s review because he posted an honest review about his stay at a lodging. I posted my review and within two days, it was removed because I was informed by someone at Airbnb that it violated the review policy. Since Airbnb will not allow for my review to be on their website, I will post it here.

I only reserved this place because of the reviews and I would like to say, I absolutely regretted lodging here. The Airbnb is not in a secure location for other travelers, but rather a community of renters. There are no security precautions in place and that is the reason I caught someone looking through my window.

The neighborhood is trashy, unkept, and very noisy with neighbors consistently slamming doors, babies crying, chickens crowing at all hours of the day, as well as other things. There’s no backup generator for the plethora of blackouts that occurred. How can you run an Airbnb business and have no backup electricity?

We had a broken toilet seat for five days and when I reached out to the host, she dragged her feet and responded to messages late. She claimed that 500 MB of data would be given per day, which is inaccurate. She claimed she added 5.13 GB of data and by day 3 it was all gone, which means there is a high likelihood that the data was being pirated.

If you want high water pressure, you have to perpetually go outside to turn on a switch. The beds feel like you’re sleeping on a hard floor and the apartment looks very outdated. The building is not clean: wires hang from the ceilings, and when I would return from my excursions, trash would be left outside my door.

I did not want to leave Ghana, but I was counting down the days to leaving this place. I guarantee that when the owners travel to Ghana, they are not staying in accommodations with these kinds of problems. I would never recommend this place to anyone.

I have posted pictures of what this place truly looks like. Don’t let the nice photos fool you; the bathroom was small and crappy as hell and looked like it was never cleaned before we got there and the furniture was extremely uncomfortable. Don’t let the positive reviews fool you because Airbnb removed the negative reviews, like they did with mine.

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Not so Charming Airbnb Bungalow Disaster

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Let me start by saying I had been a Superhost for two years when this incident happened. I had never been given a bad review, either from guests or from the hosts of places I’ve stayed in over the years. I am neat to a fault, and take pride in leaving a place in better shape than when I arrived. I even make the beds before check out at hotels and straighten the towels. Excessive, yes, but that’s who I am.

A few months ago I traveled to LA to meet up with a best friend who came down from San Francisco for the week. I had booked a bungalow in West Hollywood that looked cute and clean in the photos. Unfortunately, I didn’t look at the reviews at this time and there were a few that talked about the shortcomings of this property, always with a snide response from the owner.

The owner and his property manager seemed attentive at first. When we arrived we realized there were no hand towels or washcloths in the bathroom, so I walked over to Target and bought some. When I told the property manager, he was apologetic and offered to reimburse us. I told him it wasn’t necessary and not a big deal.

The beds seemed clean and comfortable and there was air conditioning, though the window units and their filters were caked with dust and rattled. I removed the filters and washed them to improve the functionality of the AC, as the units were old and struggling. Still, this seemed reasonable and we were fine with the place.

A few days in, my friend went to take the trash out to the bins in the front yard/courtyard. She realized that all the giant-sized garbage cans were full, as well as the recycle bins, and a few were overflowing with pizza boxes on top.

At this point we realized we had a problem because we couldn’t take our garbage out. Again, I reached out to the property manager (at this point the owner had stopped responding to any emails or texts) and explained to him the issue. He was apologetic and said he would contact the housekeepers.

When we heard back from the property manager, he claimed that the owner was out of the country and unreachable — is that even a thing these days? — and that he was out of town on business. The housekeepers were too busy to come take care of the garbage, so there was nothing he could do. We put our garbage next to the bin at his approval.

Meanwhile, we enjoyed cooking and had stocked up at the grocery store. We soon realized that there were no food storage containers in the apartment, so we would put our leftovers into bowls with saran wrap or a plate on top (this will come in to play later). There were several important kitchen items missing (too many to name), which was inconvenient but we dealt with it.

As one of the other reviews said, the dryer was being held together with tape and it took effort to close it just right so it would work. At least half the lights in the apartment had burnt out bulbs; we were both trying to work during the week, so that was difficult. There was no caulking in the shower (which will also come into play later). Still, we were willing to stay and make the best of it.

As you can imagine, the day after we left our garbage next to the bin outside we discovered that a critter had gotten into it. My friend let me know and I went outside to check it out. At this point we were losing patience, and it was also becoming very uncomfortable. I came back inside to talk with her about the garbage situation, and looked down to see a cockroach the size of a lighter on the floor. It was broad daylight.

Well, that was it. We only had two nights left on our reservation but I couldn’t imagine going to sleep knowing that the place was infested with cockroaches (apparently if cockroaches come out of the walls in broad daylight it is indicative of a much bigger infestation within the walls and floors). The research I did told me that where there’s moisture, there are cockroaches. Cut back to the uncaulked shower. My guess is that the bathroom walls and floors were full of moisture.

Whatever the reason, we were ready to go, so we got to work preparing the place to leave. We read and reread the guidelines and did everything on their list. Remember how I said there were no food storage containers? Well, there were several dishes in the refrigerator holding our leftovers. Ordinarily we could put the leftovers in the trash and put the dishes in the dishwasher, but we couldn’t take the trash out.

This posed a problem so I reached out to the property manager once again and explained the situation. He told me, in writing, to leave everything in the refrigerator so as not to fill up the garbage can with food in the kitchen. That’s what we did. Everything else was spotless. We left the sheets and towels where we were asked to, we put all the other dishes in the dishwasher and ran it. Swept the floor, wiped the countertops, straightened the couch pillows. You get the gist.

At this point we were apprehensive about putting more garbage out by the overflowing bins (out of courtesy), so we made one fatal mistake: we left a small bag of non-perishable garbage just inside the front door. To be conscientious, we turned off the air conditioners as not to waste their money air conditioning a place that would be vacant.

Unfortunately, it was this decision that gave the owner and property manager what they saw as a reason to fight me on my claims. It was extremely hot during the day, and by the time the house cleaners got there, the garbage that was inside created an odor. This is when the owner began to chime in again, only to shame us by dramatically going on about the “stench“ in the house and how upset the house cleaners were when they got there. He began making false claims and that’s when I discontinued communication with him and the property manager and tried to go through Airbnb.

Honestly? It was my experience with Airbnb that had me the most upset. I called every day for seven days. Each time, I spoke with someone who was in another country and working from home. I could hear babies crying and dogs barking in the background for every employee. I explained my story and sent all of the photos to one representative. He explained to me that he would contact the host and hear his side and then make a decision. That was the last I heard from him. I couldn’t get him to answer any of my emails after that.

As it turns out, there is not an option to speak to a supervisor at Airbnb. When you speak with one of the people who answer the phone, they explain to you that they will email the supervisor and have them call you. I was told this seven times and never received a call back. Not one. The owner leaned in heavily with his lies, saying that we left the place in disarray and it had a stench. He ended up agreeing to reimburse us for one night, removing over $100 for a deep cleaning fee. I had to pay for a hotel for the last two nights in addition to one night at the bungalow. It cost me over $1,000.

I couldn’t believe that this major business wouldn’t respond to one of their Superhosts and offer me a reimbursement (a drop in the bucket for them). I had photo evidence and screenshots of my text messaging with the property manager and owner — what more could they possibly need? My guess is that they didn’t even consider it – I’m sure it never even crossed the desk (or computer) of a supervisor. I felt ignored and completely invisible around this issue, but there was absolutely nothing I could do.

I was afraid to leave a bad review because honestly I felt traumatized by the vindictiveness and cruelty of the owner and property manager. I regret this, but it’s too late.

I withdrew my home as an Airbnb destination and closed down my account. I ended up finding a review that someone left about the owner as a guest. It was awful, and I believed every word. He is an opportunist with several properties on Airbnb that I am sure are as neglected as the one we stayed in. He paints a picture of the apartment as a cozy home but it’s a money making scheme and he won’t hesitate to screw you, along with the powers that be at Airbnb.

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Brought Bed Bugs Home from Airbnb Stay

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We had a wonderful four days in North Wales this summer. I wouldn’t want to complain only if we had been smart enough to spot what was happening during our stay and not after.

I noticed some weird itchy bites on my body after the first night of our stay. Having no experience from the past with bed bugs, I had no idea it could be that. I was sure they were the little flies that you see near mountains. I noticed a couple more bites as days passed but still had no idea. It took us about a couple weeks after our return to realise we have brought home bed bugs. The itchy bites continued to appear and once we realised what an actual nightmare it had been, we found signs on our sheets and even one tiny bed bug on our sofa bed.

Unfortunately, we were unlucky and stupid enough to not spot this during our stay, and we had no evidence or proof that the Airbnb home was infested. We have coped with this fact, but I knew I must warn the host and make sure they take immediate action, so no other guests experience this.

I messaged the host nicely (and privately), without mentioning a refund or blaming them for having us in her nasty infested house. No, I was nice and kind. I explained what happened and suggested that she inspects her house and stop letting people in until it had been professionally cleaned.

The host’s reaction was a complete shock to me. She denied that what I was saying was even possible, accused me of lying, and ultimately threatened to have me removed from the platform. She said that she had inspected the house by herself and an independent third party company and it had been confirmed that her house was bug free. Then she said she would keep an eye on her furniture and if the infestation appeared it would have been me who brought the bugs into her house.

I would never have imagined I’d find myself in such a nasty situation. We have thrown away a few months old sofa, duvets, blankets, pillows, etc, and we can’t be sure our home is bug free as apparently they are a nightmare to get rid of. After all that, the host didn’t even think to show some respect and assure us that the action would be taken. We didn’t even try to get some money back, as we had no proof, but I needed to make sure she would take action. She didn’t; she insulted us instead.

Airbnb is involved but it is day four now without any single response from them. I guess it’s a lovely tool to use when you love travel, but only if you don’t need their support. My advice to Airbnb users: please be cautious. Because you are not aware of certain things doesn’t mean you are safe from their effects. Check sofas, beds and mattresses for any signs of bed bugs before you even take your shoes off at a hotel or Airbnb home.