Hurricane Irma Evacuees Find No Escape With Airbnb

My wife, our two children, and I decided to evacuate our southwest Florida home in Lee County based on our governor’s mandatory evacuation. Our son had a good experience using Airbnb and had a pleasant stay at one of their listings. My wife and I decided to give them a try at the last minute instead of being housed in a hotel room with all of our important possessions (i.e. family photos, documents, jewelry, etc).

Based on Hurricane Irma’s path, we decided Louisiana would be the safest destination out of the storm’s way. We found one of a few places that were left available and based on the description of the listing, it sounded pleasant for the needs of our family and two vehicles.

Upon arrival we observed this home was in a bad neighborhood. We had to park on the city street (whereas the listing stated “parking on premises”). My wife an I proceeded to the locked gates (first sign of a bad neighborhood). With our two kids each in one vehicle parked on two different streets, we met with a much older gentlemen who was not the host; he stated he was 87 and had a brain tumor. This man had a foul smell to him and proceeded to show us the apartment.

Once we were inside we observed the same foul smell throughout the apartment. There were water stains on the ceiling and it was dirty inside. The old man proceeded to tell us that the health department had been trying to shut him down since Hurricane Katrina had flooded the building and the city had not been through his part of town to give them the proper permits to renovate the apartments. With our youngest son having had asthma, we knew we couldn’t stay there.

After the older gentleman showed us the place he went on to add that the place was used as a prison during Katrina and was a drug house prior to him owning the building. After having traveled 14 hours to get here, my wife and I got back in our cars and got out of there and out of that area of the city as fast as we could. Unfortunately we could not find another room that night since millions had evacuated florida; we ended up sleeping at a rest area on I-10. To be honest, that was a lot better than even thinking about staying at the Airbnb in New Orleans.

Beware and avoid places like this on Airbnb: false representation to be family friendly, parking on premises, all the way down to the host (who we never met). We don’t believe the reviews of this place prior to our reservation are credible. We have been in contact with Airbnb and they said a case manager will be in touch with us. We will also be contacting our Attorney General here in florida who stated that they will go after people who have taken advantage of its citizens during its state of emergency. The owner of the Airbnb was well aware of our family’s situation and was not honest with his accommodation in the listing. In fact my wife and I believe that the host does not exist. We just want a refund for services not rendered, nothing else. Let’s see if Airbnb stands up for its guests and refunds our money.

From Host to Host, Payment to Payment, Until Finally Something Stable

I booked a historic firehouse Airbnb five miles from SOHO in Jersey City for August 6-13, 2017. My Discover card was charged $1509. While we were on our way on August 6th, I realized I hadn’t received access instructions. Since I was driving, I asked my son to message the host for access instructions. He messaged back that the property wouldn’t be ready until September 4th. My son messaged him that we had a confirmed reservation and my credit card had been charged. His only response was to call Airbnb. This was about 10:40 AM.

We did call Airbnb and worked with the customer service representative to try to find another place to stay. He sent an email around 11:20 AM with some other properties for us to consider and an offer of a $143 credit toward another property. My son was searching for places on my phone while I drove. I pulled off the PA turnpike into a McDonalds parking lot and we booked a townhouse in Brooklyn, based on the description and pictures in the listing. This was about 11:40 AM.

About an hour later the host of that property called while I was still driving on the PA turnpike. He told me that he noted that we were bringing two dogs and that they treat dogs like guests. I actually thought that sounded good. What he meant, but didn’t tell me, is that he was going to charge me $40 per dog per day for the dogs. It was the next day when I realized this and he had charged my Discover card $611.25. He never got my approval for this charge and I would never pay such an outrageous “pet fee”.

We arrived at the property about 5:45 PM. The property was not as described or pictured in the listing. The property was filthy, smelly, and uninhabitable. Walls were water damaged. Outlets had missing covers. The “couch” in the living area was a wooden bench covered with a throw pillow. The only TV was in one of the bedrooms. The bedrooms were on the upper level and the kitchen and living areas were on the lower level. They were separated by very steep stairs with no hand rail. The “back garden” was an enclosed, paved area with plants that had been cut down and left to decay. As a result it was smelly and bug infested.

There was no way I could stay there with my son and dogs. I immediately called Airbnb. I sent them numerous pictures documenting the condition of the property. I have attached the pictures at the end of this email. They refused to apply the money I had paid and the credit I had been offered to another property. They were awful to deal with. They were supposed to call me back that night and never did. I also called on Monday August 7th, left a message, and never heard back. By this point it was almost 8:00 PM.

In desperation, I found another place and reserved it. My Discover card was charged another $1,572.31. It turned out to be exactly as described and pictured. The host immediately cleaned it up and got it ready for us. We stayed there for the full week and found it to be everything we expected.

To summarize the amounts we were charged and amounts I believe we are due credit for:

– Charged by Airbnb to Discover card 6/19/17 for Airbnb historic firehouse in Jersey City 8/6/17 = $1,509.00
– Credit issued by Airbnb 8/6/17 = ($533.02)
– “Pet Fee” for townhouse in Brooklyn 8/7/17 = $611.25
– Two-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn = $1,572.31

– Amount I should have been charged = $1,509.00
– Credit offered by Airbnb for reservation cancelled by host = ($143.00)

Total = $1,366.00
Credit Due = $1,793.54

Fleas in the Bed, Airbnb Host in the Wind

We needed a place to stay for three nights before moving on to St. Ives and found a cottage listed on Airbnb. On arrival we were fairly happy with the cottage, which was decorated and kept nicely, if a little dirty, but nothing too bad. Our baby daughter was using her walker, and we noticed that her feet were dirty after a few minutes on the floor; again, we decided that we could live with this for a few days. The host had informed us that the previous guests had broken the curtain rail in the second bedroom, but that he didn’t think it would bother us. It did, as my teenage son was in that room, and he had to pile pillows into the window frame to block out the light in the morning. Again, we were only there for a few days so we could put up with it before our holiday moved to St. Ives.

Trying to run a bath for our daughter, I noticed that one of the bath taps wouldn’t work, so I filled it using the shower. Again not ideal, but we could work around it. The hosts kindly left some coffee, but the only coffee pot we could find was full of mould. We stuck to tea; it was no problem as I like tea. Now for the tipping point. We got into bed and allowed our daughter to lay with us for a little while, when my wife saw a flea jump onto her then off again. I sat up and we pulled the covers back and saw a flea (possibly the same one) jump onto and off of the white sheets. By this time it was too late to do anything so we had no choice but to sleep in the bed. In the morning we saw two more fleas and my wife had been bitten.

I contacted the host and very politely told him that he had fleas and that we couldn’t stay. He said he would refund me asap, and thanked me for being so understanding. I told him that if course we wouldn’t leave any negative feedback, as these things happen. We spent the day trying to find alternative accommodation, eventually finding an apartment in Plymouth, Devon. This was a very stressful day, not knowing whether we would be able to find a place to stay and having a six-month old to look after. A few weeks later I still hadn’t heard from the host, so I looked on the website and saw that you could request money. I did this, requesting £250 of the roughly £300 we paid.

A couple of nights later I received an email telling me that the host had refused to refund us, and in addition he felt that we hadn’t left the house in a respectable state. We had only stayed one night, and as far as I can remember the only things we left were items of food packaging by or in the bin, and the pillows piled up in the window. My son initially tidied this but I told him to put it back so that the host knew that it was an issue. I have asked the host to explain what he meant but haven’t heard back. I have asked Airbnb to get involved but haven’t heard back. Most annoyingly, the host left it long enough so that I couldn’t leave feedback.

The Great Airbnb Wedding Debacle of 2017

Words can barely describe how terrible my experience with Airbnb was this past weekend. Let me take you on a journey that outlines my chaotic and downright disgusting travel story all thanks to Airbnb. On July 31st, I successfully booked a two-bedroom house using the Airbnb app for August 31st through September 3rd. I was given confirmation from the host on August 11th that the booking went through and that he was expecting us.

On August 27th I reached out to the host via the in-app message tab trying to extend the stay and add two more people to the booking, The host did not respond. I tried to add the extra two more days through the app, but soon saw that they were marked as “booked” and I figured that was why I did not receive a response from the host. I figured that once I checked in on the 31st I would let the host know that two more people were joining me and I would pay any additional fees at that time; I did not see a way to add guests to an existing reservation.

Fast forward to the day of our check in, August 31st, 3:00 PM. I received no email outlining our entry code or where a key could be located. I texted the host at 3:15 PM and received no response. I called the host at 3:30 PM and the phone number on file was a Google Voice number, not even a real number. I left a voicemail. I called the customer service number for Airbnb and was told that they needed to reach out to the host themselves as per protocol and that I would get a call back from them either way.

The remaining six hours of the day was a game of phone tag between me and the customer service representative. He had to wait two hours before he could cancel the reservation because we needed to give the host enough time to respond. That I could understand. What I could not understand was being made to feel as though the representative was doing me a favor by refunding my money and leaving me with nowhere to stay for over three days. When I asked for accommodations to be provided, I was met with resistance because “I did not book a stay for four people originally”. I had told the representative multiple times that I had tried to get ahold of the host before so that I could change the accommodations and pay any additional fees required.

Here we are sitting in a rental car for over two hours in front of the Airbnb hoping that the host was just running late. We were not hungry as we had to go to a rehearsal dinner at 6:00 PM so we did not take the advice of the representative to “get something to eat and take our mind off the waiting”… he did offer to give us $50 towards our dinner, but as I told him, I could care less about food when I had nowhere to stay for three days.

We waited for our host, eagerly watching every car that came down the street thinking it was him… but it wasn’t. Meanwhile as we sat in our rental car, we were trying to find accommodations either through Airbnb or a hotel of any kind. The problem was there were no vacancies at the hotels and there were no Airbnb’s available because of the holiday weekend and the late notice.

You are probably wondering why we didn’t just go to a different city. The whole reason we needed to to be in Pueblo was for our friends’ wedding. Two people from our party were standing up in the wedding and needed to be nearby to participate in the dinners, rehearsals, and events. Going to a different city was out of the question. With the lack of long-term accommodations anywhere in the city, we were able to secure a hotel room for one night only (as that was all they had). The service representative said that he found a house that could fit all of us on such short notice that looked “really nice”, and he was “sticking his neck out” to get us accommodations for four people. Let me reiterate that we would have never been in this predicament if the original host was vetted properly in the first place. Telling us that he was “sticking his neck out” and intending to make us feel like he was going out of his way did not make us thankful.

We got settled into our first hotel for the night of the 31st as there was no Airbnb available and we needed to get ready for the rehearsal dinner at 6:00 PM. Customer service said that Airbnb would cover the stay at the “very nice” house and that we would have Friday and Saturday night covered. I felt some relief, but it was very short lived.

On the morning of September 1st, I was happy to see the entry email for the new Airbnb host. I contacted the him and asked if we could check in earlier because we had to leave the hotel; the room needed to be vacated by 11:00 AM. Through the Airbnb app I communicated with the new host and he said that we could enter the house early and that someone would be around to clean as the other guests were leaving.

We packed our cars and headed to the new location, excited to finally get settled in. From the outside, the new house looked normal. Maybe the grass and bushes were a little overgrown and the paint was peeling, but it could have been nicer inside… nope. This “very nice” house was scary, dark, dank and anything but clean. Someone had clearly been smoking cigarettes in there, and the sparse furniture that was in the house smelled musty and must have been picked out of the garbage. Our rooms that we were supposed to sleep in were in the moldy basement. The kitchen where we planned on saving some money by preparing meals, was not suitable for food because of the layer of grime on all the surfaces. Half the appliances were out of order as they kindly stated this with a sticky note. Maybe we could have slept on top of the covers and not eaten in the house, but we couldn’t even get clean because the showers had mold up the walls. Not to mention the nasty dingy towels that were supposed to dry our “clean” bodies after we showered.

There was no amount of scrubbing that could possibly clean those bathrooms, so what do we do? Do we call Airbnb back again and deal with another six-hour long back and forth just to hear the same excuses? Do we complain to the current host about the conditions? What would that get us? We needed a safe, clean place to reside for the remainder of our trip. And it was clear that Airbnb was not going to help us.

We decided to contact a hotel in Walsenberg, CO (40 minutes from where we needed to be) and they had one room left. We pounced on the opportunity to have a clean safe place to rest our heads. We packed up the car and drove straight to Walsenberg so that there was no chance that they could possibly sell our room to anyone else. I didn’t contact the host of the second house as I was to distraught to even formulate a response to what we had just experienced. Our number one concern was securing clean and safe lodging for the next two days.

You are probably wondering what I want. I am going to tell you exactly what I want and need: I expect my initial charge of $192.00 to refunded to my credit card. I expect Airbnb to pay back the amount of money I spent on both hotels (I was forced to pay outrageously high prices because of the last-minute booking). I do not want an Airbnb credit; I want a check for the amount, sent to me so I can at least recoup the cost of the accommodations (not to mention the hundreds of dollars I am now out of because a party of four had to eat out every meal and the additional cost of gas for us to drive back and forth from the hotel). I expect that both hosts will no longer be able to rent out their houses. I expect a handwritten email in response to this letter acknowledging that my concerns and needs are being heard and addressed.

A Few Stained Carpets and a Hidden Guest with Your Stay?

It was a cold, miserable day in April 2017. My husband and I hadn’t been on a vacation where we stayed in one spot longer than two nights for years. We did do a stay at an Airbnb in the Okanagan, in British Columbia, Canada, last year, and it was amazing. We decided to try again, only for a longer time and on a lake. We perused Airbnb until we found the perfect spot. The pictures blew me away, it was exactly what we were looking for, and the reviews were all raving. What could possible go wrong, right? You know the old saying: “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is?”

Well, it was. This was the most money per night we have ever spent on a room, at $189/night, and we were so looking forward to it. For months, we dreamed about how relaxing it was going to be. Then we got there. We walked in, and the carpets were deplorable. This was a pet friendly suite, which I was totally fine with, being both a cat and dog owner. We left our dog behind, as she did not meet the height restriction imposed by this stay, which was fine; it would be a more relaxing vacation without her. I had no idea – someone correct me if I’m wrong – but when a place is pet friendly, does that equate to “please bring your canine friend, and make sure it isn’t house trained, and kindly have it piss and defecate anywhere on the carpet it pleases, as many times as possible, so that everyone who comes after will know it was here”?

That’s what the carpets looked like here. It was absolutely disgusting. I took a video and uploaded it to youtube. It really was worse in person, but you can clearly see all the stains in the video. As if that wasn’t enough, the listing said it was for a two-bedroom basement walkout. Perfect, I thought: we’ll have two beds to sleep on, I can see if my sister and her husband can come down from Vancouver for a night or two (out of the five nights we paid for, at an additional cost of $15/night if she stayed), and if she didn’t come, maybe I can starfish on that second bed a night or two, really stretch out and sleep alone. We stepped in, looked around, and tried the second bedroom door off the bathroom (a cheater ensuite). It was blocked from the other side; we couldn’t get in. The door didn’t lock though – it was just something against the door.

We didn’t think twice about it; I didn’t invite my sister and her husband down that first night anyway, thinking maybe they were still cleaning it (wanting to give them the benefit of the doubt). I was wrong. We woke up the next day, sharing the bathroom, brushing our teeth, etc. and we heard coughing from the other side of the door. What? Are you kidding me? There was someone in there, and obviously slept in there, because the coughing continued for at least half an hour before I texted the host and asked to talk to him.

He came down and explained it was his kid in there, that we didn’t ‘need’ the second bedroom, so his child from out of town would be using the room. Really? Gross. The door doesn’t lock, nor did the door to the main house that the suite shared. So I could be taking a shower, and dude could just say ‘oops’, and walk in on me? Let me be clear: the ad was for a two-bedroom basement walkout. Not once did he contact me and tell me we would be sharing the suite, nor that the second bedroom would not be available to me, nor that he would be lowering my rental rate. Not once. He had months to let me know this.

I told him I wasn’t happy about this lack of privacy (what if we wanted to get freaky with it in that second bedroom? None of his business since we paid for it). What if we wanted to get freaky at all, anywhere in that suite? We had to worry about his kid listening and hearing everything? Gross. Just gross. Well guess what? He texted me later and his solution to this was to put a different kid down there; she was ‘quieter’. Great, thanks. That solved everything (dripping with sarcasm).

After two nights, he texted me to tell me there was no longer anyone staying in that room, but we still couldn’t get in. We never even saw what it looked like. I waited, and stewed, and decided to leave an honest review, as follows:

“Rod and Penny are the loveliest of people, and their dog Dusty is adorable. The location is great, beautiful views, lovely patio and hot tub. I am leaving an honest review, because I feel like it’s the only way Airbnb can work for everyone. I was disappointed with the state of the carpets (pet stained – had anyone else mentioned the dirty carpets in their review, we may have cancelled). Being a pet friendly rental should not equal filthy carpets. And I am not a neat freak by any stretch – I just like it clean. Was also not happy at not getting the two-bedroom suite as advertised, with no advanced notice that we were not getting the full suite that we paid $200/night for. After two nights, Rod did tell us no one was staying in that second bedroom anymore (I had told him I was upset about it), but we still did not have access to it; it was blocked shut. That being said, Rod was concerned about our happiness while there, but there was nothing he could do to improve the situation. The damage was already done.”

Airbnb did a good job of responding to my request for money back; I will give them that. They didn’t get me what I asked for, but I got one night’s rent back, plus an additional $50. However, here’s the kicker: my honest review does not show up on his listing. My question is this: how many other people commented about the filthy carpets? If I had seen one complaint about cleanliness, I would have cancelled. When he came down to speak about it, he said how shocked he was, how no one had ever complained about it before, and how he had the carpets cleaned every three weeks.

In our correspondence about a refund, he told me I could have checked out. Right. In the middle of tourist season, I could have checked out, only gotten half my money back, and found a place to stay? I don’t think so. This guy was arrogant to deal with when it came to the refund. He only puts the good reviews up, and he knows his place is filthy. He has the location and pictures on his side, and will continue to scam people. Shame on Airbnb for not making a site where all reviews get posted. I paid my money to stay there, so I should be able to review it for all potential guests to see. I will never use Airbnb again.

Convenient and Very Disgusting Lovely Manhattan Airbnb

Last weekend I visited NYC and decided to stay in an Airbnb. Obviously the pictures looked very nice and all, so I went for it. I arrived late on a Friday, tired from the bus, and just wanted to get in the shower and sleep before the touristy and busy day I was going to have. I arrived at the house and I had to guess where and how to open a lockbox that was placed in a nail salon next to the building to get my keys, feeling like a total thief. However, that wasn’t the biggest issue. The neighborhood wasn’t safe, and the building couldn’t have been worse: very old, full of trash, smelly. I thought to myself “never mind”, but then saw my room. At first impression it seemed alright, but when I looked closely I started to notice that it was very dirty: I mean dust everywhere, a little trash on the sheets (which led me to believe that the bed sheets had not been changed, because if they had removed the sheets to change them, the trash would have fallen off). The only place to leave my things was on a little table that was filthy and the worst part was the bathroom.

I needed a shower after the long journey and I realized that the shower was really gross, and had hair in it; you could see the dirt, there were leftover things from previous guests, and as soon as I opened the shower I realized that the water didn’t drain. I had to remove a pile of strangers’ hair myself, and ended feeling dirtier from the shower than from the bus. The toilet had pee marks on it and pubic hair. Underneath it were many other marks and things; you could notice right away that it hadn’t been cleaned in weeks.

The air conditioner didn’t work properly so my first night in NYC was a nightmare. I put a towel on the bed and I covered the pillow with my sweater because I didn’t want my body touching the sheets or the cover (which had some unknown spots on it that could have easily been something sketchy). Really the worst part is that I got charged a 30 USD fee for a cleaning service. Obviously I asked for a refund from the host and he denied that the room was dirty. If he is the host he should know when the room is clean. I went through Airbnb to get a refund I still don’t have a resolution. Since the host decided to deny paying me back for the cleaning fee and not apologize about the state of the room, I decided to share my story publicly.

Take Pictures and Notify Airbnb Immediately

My husband and I had a lovely trip to New Mexico last month. We stayed at a nice house at a great location with beautiful scenery. When we arrived, I went to sit on the couch in the living room and saw that there was a large stain where something had been spilled on one of the cushions in the seat of the couch. Being a tad OCD and grossed out by that, I just went and sat on the other couch as there were two. My husband sat on the couch with the stain as he is not as silly as I am, but he did question why anyone would buy such a light colored couch for a rental home (it was a light tan or beige color). Other than that, we thought nothing about it.

During the week, we noted several other issues. The first day there we noted that the tub in the bathroom was leaking onto the hard wood floors. We hadn’t used the tub nor would we as we are shower people. We alerted the local person who manages the property for the owner, and the next day a plumber came out to have a look at it. He stopped the leak by turning off the water to the tub as it needed a new faucet (glad we didn’t need a tub).

One afternoon we came back and there was water leaking from the front bay window and also a leak in the back door. We looked at the door and there was a crack in the glass. We emailed the owner to let him know; he said he knew about the front window but not the door. We were in the mountains where it was cool and wonderful – a great place to open the windows and enjoy the outside fresh air. So we did. Within minutes the house was full of flies and moths. After looking at the windows we realized that all of the screens didn’t fit the windows so all the critters were just crawling in around the edges. No worries – we closed the windows and starting swatting flies.

The house had a full kitchen that was well stocked. It was also well stocked with rodents as all the pots and bowls had mouse droppings in them. No big deal – I just washed them out and used them. However, there were also droppings inside the cabinet that could have been cleaned if the housekeeper had looked. I mention the above because on our way home – we left about 7:00 in the morning as we had a long drive and check out was at 9:00 AM – we got a call from the owner (about 9:10 AM) asking us what we had spilled all over his couch. I first questioned what he was talking about, then I realized that he was referring to the stain on the couch that was there when we got there. He said that his housekeeper said that it hadn’t been there the previous weekend, that it was definitely caused by us. He then hung up on me.

I first thought that we had lost cell, but looked and that wasn’t the case. I called him back, and there was no answer. I waited about an hour and called again and he answered. I tried to explain that we had not done that, why would we have notified him about other issues and then ruined his property. He said that he knew that we had done it, that his housekeeper was wonderful, and he was not going to report us. When I got the review survey for the property I wrote a good review for his place as it was a lovely setting, had beautiful scenery, and was definitely a great deal.

I also wrote a personal review to him pointing out the above issues that all could be easily fixed, and also to let him know that maybe his housekeeper is not as great as he thinks she is and that maybe he needs to make a surprise trip to visit his property. A week later I got an email from the host telling me that he could not believe the nasty review that I had written, that I had irreparably damaged his business, and saying what a horrible person I am. The public review literally said, “Great property, beautiful scenery!” How is that nasty?

I did contact Airbnb to verify that only the public review was visible to the public. I emailed and got a reply from them within 24 hours verifying that, and they were very helpful letting me know that anything that was sent straight to the host was not public. So I have no complaints about Airbnb. However – if you rent some place and notice problems – document them immediately and contact the host or management immediately. I have a feeling in this case that would not have helped us. I think the housekeeper didn’t catch this when it was done originally or did it herself, and I think the host is crazy and would have said that we walked in the house and immediately destroyed the couch. In the future I will be looking upon arrival.

After Bed Bugs, Airbnb Cancelled Reservation

This has been the worst Airbnb experience of my life. We just checked out of a Lisbon Airbnb where bed bugs ate us alive. Please see the attached photos of the painful welts all over my body, face and neck. After complaining to Airbnb, the resolution manager proceeded to cancel the rest of our trip. We are now standing in the airport about to board a flight to Seville with no accommodations to go to when we land at midnight. Two girls alone in a foreign city. Three different resolution managers we initially spoke to told us that we would receive a refund and that we would also be rebooked in a hotel for this evening at Airbnb’s own cost (the least they could do). We did receive the refund and were trying to retrieve the hotel information when a new manager informed us that they would not be creating a reservation for us because they already went ahead and processed the refund. She claimed it was one or the other – which is not what three prior managers told us. We are now standing stranded in the airport with nowhere to go when we land. This was the most disgusting, unsafe experience I have ever encountered and I will be spreading this story publicly as far as I can so that other young women traveling don’t get put it the same unsafe and frightening situation.

Airbnb Expected us to Use our Psychic Powers

My husband and I recently sold our home and needed a temporary place of residence for three weeks before we could move into our new home. We figured an Airbnb would be the most comfortable route as we have a dog and a young son. Upon our arrival to our Airbnb everything seemed fine and the host had been very kind in his messages. Upon further inspection, the toilet was not clean, the shower looked like it had not been cleaned in awhile, the shower curtain liner was brown at the bottom, and the host had left his used bar of soap that had body hair on it in the shower. The fridge was full of his food which left no room for the groceries we would need for three weeks and the freezer had dried food stuck to it. In addition the bed was only a full bed for three people (myself, my spouse, and our son).

We stayed there less than 12 hours and the next morning I immediately messaged the owner and kindly told him it would not work. He asked if there was anything he could do and I stated that we just wanted a refund and it was okay. I later called Airbnb asking for a full refund and they stated they would back the owner’s refund policy of only 50% if we did not cancel prior to staying there. My question is this: how on earth could it be possible that we would know before seeing the apartment that it would not meet our needs? We paid $2156 to stay there for 22 nights and only actually occupied it for eight hours. How is it fair that we only received $856 as a refund?

The cancellation policy was stated, but the apartment we expected was not what we got. The owner is also at fault. It is not expensive to hire someone to clean a residence before you know you will be having guests stay there. Basically we are out $1300 because Airbnb somehow expected us to use our psychic powers to know that the apartment would not meet our needs prior to staying there. Not only is that the most ludicrous and ridiculous policy I’ve ever heard, but it’s also theft to let someone take so much money from us and then not provide us with a refund. I will never, ever, use Airbnb again and I will let everyone know how they do not advocate for their guests. I will also be filing a complaint with the BBB. My husband even offered to refund the host for the time we did occupy the residence and still a refund was denied. In the past I have used VRBO to book vacation homes and have never been disappointed with my experience. This has taught me that I should have stuck with a company who cares about its guests and to never, ever, use Airbnb again.

Fraud Alert: Host Fakes Damages to Remodel Bathroom?

I need some help. I am writing this letter regarding my Airbnb stay in Paris, France. This letter is about the review and the money that the host requested due to damages. Before I begin, I would like to state that I contacted Airbnb five to six times for this issue and each time no one called me back. I was the one that contacted them. After they “resolved the issue” I asked to talk to the representative that made the resolution but he told me I couldn’t talk to him and they made the final decision; that was it. Note that I did not feel comfortable to talk to the host due to her treatment of me.

The first time I called Airbnb I got a reference number. I contacted customer service right after I got home from the trip, after the host asked for money. I called to make a complaint about her. I was told several things: I didn’t have to answer to her request or talk to her and only pay for what was broken. Airbnb would negotiate and I didn’t have to contact her. I also asked about the reviews and the representative assured me that it will not post until I submitted my review. I was waiting for them to get back to me.

They failed to mention two things to me. First, if Airbnb negotiates, their ruling is final and second after 14 days the review will show up on my profile. I did not receive any communication from a representative. I asked one to have someone contact me ASAP because I didn’t want this to drag on. He mentioned that they were high volume calls and someone would get back to me soon. However, four calls and three weeks later was unacceptable.

The second time I called, 2-3 days later, was after I saw her review, which was full of inaccuracies. The representative told me that they took the information and asked if I had any other items to add to the response. I told them that I first needed to talk to someone and that I would not enter anything until I did.

The third time, I contacted Airbnb again because the host wrote to me. I told them I needed to talk to someone. Again, I was told to write my side of the events. I finally did that. A few days later when she emailed me for the fourth or fifth time, I saw that she asked Airbnb to intervene and that someone contacted me asking for my documents and my account of the issue. After a day of “deliberation”, I was told I owed the host $1,012. They actually tried to take money from account. They did not notify me at all. They were going to take the money out without telling me how they came to that conclusion.

I contacted Airbnb and asked if the manager could call me back. They told me that he was in another call and he would get back to me. That day at noon I sent an email to him asking him to contact me and that I was waiting for his call. He emailed me back stating: “In addition, please be advised, due to the sensitive nature of our work, the Trust and Safety department is unable to receive and inbound or make any outbound calls at any given time. 100% of our work is carried out using emails only.” I guess they expect people to just take what they say at their word. I called Airbnb the same night. I was told that was the final resolution and there was nothing I could do about it. I also asked for a manager but was told that the managers couldn’t do anything about it.

I called again the next morning, asked for a manager and got one. He said that he only took care of minor issues. When I told him that I would be taking the necessary steps for the case, he told me that they would not take my calls again because the case was closed. They were going to put a note in my file to say not to engage with me next time I called. I didn’t spout any profanity or yell at anyone that I talked to. This host is a fraud and I am not going to pay her a dime.

Regarding the review: I was under the assumption that I wouldn’t see her review until I reviewed her. However, three days later I saw her review. It was not on my profile but it was in my email. I read it. I did contact Airbnb that day and they asked me to send my comments through online. I didn’t do that due to the previous conversation. I was waiting for someone to get back to me. The next day I saw that her review of my stay was posted on my profile. The fact that I did not review the host and the fact that it was posted on my profile is appalling. In addition, I couldn’t write my reviews about her. No one told me that there was a timeframe to write a review and that was misleading on Airbnb’s part.

I did have two extra guests come and they only stayed for two nights. I was celebrating my birthday; I didn’t know they were coming. Two days before I was in the hospital and I had forgotten to inform the host. I took responsibility for that. Due the hospital stay and my excitement I forgot to mention that to her and I apologized. I told her I would pay for the extra people. However, the way she approached the situation was rude and charged me way too much. The host was not in town that week and she had her friend be the point of contact, the person to reach out to if we had any issues. I went to him to get more towels and bed covers. She claimed she left five towels but only four were big enough for grown adults and the other was really small. The towels were not good either. They were really old and dingy. This guy was the one that mentioned we had extra people.

The host messaged me:

I do not want to sound disagreeable with you but I rent my apartment via a platform governed by rules. It is at the time of the reservation that we agree the number of people who will be at the place. I am not obliged to accept the presence of additional guests. I would be entitled to demand that the entire stay be billed for seven people. The manager, who is fortunately my friend, does not hold me accountable for the inconvenience (I had planned everything for five people). I let you consult the price of hotels to give you an idea. I ask you to add 160 euro, which seems reasonable. Have a excellent day!

She asked that I pay her the total amount for all the days for the seven people. The additional people stayed only for two nights (I can provide some documents). I don’t believe I need to pay her that much money (Saturday night – two people, Sunday night – two people, Monday night – four people,  Tuesday night – seven people, Wednesday night seven people, Thursday night – five people, Friday night – four people, and Saturday night – four people). The reason they stayed for those two nights was because the sofa couch was dirty. She also told me not to inconvenience her friend. Now, that is not right. She told me to contact him if I needed anything related to the stay and then went and told me not contact him. That was not right on her part.

From that message I did not feel comfortable staying at her place. I almost called Airbnb to move us but I didn’t and I regret that now. I also did not feel comfortable contacting her manager. He was smoking weed when I went to ask him for assistance with the towels and the bed sheets. That put me and my guests in a compromising position. The person that was supposed to be our contact was high and that made me feel unsafe in the apartment and in the building as well, especially in a different country where I did not know the rules and laws.

I had to contact him due to the shower drain not going down. I noticed that on the day we arrived but I thought I wouldn’t need to make a big deal about it. However, as more people used it, it became apparent that it was not going away. He came and unclogged the drain for us, pulling out hair that didn’t belong to any of my guests and a piece of plastic from the drain (identical to the one that she had a picture of). I do not know where that came from; when we checked the bathroom the first day neither of us saw that. He told me he would notify her about that. I am not sure how it got there.

The host messaged me later and vaguely talked about it. I mentioned it to her but she did not respond. The next time she contacted me was about the checkout time. I told her it would be around 8:30 AM. Instead of her coming up to check the apartment it was her husband and property manager. I did not see her until we left the apartment, when she waived at four people leaving from the balcony. I had to return the bed sheet that she loaned us when her husband came up (I had a contract with her and not her husband; she should have gone up herself). Her husband spent a good 15 minutes in the apartment with me looking at everything, checking if everything was good. He saw the place, said it was clean, and I was good to go. I gave him the key and 20 minutes after that we left.

We did clean the apartment, as much as we could. She also asked me to water her plant while I was staying there per her instructions, and I did. Every other day in the morning, I woke up early those days before my friends and I left to go sightseeing to water her plant. I do not think that as a guest she had the right to ask me to do that but I did. The first thing her husband said to me when he got inside the apartment was “my plants are still alive”.

I do not speak or understand French that well. Luckily I have friends that do and thanks to Google translate I was about to translate her request and review of my stay. I didn’t think that it was fair and frankly rude that the last two communications with her were in French and not English. Our communication started in English and she wrote to me in French. That put a burden on me as a guest and seemed that she was trying to scam me.

She said we did not clean the apartment. We did. We might have missed some spots but she claimed that we destroyed her apartment. I also paid a $40 cleaning fee for the apt which meant she could have easily cleaned it as well. The last Airbnb I stayed at, the host mentioned that I left the place clean. I also went with people that had used Airbnb in the past and their hosts said they were clean. Furthermore, that morning we had three people cleaning the floor. We swept all the floors. Her husband saw us sweeping the floor. The picture she showed of dirt on the floor is a misrepresentative; there was too much dirt on the floor after three people cleaned it.

She claimed we dirtied her couch on the patio. That was not us; that stain was already there. We barely used the patio; we were out the majority of the time and had no time to use it. In her pictures there is a flower on the chair. She has flowers all over her patio and if you look very closely there is a small stain.

She claimed we broke her shower, which was a total lie. My friend used it that earlier that morning and it was not broken. When I checked it with her husband, the shower doors slid easily. The string was not pulled out as she showed in her pictures. The piece that she had in her pictures was similar to the one that her friend pulled out of the drain. This caused the shower to not drain earlier that week. Also in the picture she had the shower head on the floor. When we left, the shower head was in the right place. If you look at one of her pictures of the shower it looks like a piece is missing from the picture on the bottom. Now, if I look at my picture, that piece is there. This is 100% fraud and I will not pay for that. That picture was staged to look like my party and I broke her shower.

She claimed we left the oven dirty. We did not use the oven. We used the two fridges and the stove and we left those clean (pictures are provided). We only cooked one day and we ate out after that. That is either from her or her other guests. She said that we broke her glasses.. that could have happened; however, when I was cleaning them I didn’t see any type of damage to them. She almost made it seem that we destroyed and broke two of her glasses. I admit breaking her wine opener. I felt bad for breaking it. I was also under the impression that I didn’t have to worry about it. Even her husband told me not to worry about it and that it was an old one.

She claimed we “degraded the room of my son”. I think it was something that was there before. No luggage was anywhere near her son’s drawers. No dirty items were left on them. She also lied about me not contacting her. If you see our messages, I contacted her right away after she sent me a message.

Overall, I think she is scamming me for more money for her shower, the patio furniture. While her apartment was good for my stay, I think it needed some upgrading, especially the bathroom; that’s why she is asking for more money. I am a reasonable person and I tried to work with Airbnb to resolve this issue. However, it seems that I can’t get someone to talk to. The communication has been severed due to them not answering my calls.