Forced out of Airbnb Cabin in the Woods

I live in Atlanta and had guests coming in from Bangkok to visit, so I wanted to show them a good time. I took three days off work in the middle of the week, as weekends are almost always booked up, and grabbed a really great looking cabin up in the Smoky Mountains. It had a hot tub, wifi, and best of all an air conditioner because summers up here get really humid and sweaty. I also took note that the place had no cell service – which is common up in the mountains – but with internet it should have been okay.

We arrived in the afternoon and stopped to buy $150 worth of BBQ fixings and snacks. Nice little town: the country folks are fun to people watch. Then we made the trek in to the scary dirt roads of North Carolina and found our way to the cabin.

The first thing wrong was that there was a guy parked in the driveway in a beat up old truck. We got out and started unpacking (strangers don’t scare me) and when finished, we walked over and asked if we could assist him with something. The young man said he was the pool guy, and got out and put some chemicals in the pool. Then he turned on the BBQ to high, heated it up to 400 degrees, and scrubbed the grill.

Meanwhile I was inside the living room looking at the huge muddy mess on the floor. It looked like somebody with hiking boots just tracked mud back and forth all over the living room. On the wall there was a thermostat, and under it was quite a large pile of drywall dust on the table. The table was also muddy. What the hell went on in here?

Outside, the pool guy turned off the grill and put the cover immediately back on. A 400 degree grill… yeah. As he drove off I watched from the window as the cover began to melt. “What sort of brain dead…” went through my head as I went outside and pulled it off. Too late – he melted a couple holes in it.

I went back inside and pondered the meaning of a $100 cleaning fee while I was on my knees with paper towels cleaning mud off everything. There was no mop I could find. The sun was heating up the place pretty good so I turned on the AC. The temperature inside went from 75 to 80. What? Why was the AC making it hotter?

Meanwhile, my friends were watching wrestling with a TV sound bar that was broken, and we decided just to watch TV with the speakers while I sent a message to the owner on Airbnb that the AC was not working. Remember there was no cell service here, which the host pointed out on the listing.

“Oh yeah. We had some messages about that. Lightning struck it and it’s dead,” replied the host.

“You did not think to inform me of that?” I asked, feeling a little bit like this vacation was getting to be a bit more stress than I had hoped for.

“Property management called you and left a voicemail,” he said.

He called my cell phone, at a cabin where it is documented that cell services don’t exist. To this point we’ve only ever interacted over email or messages on Airbnb anyway. What the hell?

“Somebody will be there tomorrow to fix it,” he told me. I thought only of the fact that more strangers would be walking around tracking mud all over my rental, interrupting my attempt to show foreign guests how great our mountain forests are.

Now, I’m a fully functional independent adult. Some problems happen, I deal and move on. I’m upset that my trip to The Cabin In The Woods has turned into a stress issue, but I pour myself a drink, sit on the sofa, watch Mystery Science Theater, and calm down.

At 9:30 PM there was a knock at the door. I thought it was the host, or a manager who had come to see what was going on. It was very much not. A family of four Chinese tourists stood outside looking puzzled. Maybe they were just admiring the man in his underwear sweating inside the cabin watching loud television… but no. They had rented the cabin too. She pulled out her phone and showed me. Yup, correct dates and address. In fact it was the same form I had. We share. She looked horrified, so I got dressed.

Now we had a real problem. I messaged the host on Airbnb and got no reply. I did some math; they outnumbered me, I only lived three hours away, so I decided to be the gentleman and give them the cabin. We packed up and left.

Before I lost wifi (and all connectivity for the next two hours) I saw a message from the host that said “Are you sure?” and I reply “I am leaving. I want a full refund.” and started my long midnight drive back to Atlanta.  The Chinese tourists were exceptionally gracious, nice, and we all had a laugh about how insane the situation was. I hope they enjoyed their sweltering humid dirt cabin.

Once I had cell reception I called Airbnb and got their less than helpful call center. He asked me to authenticate. I did so. Then he asked for my credit card number. Not kidding. They record their calls; this seriously happened. I swore at him and hung up. There is zero chance he needed that. I arrived home to an email stating “Thanks for reporting your issue, we’ll look in to it.”

I spent the last hour on the phone with them trying to explain what happened: that I never got to use the place, that I had to clean it, and it was misrepresented in the posting. They said they will look in to it.

I know these things take time so I’ll give them two business days before I call American Express and just report the charge as fraud. Let them fight it out with Airbnb. I feel like this whole disaster was just a series of unfortunate events. If phones had worked I might have been able to work out a new place before I spent hours in the car driving home.

The host for sure dropped the ball on informing me of their issues and double booking a rental (what an idiot). Airbnb just seemed disinterested and clinical about it but if I were a huge corporation I would be too. What they do in the next 72 hours will tell. Lesson learned though. I will never book anything through this site again. I will use direct rentals only.

Disgusting Suite, Silence on Refund from Airbnb

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We arrived at the Airbnb in Tel Aviv at 5:45 PM, tired after a long day of traveling. The earliest check-in was at 3:00 PM, but the suite had not been turned over. It was very unclean and there wasn’t even toilet paper or unused linens. We had to book a last minute hotel so we could rest.

The next thing I did was contact the host and request a refund. He said “okay” but it’s been more than 48 hours and my credit card had been charged nearly $900 (before the money I had to spend on alternate accommodations) and I haven’t heard anything back.

I also contacted Airbnb via chat about the issue right away. They responded at first but then said they’d have to get back to me. No help. I waited more than 48 hours. No response, so I messaged for an update.

It’s now been about 60 hours and there’s been no refund and no response from either Airbnb or the host. They charged me before I checked in so they should refund me immediately. Now I’ve been on hold trying to talk to someone for almost 25 minutes. No response. I have been a long time client of Airbnb since 2011 but I’ve changed my mind about them. It isn’t what it used to be.

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Los Angeles Airbnb Nightmare Forces Guest Out

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I booked a trip in Los Angeles and when I arrived the Airbnb was not as it was on the site. First off, there were homeless people hanging out on the staircase; I had to ask if I could pass to go up the stairs. They obviously slept there. The whole staircase stunk of urine.

Going into the apartment was a shock as the place was so dirty and dusty; they even left us a present in the toilet: a nice big poo. There were stains on all the furniture and thick dust everywhere. In addition, we could not use the aircon as the plug socket was off the wall. The host said it worked.

I drove six hours to come here. I had to spend another $300 on another hotel. I stayed in the property thirty minutes before leaving and opened a case straight away on the 29th of last month. I asked for a refund. Every time I messaged Airbnb they kept fobbing me off.

It’s been two weeks now and I’m still waiting for a refund. They keep passing my claim around in order not to pay it I’m guessing. I’ve also read other stories of similar experiences in which they keep passing the claim around in order not to pay it. I paid $300 for two nights yet I didn’t stay here. I provided pictures and they still don’t want to help me. I will never book through Airbnb again.

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Left Airbnb Early to Escape Disgusting Property

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When arriving at our accommodation after a very long flight, we saw the property hadn’t been cleaned. We contacted the host by telephone and he sent the cleaner in. She told us that it would only take her a half hour to clean.

When we came back all she had done was put some clean towels and made the mattress that was on the floor (no actual bed). We had to book into a hotel for our last few days of our trip at an extra cost to ourselves. We would have checked out sooner but we couldn’t find a place to stay at short notice.

This decision was due to the lack of cleanliness and mice infestation. There were mouse droppings and urine on the kitchen work surfaces and floor every day. The last straw was the appearance of some kind of cockroach which we had to kill. We were unable to sit on the sofa due to it not being fit.

The tap in the kitchen leaks water every time you turn it on, most of the lights don’t have bulbs that work, the toilet seat is old and dirty with the lacquer peeling off, the fridge has brown ice forming thick at the top (unfit for use), there are mouse traps that are not even in use making them pointless, the carpets are frayed and dirty, and the paintwork is dirty. We don’t want to touch the handrails which are wobbly and dangerous, and the bed advertised is not a bed; it’s a mattress on the floor. There was no mention of restricted headroom in the bedroom. The soap was dirty and used. There was a smell of gas. I have taken photos that I have attached. The property was dirty, tatty, tired and it smelt. As for the dishwasher, it was filthy with a moldy plate in it.

We found it really difficult to contact Airbnb whilst in NYC and their terms for resolution were that you had to complain within 24 hours of arrival. They also state that you must not contact the host directly with any problems and it must go thorough Airbnb, which is easier said than done. Of the £1026.00 that we paid Airbnb offered us:

I’m your case manager from Airbnb, I hope you are doing fine. Thanks for contacting us regarding your reservation. I’m sorry to see the condition of the accommodation you stayed at. I have gone over your refund request, and even though not all conditions have been met according to our Guest refund policy, I do think it is fair that you receive a refund after seeing the pictures that you made. After considering, I have refunded you one night and 50% of the cleaning fee, for a total of £167.19. This amount has been sent to your card and you will receive a confirmation email about this shortly. Please let me know if you have any further questions for me. Wishing you a nice day.

My Experience with Airbnb? Deplorable

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I have been dealing with this Airbnb situation over the past two weeks. I have spoken with about ten call staff and five different supervisors/managers, each of whom has said that they would call me back, but there has been no follow through.

I have been on hold for 30 minutes at a time waiting to be transferred to a supervisor. I have had my calls disconnected (dropped) four times after waiting at length for a supervisor to come on the phone and, when calls were dropped, I received no callback. This situation has been frustrating to say the least.

My reservation was from May 4 to May 13 in West Hollywood. I sent Airbnb a number of pictures that I took of the rental.

Please note, there was mold and mildew all over the bathrooms and kitchen (I am an infectious disease epidemiologist by training and it was definitely a health hazard; the Los Angeles Department of Public Health and Housing Safety should be notified). The walls and paint were cracked and chipping throughout the house. The floors were dirty. There was rotten food in the kitchen sink and on the countertops. There was mold growing all over the AC unit.

Throughout the home was a thick coat of dust across most surfaces. The place was filthy. Even more alarming, there were electrical wires hanging out from the baseboards – a huge violation with the Los Angeles building and safety authority.

We walked into this rental, and spent ten minutes looking around and taking pictures. I immediately called Airbnb and spoke with a representative and was transferred to a supervisor. The gentleman asked me to email him pictures of the house, so I sent the pictures to him. He told me and my friend that was with me (on speaker phone), verbatim: “These pictures are enough to justify a full refund since the place is definitely a health risk and is absolutely not in the condition of what was advertised.”

As you can see from the pictures, there was mold, mildew and rotting food. All very concerning for me, since I had recently had major surgery the week before. After the Airbnb supervisor told me that he would ensure that I receive a full refund for every dollar spent (my friends heard him tell me this on speaker phone), we locked the house, put the key back in the lockbox, and checked into the Andaz Hotel (also in West Hollywood), which cost me double the price of this Airbnb rental.

Unfortunately I had no other options, as all the listings that I would have considered staying at from Airbnb were no longer available and booked by other guests. As such, I have had to pay over $4,000 in hotel fees for this time period. I also had to pay $100 in cab expenses getting to the Airbnb rental and then to the Andaz Hotel. This has caused me considerable loss, both in terms of actual cash, but also in terms of time spent dealing with the situation (an estimated five hours of time lost).

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Airbnb Host Uses Private Space and Overshares

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This Airbnb host listed a room with a private bathroom. We left the room locked on our second day. The host or his child used the bathroom and bed while we were out of the house sometime that evening. Photos show a rumpled bed and pillows displaced; a wet towel was hanging up, and someone else’s toothpaste and toothbrush were on the window sill. The house was full of smoke although the listing clearly indicated “no smoking.” No one else was on the premises during this time. The host was very agitated and communicated to us extremely personal circumstances including an incident with the police earlier that evening. This made us feel unwelcome and unsafe. We left immediately. The host’s behavior as the evening progressed was truly bizarre.

No Confusion about Check-in Time, Only Excuses

The day we were leaving we received an email from one of the people who ran the Airbnb wanting to know when we planned to arrive. Check-in time was 3:00 PM; I estimated between 4:00 and 5:00 and sent her that information.

We arrived in town and decided to do a couple of things before check in. We arrived at 5:15 PM and the room was not ready. None of the rooms were ready. Somebody was cleaning and she said that she would call us when the room was ready. The off-street parking was not available and that was one of the primary reasons I chose this property.

We went off to a restaurant and waited to hear. After hearing nothing, we started texting the owner who said he was “sorry for the confusion”. What is the confusion? I said we would appear and we did. The room was not ready. That’s simple; not confusing.

We are elderly and we look for things such as off-street parking and we care about the check-in times. We obey house rules. I’d like to leave a negative review, but fear that the host will ruin our reputation by reviewing us negatively.

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Infestation = $9 Refund on a $750 Charge

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My current Airbnb is not at all as described: there has been a carpenter ant infestation for the past week and a half where there are literally hundreds of them in the kitchen on the floor, shelves, and cabinets. I have been unable to cook because of it. In addition, there are cockroaches in the hallway and stairs.

The house is very dirty and under maintained overall. Many of the photos do not match the description. For example, there is supposed to be a “garden” in the yard but it is overrun with old chairs, wood planks, construction material, and leaf debris. The pool is empty, the “library” is a shelf with books covered in dust with broken glass on the floor (no joke), and the stove does not work as it was promised to be fixed on day two of my stay.

My host claims fees such as laundry or A/C are separate but in the description they were said to be included. I disputed this to Airbnb and I was switched to three different case managers in the process. They refused to give me a refund, and I left my Airbnb early (more like as soon as I possibly could). My Airbnb was $17/night. I left a full four days early and got back nine dollars in total.

The reason they dismissed my case is because the host provided “alternate photos” of dishes being left out, claiming this to be the cause for the hundreds of ants and cockroaches. My roommate and I never cooked in the kitchen because of the bugs; we wasted so much money on eating out because it was too disgusting to cook in there.

The son who lived in the house and used our kitchen always left dishes out – they were not ours. A few dishes does not result in the infestation of hundreds of vermin: only months of neglect, water damage, unfixed holes and leaks, and vile conditions will result in this. Absolutely ridiculous. I’ve been in touch with Airbnb and they immediately sided with the host.

Host Took Advantage of Airbnb and Guests

We found a place in Boston for the Charles River Regatta. The city was extremely crowded that weekend so we took one of the few places left. Once we made contact with the host via Airbnb, he contacted us via phone to say he could save us the deposit fee but that we had to discontinue our quest for his place through Airbnb. So we did.

His place was an absolute dump. He slept on his couch and we slept in his room. He had two other guests in another bedroom and we all shared the same bathroom. There were many unsavory issues about this place: the cat sleeping on top of the coffee maker; not being allowed to use our own soap; one bar was shared by all five people.

The fact that Airbnb thought we had turned down this particular place meant that we could not leave any comment on the site to warn other people. Our host made a very pretty penny that weekend and honestly, I’m extremely hesitant to use Airbnb again.

Shared House Meant Nowhere to Poop

My boyfriend and I booked an Airbnb in a neighbouring town for one night so that we could attend a wedding and have somewhere nearby to crash. The lady we communicated with seemed nice and the room we booked seemed clean and modern.

We arrived at a big house in a sleepy neighbourhood and knocked on the door. Nobody answered for quite a while and finally a young man came to the door and initially didn’t know why we were standing there. This was clearly not the lady we had originally talked to. When we explained we were guests for one night he let us in, showed us the room upstairs we would be staying in, and gave us the keys. I think he was another long-term guest at the house who was told how to greet us, but there was a bit of a language barrier.

After a bit of awkwardness, we settled in and got ourselves ready for the wedding. Other than not really having any storage or surfaces to put things down on, as the room was basically just a bed, nothing was out of the ordinary. We also had access to a bathroom through the suite that we shared with another bedroom.

After a lovely wedding, we arrived back at the suite tired and a little tipsy so we immediately went to bed. In the middle of the night I woke up needing to use the bathroom. I headed towards the door and found that it was locked. I realized that the other guest must have locked me out while using the bathroom that night and forgotten to unlock the door on our side.

Since it was the middle of the night and I needed to go bad I had no idea what to do. We had not explored the rest of the house at all before we left for the wedding. Desperate, I went downstairs towards the kitchen area to see if I could find a bathroom nearby. Fortunately, I did find one but what I came across was a nightmare. I couldn’t believe how bad my luck was stumbling upon a bathroom like this one, and I have no idea who was using such a neglected bathroom like this.

First of all, the toilet was plugged up. Luckily there was a plunger present and after a few tries I managed to unclog it. When I went to do my business I realized I couldn’t find toilet paper anywhere, so I was left in a lurch. In fact there was nothing at all in terms of toiletries in the whole bathroom, so I had nothing to wash my hands with either.

After this disgusting experience I crawled back up to the bedroom to wait out the rest of the night. As you can imagine, I recounted my horror story to my boyfriend and we got out of there pretty quickly in the morning. We didn’t really have a choice as the bathroom upstairs was still locked.

After this experience I am not sure whether I will use Airbnb ever again. We didn’t realize we would be staying in a house with multiple units that was so neglected by the host and the tenants that lived there. Even if the place looks nice you never know what you’re going to get until you see for yourself. This kind of experience just wouldn’t happen at a hotel. We picked this place because it was very affordable but ultimately you get what you pay for.