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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Airbnb Had Bedbugs, Awful Host and Airbnb Wouldn’t Refund Me

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I scheduled a stay at Kalkoen Farm in Hahira, Georgia for my sister and I to spend the weekend together and catch up from June 11-13. The first night I went into the bedroom and when I turned the comforter back, I saw a lot of ants on a corner of the comforter. I couldn’t see what was attracting them and it was late so I went into the third bedroom (a bunk bed) deciding I’d deal with it the next day.

The next morning I decided I’d just wash the sheets (not everyone washes comforters so maybe there was something spilled that I couldn’t see). When I pulled off the sheets I saw a small something moving along the mattress pad. I called my sister in.

“Is that what I think it is?”

Yup. A bedbug.

We further investigated and saw a few dead ones. My sister got a zip lock bag and put the live bedbug in it. We then looked at her bed and the bunk bed. Her bed looked ok; the bunk bed had a few dead bugs on the mattress pad but we couldn’t tell if they were bed bugs (very small). My sis pulled a wash rag out from a bin under the sink and there were multiple live bed bugs on the towel.

At that point I booked a hotel and we got the hell out of there. I reached out to the host to tell him we found bed bugs in his place and that I got a hotel. His response was: “do you have photos?” Yes, I did and shared with him. I attempted to work it out with him — I only asked for a refund for the second night that I couldn’t stay in the place. We went back and forth and he said he would refund me. Then I stopped hearing from him.

I reached out to Airbnb’s resolution center, shared photos, and explained what happened. I had to wait for 72 hours for the host to respond. He didn’t. Airbnb reached out to me to tell me that they couldn’t refund me because I didn’t contact them immediately after the incident. They asked the host if he’d be willing to refund me and the host told them no.

At that point I wrote a review saying that the house had bedbugs and the host refused to refund me my second night. Airbnb took down my review. So, I am out the cost of the Airbnb and the hotel. I’ve since canceled my Airbnb account and will never use them again. Kalkoen Farm is still up on Airbnb and who knows who else has been exposed to bedbugs. I guess I should thank the ants because had it not been for them, I would have slept in that bed with bedbugs.

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Horrible Host + Horrible Customer Service = Airbnb Nightmare

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My husband and I checked into our Venice beach studio late for a five-night stay. Exhausted, I fell into bed, but thought “This looks like a 3-star place, not 4.82.” The photos showed a bright and sunny room, but the reality was tired and sad: old bathroom and kitchen, tiny room sparsely furnished. We didn’t plan to spend a lot of time inside, so I didn’t think much of it.

The next morning my husband called “first shower,” but quickly retreated. The bathtub was covered in dried human feces. I immediately called the host and told her we were checking out and wanted a full refund. She agreed and we left immediately and checked into a much more expensive hotel. I tried to call Airbnb, but after a half an hour wait I was cut off.

That afternoon, as instructed by my host who said she could not issue a refund until I had cancelled the reservation, I cancelled online. The next day I filed a formal request for a refund with Airbnb’s resolution center. My host had 72 hours to respond and despite my repeated requests, she was radio silent. Finally, my host wrote that she had spoken to Airbnb and was under no obligation to give me a refund, but “out of the goodness of my heart” would refund less than half of our $1,226.

Then I entered Airbnb Hell. I filed a complaint with Airbnb, twice, and only got the response “Here are some articles that might help you.” I wrote to Brian Chesky and several people high up in Airbnb. No response. I DM’d Airbnb through Instagram and got an immediate response: “We are going to assign you a Support Ambassador, a specialist assigned to your case.” For eight days I awaited word from my Support Ambassador (and yes, I kept DMing Airbnb through Instagram and kept getting reassuring responses that they were very concerned about my case).

Eventually, a canned response came from my Support Ambassador which said, in essence, “Sorry. Not our problem.” In the meantime my host was again running the clock and although I did not post a damning review of her studio (or any review), she slammed me with one implying that I had caused the plumbing problem, that I had harassed her, didn’t wait for the problem to be resolved before leaving, and that she had issued us a full refund. Her last ageist jab was: “Cranky old lady. Don’t host her.”

This cranky old lady is also an experienced travel writer. Airbnb says the first thing when there’s a problem is to contact the host. Done. Then Airbnb. Done through the Resolution Center. Bad experiences can happen. Airbnb can be a crapshoot. But why won’t I use them again? Because they take no responsibility, despite their exorbitant fees, for their product. Brian Chesky was just listed as one of the wealthiest people in America. Let the attached photos speak for themselves.

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Nightmare at Mexico Airbnb Makes Us Leave Early

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A misrepresented listing led us to find serious issues with listing in Cholula Puebla, Mexico: three bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, three-story house, two years old. It was not only dirty but there was no PPE or COVID-19 sanitizing protocols or cleaning supplies even though the host is a dentist. The host said they only cleaned once a month; there were no cleaning supplies at all, so guess we missed that window, right?

We walked all over the house. There was no gas or internet. We were told to wait for the gas truck and cable company to do installs, while the hosts left. The workmen took 7.5 hrs to finish (no PPE while going up and down the three floors) you can see the installation on the photos I will include. The gas people finally showed up and the pilot was lit, immediately there was a strong gas odor. The host said it was nothing and “just leave the boiler door open” except that the gas leak was very strong all over especially in the kitchen. I should say the boiler temperature never increased from the pilot level so the gas couldn’t get worse which meant no hot water.

We called the host several times about the gas leak, and they finally said a plumber would arrive right away. They never did. I opened the rear sliding door only to be met with all types of flies and mosquitoes. We had to keep it closed. I should add the home was very hot, with no window coverings. We were told the internet would work the following day but it only worked on the first floor due to the installation plus this was an old issue they were aware of.

We gave them benefit of the doubt but couldn’t sleep due to the gas situation and being bit by fleas or bedbugs as soon as we lay on top of the bed. Add to this house wasn’t as advertised — new, modern house completely outfitted — the living room furniture was badly stained, dirty and full of dust plus broken (they were same style as listing but different fabric), and the same for the dining room and kitchen.

The upper floors were stifling hot so they had small fans everywhere. Everything had serious calcium deposits which affected the use of any water, the microwave was dirty and greasy, and everything was old and mistreated. There wasn’t one pan for cooking, just old beat up pots but no spoons, spatulas, coffeemaker, blender, even where you drain dishes didn’t have base on it so couldn’t be used.

They say they’re set up for long-term stays? Definitely not. They also gave us limits for utility use: 500 MX for gas, 500 MX every two months, (roughly $25). You pay for anything over. The host made a abig deal of utility conservation yet with a gas leak, only multiple ceiling lights, no small table lamps available so you’d use much more electricity, plus a very hot house requiring fans everywhere gives the reason for their utility limits.

We left the very next day after seeing had odor was worse, there was no plumber and the internet was still not working properly. We notified Airbnb about getting a refund. It’s been over a week and even though they replied, there has been no resolution yet.

Horrible Experience Hosting New Age Guru

I thought setting up an Airbnb account and hosting would be a great way to make some additional money. Unfortunately, it turned into a nightmare. The second guest I ever hosted for turned out to be some weird voodoo shaman who conducted rituals in my home. He booked my home under a fake profile picture of a woman in her 60’s. They were supposedly just coming for some rest and relaxation.

When I arrived home, I found the bathtub with disgusting dirt in it. There were burn marks throughout my home where they had been burning sage throughout the house. I had burn holes in my tile, bathtub and carpet. There were symbols drawn on my mirrors in the house and weird stuff burning in a pot on the stove. they left foreign money on the counter and empty boxes of spirit bathing oils in the bathroom. Needless to say, I felt very uncomfortable in my home after that.

This a$%hole had the audacity to question me about the damage after leaving my home in this condition. After looking him up online, I became aware that he does this as his job. This should not have taken place in my home. I reached out to Airbnb for help. No one helped. They just keep telling you to go online and fill some forms out. I did that and called back several times to ask what was happening. They said it was pending. I received another email stating I had to fill out another form, which appeared to be the same as the first.

After reaching out several times and getting no phone calls or help, I received an email stating they were declining to reimburse me. I have been back and forth with this company. They outsource all their customer service to other countries. There is no way to reach anyone here in the states. I asked for a measly $600 compensation when the damage would cost me upwards of $6000 to repair. Airbnb has policies in place to take advantage of every circumstance so that they do not have to help the renter or the host.

I was scammed. I’d like to know if there are any class action lawsuits currently that I can look into. If not, there needs to be one immediately. User be warned, Airbnb will not help you if your home is damaged.