Dirty Hip-Retro Cabin in Big Bear — Not Airbnb Worthy

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The first weekend in November, my family and I (girls only trip), I stayed at an Airbnb property in Big Bear. The visit to this beautiful city, generally speaking, was nice. We arrived with no snow anywhere and were able to experience a snowstorm and see the landscape change to all white overnight.

Now I don’t know what to do. It is as if I have no voice or that my words do not matter. This is why I have sent this information to Big Bear Lake Mayor, Council and the City Manager. It is as if the host of the property I rented is a powerful man; he is getting undue favorable treatment by Airbnb. He has misrepresented his cabin, which is not in a condition to be Airbnb worthy. This host has supposedly reported me to Airbnb. I just can’t understand why and how this continues.

I originally made my reservation for the “hip-retro cabin” in August for a stay in September. On the day of check-in, we were told to cancel by a San Bernadino Forest representative because the El Dorado Fire was flaring up in the direction of Big Bear in addition to the air quality being dangerous to be outside. We had called because Google Maps advised one of two roads up the mountain was closed. All visitors were advised not to come up the mountain. Residents were okay, but visitors were advised not to come.

I contacted the host to tell him I was not comfortable going against the advice of the Rangers and that I did not want to cancel but would prefer to reschedule. The host asked me to select a date but to please avoid holidays. I chose Nov. 6-8, giving the fire time to be extinguished, avoiding Halloween and Thanksgiving. We both agreed to the new dates.

Two days before we traveled, I reached out to the host asking if it would be possible to extend an extra day because the winter weather was coming and traveling down the mountain on the 8th was not looking safe for us to drive. We are not experienced drivers in snow and certainly not during an active storm. The host was very helpful to extend another night and we paid an extra $357. Our new departure day was Monday, Nov. 9.

We arrived at the cabin around 5:00 PM on the 6th. It was getting dark, cold and windy: 38 degrees, and the storm was close. We were thankful to have arrived and get settled before the road conditions got bad. We had two cars. When we got into the cabin, as we brought all food and kitchen items inside, we noticed the countertops had old food debris and needed to be wiped. We brought Lysol wipes and used the paper towels to complete the job. It was very disgusting how much dirt there was. We decided to sit and eat our lunch that we missed hours ago and determine who would sleep where.

After eating, we put away the food and began to look around. I texted the host at 7:14 PM to ask if they were available for a call. I first had tried to reach them through Airbnb but the app was not easy to navigate. I wanted a live person to speak with and for the number I called I had to select several options. I decided that it would be easier to contact the host. In my conversation I shared that we are uncomfortable with conditions in the cabin and moving to somewhere else would not be easy with my daughter driving while it is snowing (18 years old). I wanted her to stay parked for the weekend.

Here is everything I verbally shared. There were dirty counters and floors, no dish soap, no dishwasher soap, the coffee pot was dirty/moldy with old grounds still in it, all the towels in the cabin are wet (not damp, wet), the heater on the second floor was not efficient, the third floor bathroom sink was stopped up/draining slowly and leaking under the sink, and the first floor bathroom sink had no hot water. The host’s response genuinely seemed concerned and that he wanted to help us. He sent his “house manager” within an hour.

She did not knock — just left bags on the doorstep with towels (which were also damp and smelled like cigarette smoke), dish soap, dishwasher soap, and firewood. He advised he would refund the cleaning fee, $180, and offered a cleaning crew to come the next day. We declined due to COVID-19 parameters; we were not going to allow non-family members in our space, indoors. The cabin should have been cleaned before we arrived. In addition, the storm was in full force we were not going to leave the cabin.

We had decided, as a family, we were going to stay positive and make this all work. But I do feel the $1900 I paid for the three-night stay, minus the offer to refund the $180 cleaning fee, is not what I agreed to. I agreed to pay this amount for an Airbnb Plus property that is clean and in good repair. What I got was a cabin that was decorated as advertised, “70’s hip-retro,” but I did not agree to dirt, grime, thick dust and poor heating (to withstand outside temperatures, as low as 9 degrees).

Here is my text that I sent to the host, at 6:30 PM, the last night of my stay:

We have our last night in Big Bear. My family and I have had the FULL winter experience! Wow- cold, wind, snow. Our lodging has been a little frustrating but we have made the best of it. As an Airbnb Plus property host, residing out of town, I am alerting you that the cute Retro Cabin, through poor upkeep, needs general cleaning-as pics show, in addition to my previously stated communication.

The condition makes me worry there has been no additional sanitizing due to COVID-19? Here is some cabin info: 3rd fl: bath sink plugged and leak under (we couldn’t use); and 2nd fl: heater is caked with dirt(see pic), many dishes in cupboard are dirty, dead bugs in kitchen light casing (which is not completely affixed to the ceiling-see pic), screen slider to the deck was off track/nearly blew away in wind-we had to secure it, snow coming in at slider as well as significant draft; and 1st fl: bath no hot water at sink, heater controls not safely mounted/wouldn’t turn on (didn’t use) 35-40°on 1st fl, mold on blinds. We found a vacuum &ran 15 minutes on main(2nd) floor and nothing was picked up in the bagless canister which is why we couldn’t clean the heater. (The extra towels delivered, *thank you* arrived wet – sprayed w/Febreeze – to cover up cigarette smell (unsuccessfully.)

Asking if you would consider refunding some fees? I am hoping for a fair amount. $180 cleaning fee, $357 extra day fee, Plus any additional you would deem appropriate for the inconvenience and discomfort we experienced. I will not provide a review at this time while we settle the situation, as you have been responsive to me reaching out to you. I saw on numerous reviews that you have communication with many of your guests. I would be glad to speak with you if you would like me to further elaborate on details. Thank you.

Almost immediately, he called me. He tried to tell me that my expectations were too high for a mountain cabin and that I should have stayed in a hotel since I was looking for a luxury experience. He said that he did not agree with me that anything I described was a problem and that he would be glad to reimburse the cleaning fee and, under his breath, he said he could offer me a free night at another time, but I wouldn’t want that, he knew.

He also stated after 30 minutes of trying to shift my attention from the poor lodging conditions to the fun family time and great memories we made from the weekend together. And the fabulous, stunning view this beautiful cabin offered us all weekend. And then finally, he said it. He said he would give you back the additional $357 we paid for the extra night if we gave him “a 4- or 5-star glowing review.”

I was astounded, offended, and disgusted that this man was trying to buy a good review from me to show on Airbnb. This explains all of the numerous reviews that state he’s “a great host, very responsive every time we needed something.” I now know that is an absolute red flag, in hindsight. A host should not be needed so much. Why would a host be needed? If the property is all that is represented, why would a host need to be contacted so often?

As I have taken our time, me typing this message, and you reading, I would like to conclude with a plea. A plea for a review of my entire experience. I really wanted to make things right with this host and help him with his property. I wanted to leave a satisfactory, he-did-the-right-thing kind of review. But not only did he reject my request for reimbursement, on the up and up, he has left lies and inaccurate statements in his response to my review. I was not mean or emotional when writing the review. I gave facts.

I called Airbnb the night we returned home and was able to reach a person. She advised that once she could validate the information I shared that I could be eligible for 50% of each day’s fees refunded to me. Since then, I have had messages back and forth with a case manager and most recently received one this evening from another stating that the decision to decline any additional refunds will be upheld.

What happened? Why did my request get disregarded? Please, can someone please review my file and all of the notes and the pictures I have attached here and even more in the Airbnb app? I would be most grateful for a phone call and an honest review. When will this host be held responsible for his actions, words, and dirty cabin? I have received suggestions and many angry sentiments from friends and colleagues. My hope is that Airbnb will see me as a valued customer, person, and family woman trying to do the right thing and give a proper evaluation of this property and refund what is deemed appropriate.

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Airbnb Host Repeatedly Lied About Cleanliness

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I booked an Airbnb apartment for the weekend of Oct. 23-25 for me and my daughter. When I initially made the reservation, I listed one guest not thinking that it mattered that I was bringing my 15-year-old daughter with me, since it was a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment.

Upon arrival, the host met us and gave us the key with a list of rules while staying. My daughter and I then left to run errands before we got settled in. When we returned, we had our shoes on as we ran back and forth to the truck to gather our belongings. Then put our own socks on while in the apartment. One of the rules was there were to be no shoes while in the apartment and she supplied socks for guests. Being that COVID does exist, we chose to wear our own socks.

We then toured the apartment and began to wipe everything down. When I went into the guest bathroom, I noticed that it had not been cleaned. There were old bars of soap in the tub area, splatters in the toilet as if someone just had diarrhea, toothpaste on the mirror and hair on the floor. The floors had not been vacuumed and there was food in the refrigerator.

I texted the host through the app with my concerns of the cleanliness. She came and cleaned the toilet and that was it. When I asked her if someone was living in the unit full time, she said yes. So I asked her about the other issues such as the leftover food in the refrigerator, she said it must have been from the prior guests. That was the first lie.

I grabbed bleach and bleach wipes and began to clean the unit myself because we didn’t have anywhere to go on such short notice. When I wiped down the kitchen counter tops, my Clorox wipes were brown. While wiping down the remote in the living room, I noticed that there was a camera on. I immediately unplugged it and called Airbnb customer service.

In the apartment listing it states that there is an active recording camera at the “door way,” but this camera was actually in the living room recording our every move. I told the representative that we wanted to check out because we were no longer staying there. My daughter had undressed in the living room area and was now paranoid. The representative sent me a policy stating that the host can have a recording device in the common area and it must state that in the listing. Well, that didn’t happen. That was the second lie.

They reached out to the host with all of my concerns and she said that there was nothing she was going to do. Although the policy states that I have the right to check out when I arrive and receive a refund for the nights not stayed, she still refused to refund me my money. The next morning I texted the host myself with my issues, saying that we were uncomfortable and that we were leaving at 10:00 AM.

She then called me on the phone with an attitude saying that Airbnb contacted her with my concerns and still refused to refund me for the next night even though I gave her notice. She also said that she noticed that I had a guest with me when the rules said that would be grounds of cancellation. Keep in mind, the “guest” was my 15-year-old daughter.

She then said that she noticed that we had shoes on while in the apartment. Again, we were going from the apartment to the truck to get settled. She claimed she cleaned the apartment herself and it’s not her fault that I had expectations. Well, I am a clean person and if I’m renting anyone’s place using my own money then I do have expectations for cleanliness.

She began to yell over the phone so I hung up on her. My daughter and I ended up leaving and checking into the Marriott, which was another expense for me. A case worker contacted me over the course of the weekend, but as of today, there has been no resolution.

I find it disappointing that Airbnb would be okay for a host to have an active recording camera in the living room, violating one’s privacy, and the fact that they find it okay with a host having a listing that nasty. I have never had a bad experience from a host and the lack of concern from Airbnb is very troublesome.

Every time I rented, the host always left a good review about me. When I went to leave my review, they said that I missed the cut off time to do so. I was told that I only had a few hours after my check out time, but again this was no concern of theirs. I did get pictures of the apartment and will attach them to my post.

My biggest mistake was over overlooking the fact that the host only had one review at that time. Save your money and the headache and rent from a host that not only cares about the money, but their guest’s peace of mind.

Airbnb Horror with Cockroach Infestation

We booked an Airbnb for a few weeks in Florida. It cost over $2,000 total. On the first day we found one dead cockroach; we didn’t panic, but contacted the host to let her know.

The second day there were multiple live cockroaches. We contacted the host again, which is when we found out she lives in Europe, and is six hours ahead. She admitted she was late on her monthly exterminatory spray for vermin.

After finding the live cockroaches, we realized we may be in bigger trouble than we thought on the first day. We begin to search around the house more in depth to see dozens of dead cockroaches, cockroach poop, cockroach limbs and antennas in the bedrooms, bathrooms, and living spaces.

We found old garbage from the previous owner, a carton of ice cream, old water bottles, used tissues underneath the bed (so now we realize what attracted all the cockroaches). The old garbage and ice cream, combined with the great irresponsibility of our negligent and absentee and mentally unwell host forgetting to book her monthly exterminatory sprays on time, ended up with a cockroach infestation.

The host completely stopped talking to us at that point, and in her review later on claimed I was “rude” and “confrontational” when I told her the severity of the issue. I suppose I should’ve been nicer and more polite that she had $2,300 of my money, didn’t answer my messages, had old garbage and an unclean residence, a cockroach infestation, and cockroach poop in the bedrooms.

It was the final straw when I went to brush my teeth at 7:00 AM and a cockroach and four baby cockroaches came out of the drain in the sink. I really loved having cockroaches three inches from my face first thing in the morning. We had to leave the place two weeks before our departure date.

Of course Airbnb did nothing to help us and got us a grand total of $0 in refunds for the time we spent there. Every Airbnb “specialist” just sent generic responses, sending me the same link ten different times to its Guest Refund Policy that I already cited to them in the initial messages. They also said “We want to get your side of the story” — three messages in a row after I repeatedly and clearly shared my story with them.

It’s a total waste of time; they don’t care about people at all and just want money. I am so glad I will never have to use Airbnb again. Just cut your losses and stay at a hotel. I would share the link of the listing, but I am incredibly confident this host and her condo are so incompetent, disgusting, and terrible that they will run their business to the ground on their own.

Airbnb Guest Urinates on Bed in Stockholm

I have had more than 100 guests and have loved it. Never any problems and I have earned Superhost status with 5.0 in terms of customer ratings.However, I have now had a guest where I immediately discovered urine in the bed after check-out. The bed is the Swedish brand, Hästen, handmade and extremely exclusive. The mattress is ruined and must be replaced immediately as I have new guests arriving.

The guest admits that she “accidentally poured water into the bed with a leaking water bottle” and says she is willing to pay for cleaning. But Airbnb customer service does little or nothing. It still takes time for them to even look into the matter, even though I do what is expected of me.

The problem has not been solved, and still being handed by Airbnb. No decisions regarding compensation yet. I realize that as a host I only have obligations but no “rights.” An extremely sad discovery and I am considering leaving Airbnb altogether.

It is interesting that a company whose content is only about people being willing to rent out their accommodation or parts of it is not faster to deal with problems that arise and support a host or a guest. Now Airbnb is planning an IPO, a company earning their income on booking fees, which however, presupposes that there are landlords and tenants.

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Airbnb Rip Off in Austin Forces Guests Out

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I’m a PM for a Internet technology company and I’m responsible for choosing Airbnb rentals for staff, usually 2-4 staff members. In September, I chose a host in Austin for one month. The rental had good reviews and looked good in the photos, so our admin assistant booked the unit for one month, starting the second week in September to the second week in October.

The staff arrived in the afternoon on a Saturday and were immediately underwhelmed, The cleanliness of the location was poor; there was debris in the front entry, dirty and dusty tile floors from the gap under the door allowing debris to blow in, sticky counter tops, a refrigerator with plenty of odds and ends from previous tenants with sticky unknown substance in nooks and cracks, and pubic hair in the toilet rim. In addition, the light bulbs and face plates in the house were not maintained and looked like the owner did not care to present a home they cared about, just a take or leave it house. However, they took 100% of our payment, $3,369.

Since our staff had to go through me and the company admin, the issue could not be addressed until Monday morning. Well, the host had an excuse for every issue, refused to let us out of our term, but was willing to send cleaners back over. After two days in the unit (not a home), our staff said “no way” to staying in this unit and we care and trust our staff. The host only offered a $220 refund and Airbnb is completely complicit in this behavior (they bear no responsibility or customer support for such situations). Since July my firm has spent approx. $41,000 with Airbnb. I will be recommending Extended Stay hotels to my executives for future projects.

Airbnb Made Me Pay for the Grimmest Cottage Ever

I booked an Airbnb holiday cottage for a week in Aberdovey, North Wales, in good faith based on the information given in the Airbnb listing. I turned up after driving for hours to find a drab, damp, dark, dated, depressing and smelly cottage situated on a dangerous road — totally unsuitable for children. We left after ten minutes of walking into the property having paid £603 in total for the booking.

I raised a complaint with Airbnb within 20 minutes of leaving the cottage. The result is that Airbnb gave us a £50 refund of our total £603 we paid. It seems they sided with the owner rather than the guest. It seems they tend to do this as a rule. So as a guest if things go wrong, be warned you will lose your money and Airbnb will not help you, no matter what they say.

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Dangerous Road and Smelled Like a Dungeon

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We fell for the “fabulous location” lie. The photos and description of this Airbnb disguised the fact that house was on a dangerous road with no verge. The photos didn’t show the steep, nail-biting walk on the yellow lines clinging to the brick wall trying to stay alive while cars whizzed past a hair’s breadth away. Much further from the parking lot than advertised.

It seemed impossible to get luggage to the door, let alone children. The photos didn’t show the dingy grimy unloved interior with just a hard wooden chair to sit on. No or patchy floor covering. The photos didn’t show the flypaper in the kitchen complete with fly corpses. Photos can’t convey the dank damp smell that hit you as you walked in. The photos don’t show the depressing feel of the place, nor the barbecue grid like mattresses.

I couldn’t believe anyone would so shamelessly advertise this house as ‘beautiful’. Because photos can’t convey smell or danger (would have died trying to photograph the house with a road in front of it), Airbnb ruled in the lying host’s favour. We lost our holiday and our money. Never again.

Even with Roaches, Guest not Sure Who to be Upset with

blankThis isn’t a clear cut black and white Airbnb horror story. There are some things I should have been more aggressive on, but in the middle of a pandemic I feel it fair not to be too aggressive because for all I know this could have been my host’s only source of income.

To begin, I walked in and the place was very much not clean. I was given a warning by my boyfriend, to which he felt the judgement call up to me. To be honest, my mind was on their cute little pig that met me at the door; he was so sweet.

I quickly looked around and noticed maybe one or two critters. It was no big deal; it’s getting warm and in Mississippi the critters start coming out. My boyfriend is definitely a city boy so he freaks out about everything. I messaged the host telling her exactly that.

However, I was wrong. It wasn’t until really late into the night that more started coming out and they were huge. That’s when I really looked at the place. The kitchen sink wasn’t cleaned (why did I pay a cleaning fee?) and under the bed/chairs/sink there were enough either droppings or roach body parts. I was disgusted.

We couldn’t find a place to book that late at night so we were stuck one night. I kept joking that my cat would defend us from the roaches while we slept (I couldn’t sleep that night). The next morning we were trying to get out to the Marriott that I booked. The pig says good bye on the way out (he really was a sweet pig and I’ve never seen a pig run to me until that day).

The host at least refunded me for the other days, and as for the cleaning fee I wasn’t very aggressive because as I’ve said before I’m not sure if this is their only source of income. They also let me bring my cat without putting in a pet deposit.

I contacted Airbnb later about the service fee (possibly the cleaning fee) that night because trying to get settled into a new place last minute had its own issues. I will admit I wasn’t very aggressive with it; maybe it’s because during all this pandemic I feel like that isn’t what the world needs right now.

Airbnb basically told me to f&%k off on the service fee and I definitely wasn’t getting the cleaning fee refunded. I should have checked with VBRO or nearby hotels, because most times with all the fees it ends up being more expensive than a Marriott. This was one of those times.

I’m not sure if I should be upset with the host, Airbnb, myself or anyone really. It’s up to you, are you willing to take the risk? Is the pig worth it?

Being Scammed with a Fake Listing Would have been Better

We booked this Airbnb in Switzerland, seeking a peaceful beautiful corner of Swiss alpine experience that was indicated in the advertisement. Instead, we would instead just putting up a tent in a train station. You would have more room, and get the same experience of living on a railway track.

Literally every few minutes a train was passing by, even throughout most of the night. Many were so fast that the place shook. It is so close to the train station that we could hear the noise of cars being loaded onto the train. It was the complete opposite of the peaceful and scenic spot that we were expecting.

Sleeping in train station might also have been cleaner. The bed sheets were disgusting, stained and grimy. Desperate for sleep, we even stripped the bed hoping that the mattress might have been less awful. That was a mistake; it was a stomach-turning science experiment.

The towels looked marginally clean, so we made pseudo sheets out of them and disinfected ourselves in the morning. The floor and chairs were covered with spots of grease; we just didn’t feel like touching anything without putting on gloves or needing to take a shower afterwards.

Someone in the building must be a chainsmoker, as we were so often greeted with puffs of cigarette smoke floating into the place. Not exactly the fresh alpine air we had in mind.

We have stayed at hundreds of Airbnbs and similar accommodations at this point. This was nearly the worst. The only ones we can think that might surpass the awfulness of this place are the couple that were pure scams that didn’t exist. Honestly, we would have preferred this to be a scam versus the misery of staying at this place.

We should have left in the first hour, but all the hotels in town were booked and we just didn’t want to spend our limited time battling with the host and Airbnb. Anyway, we realize it is impossible to post negative reviews on Airbnb without getting hassled or blacklisted. We’re hoping this candid review ends up helping someone else avoid our experience and just put up a tent in a nearby train station instead.

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Never Been so Angry Dealing with Airbnb

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I booked with an Airbnb host going off the pictures. I arrived in LA and called to tell them I would be having dinner with a friend and would arrive late. They said that was not a problem.

After dinner I took an Uber to the location and called saying that I had arrived. They said they would be right down. I waited 15-20 minutes and finally a lady that actually looked homeless came out while on the phone and waved me to follow her.

We went through a broken gate and beat up door and entered the building in which the entrance was completely surrounded by trash on the floor. The air smelled like cigarettes and mildew. I walked further in and heard her on the phone saying she could not find a key for the room.

The place was a mess and gross. I felt so uncomfortable there. Especially with the virus all over.

She went off and told me to wait. I finally got tired of waiting, left, and got a hotel. I asked for a cancellation and refund and they refused.

I left a review and then they responded saying I was on drugs and that was not cool. I will be going after them legally. I have already hired a private investigator. I also emailed the CEO of Airbnb.