Avoid Hosts who Leave you out in the Cold

We arrived to be left on the doorstep for 45 minutes. It was damp, the gutter was dripping on us the whole time, someone was obviously in the room (they looked through the curtain of the room we had booked and paid for). We continued to knock until eventually I banged on the door saying that if the door was not answered I would be calling the police. By some miracle, the host came to the door and asked, “Why are you banging on my door?”

I asked, “Are you [host]?”

She said, “No, who are you?”

I explained that we had booked and paid for the room for six nights. She then said “You will get your money back. I am cancelling your booking.”

We had been travelling all day, starting early that morning from Spain (she knew this). There was someone in the room we had paid for (probably why the door wasn’t answered). This person, who resembled the picture on the site, was the host, proof of which was clear when she said she would cancel.

We are both getting on for 68 years of age, my husband wasn’t well, we both received extremely bad colds, mine resulting in bronchitis due to standing on the doorstep in the cold night air, getting wet. We had nowhere to sleep that night and ended up sleeping the first night in our hire car, as there wasn’t anything available in the vicinity. The rest of the time sleeping on the floor of our daughter-in-law’s. As we had paid over a month in advance, and this was obviously double booked without giving prior notice, I find this appalling behaviour.

What were we supposed to do? Just disappear into the sunset after paying for the privilege of standing on the doorstep for the better part of an hour knocking on the door? Avoid Airbnb like the plague.

Another Story of an Airbnb Vacation Nightmare

This was a very recent experience – mid-October 2017 – for a long planned and awaited trip to New York City. I am still immersed with the mess which I will relate in the following. Enclosed is my review of the experience, which Airbnb recently informed me they would not post onto the listing. Before posting it on the listing, they reviewed it. They said I had one chance at writing a review and since it didn’t follow their strict guidelines, I would not be given the opportunity to edit it so it could be posted.

In my research I learned that 95% of their posted reviews are positive. The bad ones never make it. That meant that people would not learn the truth of what caused my case to be the nightmare that it was.

“I wish I did not have to give a terrible review, but my experience was so negative that I have to warn others about this situation. The host was avoidant and unresponsive in her communication and her unwillingness to address critical problems about her living space led me to have to forfeit my stay with her and greatly upset my long planned trip. She was initially prompt in responding to my interest and I booked the room for nine nights.

As it was a brand new listing when I booked it, there were no reviews. I was excited about staying there. Unfortunately when I arrived in late evening, the elevator was not working and she did not mention that she lived on the 7th floor on her profile or anywhere else. I am a senior citizen and although active for my age, the seven-floor climb – each floor consisted of two long flights, fourteen total – to the room with luggage was horrible. I texted and phoned the host before ascending, but received no response.

Along the way I met three sets of residents who all said that this unreliable elevator was a long time, ongoing problem; indicating that she likely had prior knowledge of this malfunction. I stayed the night because it was so late. I called Airbnb immediately after reaching the apartment and they were sympathetic to my not being able to stay there. The next morning I called and texted the host asking her to speak with me so we could figure things out. She texted that she would call me when she was out of the subway. She never did.

The next three days were consumed with dealing with Airbnb customer service – 15 emails and 16 phone calls totaling 3 hours and 36 minutes. The host unexpectedly canceled my reservation, stating she did not feel comfortable with me staying there. Under Airbnb rules, she was able to keep my money for the nine nights even though I only stayed there one night.”

I was very upset with the final determination to refund a token amount of my money. Airbnb never accounted for the lack of full disclosure in the listing as well as the host’s total unresponsiveness in the situation. Certainly if I knew the listing was on the 7th floor in a 97-year-old building, I would not have booked it. Three weeks later, with full knowledge of my experience at the site, there have been no revisions on the listing to state it is a 7th floor rental with an unreliable elevator.

Airbnb, in denying the posting of my review, has contributed to/aided and abetted the dishonesty of this listing. The host continues to offer the listing omitting vital information that definitely would compromise her ability to rent it out, and Airbnb stands silently by taking their cut of the bookings.

I have done research on this site and many other resources to realize the ugly truth about Airbnb. You think their customer service is being helpful when all they are doing is wasting your time and wearing you down with the expectation that all will be resolved justly. It is disheartening that a $30 billion company consistently and definitively demonstrates a lack of regard and interest for the well being of its guests.

My Story Hosting on Airbnb in Ottawa

On September 17th, a guest arrived. The next day I received payout of $808.01. This guest was supposed to stay for 13 nights. On September 19th, Airbnb requested an alteration for one additional night but did not include the amount to be paid for this one night.  I accepted this alteration for one night and within two hours, I cancelled it, due to what I believe was a technical problem. I have a lot of correspondence with Airbnb and the guest from that date to support this statement.
Airbnb made an input error and showed that I must make a refund of $808 or more (uncertain) to the guest. When I learned of this, at the beginning of October, they told me that they would correct this error. This did not happen.
Airbnb has kept payouts from three of my guests, totaling $795.40 to cover this error.  I closed my account for one week. Managers assured me that I would receive the money owing me. I reopened my account for guests, and learned that they did not do what they said they would do. I am now closed down permanently as my calendar will confirm. Even PayPal shows that I owe $261 in addition to what they have kept – or at this time I wish to say, stolen.
I have dealt with customer service representatives daily now for 17 days, including a few managers. I call Airbnb or email daily, only to receive similar responses every time. I am good with details as you can see, and everyone with whom I spoke could see where the problem lay and the mistake, but no remedy was forthcoming. Written responses in no way reflected the content of our conversations.
One representative from a North American office, listened, understood, and told me on October 8th that I should receive what was owed to me within 24 hours, but his written response instructed me to “check with your bank”. Another manager told me that it was stuck in the system and would take a few days. Another manager told me that my case had been sent on to their payment department. A manager from the Manila office refuses to communicate with me in any way.
October 20th: I was informed that I requested a new manager.
October 23rd: I spoke with Airbnb’s Manila office. They mentioned that they would need to contact the guest.  That is not my problem, and Airbnb, like any company, is obliged by law to compensate victims from hardships of errors.
October 24th: Customer service told me that I have almost paid off my debt, and would get a partial pay out for the next guest. This was after I had reviewed the details, the error – as if I would be comforted.
October 24th Airbnb’s Nevada office informed me that I had a new case manager.
October 25th: The manager was not available.
I have repeatedly asked for a supervisor above the manager to be told that there was no such individual.
Many support workers replied with the statement “I hope you are happy with the resolution”.  They do profusely apologize. I cannot count the times that I have heard “I am very, very sorry”.
I have been hosting for two years, with over 90 reviews and 4.7+ star ratings. I am a senior, rely on this income, and do enjoy all the wonderful guests that I have hosted, but now my income is gone, and I have shut down as mentioned earlier.  This is a tragedy, and I will hope and pray that the principals of this site can direct me to someone that can intervene, and give me justice.

Airbnb Experience Different for Older Guests

We experienced our first Airbnb in the US this past week. How we came to be there is that my husband’s nephew stayed at this same place. He is 30. Our tastes in accommodations and his are dramatically different. In his review he gave them seven stars.

Anyway, he said they would give us a deal if we went directly to the hosts. We weren’t sure but that may have been a bad sight. The rate on the advertised room was $35 a night. Even with cleaning costs, that was still overcharging for seven days; we paid $400.

On arrival we met them. They seemed like an okay but aloof couple. After three days our towels start to smell. We texted a request for fresh ones. The host replied Airbnb required us to provide one set… Later on in the day I got a text from her about which towels I wanted replaced. I replied the ones in the bath which was exactly what I got: one damn towel. My husband missed out.

The host advertised on their page that they had European and American coffee pots. She never said or showed how to make espresso. When I asked for the American coffee pot what I got was a pot that was full of mold; it looked like it hadn’t ever been cleaned. It was disgusting.

They advertised they had a balcony. It was there all right… if you could forage through the crap laying all over it. Cigarette butts overflowing in the ashtray, and glasses and cups had been sitting there for days. As far as cleanliness, there were always dishes in the sink and a pot of food on the stove.

This takes the cake. They had a shoe rack outside the hallway and asked us to remove our shoes… no joke. I know there are better places out there and I will give Airbnb one more chance but this was an eyeopener. There was a TV in our room; however, it didn’t work. There were no mirrors and the pillows were as flat as pancakes.

They advertised they were students as their occupation line… this is their way of making a living? I’m not sure. They seem to be living in the bedroom opposite ours. The host mentioned she has a degree in international business and the husband in entrepreneurship. I think they missed a class or two in hospitality. The bottom line is don’t expect a 30-something to know what your expectations are. He tried to do well and we appreciated it. However, it was a lesson learned by us. Too bad, so sad.

Mom Gets Hurt, Customer Service Couldn’t Care Less

I have used Airbnb before and had a wonderful time. I’m not blaming them, but my host and how things were handled were the problem. To make a long story short, my mom, my little nephew, and I went to Palm Springs and arrived at the Airbnb house. The pool stunk like fish or worse. The host gave me reasons why it smelled, but I didn’t want reasons for the odor, I just wanted it fixed. Granted , she sent someone over the next day.

Then my mom got hurt because ground that was not level in the car port had been covered with a carpet and we didn’t know this. She sprained her foot badly. However, things didn’t get any worse until 2:00 AM on the same day of our arrival. I had to call 911 to come get her because I had my nephew with me. The paramedics took her because she was in so much pain. We got back at 7:00 AM with a brace and walker.

I reached out to the host to let her know she should take care of this issue before it happens to someone else, and we thought we were hanging out in the car port. The last time I checked, when it’s blazing hot outside, the car port is a great place to park and let your family out, especially a diabetic 70-year-old mother and a 5-year-old nephew… I can use a parachute on my vacation to land at a house I rent if I want to. The host then asked us why we didn’t use the front door. Guess what? I didn’t want to. I just paid money to rent her house and took care of it like it was my own, even leaving it spotless (even after she talked to me like I was an idiot): I can use whatever door I want and I chose her carport door, so my family wouldn’t melt.

Her pool stunk, my mom got hurt, and everyone was miserable the whole time because she decided to cover a hole in the ground. Did it make the carport look better? What if something had happened to my nephew? The host is lucky my mom has health insurance to cover all expenses for the hospital and doctors. She is still in pain and has a brace on. Today is August 28th and I went on vacation August 7th (and injured the same day). It’s really sad that this has still not been addressed properly. I have had a few emails with Airbnb, but nothing has been done to refund my miserable vacation. I have called Airbnb a few times and asked for the people named on previous emails; the only response I have gotten is “he is not in today but will call you back as soon as possible.”

They didn’t call. They just emailed me telling me that I should go to the resolution center and deal with the same host that spoke to me like I was a moron. I don’t want to deal with the host. I want the Airbnb professional handling these cases to call me and tell me what I want to hear, not email me and give me the same disrespect I got from their host. I’m still waiting for their undivided attention.

Incredibly Rude Host, Perhaps Because I’m a Senior?

I needed a room in Seattle for one night, while I picked up my 30-year-old daughter who lives there but doesn’t have an extra bed. I found a room near her, but the Airbnb post asked for a $1500 security deposit on a $90 basic room. I had the following exchange with the host:

Me: I’m interested in staying for one night while I visit my daughter, who lives in Seward Park. I read that you want a $1500 security deposit. I’ve never been asked such a thing before. I’m a 65+ year old woman, visiting a 30-year old daughter, and not about to trash your home! Promise. Do you really need that much up front?

Host: You may be interested in learning that the minimum wage in Seattle is now $15/hour

(She then declined me, saying the room was booked, but it remains posted as free.)

Me: I think that’s great that you have a $15 minimum wage. But did you decline me because I questioned the security deposit?

Host: Yes, in part. I’m not looking to get into any arguments with fussy guests. I’m sure plenty of hosts would be delighted to host you, I’m just not one of them.

Me: I wasn’t arguing. I was asking. Respectfully.

Host: You’re asking why I have a high security deposit? Why do you think? Anyway, I am not going to book you. I suggest writing or calling Airbnb or doing research on Airbnb Hell for further questions on the topic.

Me: Wow! This just feels rude, and no, there aren’t a lot of choices for one night near my daughter, who is in southeast Seattle. Her fiance unexpectedly returned from a trip abroad, or I wouldn’t be looking at the last minute. And I assumed you wanted $1500 because most of your guests are young, stay for longer, and are potentially unreliable. But I have excellent reviews, and think of myself as quite low risk. So this all feels rather harsh as a response to a reasonable query. But you are definitely wrong about there being a multitude of choices near her. And you’re losing a very easy guest.

I found her response to be unbelievably rude, and I wonder if this is actually age discrimination, because I did tell her I’m over 65. I can find no other host who asks for $1500 security on a one-night stay in a $90 room. I am really annoyed at her treatment of me. She runs these two properties.

The Dungeon of Horror at NYC Airbnb

This was my first and last time using Airbnb; it is a total scam. I picked a room from an ad on Airbnb in NYC. The price was very much comparable to that of a decent hotel (about 100 EUR per day) but I had heard the Airbnb experience was great. Since I was planning to stay seven days, it was about 700 EUR altogether.

I arrived at the place. It turned out a total dungeon owned by an old lady. The picture the ad showed was actually the kitchen/living room in which the lady had put her bed just beside the fridge and the cookers. The angle of the picture made it look like a cozy place to stay, but in reality it was below human standards. It also turned out the room I had rented was not the one in the picture (the actual living room) but some smelly dark hole in which I was not ready to stay for one moment.

I politely said to the woman that the place was not what I expected, and she said “no problem; we can cancel.”

I tried to cancel the booking through the app, but it turned out Airbnb would retain around 250 EUR. Then I called Airbnb to see how I could recover my 250 EUR. They said I should request a refund from the owner – that she only had to accept the request, and that would be it. I did what they asked, she claimed that she had returned them, and everything seemed okay. It should have appeared in my account after a couple of days.

I went to a hotel and after a couple of days, there was still no money back. I contacted the host; several times she confirmed she had accepted the request. A few days more… still no money. I called Airbnb, and they said the old lady hadn’t accepted the request after all, and that they could not do anything.

To sum up: an ad which was absolutely misleading, miserable conditions in which only a poor old woman can live in, an obvious scam where she claimed several times she had returned the money, and Airbnb washing its hands and taking its share of the scam despite of the whole conversation concerning the return of my money was clearly stated in their message system. Airbnb – a total scam. Save your money and your nerves. Stay away.

Slander is Acceptable to Airbnb Regardless of the Facts

My wife and I stayed at this Airbnb in Barcelona with a host who has had rave reviews. My review was also quite positive as we had no complaints. Upon posting my review, I saw what our host, Gloria, had written. Her comments were slanderous fabrications with no basis in fact. What happened is that we left the room early in the day. While we were gone Gloria, without our permission, let a “worker” in the room to do some “repairs.” After the worker had left she smelled smoke. That evening, upon our return, we were confronted by Gloria and accused of smoking in the room. Neither my wife nor I smoke and we were not about to take up smoking at seventy years old. We assured Gloria that we had not smoked and the accusation was false. It was pointed out to her that the fact that there was no smell of smoke before we left for the day or in the evening should be a clue as to who smoked in the room, i.e. the worker. I thought that was the end of it.

When I read her review I was livid as she persisted with the slander and a whole lot of other accusations. Filing a complaint with Airbnb, I was advised by a representative that there was nothing to be done, because a review is a review. My response to Gloria’s review was taken down. The reason was that I shared what Gloria had told us, in great detail, upon arrival in her place. She claimed to be one of twenty-five people in the world with a rare kind of brain tumor. Believing her, I had given her the benefit of a doubt and in my response indicated that Gloria’s rant may be mitigated by the fact that she has brain tumors. Apparently Airbnb decided that a comment on the host’s health condition violated their policy, even though the host herself had gone through excruciating detail telling us her medical history. Confidentiality did not seem to be a concern with her. My protest, a matter of honor, has been ignored. The host’s falsehoods stand while my response has been taken down. Needless to say we will not be staying at Airbnb properties again. My trust in them has been badly shaken as it is clear that some hosts are, in my opinion, less than stable.