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.

blankblank

Airbnb not Paying out more than Four Months

I own and rent out an apartment, mostly through Airbnb, in Budapest, Hungary. I realized only in January that the last payment I received was on November 11. The business is being managed for me by a company who specializes in this and who have been doing a great job. They have registered/contracted with Airbnb — not me — but Airbnb has been paying my account directly.

The management company has been in contact with Airbnb customer service — as difficult as it is to make meaningful contact with them — but only told that we need to wait for some payment system issue to be resolved. Then of course nothing happens for weeks and weeks.

As I personally am not even a client, I am unable to contact Airbnb directly which is incredibly frustrating. Having managed to get through on Airbnb’s phone line, they managed to set up a call with a CEE regional manager, who promised to investigate and get back to me.

This was three weeks ago and obviously nothing has happened since. Airbnb has been holding my money ($6-7000) for more than four months now and seems to be ignoring its obligation to immediately resolve this situation that is clearly in conflict with their contract and with the law. Their behaviour is just unthinkable and unacceptable in every way. Any help with what the hell I can do would be greatly appreciated.

blankblank

Breezehome in Overveen Haarlem Netherlands near Amsterdam

I have been visiting the Netherlands since the 1990s and have come to understand the mentality of the people quite well now. It is quite normal for some Dutch people to misrepresent something in the interests of business.

This Airbnb rental is located in Overveen close to Haarlem or Harlem, which is about 17 Km from Amsterdam in The Netherlands, or Holland or Nederland Europe for Dutch speakers. In the near future, Formula 1 racing events will be held at Zandvort or Zandvoort, which is close by. This operator told me about all the money that can be made by local people renting out rooms locally.

I don’t want to seem harsh to the host because he isn’t a bad guy and is quite pleasant and interesting to be around. However, I do have some objections to his listing as it stands on Airbnb right now (October 2019). Unfortunately, this rental is listed in a way that is not representative of the condition it is really in now.

The main complaint I have is of misrepresentation and omission. Haarlem is a nice alternative to Amsterdam, an authentic medieval/Golden Era town which is well worth a visit, with easy and quick railway connections with Amsterdam and the airport. The location of the apartment is 15-20 minutes from the town center or the railway station on foot.

The room that you will be renting is not a separate room, but is on a blind landing at the very top of the apartment, with no door. The room is a good size but has no window and no form of external ventilation. There were two fans but the room was still very stuffy even though the fans were on and the summer was over by then.

Sleeping in this room for me was similar to sleeping in an underground bunker. With all the lights off, it was absolutely pitch dark and too warm. The in-house ventilation fan in the electrical cupboard in the room made a continuous noise. I resorted to sleeping on the floor in the living room. The room made me feel very claustrophobic. It was not really possible to hang-out in your bedroom because it was not a comfortable experience in that respect. The lighting was provided from one energy-saving bulb in the ceiling.

There were other problems. The living room was cluttered and untidy and in need of a cleaning, as was the whole apartment. The sofa covers absolutely stank. When I removed the covers from the duvet and pillows to wash them at the end of my stay, I saw they were not very clean and in need of dry cleaning. The mattress had a few old stains on it. The kitchen area was not all that clean and there was always a huge pile of washed utensils in the drying area by the sink.

There was a tiny part of the fridge for guests. When I offered the host some coffee I was planning to brew he said that he did not drink coffee, which meant that there was nothing to brew it in available. I was not really invited to use the kitchen so I did not use it.

The open hats and coats area by the front door was a cluttered jumble of shoes, very untidy and certain to create a poor impression with many visitors. There were two very steep flights of stairs from the living room to the guest room. Not a problem for me, but should be mentioned in the listing. The bathroom and toilet need a cleaning. The cover to the toilet cistern is missing and the toilet bowl below the water is black and denotes a lack of care over a long period of time.

The décor in the apartment is rather tired and there is a huge pile of water-soaked cigarette butts in a dish out on the terrace and more on the floor. This is the best part of the apartment, but again it was neglected.

I did ask the host if he could print out my return bus ticket, offering him a couple of Euros for his trouble. He said it was okay and he would do it. I left an old USB flash drive on his coffee table where it remained for several days and then I noticed it was gone. Because time became short I got it printed at a local printers.

I asked him if had picked up the stick and he said that he hadn’t seen it. In order to be diplomatic I shrugged off the incident and make no conclusion about it. The stick was worth nothing, only had the bus ticket on it, but it did disappear from one day to the next and I had to accept a denial from the host. I did also check the living room very thoroughly when he was out, but it did not turn up. He did not further enquire as to whether I had got the ticket printed.

This is one of those pointless and quite surreal incidents when using Airbnb when you have to make an instant decision to insist on something or just laugh it off. If he had said that he lost the stick rather than presenting me with an adolescent explanation then everything would have been fine.

I paid just over £200 Sterling for six nights here (approximately US$246). It is not the worst Airbnb rental or the worst host, even if he could be described as bad, I have encountered by a long way and I am used to accepting differences and inconveniences as part of the interest in staying in different places. I think that this rental is probably worth half what I paid.

I have given up complaining or making suggestions to hosts or Airbnb. I do not like leaving bad reviews on Airbnb because I do not wish to get into an on-line dispute and Airbnb sanitises reviews anyway. Airbnb expected me to provide pictures of this let, which strikes me as a strange and anti-social activity in itself.

The presumption that the paying customer is somehow a bit of a fool and that they are there to be milked by the Dutch is still alive and well in the minds of a lot of them. If you are pleasant, personable and respectful then it is possible that you will be seen as something of an idiot.

Airbnb is not going to ask the host to list his property more accurately, because I did not take any pictures during my stay. My comments are corroborated by the feedback given by other guests. I did not read all of the feedback when I booked in the Spring of 2019 and so missed the crucial detail about the lack of a window.

blankblank

Amsperience Treeland Wormerveer Listing in Amsterdam

The words ‘sweet’ and ‘cosy’ and ‘paradise’ should be banned from Airbnb. It is possible to find cheap accommodation on Airbnb which is actually of a good standard, not too spartan and actually very pleasant to stay in.

The correct choice of budget accommodation on Airbnb is not helped by the fact that the company sifts out the worst reviews and a reading of the reviews of a property like this actually looks fairly positive. This landlord has also re-listed his property many times to eliminate bad reviews.

The couple running this venue are in their 20s and have had the immense good fortune to have been handed what was a very nice house with a lot of character with a big garden. Sadly the way in which they run the venue is very disappointing and disconcerting to experience.

I stayed with them at their old venue in 2016, which was rustic but not unpleasant, and at this venue in 2017. You will enter the premises via a side gate, next to which the domestic bins are, plus a big pile of domestic rubbish under a plastic cover. The garden is visibly neglected, quite over-grown, which creates a secluded but rather depressing impression.

The house is wooden, with a very characteristic hallway, but which has seen a lot of human traffic: the floor and doors are scuffed and grubby, there are cobwebs, blown light bulbs, and a wooden staircase which also needs cleaning. There is an odd smell probably due to the result of lack of proper cleaning. The entire downstairs is private to the operator.

A glimpse through the dirty windows reveals a catastrophic hoarder kitchen and a very untidy living space on the ground floor. The downstairs common bathroom and toilet is actually quite good.

The owner says that he does not allow access to the kitchen because it ‘f*cks up my energy.’ The kitchen is not even usable for any conventional purpose and would require many days of cleaning to restore.

There are two upstairs bedrooms. They are both a good size. The bigger one is an en suite with a nice shower, but the shower has been out of action for a few months because of a leak. The sliding door to this room could be locked with a padlock, but there is no padlock. The other room has no door but a curtain. The beds, although pallet beds, are comfortable. There is also a rustic wooden building in the garden which is a cluttered, dirty, untidy workshop, with filthy windows which is sometimes available for rent.

I was asked my views on the property by the owner and I told him that he could probably double his income by providing a mini-bar fridge, fridge space for the guests, basic tea and coffee making facilities, real beds, an inclusive simple breakfast (and not the vegan breakfast he has sometimes insisted on) and by cleaning the windows. The venue does have a good washing machine and dryer which I suggested that the owner charge guests for using.

The central heating is on constantly for some unknown reason, so it is also possible to dry clothes on the radiator in the bedroom which you can turn on and off. I asked the owner about pegs for drying on the washing line but he could not be bothered to look for them.

There is wifi, but it goes off all the time when the owner’s phone goes out of range of the router. He will not change this so that guests can go online with greater convenience and is often too under the influence of drugs to connect it when asked, particularly in the evenings. I constantly had to ask him to reconnect it and towards the end of my five-day stay he could not be bothered to do it. He told me to get KPN for internet access which cost me 15 Euros and did not work at all well.

He has ideas of starting a second or third operation, when the one he has got is operating at such a poor level. He even thought that I would be interested in running an Airbnb operation with him in the future. In 2017, I was almost offered the option of running the current Airbnb operation so that the owner and his girlfriend could go on holiday, with no mention of any kind of payment or profit-share for this work.

The owner/operator is a young man approaching 30, whom I do have previous experience with. He is not at all unpleasant or dishonest but sadly he is addicted to processing and smoking dab cannabis every day. This is the principal reason why the property is run at such a low level. The Airbnb operation exists like this so that he can take drugs every day and hang around in the house.

Our previous acquaintance going back to 2016 and 2017 probably explains why he did not bother to vacuum my room before I arrived. His girlfriend was away, so he would hang out in my room, passing out on the spare bed a few times and even wanted to eat a meal of particularly smelly fried food in my room, but was prevented from doing so, because I was going out. On two other occasions he actually did this and then started asking about the food that I had. The operator consumes a lot of fried food, often late in the evening and because he does not air the downstairs area, the smell travels up the stairs.

You might actually enjoy having the owner’s two dogs running in and out of your room and trying to jump on you or on your bed. As I mentioned, the owner isn’t a bad person at all, but rather overly sociable and seems really to have no interests except drugs. He will talk a lot about conspiracy theories and his wish to start a company and change the world. It becomes grating after a short time or if you want to go to bed. I had to wake him up and eject him from the room when I wanted to sleep.

The owner is also under the impression that he is ‘helping people’ by offering such a low-rent property. You also cannot obtain a key for the house, the owner relying on keeping a key under a flower pot in the garden. This deficient security was quite a worry and travel insurance would definitely not be valid in the event of theft.

The motivation in running this operation is in fact very casual and shows a commitment to making the minimum of effort. Alternatively the operator can be quite fussy about an open bedroom window because of a mosquito problem, which I did not experience at all. He complained about this twice after he woke up from passing out on the spare bed in my room. He was also very intolerant of my opening the skylights at the top of the stairs slightly.

One of the things which you must not do is to become too social with the owner. A trip into Amsterdam means that you will suddenly be paying for his travel, food, drugs, etc. I was repaid because I kept reminding him, but had to avoid this kind of venture after that. I am writing this because I don’t see this operation lasting very long because of the ongoing level of deterioration to the property.

The painted exterior of the house is starting to deteriorate visibly in places. The operator told me back in 2017 that no exterior work needs to be done for ten years. I don’t want to be one of the succession of strangers or somebody claiming to be a friend, who said all was well with this venue, when there are severe systemic problems and standards which are non-existent.

I did tell the operator this when I was asked and my further critique here is given here in the hope that things really improve, because as a friend that is what I would like to see most. I also want to prevent strangers from having their vacation totally spoiled. This Airbnb rental is not at all suitable for children or for people with mobility or allergy issues.

Airbnb most definitely sanitises the reviews for this property so that it can stay in business, generating a sustained income for the company. I raised my concerns with Airbnb back in 2017, but they seem to have no interest in basic standards, ordinary hygiene, organisation and the constant use of drugs in the house. They are not at all concerned that cheap accommodation should be of a good standard, pleasant to arrive at and stay in.

My intention in writing this review is so that the operator is provided with a very necessary wake-up call and gains the long-overdue insight to massively improve the venue, which is entirely in his own interest to do so. It is not my business to tell an adult how to live but there is so much wrong with this operation and his alternative way of living would not be acceptable to most people.

My reading of quite a number of the original reviews more than illustrated the level of dissatisfaction and frustration felt by a lot of people who have stayed at his house. If you simply want to pass out every night when you get back from Amsterdam then this venue might suit you perfectly.

blankblank

Trying to Get Around Local Airbnb Laws

I just got back from a trip to Barcelona, where I rented an Airbnb apartment. Check-in was a nightmare, but that was the least of it. My first morning there, I was woken by a touristic inspector who wanted to enter the apartment and take a photo of my reservation. Apparently, some hosts in the building (including my own) were breaking Barcelona city law by renting for less than 30 days without a license to do so.

Two days later, my host started pestering me with mysterious WhatsApp messages asking me to meet him. I was like, “What the heck for?”

After much back and forth, he finally admitted that he would like me to do him a “favor” by signing a fake contract extending my lease to 30 days. I several times indicated my discomfort with this situation, but he kept pushing. Eventually I said, “NO! I just don’t feel comfortable being dishonest.”

The host then showed up at my place while I was getting ready to leave and came in without knocking. I said “Please leave!!! I’m packing!”

When I left the apartment, the host was waiting for me outside – supposedly to help me carry my luggage, but it seemed that really he was still hoping to get me to sign a fake contract. I texted him subsequently telling him I had not been pleased with his behavior, and posted a negative review on Airbnb. The host texted me back calling me a “crushed whore.”

I also complained to Airbnb. They nicely refunded my money for the stay, calling and texting me with many consolations for how badly I’d been treated by this guy, and promising they would look into it. However, I just checked this guy’s listing on Airbnb. Not only is Airbnb still allowing him to advertise on their site, despite the fact that he’d tried to pressure me into to criminal fraud, they erased my negative review.

blankblank

False Review from Airbnb Host in Bosnia

Not a terrible experience – and actually I do not have anything negative to say about Airbnb itself, just this host. Two friends and I were on a road trip through Bosnia and Montenegro. Using the filters “3+ bedrooms” (not people) and “entire property”, we booked a place in Trebinje, Bosnia as a base prior to the Montenegro border crossing.

The confirmation said the property had four bedrooms and was for 16+ people. As a relatively regular Airbnb user, this isn’t unusual and the prices were not out of kilter with other “entire properties” in the town. We checked in around 6:45 PM, and were shown (by a rep, not the host) a one bedroom apartment “for 3 people” because “this is what you booked”.

Well, my confirmation said different and the rep agreed; she called the office and we were told we could have the connecting one bedroom apartment if we paid cash. Red flag alert. They told me it would cost more on Airbnb – which I knew – but felt very scammy at the time. We were the only people staying at this complex. We would’ve paid extra cleaning fees had they given us the separate bedrooms we’d booked, but they wouldn’t move at all.

Rather than give them a penny, we spent about 30-45 minutes arranging alternative accommodations. Our next host came to our rescue and left a family celebration to check us in one day earlier. She was amazing and her place was awesome.

We did get a full refund, and Airbnb called me multiple times to make sure we weren’t stranded which was impressive (if unnecessary). We never got an apology, just a rude and dismissive attitude. So I had the choice – write a negative review and get one back in return, or just leave it.

After giving them two weeks to correct their listing I went for the negative review so no one else would have the same problem. Then I got this back: “This guest is very complicated. They booked one apartment for 3 persons. When they arrived we give them option choose apartment which most suitable for them, but they wanted apartment with 3+ bedrooms or whole Villa (our Villa has 9 AP). We explained them that it is not possible, because price for theirs reservation was 35$. After check in they used apartment 2-3 hours, showered and then say that they are not satisfied and wanted bigger apartment. We could not offer them it for 35$ and we refunded them all funds. They leave our apartment after 3 hours of use and leave it messy.”

Essentially a flat-out lie from the host. However I hadn’t told them I’d taken a video before we left (decide for yourself how “messy” we left it). We never had a choice of apartment (I’ll take what I booked, please), I had complained immediately, we hadn’t used the shower, was there less than two hours and that time was spent frantically on the Internet and calling to sort out accommodation at 7:00 PM in an unfamiliar country.

I tried to link the YouTube video in my Airbnb response but Airbnb blocked it. Hopefully this can come up if anyone searches for this place in the future. At least I’m telling myself that for the satisfaction – screw this host. Not really Airbnb hell, but liars should always be called out if you have evidence to refute.

blankblank

Bait and Switch Airbnb in Bilbao, Spain

I booked and paid for a three-night stay at an Airbnb within walking distance to the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain in a really lovely looking place with a Superhost. Unfortunately due to falling ill in San Sebastian, Spain, I was only able to get to Bilbao for one night.

On arrival, I noticed that there were three bedrooms which I knew were not part of the description. After taking a nap, I had a better look at the apartment only to realise it wasn’t what I had booked. In contacting the host to ask to move me to the apartment I paid for, I was told that it had been given to someone else.

I was not provided with the apartment number at the time of booking. I was not advised before or on arrival of the change. I was given a substandard alternative which, amongst other things, was dirty and had exposed power points which let off sparks. The entrance and lift smelt of urine. These are photos of what I was given.

Confirmed Airbnb Reservations Mean Nothing

My wife and I had a reservation for Cologne, Germany from August 31st to September 3rd. We booked an Airbnb three months before. The apartment was confirmed and we send an email to the host. When we arrived in Cologne we reached the host at 6:00 PM. She said that she wasn’t in Cologne, and that she was in Berlin. She said she was going to contact the host, because, according to her, there had been a mistake and it was Airbnb’s fault.

After two hours she called us and said there was no apartment. That it was a mistake from Airbnb and that we should contact them. We did so and contacted Airbnb Germany. Airbnb said that the host was a mess and they proceeded to cancel the reservation. I asked them what to do, because we were alone at a city we didn’t know. We asked for Airbnb to find us a place, because it was not possible to leave us just like that in a foreign city. They said they were going to do so and they were going to contact us.

They never got back to us and we had to stay at a hotel. We asked Airbnb to help us pay the hotel. They said they could pay 50% of what we were supposed to pay on our reservation. That was 30 Euro. The hotel was 189 Euro. That was the cheapest hotel we could find that night, because there was a world event at the city. Airbnb said that was all they could do.

They never took responsibility for never contacting us and not helping us find a place to stay that night. Airbnb said they are only brokers, so they can’t do anything if a situation like this happens, because they are not liable for bad hosts. So if you don’t get a confirmed reservations you won’t be able to do anything.

Booked a Year in Advance, No Word the Day Before

My husband and I went on the trip of a lifetime: Prague to Paris. We wanted to extend our trip just two days in Paris and I was interested in staying in the Le Marais area. I found an Airbnb and booked it a year in advance.

As the time got closer, I tried six times to contact our host… nothing. By the time we were ready to leave there was still no word. I called Airbnb and they could not get in contact with the host either. Then when I wanted my money back, they told me I had cancelled my trip (a lie).

After several times going back and forth I finally booked a hotel from Expedia for cheaper than stupid Airbnb. Now in order to get my money back I have to either give them my social security number (why?), my bank account and routing number (no way!) or they can’t give it back. I asked “Why don’t you return it to the card I used to pay?”

So, I have to trust these numbskulls who can’t even get their hosts to have what people paid for with all my personal information. I’m sure they won’t get hacked. The woman I spoke to was rude and condescending I will never use this horrible service again. I couldn’t even get the cleaning fee back on an apartment I never got to use, unless I provide them with my personal information… disgusting. Do not trust these people; it’s not a reputable business at all.

Airbnb: Nothing More than Sanctioned Extortion

Twice I have utilised Airbnb to secure accommodation whilst travelling and been ripped off both times. The first time I utilised their services was in 2018, when I travelled to Dublin. The host was terrible, to the point I had to leave after only two days into a three-week booking. I tried to retrieve my money from Airbnb but they sided with the host, who lied about the circumstances of my departure, and so failed to reimburse me my money.

Now, I have just experienced another difficulty with this organisation. I was booked in with one of their hosts to stay for a month, again in Dublin, from November 2019, when I had to cancel my booking, due to circumstances beyond my control. Airbnb then refused to reimburse me my money, saying the host had a “fixed cancellation policy” that prohibited refunds.

Never again will I use this organisation. They do not support the traveller under any circumstances, instead taking your money, without allowance for taking into account your side of the story, and effectively “stealing” your funds. They are crooks of the highest order.