The Great Airbnb Wedding Debacle of 2017

Words can barely describe how terrible my experience with Airbnb was this past weekend. Let me take you on a journey that outlines my chaotic and downright disgusting travel story all thanks to Airbnb. On July 31st, I successfully booked a two-bedroom house using the Airbnb app for August 31st through September 3rd. I was given confirmation from the host on August 11th that the booking went through and that he was expecting us.

On August 27th I reached out to the host via the in-app message tab trying to extend the stay and add two more people to the booking, The host did not respond. I tried to add the extra two more days through the app, but soon saw that they were marked as “booked” and I figured that was why I did not receive a response from the host. I figured that once I checked in on the 31st I would let the host know that two more people were joining me and I would pay any additional fees at that time; I did not see a way to add guests to an existing reservation.

Fast forward to the day of our check in, August 31st, 3:00 PM. I received no email outlining our entry code or where a key could be located. I texted the host at 3:15 PM and received no response. I called the host at 3:30 PM and the phone number on file was a Google Voice number, not even a real number. I left a voicemail. I called the customer service number for Airbnb and was told that they needed to reach out to the host themselves as per protocol and that I would get a call back from them either way.

The remaining six hours of the day was a game of phone tag between me and the customer service representative. He had to wait two hours before he could cancel the reservation because we needed to give the host enough time to respond. That I could understand. What I could not understand was being made to feel as though the representative was doing me a favor by refunding my money and leaving me with nowhere to stay for over three days. When I asked for accommodations to be provided, I was met with resistance because “I did not book a stay for four people originally”. I had told the representative multiple times that I had tried to get ahold of the host before so that I could change the accommodations and pay any additional fees required.

Here we are sitting in a rental car for over two hours in front of the Airbnb hoping that the host was just running late. We were not hungry as we had to go to a rehearsal dinner at 6:00 PM so we did not take the advice of the representative to “get something to eat and take our mind off the waiting”… he did offer to give us $50 towards our dinner, but as I told him, I could care less about food when I had nowhere to stay for three days.

We waited for our host, eagerly watching every car that came down the street thinking it was him… but it wasn’t. Meanwhile as we sat in our rental car, we were trying to find accommodations either through Airbnb or a hotel of any kind. The problem was there were no vacancies at the hotels and there were no Airbnb’s available because of the holiday weekend and the late notice.

You are probably wondering why we didn’t just go to a different city. The whole reason we needed to to be in Pueblo was for our friends’ wedding. Two people from our party were standing up in the wedding and needed to be nearby to participate in the dinners, rehearsals, and events. Going to a different city was out of the question. With the lack of long-term accommodations anywhere in the city, we were able to secure a hotel room for one night only (as that was all they had). The service representative said that he found a house that could fit all of us on such short notice that looked “really nice”, and he was “sticking his neck out” to get us accommodations for four people. Let me reiterate that we would have never been in this predicament if the original host was vetted properly in the first place. Telling us that he was “sticking his neck out” and intending to make us feel like he was going out of his way did not make us thankful.

We got settled into our first hotel for the night of the 31st as there was no Airbnb available and we needed to get ready for the rehearsal dinner at 6:00 PM. Customer service said that Airbnb would cover the stay at the “very nice” house and that we would have Friday and Saturday night covered. I felt some relief, but it was very short lived.

On the morning of September 1st, I was happy to see the entry email for the new Airbnb host. I contacted the him and asked if we could check in earlier because we had to leave the hotel; the room needed to be vacated by 11:00 AM. Through the Airbnb app I communicated with the new host and he said that we could enter the house early and that someone would be around to clean as the other guests were leaving.

We packed our cars and headed to the new location, excited to finally get settled in. From the outside, the new house looked normal. Maybe the grass and bushes were a little overgrown and the paint was peeling, but it could have been nicer inside… nope. This “very nice” house was scary, dark, dank and anything but clean. Someone had clearly been smoking cigarettes in there, and the sparse furniture that was in the house smelled musty and must have been picked out of the garbage. Our rooms that we were supposed to sleep in were in the moldy basement. The kitchen where we planned on saving some money by preparing meals, was not suitable for food because of the layer of grime on all the surfaces. Half the appliances were out of order as they kindly stated this with a sticky note. Maybe we could have slept on top of the covers and not eaten in the house, but we couldn’t even get clean because the showers had mold up the walls. Not to mention the nasty dingy towels that were supposed to dry our “clean” bodies after we showered.

There was no amount of scrubbing that could possibly clean those bathrooms, so what do we do? Do we call Airbnb back again and deal with another six-hour long back and forth just to hear the same excuses? Do we complain to the current host about the conditions? What would that get us? We needed a safe, clean place to reside for the remainder of our trip. And it was clear that Airbnb was not going to help us.

We decided to contact a hotel in Walsenberg, CO (40 minutes from where we needed to be) and they had one room left. We pounced on the opportunity to have a clean safe place to rest our heads. We packed up the car and drove straight to Walsenberg so that there was no chance that they could possibly sell our room to anyone else. I didn’t contact the host of the second house as I was to distraught to even formulate a response to what we had just experienced. Our number one concern was securing clean and safe lodging for the next two days.

You are probably wondering what I want. I am going to tell you exactly what I want and need: I expect my initial charge of $192.00 to refunded to my credit card. I expect Airbnb to pay back the amount of money I spent on both hotels (I was forced to pay outrageously high prices because of the last-minute booking). I do not want an Airbnb credit; I want a check for the amount, sent to me so I can at least recoup the cost of the accommodations (not to mention the hundreds of dollars I am now out of because a party of four had to eat out every meal and the additional cost of gas for us to drive back and forth from the hotel). I expect that both hosts will no longer be able to rent out their houses. I expect a handwritten email in response to this letter acknowledging that my concerns and needs are being heard and addressed.

Host Slept in Living Room While Guests Stayed in her Room

Not so long ago, I went to LA with my friend and decided to stay in the heart of Hollywood. I saw this one-bedroom place on Airbnb and decided to book it because it was heaps cheaper than hotels. The place looked amazing and the bed was massive. I contacted the host and she was very prompt in replying.

On the day of arrival, I pressed the intercom and was surprised that a guy answered and told us to come in. As far as I can remember, I was exchanging messages with a female beforehand. Anyways, my friend and I decided to go ahead. When we got into the place, we were not so pleased to see three people (two girls who were the host and
her sister, and one guy). The host was very friendly and took us to our room. My friend and I were becoming a bit jittery of the situation. We decided to go out and have dinner, hoping the three would be gone when we come back. After all, we booked a one-bedroom unit; we expected privacy.

To our surprise, they were still there when we got back. We decided to sleep just one night and leave the next day. Upon waking up, we saw the host and her sister sleeping on the couch just like it was their usual routine. I couldn’t describe how I felt that day. I was angry deep inside. I felt I was cheated. In spite of what had happened, I told the host that we were leaving and that we didn’t like the experience.

I tried to put a bad review on that listing but it didn’t get published. I made a complaint on Airbnb but there was no reply. Unfair, right? Upon checking up on the host, I found that she had moved to a new place and had a new listing. It seemed to me that she didn’t own the place at all. What she probably does is lets people rent her place so they can pay for her rent. That’s why I have been very skeptical of Airbnb, because of that terrible first experience.

Airbnb Customer Service Trusts Guests over Hosts

An Airbnb guest booked my apartment for one person over a period of three weeks. I learned that she actually had two additional guests staying with her when I visited her at the apartment on her last week. I told her she would have to revise the request and pay for the additional guests. She refused to discuss the matter. Ascertaining from my neighbor that all three guests had lived there most of the time, I made a complaint to Airbnb. Of course, Airbnb advised me to request additional payment through their website, which I did. Those requests were refused by the guest. After I made numerous requests and complaints Airbnb awarded me additional payment for only two days because the guests wrote in her email that her friends “only stayed a couple of days.”

Although it was clear from our correspondence that the additional guests were there for at least three days, Airbnb did not honor my request for additional payment since the guest who made the booking would not communicate with them about the issue. This guest retaliated by leaving my apartment in a filthy condition (I sent pictures to Airbnb) with all windows and doors left open – an invitation to robbery. In addition, since her bogus and scathing review I have not received a single request. I have a 4.5-star, business-ready rating with 26 excellent reviews. Airbnb’s inflexible transparency policy has effectively prevented me from receiving other requests. They won’t remove this scathing review or put it at the bottom of my page where it is less likely to be read. Therefore, I would have to start from scratch with a new page which is completely unfair to me. I am going to close my account and use another vacation rental service if this matter is not handled favorably.

Bad Airbnb Guest Invites all her Friends to Stay

I had a guest who stayed at my place for two months. In summary, she violated Airbnb policy many times by bringing many guests, including her boyfriend and more male friends. I clearly told her to stop (except once for her boyfriend) when she asked whether it was possible, but this girl keep pulling it off night after night bringing in different guys. I didn’t want to make it embarrassing so avoided confronting her as I had other guests. One day when I went overseas, I reminded her not to bring unregistered guests as she was alone in the house. To deter this girl from bringing guests I placed an IP camera in a visible location at my main gate a few days before I left. This girl has a very thick skin; she brought another guy home again. When I texted her from overseas to remind her, she argued that it was her right to bring guests because Airbnb didn’t mention anything about additional guests and blamed me for it. Then she made all sorts of crazy threats regarding reporting me to the authorities and a ton of other BS. I tolerated her and tried to behave as professionally as possible.

A few days later she proceeded to cancel her booking without my knowledge and blamed Airbnb for the cancellation, explaining that they had made a mistake. She stayed on the property. I checked with Airbnb but they took two weeks to respond and concluded that this girl had actually cancelled her booking. Airbnb refunded her money and refused to honour my cancellation policy, blaming me for surveillance of the entrance of my rather large property. I leased a room, not my house. This girl basically stayed for free for half a month and left the room in a filthy condition after using it as a motel and without notice or penalty. Further calls and complaints to Airbnb were ignored. The Airbnb Service Fee was fully deducted for two months obviously. There were no deposits, no documentation, and one non-paying guest. Who believes in Airbnb standards now? I am really tempted to expose the guest and the evidence which I have submitted to Airbnb’s resolution center. I think the problem here is not with the guests who don’t follow rules, but Airbnb’s insane policies and self-interested actions that have destroyed the experiences of many hosts and guests. I would strongly recommend others find an alternative to Airbnb or build a platform that can replace this selfish monster.