Do not use Airbnb. They only protect their hosts and not the guests. Our Miami condo was cancelled by the hosts one hour before check-in (literally as our plane landed I received a notice, and not even an apology). I’ve been trying to work with Airbnb the past three weeks and they even removed my bad review of their host, wiping their record “clean” on a technicality that I shared information about the case. When I said I’d rewrite it to omit what was not allowed, they refused and still removed my review, so consumers would never know the hosts or Airbnb did this. I can’t believe how their support is very one sided and favors the hosts. Trying to get their call number to report the issue as the issue is happening is like finding a needle in a haystack. Their call number is nowhere to be found on their site unless you click on at least six different links and you have to read everything to just figure out what to do. During the entire complaint, case managers that handled your issue refuse to talk live to you on the phone; they handle everything by email. If you must use Airbnb, do not use this host. They have four properties: I think two in Miami and two in other countries. They are based in Croatia and use some property managers in their Miami condos.
We just found that Airbnb didn’t transfer our money a few days after the client paid until we contacted them about this issue. Later, they cancelled one payment from another guest who actually already checked in and was not entitled to get any refund; we had a strict cancellation policy. We charged a very low fee under Airbnb’s instructions because they told us that our listings would not be found if our fee was higher than Airbnb’s lowest rate. However, Airbnb will take any comment against a landlord seriously and punish him or her without any investigation or fairness. Even though I have had my place listed on Airbnb for just a few months, I have felt very stressed and offended because Airbnb staff kept bugging me all the time as if they were the police with complete authority; this is ridiculous because everybody knows Airbnb started as a small website and is now getting bigger by coddling landlords while pissing off small ones.
I will never use this stupid website anymore and we will not have to because there are many other better ways. I think the reason Airbnb would like to get rid of small landlords is now they have bigger bosses in and they would not make much money by keeping small landlords and small tenants. Please remember that Airbnb never works in your best interest but by sucking as much cash as they can out of your pocket.
My wife and I booked a stay at a Beacon Hill area studio in the city of Boston recently and we had a horrible experience. The experience was so bad that it will make us reconsider ever using Airbnb again as guests. Although we really like the idea of Airbnb and we have been strong supporters, we feel that we will likely be victimized by the poor way that Airbnb operates in dealing with guest complaints. We’ll likely lose a bit of money and be left out in the cold even though we have been champions for Airbnb and have contributed to their bottom line.
The listing we booked presented the rental as the “Perfect Little Stay in Beacon Hill”. The unit was everything but perfect; it was overpriced, tiny, not clean, and not safe for us at all health wise. We have been using Airbnb as hosts for some time now and we’ve had nothing but wonderful experiences with the guests who have stayed with us. The guests love our property and the services we provide and we love having them. These experiences led us to try out Airbnb as guests. This turned out to be a huge mistake.
We selected the Boston property because of its location. Beacon Hill is a nice area – we figured – and the few photos online for the property looked good, though there were no photos of the building, which should have been a red flag. We communicated with the manager of the property online before arriving (initially asking if they had availability for a second night and if there was a place we could drop off a bag before checking in) and those communications went smoothly. So far so good.
However, when we arrived, things started to go bad from the start. We were a bit surprised by the overall condition of the building: the front door had a missing lock, the entrance was extremely dirty and in need of repair, there were boxes all over the entrance that we had to climb over, trash bags and laundry bags were piled all over the place, and there were big stains all over the carpet. It had the overall appearance of a drug dealer’s apartment.
We found the key and went to the unit only to discover that the door was unlocked. We dropped off our bag, but as we tried to lock the door we discovered that there were problems with the lock. Fortunately as we were leaving, the cleaning person came by. We showed him the lock problems and he told us that he would take care of it. He struggled with the lock as well and finally was able to latch it. This made us wonder about the security of the building and the bag that we were going to store.
Our first impression of the property was that it looked like poorly managed student housing – cheap, dark, dingy, not decorated well, very bare bones – not something you’d typically expect to see in a nice area like Beacon Hill. However, we figured this is what we selected and we’d make the most of it. Unfortunately, things got a lot worse. I came back to the room in the later afternoon to rest up. The room had been cleaned, but I was really surprised by the condition of the room. It was very tiny, poorly decorated, dark, no frills, had lots of wear (the wood floor was badly scarred up, stains on the bathroom walls, the shower had mold, a window was painted over with latex paint, there was caulk peeling in the bathroom, the view outside the window was of things being dumped in the alley).
I was hoping that my wife wouldn’t be disappointed when she got there and really took a look around. Again, these aesthetic issues were only the tip of the iceberg. After resting in the room for a couple of hours and turning the A/C on, I started to get very ill. I started having trouble breathing, was very congested, developed a bad headache, and felt nauseous. When my wife got there I felt really bad so she took a look around. She noticed several gallons of chemical products and garbage bags of stuff strewn about the stairways directly outside our room. She also noticed some odd chemical smells. We also were concerned about the condition of the A/C as it had some moldy odors. The longer we stayed in the room, the worse we felt.
My wife suggested we go out for dinner to get out of the room and get some fresh air. We did and after about an hour I started to feel better. My wife suggested that we go look for a hotel to stay the rest of the night. Fortunately, we were able to get a booking at the Bostonian, not far away. We went back to the room and my wife made me stay out on the street as she went back in and packed up our things and took all of the bedding off of the bed as we were instructed to do by the printed house rules. We never really used the property, such as the shower or fridge, as we spent so little time there. We were basically in panic mode because of the condition of the building and the fact that the building and room were making us sick. The whole experience felt like a frightening Steven King short story.
Fortunately, we had a good stay at the Bostonian. We checked in around midnight, though this set us back as the last minute booking was very expensive. I feel that we made the right call as one’s health, safety, and well being should always come first. As bad as the limited experience with the property was (poor condition, toxic environment, false advertising, etc.) what was even more troubling was the reaction and later communication with the property manager who listed the property.
I sent her a message in the morning as soon as I got up to tell her about how the property made us ill. In one message she seemed concerned but then in another message she seemed to be blaming us for the situation. This is very wrong to do from a hospitality standpoint, something a professional would never do. I didn’t go into a lot of details about the poor condition of the property, but did tell her we couldn’t stay in the unit and had to move to a hotel because of the condition of the property as something in the room or building was making us ill.
I wanted to give the host an opportunity to address the problem as I would if I were a host and one of my guests with a problem contacted me. She responded by saying that she would look into the matter and she offered to provide us with a 50% refund. We never actually asked for a refund; we just sent her a note about the problem we had with staying in the room. I did respond to her to indicate that her refund offer would be acceptable since we didn’t spend the night there.
She then turned around and changed her mind later in the day (after the Airbnb 24-hour complaint policy would expire) about providing a refund, indicating that she felt we did stay here, which of course was not true. So basically after all of the abuse we suffered by staying here, she conned us. It became clear later that she was just working the Airbnb policy system about guest complaints to her advantage.
For anyone who gets in this situation, be very careful. Make sure you find some way to contact management at Airbnb management immediately instead of trying to work out things with an unprofessional host who can take advantage of you. For this experience from hell we paid over $260 for a one-night booking. This property had a serious environmental problem that effected our health. The host was not forthright and in our opinion was using Airbnb to operate as a slumlord.
My wife took a lot of pictures of the condition of the property and we have our hotel bill to show that we did not spend the night there. We are trying to make an official complaint to Airbnb management to see if they can step in and provide some remedy, but from my quick research this is probably not very likely or will take massive effort on my part. Problems like this hurt the Airbnb experience for all of us. I really believe that Airbnb management needs to screen hosts better. I was always very honest and professional in my communications with this host, who unfortunately did not operate with the same standards.
My best advice after having quite a bit of experience operating as an Airbnb host is that you have to be very careful when you rent a property as a guest. Airbnb seems mainly concerned about protecting hosts and not guests. They seem to make it really difficult for guests to contact Airbnb and make complaints. If an unprofessional host takes advantage of a guest there’s not much a guest can do to get satisfaction, especially if the host is not honest and professional. Evidentially this will come back to haunt Airbnb. Just look at what’s happened to Uber and the company’s CEO.
I have one last point to make, and this is a very important one. In the earlier days of Airbnb many of the rentals listed were made available by actual owners of properties who took some care and pride in what they offered. This is really changing in a big way. Many listings that show up now (especially in competitive larger cities) are by sales people and shady real estate people just trying to make a quick buck by renting inferior properties by the night. They do not offer any kind of hospitality; they just want to make a big profit and exploit the marketplace. My wife calls these new generation of operators “Airbnb Slumlords.”
If you see a host like this offering so many properties with limited photos and generic descriptions, be very careful. After looking closer into the situation we encountered in Boston, I realized that this is what happened to us. The person we dealt with was operating as an agent with a group of others, marking up inferior properties, and trying to take advantage of less experienced guests. So called “hosts” like this know how to work the online sources such as Airbnb to their advantage. As a guest, be really careful as this will likely become a much bigger problem with Airbnb. It could really hold back Airbnb’s growth if they don’t find a good way to deal with this problem. I will certainly spend countless hours contacting Airbnb and trying to inform the public about my experience and knowledge. Maybe something good will come of it. I’d love to hear from others about their stories related to this.
My family and I have been loyal Airbnb customers for years, but a recent experience with Airbnb disappointed us badly. I would like to share this experience with you guys so that in the future, no more Airbnb users will have to go through anything similar.
On June 27th, my parents and I were expecting to stay at an Airbnb in Alameda. I had lived in the Bay Area for years so I am familiar with the surroundings. I was so confident and joyful when I got the chance to stay by the Alameda waterfront. However, it was truly a “surprise.”
The check-in was smooth – hard to deny that fact. However, we found many notes that said “please do not open” and “no shoes in the house.” This was okay because we should respect the hosts’ desires as well as ours. It turned out the hosts were trashing our desires while demanding we respect hers.
When my mother went to boil water in the kitchen, she could not find any kettle but discovered a messy kitchen with cabinets full of open food and “who knows what.” There was one flip-flop in the kitchen drawer. The kitchen looked like someone just rushed out after living there for years. After that, my mother used a glass pan/pot to boil water since there was no kettle. A few minutes later, the glass just exploded. There was glass in my mother’s hands when she tried to move it to some other place.
We were already not so pleasant at this point. However, we thought this could be just bad luck. My mom and I tried to take showers in our separate two bathrooms which we found disgusting. Outside of my bathroom, there were screws that I believe were used to replace the carpet facing up; they went right into my feet. On my mother’s side, the shower could not be turned on, the toilet stunk and had years-old stains, and both showers were covered with yellow stains that could not be removed when we tried to clean it up. The wallpaper of my bathroom was peeling off, and the towels had someone else’s white hair on them.
We wanted to contact the owner the next morning because it was late at night, so we decided to put those things down and go to bed. The biggest surprises always come at the end of the day when you are exhausted and so wanted to sleep. The mattresses were broken. One side of the bed was completely falling for both of the beds in the two bedrooms. The bedding in my room was cheap polyester that kept irritating my skin. The ones in my mother’s bedroom were pilling. The pillows were made out of polyester as well and too thin to be called pillows. Where on earth can you even get this kind of bedding?
I reported all these big problems together with minor issues to Airbnb customer service. First, they guaranteed me a refund of half of the total price I paid, and I thought everything was solid. I booked a hotel for the next three nights and decided to leave in the morning. However, after a few rounds of emails, the Airbnb service person told me she could not do anything about it, and I could not get a cent more than 90-something dollars out of the $920 I paid. Ridiculous and outrageous!
Another customer service person said she saw the pictures of the listing as well -including the pictures I took. Did the listing say “our mattresses are broken” or “we throw our things in every cabinet in the house to create a big mess”? The pictures on the listing did not even include a shower or toilet view. Those pictures were misleading the guests and luring them into booking a wonderful place on the picture and receive a dirty ancient house full of low quality stuff.
I think Airbnb is so eager for hosts and available homes they lower their standards which encourage people like this host to be so careless. Now my family had the worst vacation ever, and the host claimed to Airbnb that she had done everything (which Airbnb has no proof of; they just believed her) and got $711. Is our society rewarding irresponsible people who hide behind greedy merchants? Where can someone find polyester pillows and other bedding? How hard is it for people who can afford housing in Alameda to purchase decent normal home supplies?
Hi everyone, please see the attachments and the photograph of the host in it. This guy is Alejandro. He owns three rooms at the Ft. Lauderdale Hilton Beach Resort. He likes to play games with people and raise the rate on them while they are trying to book a reservation. He had his property listed at $349/night for a stay from December 25th, 2016 to Jan 1st, 2017. My wife and I were using the Instant Book feature to put all of our information in to reserve the room. While doing so, we used the phone app to message Alejandro to make sure the place had a pull out bed. He replied that it did… and then sent a follow up message that he had adjusted his rate. In the middle of us trying to book the reservation, he raised his rate from $349/night with a 3% discount for booking more than four days to a $439/night rate with no discount. I messaged him about it, but he ignored the message. I called Airbnb Customer Service, and they said they really couldn’t do anything about it. However, they agreed that Alejandro was running very shady business by treating customers that way. If you’re looking for a place to stay in Ft. Lauderdale, I would avoid any of Alejandro’s properties at the Hilton. He’s greedy and dishonest. Find another host to save yourself the headache.
My first and last experience with Airbnb pointed out a fundamental flaw in their business model: hotel, motel and even most B&B operators are professionals; Airbnb hosts are amateurs. Because of that, they may not understand they are in the hospitality business, and Airbnb guests can be the unfortunate guinea pigs. As soon as our family arrived at our condo, our host came around and seemed to be spying on us. That evening she chased down a group of us out for a stroll; she asked them how many were staying at the condo told them she suspected more were staying there than she permitted. Later that night she pounded on the door and loudly proclaimed the same accusation. We explained that we had only six staying there (the two-bedroom unit was advertised to sleep six) and two people visiting who were staying elsewhere. She demanded we leave. When we refused, she picked up her phone and dialed 911, claiming she was the victim of assault! When asked if she had been physically assaulted, she replied “no, but I have been verbally assaulted.” When that apparently didn’t impress the operator, she claimed she had “nine drunk tenants and I want them out.”
We told her if she wanted in the unit she would need a warrant. Eventually the police arrived, and she demanded through texting that we come out and meet with the officer. When we didn’t respond, she called Airbnb. To my shock, Airbnb texted me that they had a serious complaint against me and that they had cancelled the reservation and ruled that a refund was not permitted! The next morning, this obviously emotionally unstable host opened the front door and pounded on the wall, shouting: “Your reservation has been cancelled and you need to leave!” We knew she had no legal right to evict us, so we stayed; however, the stress ruined our vacation. And the fact that Airbnb supported her madness only added to the nightmare. Beware of Airbnb… you will be subject to the whims of your host and the company will not have your back!