One of the Worst Things that can Happen when Traveling

Some travel bans are temporarily lifted, so I thought it would be the right time to take a chance and travel abroad. Normally I am a bit wary about using Airbnb, but since the date I was looking for was precisely during Easter, prices were pretty high as well as limited availability. So, I thought why not give this a shot? Although at the time, there really weren’t many options for these days.

I saw one that looked reasonable and I took it. What I immediately noticed that this person was already fully booked for three months and he had recently registered. I didn’t get a direct message right away, which was already a bad sign: usually hosts send a welcoming message or a thanks. As the days passed I noticed that the host rarely said anything. He was evasive, concise and slow.

Then after a week I started to worry, if this guy was fully booked then why does he only have a few reviews? The given address was also difficult to find in Google Maps and he refused to provide step by step directions. The numbers were oddly numbered and a jumbled mess. You would assume 58 comes after 57, but not in this area. Then I arrived at the exact time at the exact door, but the neighbourhood seemed very out of place and the antithesis of something that resembles U.K. architecture, reminding me more of a commie block in the former Soviet Union. It was full of Slavic immigrants and the place looked so poor that the price I paid was probably way more than the weekly rent, I am not exaggerating.

I checked the address, but it didn’t have a name tag, a buzzer and it looked more like a shed than an apartment. When no one answered the door, not only did I realize I’ve been had, but I didn’t want to stay here even if it was a real listing. I know Edinburgh quite well, only you have to keep in mind it was Easter Sunday and most hotels had no availability. Hotels that had any availability were not in the position to quote any rates they wanted. Even one that I am a regular guest with told me they were full, on which they offered me to go around to one a few streets back that had only one left for $180, saying “you want it or not?”

This is a common trick they will always play, because you are desperate and will make quick decisions. So what was left to do than to stay in the Edinburgh streets, with all your luggage, all the shops shut and without any tap water? Sit and wait as the hours pass slowly…. Happy Easter.

Fortunately it was a very great trip in Scotland with splendid stays at several great hotels — only this particular Airbnb booking was a hiccup. When I finally returned home, I found it strange that the host never emailed me. He never tried to call me either, nor were there any new messages in the chat box. No “where were you”s, or “were you alright”s.

When I asked for a refund he immediately responded and blamed me for everything. He apparently left work early and spent fuel to drive home to answer the door. Which to me, gives it all away because at first he refused to say anything, but now that I am far away at home he can after all respond within ten minutes and very detailed? Typical.

This also may seem like I went to the wrong address, but I can assure you that I’ve asked around several times where it was, and people said “Oh, that is over there.” There can be only one, and it was the address he claimed it was. It doesn’t matter if I get my money back from Airbnb or by credit card chargeback; what is important to me is that you can get scammed at any time. It will not be safe even if you look before you leap. Hosts can always claim that you didn’t show up and provide a fake address, that way they can always get away with it and Airbnb will probably side with them.

Who is going to compensate me for the lonely night in the streets without a toilet and water? Needless to say I won’t do this ever again. Have you ever heard of a hotel canceling your reservation for no reason? Have you ever heard of any hotel not opening the doors or not existing at all when you arrive?

Beware of Sonder Properties on Airbnb

More than a month ago I booked accommodations for my wife and her cousin in San Diego at a property owned by a group called Sonder (seems they own a lot of properties on AirBnb). About a month before the stay, I changed from my originally booked location called ‘The Baker’ to one called ‘The Leo’. This change was confirmed by Airbnb. The second property had room for two and a kitchen.

As the check-in date approached, I was concerned as I had not received an email with building and room codes. I contacted the host through Airbnb’s message center. They said the emails were going to an email other than my account email (but would not specify which: red flag #1), so they resent them. I noticed right away that the message referred to ‘The Baker’ property, not the revised property.

I contacted them again. The first agent ended the call as soon as I explained the situation (red flag #2). I called back and was told that no, the information was correct, and that although it said ‘The Baker’ on the message, the address and entry codes were for ‘The Leo’. I even messaged again and asked them to confirm again because my wife and her cousin were arriving at 11:30 PM and I did not want them to have nowhere to go.

Turns out that they outright lied. The property was still ‘The Baker’ and ‘The Leo’ was not even available as it was being renovated (red flag #3). Of course after over seven hours on the phone trying to figure this out, it is not even possible to find a room at a similar rate in San Diego on such short notice.
Sonder won’t even respond to my comment to which they lied outright.

Airbnb is working on a ‘solution’, but their solution is: no refund (the host won’t agree) and Airbnb protects them. The host will provide a substitute — yes, one that has horrible reviews and is located directly above a loud bar (property called ‘The Marin’) — but don’t worry, they will provide ear plugs and a white noise generator so you can sort of sleep. I am cancelling my Airbnb account as of today.

Airbnb Asked Me to Cancel Non-refundable Booking

I booked an apartment for a week in London through Airbnb: $2,800 non-refundable because I knew I had to be there that week under any circumstances. About eight hours later, the host messaged me asking for my phone number and clarifying that the listing was for private rooms in a shared space and not an entire apartment. Then he called me explaining in detail how to cancel and request a refund via resolution center. He refused to cancel on his end because of the penalties.

I contacted Airbnb support instead of cancelling (I am not that dumb) to resolve this. They verified that canceling was the only way for me to request refund. So I cancelled even with the text ‘$0 refund’ staring at me (I am that dumb). Now I have no reservation, no refund, and can’t leave a public review against the host since I have no reservation. I am down $2,800 within eight hours — not sure about my mistake or a listing created for a scam. The host has 14 listings running in parallel for the exact same room… how many rooms does this house have?

This was his first message to me to after about eight hours:

1. You booked two private bedrooms in a shared apartment with strangers you do not know (other guests/ my co-host/ family/ friends ). There is no private entrance to the listing.

2. You will share the bathroom and other common areas with others, not from your group.

3. Shared kitchen/living area/balcony are only accessible during daytime, as written in “other things to note” and are occupied by the host.

I want to make sure you are 100% satisfied with my service, even if you change your mind about this reservation, so please tell me if you have any questions.

False Advertising for Unsanitary Airbnb in the Mountains

I stayed at an Airbnb for a family ski trip with adults, children and grandparents age 6 to 70. This trip was a Christmas gift to my family.

Upon check in, I advised the host that there was an entire dishwasher with unclean dirty caked-on dishes. She apologized, said she hired new cleaning ladies and would talk to them, stated she would send someone over the next day to empty the dishwasher but never did. I cleaned other people’s dirty dishes before we even dirtied any.

The property was run down and not the cleanest, and became unsanitary when the snow melted on Feb. 16. There was no Xbox as advertised, and the pool table not functional. The hot tub was dirty and cloudy and not full. The host sent over a maintenance man who put chemicals into the hot tub and said he would be back in the morning to fill it and never came back or fixed anything else. The hot tub was cloudy, remained dirty until the day we left and was missing a foot of water.

The property advertised a large deck with mountain views which was full of snow, not shoveled or maintained and not usable. The snow began to melt and when it did there was about 20 piles of dog feces all over the deck, becoming unsanitary. The host refused to take responsibility or acknowledge the issue and even went as far as falsely claiming that I left the dog feces — we do not own a pet or a dog and did not bring a dog on this property. Airbnb also did not care about this issue.

The conditions of this place were very embarrassing and became absolutely unsanitary. What was very sad were the tactics and nastiness the host has used against me. She went from apologizing to bullying when she didn’t get her way. She called me a disgusting human, a liar, a hypocrite, and a scammer and accused me of planning this to try and get a free trip.

I am a professional person, an ambulance communications officer and investigator and of good moral character. I did not want a free trip; I wanted a clean Airbnb with everything as advertised and just some respect and fairness and truth. I have absolutely no words to describe how sad this makes me and how disappointed I am in the accommodations but moreover how the host treated me as a customer, how she bullied me and was completely dishonest to try to push her agenda against my claim.

The worst part was that there was zero accountability from the host and Airbnb in regards to this which inevitably means they face no repercussions and will do it again, which does not sit right with me. This was my first vacation since COVID started and I don’t want anyone else to get sick or have their time ruined by unsanitary conditions.

Airbnb Accused Us of Extortion After Host Lied

We stayed at an Airbnb in Paris. The apartment was okay, but had some issues (dirty dishes, smoke smell) . We posted a review that mentioned these things, but also the good points. I guess the host did not like the review, so they told Airbnb that we had told them that if they gave us $100 we would post a five-star review; otherwise, we would post a negative review.

We had made the mistake of communicating with them using our own email (instead of Airbnb), so I guess they doctored an email to support their claim. Airbnb told us that we had violated their rules of conduct and our review would not be posted and if we continued this behavior we would be banned from Airbnb. They would not show us their “documentation” of our threat, nor even entertain the fact that possibly, the host was lying. I tried to contact Airbnb through their support, but got no response (and closed).

Lesson learned: do not give an Airbnb host your personal email address.

My Airbnb Host Lied about COVID to Cancel My Trip

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Picture this: you are a 20-something business professional who event plans for a job and loves to celebrate every birthday. 30 is a big one, right? All you want is an amazing home with family and friends where you can eat delicious food and drink yummy wine.

After hours and hours of scouring Airbnb, you find the perfect home that sleeps eight people, has an ocean view, and even a spa. Amazing. You book this six months in advance (you’re very organized). You also message the host to double check that you are allowed to have a friend visit (not stay) to enjoy birthday cake and the property in the day time bringing the number of guests on the property to nine. You also want to ensure you send everyone’s vaccine certificates (you’re organized and respectful, remember?)

The host immediately thinks this is now a party despite your best efforts to say it isn’t. They go on to say they previously had a terrible guest that ruined their home. You sympathize and understand it must be difficult to trust other guests. However, you do your best to reassure the host.

Luckily, your birthday falls just after New Years so everyone is already enjoying their Christmas holidays, yourself included. Fast forward to Boxing Day and you receive a long winded message from your hosts explaining they need to cancel 11 days in advance as they had “close contact” with a COVID case (not confirmed person) staying in their home.

We’re in New Zealand; bear in mind there were maybe two cases at the time and none in the town or city where this home is located. The host then went on to say they were “devastated” but could not find a cleaner prior to our check in. Isn’t the home meant to be cleaned upon arrival anyways? In 11 days? They then went on to say they needed to cancel the listing until the end of January.

Okay no problem. I took it upon myself to find a cleaner so our place wouldn’t be cancelled, because you can best believe I have family and friends traveling more than ten hours and cancelling is not an option. Before I can even suggest this, the host cancelled and terminated any dialogue.

I’m absolutely devastated and also now out over $2000 NZD. Fast forward a few days. I went to check the listing and what do I see? My weekend was still available to book on the host’s calendar, and the following weekend which was available was now booked. What’s more, they updated their listing to include “no parties, 8 people max” which was never in the listing to begin with.

Being an understanding person, I decided to give the benefit of doubt and thought I would ring up the first cleaning company I could find on Google. They were available that weekend, as were two others.

It’s obvious this host not only lied to us about COVID but forced me to dramatically change my 30th birthday plans with zero remorse. I have family members and friends back home (I’m from North America originally) who’ve passed from COVID so to use this as an excuse is not only negligent, but disgusting. As I mentioned I’m respectful and organized, but also petty.

Airbnb Host Lies in Review After Disastrous Stay

We rented a three-bedroom apartment in Split, Croatia on the first floor using Airbnb. The host posted the same listing on Booking.com and Expedia too. At that time I did not know that my dream vacation would turn into a nightmare.

Let me start saying that the host is providing misleading information on the post. As per the description, it should be a deluxe apartment with a nice garden and air-conditioned accommodations. Sounds like a dream. It was a little expensive but the pictures were amazing; you can see a brand-new place with a garden and pool. I thought it was worth it. Such a mistake.

The location was not so good as advertised, but it was fine. The apartment was extremely dirty with hazards inside.
The place was hot, like 100 degrees F hot (+30/+35 Celsius) and all three bedrooms did not have AC. There were two ancient AC units in the living room and dining room. (Why the host has two AC units in one room, I do not know).

Two out of the three bedrooms did not have mosquito screens. As a result, I got a lot of mosquito bites during the night or could have slept in the hot box without the air. My son has asthma and he could not even breathe in the steamy hot bedroom. As result, my kids were sleeping, starting from the second night, on the sofa in the living room.

AC was not only a problem. In the master bedroom, we found blood stains on the mattress cover sheets. Super nasty. I sent pictures to the host in no time. She promised to remove the dirty sheets the next day, but it never happened. Also, all over the apartment were spider webs. Besides that, between window frames, there was a crazy number of dead bugs.

I opened the closet and I found old, dirty shoes. The closet inside was dirty too, and there were stains on the sofa and walls. The moldings on the floor were not fully attached. One of the bedrooms had a bleach stain on the cover. Generally, it was the dirtiest place we stayed in ever.

The washing machine was broken and discharge water was on the floor. I had to clean the water. There were exposed wires at electric outlets near the bed and wires all over the place, which could have caught fire in no time. My favorite example: a lamp in the bathroom had a wire exposed — good luck not getting electrocuted when you turn on the switch.

The pool was not usable. It was closed, and we could not even open it. In the listing’s picture, it clearly shows a beautiful pool. There was no mention on the listing that the pool was not in service, which is very misleading too.

The person who rents this apartment does not take care of the safety conditions. I sent many pictures and messages to the host within 30 minutes after checking in that I was not happy with the condition of the place, but she ignored my concerns. Airbnb asked me why I did not leave and fight later. Really, it is easy to say just go on the street, in another country and find a place to sleep with two kids, when you paid crazy money for this place and do not have a budget to pay another $2,300. Airbnb will not cover the cost.

After we left, the host posted fraudulent claims on Airbnb. The host stated as a fact that I asked for a refund for “the entire stay.” I never did this; I never thought it was an option before the review appeared and I called customer service to find out why the host was claiming this.

The host posted a review on Sept. 17. To create an escalation ticket regarding this fraudulent claim, I have to request a refund according to Airbnb policy. My request was created on Sept. 22. I did not request anything before her response. The refund requested was only for 22% of the total amount as punitive damages for the dirty apartment and false accusations. I was on and off with Airbnb customer service for a week. I had to provide pictures and videos to prove that the place was dirty.

The host also claimed that bloodstains were from me. I did report this issue right away, but no one cared. Actually, customer service said that I must provide proof that I reported stains right away and it was not my fault. I did report it on their website; they were too lazy to check.

A customer service representative said that according to Airbnb policy, hosts can post any false claim because it is only their opinion and does not need further investigation. Really? Hosts can post anything? Any false accusations? Nice to know.

Summarizing all this, Airbnb refused to help me with my concerns and stated that: “While we encourage and expect all community members to post reviews that contain objective and accurate information, Airbnb doesn’t mediate disputes concerning the truth of reviews. We expect the author of the review to stand behind the content of their review.”

Also, I requested Airbnb to check the misleading and false information regarding the apartment descriptions like the AC and pool, but they refused to do it. Every day I requested to talk to a manager, but my request was never satisfied. Airbnb only takes money and does not help with any issues. It’s so sad that people will pay money to this dishonest person and fees to Airbnb.

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Host Robs Customers and is Supported by Airbnb

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I checked into a condo in downtown Aspen, where you would anticipate a nice stay if you have even half a brain. I checked in to see the condo had a tiny mini fridge and for some reason a giant ice box freezer on the floor. The freezer portion of the fridge was completely frosted over. The fridge continued to freeze all of my groceries so I contacted the host asking for help.

The host dismissed me and told me they’ve had other guests with no complaints. Apparently appliances only break on their perceived timelines. After two days of trying to get help from the host, I reached out to Airbnb. This was too late since I didn’t contact them within 24 hours. They suggested I check out and request a partial refund. I checked out well before check out time so the host could have rebooked if they would have liked. The host assured me they would give me a refund for the nights the condo was booked by new guests (as shown in their message attached).

The host laughed at me, made fun of me, called me names and berated me for days. No refund was issued. Airbnb told me there was nothing they could do even though the host assured I was due a refund. During a conversation with an Airbnb support ambassador, I explained what happened and asked them if they would be okay with paying someone $2,000 when there was no working refrigerator and they checked out only after a couple of days of a weeklong stay. They respond that would absolutely not be okay and my request was reasonable.

Airbnb staff agreed this was unacceptable only to then state that Airbnb would not do anything to help. I’ve never experienced customer service like this and hope people are aware of how Airbnb treats paying customers.

Roach Hell at Scorching Airbnb in Utah

I originally booked with this hostess for two weeks for a ballet summer intensive. My wife and I have booked with Airbnb before with no problems.

It first started when we approached the door. She told us to go through the purple door with a keypad, so I approached it. She yelled at us saying it was the wrong door (she has two purple doors, on the same porch, both with keypads). Then she let us in. I apologized for my mistake and introduced my wife and myself.

Then hell began. When we got to the room, we were exhausted so we fell asleep. As I did, I saw our first live roach come from out under the wall. During the night, the hostess turned off the AC. Even though she advertised her property as having central cooling, she doesn’t use it.

My wife threw up from heat exhaustion. We worked with Airbnb and the hostess and what she recommended was a small portable unit, but the door to our bedroom and bathroom had to be kept open. As we installed it, she told me my wife “looked like she would beat her up.” I’m not sure what my wife could’ve done besides being a woman of color who is queer. We laughed about it. Not much you can do about “small comments.”

Once it cooled down in the room, we left to get dinner. The hostess turned off our AC unit, which we wanted to run for an hour while out because it was July in Utah and it had been off. I asked her repeatedly about the rules with the AC, but she never told me a limit or her wants. Just kept turning it off when she knew we left.

The third night, around 8:00 PM, we were greeted by roaches. Eight total throughout the night, one baby the next morning. We sent in evidence to Airbnb, including videos, of finding the roaches under the bed. Airbnb cancelled the rest of our stay and refunded us for the nights we didn’t stay.

I’m not sure I can provide evidence for this, but my wife thinks we were being watched with cameras. She works in security and tech and feels as if we stayed we would’ve seen the hostess was watching us.

In addition to the roaches, a strange man came into the house, got something out of the kitchen (which we were told we could use in the listing but turns out we couldn’t) and left. He didn’t announce himself or say who he was. We met the other guest and she did not have a male friend with her.

After all of this, the hostess left me a bad review as a guest blaming the roaches on us leaving food out and our “dirtiness” (we didn’t). She insisted the other guests hadn’t seen any roaches.

I caution any guest wanting to reserve here. She’s dangerous but had good reviews and was a great gas lighter. I could tell in the process this wasn’t the first time she treated a guest like this. She was smart enough to not get texts or messages — always insisted we talk on the phone or in person, but claimed we were “unsafe” and she was the victim. Because I insisted on messaging.

It’s not her first time manipulating a guest and I fear this will happen to others. I hope there are not cameras inside the room… especially for people who fit demographics similar to my wife and I. I was fine with the roaches and it being cancelled but being told it was my fault and that my wife seemed aggressive… I can tell she has done this before.

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Not so Charming Airbnb Bungalow Disaster

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Let me start by saying I had been a Superhost for two years when this incident happened. I had never been given a bad review, either from guests or from the hosts of places I’ve stayed in over the years. I am neat to a fault, and take pride in leaving a place in better shape than when I arrived. I even make the beds before check out at hotels and straighten the towels. Excessive, yes, but that’s who I am.

A few months ago I traveled to LA to meet up with a best friend who came down from San Francisco for the week. I had booked a bungalow in West Hollywood that looked cute and clean in the photos. Unfortunately, I didn’t look at the reviews at this time and there were a few that talked about the shortcomings of this property, always with a snide response from the owner.

The owner and his property manager seemed attentive at first. When we arrived we realized there were no hand towels or washcloths in the bathroom, so I walked over to Target and bought some. When I told the property manager, he was apologetic and offered to reimburse us. I told him it wasn’t necessary and not a big deal.

The beds seemed clean and comfortable and there was air conditioning, though the window units and their filters were caked with dust and rattled. I removed the filters and washed them to improve the functionality of the AC, as the units were old and struggling. Still, this seemed reasonable and we were fine with the place.

A few days in, my friend went to take the trash out to the bins in the front yard/courtyard. She realized that all the giant-sized garbage cans were full, as well as the recycle bins, and a few were overflowing with pizza boxes on top.

At this point we realized we had a problem because we couldn’t take our garbage out. Again, I reached out to the property manager (at this point the owner had stopped responding to any emails or texts) and explained to him the issue. He was apologetic and said he would contact the housekeepers.

When we heard back from the property manager, he claimed that the owner was out of the country and unreachable — is that even a thing these days? — and that he was out of town on business. The housekeepers were too busy to come take care of the garbage, so there was nothing he could do. We put our garbage next to the bin at his approval.

Meanwhile, we enjoyed cooking and had stocked up at the grocery store. We soon realized that there were no food storage containers in the apartment, so we would put our leftovers into bowls with saran wrap or a plate on top (this will come in to play later). There were several important kitchen items missing (too many to name), which was inconvenient but we dealt with it.

As one of the other reviews said, the dryer was being held together with tape and it took effort to close it just right so it would work. At least half the lights in the apartment had burnt out bulbs; we were both trying to work during the week, so that was difficult. There was no caulking in the shower (which will also come into play later). Still, we were willing to stay and make the best of it.

As you can imagine, the day after we left our garbage next to the bin outside we discovered that a critter had gotten into it. My friend let me know and I went outside to check it out. At this point we were losing patience, and it was also becoming very uncomfortable. I came back inside to talk with her about the garbage situation, and looked down to see a cockroach the size of a lighter on the floor. It was broad daylight.

Well, that was it. We only had two nights left on our reservation but I couldn’t imagine going to sleep knowing that the place was infested with cockroaches (apparently if cockroaches come out of the walls in broad daylight it is indicative of a much bigger infestation within the walls and floors). The research I did told me that where there’s moisture, there are cockroaches. Cut back to the uncaulked shower. My guess is that the bathroom walls and floors were full of moisture.

Whatever the reason, we were ready to go, so we got to work preparing the place to leave. We read and reread the guidelines and did everything on their list. Remember how I said there were no food storage containers? Well, there were several dishes in the refrigerator holding our leftovers. Ordinarily we could put the leftovers in the trash and put the dishes in the dishwasher, but we couldn’t take the trash out.

This posed a problem so I reached out to the property manager once again and explained the situation. He told me, in writing, to leave everything in the refrigerator so as not to fill up the garbage can with food in the kitchen. That’s what we did. Everything else was spotless. We left the sheets and towels where we were asked to, we put all the other dishes in the dishwasher and ran it. Swept the floor, wiped the countertops, straightened the couch pillows. You get the gist.

At this point we were apprehensive about putting more garbage out by the overflowing bins (out of courtesy), so we made one fatal mistake: we left a small bag of non-perishable garbage just inside the front door. To be conscientious, we turned off the air conditioners as not to waste their money air conditioning a place that would be vacant.

Unfortunately, it was this decision that gave the owner and property manager what they saw as a reason to fight me on my claims. It was extremely hot during the day, and by the time the house cleaners got there, the garbage that was inside created an odor. This is when the owner began to chime in again, only to shame us by dramatically going on about the “stench“ in the house and how upset the house cleaners were when they got there. He began making false claims and that’s when I discontinued communication with him and the property manager and tried to go through Airbnb.

Honestly? It was my experience with Airbnb that had me the most upset. I called every day for seven days. Each time, I spoke with someone who was in another country and working from home. I could hear babies crying and dogs barking in the background for every employee. I explained my story and sent all of the photos to one representative. He explained to me that he would contact the host and hear his side and then make a decision. That was the last I heard from him. I couldn’t get him to answer any of my emails after that.

As it turns out, there is not an option to speak to a supervisor at Airbnb. When you speak with one of the people who answer the phone, they explain to you that they will email the supervisor and have them call you. I was told this seven times and never received a call back. Not one. The owner leaned in heavily with his lies, saying that we left the place in disarray and it had a stench. He ended up agreeing to reimburse us for one night, removing over $100 for a deep cleaning fee. I had to pay for a hotel for the last two nights in addition to one night at the bungalow. It cost me over $1,000.

I couldn’t believe that this major business wouldn’t respond to one of their Superhosts and offer me a reimbursement (a drop in the bucket for them). I had photo evidence and screenshots of my text messaging with the property manager and owner — what more could they possibly need? My guess is that they didn’t even consider it – I’m sure it never even crossed the desk (or computer) of a supervisor. I felt ignored and completely invisible around this issue, but there was absolutely nothing I could do.

I was afraid to leave a bad review because honestly I felt traumatized by the vindictiveness and cruelty of the owner and property manager. I regret this, but it’s too late.

I withdrew my home as an Airbnb destination and closed down my account. I ended up finding a review that someone left about the owner as a guest. It was awful, and I believed every word. He is an opportunist with several properties on Airbnb that I am sure are as neglected as the one we stayed in. He paints a picture of the apartment as a cozy home but it’s a money making scheme and he won’t hesitate to screw you, along with the powers that be at Airbnb.