Deceptive Profile Led to Being Charged for Damage

This is regarding the Airbnb apartment listed at this link. The profile is deceptive, making the property look big enough for four people without any clutter. Due to this deception, I booked this place, but it was hell to stay there and inevitably my son broke an exposed light bulb by his bed. I would have been happy to pay for that lightbulb, but I was charged an unreasonable amount of money.

The host also made a questionable claim that we spilled something on one of his cheap kitchen chairs. The host asked for $118 for damages that were at most approximately $8. It went to Airbnb mediation and they basically split the difference, charging me $68. It’s still extremely unreasonable for $8 worth of damage. Because this dispute was “mediated” by Airbnb I had no recourse. They took the money out of my account and I could not object. All Airbnb customers are vulnerable to this type of mistreatment.

Furthermore, before this verdict was handed down, I posted this review to protest the awful place:

“I was deceived by the 5-star reviews when I booked this [property]. I wish I had read the written reviews more carefully. Most mention negatives even when they gave five stars. This place was horrible. First, when I showed the address to Israelis they all told me that it is a dangerous neighborhood full of drugs, prostitution, crime, and gangs. There is graffiti, dog poop everywhere you walk, and trash blocking the sidewalks.

Second, the apartment was tiny. Profile pictures are deceptive, taken from angles that make it appear larger, and crammed with more furniture than shown in the photos and lots of junk everywhere. There was an exposed lightbulb next to the bench that served as my son’s bed. Inevitably my son bumped it and then the host tried to charge us a crazy amount for his damaged exposed lightbulb (more below).

There are no closets or drawers to put things. The only place to keep things is in your suitcase, but no floor space. So you need to hop over your suitcases whenever you cross the floor. When we complained, he said to put everything on a tiny box that already had his own junk on it. There is no parking since open spots are immediately filled in this dangerous, overcrowded neighborhood. When you try to stop in front, other cars start honking immediately.

We had to hike in and lug our stuff from a long way away. The profile mentions the climb, but fails to say that the staircase is very narrow, dirty and dark with weird wires and pipes sticking out. Dog poop on the floor. The shower is unusable because the water is always cold and splashes everywhere.

Worst of all, the host is a first class jerk. He falsely accused us of breaking “house rules” when we are very conscientious and followed the rules scrupulously. He falsely accused us of taking his remote control that we left in his apartment and tried to extort an exorbitant amount of money from us for a spill on a chair that I doubt was ours and his broken exposed lightbulb next to the bench my poor son had to sleep on. Read the other reviews before booking and don’t rely on the stars.”

Everything I wrote was true and no one disputed the facts. Nevertheless. Airbnb removed my review and wouldn’t allow me to post another one, so other people could be warned about how awful this place was. I suspect that this host’s good reviews are likely the result of all negative reviews getting purged. This brings into question the integrity of all Airbnb reviews, not just the integrity of those at this particular place.

Had to call the police to get insane Airbnb host out of rental

This is a very important story because the person involved has been sharing fake information around social media about my boyfriend and me. Basically my boyfriend and I are moving to Lisbon. He’s Brazilian and I’m French.

We booked an Airbnb for ten days so we could visit and find an apartment. Before we arrived we had communicated with the host in English, but when we arrived and she found out my boyfriend speaks Portuguese, she completely ignored me and did a 30-minute speech on transport (though my boyfriend told her several times we would find our way with Google).

The apartment was kind of alright. There were a few problems like the shower being cold and the wifi not working but I started getting bitten by something on the bed at night. The next night I got bitten again and my boyfriend messaged the host to tell her about it. We were getting ready, as we had loads of administrative meetings during the day. I got out of my shower, my boyfriend was taking his and as I was dressing up the bell of the apartment rang and someone banged on the window.

Surprised and undressed, I quickly put a towel around me and opened the door. It was the host who had already unlocked the entrance door and was waiting in front of ours. She had not sent a message, or called to tell us she was coming. I asked her nicely to wait two minutes so I could put some clothes on and tell my boyfriend to get out since she still refused to speak English to me.

When we opened the door she was in a fury, shouting because we had made her wait outside (I don’t think it was rude of me to ask her to wait two minutes to put clothes on). She ran to the kitchen to look at the boiler and said we had touched it and this was the reason why the showers were cold. We obviously had not touched her boiler and the showers were getting cold for the second person.

She also went into the bedroom and took pictures of my suitcase and blamed us for being the cause of the bedbugs. Obviously she was not going to take responsibility for any of the problems in her apartment. We had a busy day planned, so we asked her to leave because we did not feel confortable leaving our belongings (two Macbooks, a PS4, etc.) with her. She replied that she would not leave because she owned the place.

We told her we were renting the place and she was not allowed to do this. She said the laws in Portugal were not the same as those in Brazil or France and she was allowed to do whatever she wanted. We told her we would call the police and ask Airbnb to pay us back if she did not leave. She started looking at something in her purse and said things like “You have no idea who I am; don’t you think I know what Brazilians like you are coming to do here?”

She was being weird about not speaking English and this comment just confirmed how racist she was and implying we were some sort of illegal refugees. Once the police answered and were on their way she finally decided to leave the apartment and camp in front. After a long time and a lost afternoon, the police arrived and said they were not able to do anything since she was not inside. She tried to talk to them about water and bedbugs but the police left due to the lack of criminal offence from us.

We packed our stuff and left quickly since we were so stressed and afraid she would come back. She came unannounced and is now posting about my boyfriend and me on social media, saying we are scammers and we were only trying to get a free trip. She referred to me as a small blond who only speaks English. Another sign of her racism.

My only question: why make money off tourists if you don’t like them? She also kept making Airbnb call us, saying we had not dropped off the keys in the letter box. Airbnb told us to do so from her instructions. What I think is that this lady has issues, cannot deal with being wrong, will do anything to impose her version of events, and go to crazy lengths to make sure people will believe her.

TL;DR The host of my Airbnb came unannounced due to some problems we messaged her about. We had a busy day so we asked her to leave but she shouted that it was her place and she did not have to leave. After ten minutes of arguments we called the police so she left. Now she has been sharing fake information about my boyfriend and me on social media. She acted insane; she kept shouting, blaming us for the problems in the apartment, and refusing to leave the place we paid for. Now she’s posting about us being scammers in Lisbon.

Dirty Beach Grounds for a Bad Airbnb Review?

I am new to the Airbnb life. In August 2017, I rented an ocean front beach house for the weekend in Westbrook, Connecticut. I gave a surprise gathering for my boyfriend’s 46th birthday. The home was beautiful, a little outdated but nice. I met with the maid upon arrival and did a walkaround. The event was very adult and respectful to the home. The area of the beach that the host was responsible for was filthy though. We did not get to enjoy it because it had sea weed, dead crabs, sea shells open and closed, and black dirty sand everywhere. We dared not take off our shoes let alone spend very much quality time out there. A bit depressing being that it’s listed as an ocean front beach home.

However, I gave a guest review. I was mild about the beach. I did in fact mention that it was a disappointment. I didn’t give the details as I just did. The host must have gotten upset and posted a untruthful guest review, saying that my guests and I didn’t clean up behind ourselves, which was an outrage. I have pictures and video footage of the home right before we were checking out. I’ve been trying to send this information to Airbnb but they are giving me email addresses that are coming back to me not received. I need to prove my innocence. Since then I’ve tried to book two other places and got denied because of her lying statement. I need this removed from my review page and this is why I’m fighting.

Impossible to Believe Good Reviews about this Place

We recently stayed in someone’s back room that was uninhabitable. We paid $640 for three nights. It was the only place left in the area we wanted. Two places were booked on nights that we already booked. Anyway, I should have walked out as soon as we walked in the door. We were led to this room with no conversation whatsoever. I felt like the poor dog they have locked in a small cage most of its life. There was also a cat, but neither was mentioned in the posting.

We were given two bleached out ancient towels, no wash cloths, no hand soap, no chairs, a full bed instead of the advertised queen. It was advertised as quiet, but was the opposite. There was continuous barking from the neighbor’s dog, and loud, obnoxious music until 2:00 AM close to the room from hell. There was mold on the shower curtain, dirty grout in the shower, a dirty floor, no nightstands, and no lamps, only a wall light that shined in our faces.

On the way out from the room was a ton of storage items which I would have made into a sitting room. We had an expensive brick of cheese which was, I guess, thrown away after the first day. The picture shows two beds, a table, and chairs, none of which were in the room. The pictured bedspread was replaced with a worn out, dirty looking comforter. There was trash around the house also. I literally had to hold my breath when entering the house. We kept the windows open all the time. They actually charged a $40 “cleaning” fee. Without looking at my list, this is what we went through not knowing we might have been able to go somewhere else because it stated we owed 50% for even canceling with a notice. It is advertised as a cozy, artistic home with a quiet neighborhood. Avoid it or be very sorry.

Disappointing Experience with Vindictive Host

We recently stayed (Boxing Day 2017) at this Airbnb and found the experience to be less than that what we have come expect and what we are accustomed to with Airbnb. We had two friends with us (this was their Christmas present from us, and their first experience with Airbnb) and sadly they have stated that they would never use Airbnb if this was an example of what to expect.

The host was not home when we arrived, which wasn’t an issue. When she arrived home, she was very communicative. We had no issue with the host at this point. However, the facilities were not as we expected. The pool was green, and although it was to cool to swim on that particular day, anyone arriving later in the week would not have had the option, though it is clearly listed as an attraction on the Airbnb page. The host stated she had told us that the pool was not usable but we do not recall her saying this at any point.

There was very limited communication by the host, and the normal message from Airbnb to “pack your bags”, etc. was not sent to my email. We had to contact the host on Christmas Day to ensure that the booking was confirmed, and received a terse message to say that the booking had been confirmed months ago.

There was street parking only (not an issue as the area is quite safe). The listing stated ‘private facilities’ for our use; however, this was not the case. The bathroom was full of cosmetics, and items used by the family, and whilst there, the child of the house was using these facilities. There was no soap to wash our hands in either the upstairs or downstairs bathroom/toilet (which makes one wonder about the hygiene of the family members).

The house itself was definitely not clean, contrary to what the host replied in her review. A ‘continental breakfast’ was offered – we declined as we are on a special diet – but we told the host that the other couple with us would like the breakfast. On the morning of our departure the host said she normally sets up the breakfast for guests but had to rush off to drop her son off to a camp. She waved towards the cupboard and said ‘help yourself, there is bread in there and in the freezer’. We found a loaf of white bread, not the continental breakfast items as clearly stated on the listing.

We left the place tidy, and pondered for several days about what to state in the review. We decided to give an honest review, and then on the evening of January 2nd received a very nasty phone call from the host, followed by an equally nasty strange message that we were sent to her house to “deliberately sabotage [the experience] and that they were set up and will make the connection. Nobody is that cheap. The public domain will speak for itself. You are so unsophisticated.”

In the phone call she mentioned a couple of names of the people that had ‘set us up’. We are very perplexed by this as this was a completely cold contact found on Airbnb and we booked in August 2017. The phone call and message left us both very shaken, feeling threatened, and will make us more wary of using Airbnb in the future and giving honest reviews. My husband is currently recovering from cancer, which we chatted about with the host very openly, her final words on the nasty phone call were ‘no wonder you have cancer’ and then hung up, which left us both very distressed and having a sleepless night. This was followed up by the strange text message.

Attempted Airbnb Bait and Switch in Amsterdam

It was supposed to be a dream trip to Europe, then we found ourselves on a one way trip to Airbnb hell. We searched the map of Amsterdam and found a small but suitable room in a location that was close to all of the things we wanted to see and do. The property didn’t have any reviews but the host had dozens and all good. We figured it was a new location for her. We booked, paid, and thought we were done.

Two weeks later we crossed the river Styx. We got a request from the host to change the reservation to another suite, in the same building but smaller. We were told we paid the wrong price, that she had booked it to someone else on another site for the correct price and it wasn’t available for us anymore. We declined to switch and asked her to cancel it so that we would get a full refund. She refused.

Luckily we are eight months from departure so we have a little time to correct. The first thing I did was book a hotel room. Honestly the $300 we were going to save isn’t worth the hassle of dealing with Airbnb. In some locations around the world Airbnb is a great idea but in the busy capitals of first world nations there isn’t much advantage to balance the risk of having your vacation ruined.

The next step was to contact Airbnb. We found the phone number on this site, called, and laid out the scene to a representative who took details and told us we would get a full refund once a manager had taken a look at the file… I’ll believe that when I see it. Has anyone been through this? Did you get a full refund? Should I contact my credit card company and start proceedings there? To be continued…

Leaves Guests Homeless in Athens Rather than Give them a Refund

To start off, I’ve used Airbnb a lot. I’ve given them tons of money in fees and pretty much never had any problems in the many years and countries that I’ve used it. I have great reviews. I thought that being a long-term and good customer would be something they value but clearly they don’t.

I booked this place in Athens, which clearly said it was a house. The pictures suggested it was a house and all communication with the host suggested it was a house. Since I planned to stay there for December and January, I specifically looked for a place with heating, which was a given here. Also, I liked the fact that it was recently refurbished and certainly looked so in the pictures.

I arrived at the property at 7:00 PM only to discover that it was a ground floor flat. The heating was a single A/C unit located in the living room, with the host saying, that the master bedroom does get cold. In fact, when I arrived, he had locked the master bedroom and prepared only one room for me with one of the two single beds. He seemed very surprised that I said that I would like to have a double bed for myself. He unlocked the master bedroom and then went on to lock the two-bed bedroom, saying that I won’t need it anyway. I was surprised to say the least and said that if I pay for the whole property, I would like to have the whole property.

In addition, the flat looked sad and worn, with dampness in the bathroom, paint falling off the walls, an electricity socket falling out of the wall in the kitchen and the sofa cover being worn and looking dirty. Furthermore, I pointed out to the host that there was no TV nor hairdryer. The host replied that no one in his how-many-years doing Airbnb has asked for a TV. But in fairness he did say he would get a TV and hairdryer in a few days.

After spending about an hour in the really sad looking flat and freezing my butt off, I decided that it was time to give Airbnb a call. Little did I know that my nightmare was just about to begin. I got connected to a case manager who works in the PST time zone. The first few minutes she didn’t sound that terrible, until she saw that it was a long term reservation; then she let out a groan.

In that split second she flipped from someone trying to help to someone most definitely not trying to help. She started off: “Do you realize these aren’t big complaints at all? Do you realize it is around Christmas time, so all other places will be booked? How will you find a new place.?

I said, “Well, I can’t stay in this place.”

She said she would send me an email, which she wrote right there and then, to which I would need to reply with pictures of the defects and then she would contact the host. A mere half an hour later I received the email which among other things said:

“As per the call, please inform your Airbnb host of the issues you are experiencing. I should point out that if the reservation is cancelled under our guest refund policy this would have to happen tonight and as I mentioned on the call, it is getting late to find an alternative. If you stay at the listing tonight, and decided to leave tomorrow then an alterative to end the reservation could be possible and a partial refund for nights not stayed upon agreement with the host to end the reservation.”

At this point I was confused because she never said I had to contact the host. It was already 9:30 PM in Athens. I called Airbnb again; they had her call me back. She now started to use her favorite phrase which is “following the process.” There was a process and that was I had to write to the host right then and tell him about the issues. It didn’t matter that I had already told him and I couldn’t do it then next day; I had to do it then. She also looked at the pictures that I sent, but they were not good enough for her. Then she wanted wide angle ones. I also say that I wanted to get a full refund, so what was I supposed to do? Could I stay at the property that night? What about their 24-hour reporting policy? What if I’d only reported all this the next day?

She said that she had sent the host a message and that we would have to wait for him to respond, which might not happen that night. That did not solve my housing and refund crisis, so I asked her what I was supposed to do. It was two hours before midnight and I was willing to book a hotel. She said she would ask her manager and call me back in 5-10 minutes. A mere 25 minutes passed… no call. I called Airbnb again and asked for her. Meanwhile I got a support message on the Airbnb platform:

“As per our guest refund policy: have used reasonable efforts to remedy the circumstances of the Travel Issue with the host prior to making a claim, including messaging your host on Airbnb to notify them of the issue. We’ll verify this in your account. Also please send me the wider photos of the apartment you took. I will send him an email and inform him of the issues you are experiencing.”

This was not helping me at all, so I asked again and again: “What am I supposed to do regarding my overnight stay?

Airbnb customer service: “Please bear with me. As I mentioned we have to follow a process. Did you message the host over Airbnb as I mentioned?”

I told her I would go ahead and book a hotel (it was almost 11:00 PM)

Airbnb: As per our guest refund policy: have used reasonable efforts to remedy the circumstances of the Travel Issue with the host prior to making a claim, including messaging your host on Airbnb to notify them of the issue. We’ll verify this in your account.

Me: Sorry?

Airbnb: We need you to raise the issues with your host over Airbnb messaging.

Me: Ok, I’ll do it after I go to the hotel. I have the 24 hour reporting time.

Airbnb: We spoke about this two times on the phone, that you have to message your host with the issues if you are to be valid for the guest refund policy. Also you host said he would replace TV tomorrow and the host also said that you mentioned the hairdryer to him and he said he would send a hair dryer. (So I don’t understand if she has actually been able to reach the host at this point?)

At this point I was taking off to the hotel and told her to contact me on the phone. That ended up a total clusterf&%k with her asking me to meet all of her demands by essentially midnight, without a care of how I could stay in a freezing cold flat, where I would sleep instead, that I am a human being, and so on. I told her I would continue the next morning. She sounded happy about that.

The next morning (doesn’t get any better) I called Hellbnb again at 9:00 AM. I was informed that the representative to whom I had spoken was not there and that they couldn’t do anything about my case until she came back. They didn’t know when she would be back. They said they were hopeful my case could be resolved that day. I told them that I literally didn’t have a place to stay so I would like to have a different case manager. After some struggle they agreed.

It didn’t get easier. I was told by the new agent that because I left the property, that means I didn’t try to resolve the issue, so it was not their problem anymore. No matter how I tried to explain the situation last night, I was at fault. I asked them how they imagined the host could have solved the issue that it wasn’t a house but a flat, that it was not refurbished, but apparently that was no problem for Airbnb:

“Did the flat have a separate entrance? If it did, then that is a house.”

“No,” I said, “it didn’t.”

“Aaah,” said the agent, “but you haven’t proven it! You have to film it!”

I said, “No problem; I’ll go back and film it.”

The agent clearly didn’t like that answer. She searched some more, then said that if I had searched for “entire place” on the Airbnb website then there was also a category for “entire apartment”. That’s what the flat clearly was and always has been, so clearly I was in the wrong. She completely dismissed the refurbishment and said that the host will bring a TV… so that surely solved all my problems?

At that point I was losing it. I had a long and difficult year so I was looking for at least a pleasant ending. Now I was literally having a nervous breakdown. The Airbnb agent couldn’t have cared less. She told me to talk to the host and plead with him to refund me.

At this point I needed to check out of the hotel and I was homeless on the streets of Athens. After a while I called the host and asked what was going on on his side. He told me he actually agreed to refund me because the flat didn’t fit the description but now Airbnb wasn’t approving the refund. We had to wait. It was 3:00 PM when I finally got someone helpful from Airbnb on the phone, who was actually nice and resolved all of the issues in 30 minutes. He also told me he would be able to transfer the money from my previous booking to the new booking.

At 3:30 PM Airbnb called me again. She said that nothing was possible; it was most definitely not possible to transfer the money. The nice person I spoke to clearly didn’t follow the process, because they have a process and returning money is not part of it.

I told her that I was on the streets and that I don’t have enough money to make a new booking. It was getting dark. Being a human being is clearly not part of this process, so she was more concerned about the nice person not following the process rather than helping me find a home. At this point I told her I didn’t want her on my case. I maxed out my credit cards and made a new booking, extremely stressed out and depressed at this point. Later that evening, I received a message from Airbnb:

“I am sorry if this has been a stressful time for you. If you experience any issues with your new reservation please do not hesitate to contact us.”

…if this has been a stressful time?

Avoid Hosts who Leave you out in the Cold

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

I asked, “Are you [host]?”

She said, “No, who are you?”

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

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

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

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

Accused of Breaking Host’s Things Without Any Proof

I stayed at a complex called Platinum Suites one night through Airbnb. After my stay, I was accused of damaging one air conditioner – there are three AC units. From the start of my stay, I only turned on two units; the other was not turned on because it seemed to be broken.

Shortly after check out, the host filed a claim saying I had damaged the air conditioner. How could I have reached an air conditioner mounted high on the ceiling, when the stairs were not available? I’ve contacted the Airbnb resolution center; they said they have documentation, but when I asked what was the evidence that I damaged anything, they could not answer. Please be careful when staying at an Airbnb, or wherever you stay. You should first video the contents of the room so you are not accused of damaging the property of people. Airbnb has no proof I did anything but still made a statement as they liked it to appear. It is unfortunate. Even though this apartment was in good location – nice scenery, nice swimming pool – I stayed somewhere else.

 

Airbnb has no Standards for Hosts and their Homes

This was my second time going through a dirty Airbnb experience. I guess one time wasn’t enough for me to learn the lesson. In the heat of the moment I have decided to go to Honolulu for quick getaway. I was on a budget and decided to go with Airbnb instead of a hotel. I had booked a condo that got my attention with its very colorful wall paintings and warm atmosphere (how far that was from the truth).

Upon arriving, I first noticed that the place had nothing to do with the pictures. The colorful wall was gone; it looked very empty and out of order. That turned on my warning signs. It didn’t take too long for me to spot the filth in the place: cabinets, walls, mirrors, windows… you name it. The only thing I could say that truly felt clean were the bed sheets. I am a very clean and detail oriented person and very sensitive to dirty environments.

However, that was not the end. The place felt like someone donated already “used to the limits” stuff and placed it in there for the guests, including towels, pans, and furniture. The wallpaper was coming off and the toilet was scratched and stained indicating the long years of use.

I contacted the host and he did agree to refund the money. The problem was that I didn’t know the rules and the process of getting a refund. I filed a complaint with Airbnb, attaching pictures. The next day I got a notification that the host was refunding my money. So I was very satisfied, and moved on with my vacation.

The day after that I saw there was a message from Airbnb. I opened it and noticed that I had to accept the refund. So I pressed the button, and because it was one day too late they couldn’t process the refund. I called Airbnb and they said they had not received any complaint from me (I am very sure they did but had a reason to pretend not to), and promised to fix the refund.

They halfway did: instead of $300 I got $178 out of the $502 I originally paid. I am not that mad with happened to the money but mostly that those stressful situations even occur. There is a lack of competence on the part of Airbnb in any apartment’s quality control. There is a 50/50 chance you will come a across great place or hellish crib. It is messing up our vacations and plans we make. We lose money and get more stressed than relaxed.

It looks as if everyone who has an empty corner in their house think he/she can be a host. The truth is to be a host is a bit more difficult than just putting a blanket on a mattress. It involves time and dedication. I personally believe that we should not put the total blame on the hosts but mostly on Airbnb for not putting any restrictions and control on the hosts to follow and to apply in their apartments.