False Advertising: Never Use Airbnb Again

I got a $2919, three-night rental at about 7:00 PM and was instantly hit with a heavy, wet mildew smell throughout. The pool had a leaf covered tarp on it with greenish, brown looking water at steps. The vent was falling down with mold exposed. All other vents had been wiped quickly, leaving black all around.

Dead bug bodies, food, etc., was under sheets on mattresses with springs exposed. There were stains on all the mattress covers, of which there were three, one being shredded and filthy. The one extra bed pillow had a stain the size of my head.

The hall floor came apart at the seams and bubbled (a big raised bubble at the end of the hall) from moisture. Due to the feeling of the place, the smell, the mildew and mold, and having one person in our group with COPDE and one with MS causing breathing and balance issues, not to mention the place having only one bed/bedroom that would have been acceptable to stay in, we chose to leave.

We had been told from Evolve (supposedly our advocates) that the owner said she would give us half our money first and probably the other half after they get our photos. After around 10:00 PM our time all communication stopped, leaving us to find other arrangements at 10:00 PM on a holiday weekend. I won’t even get into that.

Apparently the owner came in from Florida, took a video which we cannot see because it is said to be to large to send, and lo and behold she thought the place was perfectly clean and acceptable: the floor was not buckling, just apart a little; the pool was clear except for a few leaves. After Airbnb checked with her and the cleaners? They have ruled the place perfectly acceptable. Well, I guess the owner and cleaners would say that and we cannot see the video. It’s just too large.

As of right now, we paid $2919 and another $1500 (the other places we stayed) for three nights (one being wasted at the original location). I have always used VRBO but saw this house with the beautiful crystal clear pool and went that way; that was a mistake. Please don’t go with Airbnb. All this is such a shame for us and all or family. We had so looked forward to this. Shame on Airbnb advertising rentals guaranteed to be as advertised.

The Worst Airbnb Experience (so far) in Jersey City

Let’s start from the beginning. I needed to check-in about an hour or so earlier than noted on Airbnb. The host instructions were to contact the hosts’ representative if I had any questions. When I called them, the lady (offshore call center with struggling English) said to contact the host. Hence, I called the host number directly and I think the host picked up and agreed to check me in early.

He sent me the largest text message I’ve ever received (I had to swipe an entire mobile phone screens worth of text at least five times), with redundant check-in instructions that were entirely out of order, and largely useless. Towards the bottom were the keycodes to get in, which worked fine.

However, once inside and settled, a lot of issues were noticed that became red flags: the rooms upstairs were extremely hot, regardless of if the temperature controlling the central A/C was set at the lowest setting of 68. I advised the host of the problem, and made the following suggestions to remedy: install a portable A/C unit, install a window A/C unit, or program the thermostat to go lower than 68 (if possible).

The response received was literally a screenshot of some computer screen showing the temperature setting of 68 and stating to me it was comfortable. For me: stop right there, cardinal sin, game over, I’m cancelling. I don’t book reservations with gaslighting, pretentious idiots.

The bed top was a cheap, extremely uncomfortable memory foam. If you sleep on it, you will wake up with a back ache. In addition, either a guest, or some random guy was smoking low quality marijuana downstairs, stinking up the entire home. While in New Jersey it is medically legal, and there are no explicit house rules forbidding this, it is should be stated up front on the listing folks are allowed to do this. I likely would not have booked if I knew.

There is a dog next door that barks loudly and incessantly at all hours of the day and night. The host needs to contact the local animal control and police department about a noise complaint. He refused to do so.

As mentioned earlier, the host has a attitude of being dismissive of guest complaints, insulting their intelligence with nonsensical responses, gaslights, etc. The location is in the worst neighborhood of Jersey City (right on the border of JC and Bayonne). There is a lot of ‘hooping and hollaring’ outside at all hours of the night.

The cancellation policy is strict. Hence, regardless of the problems reported to the host, he will respond with some non-answer response, wasting your time, and refusing a refund. If you cancel, he will give you nothing no matter what. The only way to get a reasonable partial refund is to contact Airbnb.

In conclusion, I will be avoiding this clown, and all of his listings going forward. Avoid this guy like the plague unless you are a sadomasochist and love one-star experiences on Airbnb.

Host Changed House Rules, Airbnb Won’t Provide Refund

I booked my first Airbnb stay for my Mom and I for use during renovations of my home. My filters were “entire place” and “two bedrooms”. I contacted a listing that appeared not too far from my home and told the host that I would not be a vacationer but rather I lived in the neighborhood. The only house rules that were listed were “No Smoking, Parties, or Events”

I was cool with that so I booked and a confirmation was sent. When I had a chance to go through the confirmation email, I noticed another completely new set of house rules, including “no additional guests unless they were approved by the host” and also a $25/guest per night charge if I had more than two overnight guests.

I am a home-based massage therapist so I contacted the host to asked if it would be allowed for me to see my clients while I was there. She literally said no, that they lived upstairs and didn’t allow extra traffic in their home. I thought I was renting an entire place, not a part of someone else’s home. The listing initially said English Basement Apartment.

Being my first time, I just thought this was how Airbnb does things and sucked it up as a $2500 loss. Until my neighbor who uses Airbnb all the time told me that it is a violation for a host not to disclose all house rules in their listing.

I contacted Airbnb for a refund or some type of resolution, as the cancellation policy was the long-term strict type (literally no chance of a refund). As of now they are upholding the deceitful, dishonest listing of the host, saying the host has a right to limit the number of guests, which I never disputed. I just wish I would’ve been told in advance and I would’ve chosen a different listing. I will never use Airbnb again; it’s such a scam. Has anyone ever sued a host before?

Ripped Off After Host Lied About Location

I am disappointed with Airbnb. I made a reservation for September 9-12 on the basis the apartment was in lively location above a trendy bar. I found out this was not the case, and cancelled having discussed with my host who agreed to a 50% refund immediately and 50% when she re-let the property.

I searched in past few weeks and again today for the property and it does not appear coming up as being available for rent on those dates, which leads me to assume it is no longer available. Having read the latest review of the property, it was shut down recently by the fire officer due to dangerous gas smells. If this is the case, I presume it’s not available (quite rightly) but why should the host get to retain my deposit?

Airbnb had no reply for me. This is grossly unfair and borders on fraudulent. I’ve tried to call and speak to the help line but am getting nowhere.

Strict Cancellation Policy Costs me Hundreds

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I reserved a duplex in Las Vegas for a business trip. I used a corporate credit card to make the reservation and paid the full amount for one receipt (almost two months out from reservation). The host has a strict cancellation policy, but I was okay with that because I had no intentions of cancelling the trip (already paid for the conference I was attending). I read through the policy as best I could.

The next week I found out I violated the company travel policy and was told to cancel the reservation ASAP. I did. I got back half the total amount, minus service fee, since it was past 48 hours, but well within 14 days.

I contacted the host for mercy on the refund policy, since it was extenuating circumstances. Initially the host said I could either re-book another date, or she would refund two thirds of the price if the place was re-booked. I asked again for mercy that I could not afford to just leave $450 out there. My complaint was that if I had only paid the down payment, I would have only been out half of that amount (a quarter of the total). I was stupid enough to pay the full amount, not expecting any problems. I stated that I would pay the service fee plus another $100.

The host cut off all contact with me. I got a case worker involved and another case worker when the first was awful, then a manager of the case workers involved. Now I can’t even get the two-thirds refund that was stated in the host’s message, and Airbnb has told me they can mediate no longer with the host since she wishes to stop all communication. So I get screwed, while Airbnb and the host profit off of half of a six-day rental that I never took… and the place did re-book. What is Airbnb’s responsibility to the guest?

The last message said this: “We can no longer continue to assist you, as a final decision has been made on this case. I’m truly sorry for all that has happened, and I believe the host should be accountable, but we can no longer mediate anything from them as they are not willing to mediate with us any longer. We have a final decision already made by the last agent, so there would not be any further discussion about the refund.”

Apparently the host can decide when the case is shut, even more than a month before the reservation date. How is this even legal? Thankfully it wasn’t a super expensive place that would’ve cost me thousands instead of hundreds. Lesson learned: never pay the full amount up front and never rent from hosts with a strict cancellation policy.

I have a lakefront property that I was considering renting through Airbnb and wouldn’t ever do this to a renter. How do people sleep at night, knowing they essentially stole money from someone? I basically donated $450 to the host and Airbnb for a few email exchanges and phone calls. I should get a donation receipt.

Where’s Airbnb’s Policy with a Mouse in the Caravan?

We went for a family holiday and business trip to North Wales. I was taking part in a Welsh Culture Festival selling fashion. We decided to stay in a caravan about 30 minutes from the festival. It was a little old and gave us the basic requirements we needed but the reviews looked good so it was a done deal. My mother is also disabled so we needed somewhere she didn’t have to walk upstairs.

When we got there, the first impressions were okay, but the more you sat in the dingy caravan the more you discovered. Firstly, I got an Airbnb message from the host on my phone. I tried to text her back but it would only let me communicate through the website. I did, then the host texted me directly. This is where I know we went wrong.

All of the correspondence between us and the host was via text. The first thing she told me was her cesspit would be emptied the day after our arrival. We would have to sit in her garden with years’ worth of poo being emptied before us. The cesspit was also uncomfortably close to the caravan. We booked the caravan months in advance so she could have booked this at any other time but didn’t.

I soon discovered that there was no wifi, even though it said on the listing that there was. She then said she would contact her son who was “profoundly deaf and might be working”, one of her many excuses, like “I think I just need to put my hotspot on.” Let me get this straight: you’re advertising wifi to your guests using a hotspot on your phone in the house next door to the caravan?

At this point we didn’t even know if she was in the house or in another country so we could have been using a hotspot in England for all we knew. May I add she was also painfully slow at responding to our messages, leaving at least 30 minutes between each one.

Already disappointed, we tried our best to keep our spirits up, even after walking in on the pungent smell in the small bedroom, and cobwebs all over the place. As it got dark I turned the lights on and you could see that the carpet hadn’t been cleaned at all. I found plaster on the floor, and bugs stuck in the ceiling light.

Then something moved in the corner of my eye. All three of us looked at each other… what was that? “A moth,” I thought.

“A spider,” my dad thought.

My mum knew: a mouse. It ran under a small cabinet. I crept down on the floor to have a look and saw. Sat next to a leaf in the shadows was the mouse, frozen in sight staring right at me. My mum and I went to sit back on the sofa with our legs up, then we saw him scutter out from under the cabinet and into the kitchen area. We think he went into the kitchen cabinets then, either to hide in some kind of nest or through a hole out of the caravan as we couldn’t see him after that. He was cute but I’m sorry, unwelcome.

We complained about the situation to the host and asked if it could be sorted that night. We would have been willing to stay, maybe, if she would have been willing to do something about the situation. We waited an hour with no response. When we finally got a response she claimed she had lived there for 30 years and had never seen a mouse; she was gobsmacked.

She then tried to blame it on the farmer next door, asking if it was a field mouse as he had been doing the fields and then some girl that did the changeover might have let it in? Then she said, “Could you not just pick it up and throw it out?” Excuse me?

In the time she spent ignoring our messages, we managed to pull back the sofa and saw mouse droppings scattered everywhere. On closer inspection I found more in the dining area, and a few in the bathroom. This wasn’t a lone mouse that wandered in, it was a recurring problem. After seeing it scurry into the kitchen cupboards we knew it could potentially contaminate our food.

It got really late. We were running out of time to find back up accommodation, so we left and told her we wanted a full refund. She was “apologetic” but not really, still sticking to the same script.

We decided to go straight to Airbnb that night with all the photos we took and screenshots of the messages taken. Then at 1:00 AM she sent a paragraph of a text demanding to know why we said such horrible lies about her caravan. She had no problem responding then. She claimed she went to the caravan but we had already left, so she magically made an appearance late at night, stating that the caravan was spotless. She stays in five-star hotels and it was immaculately clean apparently.

As we drove past her house it was clear that it was dirty; in the conservatory there were piles of boxes and bin bags stacked on top of each other. The entrance of the house was full of beat up old cars and more trash.

Airbnb did nothing. We had pictures of the mouse droppings, dust and uncleanliness, and insects in the caravan and provided all of the screenshots. We were told “we can’t use text messages as evidence as they can be doctored.”

We couldn’t receive our money back as she claimed we didn’t tell her about any of the issues so they’ve taken her word for it and I have now lost £580 for a 10-night stay + about £1000 for last-minute accommodation for the week. All they did was offer a coupon for our next stay, and after bickering with them for a bit they retracted this coupon anyway.

I haven’t added the listing, and haven’t written a review yet as we are taking legal action and trying to get our money back via PayPal. She has some bad reviews on her profile concerning the cleanliness but they’re mainly good. I went to check recently and saw that she suddenly had loads of new reviews for July. Strange… either she had so many guests before us and couldn’t clean or they’re doctored in some way. Airbnb is more than happy to leave a rodent-infested listing on their website, so their policies have no legs.

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Horrible Landlord Now a Airbnb host

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Technically I’m not an Airbnb guest, but I’ve rented a room that just started advertising in Ventura in August on Airbnb. This is just a warning to potential guests. The ad is misleading; it’s for a long term month-to-month rental, it’s high pressure to lease, the host is very talkative, the house isn’t well maintained, and it’s been cited by code enforcement for multiple health and safety violations.

I’m on Airbnb as a guest, but since I leased a room before this property was advertised on Airbnb, I can’t post a review on Airbnb, since I have a lease. Airbnb does a good job protecting hosts and not policing its properties. This property only rents 30 days or longer. I’ve heard it’s impossible to get a refund, so my review is as follows.

I’ve been a guest at this property for over a year. I can honestly say it’s not bad. When the host is not here, it’s generally quiet. The host is the property owner and lives on site, but you’d never guess she cared about the property; it’s generally in neglect, the yard is just dirt and dusty, there’s peeling paint, and there’s no care about it’s upkeep. They’re willing to rent for $30 a night – a 30-night minimum – up front.

The ad is not being honest with expectations and is misleading, not showing two common areas, the garage and small living room (now advertised on Airbnb). Those two common areas were infested with vermin. One common area, the garage, is still cluttered. The second, a small living room, is now being advertised on Airbnb; it’s partly filled with clutter.

As a matter of warning, the host is not exactly a clean person; dirty clothes are lying around in common areas, piles of dishes are left in the sink, the house is dusty and musty, and there was a serous vermin infestation. It’s just matter of time before they return. What the ad doesn’t tell you is that the beds are futons; one bed is a old sofa bed in a living room surrounded by clutter.

The Airbnb bedroom currently advertised is occupied and full of clothes. If the room gets rented, that tenant has to move to the living room and the shared bathroom is with another tenant. If you rent the lovely living room – privacy by curtain – you get to share the bathroom with the host.

The ad states that it has smoke detectors, which it does, but only because I turned the landlord into code enforcement for not having them. She hadn’t handled other issues. She’ll ask you to vacate rather than do simple maintenance. It was easier to have code enforcement deal with her; their deadlines got her to move.

The house is fairly dirty. If you have to share the host’s bathroom, it’s a mess. My bedroom was next to it. I closed the door so I couldn’t see in. The toilet isn’t cleaned but once a month by a cleaning service, and the light in the bathroom doesn’t work; in fact, they don’t work in either bathroom. She’ll tell you that they are going to be fixed, but they’ve been broken for over five months.

The host never cleans – never. She had a friend crashing there. Her friend is the domestic help; when her friend moves out, the house goes back to full neglect. Something that was omitted in the travel brochure: the property is less than a mile from Ventura County Jail which discharges prisoners at all hours and the property is on a common path for foot travel.

There aren’t locks on some windows, there have been homeless people camped nearby. I pointed out to the host that just outside her wall is a bedding area, which doesn’t bother me, but it might someone else The bathroom is small, very small and shared with full time tenant. Typically the house rule is all showering must be done by 11:00 PM and none in the early morning.

One good thing: the house is 420 friendly. Despite what the host says, she smokes weed on occasion. Still, it’s not a well-kept property. The tenant and guest refrigerator and washer and dryer are in the garage and the garage is a nightmare zone; it’s dirty, has had serious vermin infestation, been cited for contamination and still has piles of papers, boxes and clutter next to the tenant refrigerator.

The place is loud. The host is a loud talker. She had a female friend crashing there, who was loud. Together they were exceptionally loud, talking on speaker phones.

The place is dirty with poor ventilation. The beds are thin, old, and had been used for years. Your clothes go into plastic bins or you have to keep them in your suitcase. It’s not a short-term rental; it’s leased month to month for a minimum of 30 days. The house was cited for lack of maintenance and it remains the same.

During my tenancy here, every tenant has said the host lied to him or her, denied any issues, even denied vermin despite catching three in a day, lied about repairs, and harassed long term tenants when complaints were made.

Men Break in at Night while we are Asleep

This summer, my girlfriend and I stayed at an Airbnb in the South of France for three nights: a one bedroom apartment in the heart of the old city of Aix-en-Provence. We arrived around 6:00 PM. The young guy who greeted us hadn’t finished cleaning up the place yet, so we just left our bags there and went out for dinner.

Fast forward two days. It was around midnight and we had just gotten back to the apartment after a long day. We went to bed, exhausted. I woke up around 9:00 AM, walked into the living room to grab my laptop from the couch – no laptop. I looked around; no phone either. Maybe I left it in my bag? No bag. My girlfriend’s bag was also missing.

I noticed large black footsteps on the tile floor (looked like a construction worker’s boots). I noticed that the window was wide open. My girlfriend still had her cell phone; she kept it in the bedroom during the night. We did our best to stay calm and focused.

We called the host who said he would be there in about an hour (he lives in neighboring Marseille). Meanwhile we went to the local police office to file a report. When we got back, the host was there, searching for any damage to his property. At first he said it didn’t look like there was a break-in. I showed him the footsteps.

Then he blamed us for leaving the window open. I pointed out to him that it had been 110 degrees out, that we were up on the second floor, and that the apartment had no AC. I also pointed out to him that the other window in the living room was broken, and also the window in our bedroom (though that one has bars). He shrugged and blamed the damage on previous Airbnb guests.

Then his tone changed a bit. I think he realized that we were still in shock and at a loss about what to do next. He admitted that when we called him he suspected we were lying, but that he believed us now. He assured us that all would be taken care of, that he had insurance, as does Airbnb. That we would get compensated for our stolen goods (computers, wallets, bags, phone, etc.). He promised to help us as long as we didn’t mention anything about the break-in in our review.

Awkward pause. Then, more gently, he asked us to please check out as soon as possible, since new guests are coming, and he needed to clean the apartment. Another awkward pause. My girlfriend reminded me that we still had lots of stuff to take care of (calling our banks, credit cards, my phone company, getting cash somehow…) so we may as well head out anyway.

Once we started packing all our stuff, she also reminded me that he was a Superhost so he must know how to handle everything with the insurance. I expressed to him my concern about the next guests – maybe the burglar is targeting this apartment? He reassured me it was all fine, and that he would just tell the next guests to lock the windows before they go to bed.

Once we were out on the street, all the admin stuff took us longer, and we ended up having to stay in Aix for one more night. We called the Airbnb host in Avignon (the next town on our trip, where we had another booking for three nights) to tell him what had happened, and that we would only arrive the next day. He said no problem, but that he must charge us still for that unused night. We understand. It’s not his fault that we were victims of a break-in, after all.

It is at this moment that our vacation officially ends (not on paper, as we are still in France, but for all other practical matters) and the saga with Airbnb’s customer service begins. It was the usual progression of “we will call you back” then “please send us the police report for the Nth time” then “please send us all the receipts for the stolen items for the Nth time” then “sorry we can’t help you” then “we can offer you $100 as compensation” then finally “we can offer you $500 out of our goodwill and the case is now closed.”

It took three weeks of constant calling to get to that point. $500 barely covers 10% of what was stolen (not to mention the stay itself, the extra night in Aix, and the lost night in Avignon). That aside, what shocked me most was how little Airbnb seemed to care about our overall experience and about the safety of future guests at that specific Airbnb.

The host, on his end, was always “on vacation” or “busy” when we tried to reach him. He never filed a claim with his insurance (does he even have insurance, we began to wonder). He continued to rent the apartment to guests nonstop through the Airbnb platform.

I became a little paranoid: who knows how many times that apartment has gotten broken into? Who knows how many other former guests now wake up in the middle of the night from nightmares about a man breaking into their apartment? Airbnb knows, but not the rest of the Airbnb community, because we were cheated into not mentioning it in our review. I’m angry with myself for agreeing to that deal. I’m angry with Airbnb for not caring about anything or anyone excerpt for their own profit and growth. Let the truth be known.

UPDATE: Now at nearly four weeks since the incident, we managed to get a hold of the host. He began by apologizing that it didn’t work out with his insurance in the end. He assured us that he did his absolute best. The reason the claim was rejected? We left the window open.

We told him we had done our research on the topic – that an open window voids insurance in France only if the break-in happens on a first floor/garden level apartment. He insisted that his insurance told him otherwise. We asked for the type of insurance policy he has, but he refused to tell us.

Finally, clearly angry at this point, he told us the name of the insurance company, then hung up the phone. We tried calling him back, but he wouldn’t pick up.

We then called the insurance company he had just mentioned, gave them his name and address, explained the situation, and they informed us that a claim was never made. They also told us the type of insurance policy has has: the most basic policy (what in France they call “Assurance Habitation”), which only covers his own belongings in the case of a break-in. Definitely not the insurance policy one should have for a full-time Airbnb rental.

As we had suspected by this point, his whole promise of helping us get reimbursed for our stolen belongings was a charade – a way to manipulate us into not mentioning the break-in in our review during high-season.

As for Airbnb? They know the full story. We’re still waiting for the promised email from their elusive case manager.

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Last Resort Airbnb with no Air Conditioning

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I am a active duty service member. My deployment was recently canceled which left me without a place to stay. I left my place due to last-minute orders and could not go back because it was no longer available. I booked a Airbnb closest to base with the intention to stay until I got paid and could sign a lease.

When I checked in, the temperature on the thermostat said 93 degrees. Since I had nowhere else to go I figured I could stick it out. That night I couldn’t sleep and had to go to work the next day. At 2:00 AM I couldn’t take it, got dressed, drove to work and slept in the parking lot. That morning I messaged the host who seemed surprised that I complained about the heat. I couldn’t risk another night like that so I left with no other means.

You would think that the military could have provided me assistance but they couldn’t so I was homeless until a coworker took me in. Airbnb has sided with the host who refuses to refund me. This was clearly false advertising since she knew that she didn’t have air conditioning available at the time of my check in and could have had the decency to tell me so I could cancel and find somewhere else to go.