Guests Intentionally Left Cigarette Burns Over Everything

Two women in their late thirties made a booking for our unit. It was a last minute booking through Instant Book and their profiles showed that they were from a faraway city in my own country. The booking was for four people: two Airbnb account holders who had traveled together before and two other unnamed guests.

After two hours, I received a message from one of the guests stating that this booking was made for a friend. She gave us another contact number. The people who showed up a few hours later were two teenage looking young girls with two young male friends. It seemed like they were two young couples, but neither mentioned the Airbnb users who had made the booking. They were also very reluctant to talk about themselves and only interested in knowing how to work the TV, change the channels, and use the PS3 games. One of the couples went into the master bedroom to change their clothes while we taught the other dude how to use the IPTV.

They were staying for two nights. On the day they are supposed to check out, they ignored us the whole morning. When it was noon, they messaged us requesting to stay one more night. We told them that we would only accept changes made through Airbnb. They kept delaying us with all sort of excuses. We called the guest who made the booking and she said that she would check with her “friend”.

However, the next day, they had yet to pay through the system or accept the date changes. Nonetheless we went to the condominium at the agreed check out time. We waited outside the door for over an hour. We called, we knocked, and we screamed, but nothing worked. When we were about to call a locksmith to break open the door, they opened it and said that they were sleeping inside. They again refused to pay through the Airbnb system.

After an exhausting half an hour of haggling, we relented and allowed them to send the money to us via a bank transfer. However, after they paid and hastily left, we noticed the place was dirty and messy with wet clothes, food and plastic bags and whatnot everywhere; it was a dump. The scene was as if someone had brought all the neighbours’ dustbins inside and poured everything out everywhere.

When we were cleaning we noticed some damage here and there. After awhile it seemed like the damages were very extensive, so we stopped cleaning and immediately started taking pictures. In the end, what happened was that there were cigarette burns everywhere, and my unit was hardwood themed. Most of them were cigarettes that had been left and burned through; you could tell from the rectangular burn marks on edges. Then we also found numerous circular burn marks, which means that it was burnt intentionally all over the place. Note that cigarettes were left everywhere, dozens and dozens of them.

The burned furniture included: hardwood sofa table; cotton sofa; hardwood dining table; custom wooden kitchen top (where the stove is); custom wooden makeup table and the side wooden drawers; leather bedside table; hardwood living room TV stand; and the hardwood master bedroom TV stand. Everything wooden was damaged. Non-wooden items damaged as were some cooking pots, the sofa and a leather bedside table (which goes against the theme but was cheap and good looking).

I contacted Airbnb but their response did not give me any confidence. I went ahead and filed a police report. Luckily the people who made the booking were in my country. In the meantime the tenants did not respond to us after leaving the place, and the person who made the booking denied doing so or having any knowledge of it. This was despite the fact that I had talked to her and she mentioned that she would check with her friend the night before.

When deciding how to file a police report. I discovered something amiss. The wire transfer to our account had a name on it; it was made by the woman who was the Airbnb user’s friend (who is also a host and was supposed to come for this trip), but it was clearly her account that made this booking and even used it to message us on the first day. What’s even more complicated was the relationship between those who stayed over. They left a scarf within the pile of garbage before we noticed the extensive burns. When I went down to get hold of them, the two teenage looking girls left, and only the two young males were there. I tried to pass the scarf to them and their reaction was like “screw them; throw it away for all we care.”

We also found some weird white beady pills (for consumption) that didn’t seem like normal candy; they were made of powder but did not have any imprints on them. It seems hasty to assume these are drugs because there were dozens of them all over the place (aren’t drugs expensive for teenagers?) but it is apparent these were no Tic Tacs because they were powdery in nature. So, not only did I have irresponsible guests, but they were teenage prostitutes? And my unit had been converted into a drug den?

A few cooking pots were burnt (but not with food or any oily material). I made my report to the police based on the photos and evidence on hand. The police came to the same conclusion as me. These people were sent by the Airbnb users to purposefully wreck our place. As explained by the policeman, there were clear signs of deliberate sabotage elements, but we were missing the most important element, motive.

Why did they do this? We never had any prior engagement with these people. I told the police that I would wait for Airbnb to resolve this. However, the police are saying that an investigation is possible for such cases. In the end, I just want to be compensated for my losses. The fact that there maybe a very intricate story behind these wayward tenants, while interesting, is of little importance to me.

I hope that the tenants were somehow related to the Airbnb users, as those four young males were ugly. Why four, you ask? Nope, it isn’t a typo. The two young men we saw during check-in were different than those during check-out. I wondered why they made us wait standing outside the condominium unit for a whole hour. Was it a last minute customer? The plot thickens. How I wish i had taken a photo of their faces so I could post it online…

Airbnb’s Failure at Preventing Fraud Ruined Birthday

I bought Jay Z tickets for Arizona for my birthday weekend. I bought concert tickets, as well as ones for the Grand Canyon, food, etc. All that was left to pay for was my room and board and airline tickets. I found a nice place on Airbnb, and then booked it. I then called the host to ask a question about the stay. The host gasped in horror, saying that he did not have that property, and went to the lengths of sending me the actual cancellation request.

I immediately contacted Airbnb. I asked for a manger but had to settle for some idiot. He told me that he would give me a credit to use, so that my card wont be charged again, along with 10% off. He said that I would receive it that day. I received it the next morning, along with several charges of $186.00 x 4. $744.00 out of my account, all from Airbnb.

I called in horror; I couldn’t buy plane tickets, pay rent or use that cash, as it was charged by mistake by this fraud company. I called hysterically crying for them to apologize. I demanded a manager all to have a dumb ass call me back, apologizing yet again. He then asked what would make everything better. Can you believe I had to suggest to Airbnb how to appease their mistake? I said they should pay for my stay. He said he would send me a credit for the stay.

That same night I went home to use this credit, only to be told I could not use it for bookings, just like restaurants, etc. Guess what? By then the airline tickets had almost doubled, and I could not afford the trip. I still haven’t received the refund yet, and this Monday is Columbus Day, which means banks are closed. I am out of money and time; I cannot make the trip or pay my rent.

My bank had to issue a new bank card (time and money they cannot replace). I had to cancel my trip; as you know, prices for flights are less the further in advance you book… Airbnb cost me a whole week. I asked for a manager, but they only have dumb asses who lie about their names. The manager I dealt with should be fired. I am doing to do my best to find illegal Airbnb listings in New York and contact their landlords to help get my money back.

What to do if your Neighbors are Airbnb Guests

Whether it’s legal in your area or not, Airbnb has done a horrible job cracking down on listings that shouldn’t be there. As a result, many residents in big cities have been complaining about guests moving in and out at all hours, throwing parties, and generally just disrupting life in the building or neighborhood. While it’s tempting to think neighbors can just calmly walk next door and say “please, stop it,” there are a number of issues to overcome, not the first of which may be a language barrier by international guests. Other more pressing ones may include the entitlement guests feel at having paid for a vacation home, then being told to shush. What are some of the actions you can take when you discover your neighbors are Airbnb guests?

1. Alert the Owner and Homeowner’s Association
Some homeowners and hosts are completely absent from properties they rent out, save a visit or two every month to ensure the building isn’t on fire. Though this can make them difficult to contact, it’s far from impossible; as a resident, you should have the contact information for the Homeowner’s Association for your home, and reporting an illegal sublet isn’t taken lightly.

Certain hosts may be blissfully unaware of the negative impact of their Airbnb business on the community; they just want to raise a little income. Alerting them that things are not all sunshine and lollipops in the area may get them to reconsider, or at least be more selective in guests.

2. Call the police
If things get bad enough – shouting at 2 AM, violence, theft, property damage – the homeowner is probably the last one you should call. Calling the police won’t necessarily result in the guests getting evicted that day or stop the Airbnb from being rented, but a report will establish a paperwork trail that can be used down the line.

3. Just for fun: the passive aggressive approach
If you’ve ever had an annoying roommate or neighbor and didn’t respond to their petty infractions because you wanted to be the bigger person, there’s no better time to live out your passive aggressive fantasy than with Airbnb guests. If all else has failed and you don’t have any hope of removing them from the property or preventing the host from renting again, you might as well enjoy yourself at their expense (assuming they deserve it).

There are few repercussions to such actions – the police won’t get involved because you should have already tried to get them to do the same to the guests – other than making the guests’ Airbnb experience a bad once, resulting in the host getting a bad review, and reducing the likelihood of future guests. As the real residents in the neighborhood, you’re morally justified in annoying the Airbnb Hell out of disruptive guests… just be careful of your safety and well-being.

Three Types of Airbnb SCAMS

One of the most common and heartbreaking stories we hear at Airbnb Hell is about scammers. Newbies to the website think they’re paying a legitimate host for their dream vacation, when in fact they’re getting a room in a flophouse, or nothing at all.  What are some of the scams we’ve heard about?

 

Bait and Switch

It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book. Airbnb guests book what appears to be an amazing property at a more than reasonable price, only to be told on arrival or just when it’s too late to look for alternative accommodations that the house in the pictures isn’t available due to an “Airbnb glitch”, but what luck! The host has a comparable property at a different address.

News flash: the first listing never existed. It was all a lure to get you to pay and then force you to accept a worse deal because you’re now desperate and in an unfamiliar city. The biggest giveaway here is a lack of reviews, and a price too good for the quality.

 

Paying by Wire Transfer

NEVER, never pay for an Airbnb reservation by clicking on an email link – no matter how authentic it may look – or a wire transfer directly from your bank. Airbnb is slow to crack down on fake listings like these brazenly telling guests to click on a link in their profile to book; the more clever ones wait until you make a legitimate booking or inquiry through Airbnb, then send you a fake email with Airbnb logos with payment instructions. In the end, Airbnb may continue to list the scammers but – as far as we’ve heard – has never refunded anyone.

 

Lying About Vermin

Scams on Airbnb can affect hosts as easily as guests, and this particular one is why Airbnb Hell got started in the first place. A seemingly normal guest makes a booking, is friendly in his communications, and arrives without incident. Near the end of his stay, he abruptly leaves, files a complaint with Airbnb claiming there were cockroaches, rats, or some other vermin on the property, and expects a 50% refund.

These scammers usually book longer stays so they can maximize their ill-gotten refund. They might even bring bugs onto the property so they can doctor photos. Airbnb policy hasn’t changed much to protect hosts from these types of lies.

Airbnb Doesn’t Care About Burglary in Richmond, Virginia

A couple of days ago during Hurricane Irma my boyfriend, his mom, and I rented a two bedroom apartment in the center of Richmond, Virginia to escape the storm. The listing looked extremely decent and the host had over 100 positive reviews. The flat was located on the first floor of a two-story building in the historic center of Richmond.

After arriving at the place around 10-11 PM we went to sleep and left the apartment early the next day to explore the city. We arrived back to the flat for the first time at 11:00 PM and that’s when we noticed we had been burgled. The host had two entrance doors at his apartment: one was a code door and the other door was a back door that could be opened only from the inside.

My boyfriend’s mom and I entered the house using the front door, while my boyfriend went to park the car and was waiting for us to open the back door for him. Upon reaching the back door, I discovered that it was unlocked. I asked my boyfriend if he left the door opened but he assured me that when we were leaving he checked that everything had been locked.

We started searching the rooms and noticed that my backpack with all my valuables was missing, that my boyfriend’s mom’s stuff was upside down and all of my boyfriend’s bags had been opened. Then we saw that the window of one of the rooms in the apartment was open, meaning that the burglars had entered the flat through the window and left using the back door.

We immediately called the police and wrote a report about it. It was interesting that the host had three TVs in the apartment as well as other electronics, but none of his things were missing, only my own valuables. Upon reaching out to the host, he of course said that he was not responsible for the robbery, even when he was negligent and did not provide any security for his apartment. Living on the ground floor, the host did not have any protection on his windows and not a single camera.

When speaking to me, the host said that the neighborhood where we were staying was very safe and nothing had ever happened to guests before. However, after the incident, he decided to put cameras about his house. I wish he would have done this before renting us his place. Airbnb has not taken any responsibility for what has happened to us and has completely ignored our requests. They did not even refund us the night that we had to spend in a hotel after the robbery because we were scared to stay at that apartment one more night. To sum it up, this stay with Airbnb cost us over a $3,000 in valuables and no one wanted to find a resolution to this incident.

Cozy Studio a Hot Mess for Nightmare Stay in Queens

Our Airbnb Hell story begins on May 28, 2017 when we decided to use the service to go to New York with our son who just graduated from high school. We requested that the room accommodate three adults. The listing for a “Cozy Studio by Forest Park Steps To Subway” came up in our search and we thought this would be perfect.

Our first contact with the host was to ask if this would be an appropriate place for three adults. She assured us it was and said she looked forward to having us stay in her studio. Prior to requesting this, we had read her reviews and were satisfied that this would work for us. Only one review was negative at that point; that was from someone complaining about the noisy upstairs neighbors, but she said the problem was “acoustic issues” that would be fixed.

We arrived on July 19th and immediately knew something was wrong. We were told to enter the unit from the back door. We walked inside and wondered if we were in the right place. There was a couch and a bed in the main part of the unit, along with a small refrigerator, and a microwave near the kitchen sink. We backtracked down the hallway to the back door and the first door was a toilet. There was a shower curtain with a shower behind it and then a small area with a shelf with towels. There was a queen bed, presumably for the three of us.

We immediately contacted the host and asked where the other bed was, hoping that the couch wasn’t to be used for that purpose. Our son was mortified by the lack of privacy. Clearly, the room with the toilet was hardly big enough to turn around in, let alone change one’s clothes. Her response seemed to be one of surprise that there were three of us. She assured us that a bed would be coming. This was around 6:30 and we were hungry from flying all day from Portland, Oregon.

We were a few blocks from a street in Queens that had restaurants, though no real suggestions on where to eat. We relied on Yelp since the host had merely stated there were “plenty of places” to eat nearby. We were eating dinner when she contacted us about the bed. She said her husband would be bringing it by and wondered if we were at the unit. I said we would be back within an hour. It was a little after 7:00. We left a few minutes later and went back to the unit and waited.

It was about 85 degrees and the place felt like a sauna. The windows would not open and there was only a large fan to circulate the already-humid air. Finally, around 10:00, her husband showed up. I told him the unit was not what we were expecting. We had told her that there were three of us and this place was clearly smaller and less private than we what we viewed in the photos. There were several photos showing the place with the same bed shot at different angles and with different bedding. The couch was in some of the photos and not in others. In retrospect, we should have noticed the pictures, which were the same, but we felt the perspective was skewed.

Her husband said, “Please do not say this was misrepresented.” These were his words – not ours. Obviously someone had used that phrase before because his defense of the unit was somewhat proactive. We went to bed shortly after he left and tried to fall asleep in an overly hot room with no ventilation.

About midnight, we heard the neighbors upstairs come home. I have no idea what their situation involved, but from the moment they entered their apartment, the noise level was elevated to shouting, crying, fighting, and stomping. It went on until 1:30 in the morning. There was noise that sounded like children screaming and crying and then running around above us.

At first we considered that the noise might end quickly and everyone would go to sleep, but it dragged on for 90 minutes. We were wide awake and wondering what options we had. We thought about vacating the unit, but at 1:30 in the morning, we had nowhere else to go. We were not at a place where we could call anyone to pick us up and go somewhere. When the noise finally died down, we went to sleep.

The next morning, we called Airbnb about our concerns. We explained our situation and our desire to move. Of course they called the host and told her what had happened. She said she did not “misrepresent the space” and if we had a problem with the neighbors, we should have called her to let her know. It was 1:30 in the morning. We had no idea if we were in danger of some sort – we were told not to contact them because they were the residents of the apartment above (which at one point was attached to our dwelling with a door and stairs to the basement).

I suppose we could have called the police to complain, but that seemed a bit extreme. In addition, we had committed to staying there at least until the next day. Our imaginations, at this point, were running a bit wild.

We called Airbnb the next day and told them what had happened. They said if we wanted to leave, we should cancel the reservation, which was followed up by a request from the host. She thought she could open it back up for someone since it was such a desirable place and it was Thursday before a summer weekend. She also offered us a refund for two nights of our reservation. Considering that we had spent over $900, we felt that this wasn’t really enough. We cancelled the reservation and moved into a hotel in Brooklyn. We felt we would deal with the fallout later.

Airbnb claimed they called me several times in New York, which is an outright lie because I had my phone with me the entire time and there were no phone calls from Airbnb. We received an email from Airbnb on our last full day in New York (July 25th) asking if our issue had been resolved and they would consider the case closed if so.

The next day, as we were waiting for our flight out, I wrote an email to them explaining how I felt the situation was not resolved. I felt that adding a toilet and shower to an unlivable space and advertising it as a cozy studio was not acceptable and that yes, the place was misrepresented. We were not happy with the situation and were not happy with Airbnb.

After we returned to our home in the Portland, Oregon area, and the case was not settled satisfactorily, and after hearing from yet another “case manager” at Airbnb, I requested our case be reopened. I got a response from another case manager, who offered us $200. I had requested $794 (which was the amount on the dispute area on the Airbnb website). I was told that the host had three days to give us a response, which not surprisingly, she refused. She also said she hoped we wouldn’t use Airbnb in the future.

At this point we had forfeited our right to give an honest review because it was past the 14 days allowed. During that entire 14-day period, we were still disputing the charges and hoping we could come to some reasonable resolution. By the way, the host’s offer of two night’s reimbursement also dried up. I made screenshots of all the correspondence because I was somewhat certain Airbnb would take them down.

This host, in my opinion, is a scam artist and crook. Her place was clearly misrepresented and all this could have been avoided had she just said, “I don’t think this place would work for you,” at the outset. The other issue I have with Airbnb is that our complaints have always come back to the host and her story is the one accepted by Airbnb. I feel like we, as paying customers, are discounted in favor of their “host” who really has the final say. I mean, after all, we wouldn’t want to give up the cash cow that helps drive Airbnb’s business?

Airbnb Steals Your Money And Then Makes You Angry

We just found that Airbnb didn’t transfer our money a few days after the client paid until we contacted them about this issue. Later, they cancelled one payment from another guest who actually already checked in and was not entitled to get any refund; we had a strict cancellation policy. We charged a very low fee under Airbnb’s instructions because they told us that our listings would not be found if our fee was higher than Airbnb’s lowest rate. However, Airbnb will take any comment against a landlord seriously and punish him or her without any investigation or fairness. Even though I have had my place listed on Airbnb for just a few months, I have felt very stressed and offended because Airbnb staff kept bugging me all the time as if they were the police with complete authority; this is ridiculous because everybody knows Airbnb started as a small website and is now getting bigger by coddling landlords while pissing off small ones.

I will never use this stupid website anymore and we will not have to because there are many other better ways. I think the reason Airbnb would like to get rid of small landlords is now they have bigger bosses in and they would not make much money by keeping small landlords and small tenants. Please remember that Airbnb never works in your best interest but by sucking as much cash as they can out of your pocket.

Who’s Worse, Shonky Hosts or Shonky Airbnb?

I booked a villa in Greece on Airbnb, got confirmation, and soon received a request for my private email address from my host so he could send me directions. Two minutes later he emailed me to say my villa was not available but he had another selection of wonderful choices; however, I shouldn’t tell Airbnb about this. What he is doing is using their site to rent but avoiding the fee. I called Airbnb, who could not care less. They sent me an email so I could forward the dodgy offer to them from the host but guess what? The Airbnb email comes from a “No Reply” sender. Airbnb and their hosts are in this for the money and the renters are the mugs. The company simply will not help you.