Airbnb Hell Prevents Property Agent Scam in Munich

I’m posting this because thanks to a similar post from this website I just avoided being scammed. I’m a Spanish student about to start an internship in Munich, a city well known for its accomodation shortage, especially for students. Searching for flats I came across the following property. The host seemed to answer all of my emails really quick and had no problem with the duration of my stay. I showed interest and the conversation went as follows:

Hello,

Thank you for your answers. You can rent the apartment how long you want, My children are at school here and I don’t have plans to move again in Germany. Last week I took two days off from my job and came to show the apartment to a person that was interested in renting it. When I arrived there, he called me and said that he was no longer interested in my apartment. I have lost money and time.

So, in this case we can use Airbnb. Here is a brief description of the process: they will send an agent, and you will visit the apartment in his presence. You will be able to sign the contract with them. They will also handle the money and the documents so both of us will be protected and secured. You will not pay any additional commission or other taxes. The total amount that you will have to pay will be: 1 month in advance, 500 EUR warranty + 720 EUR = 1220 EUR.

To continue this transaction through Airbnb you must to send me these details: complete name and address of the future tenant; direct telephone number (mobile); I also need a copy of your ID or passport to complete the lease agreement After you give me your details I will forward them to Airbnb to make the reservation on your name. They will send an email to confirm your booking details.

Finally, you will get an invoice to make the deposit in their bank account to show your interest and provide assurance. After the company receives the deposit confirmation they will send a designated agent with the keys and the documents. The agent will arrange the visit with you if you decide to rent the apartment. If you refuse the apartment, you are fully refunded the same day. I am under contract with the company and they offer the best security methods available.

I await your answer because I have other tenants interested in the flat.

Of course the website in which her appartment was listed was not the official Airbnb website, but a really good fake. So good that I almost took the bait. Here is the link to the fake Airbnb listing, please take into account this is not the official Airbnb site.

Notice how close the layout is to the real thing. Especially for people who do not use Airbnb that much and are not used to the official site, it can do the trick and provide this fake sense of security. It indeed said that she was a verified hostess: there was a picture of her, and comments from fake previous tenants. When I went on the real Airbnb website I of course could not find her apartment.

Just letting everybody out there know that you always have to double check accommodation in cities such as Munich, especially if you are are a student. I hope this helped someone and screwed those scammers.

Bait and Switch at San Diego Corporate Lodging

I reserved a penthouse in San Diego two months ahead of my visit. I arrived early in the day last Friday and went to eyeball the property at the address in the email. I felt odd as the view from the posting could not have been from the same address. There was no pool or spa and I felt like bad things were about to happen to my weekend. My host sent to me an address nearby.

About an hour before checking in, the host cancelled and I was offered another Airbnb and a 10% credit if I chose one of the offered locations. None had a view like the penthouse did. I went to the address the host provided to find out they had a very strict policy against Airbnb in the building. They only lease to corporate clients and when I showed them the pictures they confirmed it was their building.

They were pissed. I had been baited with the pictures and the view. They tried to switch me to another lesser property claiming maintenance issues. What a load of garbage. All the people I spoke to at Airbnb were the same, amateurs acting like they knew what they were doing. My trust level left me and I went to a hotel never to use Airbnb again. These bait and switch artists should be arrested for fraud.

Airbnb Customer Service a Maze of Communication

What a nightmare trying to resolve a refund issue. I recently made a booking in Granada and on receiving the address found that it was too far from the area we needed. My husband has an injured leg and cannot walk far. The next day we cancelled and the host was very understanding. This was six months in advance of the stay. Then we received our refund from Airbnb, who had gouged $220 from our credit card. We contacted our host and she said there must be some mistake because she didn’t receive anything. Then the frustration began: how to negotiate with Airbnb. They just give you the runaround on their website. I found a phone number on the internet for Sydney. I rang it. Their reply was: “This is Airbnb. We are looking forward to speaking with you”… and then nothing. Can all this be legal? I can find nothing on the website that warns of this gouging.

Negative Comments Need not Apply with Airbnb

Recently we met our German friends for our annual November retreat. We decided to use Airbnb this year since they had a lot more locations over our normal rental unit management company. We always stay in the Ft Myers/Naples area so there were a lot of great places to choose from. Our rental home was owned by a German couple who were responsive throughout the booking process and all in all seemed good.

What I didn’t appreciate was the fact that they gave us a “daily usage allowance” for electricity, something we were unaware of until the day of check in. Our German friends arrived the day before us (we traveled from Virginia) and checked into the house. The management company made them sign a document that they would pay for any additional electricity over the daily allowance ($3.50 per day). I’m not sure where you live but $3.50 per day for electricity when you have a pool, A/C, lights, an oven, etc. is pretty darn low. The really sad part is when you review the listing on Airbnb all the fine print is in English, until you get to the part about “Electric”, then it changes over to German.

We called Airbnb on this fact (after we had already checked in) and they said “That’s illegal. All our listings in the US are to be in English.” We thought they were on our side then they said, “Well, you will need to work out the electric bill with the host…”

Seriously? The Host breaks the rules and you tell me I have to work it out? Airbnb customer service also said “You should not engage in any agreements outside of the Airbnb system.”

I wonder why? Because they lose out on any additional cut they might be entitled to? It’s akin to bidding on an item on eBay that you eventually lose, only to be sent an email by the seller a few minutes later wanting to make the sales transaction “outside” the eBay system – at the same price you bid, of course. So they can avoid paying eBay the 5% fee. This was a foul by the host.

Sensing our frustration after several calls to Airbnb, during our vacation no less, they told us they would refund us $30 for our troubles. That was five weeks ago and there has still been no refund. I asked them why I did not get a link to provide feedback after the stay was completed. They said that because they knew our feedback would be negative they would not be allowing us to provide any comments – hence the reason I’m writing here.How do they expect things to improve if they deny their customers an opportunity to provide accurate and rational negative feedback? It’s pathetic.

Sadly that will be our one and only stay with Airbnb. I chose not to include a link to the host’s listing because while their idea of charging for electricity is misguided (especially in the USA) the home was pretty much as described. I would recommend the host abandon the “daily allowance” idea and increase the daily cost for the home by $10 which would likely cover most of the electricity (we stayed 15 days so that would be equal to $150). As far as Airbnb goes in general? I would highly recommend that everyone stay away from this sham of a company.

Airbnb Does Nothing to Remove Illegal Listings

I owned a property that has been posted without my permission. After reporting to Airbnb about this fraud, their response was that they cannot help because of their obligation to privacy of the host’s account. Clearly there’s no screening process to ensure that the host and property are legitimate. The humor is I found out because the person putting this ad has contacted me about the reservation. I have changed the locks and informed security at the property. I do not know how long my property has been advertised on Airbnb and of any damages from this fraud. My point is it’s not safe to rent from Airbnb, and I hope this is a reminder for guests of Airbnb to be careful booking with them. Simply irresponsible.

Can I Give a Negative Rating for this Airbnb?

If I could have put zero stars I would have. My partner was staying in this particular Airbnb home (Eccles, Manchester) for what should’ve been a month. We asked the host (who wasn’t living with us) if it would be okay for me to visit. She agreed it was fine – no more money would need to be paid as long as we asked the tenants. She had asked them and said it was fine.

I came to stay for the planned two weeks, bought advance train tickets, and planned what we were going to do as I was primarily there to support her. I usually work from home via a Ltd company which is great for me as I’m disabled. One night – I think it was a Wednesday – my partner invited her cousin and best friend over for a meal and to hang out for no longer than an hour. As usual, the noise got a little loud but no louder than a group of three girls usually get; they thought nothing of it as they believed no one else was there. One of the tenants flung open his bedroom door and started swearing and shouting, claiming we were taking the piss and he had to be at work early the next day.

After that we all moved into the small double bedroom. Realising that wasn’t going to work, her cousin and best friend left. After that the atmosphere in the house became passively hostile and unpleasant. The tenants refused to talk to us about what happened, claiming we had no respect and that I was staying there illegally. They told the host that either we would have to go or they would… it was awkward the whole time we stayed. They didn’t say a word to us when we did our best to apologize and just be pleasant.

The room itself was damp. It smelt of dampness. The heating, which we couldn’t control, wasn’t on long enough to dry clothes. We’re moving to another Airbnb in Manchester this evening however we don’t have much hope that it’ll be any better than this (and we’ve confirmed with the host in writing that I’ll be staying too).

I urge anyone who is thinking of using Airbnb anywhere to just not do it. It’s cheap for a reason. The rooms are poor quality and if you happen to live with tenants they will make your life miserable. Don’t use Airbnb; you’d be happier sleeping on the street.

Can’t Get My Money Back After We Didn’t Stay

We booked a flat right on the outskirts of Barcelona for five nights in August 2017. The flat allegedly belonged to the host. Due to work happening on the underground system, we got there about an hour after he was expecting us. We didn’t have his phone number but we got into the apartment building with someone who was entering. There was no answer at his door. We sat on the floor outside his door for about an hour and then someone came out of the flat next door, so we showed them the address and he said, “Yes, that’s definitely here, but there’s [no one by that name] living here; it belongs to Pedro.”

We went to sit in a cafe while we thought what to do, and a local told us it wasn’t legal to rent flats to tourists due to all the scams. I phoned my partner who managed to find the host’s phone number and our Peruvian friend phoned. The host said that if we didn’t come, there would be a cancellation charge of 25 euros. This had all taken us five hours and we were exhausted so we went to stay in a hotel.

On our return home, we applied to Airbnb resolution centre to get our £296 back. The host kept sending messages saying he had been there all day and that we had never arrived. We were there for at least an hour, but we left because we were told he didn’t exist. Airbnb gave us the name of a resolution investigator who said on September 13th that she would investigate. We never heard anything at all from her. The Airbnb site now says that the claim was resolved three months ago (which would be the end of August 2017) but we have never heard anything at all from them, and I have still been billed for five days for a property I never used.

Guest Trashed Flat and Told Doorman about Illegal Airbnb

I was constantly sold by Airbnb and third-party management companies that the “bad stories” from Airbnb are rare and that I had nothing to worry about. I have a water facing Manhattan condo in a doorman building. Manhattan and New York have banned any Airbnb listings. However, I noticed a Superhost from my very building who was making a ton of money and getting away with Airbnb. I figured I would give it a try. I contacted a third-party NYC management company, MetroButler, which handles everything for 25%  of the cost: cleaning, guest communication, and guest screening (not sure how much of a “screening” there was).

I had only reached my sixth guest when I walked into my apartment after a guest left and observed the mess. There was human feces on the bathroom mat, sugar spilled on the coffee table, dishwasher liquid in the dishwasher, and stolen items. This guest deliberately did all of this. He even forwarded MetroButler’s check-in instructions email to my doorman, to which my building fined me $1,000. This guest had the audacity to trash, steal, and go the extra Satanic mile and complain to my front desk. I complained to MetroButler and was able to get some sort of money for my stolen goods, but nothing else. I cancelled my bookings and paid the fine. Never will I allow my place to be abused by childish entitled guests, especially on Airbnb. If I do choose to sublet, it’ll be to someone I know and trust. Do not use MetroButler and do not allow guests like this.

Guests Robbed in Salò Airbnb, Host Possessions Untouched

We rented a beautiful place in Salò, Italy on October 1st, 2017. We were greeted by the host on the first day and she was very friendly. She gave us the keys and the code to the safe. We asked if we could change the code for the safe, and she said no. We also inquired about the alarm system and she replied she didn’t know how it worked but it’s a very safe area.

One night while out to dinner our unit was robbed. One safe was picked open, the other pulled out completely. Only after did we realise the safes were not fastened to the wall, just fastened underneath with some short wood screws. Our losses would have been considerably less if the safes had been secured and the code was not common.

A police report was made that night. The police came in and there were no signs of forced entry. We left the apartment the next day, a day earlier than our planned departure. We felt unsafe and violated. Our trip continued for another two weeks. When we returned to the states we asked the host for a refund or a partial refund since we left early and our losses were substantial. The answer was no.

When I arrived back in the states I tried to write a review. Airbnb gives you 14 days to post a review. It had been 21 days. I called Airbnb and explained the situation. I have used Airbnb in the past and the beauty is the transparency of the reviews. I felt it was my obligation to let others know that this host did nothing to provide the security and safety you would normally expect while renting. I wrote three emails to Airbnb and a few phone calls asking to not only let us review this apartment, but also help us with a refund. As of this writing, there has been no response from Airbnb except that they would look into it. None of the host’s items or property was disturbed or stolen except for the one safe. The safe was recovered by the police the next day… of course empty. My suggestion is to look for other accommodations.