Unstable Host and Airbnb Turned my Vacation into Hell

My first and last experience with Airbnb pointed out a fundamental flaw in their business model: hotel, motel and even most B&B operators are professionals; Airbnb hosts are amateurs. Because of that, they may not understand they are in the hospitality business, and Airbnb guests can be the unfortunate guinea pigs. As soon as our family arrived at our condo, our host came around and seemed to be spying on us. That evening she chased down a group of us out for a stroll; she asked them how many were staying at the condo told them she suspected more were staying there than she permitted. Later that night she pounded on the door and loudly proclaimed the same accusation. We explained that we had only six staying there (the two-bedroom unit was advertised to sleep six) and two people visiting who were staying elsewhere. She demanded we leave. When we refused, she picked up her phone and dialed 911, claiming she was the victim of assault! When asked if she had been physically assaulted, she replied “no, but I have been verbally assaulted.” When that apparently didn’t impress the operator, she claimed she had “nine drunk tenants and I want them out.”

We told her if she wanted in the unit she would need a warrant. Eventually the police arrived, and she demanded through texting that we come out and meet with the officer. When we didn’t respond, she called Airbnb. To my shock, Airbnb texted me that they had a serious complaint against me and that they had cancelled the reservation and ruled that a refund was not permitted! The next morning, this obviously emotionally unstable host opened the front door and pounded on the wall, shouting: “Your reservation has been cancelled and you need to leave!” We knew she had no legal right to evict us, so we stayed; however, the stress ruined our vacation. And the fact that Airbnb supported her madness only added to the nightmare. Beware of Airbnb… you will be subject to the whims of your host and the company will not have your back!

Closed my Account, Airbnb Still Owes me Money

I had rented my condo on Airbnb for about two years with few issues from the company. I finally decided to pull my listing and shut down my account early last January as I no longer wanted to use them as a service to host. Shortly after, I started receiving emails to my account stating “It’s time to get paid” and I needed to update my payment information; they had over six hundred dollars that was still owed to me from a guest staying. I did not realize I had any more money coming my way. I tried to log in to update my payment information as the email suggested but the system would not let me as I no longer had an account. I called customer service many times and waited on hold while paying long distance, but they said they could not help me as I did not have an account they could pull up. I wrote multiple emails in response to the emails they sent me and to customer service team and not once did I receive a reply. Airbnb is basically holding the money they owe me hostage despite them repeatedly admitting they owe me a substantial amount of money through a bombardment of recurring reminder emails to collect the money owed me. I am still getting these emails every few weeks but have exhausted all options to collect it from them as Airbnb will not help me get my money from them. This is totally illegal and straight up theft by Airbnb.

Lost Everything in Airbnb Theft… Inside Job?

We moved to Southern California on July 15th, 2016 and unfortunately, while staying at an Airbnb in Pasadena and looking for a permanent place, our apartment got broken into and everything we had brought with us including our passports, birth certificates, national ID cards, all our academic diplomas and transcripts, and every single immigration document we had got stolen (including the copies of them). This is in addition to the huge financial loss due to the jewelry, laptops, even specialty contact lenses being stolen. Obviously the police were immediately notified and involved. We are still in shock and I don’t think it’s something we can easily recover from. We’ve compiled the list of the items we remember that have been stolen and every day still remember some new items that are missing and realize they were in our suitcase or backpacks… The truth seems to be far from what the reviews and the Internet suggest!

Unfortunately, some of the documents are irreplaceable such as both of our undergrad and masters original transcripts and diplomas as they are issued only once in our home country. This can have a significantly negative impact on our professional lives and careers. The magnitude of the damage is beyond repair. The host and management company failed to change the lock on the unit, after the previous tenant had not returned the keys. The Airbnb host and the apartment management are telling us conflicting stories. The Airbnb host says he had asked for the locks to be changed but management denies it, as says he only asked for a duplicate key.

The apartment management claims that the security cameras were being serviced exactly in that hour when the burglary happened and thus no footage has been recorded. There was no evidence of forced entry (remember this is a gated apartment complex with a digital entrance, gated parking, and a key to the unit). These all suggest that it was an inside job. Nothing that was originally in the Airbnb property was even touched by the thief, whereas all of the stolen items belonged only to us! The property loss is about $20,000 (jewelry, laptops, bags, clothes, etc.). Financial loss is something that you can forget and recover from, however the loss of all identification documents, educational records, and most importantly the feeling of having been violated this way, is something that will be haunting us for a long time. We firmly believe the people who caused this need to pay for it and make sure this does not happen to anyone else…

We believe Airbnb should have done something to make sure any apartment that is being rented using Airbnb’s name is a safe place and that if a tenant does not return a key, that it is immediately reported, and the unit made unavailable as soon as possible. I hope this will not happen to anyone else!

Does Airbnb Condone Prostitution in Paris?

Here is an experience that shows how Airbnb truly operates with the practice of totalitarian and dishonest methods in order to maximize its gains. The resolution center is there to give anyone that files a complaint serious headaches, to make it as lengthy and complicated as possible to put off potential claims and, in the end, to make a decision without the possibility of appeal or protest. In short, disgusting downright incompetence and amateurism combined. Be warned.

An American female traveler stayed in my studio, located in Paris, France. After three days the complaints from neighbors multiplied and one called the police in the early morning. They discovered my guest and a gentleman who admits to having “paid [for] sexual services” having a heated argument. The traveler denies <em>en bloc</em> and demands a refund “because of some renovation that disrupted her stay.” In fact, it concerned a facelift of a nearby building.

Despite sending the police record and an affidavit from a neighbor this is the Airbnb resolution:

“Hi Paul, This is Keith with Airbnb. I hope this email finds you well. After reviewing all the documentation provided for this resolution case a fair mediation has been reached. Juliana was requesting $1320.00 for the issues had during her stay. I’ve processed a refund to Julian in the amount of $321.00 USD for the issues she experienced. Since your payout was already released for this reservation, a $320.00 adjustment has been added to your account. This means that the amount will be automatically deducted from your future payouts until it has been reconciled. You can check the status of your payouts at any time in your Transaction History, which can be found at Account > Transaction History. The Completed Transactions tab displays your payout when it is released by Airbnb, and when it’s processed by the banking system. This concludes this Resolution case. You are now able to submit your own Resolution case for consideration. All the best, Keith S.”

In other words: Airbnb condones prostitution. Airbnb doesn’t care about hosts. According to my calculations, I’ve made the equivalent of $20,000 in the past five years for this Mickey Mouse company. The style and spelling of their replies clearly demonstrate that Airbnb representatives have zero legal expertise, and are mere puppets of the corporate philosophy of maximizing revenues at any cost.

Airbnb Guest Stole from me

I had a guest for one night, who walked away with a few items, including: TV, air conditioner, coffee machine, toaster. I have contacted the guest on his mobile – the man who answered said he’s never heard of Airbnb. I contacted the police, who asked for any traces that might help the investigation. Then I contacted Airbnb. They absolutely refused to provide me with any clues as to the guest’s real indentity, and said they will “run their own investigation.” They asked me for the police report, which obviously takes a bit of time to come through, and 48 hours later closed the case indefinitely. More over, they did not even transfer payment, which they have collected from that guest. On that basis that, I have opened a legal case. This is insane. If anyone knows an alternative to Airbnb I would love to hear it.

Ruining NYC: Airbnb Neighbor Nightmare

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I would suggest a new category of victim for this website: Airbnb neighbor. My home and four other apartments in a small 6-unit building were all unwilling dragged into the pitfalls of the sharing economy. We had involuntary, front-row seats to the joy of when one individual volunteers access to your doorstep to the world without your consent and lies to everyone involved for her personal financial gain. Stephanie Browne is a serial Airbnb “host” who at one point listed up to three separate full apartment rentals in Bushwick, Brooklyn; this is illegal to do in NY for less than 30 days.  Having reaped much financial gain as a full-blown gentrifier with two separate rental apartments in one building, she proceeded to expand her hotel room business by signing a lease in another small 6-unit apartment building. Our new “neighbor” proceeded to rent the apartment out as early as two weeks from when she moved in to the unit.

Why, we wondered, are families of five who obviously don’t know anything about the neighborhood carrying bottled water and coolers into a one bedroom apartment when our “neighbor” was nowhere to be seen? Sure enough, the apartment was listed on Airbnb for rent, with Stephanie Browne claiming to be the owner. This started a full year of random vacationing strangers parading through the building at all hours, with one guest at one point threatening the host by calling the police when she was locked out, and causing the entire building’s locks to be changed. She gave out building keys like party favors to the whole world. Meanwhile, she was not even residing in the country and had moved full-time to Europe.

Stephanie Browne is the diametric opposite of the “good actor” Airbnb claims makes up their hosts who only need to rent periodically to afford their rent. Browne, by holding three leases for apartments she neither owned or resided in purely for the use of temporary guests, is the exact cause of why everyone’s rent in NYC is going up. After much complaining and lackluster enforcement of the law by NYC Department of Buildings, she gave up the rental unit one year early. As a parting shot, she tried selling the books and furniture from her hotel room to her “neighbors” in the building and wrote this pitiful, inaccurate justification of her noxious lifestyle.

Meanwhile, she still continues to list two illegal rentals while living in Europe. Airbnb’s community complaint line is joke: they enabled her lies to the guests, the building owner, and the occupants of the building she put at constant inconvenience and risk. The moral of the story for other afflicted neighbors who become unwilling concierges to hotel rooms in their own building: know your rights, contact your management company, elected officials, local enforcement agencies, and get these hosts that are your neighbors where it hurts, their wallets.

Airbnb Theft in Safe Neighbourhood

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Penny wise pound foolish stay. This place is a trap! Don’t stay here if you don’t want to be robbed. At first glance, the apartment looks secure. Decent neighbourhood and location, locked access to the block only by residents, and a double lock door gave us a false sense of security. While we were out, someone broke in and stole all our valuables. We had bought high value items amounting to 7000 euros. Despite locking the door and windows, the thief broke in with no sign of forced entry. He was a true professional, or it was an inside job. Besides stealing our stuff, we also found a knife in the bathroom, left by the thieves. Thank goodness we didn’t come back during the break in.

Throughout the stay, we didn’t meet the owner (Ben). Only his assistant, Gabi, who helped with check in, and his cleaner lady. Both have keys to access the apartment. After the incident, the owner did not bother to meet us, check his apartment, nor lodge a police report with us. Talk about being unhelpful. In my conversations and texts with Ben, all he could offer was an apology whilst constantly defending his Gabi and the cleaner as innocent. In conclusion, this seemingly safe looking apartment is a tourist trap where thieves can simply walk in and out with all our belongings without leaving a trace. The apartment looks nothing like the nice photos, and the owner, although quick to respond with smooth words in good times, offers no help nor takes any responsibility when a crime takes place in his apartment. I hope no one has to go through the ordeal we had to endure. We left a thorough review of the host. It was up on his Airbnb page for a week and unfortunately I received an email from Airbnb today saying it “includes sensitive, personally identifiable information” and has been removed. Airbnb didn’t even enquire about the knife in the bathroom!