The Love Shack… Just Groovy, Airbnb

I live in a quiet suburban neighborhood in Farmers Branch, Texas. Homes in my neighborhood are 50-60 years old, some remodeled, many not, averaging 2,000 sq ft. It’s a quiet neighborhood with many elderly, some young families and mid-life couples/families.

In November 2018, a homeowner two doors down listed his home on Airbnb as “The Love Shack.” The home is very nice inside and has a great outdoor entertaining area with a pool. I would estimate he gets about 80% occupancy. Over the past six months, our neighborhood has increasingly become angry about the activity at this house. Here are a few examples of what we’ve seen and experienced:

  • Loud parties late at night and into the early morning hours
  • Many cars parked on our street taking up spaces in front of our homes
  • Cars racing down our street
  • Drunk teenagers
  • Marijuana use (resulting in arrests)
  • Trash left out for days, then strewn about by critters
  • Thug and hooker traffic
  • Vomit in the street
  • Beer cans/bottles and party waste in our yards and streets

There are often large teenager parties involving very large quantities of alcohol (hence the vomit). We see thug and hooker parties. Now we are beginning to see prostitution in the neighborhood this past week (April 13th).

One night, a bed was delivered to the home (there’s already three bedrooms in the house). Later that night, there were very bright flashes coming from the house. Based on the attire and thuggery in the house that night, there’s no doubt this was a porn shoot.

The owner has been contacted multiple times. He is disputing the city’s code violations for trash and he has revised his rules to disallow bad behavior. However, he isn’t actively monitoring the activity in this house for the sake of being a good neighbor. In fact, he has asked us to call him if we observe guests breaking his rules. I am not his personal security detail.

Airbnb invites activity into our neighborhood that people don’t want to do in their own neighborhood. Then what the hell makes you think I want it in  my neighborhood? This comes in the form of drunken teen parties, sex parties, porn activity, prostitution, perhaps sex trafficking, drug use and generally, undesirable people and activities.

This is degrading the safety and security of our neighborhood, so much so that several of us neighbors have had to install security cameras and additional security lighting. Numerous complaints have been filed with Airbnb. We get nice letters stating they shared our complaints with the owner. Nothing changes. The homeowner could care less. He is getting his bone at our cost. I believe Airbnb has a good and viable purpose, but not in my neighborhood. This means war.

Worst Airbnb Host Ever in Chula Vista

I will never use Airbnb again. I rented an RV and then a room from a host in Chula Vista, California. Everything seemed fine at first. The RV had plumbing issues and the shower water was scalding hot for about two minutes and then went ice cold. Needless to say, I took very quick showers and lost many layers of skin. It seemed like a nice place for my dog, so I dealt with it.

I later moved into the house (he rented out rooms as well) and stayed in a sunroom with no privacy; I had to hide behind a crappy old piano to get ready for work in the morning. He did eventually build makeshift walls so it was okay. Emphasis on “okay”.

Fast forward a month later and a border patrol officer moves into one of the other rooms. He was disgusting and lazy; he would ask for rides to work and even had to nerve to ask the host to use his credit card to rent a car.

The bathroom was disgusting. It was like he was a porcupine with his pubic hair and would go in there and just release all of his “quills”. The hosts would get loud and drunk almost every night and leave food, pots and pans with food in them on the stove and all over the counters. For quite a while they wouldn’t even let me do laundry.

The icing on the cake was that they used my birthday as an excuse to throw a party that I neither wanted nor attended. I left so I wouldn’t have to deal with their drunk friends and neighbors. I returned the next evening and the host’s girlfriend (who lived there as well) accused me of having an affair with her fat, nasty boyfriend.

I told them the next day I was moving out and they continued making it more and more uncomfortable. The host used my Postmates account to order alcohol and never paid me back. When I told them I was moving out they increased my “rent”. There was no heat in my room, which is illegal in California.

I contacted Airbnb to complain and all they would do was refund me $150. The host also showed up at my work two weeks after I moved out to harass me. I had to tell him that if he ever showed up again I would contact the police and file charges. He said “it was the only way I knew how to get a hold of you”… he had my phone number. The most horrible experience of my life.

Fake Airbnb in Auckland, New Zealand

My daughter booked an Airbnb in Auckland, New Zealand via the Airbnb site. Her plane landed at night. When her ride took her to the address, the building was totally dark. No one answered the door. She could not reach the alleged host by phone.

While she was wondering what was up, someone drove into a neighboring property and told her that building was not an Airbnb and that he’d had to tell many people that. My daughter did find another place (albeit expensive) to stay for the next two nights. She did reach Airbnb.

The alleged hostess had somehow gotten a clue she’d been twigged and ‘canceled’ my daughter’s reservation several hours after she stated the check-in time, so all that was refunded. Airbnb gave her an additional voucher for a significant fraction of the reservation amount as damages, which she applied to a valid Airbnb for the rest of her stay, and made her feel a lot better.

I did a google search on that address. An New Zealand realty site listed it as zoned commercial. I located a doctor, a dentist, and a travel company, all having that address. The exterior is a house, but at least that block, if not several or the whole street, is commercial now, and it’s been remodeled into offices.

Our major beef with Airbnb at this point is: why on earth did they not do at least this simple Google search on that address when it was first listed? If they did, why did the stuff I found so easily not raise huge red flags for them? The listing now seems to have been taken off Airbnb, and it ended reasonably well, but a lot of midnight stress could have been avoided. It’s certainly colored our whole family’s perception of New Zealand. The reason she went through Airbnb is she knows so many people for whom it’s worked well.

Airbnb Illegally Charges Taxes in Some Areas

I was notified by Airbnb that they would begin collecting GST (goods and services tax) on my behalf, charging my customers when they booked. They also stated the taxes I owed from their rentals would be paid quarterly. The trouble is, I live in an unincorporated, remote area, where I am not required to have a business licence, and according to the tax laws, for my particular rental, do not require me to pay taxes based on the rental property tax requirements.

I contacted Airbnb about this and they said they were basing their tax collections on a province-wide average, which includes several major cities, all that do have to pay the taxes they are saving, to pay on the hosts’ behalf. In essence, Airbnb was charging taxes to my customers, and pocketing it for themselves, in an account, probably worth millions, for three months, (earning interest, no doubt), and then using it to pay others’ taxes, that my customers would not have to pay if Airbnb had not started this procedure.

I did try to resolve this with Airbnb and was never allowed to speak to an actual person, just prefab replies. I cancelled my account with them. Beware. People cannot book your home without paying the taxes Airbnb charges, even if they are not owed.

Malicious Damage, Drugs, Theft, and a Lot More

We have just had guests who booked our house to set up a $60,000 theft from a nearby property. We met them when they moved in and immediately felt they were suspect. You know how your hair stands on end when you know it’s just not right?

We were straight onto the phone to Airbnb, who assured me they were verified guests. Unbeknownst to me, one hour before my call to Airbnb they had received a report from the house these people had just left where they did $20,000 damage in a drug craze. Never once did they contact me to advise what potentially could happen at my house with these bad guests.

They left us when the police raided the house. The male stole $60,000 worth of jewelry, firearms, and ammunition. He also stole two 10-week-old pups to sell for more drugs, and kept it all at our house. They stole from us, did not follow the house rules, and Airbnb never let us know they had done this at the past two houses.

They have been gone for a week, changed their profile picture, and are no doubt staying at someone else’s house doing damage and stealing property. Airbnb knows the police are involved but have done nothing. It’s a farce.

Now I am trying to get the security bond back. Two calls and one email every day with being told it is being escalated and nobody has contacted us. I posted a review saying I would not have them back, but it has never been published on their profile; other hosts can’t see what they are really like.

Do not ever trust the Airbnb reviews: they are fabricated. If it does not feel right, do not let guests stay. It’s wrong, illegal, and unsafe. What else is Airbnb hiding while they continue to take our money?

Airbnb Host Trying to Drug and Rape me

Please be super alert. I checked into an Airbnb listing without any special indications or suspicions. The host invited me for a drink. I kindly took it and the drink tasted salty somehow. The next thing I realized, the host was putting a comforter over me… and I couldn’t remember anything in between.

I tried to jumped out of the bed, but I couldn’t; I felt quite dizzy. Therefore I said nonstop: “Please get out of my room.” The host somehow left, and I checked my underpants. They looked and felt weird. It felt like someone had cleaned them, since they smelled new, but I had been wearing them the whole day and waking around. They should have smelled sweaty but they didn’t.

Therefore I called the police straight away and they took me to the local hospital. Somehow they told me they didn’t find anything strange nor signs of sexual penetration, and they couldn’t identify any medication or drug if the host ever used one on me. The police took the host for questioning, held him for less than 48 hours, and then let him go. No charges or anything was filed since they told me there was not enough evidence to hold the Airbnb host.

I also called Airbnb. They obviously tried to deny and evade this topic. Soon I found I couldn’t access the profile page of the host, nor could I access the messages or whatever information there was about this Airbnb host. Airbnb told me the host delisted his profile and I had no right to see it. If I knew that, I would have taken screenshots.

I’m really at shock what to do. The host took a copy of my driver’s license and other family address information. Later, Airbnb told me the hosts do have the right to collect my information if it’s in accordance with local laws.

Anyway, I still couldn’t figure out what’s going on…. I’m super angry, pissed, and lost as to what to do. I tried to kill myself a few times due to this situation knowing I was raped and that but couldn’t get Airbnb to help. My consultant told me to share the information and here I am. Hope it helps.

Owner Rented Airbnb Against HOA Rules

I rented a condo in Miami for a few days. After coming back from dinner one night, security asked us if we were residents. We explained that we had rented a unit through Airbnb. Security then explained to us that it was against HOA rules to rent for anything less than 90 days and all tenants needed a full background screening.

Security then told us we could not go back in at all. Even after we explained that our luggage and dog were in the unit, they refused. Eventually they did let us through just to grab everything and leave. After talking with the owner, he promised us a full refund. The next day he reneged on the offer.

I then called Airbnb, explained the story, and provided them a copy of the HOA bylaws. The best they would offer was a refund for the booking fees and nothing else. The owner kept listing that same unit immediately afterwards. I really thought Airbnb would be a company that does legitimate business. Not only are they enabling scams but they are ruining residential communities throughout the world.

Complain to State Attorney General About Airbnb

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Back in December I tried to book a room via Airbnb. The host sent me the offer and asked for payment. Within minutes they retracted their offer and raised the listing price. It was a classic bait and switch.

I reported it to Airbnb and provided the screenshots of the offer and change. The rep went on about fluctuation, pending time, etc. The retraction and change was clear and concise. They did nothing.

I booked a room with a host in Las Vegas. I chose his establishment based on his Superhost status and reviews. The reviews all said the place was clean and so on. One thing to remember is that to some people who might be nasty, this place might have very well been clean. He listed his place as a sanctuary and a private retreat for writers.

I arrived and there was a photoshoot going on and I could hear the music and chatter from the street which was 100 feet away from the front door. Upon checking in, he stated that the photoshoot would be ending within the hour. I decided to take a shower to kill time and found the tub riddled with mildew, some around the sink drain, as well as hair all over the floor.

Long story short, the next day I asked for a partial refund in which he obliged and was apologetic about the situation. Then he later left a scathing and false review to which I rebutted. I gave Airbnb screenshots of our text correspondence and photos of the conditions. As per the usual, they did nothing but dance around the subject, stating that the review could not be taken down because it was his experience with me.

I reminded the rep that the photo evidence I showed proved he was lying about the people making noise being community residents and he, in writing, said they were from a photoshoot. It made no difference.

I was compelled to do further research and found that the host/establishment did not have a business license. The lady at the county clerk’s office advised me to report them to the business licensing department because they were in a zone where it was required. So, I did. I also filed with BBB.

I advise anyone who wants to see results or at the very least put the hosts on notice to research the address with the business license office in their jurisdiction to see if it is required and if so, report them if they do not have one. In Las Vegas a host was fined $72,000 for operating without one.

Also, if they offer food or snacks they must provide a permit for that as well. Airbnb takes no responsibility for anything because they are unregulated. If your room is dirty it’s just your opinion, and no one really cares about that. However, the government absolutely will have no problem launching an investigation against hosts with no business license because they are not paying taxes.

Airbnb should be forced to display that the host’s license has been verified and that they are indeed the owner of the property they host and if not, they should be forced to provide a notarized agreement between the owner and the renter stating they have permission to host on Airbnb.

Airbnb Allows Scammers to Disrupt Bookings

I would first like to say I am a loyal Airbnb customer and generally book big ticket houses for reunions and celebrations. I have been unable to resolve a scamming problem with Airbnb’s customer service department so I am asking for assistance in this matter. Let me briefly explain.

In September of 2018, I booked a mansion in Los Olas, Fort Lauderdale for my spouse’s 60th birthday. The check-in date was February 14th, 2019 and when I booked I paid $7002 for those four nights ($1750 per night). I had family flying in from all over the country to celebrate the big day. Less than 24 hours before check in, I got a cancellation notice from the host.

Now, I detest drama but will admit I had a full blown panic attack – 14 people flying in and no place to house them… not my finest hour. I called Airbnb customer support and talked to someone who was doing everything he could to help me find a different property that was on the water and could house 14 people. Unfortunately anything of size was not available even if the website showed it was available. I was reaching out to a few other hosts and they said the property was booked.

I then found out the host I booked with was a scammer because I was able to track down the real owner of the property. Here is the link to the property I booked that still shows the scammer is active.

It was a miracle that the property was available for the four nights I needed but the price was much higher – a little over $10,000. The owner was amazing and sent me a discounted rate of $8938.90 and customer service got Airbnb’s approval for a $1000 credit to help me get it booked that night. I had to pay $8938 out of my pocket and wait for the refund from Airbnb back on my debit card.

When speaking with the real host, he said he had already notified Airbnb about the scammer that was scamming his property and had filed whatever paperwork was required. He also said that he gets a call once a month
from Airbnb customers because of last minute cancellations.

We had a great four days and then I had to travel extensively for business and just got settled back home. I contacted Airbnb customer support this past Friday to settle this scam business and requested to get the additional $936.90 that I was out of pocket due to the scam.

Here is how the math worked:

$8938.90 to book the same property I originally thought I had booked
$7002 Refunded by Airbnb from the original booking
$1000 Credited by Airbnb
$936 Still out of pocket due to fraud

Unfortunately, Airbnb’s customer support team was not able to resolve my request. In addition, the person I worked with refused to escalate the matter which I had requested twice. I also sent links (shown below) of the exact same scammer still active on the platform. I found these in a simple search using a little of the host’s bio.


https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/27017739
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/31087086
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/30860541
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/32592173
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/23679105
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/23199550

Copied below is the entire communication regarding this matter. I do not feel I should have to pay almost $1000 more because I was scammed on the Airbnb platform.

 

Airbnb:

“After careful consideration, you will not be refunded the additional $936.90. While we recognize this situation with your host from the reservation did inconvenience your stay, $1,000 above the prior reservation total has already been offered for this reservation.

“Your prior agent who handled the refund in February made every effort to increase your refund as much as possible. I do feel the compensation he provided in February was appropriate given the circumstances. Feel free to reach back out with any future questions or concerns. We are here to assist you.”

Me: 

“That is not acceptable to me. Please escalate this issue to your manager. Of course a last minute reservation costs more than one planned months in advance. Airbnb allowed this fraud to happen and I will not be out of pocket because you allow fraud on your website. Please escalate this issue to your manager. I am also sending you links of the scammers other properties that Airbnb currently has up on your website.”

Airbnb:

“I recognize this news is disappointing. I am a case manager addressing this concern currently and have consulted with my team regarding this decision- including my supervisor. We do take issue of accuracy with listings seriously, as it is one of our hosting guidelines. Here are
the hosting standards below:

https://www.airbnb.ca/hospitality

“In regard to how the host and his listing will be handled for this violation, we cannot disclose further how he will be penalized. Only the account holder or an authorized point of contact can discuss the details of his account with us.

“Additionally, we have begun implementing home visits with our hosts who engage in our Plus so that we can prevent issues like this from arising in the future. Booking with Superhosts in the future allows for a decreased likelihood this type of situation occurs in the future. We do apologize for your experience with this host, and we take issues relating to listing accuracy seriously. A further refund has unfortunately been denied for this case.”

Me:

“Please escalate my case as requested or I will reach out to Greg Greeley directly on LinkedIn. It only took me five minutes to find all these other listings from the same scammer so I don’t know why Airbnb does take care of it. Correction – Does NOT take care of it.”

Airbnb:

“What is your desired outcome here?”

Me:

“I originally booked on your platform in September of 2018 for $7002 for 4 nights. Because of the fraud I had to pay $8938.90. Airbnb paid $1000 to help with the new reservation. I am still out of pocket $936.90, which is unfair. I booked and stayed in the same exact house – it is not like I booked
a more expensive or bigger property. Please refund me the extra money I had to pay because of the fraud on Airbnb.”

Airbnb:

“The additional refund has been denied for reasons outlined above. While we recognize this news is disappointing, the decision is final.”

Me:

“I will reach out to Greg Greeley directly then. I’m sure he will not want the negative publicity of knowing how many scammers are on Airbnb. Your refusal to escalate my situation – requested twice – is not the type of customer service I would expect from a platform that is booking big dollar properties.”

Even though I had contacted both Aisling Hassell and Greg Greeley, they just referred me back to the same person I had been dealing with. See the remaining messages from Airbnb.

Airbnb:

“Apologies for not responding sooner, I was out of the office the past two days. Your concerns are being taken seriously and your outreach to Greg Greeley has been noted thoroughly. While we recognize this news is disappointing, a further refund will not be issued for this case. We
will look into the listing of concern, but cannot release the full details of how the host or associated listing will be handled.

“Typically, in rebooking cases, we do strive to maintain the same price range as the initial booking. In instances where further compensation is considered, the determination to cover costs is made at the
time of rebooking.

“Your prior agent did consider this request to cover the additional funding for this booking fully. A decision was made to refund $1,000 of the rebooking amount. A further refund will not be issued and
this decision is final. Every consideration for further refund has been exhausted in this situation and further refund will not
be offered here.”

Me:

I emailed both Aisling Hassell and Greg Greeley this morning. I am awaiting their response before I take further steps.

Airbnb:

“The response you received from me is a response to your concerns. Apologies for any confusion. I am the case manager assigned to your case who the incoming inquiries or concerns are forwarded to. I hope this clears things up.”

Me:

“Are you saying Aisling and Greg referred this matter back to you?”

Airbnb:

“Your concerns and messages to them were referred to me, as I am assisting you with this case. They have been read and considered thoroughly by me in order to continue considering your perspective. I hope that helps clarify things in case there was any confusion.”

Me:

“Okay, good to know. Now when I go public I can add that both of them don’t care about their customers getting scammed and perpetuate fraud on their site. In hindsight you will see this was a bad decision for Airbnb – letting a customer get scammed and then not making them whole. Getting the domain names now.”

Airbnb:

“As a follow up to our conversation, I wanted to provide an outline of the decision we discussed. We will not refund you further for this booking. As explained prior, consideration for costs covered during rebooking occurs at the time of rebooking. Your prior case manager issued you $1,000 for this reservation already. A further refund is outside of policy and will not be considered. Future agents and case managers will uphold this decision, as it is final. Thank you again for your understanding and for your valued time and contribution.”

Me:

“Understood. That being said there is nothing Airbnb can do to stop me from sharing my story everywhere. You ripped me off and I lost almost $1000 because of fraud on your site. You should have owned this problem and made me whole. Now I will do what I have to do. There is no response
needed.”

Threats and Lies from Horrible Guests

I wanted to take a moment to share our recent experience with Airbnb and explain why we will be deleting our listing and not renting our home. We are being threatened by a crazy guest who cancelled her reservation and was upset at the cancellation policy.

Someone named “Maygan” booked a reservation at our home for one guest. I accepted the reservation and began chatting with her through Airbnb messages. In these messages she informed me that there would be twelve people staying at the house. I informed her that our home only sleeps ten, but I could increase the maximum to twelve if she promised to take excellent care of our home. She agreed and thanked me.

When she made the change the price increased and I explained that there is an incremental increase in price for parties greater than four guests. Maygan is claiming that we are scammers because we charge more for a party of twelve than we do for a party of four. I disagree.

When I book properties through Airbnb as a guest I always make sure I put in the correct party size so that the system shows me accurate prices of places when I consider booking. Instead of thinking that we are charging more for larger parties, I prefer to think that we are offering a discounted rate to smaller parties.

Regardless, Maygan accepted the reservation change, which clearly shows the price changes. She then said she was going to check with the rest of her party to make sure everyone was still interested. Since it had been two days since the reservation was originally booked, Airbnb charged her card for the reservation she was booking.

Towards the end of the second day Maygan decided to cancel the reservation, but due to Airbnb’s cancellation policy, she was informed that she would not be getting a refund. At this point she apparently told her group that “the hosts went ahead and charged her credit card without authorization for the entire amount of the reservation.”

Maygan claims that it was a couple of hours from the time she booked until the time she cancelled. I wish that were the case, but unfortunately she booked in the early morning on 2/27 and cancelled in the evening on 2/28.

After this I was contacted by Airbnb and asked if I would refund Maygan’s money. Every single time a reservation had been cancelled up to this point, I have been asked by Airbnb to make an exception and refund the money… and I have always allowed it. This time I said I would refund the full amount if our home was able to re-book for the dates or I would refund half of the amount if I was unable to re-book for the dates.

I was traveling out of town that weekend for a baby moon, as we used IVF and surrogacy to (very expensively) get pregnant with twins. It is a month until they will be born and our soon-to-be children’s godparents decided to gift us a baby moon trip to rural Colorado.

It was a wonderful trip and upon arriving back home I received an Airbnb message from someone in Maygan’s group. This person created a fake spam account on Airbnb and messaged me to say that I was an unethical and evil person because I wouldn’t make an exception to the cancellation policy.

This person then said they posted our physical address, names and personal information on this site and others in the hope that other people would get angry. They said, “Who knows what other angry trolls will do to you.”

This person then threatened to get into our home somehow and plant lots of bedbugs in the beds, release full traps of deer ticks in the yard in the hopes that we would get Lyme disease, post fake items for sale on internet sites in the hopes of having lots of random strangers come to the house, etc.

This person then sent another message saying that they could see on the calendar that people would be at the house this weekend and they were going to “post an anonymous classified ad at the house while it was booked so dozens of people would show up looking for stuff… it will be an ordeal.”

At the end of this horrible message it ended with, “P.S. I enjoyed looking at your photos of the wedding in (LOCATION). The photographer did an excellent job. You too look really happy.”

Now this person is stalking me? I have reached out to law enforcement and was told that these threats could be considered criminal harassment and result in fines and a year in jail. Now, I don’t want it to go that far but it is nice to know that the law is on my side here

What I have proposed is that if Maygan provides the identity of the person threatening my property and family I will authorize Airbnb to refund all of her money. If something were to happen to my home or my family, I want to know the identity of the person that was threatening us.

I will update this but for now I am just awaiting Maygan’s response. I do think it’s a little ironic that someone is hiding behind a fake profile in order to threaten me and make my personal information public.