Another Story of an Airbnb Vacation Nightmare

This was a very recent experience – mid-October 2017 – for a long planned and awaited trip to New York City. I am still immersed with the mess which I will relate in the following. Enclosed is my review of the experience, which Airbnb recently informed me they would not post onto the listing. Before posting it on the listing, they reviewed it. They said I had one chance at writing a review and since it didn’t follow their strict guidelines, I would not be given the opportunity to edit it so it could be posted.

In my research I learned that 95% of their posted reviews are positive. The bad ones never make it. That meant that people would not learn the truth of what caused my case to be the nightmare that it was.

“I wish I did not have to give a terrible review, but my experience was so negative that I have to warn others about this situation. The host was avoidant and unresponsive in her communication and her unwillingness to address critical problems about her living space led me to have to forfeit my stay with her and greatly upset my long planned trip. She was initially prompt in responding to my interest and I booked the room for nine nights.

As it was a brand new listing when I booked it, there were no reviews. I was excited about staying there. Unfortunately when I arrived in late evening, the elevator was not working and she did not mention that she lived on the 7th floor on her profile or anywhere else. I am a senior citizen and although active for my age, the seven-floor climb – each floor consisted of two long flights, fourteen total – to the room with luggage was horrible. I texted and phoned the host before ascending, but received no response.

Along the way I met three sets of residents who all said that this unreliable elevator was a long time, ongoing problem; indicating that she likely had prior knowledge of this malfunction. I stayed the night because it was so late. I called Airbnb immediately after reaching the apartment and they were sympathetic to my not being able to stay there. The next morning I called and texted the host asking her to speak with me so we could figure things out. She texted that she would call me when she was out of the subway. She never did.

The next three days were consumed with dealing with Airbnb customer service – 15 emails and 16 phone calls totaling 3 hours and 36 minutes. The host unexpectedly canceled my reservation, stating she did not feel comfortable with me staying there. Under Airbnb rules, she was able to keep my money for the nine nights even though I only stayed there one night.”

I was very upset with the final determination to refund a token amount of my money. Airbnb never accounted for the lack of full disclosure in the listing as well as the host’s total unresponsiveness in the situation. Certainly if I knew the listing was on the 7th floor in a 97-year-old building, I would not have booked it. Three weeks later, with full knowledge of my experience at the site, there have been no revisions on the listing to state it is a 7th floor rental with an unreliable elevator.

Airbnb, in denying the posting of my review, has contributed to/aided and abetted the dishonesty of this listing. The host continues to offer the listing omitting vital information that definitely would compromise her ability to rent it out, and Airbnb stands silently by taking their cut of the bookings.

I have done research on this site and many other resources to realize the ugly truth about Airbnb. You think their customer service is being helpful when all they are doing is wasting your time and wearing you down with the expectation that all will be resolved justly. It is disheartening that a $30 billion company consistently and definitively demonstrates a lack of regard and interest for the well being of its guests.

Airbnb Guest Has Few Valid Complaints, Plenty of Disrespect

I had a guest who is actually from across town in Halifax. She stayed at one of my properties for two nights. She arrived by bus and went to my neighbour’s house by mistake. She had a very powerful personality and I think she was upset or insulted when I went out to do my yoga, work, and meet with friends. She used all of my toilet paper in two nights. I hope it was just in her bag and not in my drains. She complained about my towel detergent and all her illnesses and sensitivities. I asked for her passport, as I noticed my listing somehow had the validation restriction lifted. She was very upset. I explained the Airbnb website asked to show ID.

Then she commented on my insulating plastic wrap on my china cabinet handles. This is my house and I have this cabinet for my china. There are plenty of dishes to use for my guests in the kitchen. What concerns me now is the long letter she wrote over nothing; it was a personal attack on me and my character. I have not experienced this disrespectful behaviour from any guest. She was so overbearing. I am afraid to write a comment about her and feel she will definitely downgrade my rating due to her own unhappiness. What do I do? I am getting my lock changed at a cost of $117, as I feel this lady was so unbalanced. She wrote about a towel that she was concerned about but that is minor. I told her not to worry about it; there were only three there. I usually put four but I could read her aggressive energy and just wanted her out. I offered to give her a lift in my car, in a diplomatic way. This was a guest from hell. I lost money to host her, but learned my listing validation was turned off.

There’s Rude, There’s Extremely Rude, Then There’s This Host

There’s rude, there’s extremely rude and then there’s being told to “f$#@ off” by your host. That’s what happened when I phoned my Airbnb host about the TV not working (aerial feed had been torn out; bare wire remained). “I don’t see it as a problem,” he assured me. He suggested I repair it myself.

“Okay, but how would you feel about it if this happened to you?” I asked. “Get another place. Find another room.” he said. “What?” I asked, shocked. “F$#@ OFF” he shouted. Then the phone went dead. I was on another man’s property. I was with my wife and my daughter. I was now uncertain as to whether or not we could stay. I felt very unwelcome. How can I write a good review after that?

Crazy Host and Terrible Customer Service for Beach House

My family went to South Haven, MI for a weekend trip. We reserved an entire house. Everything started feeling a little strange the day of arrival. The host sent my wife incessant messages regarding the names and ages of all the guests. Even after we gave this information to her, she kept asking the same questions over and over. She sent a rulebook to us and quizzed my wife on it when she arrived. We were planning on having local day guests for beach access. Once the host heard about this, she forced us to add them to the guest list and wanted more money. My wife’s parents brought a guest with them we didn’t know about.

We were happy to pay the host for this guest, but she freaked out and started taking pictures of everyone with her phone, without their permission (including two boys under the age of eighteen and my ten-month-old daughter). She ran to the house and locked the door, refusing to talk to us. I can’t comment on the quality of the house, as I never made it inside. My family drove seven hours and had no place to stay.

I wasn’t aware of Airbnb’s policy that didn’t allow bad reviews when a trip is canceled and I couldn’t request a refund unless I canceled the trip. That was where I messed up. I asked the host for a refund (about $2000), which, of course, she ignored. We contacted Airbnb for arbitration and it was initially agreed that we would eat the first night’s rent and be refunded the rest. This was acceptable to us. Airbnb cowardly called my wife at 11:18 that night to tell us the decision was reversed. Of course, she was asleep. She has since called back 12 times. Every time our case manager is conveniently unavailable or the bastards simply hang up on us when they get tired of listening. As of this moment, we haven’t gotten anywhere.

Here is the listing for anyone who wants a great place to get screwed over in Michigan.

Not the Beautiful View’s Fault for our Airbnb Experience

A week into our 30-day prepaid Airbnb stay, the host began to exhibit some odd behavior. Two nights before that, he began to argue with his girlfriend (they met three weeks ago), slamming doors throughout the house. He said that she was detoxing and could not drink alcohol. We said we understood.

The next day he came in and told us we were using too much water. We understood that there were water restrictions; in nine day, two showers had been taken. The last night he came in and accused us of giving his girlfriend alchohol. We explained we had been gone all day and we had not given her anything. She expressed to us that she wanted to leave and needed to get out of the house; she looked very scared.

The host came back out and told us to get out of his house now; this was at 11:00 PM. He had never said that drinking was a problem. We even asked what they like to drink. He dumped out a bottle of vodka we had and then threatened to dump out other alcoholic beverages. We packed up our things in the morning and let him know we wanted a refund for the days left. He informed us he contacted Airbnb and we would have to get a refund from them. After speaking with Airbnb we were told that he had not contacted them.

The host then said that there were damages. Actually, there were none. He was in the process of fixing up the house for it to be sold. He was draging wood up the stairs and even painted a balcony during our stay. He told us not to use it so we obliged. We were already looking for a new place because of the hostile environment and didn’t feel safe. There was constant arguing and slamming of doors throughout our last night.

We had an extra guest come and asked the host beforehand; he said it would not be a problem if we just gave him $30 cash per night for the additional guest. I gave him $100 cash and he said he would give me $10 back as they only stayed three days. My daughter was coming into town and once again I asked if an additional guest could stay and we would pay for it; he said it was no problem. Today the host is stating we never gave him money and that it was going to be $40 a night for my daughter. Later on he stated that it would not be $40 and that he never said that. Read his latest text to me. See the tray of cannabis he served us daily from bottles hidden in our room. Do not rent from him.

Nazis Kicked us out of Airbnb and onto the Street

I want to tell you a humiliating story about me and my six friends. From June 7-11 we went to celebrate a bachelor party in Berlin. We are seven men from Israel, so we wanted privacy. We decided to take an apartment through Airbnb, sadly only after we discovered that it was illegal in Germany. Anyway, we decided to go for an apartment because we wanted privacy and to celebrate a little. In the photos we saw a two-story villa; in retrospect, it was only the upstairs area. In addition, the owner insisted that some of the payment be made in cash. I assume that because of tax matters, she prefers black money.

When we arrived we saw that the neighborhood was very exclusive. Then we discovered from the cab driver that the neighborhood was not sympathetic to strangers; he was surprised that we were staying there because it is on the east side. Anyway, we got there and the host’s daughter welcomed us. She was nice, told us we could have our party; to repeat, she told us we could celebrate. I asked her – because the Middle Eastern mentality is different – if it was okay to make some noise. She was all smiles and explained that her parents were away for two weeks. Then she walked away.

The day the nightmare began, the host’s son came into the picture and decided to be our surprise visitor. He arrived at 7:00 AM when everyone was asleep. When I woke up, I saw messages saying that he wanted to kick us out because we drank a little that evening and celebrated, as the host told us we could. I told the host that from now on, I would make sure everything was to her satisfaction… and indeed it was.

On the third day we went for a walk. Since it was a very hot morning and there was no air conditioner in the apartment, I opened the windows in the rooms to get some air. Because of an open window, they tried to kick us out. What kind of a joke is it to kick seven guys out on the street in a foreign country?

When we got to the apartment, we tried to talk to him but after half an hour of persuasion I saw that he really enjoyed lording his authority over us. He stood with a smile on his face. I decided to tell him that I think that if we were from Sweden or Denmark, this situation wouldn’t have happened. At the height of his stupidity, he agreed and told us he was a Nazi and did not care about us at all.

We asked him to call the police. Instead he called his criminal friends to come and threaten us. One of them even wanted to escort us to our car. When we did, the entire neighborhood came to see us humiliated and even enjoyed it. We asked him why he was doing this, and he said because men like us cannot be in such an area. I filmed the host’s son and my friends and decided that we would not be silent about this humiliation.

Video file of the incident

Airbnb Fail, Kicked out of Barcelona Flat

On May 24th, I stayed for one night at a flat in Barcelona, and it was an absolute disaster. That night, things were very loud. Despite going to bed at 10:30 PM I wasn’t able to fall asleep until 3:30 AM when the party outside my window finally died down. These conditions were not conveyed to me ahead of time. I calmly approached my host about this the next morning at 8:40 AM. Rather than trying to resolve or talk through the issue, she canceled my reservation and demanded I leave the flat by 12:00 PM. I received a refund at 9:30 AM after which I frantically tried to contact Airbnb for support while I searched the website for alternatives. I couldn’t get ahold of anyone from their support team, and the website yielded “zero available rentals during my preferred time frame.”

By 9:40 AM, my host became hostile. By 9:55 AM, she was back at the flat demanding I leave immediately. She threatened me by saying: “We can do this the easy way or the hard way. Don’t make me call someone to remove you.” I tried to reason with her; I was afraid and alone, and I felt it best that I leave immediately. I hailed a taxi to a nearby hotel where I shelled out 500 euros per night for the remainder of my trip (2500 euros total). This was five times what I had budgeted for the trip – the host’s flat was only 80 euros/night. Seven days later, I still have not heard back from Airbnb support on this issue, despite sending the desperate email attached. I am massively disappointed with their vetting process for hosts, and for their lack of customer support in resolving the issue and making me feel like a valued customer. I have three upcoming trips planned with Airbnb over the next six weeks, and I’m tempted to cancel them all.

The Worst Host in London Gives me Airbnb Nightmare

My experience with Airbnb was nothing short of a nightmare. I booked accommodation on Airbnb from February 9th through March 2nd, 2017 at premises owned by Tess. She asked me to leave the property on February 21st without contacting me. Airbnb also beglected to hear my side of the story, which is as follows:

The complaint by the host regarding the flat was based on three issues:

1. The locks being left unlocked. There were four separate locks to get into this tiny little studio flat. Two of these locks were in the middle of a dark alley with a step with no light whatsoever. I complained to the local contact about this. I asked him whether it is necessary to lock all four locks or would it be okay to just lock the one to the studio itself and the one to the gate outside, as this way the place is still safe and secure? There was no response from him. When Tess complained about it, I spent an extra ten minutes locking the two intermediate locks.

You may wonder why it took ten minutes? Because it was very difficult to see anything. Because she was complaining, I made this extra effort. I was in London to attend client meetings and buy a property and did not have the energy nor time to secure another flat… so I abided by her unreasonable requests.

2. There was loud music being played in the flat. I spent the evenings in the flat and spent my entire time working. Music was being played on my laptop to drown out the noise coming from upstairs with the constant walking around. I am a 40-something lawyer with my own practice, not a teenage girl playing loud music with no regard for neighbours. Not once did anyone knock on my door to ask me to lower the volume of the music. When the complaint came to me, I made a conscious effort to keep the volume at a low level.

3. There were uninvited guests. There was absolutely no room in the flat to have a person come and stand, let alone have me entertain them. The pictures of the flat do not reflect how very small it really is. The only explanation I have for people ringing the neighbours for me can only possibly be the delivery boys coming to deliver my dinner. There was no doorbell in the studio itself. This is one more thing that I told the local contact when I arrived. I asked him how I could have food deliveries, if I cannot hear when someone is at the door? He suggested I give the delivery people my phone number, which I did. But as you can imagine, they would not be calling a California mobile number for a food delivery in London.

When I came home on the night of February 21, 2017, it was after 10:00 PM. I then noticed the message from Airbnb. I had only one voicemail message on my phone at approximately 5:00 PM from her. By 1:00 AM, the local agent was at my door asking me to leave the property immediately. I insisted that the police be called so there is proof that I left the property, as every attempt that I made to reach Airbnb that evening was unsuccessful. After the police arrived, they sympathised with my situation but said they could not help in this matter. They provided me with a police report.

I was then told by the local agent that in fact the host was expecting relatives and guests and needed the empty flat. I was incredibly furious and shocked. The host does not live in the UK; she lives in Prague. She had assigned this property to yet another guest using an intermediary (as if Airbnb was not enough). She should have had the courtesy to call me and try to resolve the problem first, and come to a mutually acceptable solution. Furthermore, Airbnb should have defended me, as I am their customer; a legal relationship is created as I pay them directly. Since then, I have tried to reach out to Airbnb via emails and phone messages, and have not had even one representative bother to call me back. It is highly unprofessional for Airbnb representatives to make a decision to cancel a reservation on the evening of without verifying the facts with me and expecting me to leave the same night without reimbursement.

We Found the Host Having Lunch in our Airbnb

I had a five-night stay in a Brooklyn Airbnb, where my brother and I rented the entire home. After the first night, I called the host to express my dismay at the lack of cleanliness and got nowhere. If I had contacted Airbnb at that moment, none of the following would have happened; I would have gotten my money back, and all would be well. I didn’t know that was an option at the time. I tried to work with the host directly. I didn’t think I could have afforded to move to a hotel and I was worried about paying for two places and not getting my money back. I stayed and tried to make the best of it.

On the third day, the ceiling started to cave in from an upstairs plumbing issue and the pipes had backed up into the bathtub. The bathroom was completely unusable. I contacted the host, requested a refund and he refused. He literally said, “Why?”

Really? He said it was an old house and he would get it repaired. When I returned to the home that evening, the repairs had been made. I only had two more nights in that awful place and I figured I would make the best of it, really wanting to avoid any further hassle. The next day, we came back to the rental to find the host and another person inside. They had been there for quite a while, totally unauthorized. My suitcase had been packed and moved aside. The host was eating a meal on the patio and refused to leave even after I showed him my reservation. There was a huge fight. He said it was his house and he wasn’t leaving. I certainly wasn’t going to stay and hang out with him.

It was an unsafe and very volatile situation. I had no choice but to leave immediately before things got out of hand. I contacted Airbnb by phone from my alternate lodging less than an hour later and they said they would look into it. A few days afterward, I received an email stating they have issued me a refund for one night’s stay.

Does this seem right to you? No one should have been inside much less going through our things. Despite all of my other complaints, this alone should warrant a full refund. They were trespassing. He had no reason to be in there much less hanging out with another person while we were away. How many other times was he there while we were out for the day?

Four Families with Seven Children Kicked out at Midnight

My family and friends’ families were staying in State College, PA for the Blue and White Weekend. We arrived at the Airbnb rental property at 10:00 PM on Friday night. When we arrived, the owner showed us the house and strongly encouraged us all to use the hot tub, despite it being late. We stayed the night, did not enter the hot tub, went to the game the next day, and came back to the Airbnb rental around 6:00 PM. We then played with the kids, all under the age of five, in the backyard, ate dinner, put the kids to bed, and retired to the patio and hot tub for the night. My three-year-old daughter is scared of the dark, so my wife was rocking her to sleep on the patio with us. Some of us went to bed with the kids, some of us were wrapping up the night, and some were having nightcaps on the patio.

A couple of us got in the hot tub at the owner’s suggestion. The hot tub was so full of water that it overflowed with just one adult entering it. As others got in, it continued to overflow. We knew this was odd, but didn’t think anything of it. We were sure to keep proper care of the hot tub, as my dad owns a very similar hot tub that we have used in the same manner many times. Around 9:30 PM, my 62-year-old father walked around the house to make sure we weren’t too loud, as the sign asked us to keep it down after 9:30 PM, so we started to wind down around that time. After all, a person can only really stay in a hot tub for 15-20 minutes. My brother and his wife had already gone inside and another couple was already in bed asleep. At 10:00 PM, the the owner came out from behind some bushes and started screaming at us, telling us we were being too loud, it was past curfew, we were breaking the rules, and we were misusing the hot tub. He said we had to get out of the house right away and the cops had been called (at this point he had already called the cops himself and reported a noise violation). When my 3-year-old asked why he was yelling at us, he turned around and yelled at her, scaring her and causing her to cry.

The cops came and when they arrived, they actually thought they were at the wrong house because it was too quiet in the front driveway. We explained the situation to the police and the police pleaded with the owner not to kick us out. We even apologized, despite not doing anything wrong, and said we would go inside and head to bed as we had seven children sleeping in the house ages seven months to four years old. He would not take no for an answer and had the police forcibly remove us. He showed the cops a video, allegedly from the surveillance system (it is illegal to film someone without their consent in a private setting, let alone in bathing suits). The hot tub is surrounded by three walls and leads to a yard with an eight-foot privacy fence, making it more than reasonable to expect this area not to be under video surveillance.

The cops said they had never seen anything like this, but they had to ask us to leave. It was very traumatizing, especially to the kids, who kept asking why we had to leave, and my autistic sister,who was crying throughout the whole thing because they said we’d have to go to jail if we didn’t leave, and our kids would be given to child services. This is a traumatizing thing for a parent to hear, especially without being given a legitimate reason. We asked an officer and the owner to walk through the property so they could all see there were no damages to the household in any way. The owner chose not to walk through after all the guests were removed (he did storm to the door to go inside before we vacated and was stopped by the police). We have video evidence of the walk through along with pictures of how we left the house. For being kicked out at midnight, we left that house in pretty amazing shape.

According to the police, “officers cleared the call at 12:23 AM on April 23rd.” As for the hot tub’s condition, after the owner jumped out of the bushes and yelled at us, my father observed him close the hot tub, and everything was still working fine at that time, including the jets. There was no damage to the hot tub. The owner turned off the jets and placed the cover on. Several witnesses saw the jets working after the abrupt exit, the hot tub was 103 degrees when covered, and there were no drinks in the hot tub. The only difference was that there was less water, which is normal in any hot tub.

Now this traumatic incident has continued to disturb our lives with this fraudulent claim that we broke his hot tub. We exchanged words about the capacity rating of the hot tub and we informed him that my father has a similar model and we treated his hot tub the same as we treat his and did not misuse it. I think it is also worth noting that we were in one of the largest college towns in America; the parties of concern generally involve many college kids with extremely loud music and absurd amounts of alcohol.

We had a few 35-year-olds with a 62-year-old grandfather on a patio deck. We were kicked out in the middle of the night, packing toys, pack n’ plays, food, clothing and toiletries and loaded everyone into our vehicles for a two-hour drive home with our children. My 2-year-old was wide awake on the ride home and continued to ask: “Bye-bye? Why?” We did not get to our friends’ home until 3:00 AM, and our poor kids were tired, confused, and saddened. Not to mention traumatized because the owner yelled, screamed, was rude, and inappropriate through the whole ordeal. We are all shocked and stunned and are still suffering. There were no noise violations, no warning, and certainly no understanding or empathy for children. My friends’ wives and my sister were in tears because he was so out of control.

When we found out, he had been videotaping us in the hot tub as “surveillance,” we no longer felt safe. We called the police Sunday and the sergeant was very nice. He complimented us on how we handled the situation and even mentioned the guy tried to charge us with a noise violation and public disturbance. The police said, “the first officer arrived at the house at 10:15 PM and was met in the drive by the property owner. The officer did not hear any loud voices or music.”

The owner asked the police to charge us with a noise violation and public disturbance. The police did not witness anything that would warrant such charges and called the district attorney’s office to see if they could charge us with anything. The district attorney’s office told them we were doing nothing wrong. They called it a civil dispute in their report. This cop even apologized for having to do it, and said he would not have handled that as well as we did. We did not break any of the house rules. We did not have a party; we were not given a chance to vacate the patio by 10:00 PM, as his online house rules state, as he jumped out at 10:00 PM.

According to the police there is no noise ordinance for that area anyway. There were no rules anywhere about hot tub capacity or use. The owner then tried to open a claim against us on Airbnb for damaging the hot tub. His evidence is screen shots of random hot tub services, an invoice (which I have no doubt is fake), and his word. Looking through this evidence, I do not even understand where he is getting the number of $750 that he thinks we owe him. There are mostly screenshots of estimates from the internet. All of the screen shots of hot tub services/values prove nothing. There is one invoice, which our we believe is fraudulent. We believe this was fraud to exploit innocent families and children.

The invoice is also for cleaning the hot tub, which there was no need for. Airbnb ended up denying his claim because of the evidence we provided showing his claim was fraudulent and ruling in our favor. The owner and his friend were laughing as we carried our children from the house. I don’t know what kind of human being does this to kids and families. We have pictures and video evidence that we left the house in great shape despite being kicked out in the middle of the night. We tried to resolve this issue through Airbnb. Our first case was opened and seemed to be making good progress, but then communication stopped from Airbnb’s case manager. I called customer service and it turned out they closed our case for no reason. I reopened the case thinking it was a mistake. It took weeks to even get a response from them. I called every day for four weeks to check on the status and provided many pictures, police reports, and accounts of this story. On my final call I escalated the issue to a supervisor of the call center. The supervisor didn’t get on the phone and just relayed the message that the case had been closed. They did not give any reason or explanation as to why they closed the case, but offered to open another case, which I did. I still have received no response from Airbnb as to their handling of this. It is awful that they would let a host treat families like this with no repercussion. We will never use Airbnb again.