Airbnb Hell Cottage in Durham Gives me Allergic Reaction

So I booked a three-night Airbnb stay in a “cabin” in someone’s backyard in Durham, North Carolina. When I arrived I found that the place had seen better days (probably when the pictures were taken). It was a tiny cabin with some sort of heavy scratchy material attached to something that had a sofa-like appearance and something that was supposed to be a bed. I couldn’t even imagine sleeping on it, even if it had had sheets. For pillows, there were some filthy throw pillows that looked like they were from a sofa. I was planning on using my sleeping bag at that point.

The outdoor shower was exposed to the outdoors and any neighbors. I started getting stung by mosquitoes immediately (this was mid-October). I went to my car to see if I had bug spray and a yellow jacket sprung out of it and stung me. I’m allergic to all stinging venemous insects, so this was scary. I took Benadryl right away and watched to see if I needed an Epi Pen. I sent a note to the host but got no response.

I decided to find a drugstore and grocery store so I went back to the car only to find it was surrounded by a swarm of yellow jackets. It seems there was a yellow jacket nest right next to where I had to park, which was also the path to the back yard to reach the cabin. I ran off and called the host; there was no response so I left a message asking for help. Again, there was no response. I waited for a while and when it looked like the car wasn’t surrounded any longer I hopped in and backed it out towards the street. I very carefully got back to the “cottage” and grabbed my stuff and left.

I called Airbnb from a parking lot down the road and asked them for help. Airbnb and the host were totally useless. The host never responded to any of my calls. He sent me a note telling me I should go to a pharmacy at a WalMart. Airbnb said they wouldn’t return my money unless I could send them “proof” of the insects. How am I supposed to document a yellow jacket nest when I can’t go near them? I tried to send a pic of the sting but my camera doesn’t do close-ups well. I sent a picture of my Epi Pen too.

Airbnb has refused to refund the stay I couldn’t use; I had only recently arrived when this all happened. The host has not responded or been there. This place is a horror show and shouldn’t be rented on Airbnb. I had to go to a motel and stay there and am paying for three nights at the cabin I can’t stay at as well. I tried to call Airbnb again but they never connected me, no matter how long I sat on hold. I guess they know I’m calling about that listing as i clicked through it to call them.

Bad Experience with Fake Studio in Hamburg

My husband and I wanted to spend some time in Hamburg, Germany. We booked four days in September 2017, during my husband’s birthday. I was looking forward to this event and we also booked tickets as a birthday present for the Elbe Philharmonic.

When we arrived at the Airbnb, our host wasn’t there at first. He showed up telling us that there was no electricity at the moment because of a short circuit and he wanted to get it fixed (which he successfully did). The moment we entered the apartment, my husband turned around and looked at me horrified: the stench of a dog was just unbearable. He wanted to leave immediately. I stopped him and thought that maybe ventilation would help. Despite the fact there were strict house rules concerning the guests like “no pets allowed ” (and this made me believe that there would be no cat or dog living there), at least one dog was sharing the apartment with this “host “and his two kids.

The apartment didn’t conform to the pictures in the listing; there was no table in the room, and no chairs in the kitchen. Instead of a bed, there was an old 120-cm sofa for the two of us, and setting up the bed was only possible by putting some support items below one part of the mattress. The apartment was raised off the ground floor with huge windows and no way to darken them – no curtains or other items – but the pictures showed something else.

We found the dog’s food bowl in the kitchen sink. Worst of all: the disgusting smell of the apartment wasn’t gone when we came back into the “studio” (the space offered on the website), just the opposite – the smell increased. We found out that the smell was worse because one of the pillows must have belonged to the dog.

Because my husband suffers from dog allergies he could not stay in there any longer and had to leave the place, spending the night in our car. Of course I couldn’t get any sleep but preferred to stay in the room, waiting for my husband to come back and take me somewhere else (it was his birthday that day – what a pity). Meanwhile I had already informed our host (who had left with his kids to stay somewhere) via WhatsApp that we couldn’t stay any longer, telling him exactly what was wrong with his apartment and that it doesn’t deserve the word “studio” (which he has changed now into “apartment”- and this is also flattering). The terrible smell wasn’t disappearing, despite the fact windows were cracked open all night long (with no way to darken the room – and the surrounding area was crowded, being next to the Reeperbahn).

We both had a very horrible night: he in the car and me all by myself in this room. The host answered my SMS, telling me that he agreed to a refund and that he had already informed Airbnb, letting them know that he agreed with our refund request. We had paid 91 € a day for four days and were assured by the host that we would get the overpaid sum back (273 €). All we had to do was send Airbnb a message telling them about the refund and that the host had agreed to it.

This was exactly what we did – and what happened? Airbnb told us that our “host” had already taken payment and we had to get along with him. Great idea! Of course I did never expect to get any money back from this guy, but I thought that this should be the duty of Airbnb – after all, they take money from their customers. Nothing had happened until now, no answers to my complaints. This is not the way a respectable organisation should act. It was our first experience with Airbnb and for sure our last one. Besides I will tell all my acquaintances to free their hands from this company; it is not to be commended.

Urine Trouble with Dogs at Barcelona Airbnb

We were very excited to finally see Barcelona in all its glory, and had an apartment near La Sagrada Familia booked. However, when we got to our Airbnb in Barcelona we were greeted by two dogs. Cute, but not in the listing. We went to our room and it reeked of urine. I mean, it was gross, like a cloud of piss hanging in the air at all times. It looked as though she left her dogs in the room while she was away, and they used the floor as a bathroom, because there were brown and bleached discolorations in the carpet all over the place, and jars of silica gel to try and absorb moisture.

To boot, our host used a fake name; she goes by Maria, but then told us her name was Anna. She also initially gave us the wrong address on purpose, and told us she was letting another random person stay at the apartment while we were there. Then there was some story about them moving in for ten days, we will like them a lot, no need to worry… She asked us to leave the front door unlocked at all times. Very unsafe.

But mostly, it was about the smell. The smell of piss. All throughout our room. After leaving and cancelling our reservation, we now have to dispute our situation with Airbnb with a host who is now sending aggressive emails to my girlfriend and personally attacking us because they feel their livelihood is threatened (pathological?). We don’t know if we will be getting our money back, and it very much disrupted our trip. If we don’t get our refund, we will certainly have to pack our bags and go home much earlier than expected. Here is the listing. Avoid if you can.

One Discrepancy in my Airbnb Ad Cost me a lot of Money

This past weekend, three lads from London were supposed to stay at my apartment, as I was out of town. After one day, however, I received an email from their agent at Trip Advisor, speaking on behalf of these men who stated they had left my apartment.

The reason? I had -unintentionally- misqualified my couch, classifying it as a “bed sofa” when the correct phrasing should – as I’ve come to learn now – have been a “sofa”. Airbnb agreed with their complaint, and imposed a penalty on me: the young lads would get all of their money back plus a restitution of their hotel expenses (except for the one night they did stay). This implied that I was left with nothing but a bad review and no revenue from renting out my apartment for the other two nights.

To make it very clear: I have one king-size bed, which is for two guests. My second bedding option for any third guest is my sofa, which is perfect for sleeping and measures the exact same as a normal person-sized mattress. It’s not a matter of me not being transparent or being dishonest by not offering three beds or sleeping options. I have three bedding options. I just ticked one box wrong in my ad (clicking “sofa bed” instead of “sofa”), without being aware of this immense aberration. As I’ve come to learn from Airbnb, a sofa bed is one that you pull out and a sofa is not (my couch is not a pullout).

This is according to Airbnb regulations which are nowhere to be found on the site. Even the manager I talked to acknowledged that that is something at Airbnb that ought to be changed. Still, Airbnb lets me ‘bleed’ anyways, instead of taking part of the responsibility (e.g. have me cover a part of the cost, instead of 100%). How should I have known this difference? English is not even my first language and I’m not a bedding expert.

The penalty is disproportional in my view, since I will not receive any money for the two nights they had booked, plus I am certain I will get a bad review. I have no doubt about that. I have never heard any Airbnb guest or other guest sleeping on my sofa complain about my couch. It’s truly a comfy couch, as is the rest of my house. I daresay that about my apartment because I spent months renovating my home and decorating it (one of my hobbies). My home truly is my sanctuary.

In fact, one reason I bought this couch recently is because it’s a perfect couch for sleepovers, which happen literally every week in my apartment. A good friend of mine sleeps on it every week, and believe me, he’s someone who is tall with a poor back and not afraid to tell me when my couch is not comfy. I know it’s not about my couch not being comfortable; it’s just petty people who have a working knowledge of Airbnb regulations (they’ll receive full restitution for the hotel they stayed at instead).

I just can’t believe anyone would go to these measures, all just because there is one wrong qualification in my ad. It’s not like they couldn’t sleep in my house (or had to sleep with their legs pulled up or whatever). The guest who had booked with me didn’t even consult me about my misqualification, but went straight for the official institutions – Airbnb and Trip Advisor – as if I were some scammer. I feel severely mistreated, both by these guests as well as by Airbnb and am seriously considering withdrawing from Airbnb altogether.

Moldy, Faulty Wiring, Broken Windows, Next to a Prison….

Dangerous safety and health issues, among many other problems, prompted us to leave our Airbnb in Buena Vista, Colorado after one terrible night. We have stayed in comparably priced facilities in Colorado and have never encountered anything even remotely this bad. Good luck getting any money back. We aren’t the only ones to have problems with this property either.

1. The house smelled moldy, especially in the downstairs bedrooms. In the kitchen trash were the lids from two “Damp Rid Odor Genie” units which confirmed that the place had moisture and odor problems. We both had runny noses for the remainder of our trip.

2. The smoke alarm was in pieces on a shelf. In a house with iffy wiring (#3) that was of particular concern.

3. When I plugged in my phone charger in I found another plug in the socket, connected to an extension cord-type wire that ran outside through a hole drilled in the window frame. In the kitchen there was another jerry-rigged extension cord for a light fixture, with a broken in-line switch. Upstairs there was a light over the bathroom sink similarly jerry-rigged. It did not work at all.

4. During the night I got up to close the window, which was open when we got there. It would not work. The next day I saw that the closing mechanism was not connected to the window itself. When we left the next day we closed it and another window by going outside and pushing them shut.

5. In one bedroom there was a large hole in the floor that had various odds and ends stashed in it.

6. That bedroom contained a laundry machine which still had wet items inside from the previous occupants.

7. The kiva fireplace was blocked by a large TV set.

8. The wifi worked properly only in the kitchen.

9. Both bathrooms had problems. The tub downstairs was very slick, the cold water control hard to shut off, and the toilet seat was terribly discolored. The upstairs shower had the hot and cold controls reversed. When we hung a towel on the hook by the shower the hook came out of the wall.

10. The front door lock and deadbolt were hard to operate, somewhat of a concern given the men’s state prison a short walk from the house.

11. The sorely needed “warning tape” on the many interior steps was worn off in places.

We have photos to document the above. Per this KKTV report the owner does not like negative reviews, which is the only leverage customers have. In short, stay away.

The Great Airbnb Wedding Debacle of 2017

Words can barely describe how terrible my experience with Airbnb was this past weekend. Let me take you on a journey that outlines my chaotic and downright disgusting travel story all thanks to Airbnb. On July 31st, I successfully booked a two-bedroom house using the Airbnb app for August 31st through September 3rd. I was given confirmation from the host on August 11th that the booking went through and that he was expecting us.

On August 27th I reached out to the host via the in-app message tab trying to extend the stay and add two more people to the booking, The host did not respond. I tried to add the extra two more days through the app, but soon saw that they were marked as “booked” and I figured that was why I did not receive a response from the host. I figured that once I checked in on the 31st I would let the host know that two more people were joining me and I would pay any additional fees at that time; I did not see a way to add guests to an existing reservation.

Fast forward to the day of our check in, August 31st, 3:00 PM. I received no email outlining our entry code or where a key could be located. I texted the host at 3:15 PM and received no response. I called the host at 3:30 PM and the phone number on file was a Google Voice number, not even a real number. I left a voicemail. I called the customer service number for Airbnb and was told that they needed to reach out to the host themselves as per protocol and that I would get a call back from them either way.

The remaining six hours of the day was a game of phone tag between me and the customer service representative. He had to wait two hours before he could cancel the reservation because we needed to give the host enough time to respond. That I could understand. What I could not understand was being made to feel as though the representative was doing me a favor by refunding my money and leaving me with nowhere to stay for over three days. When I asked for accommodations to be provided, I was met with resistance because “I did not book a stay for four people originally”. I had told the representative multiple times that I had tried to get ahold of the host before so that I could change the accommodations and pay any additional fees required.

Here we are sitting in a rental car for over two hours in front of the Airbnb hoping that the host was just running late. We were not hungry as we had to go to a rehearsal dinner at 6:00 PM so we did not take the advice of the representative to “get something to eat and take our mind off the waiting”… he did offer to give us $50 towards our dinner, but as I told him, I could care less about food when I had nowhere to stay for three days.

We waited for our host, eagerly watching every car that came down the street thinking it was him… but it wasn’t. Meanwhile as we sat in our rental car, we were trying to find accommodations either through Airbnb or a hotel of any kind. The problem was there were no vacancies at the hotels and there were no Airbnb’s available because of the holiday weekend and the late notice.

You are probably wondering why we didn’t just go to a different city. The whole reason we needed to to be in Pueblo was for our friends’ wedding. Two people from our party were standing up in the wedding and needed to be nearby to participate in the dinners, rehearsals, and events. Going to a different city was out of the question. With the lack of long-term accommodations anywhere in the city, we were able to secure a hotel room for one night only (as that was all they had). The service representative said that he found a house that could fit all of us on such short notice that looked “really nice”, and he was “sticking his neck out” to get us accommodations for four people. Let me reiterate that we would have never been in this predicament if the original host was vetted properly in the first place. Telling us that he was “sticking his neck out” and intending to make us feel like he was going out of his way did not make us thankful.

We got settled into our first hotel for the night of the 31st as there was no Airbnb available and we needed to get ready for the rehearsal dinner at 6:00 PM. Customer service said that Airbnb would cover the stay at the “very nice” house and that we would have Friday and Saturday night covered. I felt some relief, but it was very short lived.

On the morning of September 1st, I was happy to see the entry email for the new Airbnb host. I contacted the him and asked if we could check in earlier because we had to leave the hotel; the room needed to be vacated by 11:00 AM. Through the Airbnb app I communicated with the new host and he said that we could enter the house early and that someone would be around to clean as the other guests were leaving.

We packed our cars and headed to the new location, excited to finally get settled in. From the outside, the new house looked normal. Maybe the grass and bushes were a little overgrown and the paint was peeling, but it could have been nicer inside… nope. This “very nice” house was scary, dark, dank and anything but clean. Someone had clearly been smoking cigarettes in there, and the sparse furniture that was in the house smelled musty and must have been picked out of the garbage. Our rooms that we were supposed to sleep in were in the moldy basement. The kitchen where we planned on saving some money by preparing meals, was not suitable for food because of the layer of grime on all the surfaces. Half the appliances were out of order as they kindly stated this with a sticky note. Maybe we could have slept on top of the covers and not eaten in the house, but we couldn’t even get clean because the showers had mold up the walls. Not to mention the nasty dingy towels that were supposed to dry our “clean” bodies after we showered.

There was no amount of scrubbing that could possibly clean those bathrooms, so what do we do? Do we call Airbnb back again and deal with another six-hour long back and forth just to hear the same excuses? Do we complain to the current host about the conditions? What would that get us? We needed a safe, clean place to reside for the remainder of our trip. And it was clear that Airbnb was not going to help us.

We decided to contact a hotel in Walsenberg, CO (40 minutes from where we needed to be) and they had one room left. We pounced on the opportunity to have a clean safe place to rest our heads. We packed up the car and drove straight to Walsenberg so that there was no chance that they could possibly sell our room to anyone else. I didn’t contact the host of the second house as I was to distraught to even formulate a response to what we had just experienced. Our number one concern was securing clean and safe lodging for the next two days.

You are probably wondering what I want. I am going to tell you exactly what I want and need: I expect my initial charge of $192.00 to refunded to my credit card. I expect Airbnb to pay back the amount of money I spent on both hotels (I was forced to pay outrageously high prices because of the last-minute booking). I do not want an Airbnb credit; I want a check for the amount, sent to me so I can at least recoup the cost of the accommodations (not to mention the hundreds of dollars I am now out of because a party of four had to eat out every meal and the additional cost of gas for us to drive back and forth from the hotel). I expect that both hosts will no longer be able to rent out their houses. I expect a handwritten email in response to this letter acknowledging that my concerns and needs are being heard and addressed.

Host Slept in Living Room While Guests Stayed in her Room

Not so long ago, I went to LA with my friend and decided to stay in the heart of Hollywood. I saw this one-bedroom place on Airbnb and decided to book it because it was heaps cheaper than hotels. The place looked amazing and the bed was massive. I contacted the host and she was very prompt in replying.

On the day of arrival, I pressed the intercom and was surprised that a guy answered and told us to come in. As far as I can remember, I was exchanging messages with a female beforehand. Anyways, my friend and I decided to go ahead. When we got into the place, we were not so pleased to see three people (two girls who were the host and
her sister, and one guy). The host was very friendly and took us to our room. My friend and I were becoming a bit jittery of the situation. We decided to go out and have dinner, hoping the three would be gone when we come back. After all, we booked a one-bedroom unit; we expected privacy.

To our surprise, they were still there when we got back. We decided to sleep just one night and leave the next day. Upon waking up, we saw the host and her sister sleeping on the couch just like it was their usual routine. I couldn’t describe how I felt that day. I was angry deep inside. I felt I was cheated. In spite of what had happened, I told the host that we were leaving and that we didn’t like the experience.

I tried to put a bad review on that listing but it didn’t get published. I made a complaint on Airbnb but there was no reply. Unfair, right? Upon checking up on the host, I found that she had moved to a new place and had a new listing. It seemed to me that she didn’t own the place at all. What she probably does is lets people rent her place so they can pay for her rent. That’s why I have been very skeptical of Airbnb, because of that terrible first experience.

No Protection Against Deceptive Guests Breaking Rules

I had a group of five people book the minimum stay in my house for three nights and they ended up staying only one night, getting a refund for the others. I received a snotty email the next morning with a list of unbelievable reasons why they left. This was planned. They must have had another booking somewhere and needed just one night as a filler. My house is immaculate. I work very hard to make sure it is always so, but they managed to get a refund from Airbnb, because Airbnb does not care. My “case manager” never got back to me or answered any emails. They just let me get cheated by some rotten people who even were so low as to give me a one-star review, when everything was provided and spotless. I did everything I could: sent maps, was there to greet them… I told them if they needed me to just let me know. Never did they look me in the eye. They were fishy, because something was up. Had they communicated any problem whatsoever – there were no problems – I would have been able to act and would have done so immediately. Airbnb will not ever provide any means to contact them, so basically it’s a one-sided system. I am very upset about the fact that there is no protection against assholes.

The Roof Caved in at our Montréal Airbnb Apartment

It has been a year since we went to Montréal, Québec, where we had a nightmarish experience which could have been lethal. Indeed, the two-room apartment we rented looked very nice on the Website pictures but when we moved in, there were lots of missing features and, worst of all, it looked shabby (quite a few damaged and broken things, not least of which was the toilet seat) and filthy (among other things, the sheets had been slept in and not changed). After getting in touch with the host, we were given unconvincing explanations about supposedly careless guests prior to our arrival and handed a few extra towels and sheets. We mentioned the cracks in the ceiling as something rather preoccupying but the host did not seem to pay attention.

On the second day of our stay, when we got back home in the evening after some sightseeing around Montréal, we were absolutely shattered when we stepped inside the apartment. The roof had caved in where the cracks had been and collapsed onto the bed where our eighteen-year-old daughter had slept the night before, damaging her iPad and leaving the tiny bedroom littered with rubble which could have killed her had the accident taken place during the night. We once again got in touch with the host lady who seemed as stunned and devastated as we were when she rushed to her place and then helped us call Airbnb to try and solve the issue.

We spent half the night talking on the phone with an Airbnb employee in the US but the company representative claimed that the homeowners were responsible for any occurrence inside the place they rent through Airbnb. Accordingly, the company cannot be held responsible for anything that occurs if the host did not take out rental insurance. After some discussion, the host agreed to refund the remaining days but we insisted that we wanted a whole refund of the amount we had paid through Airbnb. The company clerk only offered a token $100 (less than 5% of the price we had paid) as a refund and did not offer any help at all in finding a place to spend the night and go on with our two-week stay. Shame on Airbnb.

For all her faults for renting such a shabby place, the host lady was nice enough and agreed to refund the whole sum, which was okay with us. However, the company did not suffer any loss in the matter, which is really shocking as they are the ones who should suffer most from providing such a lousy product to tourists.

As I have made clear enough through my account of a rather scary experience, Airbnb does not assume any responsibility at all in case of any problems, and only offered us a coupon for our next stay which will never happen since we have decided to never again have anything to do with this company whose policies, were they better known, would mean bankruptcy. Their practice is a shameless way to take advantage of both hosts and guests. Needless to say, we had to fall back on a nice hotel room which cost us twice as much as what we had paid Airbnb. We were safe and cosy at long last, which is what every traveler is entitled to but which is not what Airbnb users are always likely to experience. We were also glad to still be alive and well but in retrospect we shuddered at the thought of what might have happened if one or all three of us had been seriously hurt in the accident. The conclusion that I draw is that Airbnb would deny any responsibility whatsoever in such tragic situations so beware and look elsewhere for nicer places to spend a holiday.

Crazy Owner’s Girlfriend Didn’t Even Own the House

I left my Airbnb after one day, fearing the owner of the place. The picture on Airbnb looked like a decent place. When I walked in, it turned out to be a rundown dump in a dangerous neighborhood: rusty bars on the windows, expensive cars in the driveway, Boost Mobile stores on every corner, etc. It looked nothing like the picture inside. The house was a wreck and reeked of cat piss. Stray cats all over the property were wandering in the house through a broken back door. The windows didn’t close, and the A/C was broken. The inside thermometer said it was 94 degrees. I went to Target to buy two box fans and stayed for one night.

Today a strange guy walked in the house drunk. This guy looked like Doc from Back to the Future after two years of meth addiction. I asked how he was, and if he was another guest. He answered: “No! And I’m absolutely terrible. You see, my girlfriend rented this place without my permission. She does not own it. I own this house, but she’s desperate for money.”

He said he was the homeowner, and that the lady who rented it out is his girlfriend who is desperate for money and doesn’t actually own the property. After his furious rant I grabbed my stuff and bounced. She messaged me apologizing, saying he was “off his meds and incoherent.” Why are you hosting someone else’s home, assuming it was owned by a crazy unmedicated lunatic?