Please Avoid Airbnb’s Customer Service

I really want to tell someone about my horrible experience with Airbnb. I will never use their services anymore. It is so much better to stay in a hotel and avoid all your frustration rather than dealing with Airbnb. I reserved a luxury two bedroom townhouse in Short North area of Columbus, Ohio. After we checked in, we found the house was old with lead paint everywhere in the house, dirty (my kids’s feet immediately turned black), rusty (the kitchen pot, the bath tub were all rusty), and filled with cheap supplies (kitchen utensils, bedroom sheets, etc).

We requested to move out. I was offered for an alternative and I was told that I had to wait for 4-5 days to know whether it would be available. I stayed for four nights and was then showed an apartment by the host which was nice. However, I was told that the apartment would not be available for eight days. That meant I had to stay in that dirty place for eight more days. I reached an agreement with the host to discontinue the rent and moved out. The host refunded me the money I asked for.

However, some genius at Airbnb decided that I should not be refunded for the whole trip. Their calculation was like this: my entire trip cost $3100 (36 nights); I paid $2700 upfront. I requested $2300 refund based on my payment ($2700 minus the cost for the four nights I stayed). The host immediately refunded me the money. However, Airbnb decided that my cost was $3100 and I only paid $2700, so I owed them $400. They refunded me $1900 ($2300-$400). What a math genius. How did I owe them money for things never even happened?

One month later, they sent me a bill to remind me to check out the apartment and to pay them the remaining $400 balance ($3100-$2700). They had no records to show that I checked out one month earlier. I’ve called them three times so far. Every time I get the same answer. The customer service representative (he or she) would explain to me why they held the $400 from me the same way every time and they had no intention to listen and accept my explanation.

They would say that they had to talk to a case manager who would be available to talk to them but not to me directly. They would then tell me that I had to wait for a case manager to contact me. I would then receive an email from Airbnb to say “case closed”. I’ve spent more than five hours of my precious time to call them so far and there has been no resolution yet. This is really a great way for Airbnb to make money. I have no idea when I can get my money back. When you book on Airbnb, you will have no idea what you get yourself into. For me it has been a nightmare and horrible experience. The worst part of Airbnb is the customer service.

Unsafe Airbnb with Drug Dealers in Paris

We had a flat booked in Paris. When we got there the place was infested with a broken in main building door. There were drug dealers coming into the building offering us drugs. We of course turned around and got a hotel immediately. We let the booker know, who got in touch with Airbnb within 24 hours.

However, even though we took photographic evidence of all of this, we are still being refused a refund. The host even had the cheek to say we are just scared foreigners (we have been in Paris a year working). We are constantly fighting with Airbnb, who just seems to completely ignore their own terms and conditions on this. Even though the host provided no evidence, they believe him over our photos. How is this happening?

We have sadly now had to waste more time getting legal proceedings going. As we needed a place to stay, we had to fork out another 4000 euro; we are not made of money. The service is just appalling. They keep citing terms and conditions yet are actively ignoring them.

Poorly Designed Policies Allow Airbnb Extortion

I recently had an unpleasant experience while traveling in Cannes, France with my wife, baby, and a friend. I explained the situation to Airbnb’s support team, but they sided with the host due to Airbnb policies. I’ve come to realize that the policies are flawed and the only way to fix it is to bring it to the attention to someone with the ability to amend the policies.

I live in the United States and work in residential real estate development. When listing the number of bathrooms in the U.S., “2.5 bathrooms” would mean two full bathrooms with a shower and toilet and a second half-bath with just a toilet. Evidently, in France 2.5 bathrooms means two bathrooms with only a shower and a third bathroom with only a toilet. Thus, there is only one toilet in a three-bedroom apartment.

We were shocked and felt somewhat duped especially since the host knew better. He was a residential real estate broker in the U.S. for four years. You would think that this would be cause for cancellation, but it was not according to Airbnb support. This was unfortunate, but not the end of the world.

Upon nightfall the unit was overrun with mosquitos – dozens of them. We killed a couple on a dish towel (a photo was taken and sent to Airbnb). My wife and I had our five-month old baby with us. We could not allow him to get eaten alive while he slept. The only responsible thing to do was to leave and check into a hotel.

Evidently, according to Airbnb policy, mosquitoes are not a viable reason to cancel a reservation. I’m still shocked that this does not qualify as uninhabitable. Airbnb is competing against hotels. If I were to check into a hotel room with dozens of mosquitoes, they would have refunded my money. Why wouldn’t Airbnb?

After contacting the host that evening and not receiving a response, I sent him a nice message saying that my experience was clearly unpleasant, but since I didn’t stay there overnight and he would not need to clean the premises, I stated the obvious by saying that if he would just refund my money, I wouldn’t leave a review. What a mistake. He was a pro and knew that according to Airbnb policy, he got me.

He accused me of extortion which I thought this was crazy since extortion clearly implies a falsehood. The intent of an extortion policy is to protect hosts from guests who had a pleasant experience and then demand a refund in return for a positive review. Airbnb’s policy doesn’t read that way and thus provides a loophole to unscrupulous hosts. Since it’s “policy” there was nothing Customer Support could do.

I lost $1,037. I thought to myself that this was unfortunate but at least I can warn other travelers of the two issues mentioned above. After leaving my review, Airbnb then informed me that it was being removed due to the extortion policy despite the fact was that it was completely honest. Not only do I feel like $1,000 was stolen from me, I am now not even allowed to warn other travelers. I know Airbnb is a young company so there will be holes in the system, but I just thought I’d bring this one to their attention.

Host Posted my Personal Information on Airbnb Review

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I have used Airbnb for work-related travel and never had a single issue until Wednesday, August 29th, the day my horrible nightmare began or as I call it “the cockroach chronicles”. I work as a outside sales rep and I travel daily thru SA and the surrounding rural areas. Since I was required to be at a job site at 7:00 AM on Thursday, August 30th, I booked this room since it was fairly close and I wouldn’t have to make the one-hour commute from my residence. The price seemed very fair and would save me money on gas. I did not receive the actual address until I paid for and booked the reservation.

When I pulled into the neighborhood, I was immediately nervous about the safety for myself and my new vehicle. I was informed in advance the host was not home and I was to use an access code for entry. I tried to use the access code numerous times and it would not work. This was roughly at 8:00 PM. I messaged the host indicating the code was not working and he didn’t respond immediately. Since the neighborhood did not appear to be safe and I was getting scared I knocked on the door.

A young women clearly annoyed told me that code has been provided and I wasn’t following instructions. I told her I attempted to use the code and it didn’t work. She walked off on a huff and mumbled under her breath. I was caught off guard by her reaction but was tired from long day at work so I proceeded to go to my designated room. When I turned on the light switch I immediately saw 2-3 large cockroaches scurry across The linoleum floor.

I screamed and the young lady appeared again. She asked what was wrong and I told her there were roaches. She said the exterior of home had recently been treated and offered that as an explanation for the appearance. I asked her where the bathroom was and she pointed down the hall. Again I turned on the light switch and other cockroaches even bigger decided to welcome me in. This time I went directly to the room and said I was outta there.

I got my belongings, ran to my car, and notified the host his house had a bad odor, had a roach infestation, and the bathroom was disgustingly filthy. He offered to leave work and come home and clean the bathroom. I indicated I appreciated the kind gesture but no amount of cleaning was going to provide me with a peaceful night of sleep. Besides it was late and I just wanted a shower in a clean bathroom and to lay my head down without fear roaches would have a feast on my face while I slept.

I requested a full refund of my invoice since the post failed to mention my roommates would be cockroaches. Not only did the host refuse my request for a refund he also sent me a request for a $70 cleaning fee. No mention of a cleaning fee was made prior to making the reservation, only mentioned once I cancelled. I posted a negative review of the home and I received a Facebook friend request from someone today. Since we did not share any mutual friends I declined the request then a short time later I received what I interpreted to be a threat.

After I basically told the person sending the message I knew it was regarding the Airbnb incident due to the timing, the individual basically admitted he was the host and demanded I remove the negative review. Now I don’t want to sound prejudiced against individuals who are clearly intellectually challenged but I was taken back that this person had the audacity to make a threat and send me a map of my work address as a bullying tactic. It got better; he even called my employer and claimed I stole belongings from his home.

I swear I didn’t steal his beloved roaches. I was in this person’s home for less than five minutes. Even he admits that, and out of the given minutes I was in his home, his roommate was scowling at me for four. Now if this doesn’t tell you what his brains are made of maybe this will. He posted a negative review of me on Airbnb along with my personal information: the actual name of my workplace, my full name and what my job description was. Guess what? Airbnb refuses to take down the post.

Very Disappointed in Airbnb’s Property Advertising

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Unless pictures are posted of the actual space you are staying in, don’t stay there. We paid over $1,200 for seven nights. The pillows were stained, the microwave was disgusting and the air conditioner was plugged into a cord that ran upstairs to another Airbnb. There were so many people coming and going from the home. The weather was extremely hot and the air conditioner was unplugged from upstairs; we called the host and he came the next day to plug it in upstairs.

Two of our guests left for a hotel room due to the heat. One left to go home because of the living conditions, and two left early. Airbnb said I had no grounds to stand on although they said they understood how I felt. Right up to the very end apparently the property had this to say: “Please note that the apartment is currently in the final phase of being better soundproofed and insulated. Some exposed beams and unpainted walls may be present.”

On top of it all we asked to stay until the 29th. It said they accepted the text and I made sure to recheck on it, Now they are saying that we overstayed a night and want to charge us an additional $280.

Staying in this Airbnb was like a Mental Institution

At first glance, this Airbnb seemed really nice and friendly. Then we went to stay at it, actually looked at the house, and realized it’s a mental institution. To book the room my boyfriend had to give references; while the host called them, she blocked my boyfriend from seeing her page and gave him a full refund for the stay.

She called his boss and everything checked out… maybe because we’re normal people. So why did she do this? Because he had a review of five stars, but said we were a little loud the first night, so she said that his review wasn’t stellar. First off, this lady was completely rude and unwelcoming to my boyfriend and me when we first got there. She told my boyfriend that we could come to the house earlier than the check in so we could park our car there. We had a concert to go to; my boyfriend paid for us to go to Tumble Down festival that weekend.

Anyhow, we parked our car, checked out the backyard super quick and then boom, this lady appeared… when she told my boyfriend she’d be working all day. Anyways, she left us real fast saying she had a children’s play to go to. He and I went to walk around Nurlington to wait for our friends who were showing up before we entered the festival. We went and bought these special limited edition #plumpciders that Twiddle created with another brewery, got something to eat, and went back to the house to drop the ciders off in my car so we didn’t have to walk around with them (plus the festival wouldn’t let us in with those).

This is where we met the host again… did she just drive around the block and wait for us to leave to come back to the house? Anyways, super unwelcoming again. We bought her cupcakes from a bakery in Massachusetts, she did not take them from me so I awkwardly put them on a table. She then asked us if we knew she lived there full time… we didn’t because it wasn’t in the ad that she was so crazy about us reading (my boyfriend and I both read it multiple times).

She then ridiculed us because we had asked her two questions: whether she had a fridge (wasn’t in the pictures and also wasn’t listed in the ad at the time under appliances when everything else was) and whether she had AC (wasn’t listed in the ad and she didn’t after all). After this terribly uncomfortable conversation we left and went to the festival. Our friends were there (who did walk into the house and scared the host, although we did say to call us when we got there; it was a little miscommunication).

The festival was no entry so we had to fight to get our tickets back, which we did because the box office people were very nice. We left the festival and went to the brewery right across the street to read a message from the host saying this might not be the right fit for her (meaning to stay at her house). Now, fearful we might not have a place to stay we messaged back apologizing for the miscommunications. We grabbed our friends and met up with her at the house for check in at 7:30. I knocked on the door; this scared her and she said she needed three more minutes.

Thirty minutes later she came out with wine and glasses for us to “hang out” and give us a tour of the house… when she knew we had a concert to go to. This all took about an hour if not more, extremely rude. Now the house was odd but cute at first. It was nothing like the pictures because she rearranged everything to block off certain rooms and half of a room. Whatever, we could deal with that.

That night we didn’t get to go to the concert due to rain by the time we got down there (money wasted), so we went back to the house, cracked open a beer and begin to hang out. I picked up a magnet from her fridge. The first one I touched said “paranoid”. Now, I know I may have overreacted at first, but this magnet came after I was looking at her fridge reading her lists that look like an anxiety attack; all to our own I suppose, but it freaked me out.

I went into the cabinet to grab a glass and there were also notes. Which I have pictures of, they are crazy: “fascination w/ gone (my fam) LYING…” (this one was super weird because she showed us a picture of her dead grandmother that she painted on her wall. In the picture it said something like ‘granny looking GOOD’), “unscrambled egg, sock”, “path our of adversity, after patio”, “DOUBT!!!!!”, “Not allowed to be….”, and more. However, those are the only pictures I have to show.

Then we found multiple books that were all pretty dark: “Masters of Deception”; “Something Wicked This Way Comes”, just two of the many to paint a nice picture. Now we move to the paintings. I mentioned the dead grandma one; let’s go to the upstairs one. On the ceiling wall was a beautiful one of a cat and a woman. On the one across from the bed we saw the word ‘worry” inside it. The painting was set up with 2-3 weird red gooey looking dripping blotches (maybe to resemble blood). The rest of the walls were painted white, but painted white to cover up some other paintings.

Let’s move to the best painting of them all, the downstairs living room painting. This one should be framed in the welcome lobby of that hotel from “American Horror Story – Hotel”. It would fit very well there. This painting looked very normal, but when you’re up at 12:30 AM, your friends have gone to sleep, and you’re a little buzzed from the beer you had, you begin to just stare at things, and I looked at this one. What words did I find? “Bleed out”, “boogeyman”, “dare”, “how”, “are”, “the”. They were strategically placed. It makes one think what sentences are in this painting.

Anyway, I was not feeling comfortable at all. How could anyone after the meeting with her, all these discoveries, and now an eerie feeling of just dark and extreme sadness in this hellhole? My stomach was killing me and my boyfriend’s chest was hurting. After trying to fall asleep, my body wouldn’t let me. Research how your body reacts in dangerous or uncomfortable places; it’s an instinctive reaction.

My boyfriend and I drove to the nearest Walmart parking where we found comfort; my stomach stopped hurting, as did his chest. We still could not sleep though. We waited until 4:00 AM came and drove to the Courtyard Marriott. The man working that night heard our story, saw how disheveled we looked, felt bad and booked us the last room they had because there was a cancellation.

He tried to give us the discounts he could, including the AAA one. He said check in would be at 1:00 PM. I couldn’t make it until then with no sleep and I couldn’t sleep in that damn house, so he said to call at 7:00 AM, ask for a certain lady and tell them that a room was blocked off for us by him. We drove back to the house and waited in the car until the sun rose, went inside and then at 7:00 AM we called and found that we were able to check in at 10:00 AM.

Our friends woke up at 7:30 AM and we went about our day… with no sleep. Well, our friends fell asleep upstairs without knowing about our adventure, until we showed them everything. My boyfriend and I went to the hotel room that day, slept for an hour or so, showered, met up with our friends and went to lunch. We told them they could stay with us that night; we had a two bedroom that was comfier and felt a lot safer.

That night we went to the concert, and went back to the house. Have you ever walked in somewhere and your heart started beating fast? Maybe I was a little anxious; I’m not a doctor so I don’t know what it was. We grabbed all of our things and went to the hotel room. We left that morning. You think that would be the end of the story, right?

The host texted my boyfriend asking if we had made the beds because they were so nicely made. He didn’t answer because he wanted no further contact about it. She continually texted him over and over asking about these beds… I just wanted her to wash the sheets and leave us alone.

The weekend to stay there cost us about 450ish dollars plus the $220 to stay at the hotel. Rightly so, my boyfriend wanted a refund for the second day because we didn’t stay at the house because if we wanted to have an experience like the movie 13 Ghosts we probably would have camped at Dudley Town… I guess we weren’t feeling it that weekend.

Airbnb refused our refund because we didn’t have proof that we didn’t stay. I called the hotel and the front desk lady emailed the receipt to me that we did stay there; however, my boyfriend didn’t want to peruse this anymore. You’d understand if you tried calling Airbnb; they’re awful with customer service. Check out Airbnb Hell if you’d like. They have plenty of stories on that website.

Anyhow, this begs the question, “why are you posting this then?” This lunatic decided to wait until the last day you can make a review to give us a horrible review on Airbnb, which other employees can see and help to make their decisions as to if we could stay at their house. This was very dirty on the host’s part. My boyfriend and I had decided we wouldn’t blow her spot up on the Internet, then this happened and well… we’re angry.

There you have it. I know I did a horrible job painting this picture of how uncomfortable this house was, and maybe some of you think that we were being overdramatic. Airbnb likes to use the word “subjective”. For those who know me, I’m not an overdramatic person nor am I a scaredy cat; but that house turned me into the biggest little bitch ever and I don’t think a refund for the night we did not stay there is a bad thing to ask for. Here is the link to the house.

Airbnb Farmhouse with Unexpected Extras in Store

We were looking for an Airbnb in Portugal from July 22nd until July 30th for four persons and a dog. After a big search we found a farmhouse in Sao Bartolomeu de Messines. The pictures were looking good: nice bedrooms, a swimming pool, two bathrooms, wifi, a terrace with a mountain view, a clean house, and very comfortable.

We made the reservation, paid the amount of a little more than €1200 and prepared for our holiday there. We bought a bigger car (the dog had to come too), made a list of things we had to take from home, planned the route to drive, booked hotels to stay at night, etc. In the meanwhile our dog become sick so it was better for him to stay at home in a dog hotel.

The hotels to stay overnight while driving to the Algarve were already booked and plane tickets are highly priced in the season; we decided to drive the full 2400 km to the Algarve. When we arrived in Portugal after a three-day drive, we couldn’t find the house, even not with a description of the route by the host. We had to call her several times to explain to us how to drive there. Finally she picked us up at a local gas station.

We drove to the “farmhouse”. First of all, regarding the access road: with a big 4×4 you would easily manage this road, but with a fully loaded station wagon it was a real struggle. The road was so narrow that turning the car was a real test in survival. On one side there was a ditch and on the other side, after two meters a deep ravine. The first signs already made it seem like we were staring in an episode of National Lampoon’s Vacation.

The farmhouse had a kitchen with an oven, full with rust. Frogs were in the bathroom. Salamanders were everywhere in and near the house. Big spiders were everywhere. The swimming pool (a little bigger than a bathtub) was full of green algae. The nice wooden garden chairs we saw in the pictures were replaced by old dirty white plastic chairs and sun beds. The TV as seen on the pictures had suddenly disappeared. The wifi was bad, really bad. Mobile phones didn’t work (no contact from any transmission mast). There were spiderwebs and dirt everywhere.

We arrived there Sunday July 22nd. On Monday morning, July 23rd we were going to the beach and contacted Airbnb to complain and to ask our refund. After several contact moments with some “specialist” they approved refunding us the money we paid and agreed we would leave the farmhouse the same day. Of course we had already booked a hotel in Albufeira to continue our holiday.

Airbnb said they would pay the refund first within 2-3 working days, then it would be within 5-7 working days. This was taking too long. I wrote to Airbnb directly that Mastercard guarantees refunds within one, or a maximum of two working days. After two working days, we had the refund in our account.

That’s not all: we wrote a bad review with pictures that proved the bad shape and bad conditions of the farmhouse. Airbnb decided to not publish this bad review on their page. Questions from our side: why they didn’t do it? It would give the host a bad name. It would not be in anyone’s advantage. Unbelievable. Well, this was the first time for us with Airbnb and for sure the last time.

Kicked Out of Property, Airbnb Made it Right

A day before our departure after a good four-day stay our hostess kicked us out of her house. She went in the house when we were gone to “check her plants” which I had been watering for her. She didn’t like that my wife put her carry-on bag on the leather ottoman and a duvet in another room because it was damp and musty in that room. We were on the ocean with no air conditioning. The whole house was damp and musty.

The hostess sent me a nastygram and then confronted me at the front door. She used very foul language and gestures and kicked us out with one hour to leave. She said she was going to get the police. Ridiculous…

We left in one hour and left the house in the same condition we found it. I got us a hotel room for the night and we survived. I contacted Airbnb immediately with an email message and a phone call. They handled it very well. They were very empathetic and even reimbursed us for the hotel room. They also banned this woman from using Airbnb.

They told me she was very uncooperative with their investigation. No surprise there. I was concerned that she would continue to use Airbnb and attempt to ruin someone else’s hard earned money and vacation time. I am completely satisfied with how Airbnb handled the situation and I will use them again.

First Time Airbnb Experience a Positive One

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This was my first time using Airbnb and it was sort of a horror story. We booked a room in a hotel resort with an option for an all-inclusive package to be paid at reception. Once we had driven several hours and checked in, the agreed price was marked up 50% from what was confirmed prior to booking. We called Airbnb and they advised us that they would honor the price difference as the host was unsympathetic and not willing to do so.

After dealing with Airbnb, night was falling and we started to see an infestation of cockroaches. We requested a callback from Airbnb and advised them we were out of there. They said they would find us alternative accommodation. By that night, we had not heard from them so we requested a callback; they said to book a hotel and they would reimburse us.

We stayed at a cheaper hotel and checked with them the next day. We never heard from them so we decided to just spend the money and book a five-star all-inclusive resort but only for three days and not the six which was initially booked. We never thought Airbnb would reimburse us for the hotel and thought it would be a battle to get the refund. Little did we know after going back and forth with Airbnb and them with the hostess, we got a full refund on the room booked. They also completely paid for our five-star hotel. We were eligible for the guest experience program.

All I can say is keep in touch with Airbnb when the first issues arises. We were impressed with the swiftness of reimbursement and the customer support from Airbnb for first time users. We were browsing this site upon investigating our ordeal. Reading all the horror stories, we’re glad we weren’t left hanging in the end.

Why do I have to pay for Airbnb services I didn’t use?

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We booked and prepaid for an Airbnb apartment in Malta, Sliema in April 2018 for our summer holiday from June 26th to July 24th. Surprisingly, when we arrived, the apartment was not ready at all (green smelly / brown tab water, mold, broken sofa, fridge with a lot of frost in it (I had to defrost and clean it), broken light in the kitchen hood, broken shower nozzle), which we directly reported to the host.

We stayed six nights (seven days) struggling, hearing from the host excuse “stories” about sandstorms, African rains, and government construction works. We were expecting a quick resolution, however after several unsuccessful attempts by the host to fix these issue, we had to move to other apartment at our own cost. As you can imagine it was absolutely necessary to ensure the safety of our kids and ourselves.

The host didn’t intend to solve the problem immediately, telling us that the plumber would cost him too much during public holidays which meant for us to stay three more days without water. We had to involve Airbnb. The water issue was solved on the seventh day of our stay and after a warning call from Airbnb, the owner had to change the water tank and water heater. We didn’t want to stay in that place any longer.

Moreover, the host has threatened us with legal action for an early contract termination, which is completely unacceptable. Based on that we have applied for a refund of the remaining 22 nights, however, our request was declined by the host and by Airbnb representatives as well. We are very disappointed in Airbnb and their position on declining our request about the refund for the unspent nights. We had to go through the Resolution Center and their final solution was to refund us only for six nights spent in the apartment. We found the solution really unfair. Why should we give our money to a dishonest host and pay for services we didn’t use?