Can’t Stay at Airbnb if There’s Nowhere to Park

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I saw this website. I discovered it was impossible to stay at the “cottage” I reserved on Airbnb. I could not park anywhere for blocks (possibly miles) around. It turned out to be located in a very congested neighborhood where cars lined the streets on both sides.  I felt misled as to the listing.

The attached picture is not what I saw. It was inaccessible; the directions said to enter the “cottage” by going through the yard of a “different house” — the one that was facing the street. The driveway of this “other home ” had a sign posted that said “do not park”.

I was  a nervous wreck, as I contemplated what on earth I was going to do if I couldn’t even park my car. Impatient drivers behind me kept honking their horns. One car was able to barely squeeze his way between my car and the row of cars to his left. He leaned into my car and said, “Get out of the way!”

I had nowhere to go but forward. As soon as I was able, I called the “host”, who did not answer. So I left a voice message saying, “I can’t stay at your house if I can’t even park my car. I expressed that I didn’t know what to do. I never got a return phone call.

I went to the Airbnb message center and chose the red highlighted area that said “contact Airbnb”. In between each four-way street traffic stops I wrote my complaint.  It took several attempts at explaining why I wanted to cancel. The site didn’t like “because I had nowhere to park” and it didn’t like “because the ad was misleading”, so I entered “because I don’t feel safe”.

Apparently it is some sort of preset answer/question format that has to see a certain reason as being acceptable before it comes back with the response I was looking for. Finally the response came back as “you will receive a full refund”.

At that, I headed home, all the way from Queens, New York (where the coronavirus had practically become an overnight pandemic) to Conway, Arkansas. I had not slept in over 24 hours because the other reservations I had made through Airbnb had to be cancelled when I saw that it was in a very high crime area. At least that reservation was cancelled without a problem.

Well, I arrive home three days later. I booked motel stays along the way (did not want to bother with Airbnb anymore) and guess what? I got an email from Airbnb that I was not entitled to a refund because of my host’s policy.

Boy, was I mad. My husband was furious. He jumped down my throat about booking with that company instead of just getting a motel. I immediately tried to complain. But, for some reason, I don’t recall why — I could not get a person to talk to.  I had to write my complaint out and waited for a reply.

When someone did contact me, after explaining all of the reasons I cancelled, I was told I had no supporting facts: no pictures, no correspondence.

How am I going to get that question/answer form that is on their end only? How am I supposed to get a picture of that sign in their driveway which said “do not park”?

As of now, I am out $260. I know that is not a lot of money, especially in comparison to some of these other unfortunate victims. If I were rich, I would pursue this with an attorney just for the principle  of the matter. I have submitted a third request for the refund I was promised.

No Response After Long-Term Guest Cancelled

My guest cancelled her one-year reservation on Feb. 26 after staying just one month, sent an email, and was gone the next day. I’ve contacted Airbnb and they promised to contact my guest.

Since then I haven’t received any messages from Airbnb. I did call twice myself (since I live abroad, it’s an expensive phone call) and got the same message: “We will contact the team involved and they will be back with you asap.”

I also wrote three emails asking about any kind of update. So far I haven’t received anything. I put my apartment on hold at Airbnb, and told them in an email that I would have a look at Booking.com. Now thanks to the coronavirus madness everything is on hold anyway, but boy I am disappointed about the attitude of Airbnb.

COVID-19 Double Standards of Airbnb

I booked accommodations in Brasilia, Brazil for a longer period, from February 24 to April 20. I am a PhD student and visit Brasilia once a year for my research work.

This time, unfortunately, four weeks into my stay, I had to return to Germany due to the travel advisories from the government. However, Airbnb’s COVID-19 policy doesn’t cover me only because I checked-in before March 14.

The policy is extremely flawed as it would cover me if I had made two separate bookings: one from the end of February to March 13, and another from March 14 to mid-April. Because I made one long booking, I’m not covered.

I definitely learned a lesson. Never book a longer stay with Airbnb. Now due to this policy not helping me, I am at the mercy of my host who has refused to refund me.

The funny part is that the accommodation that I booked was sold by the host to me with certain amenities — gym, pool, and sauna — but all those facilities are closed since March 16 due to COVID-19. The host still kept all the money and is not willing to reduce per night price.

Ironically, someone from the Airbnb support team replied that it was not the host‘s fault that the facilities in the building are closed. It is due to COVID-19 that the host won’t refund me.

Now the host is suddenly entitled to rip me off in the name of the coronavirus even though the host is not willing to accept my situation — canceling due to coronavirus — as an extenuating circumstance. If Airbnb or the host is not willing to refund me on the grounds that I have to cancel due tot the coronavirus, how can they use it as an excuse for not providing me the amenities that I paid for? If I do not get what I paid for, am I not entitled to a refund?

One support team member at Airbnb also told me that the host‘s financial situation doesn’t allow her to refund me. I feel as if I’m not a student but a charity organization who has to provide money to a host in need. So the new development in this coronavirus crisis is that the financial situation of a host entitles them to rob people of their money and Airbnb sides with them.

Airbnb Disaster in Mexico and Aftermath

We were staying in Cancun and had booked a condo on the beach for four days for $340.86 in Chicxulub, a small beach town on the Gulf of Mexico. Pictures looked great and description wonderful. We rented a car and drove the four hours to Chicxulub.

When we arrived, we discovered there was no elevator; it was our fault for not asking (we are 71 and 72 years old). There was no running water. I reached under the kitchen sink thinking I could turn it on there and discovered several spiderwebs. I didn’t touch anything.

A man appeared about five minutes after we arrived. He did not speak English and immediately went to the back of the condo. We walked back a few minutes later and found him trying to light the pilot light for the water heater. He was unsuccessful after several attempts and left. We tried the air conditioning (as advertised for this condo) and none of them worked in any room.

At this point we called the host and she did respond in a timely manner. We texted her describing the problems and she replied that she would send a plumber over in about 20-30 minutes. We thought about this briefly and decided that the situation was simply too overwhelming (we still had to carry four suitcases up three flights of narrow stairs).

We texted her back to let me know that we simply could not stay and that we were cancelling. She apologized and we left. I sent an email to Airbnb explaining the situation and they refused to refund anything except $30.

We have always used HomeAway. This was our first time using Airbnb and believe me, it will be the last. They even sent an email asking us to “rate our stay.” I don’t want to trash this host as she said she had no hand in all of the problems, but I don’t want anyone else to waste their time and money on this property.

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Never Been so Angry Dealing with Airbnb

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I booked with an Airbnb host going off the pictures. I arrived in LA and called to tell them I would be having dinner with a friend and would arrive late. They said that was not a problem.

After dinner I took an Uber to the location and called saying that I had arrived. They said they would be right down. I waited 15-20 minutes and finally a lady that actually looked homeless came out while on the phone and waved me to follow her.

We went through a broken gate and beat up door and entered the building in which the entrance was completely surrounded by trash on the floor. The air smelled like cigarettes and mildew. I walked further in and heard her on the phone saying she could not find a key for the room.

The place was a mess and gross. I felt so uncomfortable there. Especially with the virus all over.

She went off and told me to wait. I finally got tired of waiting, left, and got a hotel. I asked for a cancellation and refund and they refused.

I left a review and then they responded saying I was on drugs and that was not cool. I will be going after them legally. I have already hired a private investigator. I also emailed the CEO of Airbnb.

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Long-Term Trip Cut Short by Coronavirus

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These are unfortunate times for all of us. Upon hearing the news that nobody could leave their houses, I read this message and realized it applied to me during my stay in downtown San Francisco. The government issued orders that meant I should stay indoors and would be better off at home than raising concerns for other Airbnb residents or hosts by staying in an Airbnb room.

In this case, I took the most reasonable decision to return home only 10 days or so into 30-day reservation. I am seeking a refund for a portion if not all of my stay due to this inconvenience and to maintain goodwill in Airbnb going forward.

I’m disappointed that upon reading a detailed policy and not seeing the refund, I am not sure if I was approved for a refund. I am asking Airbnb to reconsider my case. It’s my first time using the extended stay option and I’m now very hesitant to use in the future if a fair refund isn’t possible.

Pensacola Letdown Leads to Three-Year Battle for Refund

I have been a long-time customer of Airbnb. In December 2017 we booked a place in Pensacola. When we arrived the place was a mess, and obviously not clean from the previous occupant. I phoned the host and she offered to rush over and clean it.

At this point my husband refused to stay. We left and stayed at a nearby hotel with free breakfast.

The host offered a full refund. Over the next two years and after countless emails, she refunded what she was given from Airbnb in March 2020. I had a stroke in January 2018 and again in November 2018. Needless to say, this slowed down my efforts to obtain my refund.

When I explained my situation to Airbnb support, they said I waited too long. Well, the host dragged it out to her advantage; I couldn’t even leave a review at that point. I’m not talking about a lot of money here; it’s the principle. Guess I’ll stick to hotels — at least they feed you and give points for free stays, and are usually ready for your stay.

Cured Photos, Airbnb Says Everything is Within Policy

We had to escape from an Airbnb apartment. It was not as described, with photos only showing the best parts of it.

Most importantly, it was unsafe. The neighboring building was a dump and abandoned apparently; the picture of the entrance did not show this. I have proof of how it looks in reality and can send it. It is unsafe.

We couldn’t get into the apartment because the path to it was completely covered with ice. There were literally no steps; it had not been cleaned for weeks. We have taken pictures of this. I fell and almost ended up on the road with cars. The icy path opened directly to the busy road and there were no pathways.

The bed was yellowed and very old. We could not even think of sleeping on it. The toilet was clean but smelled of urine — filthy and not hygienic. The other small bedroom had the window shut from the outside. This Airbnb was nothing like the sunshine in the pictures.

Threatening Behavior, Locked out by Host

My partner and I stayed at an Airbnb in Palm Springs on Monday, February 17th. The room was booked for that night and the following night.

Upon arrival, the front gate was open, as the majority of the facility was under construction, something that was not disclosed when we booked the place. The door code provided to us in an email and also reiterated in text message for the door to our room did not work.

We toiled with the door for a while and after becoming frustrated, a maintenance person came over, tried the code we were provided, and could not gain access. He then used a different code to let us in. He apologized profusely, introduced himself, and said he would reset the lock and send an email with the new code. He also said we could reach out to him if we needed anything.

Once inside we tried to take a nap, but the loud construction in the unit above and the surrounding units was too disturbing. There seemed to be renovations happening in most of the rooms, as doors to most of the units were open and construction workers were coming and going throughout the property… not exactly the relaxing environment we were paying a premium for.

I made a mental note that I would not be lounging by the pool in my bathing suit the next day as I’d been planning. After waiting several hours for the code that never came, we called the number provided in the welcome email, and texting the number that had been given to us “if we needed anything at all.”

After calling several times and waiting on hold, we were given a new code which worked on the door to our room when we tested it. We left for dinner, a reservation for which we were late due to the delay in getting the code.

Upon returning, we could not gain access to the property’s main gate with the code provided to us in the original email. We both tried many times to input the code we were given for the gate but it did not work.

We again called the number and were told by the same woman who had reset our door code earlier that she could see us in the security camera and to input a code she gave us, which was the same code we’d received in email. She watched us as we tried that code over and over again. When it did not work, she put us on hold for over 15 minutes.

We were standing outside without coats, freezing in the pitch black for this entire experience. This was around 8:30 PM and sunset was at 5:30 PM that night. It was our first trip to Palm Springs and had no idea how safe this neighborhood was at night. We were on hold for so long my partner tried calling the customer service number from her phone, which went unanswered.

Eventually, another guest arrived and put a code in which opened the gate and we followed them into the property. The new code, provided to us before we left for dinner, worked on our room door and we went inside.

We were still on the phone with the customer service woman, who was rudely asking us to repeat back to her the code we had been using that didn’t work — which was the exact code she had been telling us on the phone. I’m unsure as to why she wanted us to repeat it back to her. She clearly was accusing us of putting the wrong four-digit code into a lock. This was not user error.

She also told us to go to the room of the other guests we followed in, knock on their door, and ask them what code they had put into the gate. That sounded like a great way to get the police called or get shot in the middle of the night. Not to mention anxiety-producing for them to have two strangers knock on their door in the middle of the night to work out logistical nonsense that the property managers couldn’t figure out.

Well within our rights and on the basis of sanity, we did not go knock on their door. As we were having this conversation with her, we got a knock on the door. It was the same maintenance worker who let us into our room earlier upon our arrival earlier in the day when the code wouldn’t work.

When I answered the door he was profusely apologizing both for us being locked out when we arrived and for us being locked out when we came back from dinner. As we were listening to him, another man who did not identify himself and was dressed in track pants and t-shirt came out of nowhere in a very aggressive way and started demanding that I, a female, leave our room and go with him to the front gate of the property to show him the code we had tried to use that wasn’t working.

I explained that I intended to check out of the facility as soon as possible and I would not be needing to leave and come back to the site, therefore I was no longer in need of a working code for the front gate. He screamed at me that I was being uncooperative and I would not be getting a refund for not staying there the next night unless I went outside with him and showed him the code I was trying to put into the gate.

I explained again that I intended to leave the property first thing in the morning and would not be returning so I was not in need of a working code for the front gate. At one point, the maintenance worker put his hand on this man’s shoulder to hold him back and calm him down because he was acting so aggressive and uncontrollable.

At this point, I realized I didn’t know who the man was and asked him – “who is this guy?” – to which the man shouted “I’m the manager of this place!”

Prior to this, and although he had been standing at my door yelling for over five minutes, he did not introduce himself, offer any identification, nor did he appear dressed in any manner that a professional employee would. He literally ran up on us in the dark and started angrily demanding we follow him out in to the dark to put the code into the outer gate.

We refused. We did not know who this person was, it was dark, we are female, his behavior was volatile, and we were on vacation and not obligated to spend our time solving logistical nonsense because the locks don’t work.

The situation escalated, with the man yelling at us for being “uncooperative” and telling us we would not be helped or refunded any amount of money unless we went with him to try the code. He was so angry and out of control that the other man had his hand on him to calm him down and, presumably, prevent him from crossing any lines and assaulting me or my partner.

At that point I felt unsafe and threatened, was done wasting my time and vacation listening to his nonsense, and closed the door. I tried to call Airbnb several times and each time was sent an auto-generated message that I had to click which I was told would advance me to customer service. Each time I tried this I was hung up on and had to call back.

Finally, after multiple attempts to reach someone I called the neighborhood complaint line and finally connected to a real person. I explained the situation to the woman who answered, and she said she needed to transfer me to customer service. I was then transferred to a man whom I told all the same information and explained that I felt unsafe at the property and wanted assistance finding a new place to stay for the night and the following night.

He told me he was going to call the property manager and call me back within 30 minutes. I reiterated that I would hear from him in 30 minutes and he confirmed I would. I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear I did not receive a call back from the man that night or the following morning. We ended up sleeping with my girlfriend’s pepper spray out and woke up with every noise we heard.

I called Airbnb again the next morning at 8:00 AM, as we were leaving for good — a day earlier than we planned. We booked another place to stay because we were so upset and felt threatened to continue to there.

My call that morning was my eighth call to Airbnb regarding this matter. I was transferred to customer service who told me she would reach out to the property manager and call me back within an hour, but in the meantime she would message me on the Airbnb app so I had her contact information.

She called me back about twenty minutes later to ask if I knew the man’s name who was threatening me and I confirmed I did not because he did not introduce himself. She told me I would hear back from her within an hour and, unsurprisingly, I did not.

I followed up on the Airbnb message at 5:30 that night, ten hours after I had spoken to her and received no response. I then followed up again the next day and didn’t receive a response for multiple hours. I finally connected with a man telling me he was a manger with Airbnb who told me to send him my receipt for the night I had to book at a different location and he would start processing a refund for the time there and the cost to stay at the new location. He then didn’t respond for two days.

When I followed up, he said he had been out of town and was still waiting to hear back from the property on my refund. I do not understand why Airbnb needed to consult them about my refund. There is no disputing I was locked out of my room and locked out of the facility twice. There is no disputing that I was screamed at and physically threatened by a man who worked for them who purported to be the manager.

What more does Airbnb need to give me a refund? Is this a customer service experience they are comfortable with?

I got so tired of the onus of following up being on me that I called my bank and explained the issue to them. They were horrified and refunded my money and told me they would deal with Airbnb.

Every time I relay this story to someone I am aghast as are they with not only how the property treated me but how Airbnb was difficult to reach, slow to respond and seemed unconcerned that this situation had occurred.

Can you imagine if this was your vacation? How would you feel being treated like this and having to spend a tremendous amount of time and energy trying to get your money back?

I would like Airbnb to explain to me, since their reaction and follow up indicate they think this situation was acceptable: what you would have done if this happened to you? What would you suggest your family or friends do if it happened to them? There are plenty of other hospitality options these days and because of that, customer service has never been more important.

Here is my ultimate question: is the experience I had on my vacation while staying in an Airbnb acceptable? Is the customer service experience I outlined above acceptable?

If this is acceptable per the tenants of Airbnb’s corporate customer service and experience policies, then Airbnb will no longer be getting any of my business, and I will be sure to let my network of friends, acquaintances, and colleagues know their stance. If this is not acceptable, please explain to me what I should have done differently.