Six-hour drive and no property access in due time

Let me begin first by saying that I sincerely value what the Airbnb company provides and the opportunities it offers for people to choose their home away from home. Airbnb is my go-to choice when I want to find a unique and personal accommodation when I’m not home. The additional welcoming hospitality from the hosts makes my stays even more memorable. However, that is not always the case and sometime the host fails to deliver.

Unfortunately, this is what happened during my last trip. This complaint is against Airbnb for not vetting their hosts sufficiently enough and not being able to resolve an issue knowing that a host was unprofessional and unable to provide the access for a guest to check in. This complaint is also against Airbnb for assigning a resolutions specialist who deliberately used pivot tactics to misconstrue presented facts and avoided providing the answers, who demonstrated a lack of action and unwillingness to comply with the Airbnb Guest Refund policy, and who were not able to manage a host and act as a mediator to enforce the company policy and the terms of agreement between the host and the client.

This complaint is also against Airbnb for their unwillingness to accept the corporate responsibility and not resolving the matter in due time, consequentially causing an additional cost to its client in a form of two calendar days of vacation until the matter had to be escalated to a banking institution. Finally, the complaint is against Airbnb for not providing me a full refund for services not delivered. I strongly advised the case manager to resolve this matter amicably before I have to contact the bank. The case manager was also advised that further escalation could also lead to respective requests and reviews on BBB, CFPB, FTC, other affiliated agencies, Yelp, FB and other social media platforms.

My wife, our dog and I were returning back to our home from our ten-day vacation. Our dog is subject to anxiety attacks and has to take his calming medication during travelling. Our last stop was going to be a one-night stay in Dallas on August 29-30, 2019. The drive to Dallas was approximately six hours to reach our Airbnb destination. The reservation was paid in full on August 4th and all required documentation submitted and approved in advance.

The terms of agreement explicitly stated the check-in was at 4:00 PM onwards as our normal check-in time. That means the access should have been readily available any time after 4:00 PM. There was no additional agreement outside of the confirmed reservation. I complied with the terms of the agreement. The host did not.

The host also requested a minimum of 45-minute advance notice in order to meet us at the property when we arrive. I complied. The host did not. I sent the host a text message at 13:54 with a precise ETA between 18:30 and 19:00. This advance notice was sent well before the 45-minute requirement set by the host. They had plenty of time to prepare and provide access. Please note that the original terms of agreement did not include a provision for a delay. Late check-in was not discussed in advance. Late check-in would have been declined and a different host would have been chosen instead. However, a 10-15 minute delay would have been tolerated.

We arrived at 18:25. That was only five minutes earlier than the advised ETA of 18:30. The key wasn’t available. The host representative was also not present. We advised in advance our arrival time as requested by the host. The host was not ready. The access was not available.

This is a clear discrepancy and a deviation from the original terms of the agreement. The host demonstrated a gross negligence and lack of professionalism. The failure to provide the key in due time is a clear violation of terms of agreement. The provided ETA was within five minutes after six hours of driving. This is precise and more than sufficient to enable prompt access as per terms of agreement. The key was initially provided and placed in the lock box.

This situation and the delay would not have happened if the key was not removed by the host for an unknown reason. The key was removed from the lockbox without notifying me in advance. The delay was not advised in advance.

I immediately called the host once the key was found to be missing. A host representative promised the key would be delivered within 15 minutes. This was already the breach of terms of agreement, but I agreed to wait. By this time our dog started to exhibit the first signs of the anxiety attack after the six-hour drive.

I called back 15 minutes later and was told by the host it would be another additional 15 minutes. Her statement had no merit based on her first promised time of delivery. By that time my dog’s anxiety attack was fully developed and we had to leave. This was a wise decision also because otherwise the total delay time would have been 47 minutes.

The host representative did not supply the key until 7:13 PM. By that time we were long gone. We had to find accommodations elsewhere. We could not wait because we were on the road for six hours and our dog had an anxiety attack. The dog takes anti-anxiety medication. Staying to wait for the key would have jeopardized the safety and the well-being of our dog. A 47-minute delay is unacceptable.

We did not stay also because the host demonstrated gross negligence and did not comply with the terms of agreement. Frankly speaking, we could not stay because the host did not provide access as promised and explicitly stated in the terms of the agreement. Additionally, the host representative chose to send additional information via text messaging while I was driving. This could have been done in advance to avoid unnecessary safety hazards.

The barrage of text messages carried a significant risk. They disrupted my Google maps and my driving safety. This is unacceptable. This is a clear pattern of behavior that can get your clients killed while driving. Also, the host representatives were clearly not aligned between themselves on the proof of identification. Hence, they ensued in a conversation in a group text message while I was driving. This demonstrated a blatant lack of professionalism and communication between the host representatives.

After my two attempts to contact the host and remedy the situation amicably in due time I immediately contacted Airbnb on August 29 at 19:08 CST and had the dispute case started to investigate this matter. The case was assigned to the case manager. I asked him to read through all the communication between the host and myself to get a sense of what really happened. I provided him with all the call history and the screenshots for reference. He got involved and called the host.

Unfortunately, the host offered to refund only 20% of the reservation cost. It is reasonable to presume that the offered 20% from the host proves the host accepted the liability for not following through with the original terms of the agreement. I’d like to think that the case manager’s role is not to simply accept what’s offered, but to see if the terms of agreement were fulfilled. I’d like to think that the role of an Airbnb case manager is to enforce the compliance and also demonstrate the ownership of the corporate responsibility when it is needed.

Unfortunately, during the course of the case investigation the Airbnb case manager failed to execute his task with due diligence by making false claims, omitting important details, deliberately avoiding to respond to presented facts and arguments, choosing not to comply with the Airbnb Guest Refund policy, and refusing to accept the corporate responsibility in accordance with the terms of the agreement.

The offered 20% is insignificant compared to incurred costs to compensate for lost time, emotional stress, and an additional opportunity cost in a form of two calendar days of vacation. Frankly speaking, in large companies a breach of contract carries an additional penalty cost over the 100% of the initial baseline agreement cost.

I sincerely hope that Airbnb will review the validity of the license agreement with the host and suspend it to avoid other similar situations in the future. All of this clearly shows beyond the reasonable doubt the failure of the host to comply with the terms of the agreement, a violation of basic safety rules, and Airbnb company communication policy.

Where’s Airbnb’s Policy with a Mouse in the Caravan?

We went for a family holiday and business trip to North Wales. I was taking part in a Welsh Culture Festival selling fashion. We decided to stay in a caravan about 30 minutes from the festival. It was a little old and gave us the basic requirements we needed but the reviews looked good so it was a done deal. My mother is also disabled so we needed somewhere she didn’t have to walk upstairs.

When we got there, the first impressions were okay, but the more you sat in the dingy caravan the more you discovered. Firstly, I got an Airbnb message from the host on my phone. I tried to text her back but it would only let me communicate through the website. I did, then the host texted me directly. This is where I know we went wrong.

All of the correspondence between us and the host was via text. The first thing she told me was her cesspit would be emptied the day after our arrival. We would have to sit in her garden with years’ worth of poo being emptied before us. The cesspit was also uncomfortably close to the caravan. We booked the caravan months in advance so she could have booked this at any other time but didn’t.

I soon discovered that there was no wifi, even though it said on the listing that there was. She then said she would contact her son who was “profoundly deaf and might be working”, one of her many excuses, like “I think I just need to put my hotspot on.” Let me get this straight: you’re advertising wifi to your guests using a hotspot on your phone in the house next door to the caravan?

At this point we didn’t even know if she was in the house or in another country so we could have been using a hotspot in England for all we knew. May I add she was also painfully slow at responding to our messages, leaving at least 30 minutes between each one.

Already disappointed, we tried our best to keep our spirits up, even after walking in on the pungent smell in the small bedroom, and cobwebs all over the place. As it got dark I turned the lights on and you could see that the carpet hadn’t been cleaned at all. I found plaster on the floor, and bugs stuck in the ceiling light.

Then something moved in the corner of my eye. All three of us looked at each other… what was that? “A moth,” I thought.

“A spider,” my dad thought.

My mum knew: a mouse. It ran under a small cabinet. I crept down on the floor to have a look and saw. Sat next to a leaf in the shadows was the mouse, frozen in sight staring right at me. My mum and I went to sit back on the sofa with our legs up, then we saw him scutter out from under the cabinet and into the kitchen area. We think he went into the kitchen cabinets then, either to hide in some kind of nest or through a hole out of the caravan as we couldn’t see him after that. He was cute but I’m sorry, unwelcome.

We complained about the situation to the host and asked if it could be sorted that night. We would have been willing to stay, maybe, if she would have been willing to do something about the situation. We waited an hour with no response. When we finally got a response she claimed she had lived there for 30 years and had never seen a mouse; she was gobsmacked.

She then tried to blame it on the farmer next door, asking if it was a field mouse as he had been doing the fields and then some girl that did the changeover might have let it in? Then she said, “Could you not just pick it up and throw it out?” Excuse me?

In the time she spent ignoring our messages, we managed to pull back the sofa and saw mouse droppings scattered everywhere. On closer inspection I found more in the dining area, and a few in the bathroom. This wasn’t a lone mouse that wandered in, it was a recurring problem. After seeing it scurry into the kitchen cupboards we knew it could potentially contaminate our food.

It got really late. We were running out of time to find back up accommodation, so we left and told her we wanted a full refund. She was “apologetic” but not really, still sticking to the same script.

We decided to go straight to Airbnb that night with all the photos we took and screenshots of the messages taken. Then at 1:00 AM she sent a paragraph of a text demanding to know why we said such horrible lies about her caravan. She had no problem responding then. She claimed she went to the caravan but we had already left, so she magically made an appearance late at night, stating that the caravan was spotless. She stays in five-star hotels and it was immaculately clean apparently.

As we drove past her house it was clear that it was dirty; in the conservatory there were piles of boxes and bin bags stacked on top of each other. The entrance of the house was full of beat up old cars and more trash.

Airbnb did nothing. We had pictures of the mouse droppings, dust and uncleanliness, and insects in the caravan and provided all of the screenshots. We were told “we can’t use text messages as evidence as they can be doctored.”

We couldn’t receive our money back as she claimed we didn’t tell her about any of the issues so they’ve taken her word for it and I have now lost £580 for a 10-night stay + about £1000 for last-minute accommodation for the week. All they did was offer a coupon for our next stay, and after bickering with them for a bit they retracted this coupon anyway.

I haven’t added the listing, and haven’t written a review yet as we are taking legal action and trying to get our money back via PayPal. She has some bad reviews on her profile concerning the cleanliness but they’re mainly good. I went to check recently and saw that she suddenly had loads of new reviews for July. Strange… either she had so many guests before us and couldn’t clean or they’re doctored in some way. Airbnb is more than happy to leave a rodent-infested listing on their website, so their policies have no legs.

Terrible and Irresponsible Customer Service from Airbnb

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We booked an apartment in Panama City, Panama with a so-called Superhost. The neighborhood was so dirty and unsafe that we had to cancel our booking right after arrival. Please see attached one of the pictures and one of the many fruitless emails to Airbnb customer service. Airbnb not only did not refund our money, more importantly they did not do anything to rectify the situation and de-list this property so other guests don’t face the same situation. It seems they do not care about their reputation or the safety of their customers.

When we arrived at the location, we realized the condo was in an undesirable, unsafe and unclean neighborhood. Many people were hanging out and part of the intersection was under construction. Moreover, there were two big dumpsters right in front of the entrance, and homeless people were digging in. I have posted some pictures which show the garbage (even a toilet bowl) lying on the street and sidewalk right in front of the building.

We felt unsafe, both in terms of safety and health, to stay in that condo. I should also add that the condo we booked had a different name than the name sent by the host in the welcome note. When we inquired, the host mentioned that it was an error by their administration and assured the condo is the same as shown in the picture, while Google Maps shows them in two different locations.

As soon as we arrived and realized the situation, without checking in, we contacted the host’s assistant, reported the situation and asked if we could be placed in any other units owned by the host. Since they were all booked, she suggested that we cancel the booking to be refunded. We contacted another host, and he was kind enough to accommodate us last minute even by waiving the minimum 30-day requirement. We have since contacted the host and have asked for the full refund of our booking, which has been unanswered.

We would like a full refund including the booking fees charged by Airbnb. We have since given up on getting our money. Just wanted to share our experience so hopefully someone pays attention.

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Airbnb Nightmare in Cottage Country, Ontario

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I sent photos below to Airbnb to show the unhygienic and gross hellhole that was misrepresented as Muskoka Rocks in Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada. It was filthy, unsafe and disgusting. It was impossible to stay and the host could not have improved our stay within hours. The house we stayed in was not the house in the picture on the website. It was a firetrap and was unlivable.

We have asked for a refund but got no response except for an offer of $200. This rental was $1600 for six nights. We went for a small getaway to celebrate one year of my companion being clear of Stage 4 cancer. I’m disappointed and disgusted by Airbnb’s lack of humanity and moral accountability. The host deliberately misrepresented the place and even put another gorgeous house on the site. Our one-star review has never appeared on the site. Any advice or help is welcome.

Odd Airbnb Host and Bad Room Causes us to Leave

My mother and I wanted to stay in NJ close to NYC for a weekend. We booked a single room only to have it changed to another location at the last minute. We accepted just to not cause trouble.

We arrived at the time that we and the host agreed on and lo and behold, she wasn’t there. We waited an hour in the New York summer outside of the building only for a completely different person to arrive because apparently the host was out of town but didn’t tell us until that day.

We finally got in and the place smelled like cheap perfume or some garbage air freshener. We soon found out that there were four other people in this one apartment and only one bathroom. The kitchen was so cluttered that they stored the pots and pans inside the oven. They obviously hadn’t cleaned out the fridge; it had leftovers from the last guests and expired juice.

The bathroom had tiles falling down from the ceiling and I almost fell in the tub because the mat they put in was so slippery. Our bed was just awful; the sheets were mismatched and hideous (I know, small complaint, but it sucked). The room was obviously not up to code, no smoke detectors, and probably overall the listing was illegal in the first place.

I felt unsafe, it was hot, the host barely spoke english, and the other residents in the apartment locked the deadbolt, leaving us locked out until they finally heard us knocking. Just so disorganized, dysfunctional and messy. I’m paying for a hotel or a hostel in the city next time because this blew so badly.

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Last Resort Airbnb with no Air Conditioning

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I am a active duty service member. My deployment was recently canceled which left me without a place to stay. I left my place due to last-minute orders and could not go back because it was no longer available. I booked a Airbnb closest to base with the intention to stay until I got paid and could sign a lease.

When I checked in, the temperature on the thermostat said 93 degrees. Since I had nowhere else to go I figured I could stick it out. That night I couldn’t sleep and had to go to work the next day. At 2:00 AM I couldn’t take it, got dressed, drove to work and slept in the parking lot. That morning I messaged the host who seemed surprised that I complained about the heat. I couldn’t risk another night like that so I left with no other means.

You would think that the military could have provided me assistance but they couldn’t so I was homeless until a coworker took me in. Airbnb has sided with the host who refuses to refund me. This was clearly false advertising since she knew that she didn’t have air conditioning available at the time of my check in and could have had the decency to tell me so I could cancel and find somewhere else to go.

Host Enters at Night, Scaring Family with Small Children

I am utterly lost as to what to do as I cannot get hold of anyone from Airbnb. Through Twitter they keep saying a case manager will get back to me, but no one ever does.

We booked a two-week stay at an apartment advertised as having two double and one single bedrooms plus an air mattress in living room. We arrived at night after a tiring 12-hour journey with our young children. It turned out that there was just one double bedroom and a small toddler bed available to us as the usual resident had hoarded so much stuff the other bedroom was completely inaccessible; it was a store room and there was no air mattress. It was already past our kids’ bedtime however, so we thought we should just get them to bed and see what we could do in the morning.

The apartment was utterly filthy: thick, black mold in the shower cubicle, by the windows and bed, blobs of something and pubes on the bathroom floor, the linen didn’t feel or smell fresh, piles and piles of stuff everywhere so we couldn’t unpack our suitcases, filthy kitchen facilities and caked-on food. As there wasn’t room as advertised, we had to make a makeshift bed on the floor for one of us.

We took photos straightaway, called Airbnb, and asked to move. They said that we had to give the host a chance to rectify it out of courtesy. I contacted him and he said that it was too late for him to come and clean. I said that we could go on a day trip and be out the whole day for him to clean but he declined, saying he was busy. I then suggested that if he was away, perhaps he could send a cleaner. He said no, but that we could clean it ourselves.

In between communications, I caught a severe bug and was taken to A&E. It was the biggest national holiday in the country so finding elsewhere that day was proving impossible and I wouldn’t have been well enough to move. Despite the host knowing this, he suggested I clean it. I had to clean some areas in the kitchen so that we could eat, but obviously wouldn’t scrub someone’s house on my only annual holiday and also when I was severely ill.

We asked for help from Airbnb who said on the phone and confirmed by email that as per their policy, they have asked the host to come and clean and that he will need to refund us for the nights affected and the paid period starts from when he has done so. That day we also found what looked like vermin feces in the kitchen and thought that was it – we had to get out.

The only Airbnb with enough room was one far more expensive and Airbnb did not help us with what would happen with the extra cost as it was over our budget. During calling Airbnb for advice, someone else snapped up the other apartment and I continued asking for Airbnb to help. The host was meant to come and clean the afternoon the next day, but instead, to our huge fright, he used his keys and barged in at night.

He was intoxicated, very tall and large, and had to be stopped from walking in closer to me and the children. He proceeded to shout, get aggressive to my husband, and said he wanted us out. He was angry about Airbnb’s instructions to him and our complaint. I was so frightened I called the police and would have been able to do nothing to him had my husband not been in as he was so large.

I called Airbnb’s security number, and all they did was take my number and ensured someone would ring me asap. I kept ringing and only got through some ten hours later; they still did nothing. The police came and so frightened he would return, I found the cheaper of only two available hotels. We packed, cleaned as not to affect our rating whilst the other watched the door, lifted our little ones into the car and moved to a hotel just before midnight.

We were traumatized and for a long time afterwards I had to still keep double checking the doors were locked at home. To this day, I check on our children at night to ensure they are okay and still there. The children were very unsettled and we had tears in our eyes by the time we went to the hotel. We did not want to move them again so incurred the unexpected cost of the hotel and had to get food out which was really expensive compared to cooking at home. Our son had also been struck by the bug so was laid out in the hotel room.

I spent rest of the holiday trying to sort out the situation with Airbnb and we feel like we had no holiday; we came back more worn out than when we left. The host also contacted me outside Airbnb messaging saying gross things like I have worn his partners underwear and shared my contact details with someone else to harass me to click “cancel” myself, which I didn’t as I assumed it would affect refunds.

Airbnb did not follow through on their email and I did not receive a full refund for the affected nights. I took the matter up with my bank, who made a decision that it was not as advertised and not fit for our purposes after reviewing my photo evidence and police report; they returned my money. However, the host left me a bad review to say he would not recommend our family to any host, which is unfair as despite all that happened, we left the apartment far cleaner than we found it and broke no rules.

Despite police involvement and misleading advertising and harassing messages, Airbnb is not banning him. I truly hope other travelers are safe in his rentals. We had to fork out for an unexpected hotel bill and all stay in one room for the remainder of our stay despite our whole holiday being ruined and us being left traumatized by the utterly frightening incident of a large man entering at night when we were putting our little ones to bed.

Airbnb closed my case, and the host continues hosting. They promised through Twitter to contact me but didn’t. I am still so shaken up. Had he come an hour earlier, I would have been upstairs in the shower with the children closest to the stairs and my husband out. He was in such a mood he would not have turned away. My son still has the infection he acquired whilst there, so it was the worst holiday we have ever endured.

What do I do about these issues I still have? Airbnb is impossible to get an answer from. All I get at best is that someone will get back to me, but they never do. I want to do my bit to keep other travelers safe out there, particularly people with children.

Horrible Airbnb Hostel, Horrible Service

I suffer from middle ear issues which causes imbalance/vertigo, especially after long flights. I contacted a host prior to booking and asked if I could check-in early so I could lie down. She said that was fine. I booked at her place, but on arrival, she told me that someone was in my room and I couldn’t check-in. She wouldn’t even let me lie down in her house. Link to her room.

I was so dizzy I could barely walk. I had to leave my suitcase at her place and walk down and lie in an oval for six hours. While there, I had no water, food, and I was nearly mugged (I had my laptop out and a guy on a bicycle kept circling; I had to finally lie in the full sun because it was near a couple of other guys; I ended up sunburnt).

Airbnb contacted me and promised they would help me find other accommodation. I needed somewhere close by because I would be catching up with friends in that area in a couple of days. I couldn’t find any nice cheap accommodation in that area, so I sent a link for something just a little more expensive (not much considering what I’d gone through).

Airbnb stopped getting back to me and wouldn’t confirm if I could book. My phone was nearly flat and I didn’t know what to do, so I found another, cheaper, place in London and quickly booked (I didn’t have time to Google the address because I had 2% battery).

When I went back to get my suitcase, the host had locked me out of her house (I had a key, but she’d locked both locks). I then had to sit on her doorstep for long time. When she arrived she laughed in my face and said, “Because you asked me to cancel the booking, you can’t write a bad review.”

I began to cry. It got worse.

My phone went flat and then I had to walk my suitcase up a steep road to a cafe, charge it, and then call a taxi from there. It was then that I found out that my new accommodation was three hours on public transport from where my friends live (also a one-hour taxi ride which cost me 100 AUD; I sent Airbnb the receipt asking for refund and they have manually removed the receipt from the conversation).

I rang Airbnb and they told me that they would help. The gentleman said he would personally fix this terrible thing that happened to me and move me closer to my friends. He promised me that Airbnb would make up any financial losses. He promised me he would take on my case personally until it was resolved. Then I received a message through Airbnb, where he stated that he wouldn’t take on my case, and that it was being passed back to the person who didn’t fix things last time and who left me stranded in an oval, spinning like a top.

It has been hours and I still haven’t received any contact from Airbnb. Now I’m stuck on the other side of London, three hours on public transport from where my friends are. The first week of my holiday is ruined; and worse still, Airbnb is no longer answering my calls. I just want to cry. I wish I had booked a hotel room.

Airbnb Helps Scammers Rob Unaware Guests

After hearing about Airbnb for years, we decided to try it. We were visiting family and were too many to fit comfortably, so we decided to get an Airbnb nearby since hotels were 30-40 minutes away. The idea was to minimize the travel time. The price of the Airbnb was more than the hotel, but again, we wanted to be nearby.

We arrived to find the Airbnb was in a crime-ridden area of the city, with lots of people talking loudly on the stoops at 10:00 PM, drinking and smoking. Absolutely no parking around, even double parked cars. Police and emergency activity in the surroundings. We did not feel safe staying in this place, that by the way, was a tenement.

The listing made it sound like you would have a private apartment for your family, but what they have done is divide a house into rooms, each with a lock. Even the former living room was converted into a bedroom. There were four individually rented rooms in what used to be a three-bedroom house. That was not what we signed up for and paid $99/night. For comparison you could get a 2-3 star hotel room for $80.

We decided to squeeze with family and cancel this awful place. Then we discovered that even though we canceled the host was entitled to keep our money since most of what we paid was non-refundable. We only got 10% back.

I thought Airbnb protected the guest, but unfortunately they only protect the hosts. There is absolutely no reason that the host can rent this dump and when just arrive and decide not to stay, they get to keep all your money even though they can re-rent the place. Maybe they should keep the money for the first night, but all of it? Needless to say we would never, ever try Airbnb again.

PS: We Googled the address after seeing it and found that there was a murder next door in 2016, drug arrests, shootings and more in the recent past. How Airbnb thinks this is a place to offer to unaware guests is beyond me.

Breaking into Paris Airbnb… for Laundry Soap?

What I’m about to describe is a horrible experience with Airbnb (both on the guest end and maybe even worse on the customer service end) that has since unfortunately led me to decide that I will never use Airbnb again. I wish this wasn’t the case because it is such a unique and affordable option for travel, but their company really showed me how little they care about their customers.

I was originally just planning to simply write a review about the safety issue directly on my guest’s profile and be done with it, however as I will explain after I tell about my experience as a guest at the Airbnb in question, they removed/censored my review (obviously this was done because my host was a Superhost that brings their company in money). I decided that I was not about to let the public not know about the safety concern that this host presents and Airbnb’s customer service and censorship/control over its guests. Without further ado, here is what the review was originally going to be.

Our trip to this host’s apartment started off well. He was in good communication with us, and the place looked clean and had tons of amenities like it promised. He was out of the country, so he had his friend staying in the apartment to check us in and show us around. His friend was super helpful. It was going great, until five days into our two-week stay.

The fifth night there I was taking a shower, and when I got out I heard a knock on the door (I was not fully dressed at the time as a result of having just taken a shower). My girlfriend and I also did not want to answer the door because we were in a foreign country and did not know anybody, so we stayed silent.

The man on the other side of the door started getting his keys out and tried opening the door. At this point we were terrified about this because we had not received any contact from our host since the day we checked in. I told the man trying to open the door that this was a private Airbnb and he was not allowed to enter. He responded saying that he was a friend of the host’s friend, and that he needed to get the laundry soap in our room (which we found very suspicious, since laundry soap is certainly not too expensive to just go down to the store to get some new soap).

We told him it was not okay, since we hadn’t heard anything about this from our host so who knows if he was who he says he is. At this point the man on the other side continued trying to force his way to open the door with his keys (all the while I was also still not fully dressed). Finally, after we yelled at him that he needed to leave, he did, saying on the way out that he would be coming back after he called his boss.

After this I messaged the host, and his response is (quoted): “Sorry for the inconvenience. Don’t worry I’m out of France. He was supposed to call you.”

I do not have the original review, and the part at the end that I didn’t include above was when I explained what Airbnb’s customer service did after I contacted them. When I submitted the review I got a message stating “The reviews are only to state your experience at the listing, and with the host. You can not disclose any information regarding the case with Airbnb.”

The review was removed. I asked if I could submit a review without the part where I said what Airbnb’s customer service did, but they said once a review has been removed, it can not be re-submitted (how convenient for them). Anyway, the last part I wanted to talk about was the customer service experience that followed the safety concern… on with the story.

After the incident occurred in the apartment my girlfriend was understandably shaken. She had never been in a foreign country before and just had some weird man she never even knew existed try to break into our apartment (all for some laundry soap?).

I immediately contacted Airbnb’s customer support. The customer service person whom I got a hold of asked me what happened; I told her, and asked what our options were. She said that she needed to get in contact with her supervisors and that she would call me back (which is another thing I hated… why not just put me on hold? I had no idea what was happening and was totally in the dark about how long it would take for her to call me back, all the while my girlfriend and I had no idea if that random dude was going to come back and try to break in again).

While we were waiting for her to call back, my girlfriend told me that she didn’t feel safe here. I asked her if she would be okay with another Airbnb but she understandably said that because it’s her first time in a foreign country she would prefer to stay in a hotel if possible.

Airbnb finally called me back and said she can refund us and try to help us find a new Airbnb. I told her that my girlfriend feeling safe is my top priority so we would need to be moved to a hotel. She told me she has to check with her supervisors again if that’s something that they can help us with and hung up. She called back and said that they never offer any help finding a hotel or giving any money to cover the costs. She then told me that we will be refunded within a few days and once she hangs up we will be trespassing and need to pack and leave immediately because we will be considered “trespassing”. She hung up and we started packing frantically.

With the scary incident we just had with the guy trying to break in, we had no desire to see our host or any more of his “friends” in person again, so it was extremely stressful trying to pack all of our things in around twenty minutes. After we finished packing, we did a quick search for a hotel nearby.

In our haste we made a huge mistake: we didn’t make sure they had air conditioning (Paris was experiencing a heat wave at the time). The place that we ended up finding was about a sixth the size of our Airbnb, had no AC, no kitchen (or any of the appliances we were expecting to have like a fridge), and no washer.

Since we had to book the day of, it ended up costing $600 more than the amount we were refunded. We planned our trip a year in advance, only to lose all of the amenities we planned to have and had to pay a large amount of extra money.

What I wanted to emphasize is the fact that what scares me most about all of this, and should scare the rest of the public too, is how my host was a Superhost with 183 reviews averaging five stars… this shouldn’t have happened. If we were staying at a non-Superhost’s place that only averaged like three-star reviews then okay, fair enough; we took the risk, and we got burnt. This was not that. This was supposed to showcase the best Airbnb has to offer, and instead we got a horrible situation.

It makes me wonder, how many reviews like mine have been removed/censored from Superhost profiles? How many people had even scarier/more dangerous experiences, but got their review removed, and just didn’t care/didn’t know how to get their message out to the public about their situation?

For those looking for an Airbnb in Paris, this is the listing in question. This is the other listing the host owns. This is the profile of the host.