Avoid Bait-and-Switch Airbnb Hosts in Paris

The following is the story of the last 20 hours. On April 1st, I received an email that my Airbnb flat wasn’t accessible 10 minutes before arriving on site. Since I was travelling, I only noticed when I arrived.

I was offered a different flat in exchange which was 7 km from the original one (I had my reasons to choose the area and good luck travelling through Paris during rush hour). I took it and spent the night there.

The morning of April 2nd we had an appointment at the original flat at 9:30. I was there; nobody came. After 45 minutes in the rain, a delivery service delivered some badges and a key. I entered the building as described in the access instructions, but there was no door that matched the description or the key.

After another endless back-and-forth via mail there was no conclusion because I realized that the person who claimed to be the owner didn’t actually know the premises at all. I went to the gardienne of the residence and with her help we found that the studio was in a completely different location, obviously without a lift as described in the access instructions.

While going to the studio with the gardienne we stumbled upon the owner who claimed not to know anything about the rental, and that he delegated everything to an agency. This meant that the person I was talking to and who claimed to be the owner was not. He didn’t tell me his name, even after I asked. In any case, the “real” owner rejected any responsibility, which I found outrageous, considering he was the owner.

When entering the location, I found a tiny room without daylight, dirty cupboards as if just installed, and so small that opening the only sofa for sleeping meant not having space left to move anymore. I felt very uneasy because of this unprofessional treatment. I lost an entire day because of these people’s inability to get organized, a day that I had planned to meet people that were only available this day.

I came here for business and instead of taking care of my business I had to chase down access to a studio, because nobody at Airbnb even knew where it was. When I saw the dirt on the cupboard I had had enough and booked a hotel nearby.

Alas, I didn’t take photos and I’m bracing for a long email exchange with Airbnb. There was another commentator who mentioned it looked like a cash cow and they weren’t concerned with the guests. That’s exactly my impression with this host.

Worst Airbnb Experience Ever, Rust Smell

My destination was Acadia National Park. Everything was booked nearby so we decided to book an Airbnb outside of Acadia, and in Sullivan. The house was on a street in a rural to suburban area. In rural areas, I expect and know that rust might be in the pipes, but I also was banking on the fact that it would go away after a few minutes. I was so wrong.

I was in a group of four. The first person went into the shower for twenty minutes, and the smell of rust didn’t dissipate in the hot water. The second person went in and tried the cold water shower, only to end up with the same rust smell. No matter how long the shower water was running, the rust smell was so bad I couldn’t stay another night. I can’t even document the smell of rusting pipes or the water tank for Airbnb.

New Airbnb Policy: Believe Hosts’ Lies

I booked an Airbnb recently that claimed to have air conditioning. I showed up to the place, and inside it’s hot, steamy, and muggy. I called the host to ask how to turn the air conditioning on. His reply to me was that it was broken and to crack a window. I told him I was going to contact Airbnb for a refund.

The agent explained to me she had to verify with the host what I was claiming was true. She called the host and called me back letting me know that the host does not turn the air conditioning on until summertime… all the while it is 80 degrees. I asked if Airbnb condones posting amenities that are not available. Turns out, according to this agent, they do.

She completely sided with the host. By that logic, any host can post whatever amenity they want then claim the amenity isn’t available during whatever season you’re booking their place and let you know after you have paid and arrived.

Duped by Host, Airbnb Refused a Refund

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I booked a place in New Jersey for spring break based on reviews I read. I payed full price with a one-time payment of $811.03 for five nights. It was my first time ever using Airbnb. I stated that to my host and he used it against me.

The communication was good until I got to the place and saw the mess. The smell gave me allergies right away The floor was very sticky; the maid was still working on it but couldn’t clean it. The futon in the living room was broken, and the dishes were dirty.

I texted my host about it and he didn’t reply at all. I went to a hotel and the next morning he texted me asking me how my night was. I was so surprised. I told him that I didn’t spend the night and that I texted him the day before and was sure his assistant and maid told him that I had left. I didn’t understand his message. He didn’t reply. I asked for a refund and he declined, saying that he was never informed of the issues.

I immediately got Airbnb involved. They never reached out to me until I called their customer service line one week later. The first representative told that they were sorry, they were very busy and that they would refund me and even probably for the money I spent for the hotel. He told me he was going to make my case a priority and a case manager was going to reach out to me.

The next day a case manager emailed me introducing herself. She emailed me back, saying that the host said I checked in early and that’s why I found the place like that. I showed her that I was on time. She emailed me back now saying that I should have canceled the reservation and gotten Airbnb involved as soon as I noticed the issues. All she could do was refund me for one night and the cleaning fee.

I found it very disrespectful the way they treated my case because it was one excuse after another. Their representative on the phone told me that I had 72 hours after the issue to get Airbnb involved; I did it less than 48 hours after the issue. Now the case manager is telling me that I should have gotten Airbnb involved in the next 24 hours after the issue.

They are all from the same corporation but they have different stories to use to not refund your money. I thought Airbnb was a serious company but apparently not. Something needs to be done to shut that company down.

Hot Water Debacle at Airbnb in Mexico

We booked a few nights stay at an Airbnb in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. It was a new bachelor condo building with a concierge, swimming pool, and even a restaurant. It was around $115/night.

The day we arrived, we each had a quick rinse in the shower after spending a few hours at the beach. By the time my husband had finished rinsing off, the water had turned ice cold. We figured that the water heater probably hadn’t been turned on long enough, as so many residences in Mexico rely on physically turning on a water heater a while before use.

The next day, after adjusting the shower temperature, I was in the middle of washing my hair when the water turned ice cold. I showered as fast as I could and got out. My husband got in and the same thing happened: ice cold after a very short amount of time.

I decided to message the owner to ask if there was a trick to turning on the hot water. The owner responded that the water was regulated and there was only three minutes of hot water every few hours. I immediately got into the shower and timed how long the hot water lasted… 1 minute and 20 seconds. I couldn’t even get the soap out of my hair in that time.

I let the owner know it didn’t even last three minutes but the owner was unwilling to help. I contacted Airbnb about the issue as the regulated water time was not posted in the listing. When I asked about changing locations, they did agree we could find a new property and get a refund on this one. However, we unfortunately were too scared of the repercussions of the owner possibly coming to the building to confront us (or worse) for the loss of income.

Rental Nightmare From Smelly, Dirty Airbnb

I rented a home for the first time through Airbnb – worst mistake ever. I usually go through HomeAway and never had an issue.

The home I rented, for starters, was in an unsafe neighborhood. Directly across the street was a huge dumpster and alcoholics just doing their thing. The yard had dry weeds in the front.

Upon entering the home there was a foul odor of sewage. I decided to take a look around to see what the place looked like and discovered dirty dishes in the dishwasher. The refrigerator looked as if it should have been in the dumpster across the street. It had some sort of lining inside the refrigerator. It was dirty, not something I wanted to put anything in.

The microwave had food fingerprints as if someone recently had food on their hands and opened the door. The garbage can lid was completely soiled with who knows what. Because I had an event the next morning, I thought it was no biggie, I could take care of that.

I dashed off to Walmart for some cleaning supplies because I didn’t want to seek lodging this late in the game. I came back and proceeded to clean when I discovered there was no hot water. At this point, I realized I could not do anything without hot water.

At 7:41 PM I contacted the host. She messaged back saying she’d be by when she got out of her meeting. 10:00 PM rolled around and I didn’t hear from her. I messaged again. No answer. At 12:00 AM, she messaged saying she had come by, but it was late so she did not want to disturb me. Then she said she would send a plumber in the morning.

Now at this point I was tired and frustrated and just wanted to rest. I was sitting on the couch and one of the throw pillows fell to reveal a large white stain on the sofa.

Trust me; this nightmare wasn’t over. I decided I was not staying here. I messaged her letting her know I was leaving in the morning and I wanted a refund. She then messaged back saying I could change my reservation date… as if I would want to stay there.

I decided I was going to the bedroom. I opened the closet. Because the area was not so savory, I checked all of the closet. I found dirty sheets in a tote with no lid. I was disgusted at this point. I decide to pull back the covers on the bed; there were crumbs in the bed, and one of the pillows had something green on it.

Needless to say, there was no sleeping going on that night. As soon as daylight hit, I was out of there. I informed the host of everything, and requested a refund. She wants to give me $76.48 of my $264. I will never rent from Airbnb again.

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Taipei Black Mold Flat Taught me why Airbnb is Illegal

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This experience taught me to never rent an Airbnb room ever again. I rented a place in downtown Taipei that’s close to a train station, high rated with a good price. The moment I arrived I was thrilled, everything seemed nice. The room was a bit smelly but since it was cheap I let it go.

After the first night of my stay my nose started to clog. Staying in a smelly room for hours made my breathing a bit difficult. After the second night of my stay, I was officially sick in the morning. I asked the owner if she had another room I could stay in, but she told me all her rooms were rented and there was nothing she could do.

That night I finally got the idea of checking the air conditioner and it was horrible. The surface seemed clean but if you looked inside it was filled with huge spots of black mold. I could not believe I had been breathing the air into my lungs all along.

I contacted the owner and she was trying to confuse me by saying “we started renting the place out for two months only and we never had any complaints”, but after I confronted her about the air conditioner again and again, she finally caved and said it was provided by the landlord and was ancient.

As I asked her to hire a professional to deep clean the air-con the next day, she refused and said she would only send a domestic helper to come clean the surface only. I refused to keep breathing in ancient black mold into my lungs as it could cause long term lung damage, so I then booked a hostel to stay and moved out immediately.

I was sick throughout the rest of the trip and I was still sick after I left Taipei. The neighbourhood was not safe either. The hallway was very old and damaged, and the air smelled of secondhand smoke. At night I could hear men talking loudly; it didn’t feel safe for a single girl to stay.

The experience taught me that since Airbnb is illegal, the owners simply won’t care about the guests’ safety and well-being. After I read others’ Airbnb Hell stories, I know my case isn’t exactly that bad, but now I know any of those stories could have happened to anyone, including myself.

If you want cheap stays, stay in hostels. If you want a nice room for yourself in a hotel, you gotta pay more. Either way, just make sure you pick a licensed regulated place to stay. Risking your life for a few cheap nights is just not worth it.

Don’t Fall for Airbnb Listings like this House

There were three big issues and a whole lot of headache for nothing in return. We were deceived by Airbnb. A weekend ruined due to this host, her husband, and Airbnb.

A hot tub was listed as part of the home. Five beds for eight people were in the listing. Free wifi was to be included. The supposed “hot tub” is not a hot tub but a container that one would have to actually put water in it and see if it would even get “hot”.

When someone advertises for a hot tub it should be that, and ready to use. Especially because I asked the host prior to booking if she had certain hours on when it is open – is it a community pool/hot tub? She said it was at the house so I could use it any time. Is it not suspicious now looking back that there is hidden fine print that one needs to pay them to use it each time?

If I specifically tell her this is a main amenity I was looking forward to, why would she hide this information? Why would she wait until I arrived to find the tiny one-person plastic/inflatable kiddie pool tub that did not even have water in it, let alone ice? The host said “Well, you know it is cold outside so how do you expect us to keep the hot tub warm?”

Should I send photos of what a hot tub is in the winter? I was just in Washington State with snow outside and 20 degrees with a real hot tub we used outside. It’s not rocket science. Do not advertise for things you do not actually have . Just like if a hotel says there is a pool would they tell customers to go fill up a pool with water? Who the heck in their mind would think this is acceptable, to go skiing all day and then have to do work to put water in a tub outside and see if it would even heat up?

The host is not that bright or they hid this information from me to find out when I arrived. It gets better. As stated above, there were holes all over the walls, and sockets hanging out, like where the TV and electronics were plugged in. Not safe. A fire could have started any time. This is right next to a fireplace. Are they trying to set up a situation for an accidental fire and then take the insurance? I wouldn’t put it past them.

We were so disappointed, but in addition, all of the furniture in the house – especially the living room and dining room – was patio furniture, cheap and wobbly patio furniture. How does anyone feel comfortable with that?

The description had said “five beds” for up to eight people. Before arriving that week, I told the host “I noticed the five beds, and eight people however I only originally planned for five people. Do you mind if I bring one more? There should be plenty of room, right?”

She actually responded saying, “There will be a $20 per person charge if there are more than six people.” Really? I am so glad nobody else came because in reality there were only three beds. The host said there was a futon in the living room. The futon which is the couch we sat on is supposed to just count as two other beds? Where is the fifth bed?

“Well, there is an air mattress that someone would have to blow up.” How do you list five beds but only have three? I am so so glad I did not invite more people. Nobody would have been comfortable sleeping on that futon of wood slats that hardly even passed as a couch, as it was an outdoor style temporary usable chair.

This one takes the cake: The TV is totally internet run. The internet and wifi were not working. We were out in the sticks so we hardly got our own phones to work at all. Without the free wifi/internet as advertised we would not have had anything to do. Not even basic TV channels. There were no board games or cards, nothing.

The place was much smaller than advertised. There were many locks on the kitchen cabinets like they were using most of that for storage. I didn’t even bother to check out if there were pots/pans/dishes so probably plan to bring your own things to cook with. The basement was locked.

Essentially guests would have the three bedrooms, and one open living room with kitchen attached. That is all. Meanwhile it was advertised as the “entire house”.

The host messaged me the wrong address, so it took longer than expected to even find the home. We found this gem of disappointment. I called the host right away. He told me after five minutes of talking and saying he was going to call the cable company to see if the internet could be fixed, that if I was unhappy he would call Airbnb for a refund. I said to refund me now and we would leave.

He told me multiple times that he was on the phone with them and trying to get me a refund/cancellation. He asked if I was leaving the property. It was a decision not so easily made because we just went skiing all day; we were all sweaty and tired. Nobody had changed or showered.

Home was three hours away in the snow that night. We tried to use our phones to find nearby hotels but no wifi was working. Since the host said he would just give me a refund we sucked it up and drove home in the snow, after only 40 minutes of being there on my anniversary celebration weekend. Our weekend was done at that point. Ruined. The snow was heavy; it was not an easy drive.

To make things even worse, the host told Airbnb (I found this out after I got home) that he did not promise me a refund. Well I have all the text messages and witnesses to this fact. I have video of the disappointments. I tried to contact Airbnb many times using many routes. I only got to speak to a live person once. That person said a case manager already looked at the case and said it was closed, that I should not get my money back.

I did not even get to talk to these people. I messaged and emailed Airbnb several times telling them to call me. Why are they not allowing me to talk and state what happened? I have evidence and witnesses. They are not giving me the time of day at all.

So beware folks. This house is a total scam. Nobody would be happy here for $250 a night. The title of the property also listed “free skiing and horse back riding”, yet the host also tried to tell me she charges $50 more if we wanted to use their community hill to ski. What? How does that make any sense? It says right in the title: “free”.

I challenged that before we arrived and only then did she say she would make an exception. I should have known it was a red flag. She is just trying to take money from people. I say “she” because the host is listed as a woman’s name but it was only the husband I spoke with on the phone when we arrived.

Lastly, she asked me if they could allow a realtor to show the home while we were there and it would have been during the time we paid to be there. Who has the nerve to even do that? It’s not like we were booked to stay there for a week. Who would want to buy this place anyway? A lot of work to do and definitely not in shape to be renting out on Airbnb.

The company needs to have reviewers of these places and listen to customers. I am never using Airbnb again. So upset. I have used it five times without issues.

These hosts are not good people and have no integrity. How could they try to keep my money when we left the place after shortly arriving? They made an agreement with me to give a refund, and then did the opposite. They ruined my weekend and what was supposed to be a memorable time with my loved ones. Despicable people.

30 Minutes of an Overwhelming Fume Experience for $500

I found what looked like the perfect Airbnb. It was an automated check-in, but I still reached out to the owners. I didn’t get a response, which I chalked up to it being a business trip and auto check-in/auto accept. The reviews were on point and recent.

I got to the location easily enough and was suddenly overcome with a stench; it was like a toxic fume. My eyes began burning. I thought, “Maybe I just need to give it a few minutes.” In the interim, I speed tested the wifi and it was awesome. I thought “This place could really work.”

Meanwhile, my eyes were on fire and the smell didn’t seem to dissipate. I reached out to the owners and said essentially: “Great place. Thanks for sharing your home with me. The fumes are overwhelming. I’m opening the windows and doors.”

I was super polite in every interaction. There was no response from the owners. I reached out to Airbnb and got a canned reply. Then I was able to chat with a real person who basically said that I need to cancel if it was unbearable.

I reached out to the hosts and said something to the effect: “Thank you, I can’t bear it. I need to cancel”. Again, no response. I canceled… and then the host finally responded with “open the windows and doors” – it was winter time, mind you. Anyway, that was the fastest $500 dollars I ever lost.

Getting Evicted While Staying at Airbnb

This is my recent nightmare. I woke up around 11:00 AM to the maintenance man knocking on my unit stating he was looking for a water leak. He then informed me that the unit I was in was up for eviction.

I contacted Airbnb and then the host. I explained to Airbnb that I was pregnant and management was only giving me twenty minutes to vacate the premises. Airbnb asked me to work it out with the host. I called my husband because I was having a panic attack.

When the host arrived she went to the leasing office because she has three other units for rent and wanted to move us to another illegal unit. From noon to 10:00 PM I was in my car and on the phone with Airbnb. During this chaos I was humiliated by the manager who insulted me and belittled me in front of other tenants and the host.

The manager told my wife she had five minutes to vacate the premises or the sheriff would be escorting her out without being at fault. The host lied to her and pretty much stole my money and anyone before me because she knew she was being evicted.

Airbnb didn’t accommodate me or give me the sense they were here to help me. I felt alone and kept hoping Airbnb would find me a replacement house for the time being. Keep in mind I’m pregnant and with all the stress, sitting in the car for almost 11 hours with nowhere to go, Airbnb reps telling me they had to go home (sounds nice to say “I’m going home”), and the next agent helping me until she also had to go home, this left me with no choice but to pay for a hotel with my property in the car.

I was very disappointed that Airbnb was concerned about me wanting to get money back. I clearly told them I didn’t want my money back; I just needed a place to rest as I was extremely tired and depressed at this point.

The house I picked was a little more expensive. I paid the difference and still had nowhere to go. Not only did Airbnb not want to work with me but their only concern was how they didn’t go out of their way to really get us into anything that was not in our budget, considering I got evicted and humiliated and they just put me in a house.

Airbnb finally put someone on the line who was helpful but she had no authorization to make any major decisions. She gave us a $29 dollar credit then a $59 one for the only two days the host was refunding after Airbnb knew she was getting evicted and running her listing illegally.

My husband went to the leasing office and recorded the host telling the manager, who was her cousin, what was not true and also discussed our situation. The manager told the host that was not allowed. The host told the manager everything was okay. It wasn’t, because the manager came back to the apartment and told her she had to leave now.

That host is a fraud and Airbnb knows it. I’m going to small claims court and suing them for pain and suffering along with fraud. All I ask for is for Airbnb to take responsibility. As it is, Airbnb is advertising the homes and not really checking if the place is legal to use as an Airbnb. I blame Airbnb for everything that happened to my wife yesterday knowing she was stressed and could have affected the baby.