Airbnb’s Cancellation Policy Leaves Guest Out $1.6K

I am planning on relocating to San Miguel de Allende so I booked a one week stay in a darling casita in January. When I realized the pandemic wouldn’t allow me to travel in January, I changed my reservation for the entire month of April. Now it looks like April is too soon to travel also so I wanted to cancel until we get the all-clear travel advisory.

I was told that I could cancel for a full refund up to 24 hours before my reservation. Now Airbnb is withholding all my money for the first 30 days (my entire reservation) and only refunding me $25 out of almost $1,600. This company sucks and I will never use them again. I will post warnings to others wherever I can. This company needs to be replaced with one that actually has customer service.

Getting Refund from Airbnb Employee like Talking to a Robot

I had to return from Cozumel because of a family illness on March 29. I had scheduled a week-long stay at an Airbnb on March 28. My hotel was closing. My stay was supposed to be from March 29 through April 5.

I contacted the host as soon as I reserved my flight back to the states. The host was very courteous. I explained that I would like to return as soon as Cozumel tourism resumes. Airbnb deleted all my contact information with my host so I’m unable to return to the unit I paid for nor will they refund my stay.

My last message from the customer service robot was I needed to contact the host… which is impossible since Airbnb has blocked any contact information. I’ve contacted my credit card company.

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.

Airbnb Owner is a Known Sexual Predator in the U.S.

The owner of this rental property, Jason McLean, purchased the Airbnb property Villa Viva with money owed to women he raped as children in Minneapolis. A simple Google search will show you numerous articles detailing his crimes, legal proceedings, and his ultimate flight to Cabo San Lucas Mexico to avoid the consequences of his sexual assaults of children… and he wants you to be a guest in his home.

Do not support this criminal with your business. Keep away, especially if you are a young woman or have children. This is not hyperbole. It is well documented in the U.S. news, lawsuits and courts, that McLean preyed upon and sexually assaulted at least six minor child actors and students at the Minneapolis Children’s Theater where he was a company actor and teacher. Two of his victims have obtained civil judgements against him in the US, yet he profits off of this property in Mexico.

He does not deserve your business. McLean has returned to the US and is opening a restaurant called Small Wonder in Oakland, California. Beware. The man is a child rapist.

Playa del Carmen Airbnb Misrepresentation

My kids and I stayed in this unit for only one night and left early the next morning – less than 12 hours. We were in Playa del Carmen before heading to Cozumel to get married and then left immediately for our honeymoon.

Upon return to the country from our honeymoon, I attempted to write a review on both properties we stayed at, but apparently there is only a 14-day window to review properties. I had missed that window given I was on my honeymoon. It is imperative that future guests are aware of the status of this unit and that the host is notified that their advertising and preparation is inaccurate, inadequate and unsanitary.

Here are some of the issues. We arrived at the unit late at night to find that we were given an inaccurate entrance code on the security gate and the front door. We had to contact the host who showed up 30 minutes later to let us in and verified that he had provided the wrong code. We were let into the unit, dropped our bags, used the bathroom and discovered that there was no soap or toilet paper.

We are a family of seven and I had to go feed everybody after a full day of travel before returning to go to bed. I texted the host to let him know there was no shampoo, soap, or toilet paper and while we were at dinner, he dropped some off at the front door. We returned to the unit close to midnight and found the sheets on one of the beds was dirty, with hair and grime on a pillow.

We rented the unit because it could sleep all of us yet there was no bedding for the fifth bed. I gave up my bedding in order for my daughter to sleep on the pull out futon. Furthermore, the unit had not been cleaned much, if at all. There was a half drunk bottle of vodka sitting at the bar, the kitchen area was extremely poorly equipped and dirty, and the smell in the unit was terrible.

Airbnb doesn’t even have the “essentials”

Earlier I went to Oaxaca City in Oaxaca, México, staying at a serviced (not really) apartment listed on Airbnb. Since it was so cheap, I wasn’t really expecting anything. When I saw that there wasn’t a table or a desk at all (despite what’s shown on the listing), I wasn’t bothered since I wouldn’t really be using a laptop anyway.

However, they had almost none of the so-called “essentials”. They had no soap… fine. They didn’t have any towels at all; I literally had to go out to buy one. No toilet paper either – in fact, they didn’t even have a toilet seat.

I’m guessing they are called “essentials” because Airbnb does require all hosts to have them. They didn’t, and when I told Airbnb that, they didn’t say or do anything. As you can see, they still say they have all these things. Perhaps they’ve gotten better now, or maybe nothing had happened. Who knows?

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.

My Airbnb Mistake and Personal Hell in Oaxaca, Mexico

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This was not only the worst experience I have ever had with Airbnb, it was the worst experience I have had in Mexico. I will let the facts speak for themselves.

I booked a night with Airbnb on October 1st. The host offered me a discounted rate if I paid him in cash. This was my biggest mistake. On top of the the payment I made online, I paid 7,000 Mexican pesos (373.00 USD) in cash to stay in the center of Oaxaca between October 2nd and October 22nd. The main problem was the place was and is infested with bugs.

Beginning from the first night there were multiple fire ants, mosquitos, cockroaches (or cockroach-looking bugs) and small, black flea-like bugs. I was bitten by bugs each night I spent at the place. The second and third day I bought various bug sprays, bug traps, and tape to seal off the windows in an attempt to prevent the bugs from entering the bathroom and bedroom. I also bought anti-itch creams and lotions for the various red marks and bites I had on my body. I could not sleep because of the constant bug bites. The last night of my stay I killed up to 100 ants with Raid spray in the bathroom.

After eight days of trying to fix the problem, I informed the host that I wanted to leave, and that I wanted a refund for the days left that I had already paid for. I really should have asked for a full refund, but I just wanted to get the money back for the days I was going not going to stay there and leave. He got upset, demanded I send him the photos, and was disagreeable. I filed a report with Airbnb. He sent his cousin to check the room and she agreed there was a bug problem. I sent him various text messages and he did not respond.

After 24 hours, his cousin came again and said that I would receive my refund at 11:00 AM on Tuesday, October 10th. The host was two and half hours late. He arrived at 1:30 PM. He demanded I give him my passport. I let him take a photo of it. He asked to see the bite marks. I told him I sent them to him and he didn’t even check my messages to realize that I sent them to him. He tried to make the excuse or false reasoning that fire ants cannot leave bite marks, despite the fact that I sent him an article about it. Regardless of that point, a place infested with ants and cockroaches is not a suitable place for a person to stay, whether or not those insects bite people and leave marks.

He refused to refund the 3,000 pesos he owed me and offered me 500 pesos (the equivalent of one night, as the room is listed on Airbnb). He tried to rationalize it by stating that he lost money by cancelling other room requests, a statement that cannot be verified, is inexcusable, and does not address the fact that he was operating a place infested with a variety of bugs. I explained to him several times what was written above and he refused to refund me the money. He went on and on about how he loaned me a microwave and insulted the character of tourists from the United States.

In this situation, what is a person to do? I refused the 500 pesos because it was truly an insult, handed him the keys, and I left to get a taxi. I left the room and bathroom as they were, with no damage or alterations. I regret not paying through Airbnb for all of the nights, but I write this a warning to any visitor to Oaxaca to not stay at any place associated with this host. I have sent the administrators of this website several videos of the fire ants in the rooms. This recently happened and I am waiting on a response from Airbnb’s resolution center. I hope they take the proper actions against this injustice. At the moment, my review does not even appear on the same page of the listing.

I am including four video clips ( ordered in importance) of the bugs found in the AIr BNB I paid for in Oaxaca, Mexico.
(1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wu7NgK9fDEo
(2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DypDuPTqgkw
(3) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jMa_e2rR6s
(4) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpePm_jHkq0