Crazy Airbnb Host in Miami with Unreasonable Rules

I suffer from severe, excruciating menstrual cramps. During this period, I depend on ibuprofen to get through the day and I take hot showers of approximately 20-30 minutes to ease them at night. Girls who have this issue will know I am talking about.

Knowing that I would have this problem during my stay in Miami, I specifically booked a private room with a private bathroom so that I would be able to take these long hot showers without inconveniencing other guests. One night, my host and his mother came knocking on my room door while I was in the shower. They confronted me for taking an excessively long shower, telling me that as a result of my shower there was no more hot water in the rest of the house.

I was shocked and confused, because nowhere in the house rules or policy did he state any restriction on shower time. Of course, if he had stipulated such a rule in his listing, it would have been perfectly reasonable for him to stop me for exceeding the time limit. I probably would not have booked his place in the first place anyway. I had never encountered any other host, or anyone for that matter, whose house ran out of hot water as a result of someone taking a 20-30 minute hot shower. Furthermore, I was staying alone in a room that was meant for two guests, and I definitely wasn’t using more water or power than what two guests combined would have used.

Even after I explained my problem with cramps to him, he was not understanding or empathetic at all, insisting that I was inconsiderate and using up his water and power supplies excessively. One particular rule that this host had was that guests must not do laundry in his bathroom. Fair enough. I refrained from washing my jeans, pants, jackets, blouses, singlets, bras, and T-shirts. But this was Miami, where you go to the beach. When you go to the beach, your swimsuit gets soaked in seawater.

When I got back to my room after an evening of paddle boarding, I rinsed my swimsuit and shorts in the bathroom sink to get rid of the seawater. I also washed my panties every day for hygiene purposes. I hung these up to dry in the bathroom. The host and his mother inspected the room the moment I left for breakfast. He then came down and confronted me for doing laundry in his bathroom. I’m not sure what he expected… for me to leave my period panties and seawater-soaked swimsuit and shorts hanging in the room unwashed? Maybe that’s normal to him – but to me that’s just gross and unhygienic.

The worst thing was he later told me that he had taken photos of my “daily laundry” as evidence that I broke his no-laundry rule, i.e. he had taken photos of my panties and my bikini. How disturbing can that be? Finally, he accused me of being impolite and unfriendly to his elderly mother. His English is bad, but his mother’s English is worse. In fact, she cannot speak English at all – she cannot even understand something as basic as “how are you?”. All I could do was to smile and say “hi” when I saw her. There was no way I could have managed a conversation with her due to the language barrier.

My stay in Miami could have been perfect, but this host’s bizarre and unreasonable expectations and behaviour left me extremely distressed and uncomfortable.

Miami Airbnb Nightmare: No Refunds Allowed

I was trying to arrange the trip of my life with my sisters and a friend. We are all mums and have busy lives and very little time for ourselves, so this was going to be our trip. I booked with this woman, Gigi, for a twelve-night stay. Before the trip (I live in Switzerland) I contacted her and told her that my sister could go to see the place. If she was okay with that, she could give her the keys at that time. She said she had to hand me the keys in person so I said that was okay. I also told her I would be arriving at the apartment about 8:30-9:00 PM on February 1st, which we did.

At 9:00 PM, we were outside the house and she was not answering the phone. After a while, she appeared but didn’t want to be seen (she was going to get in the car and go shopping). I recognised her from the picture and approached her, asking if she was Gigi. Her husband or boyfriend was also there but he was in the car. He knew we were the guests because he heard us talking about her before she appeared, and were the only ones with baggage at almost 10:00 PM. She reluctantly told us that she needed more time to get the apartment ready so we would have to wait in the lobby; she needed to get some pans and pots from the shop.

After fourteen hours of traveling you don’t want to wait anywhere; we just wanted to get inside, relax after this trip, and settle in. Because I told her we didn’t want to wait at reception she started to make a fuss about it and started talking to her boyfriend in Spanish that we didn’t want to wait. I also speak Spanish so we understood what they were saying. After some time she got really upset and rude. She suggested that I cancel the reservation, but I told her I wanted to have my money back. She only said that it had to be done through Airbnb.

I tried to reach Airbnb customer service that night, which was impossible. Therefore I had to deal with her first and then I had to fill out the forms in the help centre on Airbnb. That night we had to book a hotel at the last minute in which we stayed two nights. We had to pay almost $500 on top of the 1500 Swiss francs I had already paid. A few days later I received an email from someone at customer service claiming to “totally understand my situation and my frustration”. She generously wanted to give me a $200 coupon for another booking. I wrote her back and received an automated email that said that the case was closed. Still, there was no money in my account. I kept filling our the refund form until I got $562 back, but i paid 1500. I kept trying to contact Airbnb and finally got through to customer service. They wrote this:

Hi Marcela,

It’s Sarah here from Airbnb, thank you for taking my call. Marcela, I can confirm that you will not be entitled to any further refund from your cancelled booking with Gigi. When you cancelled the reservation, your host’s strict cancellation policy was applied. Outside of this policy, your host sent you a refund of CHF562 which she did not need to do. We have already explained to you that to be considered for a full refund under our Guest Refund Policy you would have had to contact us within 24 hours of check-in, provide documentation of the issue, not to have caused the issue and used reasonable efforts to remedy the situation with the host prior to making a claim. I am sorry that things did not work out for you on this occasion and I hope that you understand that these situations are very rare.

Kind regards,

Sarah

I couldn’t check in: Gigi never let me. I did try to contact customer service. I did everything I was supposed to do – even arrived on the premises on time – and I get punished and robbed? Is this normal? Is this how companies treat their customers? Where is the decency and where are the company values? People just want to screw people over and no one cares? If I wanted more I could tell Gigi that she should have paid for my hotel expenses. The apartment was not ready upon our arrival and it was not my fault. Why should I have to pay?

Leaky Roof: Beware of Airbnb Host in Miami

Stay away from a host called Vinod advertising on Airbnb in Miami, Florida. Having used Airbnb for a bunch of stays during 2016, the last one was terrible. There was a leaky roof that stained the sofa, and cockroaches, slugs, and ants infested the condo. Collection bills were piled so high in the mail box the mailman delivered armfuls to the condo. I bought pest spray and tried to control the issue. When I contacted the Airbnb Helpline, they were anything but helpful and charged me $500 so Vinod could fix his “leaky” roof claiming I made the condo sofa dirty and stained. He claimed no knowledge of the bugs crawling around. Was it coincidence the sofa was positioned under the leaking roof and he claimed I did it? Well, Airbnb sided with him and charged my credit card for damages. Consumer protection – I don’t think so!