Airbnb Claims Hosts are its Partners but Shows Differently

I feel that Airbnb has taken a drastic downward spiral and supporting its “partners,” as they eloquently call its hosts. It’s just plain bad business and I find it condescending in light of its behavior. I’m sure I’m not the only Superhost that has been treated so poorly. The platform seems to have taken a paradigm shift of supporting guests who feel entitled in today’s trying times and punishing hosts. They do not stand by us like they want did.

I had a guest who stayed at one of the listings that I manage. I left him a bad review. He waited two weeks to see if he was going to get $100 out of me because the host had actually gone in and changed out his toilet paper. It was a new host and he just wanted everything to be perfect. When the man got back to his room he said he didn’t request to have new toilet paper. He claimed that he didn’t know that I was the manager and that there was someone else who was the owner living in the attached property. The listing makes repeated mentions of the owner, his name, and that he lives in the attached property for the convenience of the guests.

I cut and pasted all of the sections for him and sent them to him. He thanked me for the clarification and seemed fine. Then he revisited it and said he never asked for these items, yet again. I told him the host would not be entering his listing again and asked if there were any other concerns that I could alleviate. He wanted to know that the owner was vaccinated. I reassured him that the owner indeed was vaccinated, that he wears a mask and gloves when entering the property and that he is the person that cleaned the property moments before the man arrived. He thanked me again and said he understood but just wanted me to understand how he felt.

I told him just as a good gesture we would offer him $100 credit towards a future stay in hopes that he would have a much more pleasant experience. This was not required, and quite frankly nor was it deserved…. but it was offered. Immediately the man replied back he would like to have that hundred dollars applied towards his current stay. Once there was a time when if you bent over backwards to put extra accommodations and amenities like a better quality toilet paper, people would’ve said “well, what a nice gesture.” Now they just steal the supplies if there is an abundance and complain about the extra gestures as though they were invasive.

What reason did he give for wanting $100 applied towards his current stay? He lived out of town and he “might” be moving out of state. Weird fact. Practically all of our guests live out of town, thus the reason for lodging. I told him I would sit down with our team and figure out whether or not this would be justifiable under the circumstances. He was so helpful that he immediately sent me a link on Airbnb as to how to refund his money. I never said I didn’t know how to refund the money. I said I needed to figure out with our team if it was justifiable. That’s a huge difference.

Needless to say, we reached the conclusion that the host should not be punished for trying to do a good deed that was misunderstood. We left him a review right away. Naturally it was negative. He waited the full 14 days and got a hold of us again and said are you gonna give me the refund you “offered“? We never offered him a refund on his current stay. Further when he saw his review and realized he was waiting to see if he could get money before giving a review, he called to Airbnb to complain.

The thing that troubled me about Airbnb is that I called them immediately when the situation occurred during the individual’s stay. Airbnb seemed to stand by me and thanked me for calling them. They said it appeared as though this guy was used to doing this considering he sent the link right away. The customer service rep even laughed about it, suggesting the gall of this person, as outrageous to think such a thing.

This is why it confuses me that two weeks later and right after the man’s review appeared, he called and complained about the situation. His complaint was retaliatory because he did not get the refund he was looking for. Ironically without even asking me about the situation or referring back to our original call with Airbnb, they paused my listing. There was no notification, no email, and no explanation.

When I called them, I reached one of their reps that works from home and was reassured they would call me at 9:00 the next morning. Needless to say, I am writing this story after 10:00 the very same morning and still have not received a call from Airbnb. I think it is one of the worst business practices to suggest that we are partners and treat us like we are a dog that gets slapped in the nose with a newspaper whether what we’ve done is wrong or just because they’ve decided to take the side of a guest without even hearing the side of the host.

It’s unfortunate because we have been with Airbnb since 2012, only four years after they even started business. We are part of the house that built their platform and made them so successful and they treat us like trash at this point. I have tagged the review I wrote about this unscrupulous guest, but then Airbnb has become that way so I can see why it would attract that type of individual. They endorse and condone Machiavellian behavior.

Airbnb Censored My Negative Review on Facebook

On July 18, I booked a property in Ventnor City, NJ. I was offered and accepted the payment plan when I made the reservation. However, my credit card was charged the full amount of the rental rather than 50% then and the remainder due according to the plan.

I contacted Airbnb within 12 hours of having made the reservation when I saw my Visa card had been charged the full amount of the rental. Since that time I have been communicating with Airbnb’s associates to try to get the then pending charge cancelled and rebilled. The reply has been:

“Upon checking, yes you are correct. You have a point and you are totally correct, Right now, I can not give you details on why those things happened. You should get the partial payment plan, but we are also wondering how come you were charged in full. The system is designed that way if your profile and reservation details qualify for that payment plan, that option will show up. Usually if you are on the payment page, you will see that first. Looking on the details, our reservation is done already, and we don’t have a way to rectify it anymore. With this, thank you for your understanding and patience on the matter.”

Airbnb told me, “your satisfaction is our number one priority.” However, that seems to be a joke. This is the second time I’ve been royally wronged by Airbnb. The first time was when I made a reservation in London, which was cancelled by the host 24 hours before my arrival because he was evicted for illegally renting his condo. I got zero assistance from any Airbnb Support Ambassadors in finding another rental on such short notice. I had to cancel my flight at the last minute which cost me big bucks.

Concerning this reservation, I asked why Airbnb couldn’t just cancel the charge with my Visa card and reissue the charge, based on the payment plan? Airbnb refused to do so. Any other merchant in the U.S. knows how to do that type of transaction. It just seems Airbnb is continuing to hide behind policy and procedure and continue to ignore what’s in the best interest and satisfaction of its clients.

Airbnb’s latest response has been that it took note of everything and would forward this to the proper department to improve its process. After having admitted that its system messed up in charging me the full rental amount immediately, the only thing Airbnb plans to do is to try to do better in the future. The platform seems to have no intention of trying to reconcile the mismanaged charge on my credit card.

That’s extremely disappointing and I plan to refrain from ever booking a reservation with Airbnb again. There are many other booking agencies available who actually take the satisfaction of their clients seriously. My advice to future Airbnb clients is: buyer beware. If Airbnb messes up your reservation or mischarges it, they’ll do nothing but say that policy does not allow them to do anything for you.

Unfortunately, my Facebook post on the Airbnb Facebook page was removed when people started replying they would never use Airbnb again. I reposted the same message, and again, Airbnb intervened and removed the post saying my situation would be reviewed again for possible action. That was now two weeks ago and all the Ambassadors seem to have taken a vacation.

Host Left a Bad Review Because Kitchen… Smelled like Cooked Food

Let me start by saying I have OCD and am generally kinda fussy about other people’s space, so I clean pretty much everything before I leave wherever I’m a guest, whether it’s a hotel room or a friend’s house or an Airbnb. I’m a total rule follower (I admit it) and my goal for wherever I stay is to essentially cause as little bother as possible. So all of my Airbnb reviews have been stellar, with one exception.

I stayed at a cabin in a fairly rural area with my wife for a long weekend. The day we checked out, I got up and made breakfast, then cleaned up, packed, and left. The trip was completely uneventful, and I left a positive review. The host left me a lengthy negative review because she went into the cabin right after we checked out and found a problem: she smelled cooked food in the kitchen area.

It was a tiny, one-room place where the windows didn’t open, and even if they had, it was January. Also, there was no vent system on the stove. Everything was put back where it belonged, we followed all the rules, the dishes were clean and put away, the pots and pans and utensils were all clean and put away, I took the trash and recycling out, and even cleaned the stove, countertops, etc. But none of that bested the part where it still faintly smelled like scrambled eggs and bacon (it wasn’t even smelly or unusual food, or something that permeated even the entire cabin — just the kitchen area, by her own admission).

The review went on and on about how offensive it was that I had left the air dirty, I guess? I actually contacted Airbnb, just because this was my first negative review and I was fairly baffled. The customer service rep was audibly suppressing laughter and finally said (this is not a direct quote): “You didn’t do anything wrong, but also we can’t take the review down because there’s nothing false in it.”

I don’t disagree with this — nobody broke any rules, it’s just petty, and hopefully that CSR at least came away from it with a funny story. I’m probably never going to use Airbnb again for other reasons — just because nothing bad has happened to me doesn’t mean I’m going to ignore what happens to other people — but if I did, I hope future hosts look at my reviews and get a good giggle out of the only negative being “the air smelled kinda like food in the kitchen, an hour or so after somebody cooked.”

Anyway, I just wanted to share a story where no one’s life got ruined and nobody got scammed out of a ton of money. Turns out you can do everything technically correct and your host can still get salty because you didn’t clean the air.

A side note: my parents gave me a fairly androgynous name that a lot of English-speaking people assume is male, especially online, so it’s possible she didn’t realize she was renting to a lesbian couple until we showed up. But I don’t want to assume it was ‘homophobe looks for things to be mean about’; that’s just the only thing we could think of that might’ve made her weird towards us specifically, as she had been completely normal and friendly until she saw us in person.

Airbnb Review Rejected After Negative Experience

I found out the hard way that Airbnb does not post negative reviews. I had a horrible experience in Almaden California where my coworker and I had an Airbnb for two weeks.

The place had roaches. There were noisy construction workers that got up at 4:00 AM and tromped on wooden floors waking us every morning. There were disgusting cigarette butts, construction materials and litter outside the unit – all these items were not reflected in the photos.

The host was also hostile. Not only did she not respond to problems but she refused to do anything about them or even communicate. It was a horrible experience and when I posted the information it never appeared on Airbnb. This is fraud and highly unfair to potential guests.

Airbnb Review System Heavily Censored

My gripe is with Airbnb itself. My family (four adults + one child) booked a house in Aptos, California for seven days. It wasn’t cheap, but that is not the problem. The property didn’t live up to expectations and our review reflected the shortcomings we found. We also praised the good aspects of the property as we are trying to give a balanced picture for future guests.

Some of our more negative comments included the incident on our second night when police were called to the house opposite ours and shouts of “I have a gun” were heard – not very neighbourly. Other review comments related to the kitchen cleaning; we had to wash nearly every utensil in the kitchen before use, despite being charged a very hefty cleaning charge.

The problem is that the review was heavily censored and probably 2/3rds of the review was missing. Contacting Airbnb customer service was the usual trail of BS and deadends with the only contact being someone who couldn’t find my review. What kind of data storage do they have? The last I heard they were “closing this ticket, have a nice day.”

This attitude reeks of modern day big business i.e., Microsoft, Facebook, et al becoming too self important and losing track of the fundamentals. Would like to hear if other Airbnbers have had similar censorship issues?

Airbnb Doesn’t Always Allow Negative Reviews

We have reviewed our stay at a place in Chamonix, France where we stayed from February 5th until February 19th, 2019. However, it never was published by Airbnb because the guest never wrote a review about us, the guests. This is, in our opinion, an incorrect action on Airbnb’s part.

Because the owner feels that our review would not suit her, our review will not be published so future guests will not have a reference to how we have experienced our stay at her chalet. I see that as a wrong policy from Airbnb and it is, in a way, cheating. Those who look for reviews will not be adequately informed about this accommodation. We all look for reviews and photos because the principle is ‘what you see is what you get’. That is why there is a gap in the reviews of her place between April 2018 and February 2019.

My advice: If there are hardly any reviews or there is a big gap between reviews, especially in areas like Chamonix during the skiing season, don’t take the place because something is wrong. That was our experience as well. The bathroom was dirty, the shower cabin had a sewer smell, the water tap for mixing cold and hot water did not function well, there were a number of things not provided although advertised, and the bedrooms are upstairs, but the shower and toilet downstairs which, for us, was not clear in the pictures, among others.

We still gave it three stars. However, the review was not published. For us this shows the lack of responsibility by Airbnb where it comes to publishing reviews and informing future guests adequately.

Pointing out illegal Airbnb gets me kicked out

Earlier this month I rented a studio in Boca Raton, Florida. After numerous discussions about the unsatisfactory conditions of the rental, I was evicted at 9:30 at night from the property and Airbnb refunded the unused portion of the rental. A police office who was called to assure a quiet resolution to the dispute told me the short-term rentals in Boca Raton are illegal. Subsequently I filled a complaint with the Boca Raton department of zoning compliance, since the rental was illegal in that community. The department caused the owner to agree to no longer offer his house for short-term rentals.

The owner then sent me several threatening, vulgar, unspeakable texts. Coincidentally, after a very difficult exchange with an Airbnb associate, wherein my review was expunged because I said the rental was illegal, I cited the sections of the code that apply to short term rentals In Boca Raton. The associate said someone from management would get back to me; I have heard nothing in over two weeks.

Furthermore I filed a complaint with the Florida Better Business Bureau which is pending and I sent copy of my terrifying, embarrassing and traumatic experience to the Los Angeles Times. Clearly I am very disappointed and angry at the cavalier manner in which my problem has been handled by Airbnb. Please note I have complete documentation of all communications regarding this matter. Recently I read an article discussing Airbnb and its concerns with discriminatory practices and their desire to minimize any such incidents. In that vein seems to me that illegal rentals that violate public policy should be of equal concern.

Beware of Moderate Cancellation Policy, Negative Reviews

My family of four plus two grandparents booked a whole house in Phuket, Thailand with a moderate cancellation policy, allowing for cancellation during the stay. In the master bedroom, the en-suite bathroom smelled of poor toilet drainage, and the house was generally filthy despite the advertised housekeeper. After a few nights we decided to cancel and book ourselves into a hotel. We would have acted sooner but were very jet lagged after a 24-hour flight, We gave the host a heads up and followed the moderate cancellation policy (allowing for a 50% refund for unused days).

The host was very angry and wrote a negative review saying we were the worst experience he ever had. We left the house in a cleaner state than when we had arrived with no breakages. We were highly courteous throughout the stay. After going back and forth with the case manager Airbnb decided that the review was within guidelines. I am writing to warn future guests to document everything through email and photos and if you make a complaint do it within 24 hours even if there is a moderate cancellation policy.

Was My Host Just Plain Nuts? A Guest Ponders After Bad Review.

As a warning for Airbnb guests, you are only allowed two weeks to respond to reviews. I didn’t even know I had a review until after the fact. There is no way to contact Airbnb from what I could find. On the listing of reviews, my visit didn’t even show up on the site from my viewing.

I have to wonder about Airbnb’s practices regarding reviews of hosts. They make their money from having hosts supported. Even a few negative reviews too many would hamper their success. If negative reviews are kept out, no one is the wiser. Notice Amazon businesses bending over backward to do right by their customers. The overwhelming number of reviews of my hosts portray their experiences as all sweetness and light. There’s a dark side.

It is difficult to fathom the animosity and personal attacks expressed in my host’s comments about me as a guest. She began by claiming I disregarded her 11:00 AM check-out time. Her listing stated nothing with an 11:00 AM check out. Her Airbnb listing stated, “Flexible check out time.” She never stated differently. The fact is, I did, coincidentally, leave the room at 11:00 AM.

I checked my emails while in her living room and left the house until about 3:00 PM, returning to pick up my belongings. Her listing also stated she and her partner “work 8-5 jobs” and that I took advantage of her and her partner, claiming I knew they were not home. I did leave my bags in a corner of their living room during the day while I was out. I certainly did not know their whereabouts. They appear to live in the basement of their house. I didn’t see them Saturday and they made no effort to communicate with me. I assumed they would have been home.

Where the host stated I stayed five hours after her check-out time, I did make a judgement call about leaving my bags at her house while I spent the day out. I was not at her house during that time. But what did Megan actually communicate to me regarding my departure time and my leaving my bags at her house while I was out? We texted at 3:00 PM that day: “Okay, if you could leave prior to 5:00 that would be great… I have no problem with you leaving bags while you were out, but would like to have known in advance.”

Fair enough. My bad. An egregious transgression of etiquette? Additionally, she claimed I lingered at her house, “When I realized [the guest] was still lingering, I asked him to leave,” but, as I quoted her above, she admitted to being okay “if you could leave prior to 5:00,” which I did.

The host also wrote “rides to/from the airport are not included or offered in our listing but you pestered my partner into driving you 20 miles across town.” Pestered her partner? Going back again to her and my 3:00 PM phone text, “I won’t be home in time to give you a ride. I apologize!”

She omitted the fact I stated I could also call Uber. She omitted I offered her the $20 for the service I was told Uber would have charged. There was no pestering. Moments after our phone text, and her demonstrating an openness to my offer, I walked into the house and made her partner the same offer just before the next guests walked in. As he checked in the new guests, I sat at their dining table waiting for his answer. When he finished with the guests, he offered to take me. If he had said no, I would still have had 2-3 hours to catch a ride with Uber or a taxi. I had no investment either way how I would have gotten to the airport. I thought I was being thoughtful with my offer.

The host added to her complaints, saying I was “creating a chaotic and uncomfortable situation” in her house. Her new guests, her partner, his brother, and I were all the people at the house. Five people. At other times it would be possible for her partner, his brother, their housemate, and his friends or relatives whose were staying there, along with the host and her son, to have all been at the house – four additional people. Somehow, I, as one person sitting quietly at her dining table was “creating a chaotic and uncomfortable situation?” I waited patiently for her partner to do a routine check-in, and then he gave me a lift to the airport – accepting my $20 payment. Easy-peasy. How was that “creating a chaotic and uncomfortable situation?”

In addition, she left out the fact that because the bedroom was so hot, even with windows open and fans going, I slept on top of the bed where the only attention for the room would have been to straighten the bedcovers – I had cleaned the room before leaving. I left a note for her saying as much.

It appears that despite any effort on my part, the host glossed over if it might show I was not the “unpleasant,” “entitled and disrespectful,” “pestering,” “lack[ing] etiquette” and “lingering” guest she portrayed me. 
Considering her comments of me, perhaps I should have given a more frank telling of the condition of her house and my experiences with her. The house was a mess (I politely excused that, with her having a young son). The bathroom had the appearance of a college dorm bath being used with several people’s bath items strew about, crowding the sink and tub areas. I wrote only, “The bathroom was adequate, but in need of updating.”

I was shocked by her insulting accusations and other comments about my stay. I went back to her site to see what credibility there might have been in her numerous accusations… precious little. What I did discover was a photo of her bathroom only showing the toilet, excluding the tub. I believe this was an intentional deception on the host’s part to hide the bathtub from view – with good reason. The tub is the worst I’ve ever seen in a house. To that, I wrote only the bath is in “need of updating.”

I nearly chose not to shower because of the dark brown and grey-black stains where the finish had long worn off. It looked like a vat used for toxic chemicals that had worn off the finish. I wish I had taken photos to show I am not exaggerating. I’m surprised no one else had mentioned it in their reviews. I suspect it was left unsaid, just as I had left it unsaid, as an act of generosity as a guest.

It appears after all is said, her only issue with any legitimacy was that I did not call her before leaving my belongings at her house for a few hours. For that, she lashed out, maliciously lying, misrepresenting and berating my character and my actual behavior, all the while creating a fanciful fabrication of what my stay actually consisted.

I was willing to be graciously forgiving of her failings as a host and in my overall assessment of my stay. She suggested as her last comment to me, “Let this be a learning experience for each of us.” Indeed!

Paris Disaster, Airbnb Useless for High-End Travel

We paid over USD 3000 for three nights in a large centrally located penthouse in Paris. We booked this on February 22, 2017 for our stay July 2-4. We received notification from Airbnb that the host (represented by “Caroline”) cancelled the booking around midnight on June 29. I am traveling through the Scottish highlands with my family with limited internet and have now stopped in at Inverlochy Castle to try to book a hotel for ten people in Paris tomorrow. I’m upset enough to write this complaint.

Customer service has been of no help; one representative said his manager would call us back. Over a day later, and there has still been no call. I just spent a hour talking to customer service with a sympathetic person who couldn’t help. None of the suggestions fit our requirements. We’re flying into Paris tomorrow with no place to stay. I am now left with no options but to book hotel rooms. Airbnb will have cost me over a thousand dollars in extra costs, several hundred dollars in phone calls, and loss of peace of mind on this vacation… not to mention the fact they have held my money since February. The asymmetry of their policies is incredible: if a guest cancels 48 hours prior, they are liable for 100% of charges. If a host cancels, they are penalized by Airbnb. However, when a guest suffers losses because of Airbnb, they provide no compensation in damages or assistance. I will send them my estimated hotel charges as soon as I have them. Let’s see where we go from here…