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 Host Cancellation Leaves Guests with Few Options

I am so frustrated with this platform I am ready to be tied up and it seems a lot of other guests (and hosts) are as well. I was a big fan of Airbnb until a recent host cancellation soured it all.

I had used Airbnb in several countries in Europe and around the U.S and never had a major problem. I had always studied the properties, read all  the reviews, asked hosts pertinent questions (to gauge their competence) and finally figured out where they were actually located (the Airbnb map location is generally not accurate) so I could see them on Google Street view.

As I say, most of my experiences were good. Some exceeded expectations, a few did not meet standards, and some you have to accept based on their value-based location. However, I had never experienced a host cancelling on me. I had not even considered what the consequences would be and it was definitely not good for me on the particular trip I was taking.

I had to totally change my travel plans. Okay, s— happens as they say, but this is where this particular mode of vacation rental booking falls flat on its face. It is, after all, just a website, a platform where hosts can rent their properties on a global scale and likewise guests have unlimited possibilities of places to rent. However, there is an issue when there is literally no customer service.

For my cancellation, I was given a two-word explanation why the host had cancelled at the last minute along with several computer generated emails telling me what I could do. I was told I would receive a full refund (which I have not received yet but have no reason to believe they will renege on that) and also a measly $80 gift certificate if I re-booked on Airbnb.

The problem is I was screwed. There were no other properties available at such short notice. Airbnb customer service is practically nonexistent. All they care about is taking your money, literally months in advance in most cases. I had to completely change my travel plans and ended up booking somewhere else through VRBO.

In the future, I am not sure I will ever use this platform again and even if I do I am going to ask every host under what circumstances they would cancel my reservation. These hosts need to have some kind of backup plan in the event something happens to them or something changes, not just simply cancel. It may seem easy for them as there are little or no consequences, but for the guest this can cause huge issues.

Airbnb doesn’t give a hoot and they damn well should. While this kind of vacation renting may seem like a great idea (I certainly thought so) it does have its limitations. Hosts have had all sorts of problems with bad guests and vice versa and Airbnb apparently could not give a damn. They have your money. The only way they will get the message is if folks stop using them and they start losing money. It will be a bunch of computer geeks shutting down a platform and starting something else the next day.

Such is internet business. It’s great until something goes wrong. The smart ones sort it out for their customers. Airbnb does not.

Strong Arm Robbery, Never Stepped Foot in Airbnb

I made an Airbnb reservation a couple days in advance in Oakland for a work-related stay that the host was aware of. I cancelled within the 48-hour timeframe due to a job termination. The stay was for Sept. 21 to Oct. 19 for $1281.27. I waited the 15-day grace period for my refund and it never arrived.

I wrote to the host inquiring where my refund was and she never responded. I never stepped foot in her home and she pocketed my $1281.27. I am a single mother with four kids that are still dependent on me. The Airbnb help center was of no help — they do not hold their hosts accountable.

I would never recommend Airbnb to friends or family; it’s been a terrible experience. Unfortunately common courtesy and hospitality are not in this host’s nature.

Money Lost After Host Lied and Airbnb Didn’t Care

I booked an apartment and thought the host was flexible… how wrong I was. Now COVID is everywhere and I had a headache, but it was not a good reason enough for a cancellation.

Airbnb let the host keep the money. I tried about everything I could. I tried to change the day of arrival for later but the host lied. He promised I could change the day then disappeared. When the host came back he told me it was not possible to change days. He booked days for new guests and left the calendar open for anyone else. I had good reviews and felt I didn’t deserve that.

The host got paid twice and also got a new payment from other guests. Airbnb let the host keep the money from both. I booked multiple apartments through Airbnb before but they don’t have any kind of service or respect for guests anymore. I used to book multiple apartments with very expensive service fees (compared to one night in a hotel). They didn’t care to help.

I can’t trust booking through the page anymore. Airbnb service centre sent me only some automatic messages about its cancellation policy, rules, etc. Nothing necessary and not helpful. As a guest I felt like I was not important. For them it’s the same if I end up outside as long as they get the money and also the service fee. Nothing else matters anymore.

All of them took advantage of the COVID crisis but it was me who felt sick and had to cancel — nobody cared. I used to book through Airbnb because it was cheaper than hotels but with money lost it is really more expensive. Now I feel like many others better not to book anything. If they do book, they should choose other platforms and ask for better offers.

Airbnb Horror with Cockroach Infestation

We booked an Airbnb for a few weeks in Florida. It cost over $2,000 total. On the first day we found one dead cockroach; we didn’t panic, but contacted the host to let her know.

The second day there were multiple live cockroaches. We contacted the host again, which is when we found out she lives in Europe, and is six hours ahead. She admitted she was late on her monthly exterminatory spray for vermin.

After finding the live cockroaches, we realized we may be in bigger trouble than we thought on the first day. We begin to search around the house more in depth to see dozens of dead cockroaches, cockroach poop, cockroach limbs and antennas in the bedrooms, bathrooms, and living spaces.

We found old garbage from the previous owner, a carton of ice cream, old water bottles, used tissues underneath the bed (so now we realize what attracted all the cockroaches). The old garbage and ice cream, combined with the great irresponsibility of our negligent and absentee and mentally unwell host forgetting to book her monthly exterminatory sprays on time, ended up with a cockroach infestation.

The host completely stopped talking to us at that point, and in her review later on claimed I was “rude” and “confrontational” when I told her the severity of the issue. I suppose I should’ve been nicer and more polite that she had $2,300 of my money, didn’t answer my messages, had old garbage and an unclean residence, a cockroach infestation, and cockroach poop in the bedrooms.

It was the final straw when I went to brush my teeth at 7:00 AM and a cockroach and four baby cockroaches came out of the drain in the sink. I really loved having cockroaches three inches from my face first thing in the morning. We had to leave the place two weeks before our departure date.

Of course Airbnb did nothing to help us and got us a grand total of $0 in refunds for the time we spent there. Every Airbnb “specialist” just sent generic responses, sending me the same link ten different times to its Guest Refund Policy that I already cited to them in the initial messages. They also said “We want to get your side of the story” — three messages in a row after I repeatedly and clearly shared my story with them.

It’s a total waste of time; they don’t care about people at all and just want money. I am so glad I will never have to use Airbnb again. Just cut your losses and stay at a hotel. I would share the link of the listing, but I am incredibly confident this host and her condo are so incompetent, disgusting, and terrible that they will run their business to the ground on their own.

Airbnb is a Scam and Supports Thieves

I have to share my nightmare story with Airbnb supporting theft via their site via a man in Santa Cruz, Tenerife. One evening a couple of weeks ago, we booked a place via Airbnb. A few minutes after we called to check in, we were told we needed to pay €30 extra for a late check in. This cash requirement late at night seemed dodgy and we immediately cancelled the booking.

Surprise, surprise: the host had a ‘no cancellation refund’ policy. In the meantime, I contacted the host to explain that we had booked for three days and it was a mistake. The host agreed to repay some small part of the amount I paid. I paid £143 and he agreed to repay €125 minus taxes; all in all, a big amount lost for nothing.

Then he kept making excuses that I should ask for the money back via Airbnb, which was the first thing I did. He kept claiming he could not see the request, which was clearly a lie. Then I realized that he kept leading me on so I didn’t have the time to write a bad review. Instead, I cut my losses and wrote a very expensive bad review for the host.

Airbnb has been on his side not compensating me in any shape or form. Therefore, the host, with Airbnb’s blessing and full support, stole £143 from my account. Please beware of these thieves. I was also a host on Airbnb. Needless to say, they have lost me with this support for thieves.

Beware of these scammers; do not book their place. Use Booking.com — what you see is what you get with no hidden fees and theft of money from accounts with lack of service provision.

Airbnb Guests Get Away with Everything but Murder

I’ll try and keep this as short as I can. We have been 5-star Superhosts (and guests) for years. We hosted in Truckee, CA and in Grants Pass, OR on the Rogue River. We took a chance, by allowing someone who had no reviews to book our place.

When we arrived home (after they checked themselves out), they left the door wide open, and all of the lights on in the apartment. There was trash and crumbs and dirty dishes everywhere. One of our screens was taken off, so they could burn incense on the window ledge (right over our roof) and they broke our washing machine; it was full of dark brown water, that would not drain. The repair man said it was due to them overfilling the washing machine.

We only charged a $250 deposit on Airbnb, which didn’t cover the cost of the damage they had done. Airbnb makes you resolve the issue yourself, with the guest — “Yes, talk to the guest about it. They will agree that they trashed the place and agree to give you compensation for it, no problem!”

Then the guests denied it (when we had photographic proof of everything, including text messages). The guests did not pay the deposit, and got away with everything. What’s the point of having a deposit, if the guests don’t have to pay it?

I surely did not think that Airbnb would let a person you were in a dispute with write a review about you. VRBO does not allow persons you are in a dispute with, write a review on your profile, because they know that it will be false and biased. But Airbnb allowed them to post a review on our account that was false and disgusting when we have a five-year history on Airbnb of being Superhosts and super guests (with 40 reviews).

We are shutting down our Airbnb account as of today, because of Airbnb’s awful and negligent handling of this entire situation. We have been amazing hosts (and guests) of Airbnb for years and the fact that Airbnb allows and practically invites this type of behavior from guests is outrageous. A guest can come into someone’s home, trash the place, break things, deny it and never pay the deposit (that they should) and leave the host a false and horrible review. We will only use other companies for hosting and traveling from this day forward. We will highly recommend all of our friends, families and guests to use anything but Airbnb. We will never recommend Airbnb to anyone.

Is COVID-19 Not an Extenuating Circumstance?

How is anything related to COVID not an extenuating circumstance, after the government put in place a stay at home order after having everything open, preventing anyone from traveling into the island?

Our trip to the USVI got cancelled, per the governor shutting down travel, and in contacting the airline about this (they gave us our full refund without question by the way) the airline told me that if the island was shutting down they would not be flying in — so we could be stuck there.

Now the host had told me that I would need to cancel for reasons including COVID and I should get my full refund because it was out of their hands. Airbnb only refunded us half and it would’ve been less had I not done it sooner. The host said she is unable to do anything about refunding us because she hasn’t been given the money.

Airbnb stole thousands from me. Neither myself nor the host has been able to actually get in touch with anyone at the company, all I get is a phone recording that just hangs up on me. Never again. Do not use this company.

Airbnb’s Dishonesty Over COVID-19 Cancellation

In February I booked a house in Manly Sydney for two couples from within Australia and New Zealand. Then came COVID-19 and with border closures flights were cancelled and borders closed.

I contacted the owner and was told cancelling would not be a problem and I would get a refund. I duly did so and it read that I would receive AUD 450.00 which was slightly less than I had paid. Then I received a email from Airbnb informing me that I would get no money as company policy was since I hadn’t paid in full, there would be no refund. I asked about a voucher but the answer was no.

Their blurb said if COVID-19 was the reason for cancelling and a booking had been made prior to shutdown then they would refund but actually that’s a lie. A lot of messaging between myself, the owner and the company was a waste of time. The owner blocked any communication and then Airbnb stated that due to COVID-19, property owners were struggling with their own debt hence the reason for no payment. They too refused to accept any further communication. The host did say that any reimbursement was out of his hands as Airbnb didn’t pay him until the date of the booking.

It is saddening that this company can take money from people and not return it when it’s a genuine reason for cancellation. The airline returned the full cost of tickets without even requesting the same but Airbnb is cheating us of our funds.

Airbnb has lost me as a user and I’ll stay with other honest short-term holiday rental companies that have been reliable in the past. I only used this one as it was exactly what we wanted and located where we wanted but I’ll look elsewhere and trust the company of choice. Use Airbnb at your peril but never again for me.