Lost $1000 to Avoid Sleeping in Filthy Airbnb

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Once you click “book” on Airbnb, your money is gone. Misrepresentation and filth are not enough to get your money back. I booked what was represented as a beautiful waterfront home where I could work for a week. I booked just a couple days in advance.

Upon arrival, it was a rundown cabin, part of a rundown crowded campground. On top of that, the place was filthy with sticky residue on the appliances, light switches and mystery drippings on the walls. The bathroom was disgusting with a moldy shower curtain and orange slick grime that’s hard to see in the pictures. The grounds were a mess with cars, debris and junk.

I texted the owner via the app immediately (because all communications had been through the app). I said the place was not at all what was represented and that I was leaving immediately. She did not respond. I immediately contacted Airbnb via the app as well and they did not respond either.

The next day Airbnb got back to me to say they had to ask the host for the refund. I never heard from the host. Surprise: the host declined. I suggested a 50% refund to settle, which was generous in my opinion. Airbnb said I needed to go back and take pictures (a two-hour drive). I made the trip back to the property and took pictures of a clearly moldy shower curtain, sticky surfaces and junky grounds. The host noticed that I was returning to take pictures, so the property was actually an improvement compared to the views on my original arrival.

Airbnb said the host refused the refund because I didn’t speak to her in person. When did that become a requirement? Then they told me they could not refund the money because I didn’t take the pictures that first day and never explained why they sent me back there. I gave up and posted a negative review on Yelp and cancelled my Airbnb account. I lost over $1,000 to avoid staying in filth. I will never use Airbnb again and frankly think this sort of thing needs to be better regulated.

Months later, a person I suspect to be a friend of the owner tried to comment on my Yelp review but that was rejected. The post was just a bunch of name calling. Now more than nine months later, the owner apparently did some research to find out my profession (attorney) and posted a response to my Yelp review trying to deflect from the photos of the grossness and reality of the junky grounds. I never mentioned my profession.

Another guest recently posted more photos on Yelp of the disgusting level of filth complete with another moldy shower, exploded food left by others in the microwave and more. Airbnb has yet to hold this property owner accountable despite pictures. Even the more positive Yelp reviews from guests expecting a campground experience note the need for better maintenance.

The stalking behavior by the owner in digging around to find out about my profession so many months later is disturbing on a whole different level. And there is yet another Yelp review describing how the host cussed out their group when they complained about the mess.

What does it take for Airbnb to hold a host accountable? I read an article about a Boy Scout troop that booked a place in Florida. When they contacted Airbnb to report that two different listings were using the same information, Airbnb protected the hosts. The Boy Scout troop showed up to literally no place to stay and it made the news. Apparently you need a news story to hold hosts accountable if they are making money for Airbnb.

Don’t trust Airbnb for reviews. When I tried to post my review on Airbnb, it mysteriously went into the cosmos. When the world settles down a little bit, I think we need to look to our legislators and consumer protection laws to make some changes. In the meantime, I suggest using VRBO and VACASA. They cost a little more but they also have higher standards in my experience. Take lots of pictures upon arrival in case you need documentation for any reason and let karma take care of the rest.

MIA Host, Double Booked Room, and Guest Climbs Through Window

After hours of the host being unresponsive, another resident of the unit let me in the apartment, then broke into the room through the window AC to let me in (this guest does work for the host). The room was double booked. When the other guest arrived he was belligerent and said he’d call the cops on the host (and presumably also me). All the host ever said was “can I call you back later?” via text message.

I had to extricate myself from the situation and get a very expensive hotel room at the last minute. Airbnb’s phone support agent did not help me with this but simply gave me a $128 coupon, which was borderline offensive; the refund itself might take three weeks to arrive. This host also has a long history of plain awful and unsafe behavior and they still allow them on their platform.

I’ve used Airbnb for many years. This year alone I’ve spent $12,000 on the platform, but I’ve had enough. I will stop using Airbnb because of this incident (other than during my confirmed, upcoming reservations which I can no longer cancel, unfortunately).

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.

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Airbnb Made Me Feel Homeless — Never Again

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This is my story. Without many guests because of the pandemic I decided to use the coupon Airbnb sent me for being a Superhost for two years in a row, and booked a stay in the Canary Islands which I paid for with this coupon.

My host sent me a warm message saying he was expecting me, which I answered. After landing in Gran Canaria last, still in the airport I checked the app for the address but the host cancelled and I wasn’t notified at all. Quickly I sent a message to the host but there was no answer. I took a bus to the center of Gran Canaria where I landed in a square. I found a restaurant with wifi from where I sent another desperate message to the host but yet got no answer at all.

I felt bad. I was alone and didn’t know any one there. I picked my backpack and went back to the square. From under a tree I called Airbnb and explained what happened. Someone apologized and told me they would call me back with another place for me. I waited… half an hour… an hour… an hour and a half… but nobody called me.

I called Airbnb again and again received another apology from another person, but without a solution. After two hours of feeling homeless, restless, known to none, I talked with a taxi driver who talked to another taxi driver who finally got a room for me in a family house, from where I am writing now. I was very lucky for landing in the morning, otherwise I could have stay in the square the whole night.

Already in the room, I wrote about this experience to Airbnb. Again someone apologized but that was all. I wasn’t even offered a refund for the coupon. I was ready to come back home and host again. Which I will do, but not through Airbnb. I will not even use Airbnb as a guest. Never again.

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.