Two Last Minute Cancellations and a Noisy Apartment

Six weeks ahead of our family Christmas vacation to Peru, we booked two Airbnb listings. One was to be the same place twice for a total of five nights (with a short excursion to another place in between) and the others for a single night in Lima before leaving to go home. Fortunately, I had the sense to book a hotel for our first night in the country after getting off our international flight late at night and the hotels for our excursion were handled by our local guide.

Four days before our trip, our first reservation was cancelled. The host messaged me and said that he is new to Airbnb and didn’t know how the system worked, that he shouldn’t have confirmed the booking in the first place because he would be away leading a tour that week. Four days before our trip, we had no place for our family of seven to stay in a popular tourist destination during the holidays. The host was very unsympathetic to our situation.

We managed to find two separate bookings for the stay on either end of our stay, both at a higher rate than we’d originally had, and neither was an entire apartment like we had booked before. There were not any places left that were a single unit for a family. The first booking turned out to be a small local B&B that was nice and friendly, but not what we’d been planning on originally and at a higher cost.

While we were packing up to leave for our excursion, I got a message from our next host on the other end of the excursion that just said, “I’m sorry. Family emergency,” and the booking was cancelled. When this second one canceled for New Year’s weekend, I began to believe that they had found other folks willing to pay more or were giving the space to family or friends instead. I could be wrong. Maybe I’m just that unlucky. However, it was highly suspect.

Fortunately, the little B&B we were just preparing to leave had room for us and we were able to book privately with them and just take a refund from Airbnb on that second reservation, even though on their Airbnb page, it didn’t look like they had space that weekend. When we arrived to our last night’s location, I was very gun-shy about the whole Airbnb thing after the last minute cancellations. I had a little more hope for this place because the host was a “superhost”.

The host (who was listed as speaking English and Spanish and with whom I’d had conversations in English on Airbnb messaging) had informed me that he would be out of town while we were there and his sister would meet us and let us in. I called the sister immediately when we landed to confirm that were weren’t going to be left high and dry again. Both the host and his sister were very sweet, but his sister’s English was about as good as my Spanish, so we had a difficult time communicating.

The apartment was neat and clean, and we even had one more bed than expected. The neighborhood was a little sketchier than we expected and we had trouble finding a restaurant or grocery store because of our communication gap with the host’s sister. (Again, not her fault, but if the listing says the host speaks English, the host’s representative should too.) We managed to figure that all out, but our kids were shot by the end of the day and walking around trying to find food with three cranky kids in a foreign country is not exactly relaxing, to say the least.

That night, we decided to turn in early to reset for our last day in Lima. And at around 8:30 PM, a party started in the apartment downstairs. It seemed to be a child’s birthday party or something. There was little to no sound protection between apartments, and there were no fewer than a dozen loud voices loudly shouting and talking, including small children running around and screaming until just before midnight. I can certainly understand and tolerate some amount of kid noise. We knew there was a family downstairs in the apartment below us. But after spending the whole trip reminding my own kids about manners when there are other people in the building, the screaming children downstairs until midnight was inexcusable.

Our kids were crying because they were tired and couldn’t sleep with the noise. Our host was out of town, so I couldn’t communicate through messenger. My only recourse would be to call his sister at night and try to explain to her in my terrible Spanish what was happening and ask what to do about it. Since we were, admittedly, trying to turn in early that day, I figured I’d give them a little time. By around 10:30 PM, they quieted and we all breathed a sigh of relief… until a half hour later when they started back up. At this point, I didn’t want to call the host’s sister that late at night, so I went to Airbnb customer service who basically said, “Sorry. Should have video taped it. Hope you have a better experience next time.”

Next time? That’s cute, guys. After two last-minute cancellations on a family of seven over a holiday and a night of no sleep because of noisy neighbors at what was listed as a “quiet apartment”, there is no chance of there being a “next time”. In my tired, sleep deprived state, trying to comfort my kids to get them to sleep, video taping a party downstairs wasn’t exactly something that occurred to me to do.

There is no way Airbnb was worth the few dollars we saved. Save yourself the trouble and the headache of trying to book things last minute or the chance of getting super noisy neighbors and just book a hotel. Buy a Lonely Planet Guide for where you are headed, and check out TripAdvisor. That is how we always traveled in the past and that is how we will always travel in the future.

Airbnb Cancelled Without Reason in Long Beach

We had booked a home from Airbnb for the first time. We were to stay at a house in Long Beach, CA. We have used VRBO many times in the past without any issues from us or our hosts. My husband was graduating from Biola. We had married at a young age and never got to have a honeymoon, so we were excited for his graduation and time together alone. We booked the home months in advance.

We pulled up to the Airbnb and the owner was very aggressive, wanting to know who we were. When we explained we were the people supposed to be spending the week at her home, she stated Airbnb cancelled our reservation without reason. Because we were in Long Beach it was just 0.5 miles to the Westin (very nice) where we stayed.

Multiple attempts were made to reach Airbnb to find out what happened. This was a month ago. We have not received a response, though we did get our money back in full. I will never rent an Airbnb again. I tell anyone who will listen not to either. We will go back to our trusty VRBO. My family and I live in the southern outer banks of NC. Let me say that if you paid for an Airbnb here in the summer, and they cancelled last minute you would be sleeping in the sand. Luckily for us, we were in a large urban area with many options. Someone else might not be so lucky in a smaller area.

New Year’s Eve in New Orleans Cancellation

I booked a condo months in advance for my family near the French Quarter in New Orleans on New Year’s Eve, as we were returning from a cruise that day. The listing had a normal price (not New Year’s Eve French Quarter pricing).

Three days before, host cancelled due to one of those rare plumbing problems that can’t be fixed within three days. I spent the last day of my cruise on the computer, trying to figure out an alternate plan with everything nearby booked up. With no luck and $500 a person to change flight dates, I rented a one-way car and set out to drive home. I’ll spend New Year’s 2018 with my kids in a motel on I-55.

The best part is, with my reservation canceled, there is literally no way to leave a review for either the host or his listing and no way to complain to Airbnb other than generic website feedback. Maybe the plumbing problem is real (who knows?) but why should a situation like that not be allowed to be noted in the reviews? I can tell you my first Airbnb experience will also be my last, and I wish the host and his plumbing anything but a prosperous New Year. Cheers to all from the Motel 6!

Negative Comments Need not Apply with Airbnb

Recently we met our German friends for our annual November retreat. We decided to use Airbnb this year since they had a lot more locations over our normal rental unit management company. We always stay in the Ft Myers/Naples area so there were a lot of great places to choose from. Our rental home was owned by a German couple who were responsive throughout the booking process and all in all seemed good.

What I didn’t appreciate was the fact that they gave us a “daily usage allowance” for electricity, something we were unaware of until the day of check in. Our German friends arrived the day before us (we traveled from Virginia) and checked into the house. The management company made them sign a document that they would pay for any additional electricity over the daily allowance ($3.50 per day). I’m not sure where you live but $3.50 per day for electricity when you have a pool, A/C, lights, an oven, etc. is pretty darn low. The really sad part is when you review the listing on Airbnb all the fine print is in English, until you get to the part about “Electric”, then it changes over to German.

We called Airbnb on this fact (after we had already checked in) and they said “That’s illegal. All our listings in the US are to be in English.” We thought they were on our side then they said, “Well, you will need to work out the electric bill with the host…”

Seriously? The Host breaks the rules and you tell me I have to work it out? Airbnb customer service also said “You should not engage in any agreements outside of the Airbnb system.”

I wonder why? Because they lose out on any additional cut they might be entitled to? It’s akin to bidding on an item on eBay that you eventually lose, only to be sent an email by the seller a few minutes later wanting to make the sales transaction “outside” the eBay system – at the same price you bid, of course. So they can avoid paying eBay the 5% fee. This was a foul by the host.

Sensing our frustration after several calls to Airbnb, during our vacation no less, they told us they would refund us $30 for our troubles. That was five weeks ago and there has still been no refund. I asked them why I did not get a link to provide feedback after the stay was completed. They said that because they knew our feedback would be negative they would not be allowing us to provide any comments – hence the reason I’m writing here.How do they expect things to improve if they deny their customers an opportunity to provide accurate and rational negative feedback? It’s pathetic.

Sadly that will be our one and only stay with Airbnb. I chose not to include a link to the host’s listing because while their idea of charging for electricity is misguided (especially in the USA) the home was pretty much as described. I would recommend the host abandon the “daily allowance” idea and increase the daily cost for the home by $10 which would likely cover most of the electricity (we stayed 15 days so that would be equal to $150). As far as Airbnb goes in general? I would highly recommend that everyone stay away from this sham of a company.

Customer Service over Cancellations is Lacking

We had a reservation in South Lake Tahoe over Christmas paid in full, that was abruptly cancelled today, nine days prior to arrival. There was no explanation why, just a gratuity voucher if we could find a replacement for $195. This is the first time some of our family have used Airbnb, and I have to say we are all totally dissatisfied with all that has transpired. Our daughter has received no response to her email from Airbnb or from the host. We reserved in August, well in advance of the holiday. Two of the families are flying up here from southern California. This cancellation has not only made a mess of our well planned trip but also left us scrambling to find a replacement which is not proving to be easy at this late date near the holiday. I haven’t even mentioned the stress of the entire issue. I would think there would be some restrictions to the owners in regards to cancelling, as there is to the renter. $195 for our trouble doesn’t even begin to make things right. They can be sure we will be sharing this with all we know especially to those who use the service.

Can I Give a Negative Rating for this Airbnb?

If I could have put zero stars I would have. My partner was staying in this particular Airbnb home (Eccles, Manchester) for what should’ve been a month. We asked the host (who wasn’t living with us) if it would be okay for me to visit. She agreed it was fine – no more money would need to be paid as long as we asked the tenants. She had asked them and said it was fine.

I came to stay for the planned two weeks, bought advance train tickets, and planned what we were going to do as I was primarily there to support her. I usually work from home via a Ltd company which is great for me as I’m disabled. One night – I think it was a Wednesday – my partner invited her cousin and best friend over for a meal and to hang out for no longer than an hour. As usual, the noise got a little loud but no louder than a group of three girls usually get; they thought nothing of it as they believed no one else was there. One of the tenants flung open his bedroom door and started swearing and shouting, claiming we were taking the piss and he had to be at work early the next day.

After that we all moved into the small double bedroom. Realising that wasn’t going to work, her cousin and best friend left. After that the atmosphere in the house became passively hostile and unpleasant. The tenants refused to talk to us about what happened, claiming we had no respect and that I was staying there illegally. They told the host that either we would have to go or they would… it was awkward the whole time we stayed. They didn’t say a word to us when we did our best to apologize and just be pleasant.

The room itself was damp. It smelt of dampness. The heating, which we couldn’t control, wasn’t on long enough to dry clothes. We’re moving to another Airbnb in Manchester this evening however we don’t have much hope that it’ll be any better than this (and we’ve confirmed with the host in writing that I’ll be staying too).

I urge anyone who is thinking of using Airbnb anywhere to just not do it. It’s cheap for a reason. The rooms are poor quality and if you happen to live with tenants they will make your life miserable. Don’t use Airbnb; you’d be happier sleeping on the street.

Left Homeless in Mexico City when Airbnb Host Cancelled

I’ve used Airbnb several times without issue. However, last week I had a horrific experience that Airbnb completely failed to resolve. My host canceled a three-night booking in Mexico City on my day of arrival two hours before check-in. Airbnb did not phone to alert me to this significant last minute development, but rather sent an email. In the email, various “alternatives” were proposed – none of which were in remotely the same area of Mexico City, a massive metropolis – that I could book directly, or I could request my money back.

The alternatives were not comparable. I had guests arriving within two hours, and did not have time to research, communicate and rebook (hoping that there would not be another last minute cancellation). In lieu of availing myself of a non-comparable alternative that would have taken time and effort (and luck – there was very little time to pull all of this together) on my part to reserve, the only option that I was left with was to request a refund. I was forced to book two hotel rooms at the last minute, incurring a cost $300 greater than my Airbnb booking. Airbnb offered no further assistance or recompense for the stress and extra expense that resulted from using their platform.

Subsequently, I received a phone call purportedly to learn more about my point of view regarding what happened. When I said that Airbnb failed in its customer service, and that it did not provide me with assurance, as a paying guest, that I could depend on pre-booked and pre-paid accommodations, I was informed that it wasn’t their fault. Problems happen, but Airbnb’s management of the situation and subsequent follow-up was pathetic. I will not be booking with them ever again, and urge other travelers to be cautious as they also may not know that Airbnb hosts can cancel prepaid bookings at the last minute, with no excuse and no assurance from Airbnb that you will be relocated to comparable accommodations.

Airbnb Host with Terrible Customer Service Skills

I stayed at the Crown Point Hotel Tobago (an Airbnb host had an apartment there) back in June 2017. My mother made a few local calls on the landline phone. I had an early check out the next morning. I spoke to the front desk staff the night before to find out what to do with the key. No mention was made of the calls; there was no billing set up. The front desk knew I had an early check out. I wasn’t even thinking about the calls. Months later, I see a nasty message from the host saying that I didn’t pay the phone bill and that the front desk clerk had to pay it. I didn’t intentionally not pay the bill. I was never billed and I wasn’t thinking about it. My contention is this: why didn’t the host just notify me privately? I would have paid the bill then and there. I think the host was being very low down and petty posting his comments on Airbnb as if I had no intentions of paying. I only happened to see the nasty message because I was going to rebook. Never again. Airbnb was difficult to reach to take down the nasty review.

Filth and Infestations at New York Airbnb Home

No more Airbnb-hosted homes for us. Although there are good clean places out there, we’ve had two ghastly experiences in two months. Airbnb refuses to post honest reviews, only five-star reviews. Avoid this Airbnb in Wynantskill, NY at all costs. We found the bedroom and bathroom filthy and extremely bug infested.

Food scraps, hair, bugs, and dirt were on both the floors and walls. Grime was on the door handles, toothpaste was splattered on the sink, counter, and bathroom mirror, and stains were on the carpet. The pillow cases and bed sheets were terribly stained and even had holes worn through them. The bath towels and washcloths were also badly stained. They looked as though they had been rags taken from a trash can. The place had the odor of a men’s locker room. I wouldn’t let my dog stay in such a filthy place.

Had it not been late and storming when we arrived, we would have never stayed. As it was, we found some Lysol cleaner and wiped down the tub and other bathroom fixtures. Then we went about trying to kill as many of the bugs on the walls, curtains, floor, and bed as we could. The host was not there. Her father let us in. He said that his daughter was renting out the bedroom just long enough to pay for her new Jeep. This is our second bad experience with renting through Airbnb in two months. When we spoke to their representatives the last time, we got nowhere. Never again.