Harassment by Host After Ignoring Check In

We booked accommodation in Madrid from January 19-22, and as previously agreed with the host we were supposed to arrive between 12:00-2:00 PM. We sent a text via Airbnb inquiring as to who would be available to meet us, with no response from the host. As agreed, we arrived at 2:00 PM, and found the main door of the building locked and with no response from the host to several phone calls and messages made to her registered number.

We waited outside for more than three hours with several calls and messages during the time, only to find her mobile was switched off the whole time. Finally around 5:00 PM she made it to the apartment and showed no remorse for leaving us stranded, instead asking us to look for another place if we were unhappy. Her attitude and mannerisms were extremely unprofessional and rude, and instead of containing the situation, she talked down to us and was very aggresive. She did not help us settle in, did not show us the amenities or even how to get the wifi started, which was already a problem.

Half an hour after moving in while we were using the shower, we had a neighbour bang at our door, non-stop buzzing and yelling and complaining about water leakage from our bathroom to theirs. They mentioned complaining about this water leakage to the host in the past, with no action from her. We were asked to immediately stop using the shower. We paid for all amenities – not only did we lose half a day for the host to show up, but now we were also asked not to use the shower. The wifi also stopped working soon after that.

The host was extremely rude and aggressive, and as confirmed by Airbnb support staff, she also repeatedly used profanity, and threatened us with cutting off the water supply if we were not available when she would send someone to fix it. As of 3:00 PM today, we have been forcefully vacated from the accommodation with no proper/prior notification. Airbnb denies the confirmed mistreatment and unprofessional attitude of the host, which has all been documented in Airbnb messages to us. Furthermore, we were asked to immediately vacate the premises by Airbnb with the assurance that they would take care of re-booking us immediately.

This booking we made with the host was fully prepaid, and as per Airbnb rules, the payment to the host is only released after 24 hours of check-in. Our first complaint was registered 20 hours ago. Kindly refer to the complete communication in the email trails between Airbnb support team and me. We have been repeatedly threatened and harassed by this host in person, via text and phone calls, all of which have been documented and shared with the Airbnb team. We are still waiting to hear from Airbnb regarding an alternative accommodation, and are literally on the street for the next two days, with no communication from their team regarding the above or even our money. We are looking for a full refund, and a solution to our current dilemma.

Airbnb Host Spying On Guests With Audiovisual Equipment?

When I made our reservation with Airbnb, I took advantage of their “Pay Less Up Front” program. I paid for only half the reservation at booking, and about two weeks later, I paid the rest. Who would know this would come back to bite me in the end? Let me back up a bit.

My group and I planned to meet at the airport for our flights to Atlanta at 11:00 AM Friday morning. Our flight was from about 1:00-3:00 PM and we were scheduled to check into the house we rented at 5:00 PM that day. At exactly 11:13 PM on the Thursday night before the trip, I received a heart-stopping message from my host:

“Dear Kayla, I am hoping you will get this. Airbnb Customer Service is getting in touch with you, as well. I am having huge septic tank issues and there is sewage in the house. I am not allowed to safely have anyone stay at this home. I have tried to let you know much earlier but Airbnb’s website would not let me cancel or notify you. I had to call Airbnb to cancel and they are now trying to notify you. I am so sorry for the inconvenience to your trip! Thank you for your kind understanding!”

Let me just put this out there: I had been in constant contact with the host, letting her know our arrival and departure times, and just discussing other little things related to the booking. I was just baffled as to how it was that she was unable to contact me until 11:13 PM the night before I was scheduled to stay with her. I thought it best that I not respond to her, as I know my words would not have been kind or understanding.

Instead, I immediately contacted Airbnb who had not even called me yet. The representative had no clue what I was talking about. The reservation was active and there were no notes on the account stating that it should be cancelled. She had to hang up with me and call the host to verify. Meanwhile, she told me to look for other listings and reach out to the hosts of the ones I like to see if they could take me at the last minute. Another blank stare moment.

Once Airbnb spoke to the host, she called me back and asked me if there were any listings that I saw that I liked. I explained to her that since I was looking to book something on what was now the same date I was expecting to arrive, that the prices were much more expensive than what I had paid. The only listing I found with a host that was willing to take my party at such short notice was $400 more expensive than what I had paid. Airbnb only gave me a $200 coupon, leaving me to come up with $200 more than what I had paid, all for something that was not my fault.

What the representative said next is what really blew my mind. I was informed that because I paid for the booking in two installments, instead of them transferring the money I’d already paid onto the new reservation, they had to charge me for the new one and I had to wait for the refund for the cancelled one. After escalating to a supervisor, I was told that the funds would be released to my bank in 1-2 hours and all I had to do was call the bank so they could make it available to me.

While speaking with my bank I learned that was hogwash and poppycock, told to pacify me and get me off the phone. Meanwhile, my account was severely overdrawn and I still had a flight to catch in the morning. To make matters worse, I only got an automated confirmation of a refund about the first half of my payment, which finally posted to my account on Tuesday. I never received an automated confirmation about the second refund. When I inquired via chat about the second portion of the refund, I was told the funds were never received.

Like I said, when I booked the reservation, I paid half upfront. I received several confirmation and reminder emails that the second half would be charged on Thursday, December 18th. Airbnb charged my account for the second payment on Wednesday December 17th, and sent me a confirmation email dated for Thursday, December 18th, thanking me for my payment.

What the heck is going on at Airbnb? Why are they charging folks earlier than they should, and sending confirmations for a later date? The first representative I spoke to that Wednesday night, when I called in irate about being prematurely charged, processed a refund for that payment. I escalated to a supervisor because I did not want to be charged again on the correct date while waiting for a refund, since that would mean double the amount would be taken from my account. The supervisor then cancelled the refund, kept the money and compensated me for my overdraft fees.

Fast forward to 2:00 AM last Friday, the day of my trip, when I was going back and forth with Airbnb. After reading the message that the second payment was never received, I demanded the supervisor I had been speaking with call me back. She called me back and told me the last message was an error; they did receive the second payment and they did process the refund. She typed an email to me confirming the two refunds and their respective amounts. A week later, I have not received the second refund. If they were both processed at the same time, shouldn’t they be in my account by now?

The madness does not stop there. The new host that I booked with was freaking me out from the beginning. She asked me the purpose of my trip, and constantly drilled that she lives in a conservative neighborhood and that her home is not a “party house”. I understood that – no one wants to have problems with their neighbors. However, the first red flag came when she asked me how my guests and I know each other. I let her know we’re coworkers and classmates, but I could not understand what that had to do with anything.

The second red flag came when she called me before we checked in. She let me know that once I got to the house, I would hold my license up to the camera at the doorbell, she’d verify my identity and give me a code to put in the keypad and gain access to the house. No problem. The issue is that she said the latch on her door “sticks”. She said we’d have to hold the latch tightly and push really hard on the door to get in. Every time we went to go inside the house, it literally felt like we were breaking in. I’m so glad we had two strong guys with us, because if not, I doubt us ladies would have been able to get in.

The third issue arose when we returned to the house Saturday night at about 2:00 AM and attempted to turn on the downstairs heater. It was 27 degrees outside. We are South Floridians who are not used to the cold, so we were beyond shocked when we tried to turn the heater on and discovered that the thermostat was now asking for a PIN number. I felt bad about contacting the host at such an hour, but heat in such conditions is like a basic human right. It couldn’t wait.

I practically found myself in an argument with this woman. The most unsettling part about this text exchange was the realization that she was eavesdropping on me and my guests. Notice her comment to me about her power bill. I never mentioned anything to her about it, but one of my guests had just said the reason she blocked us from adjusting the temperature was because she did not want to have to pay a high power bill. It was so scary that she turned around and mentioned it. She claims she was just clarifying, but who clarifies something like that without a question being asked?

We learned that the system she used to identify me at the door and remotely adjust the thermostat is called NEST and it provides clear audio and visual surveillance. I’m still creeped out by this. To make matters worse, the house smelled dank and musty when we first got there. We had to spray everything down with Febreeze. The host only gave us one set of towels each for the weekend. Imagine being a person that is used to changing towels daily, and having to use the same towel all weekend.

She claimed she had a cleaning crew but the house was horribly dusty. There was broken glass on the floor in one of the bedrooms and dog hair everywhere. The pots, pans and dish sponges were filthy. We had to buy dish detergent and new sponges so we could properly clean the dishes and cook our breakfast. I did my very best to overlook this situation, but Airbnb nearly ruined my birthday that I had spent months planning.

I cannot believe that a company that is supposedly the standard in home rentals is so careless and irresponsible with its guests and with who they allow to host. I’ve since learned that Airbnb does not even do background checks on its hosts. What if the lady that hosted us is some kind of sick voyeur and records or watches the people that she rents her home to all the time? I will never, ever, deal with Airbnb again.

Airbnb Cancels a Long-Term Booking without Consulting Hosts

About a month ago I had a 31-night reservation that was cancelled without consulting us after 48 hours of checking in. Our guests wanted to leave the place after they spotted two cockroaches in the kitchen in the middle of the night. Our house is located in Bondi Beach, Australia, where cockroaches are simply everywhere in the summer, with temperatures rising up to 40 degrees, especially when guests leave the windows and doors open or food exposed.

Our property was listed with a strict cancelation policy which states that we don’t offer refunds if the guest chooses to cancel. Airbnb cancelled on our behalf without consulting us prior; even though we only have 5-star reviews from all other guests. Since then, apparently, we owe Airbnb for 29 nights, so almost $20,000.

When receiving this booking request four months ago, we decided to go for a long holidays with our kids during the rental, based on the money that we were supposed to receive from Airbnb. In short, we owe 20K to Airbnb and had to pay for our holidays. Usually, Airbnb gives the hosts 24 hours to fix the issue. In our case, Airbnb cancelled our 31-night strict cancelation policy reservation without approval from us or even trying to find a solution, which seems extremely wrong.

Looking into the Extenuating Circumstances policy established by Airbnb, it states that deaths, illness, injury to the guests, and natural disasters are the reasons why Airbnb would be able to cancel a reservation without the host’s approval. The reasons why this was cancelled does not fall into this scenario at all. Finally, completely to the contrary, Airbnb did not publish the bad review left by the guest. Airbnb didn’t agree with the review, but agreed with the guest to cancel the booking. Our lawyer is now on the case. If you have any advice or tips, please share.

Deceptive Profile Led to Being Charged for Damage

This is regarding the Airbnb apartment listed at this link. The profile is deceptive, making the property look big enough for four people without any clutter. Due to this deception, I booked this place, but it was hell to stay there and inevitably my son broke an exposed light bulb by his bed. I would have been happy to pay for that lightbulb, but I was charged an unreasonable amount of money.

The host also made a questionable claim that we spilled something on one of his cheap kitchen chairs. The host asked for $118 for damages that were at most approximately $8. It went to Airbnb mediation and they basically split the difference, charging me $68. It’s still extremely unreasonable for $8 worth of damage. Because this dispute was “mediated” by Airbnb I had no recourse. They took the money out of my account and I could not object. All Airbnb customers are vulnerable to this type of mistreatment.

Furthermore, before this verdict was handed down, I posted this review to protest the awful place:

“I was deceived by the 5-star reviews when I booked this [property]. I wish I had read the written reviews more carefully. Most mention negatives even when they gave five stars. This place was horrible. First, when I showed the address to Israelis they all told me that it is a dangerous neighborhood full of drugs, prostitution, crime, and gangs. There is graffiti, dog poop everywhere you walk, and trash blocking the sidewalks.

Second, the apartment was tiny. Profile pictures are deceptive, taken from angles that make it appear larger, and crammed with more furniture than shown in the photos and lots of junk everywhere. There was an exposed lightbulb next to the bench that served as my son’s bed. Inevitably my son bumped it and then the host tried to charge us a crazy amount for his damaged exposed lightbulb (more below).

There are no closets or drawers to put things. The only place to keep things is in your suitcase, but no floor space. So you need to hop over your suitcases whenever you cross the floor. When we complained, he said to put everything on a tiny box that already had his own junk on it. There is no parking since open spots are immediately filled in this dangerous, overcrowded neighborhood. When you try to stop in front, other cars start honking immediately.

We had to hike in and lug our stuff from a long way away. The profile mentions the climb, but fails to say that the staircase is very narrow, dirty and dark with weird wires and pipes sticking out. Dog poop on the floor. The shower is unusable because the water is always cold and splashes everywhere.

Worst of all, the host is a first class jerk. He falsely accused us of breaking “house rules” when we are very conscientious and followed the rules scrupulously. He falsely accused us of taking his remote control that we left in his apartment and tried to extort an exorbitant amount of money from us for a spill on a chair that I doubt was ours and his broken exposed lightbulb next to the bench my poor son had to sleep on. Read the other reviews before booking and don’t rely on the stars.”

Everything I wrote was true and no one disputed the facts. Nevertheless. Airbnb removed my review and wouldn’t allow me to post another one, so other people could be warned about how awful this place was. I suspect that this host’s good reviews are likely the result of all negative reviews getting purged. This brings into question the integrity of all Airbnb reviews, not just the integrity of those at this particular place.

Last-Minute Cancellation before Christmas Holidays in Hawaii

My booking through Airbnb six months ago for a monthly rental during the Christmas holidays in Hilo, Hawaii was cancelled at the last minute by the hosts and their agent. There has been no remedy or compensation for the last minute disruption or the costs incurred by us. This caused significant stress, anxiety and costs for us. Airbnb will not remedy the matter, the rental company has not responded to us – see my detailed issue filed with them – and there has been no remediation after many emails and phone calls. I would avoid doing business with these guys. The next step is to pursue legal action to bring the matter public and make buyers beware.

We are an elderly couple from Chicago. We planned to celebrate our Christmas holidays and spend our winter months with my wife’s aging mother in Hilo. This was a special occasion for us celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary. It was also a final anticipated return visit to the island after 30 years for my wife’s mother. We spent a lot of time researching the house because my wife’s elderly mother needed a single level house with no steps to climb and a walk-in shower set up.

The house we booked met our needs. After the cancellation by the host, we scrambled to find an alternative through the agent as well as through Airbnb. Due to the last-minute nature of host’s cancellation, the local agent was unable to find any place suitable in Hilo for Christmas or in any of the neighboring islands. We requested help from Airbnb and they too were not able to locate a suitable accommodation that met our needs. This caused significant stress to our family, incurred additional costs, and disruption to our long-anticipated vacation.

We had airline bookings that we could not cancel. My daughter and her husband were planning to be with us for Christmas and had booked all their flights and made plans to be in Hilo. We ended up finding a small two-bedroom townhouse in Oahu on our own after two weeks of searching in Hawaii and ended up paying a much higher cost and a premium to get the property during the Christmas holidays. We also paid a penalty to change the flights to Oahu instead of Hilo.

The townhouse does not meet our needs and we are not happy. My daughter and her husband could not change flights due to the Christmas rush and were not able to celebrate Christmas with us. They had spent money out of pocket to find accommodation and transportation in Hilo and it caused significant hardship to them. Given the unexpected nature of this cancellation by the host for rental during the holiday period, our options were very limited. We hold the owner, their agent and Airbnb responsible for this cancellation.

First-Time Airbnber Realizes Customer Support Doesn’t Care

Last week we decided to use Airbnb due to the size of our group and the need to have our dogs go with us. After I tried contacting potential hosts who never bothered to reply, We finally found a great host in Miami, accommodating and flexible.

On to sign up and verification. I went through the process as required, submitted everything via their app, even more than once for the ID after I received a message saying that it was a blurry pic. I paid, got back a confirmation and I said to my family, “That was easy!”

…not so fast. After about thirty minutes I got a refund to my card. I called, and they could not tell me why, but said they would look into it. The agent said I couldn’t reserve anything until the verification process was complete. Why did the system allow me to? I waited for verification with the clock ticking, and… nothing.

I called Airbnb and a representative answered after a +25 minute wait. I explained multiple times what I was trying to accomplish, that the reservation had been made and I was waiting for verification. The phone connection was bad and not easy to understand. Once he understood what was going on, he said “I will put you on hold and reach out to the verification group.” He asked for a contact number and promised to call me back if we got disconnected.

As feared, I got disconnected. I waited almost an hour for a call back. After a long wait, nothing. The clock was ticking and I feared the potential loss of my reservation. I called again: long wait, same terrible connection. I explained to Airbnb the exact same things I had already said plus the connection issue and the additional hour – now taking over 2.5 hours to wait for verification. The answer to this was that I needed to wait for the first representative to call me back because the resolution is in their hands.

So I did. I hung up and waited for another 45 minutes. This went on for the next three hours after calling back, getting disconnected multiple times, and so on. Everyone had the same answer: nobody wanted or could escalate the matter; I simply had to wait for that first representative. No one could tell me what the issue was or how long their resolution time was supposed to be. What if his shift ended? Or went on break? Or worse, just did not care?

Over 3 hours late, and I still had not heard back. In the meantime I received a message from tech support that “someone will be calling me in about 10~15 minutes”… I was not about to hold my breath for that one. I had already lost confidence.

During this time I had communicated several times with the host explaining the nightmare. He kindly said to not worry, he would wait. I continued waiting for that call back, so I called back. Another wait, another explanation, and again – I have to wait until the original representative resolves it, from whom I still have not heard. Wait, call again… another wait, another voice.

Then I was told that the picture I had submitted was blurry and they could not tell who I am, which is really not true; it was perfect clear. I was told to resubmit. This was fine with me, except there was no way to do it. When I tried to resubmit, on the app or the website, the system said “OK you are all set” because I had already done this step. I explained this to the agent who did not have an answer or solution. No escalation, no other person to talk to… simply wait for that first guy. What kind of policy is this?

After I called back in the fifth hour, the representative was a bit more helpful, suggesting to try to make the reservation again because sometimes it works. I tried, but was not so lucky. I was told that I could not reserve anything because I was missing a step. I’m so tired and pissed at this point, ready to give up.

After almost six hours of this, I was finally verified using the last picture. I was able to finally pay again and got another confirmation. I waited before calling victory just in case. Finally the host contacted me a said he got the reservation also. I only hung in there because the host was accommodating and the place was what we needed. Over six hours of an Airbnb nightmare to verify and reserve. That’s it. There may be some bits of missing details, but that’s the core of the issue.

Airbnb Booking was Reserved on Another Website

I couldn’t believe that the cottage I booked on Airbnb had been booked six days earlier after I paid via PayPal on January 6th. The host messaged me after my itinerary was confirmed to tell me. She said that I could not stay in her accommodation even though I had paid and my booking was confirmed. She told me that January 8th had been booked out via booking.com on New Year’s Eve. This must be a new year’s resolution joke. You can’t place your accommodation on different websites like this. You are managing your booking details yourself. You should’ve had sufficient time to indicate “the property is unavailable ” on your Airbnb bookings. There were six days between New Year’s Eve and January 6th. You messed up your bookings and you should take responsibility. You can’t walk away after having taken money. That is called ripping people off. I have also attached my booking files to support my true personal experience with this Airbnb host and the website. I am sure that both the host and Airbnb are to blame. Both of the parties have faults. Now I am stuck.

Creepy Experience at Airbnb in Chicago on New Year’s Eve

My boyfriend and our other friends decided to go to Chicago for four days. We rented a single room near the north side. Our first hosts were this lovely male gay couple. That is until one specific night when my boyfriend and I decided to take a regular shower. All of a sudden we heard aggressive knocking coming from the door. One of the hosts began belligerently accusing us of causing “thousands of dollars in damage” he then proceeded to uninvitingly investigate the bathroom while my boyfriend (still naked) hid frantically behind the door. At this point we were both scared and confused because he had no rules over showering times. He went back down to the basement part of the home (where he and his boyfriend were staying) and said “whatever it was stopped” and reverted back to a fake smile whilst saying some dismissing thing like “Happy New Year’s. Enjoy your night.” After the whole ordeal was over we were all scared to shower and didn’t do so until the last day, out of necessity.

Airbnb is a Joke, Abandoned in Bangkok

I want to share my story so you don’t get screwed like me. I had a reservation in Bangkok for two weeks and I already paid for it by credit card. It had been accepted by the host and I received a receipt. It all sounded cool, but definitely was not.

I arrived at BKK on January 1st and contacted the host – he didn’t answer. I said to myself: “Okay, maybe tomorrow, at my check in time”. There was no answer then as well. Here’s the best part. After 30 hours of flying and waiting almost three hours in the street, exhausted to where I couldn’t even walk, he messaged me, saying: “Hi, I didn’t accept this request and no payment was received.”

I contacted Airbnb – no answer from their messaging system or by phone. Cancellation is another fake procedure as I got error messages all the time through the website and the app. What if I didn’t have the money for a hotel, as I am depending on my accepted reservation. What if I had my wife and kids with me? What if I am here for medical reasons? I just imagine they don’t give a s&%t. All they care about is the money.

If anyone from Airbnb is reading this, I’ve got some news for you. My cousin is a lawyer in San Francisco; I am taking this to court. You will be sorry for this – you have my word on it. To anyone with families and kids, be careful when you plan to reserve an Airbnb.