Listing from Hell and the Song that Made it Worse

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I showed up, escaping Hurricane Ida, to an Airbnb in Houston. It’s Labor Day weekend and we had dogs in tow, so the pickings were slim. Still, this looked okay. Four of us were splitting the property; it was 3 bedroom/3 bath, a townhouse, in a nice part of town. I lived up the street when I came here for medical treatment two years ago.

I showed up and there was no key where it was supposed to be. The provided garage door opener didn’t work. The entire place smelled like mothballs and the modem and router were on the floor in the foyer. There were giant stains on the carpet up and down the stairs. It wasn’t clean and hadn’t been vacuumed. The furniture was split and there was just a sofa. No other furniture was provided in the living room. There were large water stains where some of the plaster had fallen from the ceiling in the living room.

There was a pool table (“don’t sit on the pool table” as if it was some heirloom and not a piece of crap from Walmart) but no tables — literally no tables anywhere. There were two stools to use at the counter in the kitchen. No coffee table. No end tables. The third bedroom was also locked from the inside.

The best part was that the host called himself “Premier Lux.” There was a plastic wrapper on the box spring of one of the beds. None of the bedsheets had been changed. You could see the outline where someone had slept in it. I refused to touch any of the linens because this screamed “bedbugs” to me (and I’m far from bug phobic). There was a large cardboard box of dirty laundry in the laundry room.

To recap: it was filthy, I couldn’t lock the front door and one of the bedrooms was mysteriously inaccessible because it was locked from the inside. I kept wondering “who is in there?” The entire place looked like a crew of eight 20-year-old frat boys had just moved out a few days before after a four day bender.

I turned to Airbnb (I am a host in New Orleans, so I know their drill pretty well). To make it “better.” Airbnb put me on hold to get a “Support Ambassador” on the line. So it started. Their horrible Airbnb song — you know the one, in which the waify girl singer that they always play on repeat to make people hang up, saying “Followww me”? Follow her right to the depths of hell.

The support person claimed he had to come back every two minutes to ask me again “may I put you back on hold” and the song started over again from the beginning. You heard that right. He claimed he had to get “permission” to put me on hold again. I’m 57 years old. I’ve never encountered that particular piece of customer service nonsense.

If I had any hair left, I would’ve pulled it out. It took 45 minutes for a “support ambassador” to come on the line. So I listened to the first two minutes of that “song” (it’s really a musical abortion) 22 times. Ultimately Airbnb made it right and refunded all of my money (and added a $200 coupon for next time), but not before adding heavily to my post-hurricane stress and aggravating me beyond measure. When they cancelled the reservation (and refunded my money) it was as if the host had cancelled, so I can’t leave a review. The listing is still there for the next sucker.

Needless to say, the host never responded to my phone calls, Airbnb messages or text messages to his phone. He’s a scuzzball who should be banned from Airbnb, but likely will not. I’m only posting one photo because it was the most bizarre. The huge box of dirty laundry waiting to be washed. That kind of summed the whole place up in a nutshell.

‘Last-Minute’ Reservation Cancelled and Future Reservations Blocked

I tried to make a reservation nine days ahead of time. I got a message from Airbnb saying it was cancelled citing “last minute booking of large houses” and also restricted my account from making any reservations. I don’t know what system assumes nine days as last minute. I usually book the same day.

I believe it’s part of the new program at Airbnb to prevent parties. This is broken since I never party. I had a false bad review about my leaving a place dirty recently that Airbnb might have assumed to be a party, but I never party. The last host’s place was dirty when I checked in. My most recent review from a host of a big house is extremely positive, and so are all other reviews.

Airbnb is a way of life for me. I work remotely and book at the last minute. It is who I am. I have a history of reservations and history of great reviews. How does Airbnb just restrict such an account?

I would like this to be resolved and call on more attention how Airbnb is taking advantage of its monopoly. If there was another service with as many listings as Airbnb, Airbnb would be out of business simply because of terrible policies and customer service.

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).

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Callous Airbnb Host From Hell Spies on Us

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Our experience at this Airbnb was horrible. The check-in code wouldn’t work to open the door and we later found out our hosts were spying on us with a video camera. The host later contacted us to ask us to get the flies out of the porch area as the door was slightly ajar. We then realized the listing states there was a security camera and the hosts were actively watching us.

Lastly there were no board games as stated in the listing. While in good faith we disregarded these instances, we received a final payment invoice charging us $180 for an “extra person.” I contacted the host who did nothing, which was followed by the real icing on the cake. I left an honest and decent four-star review suggesting to future renters they should be aware of the issues above. The host then sent me a private, callous and slanderous message blaming me for the stay:

“The issues you have indicated were all oversights on your part… you should understand how to read listings and receipts.”

I warn other renters from staying at this Airbnb from hell. You would do well to take your business elsewhere.

 

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.

Roach Hell at Scorching Airbnb in Utah

I originally booked with this hostess for two weeks for a ballet summer intensive. My wife and I have booked with Airbnb before with no problems.

It first started when we approached the door. She told us to go through the purple door with a keypad, so I approached it. She yelled at us saying it was the wrong door (she has two purple doors, on the same porch, both with keypads). Then she let us in. I apologized for my mistake and introduced my wife and myself.

Then hell began. When we got to the room, we were exhausted so we fell asleep. As I did, I saw our first live roach come from out under the wall. During the night, the hostess turned off the AC. Even though she advertised her property as having central cooling, she doesn’t use it.

My wife threw up from heat exhaustion. We worked with Airbnb and the hostess and what she recommended was a small portable unit, but the door to our bedroom and bathroom had to be kept open. As we installed it, she told me my wife “looked like she would beat her up.” I’m not sure what my wife could’ve done besides being a woman of color who is queer. We laughed about it. Not much you can do about “small comments.”

Once it cooled down in the room, we left to get dinner. The hostess turned off our AC unit, which we wanted to run for an hour while out because it was July in Utah and it had been off. I asked her repeatedly about the rules with the AC, but she never told me a limit or her wants. Just kept turning it off when she knew we left.

The third night, around 8:00 PM, we were greeted by roaches. Eight total throughout the night, one baby the next morning. We sent in evidence to Airbnb, including videos, of finding the roaches under the bed. Airbnb cancelled the rest of our stay and refunded us for the nights we didn’t stay.

I’m not sure I can provide evidence for this, but my wife thinks we were being watched with cameras. She works in security and tech and feels as if we stayed we would’ve seen the hostess was watching us.

In addition to the roaches, a strange man came into the house, got something out of the kitchen (which we were told we could use in the listing but turns out we couldn’t) and left. He didn’t announce himself or say who he was. We met the other guest and she did not have a male friend with her.

After all of this, the hostess left me a bad review as a guest blaming the roaches on us leaving food out and our “dirtiness” (we didn’t). She insisted the other guests hadn’t seen any roaches.

I caution any guest wanting to reserve here. She’s dangerous but had good reviews and was a great gas lighter. I could tell in the process this wasn’t the first time she treated a guest like this. She was smart enough to not get texts or messages — always insisted we talk on the phone or in person, but claimed we were “unsafe” and she was the victim. Because I insisted on messaging.

It’s not her first time manipulating a guest and I fear this will happen to others. I hope there are not cameras inside the room… especially for people who fit demographics similar to my wife and I. I was fine with the roaches and it being cancelled but being told it was my fault and that my wife seemed aggressive… I can tell she has done this before.

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Do Not Stay at the Lodging from Hell in Ghana

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Airbnb has unethical and deplorable practices. They would do whatever it takes to make sure their “Superhosts” keep their status, even if the reviews are honest. I read an article online about Airbnb removing a guest’s review because he posted an honest review about his stay at a lodging. I posted my review and within two days, it was removed because I was informed by someone at Airbnb that it violated the review policy. Since Airbnb will not allow for my review to be on their website, I will post it here.

I only reserved this place because of the reviews and I would like to say, I absolutely regretted lodging here. The Airbnb is not in a secure location for other travelers, but rather a community of renters. There are no security precautions in place and that is the reason I caught someone looking through my window.

The neighborhood is trashy, unkept, and very noisy with neighbors consistently slamming doors, babies crying, chickens crowing at all hours of the day, as well as other things. There’s no backup generator for the plethora of blackouts that occurred. How can you run an Airbnb business and have no backup electricity?

We had a broken toilet seat for five days and when I reached out to the host, she dragged her feet and responded to messages late. She claimed that 500 MB of data would be given per day, which is inaccurate. She claimed she added 5.13 GB of data and by day 3 it was all gone, which means there is a high likelihood that the data was being pirated.

If you want high water pressure, you have to perpetually go outside to turn on a switch. The beds feel like you’re sleeping on a hard floor and the apartment looks very outdated. The building is not clean: wires hang from the ceilings, and when I would return from my excursions, trash would be left outside my door.

I did not want to leave Ghana, but I was counting down the days to leaving this place. I guarantee that when the owners travel to Ghana, they are not staying in accommodations with these kinds of problems. I would never recommend this place to anyone.

I have posted pictures of what this place truly looks like. Don’t let the nice photos fool you; the bathroom was small and crappy as hell and looked like it was never cleaned before we got there and the furniture was extremely uncomfortable. Don’t let the positive reviews fool you because Airbnb removed the negative reviews, like they did with mine.

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Not so Charming Airbnb Bungalow Disaster

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Let me start by saying I had been a Superhost for two years when this incident happened. I had never been given a bad review, either from guests or from the hosts of places I’ve stayed in over the years. I am neat to a fault, and take pride in leaving a place in better shape than when I arrived. I even make the beds before check out at hotels and straighten the towels. Excessive, yes, but that’s who I am.

A few months ago I traveled to LA to meet up with a best friend who came down from San Francisco for the week. I had booked a bungalow in West Hollywood that looked cute and clean in the photos. Unfortunately, I didn’t look at the reviews at this time and there were a few that talked about the shortcomings of this property, always with a snide response from the owner.

The owner and his property manager seemed attentive at first. When we arrived we realized there were no hand towels or washcloths in the bathroom, so I walked over to Target and bought some. When I told the property manager, he was apologetic and offered to reimburse us. I told him it wasn’t necessary and not a big deal.

The beds seemed clean and comfortable and there was air conditioning, though the window units and their filters were caked with dust and rattled. I removed the filters and washed them to improve the functionality of the AC, as the units were old and struggling. Still, this seemed reasonable and we were fine with the place.

A few days in, my friend went to take the trash out to the bins in the front yard/courtyard. She realized that all the giant-sized garbage cans were full, as well as the recycle bins, and a few were overflowing with pizza boxes on top.

At this point we realized we had a problem because we couldn’t take our garbage out. Again, I reached out to the property manager (at this point the owner had stopped responding to any emails or texts) and explained to him the issue. He was apologetic and said he would contact the housekeepers.

When we heard back from the property manager, he claimed that the owner was out of the country and unreachable — is that even a thing these days? — and that he was out of town on business. The housekeepers were too busy to come take care of the garbage, so there was nothing he could do. We put our garbage next to the bin at his approval.

Meanwhile, we enjoyed cooking and had stocked up at the grocery store. We soon realized that there were no food storage containers in the apartment, so we would put our leftovers into bowls with saran wrap or a plate on top (this will come in to play later). There were several important kitchen items missing (too many to name), which was inconvenient but we dealt with it.

As one of the other reviews said, the dryer was being held together with tape and it took effort to close it just right so it would work. At least half the lights in the apartment had burnt out bulbs; we were both trying to work during the week, so that was difficult. There was no caulking in the shower (which will also come into play later). Still, we were willing to stay and make the best of it.

As you can imagine, the day after we left our garbage next to the bin outside we discovered that a critter had gotten into it. My friend let me know and I went outside to check it out. At this point we were losing patience, and it was also becoming very uncomfortable. I came back inside to talk with her about the garbage situation, and looked down to see a cockroach the size of a lighter on the floor. It was broad daylight.

Well, that was it. We only had two nights left on our reservation but I couldn’t imagine going to sleep knowing that the place was infested with cockroaches (apparently if cockroaches come out of the walls in broad daylight it is indicative of a much bigger infestation within the walls and floors). The research I did told me that where there’s moisture, there are cockroaches. Cut back to the uncaulked shower. My guess is that the bathroom walls and floors were full of moisture.

Whatever the reason, we were ready to go, so we got to work preparing the place to leave. We read and reread the guidelines and did everything on their list. Remember how I said there were no food storage containers? Well, there were several dishes in the refrigerator holding our leftovers. Ordinarily we could put the leftovers in the trash and put the dishes in the dishwasher, but we couldn’t take the trash out.

This posed a problem so I reached out to the property manager once again and explained the situation. He told me, in writing, to leave everything in the refrigerator so as not to fill up the garbage can with food in the kitchen. That’s what we did. Everything else was spotless. We left the sheets and towels where we were asked to, we put all the other dishes in the dishwasher and ran it. Swept the floor, wiped the countertops, straightened the couch pillows. You get the gist.

At this point we were apprehensive about putting more garbage out by the overflowing bins (out of courtesy), so we made one fatal mistake: we left a small bag of non-perishable garbage just inside the front door. To be conscientious, we turned off the air conditioners as not to waste their money air conditioning a place that would be vacant.

Unfortunately, it was this decision that gave the owner and property manager what they saw as a reason to fight me on my claims. It was extremely hot during the day, and by the time the house cleaners got there, the garbage that was inside created an odor. This is when the owner began to chime in again, only to shame us by dramatically going on about the “stench“ in the house and how upset the house cleaners were when they got there. He began making false claims and that’s when I discontinued communication with him and the property manager and tried to go through Airbnb.

Honestly? It was my experience with Airbnb that had me the most upset. I called every day for seven days. Each time, I spoke with someone who was in another country and working from home. I could hear babies crying and dogs barking in the background for every employee. I explained my story and sent all of the photos to one representative. He explained to me that he would contact the host and hear his side and then make a decision. That was the last I heard from him. I couldn’t get him to answer any of my emails after that.

As it turns out, there is not an option to speak to a supervisor at Airbnb. When you speak with one of the people who answer the phone, they explain to you that they will email the supervisor and have them call you. I was told this seven times and never received a call back. Not one. The owner leaned in heavily with his lies, saying that we left the place in disarray and it had a stench. He ended up agreeing to reimburse us for one night, removing over $100 for a deep cleaning fee. I had to pay for a hotel for the last two nights in addition to one night at the bungalow. It cost me over $1,000.

I couldn’t believe that this major business wouldn’t respond to one of their Superhosts and offer me a reimbursement (a drop in the bucket for them). I had photo evidence and screenshots of my text messaging with the property manager and owner — what more could they possibly need? My guess is that they didn’t even consider it – I’m sure it never even crossed the desk (or computer) of a supervisor. I felt ignored and completely invisible around this issue, but there was absolutely nothing I could do.

I was afraid to leave a bad review because honestly I felt traumatized by the vindictiveness and cruelty of the owner and property manager. I regret this, but it’s too late.

I withdrew my home as an Airbnb destination and closed down my account. I ended up finding a review that someone left about the owner as a guest. It was awful, and I believed every word. He is an opportunist with several properties on Airbnb that I am sure are as neglected as the one we stayed in. He paints a picture of the apartment as a cozy home but it’s a money making scheme and he won’t hesitate to screw you, along with the powers that be at Airbnb.

Airbnb Charged Us Over $5,000 When We Didn’t Stay

We rented this unit at an Airbnb hotel for 7 nights and paid over $5,000. When we arrived we realized that the hotel was not accurately described and the most important details were left out.

This hotel sits behind a sister hotel and across a busy street. The host purposely deceived us with interior photos, very few street photos and very brief description to keep it to her advantage. To our shock, when we scouted the area we realized we had to cross a busy street in 100-degree weather with three kids. We noticed a homeless person screaming and doing her business in public.

We asked at the hotel if this was on a daily basis and locals confirmed. We arrived at 10:00 AM and check in was from 4:00 on. The host promised to let us store our bags in the room and that way we could also take a quick glance at the room. When asking the front desk about this, they said that they could not accommodate us and did not allow us to see the room or store our luggage.

We went to see where the pool was and found out that it was packed like sardines with an outdoor movie theater that did not work. Around 11:00 AM I had had enough and contacted the host to let her know we were not going to check in due to the resort not being safe and as advertised.

She is refusing to return our money. Airbnb is trying to resolve this issue. Discover card doesn’t care so we are stuck. I feel like this host robbed us. She is literally taking our hard-earned money and has the power to do whatever she wants. I am appalled this is happening in the United States.

Who can and is able to help? How can we get our money back?

Racist, Narcissistic Airbnb Host Nightmare

I have a horrible host story. The guy was just creepy. He was a micromanager who wanted everything done his way (e.g. call, don’t text; stop here, not there; give me your full attention right now; respond to me right now) and just had a weird vibe. It wasn’t horrible until he entered the property when we weren’t there to get a vacuum cleaner, then denied that he was there. He said the day before that he might come and get it for another guest at another site, so who else would want it?

Not cool. We don’t know what he was doing or what he was looking at while we were gone. We decided to leave early, and this is where the fun begins. He wrote me a nice review. My review wasn’t mean, but it was factual. He got his feelings hurt and retaliated with another multi-message rant about how I was weak and everything was my fault. He referred to a previous guest staying in which he said “I will know not to have any more non-native English speakers as guests.” I am brown skinned. He is not. Then told me he would be praying for me.

I reported this to Airbnb and guess what they did? First of all, they did nothing about his entering into the property without our knowledge or consent. That’s not even mentioned. Then they deleted my review. This guy gets to continue his abusive, racists ways and is listed as a Superhost.

Shame on you Airbnb. They say they “care” about racism. No, they don’t. This guy’s been openly bigoted since 2014 and he’s still hosting.