A Terrible Experience with Airbnb During Omicron

In late November 2021 we booked a trip to Los Angeles for a week in January and paid $3,100 for a stay in a condo in Marina del Rey. In late December, omicron appeared and we realized that we could not risk traveling, especially with a two-year-old.

We contacted the host a few days before the date that we would not be able to get a refund of half of the amount. We asked to rebook in the spring but could not do it online because the calendar did not go out far enough. We contacted our host, asking her to do this and stating that we could not travel at this time. We never heard from her and so we contacted customer service.

They promised that they ‘had our backs’ but did nothing except run out the time until we were past the deadline. The host contacted us once to say that she heard from Airbnb but thought we were another booking so didn’t answer. Then after we were due to have arrived, she contacted us and said that she was not going to give us a refund, a credit, or rebook. Customer service kept promising help but never delivered anything but hours on hold listening to the same piece of horrible music over and over.

As it turned out, one of our party got COVID during the time we would have been in LA but this doesn’t seem to be enough to trigger a refund. When I called to ask about what kind of proof they needed of this COVID case, I got put on hold for 40 minutes. I finally sent a message asking to be called back and hung up.

We never were able to ascertain what responsibility to answer inquiries the host needed to fulfill and in what time frame. We got inconsistent and inaccurate answers from customer service (referred to in the future as customer disservice). Between us we spent literal hours on hold. All in all, an appalling display of purposeful incompetence, lack of ethics and callous behavior far below any other travel entity we have dealt with during COVID. We will never use Airbnb again.

My Airbnb Host Lied about COVID to Cancel My Trip

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Picture this: you are a 20-something business professional who event plans for a job and loves to celebrate every birthday. 30 is a big one, right? All you want is an amazing home with family and friends where you can eat delicious food and drink yummy wine.

After hours and hours of scouring Airbnb, you find the perfect home that sleeps eight people, has an ocean view, and even a spa. Amazing. You book this six months in advance (you’re very organized). You also message the host to double check that you are allowed to have a friend visit (not stay) to enjoy birthday cake and the property in the day time bringing the number of guests on the property to nine. You also want to ensure you send everyone’s vaccine certificates (you’re organized and respectful, remember?)

The host immediately thinks this is now a party despite your best efforts to say it isn’t. They go on to say they previously had a terrible guest that ruined their home. You sympathize and understand it must be difficult to trust other guests. However, you do your best to reassure the host.

Luckily, your birthday falls just after New Years so everyone is already enjoying their Christmas holidays, yourself included. Fast forward to Boxing Day and you receive a long winded message from your hosts explaining they need to cancel 11 days in advance as they had “close contact” with a COVID case (not confirmed person) staying in their home.

We’re in New Zealand; bear in mind there were maybe two cases at the time and none in the town or city where this home is located. The host then went on to say they were “devastated” but could not find a cleaner prior to our check in. Isn’t the home meant to be cleaned upon arrival anyways? In 11 days? They then went on to say they needed to cancel the listing until the end of January.

Okay no problem. I took it upon myself to find a cleaner so our place wouldn’t be cancelled, because you can best believe I have family and friends traveling more than ten hours and cancelling is not an option. Before I can even suggest this, the host cancelled and terminated any dialogue.

I’m absolutely devastated and also now out over $2000 NZD. Fast forward a few days. I went to check the listing and what do I see? My weekend was still available to book on the host’s calendar, and the following weekend which was available was now booked. What’s more, they updated their listing to include “no parties, 8 people max” which was never in the listing to begin with.

Being an understanding person, I decided to give the benefit of doubt and thought I would ring up the first cleaning company I could find on Google. They were available that weekend, as were two others.

It’s obvious this host not only lied to us about COVID but forced me to dramatically change my 30th birthday plans with zero remorse. I have family members and friends back home (I’m from North America originally) who’ve passed from COVID so to use this as an excuse is not only negligent, but disgusting. As I mentioned I’m respectful and organized, but also petty.

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No Support for Hosts, Airbnb Gives us the Runaround

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I decided to rent out my property for the Christmas holiday. I was selective as some people had too many in their party, or had large dogs — I accept animals under 25 lbs. I rented to a woman who said there would be her and two dogs. I usually only accept one pet but since she had no partner I thought it only fair to let her stay with both animals. We agreed on a $100 non-refundable pet fee just to allow her pets to stay, not for damages.

When I was leaving the property after prepping it for her arrival, I noticed two large commercial trucks pulling up. I doubled back as I thought they were at the wrong house. The boom truck drivers were dropping off the pick up driver’s stuff, then left. I said, “you are not Crissi?” She said no and called her husband who in turn gave me her number. Only then did she inform me that it was her employee staying there. The dogs she had stated were 25 lbs. were bull terriers weighing between 45-65 lbs and one was in heat according to the employee.

Crissi was supposed to provide a pet deposit of $100 and said she would give it to the employee to pass on to me the following day. He wasn’t there the next day (a wasted trip for me) but the next day he was home and said he knew nothing about the deposit. I reached out to her again and she said she would be there at the property in 10 minutes. I told her I was running an errand but to leave it under the mat so I wouldn’t disturb her employee staying there.

I wasn’t happy that she deceived me and actually looked up online (since I couldn’t find a customer service number to reach out) to see how Airbnb handles these situations. I read that different reps have given different advice to hosts. Some say to let it go and just see how it plays out, while another said to cancel the reservation because they put a “third party guest” on the property and Airbnb doesn’t cover damages for third party guests. I decided to leave it alone as the gentlemen seemed polite enough.

Following that, we had an unexpected storm with hurricane winds which required a lot of cleanup. I left a notice on the exterior door that I would be by the following day (24 hours’ notice) to do a cleanup of the exterior grounds, even soffits from a nearby home had blown onto the property. When I went to the property the front yard was littered with large piles of dog feces. I reached out to “Crissi” and said that her employee needed to pick up the dog mess as my lawn guy won’t drive through dog feces with his equipment. I immediately got slammed with a return message saying, “that’s what dogs do” and I and my neighbors were harassing them and peeking in the windows.

That came out of left field. She basically said that he would pick it up when he was good and ready. I explained that my lawn care guy would not cut the lawn if he had to roll his equipment through dog feces, he makes that clear. She said it will get picked up tonight. I said, no, it needs to be cleaned up now as my guy is coming to cut the lawn today. She said I didn’t tell her that and I said, I don’t have to tell you that, he is on a set schedule that he makes. Do you stay at a hotel and expect to be told when they cut the lawn? And do you let your dog crap all over the hotel/motel lawn and tell them, sorry we will pick it up when we get around to it?

I called her out for deceiving me as to who was staying there. I later noticed that one of her reviews read, “I can’t give a review as she wasn’t there.” Now it made sense. This woman was dumping employees in Airbnb’s who were using it as a crash pad. Seems harmless right? Wrong. I can’t give a proper review because I am basing my opinion on her and her reputation of other stays she has had on Airbnb. Most importantly, Airbnb will not cover damages if a third party stays on the property.

The employee she had staying there left his dogs in a guest bedroom during the day while he worked and the expensive thick mattress cover, expensive bedsheets, and high end comforter set were all covered in blood from his dog in heat. He could have easily left them in the kitchen area during the day with the baby gate provided to keep pets on tile vs. carpet when owners step out. He apparently left the dogs in one guest bedroom during the day while he worked, hence the blood everywhere. The beds are there for guests, not for dogs in heat.

What happened next blew me away. I received an email saying that the guest has closed out their stay. When I reached out to Airbnb asking if I could go by to make sure they didn’t damage the property on purpose on their way out, they suggested I reach out to Crissi to see if they vacated the premises. She snapped back to stop harassing her and to contact Airbnb, that she filed a complaint against me for harassment and I will be investigated. I told her Airbnb told me to reach out to her, and all I want to know is if there is someone still at the property, that’s on you. She chose to ignore me, that she herself said she would have her employee pass on to me. It wasn’t until I stated the dog feces needed to be cleaned up as the lawn guy would be coming to cut that she started the harassment complaints.

The outcome? You will love this: they took her recorded statement and my recorded statement. I thought they would back me as to her deception as to who would be staying there, and damages were incurred. Since the employee had no direct concern as to what happens in the property, I am only left with dealing with Airbnb. They told me to reach out to this Crissi and explain the damages. I told them, “I am not reaching out to her as she is already saying I am harassing her and this will only add to the problem.”

After a short investigation they decided to block me — temporarily, they said — then two days later made it permanent, saying I could appeal. However you can’t go on their site and appeal once they have blocked you. So they run you in circles telling you to appeal within a certain amount of time knowing you can’t. They sent me emails from five different reps saying do this or that, only adding to the confusion. I asked to deal with one person and they said no, that different departments handle different issues, e.g. claims for damages, or to file an appeal against closing my listing.

They contradict their emails. One rep told me I had 72 hours to provide further information about my case and four hours later told me they had permanently cancelled me off their site. When they told me I could appeal, I asked what specific issues were they concerned about so I could address them. Airbnb would not tell me, so I had no idea what I was defending myself against. They wouldn’t tell me if they had shut her down also for deception of who was staying there, for lying about the size of the animals staying, and for putting company vehicles on the property where it is a violation of city ordinance. Airbnb is judge and jury.

At last stand, I asked if the department that handles damages is still reviewing my claims and nobody has gotten back to me. They basically shut me down, affected me financially and turned their back on me after years of listing on their site. I have rented for over 40 years, long term and short term, in more than one state and have letters of recommendation from guests, and often these people became good friends. I take pride in giving people a place I would want to rent myself. I work hard to provide a nice experience for the guests that Airbnb tells me I am renting to. To shut me down shows how little value they see in their hosts when a problem arises from a guest and we are their bread and butter.

Airbnb Booking Leads to Trailer Park Nightmare

I booked an Airbnb in Canada for myself, my girlfriend, and her three kids for a trip around Alberta for a couple of weeks during the summer 2021. It was in a mobile home park, but Airbnb did not tell us it’s a mobile home park on the website. It was one of the very few Airbnbs in the area. I believe there were only two or three that could accommodate five people.

When I was on Airbnb’s website, there were about nine or ten pictures of the unit and I’m believe about five of those pictures were of the kitchen: pretty much five of the exact same pictures. It looked okay in the pictures; there was nothing to see or identify that there was anything wrong with the house, which in the end was not a house. It was a rundown 60-year-old looking piece of crap trailer in a trailer park on the outskirts. There was a lock box that had the key for the trailer in it that was attached to an old wooden fence. Anyone could have come along, broken the fence, and taken the key.

As you enter the trailer you have to climb up these rickety stairs on to this wooden deck that looked like you would almost fall through. The door to the trailer was an old wooden door where the lock on the door barely locked. There was an approximately two-inch gap on the bottom of the door; mice or anything could have come in with no problem. Everything in the trailer was like a step back in time.

They listed it as a two bedroom: there was one full bedroom in the back of the trailer and the other bedroom was part of the kitchen where there was a curtain and a old rickety wooden bookcase that had been laid on its side to kind of make it look like it was a separate bedroom from the kitchen when it really wasn’t. There were no towels in the bathroom. Barely any hot water. The floor was disgusting; there are parts of it that I swear to god I thought I was going to fall through a number of times. Everything in the kitchen was plastic like it was made for a 50-year-old daycare.

The trailer park was full of noisy neighbors partying and yelling for half the night. It was a very disgusting experience I would never ever stay in the area again. When I called Airbnb after it was over to tell him about it then complain I got zero customer service from them: no returning my phone calls, no answering my emails, nothing. I love using Airbnb. I have used it a number of times and this was the first time I had ever experienced a problem residence. I just wish that Airbnb had much better customer service than they do.

Illegal Airbnb Cost Me More Than $1000

Lesson learned: do not book an airbnb with a host who tells you to not tell anyone in their community that you are an Airbnb guest. I needed a pet-friendly Airbnb for two weeks because my house tested positive for black mold. I found a private room in an apartment. One of the house rules was not to mention that I was an Airbnb guest to anyone, but I didn’t really think anything of it at first.

I told the guard at the gate that I was an Airbnb guest, and he let me in. Apparently he was new and he did not know that the complex did not allow Airbnb guests. The host repeatedly told me to not tell anyone in the community, including maintenance or security that I was an Airbnb guest. I had already done that, and became nervous after the first night. I realized that what she was doing was illegal and that I could be kicked out.

She also didn’t like it when I asked her for her last name or to see her driver’s license, even though she asked for mine. She used a fake name on Airbnb. She was super shady and I could not trust her, so I packed up my things and left. I’m out over $1,000 and am staying in an expensive hotel. Airbnb has been dragging their heels and I can’t even get a straight answer on if I’m getting a refund.

I will take her to small claims court if she doesn’t give me my money back, or if Airbnb does not resolve this. It’s looking like the latter because they have taken over four days to resolve this and have not reached out to me.

Nightmare Experience in Portugal Involving Creepy Host

I’m going to preface this by saying I have stayed in countless Airbnbs in three different continents and have had nothing but positive experiences until I stayed at this place. My roommate and I faced one absurdity after another. Conveniently my review (and all other negative reviews) have been removed by Airbnb.

The apartment itself was borderline uninhabitable. To be frank, it seemed to be a storage locker that the host was trying to pass off as an apartment. There was no ventilation and just two windows the size of a laptop. Both had broken glass with a makeshift net covering them, allowing roaches to freely roam inside the apartment; the place was infested with them. In addition to the ventilation problem, the shower pressure was so low it only had a drizzle of water pressure that would not allow for anyone’s definition of a proper shower.

The highlight of this stay was our second night when a leak under the bathroom sink caused the entire apartment to flood. Instead of a proper response to the situation, like securing a pump, the host and his mother came over with brooms and mops, handed them to us, which resulted in us (the guests) sweeping water out of the apartment for several hours in the middle of the night. We then also helped sweep water out of his apartment next door.

Following this, the house was never properly cleaned which resulted in a sickening odor throughout the house for the remainder of our stay (my flatmate and I felt physically ill throughout our entire stay). She kept getting migraines following this and I was congested and sick. After this we had to ask for a change of sheets. What we were provided with was the consistency of sandpaper and was meant to last us for an entire month.

To add more discomfort to the situation, the host managed to find me and repeatedly liked me on different dating apps where I found some of his prompts about impregnating people truly disturbing. Knowing that this person not only shared a wall with us, but also had keys to our apartment made me incredibly uncomfortable and had us looking for new places while there. He would almost daily ask to enter the apartment for “supplies” or to “take care” of the multitude of issues the apartment had to deal with. We understand that hosts may need access from time to time but the frequency made it feel gratuitous and like we had no privacy.

Once I left my review, the host had the gall to ask for $2,000 of “cleaning” fees and had taken photos of our belongings without our consent. I repeatedly reported this to Airbnb. They even had the nerve to remove my review of the host but I am now stuck with a derogatory review on my account. To say that Airbnb only protects the interests of the hosts would be a gross understatement. I am so disgusted by their handling of this situation.

Airbnb Neighbors Make Nightmare of a Summer in Palomares

I bought a house on a very quiet street in Palomares, Almeria, Spain. I was told the house right next to me was empty because the owner lived in Barcelona. I should have asked more questions.

My first night in the new house was a nightmare. Eight young men were staying in the house next door as an Airbnb for three days and were determined to create their own “Dream Beach” (a yearly electronic music festival in the neighborhood) with loud music, constant screaming and of course much drinking. I had to flee to a hotel.

The owner of the house responded and promised to “talk to them,” yet this made no difference. This nightmare continued throughout the summer, with some reasonable guests in between. The problem is that the house is very big — it sleeps nine. The noise goes through the entire street because the main terrace of the house is on the frontside.

This Airbnb next door has made my house uninhabitable. You cannot have any guests overnight. The worst thing is the uncertainty. Every time a new group arrives, you are worrying how they will be: would the weekend be bearable, or would it be a nightmare? You typically know in the first few minutes.

The owner tried to prevent me from filing a “denuncia” and appeased me by saying that the house was already sold and that September would be the last month of renting. This turned out to be not true and the house continues to list on Airbnb as a “Superhost” property.

I don’t know now to end this nightmare. I have started a petition with signatures of all affected neighbors but I don’t know where to go with it. The house has a license. I am trying to have that license taken away. I am trying everything. I am desperate.

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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).