Cancelling on a Guest at the Last Minute? Mean.

On June 30th, I paid Airbnb for three nights for August 3-5 in Budapest for my husband and myself. That way I could organize a Hungarian SIM card and finalize a car rental with one of the three companies I had approached by email. I communicated with our Airbnb host through WhatsApp several times and all seemed perfect.

While we were flying to Budapest the host sent an email, not a WhatsApp message, saying that due to a water leakage in the bathroom he was cancelling. I knew nothing about that while flying. We arrived and through the kindness of a Hungarian lady who worked at the airport I got wifi and power to my almost dead iPhone and sent a WhatsApp message for instructions to get the key. Silence.

I look into my emails and there was the shock of my life. That day there was the final day of Formula 1 and many hotels were booked. A taxi driver took us to one hotel he knew… nothing. He took us to a store where I could buy a SIM card with data and minutes to call but it would not install properly. We went to another hotel in the same taxi. The angel-driver was making calls for us. He drove us to a place downtown where they had a room. With a SIM card I made calls and I found another hotel for the next twi nights as planned… less than luxurious.

What is very upsetting is the cowardliness. The host read my WhatsApp messages and chose to be silent while I was at the airport. He did not offer any help whatsoever. If the roles were reversed I would have assisted in any way, helping to find another place with Airbnb for instance. Thinking back, this man might have had a guest for more money on that busy weekend of the Formula 1 and just dumped us.

The supervisor who contacted me while I was already in the first hotel did nothing for me: no offers, suggestions or anything. When I looked for a number to call it was in the U. I could not even unload my frustration by phone to anyone.

I just tried to review my experience on Airbnb and I am unable. I took our photo off my profile. I will try to express my experience on their website somehow for all to read. I will never attempt to use Airbnb.

This is a two-month trip, so what are we doing for lodging? We use pensions, they are called “vendégház ” in Hungarian or pension and many have signs on poles with arrows. There will be definitely a sign at their door. We pay directly to the owners and avoid the middlemen and we are happy to know they get all the money. Some of them have had a small fridge, and a kitchenette with microwave oven.

I paid less money this way than going through Airbnb. I have been checking through our travels. Some of this pensions are with several companies that are convenient for us for booking online but when we go directly knocking at their doors it is cheaper.

Airbnb can go fly a kit. The stress I went through is unforgivable. Luckily I chose a flight that arrived at 1:00 PM Budapest time. Being left alone to our own limited resources in a strange country was mean. I will return to Hungary, call the same hotel that we took for two nights, rent a car, and visit fantastic places and stay at vendégház anytime.

Fancy a Summer Holiday on a Building Site?

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I went on holiday with my two daughters in Senegal through Airbnb. The apartment was directly located above the host’s accommodation and we rented it for a month. In order to access our apartment we had to go through a garage and squeeze pass a dusty car as well as a bicycle and a motorbike. When we first arrived, the car was only an inconvenience in the evening but after five days the car never moved (please find the attached picture).

On our arrival we noticed a scaffolding at the same level as the terrace which we had direct access to. The host informed me then that they had started some renovation work such as the inside roof being repaired which were not quite finished. He informed me that it would take no longer than three days to finish.

At that point I asked the host to ensure that the dust on the terrace would be thoroughly cleaned as it was really bad upon our arrival. They did clean it after my request. The following day I rapidly noticed cockroaches in the kitchen, bathroom (cockroaches were coming out of my toiletry bag), in the living room, on the tables… everywhere.

In order to have access to the wifi we had to go downstairs in front of the host’s apartment, despite the fact the access to wifi was mentioned on the booking and there was allegedly a working connection inside our apartment. The TV was not working. When I mentioned it to the host his reply was “the previous guests did not watch it.”

I informed him that my children do watch some TV. He then told me he had to ask his wife to renew the TV connection, which took a week.

I hear you saying: “Why on earth did you stay there?”

Well, here I am in a foreign country with my two young daughters, having nowhere else to go with a limited budget as the hotels were extremely expensive. I took it upon myself to never cook in that filthy place; we always ate outside. I was physically and mentally exhausted. Thankfully we went away for four days to a secluded area.

This gateway gave me the chance to reflect on what I was experiencing as I did not inform anyone in my family in France. My husband was not aware nor was my mum or my siblings. I truly did not know what other options I had but to bear with it.

Upon my return and back to square one, i.e. my holiday from hell, the cherry on the cake was the host had started building work around the entrance and pool area. They were actually building a roof with poles and beams everywhere. We actually had to walk beneath it all with no head protection in order to get to our apartment.

At that point, the penny dropped and I realised for the safety of my children and indeed myself we had to get out of that place urgently. That is when I asked for help and informed my family in France. I told the host (her husband at that point was away in France). She told me the work had to be done as the wooden roof was becoming unstable and was an immediate danger to the occupants. Therefore it had to be fixed urgently, however she told other parties including her own husband (who confirmed it in writing to me) that his wife wanted to surprise him whilst his was away with a new roof.

I told the host I had to seek an alternative accommodation as not only was I exhausted, my children were suffering with the dust and the noise, but most importantly were living in an unsafe environment on all levels. We finally moved out, and found a place where we managed to get some rest and make the most of the holiday we had left.

I spoke to different people in Airbnb. However, the person in charge of my case is offering me 100 dollars for the inconvenience of not using the swimming pool. Please find my photos and hopefully my videos in relation to this case.

Airbnb has my Money and won’t Refund me

This Airbnb was in Annapolis and in a nice neighborhood, but it was the only house with overgrown grass and a steep walk up the driveway. At the front porch, there was suspect rustling in the grass and a large fly-infested trash bag next to the front door.

I went in, trying to get in as fast as possible to keep out the flies – an obvious health hazard that would not pass a health inspection. The hostess showed me the kitchen, which was supposed to be available to use – another health hazard. It was crammed full of food, not even enough room to make a sandwich. No room in the fridge. No lock on the door to keep valuables secure when not there.

It was advertised as having a private bathroom and it was shared. The mattress had a large yellow stain and two old, divided cheap foam mattresses on top and just a fitted sheet, no mattress pad. I woke up with bug bites on my neck. Actually, the owner woke me up because she had locked herself out of the house and wanted me to open the door. Nice touch there.

I immediately called Airbnb and the first agent was helpful and told me to leave and wash my clothes, and said they would reimburse up to $200 to stay at a hotel until they could re-book me in another Airbnb in three days. It has been one month and I still do not have a refund.

I finally filed a Better Business Bureau report and after telling the Airbnb agent, they decided to refund me about two thirds of what I paid, still short almost $200, which I guess was the price of staying in a crappy room.

Never and I mean never, stay at an Airbnb. If you stay there and are ripped off, file a Better Business Bureau complaint. Airbnb lies, backtracks and is populated with a bunch of incoherent dummies.

Airbnb Wouldn’t Send Messages from Guests to Hosts

We are new hosts and had a really bad experience with Airbnb. Airbnb didn’t send us SMS messages from guests, not even for one. As we are not on the Internet all the time (and we didn’t get those SMS messages from Airbnb), of course we didn’t respond to guests. The guests didn’t book, we lost at least 250€, but also lost other guests, who had to book another place, which was more expensive (we had the lowest price in the city: 13€/person/night) and of course with a bigger service fee for Airbnb only.

Maybe the reason was just that: for guests to pay a bigger service fee. That takes us to this conclusion: for just a few euros or dollars more, everyone loses, guests and hosts. You can just imagine what could happen if some guest (maybe you) booked instantly: Airbnb wouldn’t send you an SMS, the guest would face closed doors as the host might not be home that night, and the guest would be in the middle of the street in one of most dangerous cities in the world. Who would care?

Airbnb didn’t gave me any answer as to why they didn’t send an SMS from guests to me for one whole week. Because we didn’t respond to guests (as we didn’t know about their questions before booking) we also had a really bad response rate, which Airbnb didn’t correct as promises. Guests base their decisions on the response rate too. We lost a whole day due to talking with Airbnb staff, but nothing happened: he just talked and talked.

Be aware when you search for a place on Airbnb: the cheapest ones are never on first listing page. It is a shame for such a big and rich company to make so many ugly mistakes in year 2019.

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Airbnb Nightmare in Cottage Country, Ontario

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I sent photos below to Airbnb to show the unhygienic and gross hellhole that was misrepresented as Muskoka Rocks in Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada. It was filthy, unsafe and disgusting. It was impossible to stay and the host could not have improved our stay within hours. The house we stayed in was not the house in the picture on the website. It was a firetrap and was unlivable.

We have asked for a refund but got no response except for an offer of $200. This rental was $1600 for six nights. We went for a small getaway to celebrate one year of my companion being clear of Stage 4 cancer. I’m disappointed and disgusted by Airbnb’s lack of humanity and moral accountability. The host deliberately misrepresented the place and even put another gorgeous house on the site. Our one-star review has never appeared on the site. Any advice or help is welcome.

Men Break in at Night while we are Asleep

This summer, my girlfriend and I stayed at an Airbnb in the South of France for three nights: a one bedroom apartment in the heart of the old city of Aix-en-Provence. We arrived around 6:00 PM. The young guy who greeted us hadn’t finished cleaning up the place yet, so we just left our bags there and went out for dinner.

Fast forward two days. It was around midnight and we had just gotten back to the apartment after a long day. We went to bed, exhausted. I woke up around 9:00 AM, walked into the living room to grab my laptop from the couch – no laptop. I looked around; no phone either. Maybe I left it in my bag? No bag. My girlfriend’s bag was also missing.

I noticed large black footsteps on the tile floor (looked like a construction worker’s boots). I noticed that the window was wide open. My girlfriend still had her cell phone; she kept it in the bedroom during the night. We did our best to stay calm and focused.

We called the host who said he would be there in about an hour (he lives in neighboring Marseille). Meanwhile we went to the local police office to file a report. When we got back, the host was there, searching for any damage to his property. At first he said it didn’t look like there was a break-in. I showed him the footsteps.

Then he blamed us for leaving the window open. I pointed out to him that it had been 110 degrees out, that we were up on the second floor, and that the apartment had no AC. I also pointed out to him that the other window in the living room was broken, and also the window in our bedroom (though that one has bars). He shrugged and blamed the damage on previous Airbnb guests.

Then his tone changed a bit. I think he realized that we were still in shock and at a loss about what to do next. He admitted that when we called him he suspected we were lying, but that he believed us now. He assured us that all would be taken care of, that he had insurance, as does Airbnb. That we would get compensated for our stolen goods (computers, wallets, bags, phone, etc.). He promised to help us as long as we didn’t mention anything about the break-in in our review.

Awkward pause. Then, more gently, he asked us to please check out as soon as possible, since new guests are coming, and he needed to clean the apartment. Another awkward pause. My girlfriend reminded me that we still had lots of stuff to take care of (calling our banks, credit cards, my phone company, getting cash somehow…) so we may as well head out anyway.

Once we started packing all our stuff, she also reminded me that he was a Superhost so he must know how to handle everything with the insurance. I expressed to him my concern about the next guests – maybe the burglar is targeting this apartment? He reassured me it was all fine, and that he would just tell the next guests to lock the windows before they go to bed.

Once we were out on the street, all the admin stuff took us longer, and we ended up having to stay in Aix for one more night. We called the Airbnb host in Avignon (the next town on our trip, where we had another booking for three nights) to tell him what had happened, and that we would only arrive the next day. He said no problem, but that he must charge us still for that unused night. We understand. It’s not his fault that we were victims of a break-in, after all.

It is at this moment that our vacation officially ends (not on paper, as we are still in France, but for all other practical matters) and the saga with Airbnb’s customer service begins. It was the usual progression of “we will call you back” then “please send us the police report for the Nth time” then “please send us all the receipts for the stolen items for the Nth time” then “sorry we can’t help you” then “we can offer you $100 as compensation” then finally “we can offer you $500 out of our goodwill and the case is now closed.”

It took three weeks of constant calling to get to that point. $500 barely covers 10% of what was stolen (not to mention the stay itself, the extra night in Aix, and the lost night in Avignon). That aside, what shocked me most was how little Airbnb seemed to care about our overall experience and about the safety of future guests at that specific Airbnb.

The host, on his end, was always “on vacation” or “busy” when we tried to reach him. He never filed a claim with his insurance (does he even have insurance, we began to wonder). He continued to rent the apartment to guests nonstop through the Airbnb platform.

I became a little paranoid: who knows how many times that apartment has gotten broken into? Who knows how many other former guests now wake up in the middle of the night from nightmares about a man breaking into their apartment? Airbnb knows, but not the rest of the Airbnb community, because we were cheated into not mentioning it in our review. I’m angry with myself for agreeing to that deal. I’m angry with Airbnb for not caring about anything or anyone excerpt for their own profit and growth. Let the truth be known.

UPDATE: Now at nearly four weeks since the incident, we managed to get a hold of the host. He began by apologizing that it didn’t work out with his insurance in the end. He assured us that he did his absolute best. The reason the claim was rejected? We left the window open.

We told him we had done our research on the topic – that an open window voids insurance in France only if the break-in happens on a first floor/garden level apartment. He insisted that his insurance told him otherwise. We asked for the type of insurance policy he has, but he refused to tell us.

Finally, clearly angry at this point, he told us the name of the insurance company, then hung up the phone. We tried calling him back, but he wouldn’t pick up.

We then called the insurance company he had just mentioned, gave them his name and address, explained the situation, and they informed us that a claim was never made. They also told us the type of insurance policy has has: the most basic policy (what in France they call “Assurance Habitation”), which only covers his own belongings in the case of a break-in. Definitely not the insurance policy one should have for a full-time Airbnb rental.

As we had suspected by this point, his whole promise of helping us get reimbursed for our stolen belongings was a charade – a way to manipulate us into not mentioning the break-in in our review during high-season.

As for Airbnb? They know the full story. We’re still waiting for the promised email from their elusive case manager.

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Let’s Talk About How Airbnb Reviews Work

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My friend and I were going on a quick trip to Pittsburgh for a concert. We did not want to stay in a room adjoined to a house, so we ended up booking a unit described as a “tiny home.” The pictures were all close-ups, so I gave it the benefit of the doubt. Once I booked, the host demanded I change my accidental booking of one person to two (which was fine because the listing boasted an air mattress as well). Overall a $133 fee.

We got to the unit, in which the host just left the key in the door (super safe) to find a shack connected to a house. This is what one calls an efficiency, not a tiny home. Also, if this mysterious air mattress existed, it was nowhere to be found. Here I was, drinking a beer while being able to hear my friend, willing to overlook this because we had to leave.

In the morning, I awoke to my friend complaining of bites, and we looked in the bed; it was covered in ants. Still, I am trying to overlook things. While in the car ride back I received the attached message from the host. I tried to go about things as he wished, and didn’t leave a review just yet. I asked if the extra $30 for the second person could possibly be refunded as he listed it incorrectly, and, you know, bug bites. Nope, no such luck.

Lo and behold, Airbnb customer service was even worse. “The host just wants a good review.” The best part? I finally left a negative review after being patient and kind for 48 hours. Remember how I was supposed to get five stars? Yep, here’s what happened after my review. So there is my tale. Good luck to those who have issues with this service – you will need it.

Playa del Carmen Airbnb Misrepresentation

My kids and I stayed in this unit for only one night and left early the next morning – less than 12 hours. We were in Playa del Carmen before heading to Cozumel to get married and then left immediately for our honeymoon.

Upon return to the country from our honeymoon, I attempted to write a review on both properties we stayed at, but apparently there is only a 14-day window to review properties. I had missed that window given I was on my honeymoon. It is imperative that future guests are aware of the status of this unit and that the host is notified that their advertising and preparation is inaccurate, inadequate and unsanitary.

Here are some of the issues. We arrived at the unit late at night to find that we were given an inaccurate entrance code on the security gate and the front door. We had to contact the host who showed up 30 minutes later to let us in and verified that he had provided the wrong code. We were let into the unit, dropped our bags, used the bathroom and discovered that there was no soap or toilet paper.

We are a family of seven and I had to go feed everybody after a full day of travel before returning to go to bed. I texted the host to let him know there was no shampoo, soap, or toilet paper and while we were at dinner, he dropped some off at the front door. We returned to the unit close to midnight and found the sheets on one of the beds was dirty, with hair and grime on a pillow.

We rented the unit because it could sleep all of us yet there was no bedding for the fifth bed. I gave up my bedding in order for my daughter to sleep on the pull out futon. Furthermore, the unit had not been cleaned much, if at all. There was a half drunk bottle of vodka sitting at the bar, the kitchen area was extremely poorly equipped and dirty, and the smell in the unit was terrible.

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Airbnb Host Tried to Evict Me, Company Didn’t Help

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I’ve been at a reservation for over two months now in Washington. Recently the landlady tried to buy the entire house out of her contracts and everyone refused. She then proceeded to start construction which has resulted in utilities being cut off on a regular basis. I took pictures and videos of the construction and complained to Airbnb. Wanna know what they did?

They called me about a week later telling me I had to get out and I would be refunded for the time I haven’t stayed yet. I said “no”, that I wouldn’t be leaving, and any attempt to kick me out could be argued in a court of law as an illegal eviction. I told them because I was already there for over two months I qualified as a tenant I didn’t actually have to leave if they forced me out.

The Airbnb support person told me if I didn’t get out by the end of the day I would be trespassing and the police would get involved. I mentioned how I would be contacting the police and an attorney to sue them if they moved forward.

She responded: “This is our policy so it’s fine.”

Me: “If a policy is in violation of state law the state will just ignore it.”

Her: “You can contact your lawyers and do what you want. We are a 25 billion dollar company and this is our policy.”

Me: “What about the Airbnb policy that states that if a home is unlivable or there’s unnecessary construction the guest gets a refund? What about the Airbnb policy?”

Her: Makes a comment about my tone and says she will be looking at the pictures I sent.

She put me on hold and it became very clear she had no idea what she was doing. She offered me $100 and to pay me back for the nights I haven’t stayed yet. I told her, “No. I’m not going to accept that. You can’t force me to take compensation I don’t believe is adequate and if you’re going to move forward with these actions I would like an explicit email acknowledging the fact that I did not agree to your terms. I will be contacting the police and an attorney.”

She said, “Sure, whatever,” mentioned my tone again, and hung up.

In the meantime, I contacted the police non-emergency number and they said they would call me back. It had been about two minutes since I spoke with Airbnb and they called me back.

Same support woman: “Your host is thinking about changing her mind but she says construction will continue. You can stay if you’re okay with the construction.”

Me: “I’m not okay with construction but if you allow me to stay I will.”

Her: “Well, why do you want to stay if there’s construction? She said you can stay if you’re okay with it and she will continue to shut off the water.”

Me: “Because I believe what she is doing is illegal and if I stay I’ll be able to collect damages in a court of law. Additionally if you kick me out right now I’ll be thrown on the street so even if you allow me to stay I will be suing her at this point. You don’t have to mention how I’ll be suing her.”

She hung up again, and said she would tell the host I wanted to “continue my reservation.” What a nice way of saying I didn’t want to spend the night on the streets. How kind of her.

In the meantime I finally got in touch with the police and explained the situation: how she decided to kick me out once I complained about the construction, and how I’m a tenant due to the way I’ve rented. He asked if I’d received mail at the property. I explained I had received some mail there. He then got upset and said, “Okay, so who am I talking to? I need a phone number.”

I gave him the landlady’s phone number. He called me five minutes later and told me she was no longer evicting me and she “changed her mind.”

I’m going to be suing. At this point in considering suing Airbnb too. The dumbest part is I have pictures of all of the construction and even messages from the landlady confirming when I complained and that the construction is renovations and not repairs necessary to the property.

Host Cancels and I Lose the Service Fee?

Here is my letter to Airbnb after a recent trip to Croatia. I sent this a week ago and haven’t had any response yet. The host  has three listings in Split.

Please go back and read the email chain between myself and this host. Also, read the emails that went between myself and Airbnb. Check the times and dates on them. I booked this listing on the morning of July 12th. The host accepted my request and took my money for the booking, including all fees.

My wife and I then got in the car and drove from Trieste, Italy all the way down to Split, where we expected to check in. After paying $40 in tolls, a tank of gas, and the 4+ hours of driving, I received a message from this host claiming, “Thank you but I am so sorry, booking and Airbnb something mix. We are not free today”. But she had already taken my money.

So, there we were, room cancelled from right under us, after all this driving. This was when I started my communication with Airbnb. After a few messages between Airbnb and this host, my money was refunded… minus the Airbnb service fee. That was about $40. WTF is that?

Over the next few days, I sent several emails to Airbnb asking for my service fee back. When Airbnb did reply, they told me that “service fees are not refundable”. I heard this in all replies from Airbnb after explaining what had happened.

For an operation as big as Airbnb, this is truly a scam. Seriously, read the messages from this host. They cancelled the booking, not me. How can Airbnb think that they can take my money, when I didn’t cancel the booking? And even worse, every response from Airbnb simply restated that service fees are non-refundable. Either you didn’t understand that the host cancelled, or you are just a scam of a business.

After reading up on Airbnb hosts, I have been led to believe that this is a common scam that some Airbnb hosts pull: list the property on several different booking sites and accept bookings for that day only to cancel all of them except the highest one. Why wouldn’t the hosts do this if they don’t have to reimburse the service fees? Yet, Airbnb feels that they are entitled to keeping the service fee from the person who books? Dirty business on the host’s, and Airbnb’s part.

In the end, after several days of trying to get my service fee back, Airbnb offered me the amount back in a “goodwill credit”. Huh? Goodwill? Credit? At this point the last thing I wanted was a credit that obligates me to booking another Airbnb listing. This situation took over three days and nine messages from me to Airbnb, plus several messages to the host, to ultimately having Airbnb not give my actual money back.

Below is a quote from your last message to me. “Please know that we appreciate your loyalty and I am personally looking forward to many more years with you. We are here to support you 24/7 and can be contacted any time over email and the phone.”

24/7 support? At one point, I didn’t get a reply to my messages for over 48 hours. Please, read all of the messages that went back and forth regarding this booking. Any reasonable consumer will see how I got scammed here.

On the day that I drove to Split, only to have my booking cancelled, I ended up having to book a place at the last minute in Trogir, 30 minutes outside of Split. This was a direct result of one of your hosts cancelling my booking… and you charged me the service fee.

Airbnb wasted a lot of my time (booking, driving, rebooking, messaging, follow up, etc) and caused me to have to rebook 30 minutes away from the original booking. This made me incur more costs that shouldn’t have happened. As a consumer, I figure that Airbnb owes me money, not a bogus “goodwill voucher”. Airbnb should be going after this host to cover the my costs involved. Airbnb wants reviews of their hosts, and Airbnb. I did review this host but, of course, that review doesn’t get posted. Apparently, Airbnb is protecting this host’s listing and credibility. That is very deceptive to potential renters.

If you won’t post my reviews, I will post my own. Twitter, Facebook, etc. I don’t have to embellish this story in any way at all. I will be sure to include the host’s information and listings as well. So that is why my score is so low. If the exact same thing happened to you, you’d be pissed too.