Chicago Airbnb Listing Gone Horribly Wrong

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Even though I thought my host was attentive in the beginning, she dropped the hammer when it came to my noise complaint. She basically said that I was a light sleeper and that the refund policy is strict. I did feel that this was in bad taste. I don’t expect a full refund but I did want to check out early and not stay the month that cost over $2,000. I was disappointed in this since I approached the matter with kindness and gratitude for her attentiveness.

I lived in the downtown Chicago area for 15 years and came back for work and had to stay a month. This was the loudest building I’ve ever encountered in all my years of living there. I hate leaving negative reviews but the description is inaccurate and the host blamed me for not reading it. Airbnb looks out only for hosts since it looks like what’s in the listing is the golden rule (you will be held to this very strictly).

Here’s what was different from the posting. It was actually a studio, not a one bedroom. The listing said, and I quote, “Due to the apartment’s prime location, you may encounter some city noise, nearby train.”

That’s all it says. I’ve taken time to outline what this really looks like below. No CO2 detector as indicated. The smoke detector also did not appear to work (I saw no blinking lights) and it was loosely hanging by wires. TV remotes didn’t work. There were dirty walls with holes and splash marks and a dirty downstairs area with trash everywhere. No ethernet as promised or indoor fireplace as listed. No dedicated workspace as listed. There are two pop up countertop areas and one was broken. The other was not a “dedicated work area.” I tried to setup a workstation there but could not.

Here is the truth about the noise. There are multiple trains that run right past the building all day every day. The orange line, green line, and red line (underground). You hear every train announcement and the screeching and rattling. There are also multiple sets of tracks. Don’t forget the Metra train whistle that you can also hear. It basically sounds like you are living at the train station.

You also have the regular street noise which includes people shouting (and cursing), music, car mufflers, buses, horns, and sirens. I can even hear people skateboarding down the sidewalk. Roosevelt is an extremely busy street that connects to Michigan avenue. It’s like staying next to an expressway.

The building in itself is noisy and the lobby area is pretty run down. I heard loud music blasting at late hours and other hours in the day. There is also the sound of screeching chairs and the smell of marijuana that comes into the unit. I work from home so I had to spend a lot of time in the unit. If you are coming to sightsee (which you currently can’t because of COVID) and won’t be home often, then it could work. I myself had to sleep with noise-canceling headphones and constantly spray because of the smells wafting in.

To top it all off, the host basically accused me of vandalizing the unit and insisted that there was no damage before I got there. I had been there less than 24 hours when I sent her and Airbnb photos of the holes, scratches, and damaged smoke and CO2 detectors on top of the noise complaints.

I learned my lesson: report any and all damage right away. Because when issues start popping up, people will look for any way they can to make you pay the price. She also kept apologizing that I didn’t understand the listing and sent me screenshots of all of the good reviews. She then told me that her husband was a lawyer if I needed one. I was forced to leave the property because there were no working smoke or CO2 detectors and the noise. Airbnb customer service just said she did offer to fix it and expected me to continue to stay there and put my health and safety at risk.

Airbnb No Longer Reimbursing Hosts for Material Damages

Two guests booked two days for our 35-foot motorhome during a local Renaissance fair. We’ve been hosting 3.5 years. I should have been suspicious when three guests showed up. The guests were drunk when in residence — a bit loud, but tolerable because the motorhome is remote.

Then we went to clean for the next guests. What a mess. They had been cutting and sewing costumes for the fair, both inside and outside the coach. Strings and pins/needles were everywhere in the carpet. They ruined one set of sheets and towels with black goop that my wife couldn’t get out, so we had to order new ones for $65. They spilled coffee with creamer on the fabric couch and dribbled it on floor.

Normally takes about 2.5 hours to clean the unit. My wife spent five hours cleaning and I spent three extra hours spotting the carpet and steam cleaning the couch. I had to crawl around on my hands and knees to remove all the tiny threads, and pins/needles so the next guests would not injure themselves. I’m an an old guy but we got it cleaned.

The three guests left just after a noon check out, and new guests arrived at 4:30 PM and had to wait until we were finished. This was the first time this has happened in 3.5 years.

Here is the clincher. When we contacted Airbnb for reimbursement for the sheets and towels (not for our extra five hours of cleaning) we were denied because we didn’t meet their “complaint before next guest arrives” time frame. The next guests arrived before we had finished cleaning. Did I mention the extra time Airbnb demands to meet their COVID-19 cleaning requirements?

What have we learned from this lesson? Airbnb does not cover hosts’ damages even through they require a damage deposit from guests. Do not allow new guests to check in until you have made any claims, even if it means cancelling the new guests. We are rural and must drive to town to upload pictures due to our slow internet. We have no cell signal here. We increased our price 25% to cover any material losses because Airbnb will not charge guests for them.

When our “weird-s–t-O-meter” goes up for new guests…. we go with it and deny them access to the property. Don’t get me wrong: we have had good results with listings from Airbnb. Their fees are more expensive than most other platforms and our guests in the past have been top notch. I find that it is Airbnb, not the poor guests, that are the problem. Airbnb has always paid us the $50 per night on time and correctly.

If you cannot “personally” manage your rental check in and after rental inspection then I would not recommend them, as I do not believe you will be reimbursed for any property damage. Talking to a large number of Airbnb guests has convinced me that “hosts” are not cleaning to the Airbnb standards on the website as we do. But I must admit when we have traveled using Airbnb we have gotten very clean and tidy places to stay.

No Compromise For Changing Dates Whatsoever

Over the last three years I have stayed in 19 Airbnbs. I would consider myself to be a loyal Airbnb customer. I made a reservation for the Thanksgiving holiday for 10 days in San Diego because it was not only a vacation, it was also an attempt to support Airbnb during these difficult times. I know that Airbnb hosts are probably suffering from lower than normal occupancy rates.

A couple of weeks ago I started having growing concerns because the number of COVID-19 cases was starting to rise. I contacted the host, who in this case was represented by a vacation rental company in La Jolla. I mentioned to them that I was concerned about the situation and wanted to know what my options were. I never mentioned the idea of requesting a refund. Rather, I asked if I could modify the dates until the time when the virus started abating. Their response was that they would not allow any modifications.

A few days later the State of California raised the level of COVID restrictions from Code Red to Code Purple. It is the highest level that they have, effectively closing all restaurants to indoor seating, closing all non-essential businesses, and closing all theme parks (if they weren’t closed before). In addition, a stay-at-home recommendation had been issued for the area. I also mentioned the fact that state officials were recommending a 14-day quarantine if one traveled to California.

I brought this to the attention of the vacation rental company and they refused to accept an official modification request for the dates. After pleading with them about being upset that my entire $4,900 deposit was in jeopardy, they said that, if I canceled my reservation, they would attempt resale and issue credit for what they could resell. On the outside that sounded reasonable until I realized that they would sell it for a greatly reduced rate and that if they were unable to sell any of it, I would receive no credit.

I want to also include here that, if you go to the availability chart for this property, with the exception of one week over Christmas, this home is completely unavailable until Sept. 4, 2021 — good luck to those renters if they decide not to go. I decided not to accept their offer. It’s not like they would be refunding me and losing this income; all I wanted was a modification of dates. I went to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website and noted that this company is not held in high regard. I also noted that Airbnb has an “F” rating. The BBB apparently is looking into this issue and we’ll see what they come up with.

I have also written the Governor’s office. Airbnb has been essentially worthless. They sure know how to support their hosts, but the customer is screwed. I have written 4 emails to the CEO of Airbnb and have heard nothing in response. The management company constantly refers to the fact that they are going to follow the letter of the contract I signed. That, to me, is laughable.

I signed a contract a month earlier for a home in Truckee or the month of June next year. It was accepted and I got the “you’re going to Truckee!“ message. That to me is confirmation of a contract and I got the receipt for the full payment. Five days later I got a message from the owner asking me if I could change the dates of my stay in order to accommodate other clients. These clients turned out to be people he referred to as friends. To make a long story short, Airbnb customer support — instead of defending me and supporting my contract — cancelled my reservation.

I am feeling incredibly frustrated. I am not seeking a refund in this issue with the house in San Diego. I am just wanting to change the dates until the Code Purple restrictions are relaxed and it’s safe to travel again. I would appreciate any assistance in my issue with Airbnb. It’s getting to the point where a lawsuit appears the only thing that will get their attention.

Airbnb Guest Urinates on Bed in Stockholm

I have had more than 100 guests and have loved it. Never any problems and I have earned Superhost status with 5.0 in terms of customer ratings.However, I have now had a guest where I immediately discovered urine in the bed after check-out. The bed is the Swedish brand, Hästen, handmade and extremely exclusive. The mattress is ruined and must be replaced immediately as I have new guests arriving.

The guest admits that she “accidentally poured water into the bed with a leaking water bottle” and says she is willing to pay for cleaning. But Airbnb customer service does little or nothing. It still takes time for them to even look into the matter, even though I do what is expected of me.

The problem has not been solved, and still being handed by Airbnb. No decisions regarding compensation yet. I realize that as a host I only have obligations but no “rights.” An extremely sad discovery and I am considering leaving Airbnb altogether.

It is interesting that a company whose content is only about people being willing to rent out their accommodation or parts of it is not faster to deal with problems that arise and support a host or a guest. Now Airbnb is planning an IPO, a company earning their income on booking fees, which however, presupposes that there are landlords and tenants.

There’s No One Home at Airbnb Support

I just spent a splendid two weeks trying to get through to Airbnb support. I have received robot messages from several mythological support people. Some are insulting, some claim to be supportive and not do anything, and none seem to read the messages I sent. Yesterday they added another fun category of pretending to call me back and claiming there was no answer.

I think even a robot could see that the messages were being sent from my phone that was in my hands. I have blocked all my time with Airbnb and plan on finding a company with actual people in it to take my money for use of the website. They charge nearly as much is a reputable rental agency and give nothing in return.

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Accused of Theft and Lying About Smells

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My wife and I rented an Airbnb e to celebrate our first anniversary. From day one it smelled like a dog kennel. The second day, we found one bed bug which the co-host implied that we could’ve been responsible for rather than just quietly making things right. She moved us to a different room that was much better, but then the next day, she and her daughter accused us of messing with the way their appliances were plugged in and costing them $95 for an electrical inspection, when we didn’t and had absolutely no reason to.

The host’s daughter did not objectively serve us and was hardly involved as opposed to her mom. We filed a complaint with Airbnb the next day and the hosts kicked us out, though we had not officially told them we were canceling our reservation. They falsely accused us of filing a complaint of theft against them and took pictures of our naturally messy room before we had time to clean it up. They reported us to Airbnb corporate for vandalizing and trashing their place.

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Horrible Guest Requested a Full Refund over a Lie

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On August 17, guests had to leave early due to their car breaking down, but they wanted a full refund. They took pictures of the tiled ceiling and plastic-steel windows frame. There was some black color, old sealer and dust. They said it was black mold and threatened me using rude words. I explained to him that I would like to deep clean it, but guest did not listen to me and left the next day. Then they sent me a request for a full refund.

I reported this to an Airbnb representative right away. She told me I didn’t have to give a refund due to the guest choosing a non-refundable method to take advantage of an extra 10% off. After I got the email from the Airbnb resolution center about this guest’s request, I called an Airbnb case manager and she confirmed it was my right to choose whether to give a refund or not.

A month later, I got another case manager getting in touch by email. He totally stood with the horrible guest and charged me $940 from my account. He did not listen to me and did not have any professional proof. It was unbelievable. Airbnb blocked my property for 10 days, and caused me to lose $940 in revenue. I have to suffer horrible guests bullying me and no one can protect innocent hosts.

Such a nightmare with Airbnb. Who can I reach out to fight against the second case manager’s decision? Thank you in advance.

Frustrating Lack of Response from Airbnb

I have really liked the Airbnb platform and had a great response so far with them. However, I now have a problem, finding it a little the opposite. I am getting quite frustrated with the lack of help from the Airbnb team in relation to a booking during the festive season that I feel needs to be cancelled.

A booking was made before March 4, but travel is for later in the year between Dec. 20 – Jan. 21. I have a family who have booked our home for four weeks over the Christmas period and are travelling from the U.K. to Australia. Our government currently has Australia in lockdown from overseas holiday travellers unless they are returning citizens or permanent residents. No tourists are permitted.

Our government has stated that they can not see any overseas travel allowed until the end of the year or until next year as of Sept. 3. I have been in touch with the guests and they do not want to cancel as they will be charged over half of the booking by Airbnb. If I cancel, the dates are blocked and I also get a cancellation review and get charged a cancellation fee. It defeats the purpose of cancelling as I want to have the dates open for local guests to book or I will ultimately miss out both ways.

I’m feeling very disappointed with Airbnb response to this matter. I have messaged through their portal and had very limited if any response: all generic and have asked for documentation. What documentation? Is there anyone else feeling this frustration and does anyone have any other way of contacting Airbnb? They really are not very helpful at this time. I feel they should be extending their extenuating circumstances cancellation policy. Any helpful suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Five-Star Airbnb Host, Zero-Star Service

I discovered in July that I was not getting paid for my reservations. I also discovered that Airbnb was paying some of my funds to a bonus bank account which listed my information. I had no knowledge of this and did not authorize it.

It has been two months of almost weekly emails demanding to know what Airbnb is going to do to resolve this. I am now owed approximately $12,000. No one seems to understand or want to deal with the problem. I am now forced to file a superior court breach of contract and fraud case to attempt to get resolved.

My home is rented almost 90% of the time and now I can’t pay the taxes or the property managers. If you have any comments which would assist me, please feel free to make them. I have even suffered a stroke trying to get Airbnb to do something.

Airbnb Doesn’t Care About Mice, Apparently

My child and I were supposed to stay June 21-22 at this Airbnb property for  a bit over $1100, the price of a 5-star hotel. The first night we woke up at 4:00 AM from mice crawling on us. My child screamed and threw a mouse on the floor from his bedsheets. Mice in Colorado carry the deadly Hantavirus.

We packed immediately and left. While I was putting the luggage in the car a mouse jumped out of my suitcase and landed on the ground. I was able to take a picture of it. When we  got to an area where there was cell phone coverage I contacted the owner. She started screaming at me that I was crazy and that there were no mice. She expressed no concern about our safety and well being.

I cancelled our reservation online and sent an email to Airbnb. I called them immediately and stayed on hold for several hours without them answering. I tried to call them for the next several days as well to no avail. We slept in a hotel. The host refused to give me any kind of refund.

After a month I complained to the Better Business Bureau and finally Airbnb replied. They pretended to the take the matter seriously and looked at the mouse picture and the receipt from the hotel . They said that the host did not want to issue a refund and there was nothing they could do. They sent me $50 back out of the $1500 that I paid, a “refund of the cleaning fee.”

I asked them if this meant I had to stay with my child at the Airbnb property with mice crawling on us and they said we had to leave but they would not issue any refund.