Airbnb – YOU SUCK

I’ve spent the last day and a half watching a friend deal with Airbnb’s inept customer support team after her AirBnb host backed out of her month long rental 45 minutes after she was supposed to meet him. I’ve listened  to misinformation and baldface lies from the Airbnb CS team. Their solution was to charge her twice for two alternative rentals. The hosts were non responsive and $3,000 later ($1400 overdrawn) they pretty much washed their hands of the situation and left my friend homeless and broke for the next month. I’m curious as to who designed their Customer Service policy? Satan? Ebenezer Scrooge? Leaving people broke with no place to stay is bullshit. Lying to your customers and telling them that “you don’t have a manager” is absurd. What do they put in the water at their office? Every CS rep has the same apathetic monotone and a propensity for telling insane lies. I’ve personally never had any issues with my past stays, but watching my friend go through this has disgusted me. Airbnb is an international company with deep pockets. Websites like this wouldn’t exist if they showed some empathy and provided reasonable solutions and prompt resolutions to their guests. Dicks.

Worse experience ever

My first hosts cancelled on me a few days before arrival when I only wanted to change the day of arrival and kept $400 airbnb refunded that. The next host which I had to find in a hurry because of first hosts incompetence was nothing short of a con woman. She wanted me to pay out side airbnb which I reluctantly agreed to. I paid her $180 for two nights and I was taken to what can only be described as a hell hole which stunk of dog..It was a dirty untidy thread bare flat in social housing block in Hermossa beach with two big stinking dogs. She looked like a homeless woman all her clothers were creased and clearly she had no interested in her appearance. Her car was an English mini with wing missing and back cut off and looked like a skip on wheels in side of it, with no silencer on it, very classy. My bag was put in the back with the dogs and it was being rained on. Her name is Aparna Hermossa beach. We arrived there and I ate my takeaway and then decided to leave as the host had gone out to pay poker after dropping me there and left me with the two dogs , which I knew nothing of the temperament of. I left and I am still awaiting the repayment of my $180 dollars of which I have been given the run around trying to get it back. The third host, was an equally untidy house in a run down area player del rey and on the flight path from the airport so I had to listen to planes taking off every 1 minute of the day and night. I thought I had booked Marina del rey area but that was my mistake. The house was full of dog hair and the kitchen looked like it hadn’t been cleaned for months. My room was nice but the bed wasn’t made and the bedding was dumped on it and still wet, so I had to dry it and then make my own bed. The host was nice to begin with, but I have never met any one so noisy, he shouted instead of spoke and had the tv on until all hours of the morning on high level watching basket ball and it sounded like it was in my room as the house was open plan. As if this wasn’t bad enough he was up at 6 making more noise every day talking loudly as if no one was staying in the house.. Sorry but I was bought up with manners and respect for others and I seriously can not ever imagine behaving in such a way even if a relative was staying let alone a paying guest. On the 5th night of the sleep deprivation when being woken at 2.30 in the morning by him and his friend coming in drunk and watching tv on cinema sound level, I had enough and told him what I thought. He has kept one night of my money clearly because like most people on the site they have no money and prey on unsuspecting people to pay their mortgage they cant afford. This host was Hythum in Payer del mar so avoid!!.. He is an asshole and a sex pest to go with it. He is unfit to host anyone he can barely look after his dog properly!.. I am now with a nice family in Melrose and so far they seem lovely so I will start my holiday from the 9th day of arriving and hope for the best..

Nightmarish old guests

Horrible guests. Had a 100% perfect record until a bunch of old people came to our old apartment in NYC and they started tearing it apart, even stole our keys. We renting it out for only $40 a night and never misinterpreted anything- we took actual pictures of apartment and the moment they came in they called our house STINKY. Horrible people- glad we kicked them out despite their age. They called the cops on us coz they lost their keys only to find it in the old hag’s purse, then they stole it after we finally kicked them out. Worst 3 days of my Airbnb hosting life, stopped hosting after that.

Nightmare

It’s 2 a.m. in the morning in Sri Lanka. We booked a room in a guest house slightly east of Matara. It is an ongoing nightmare. First we were told we should have brought our own soap. Then the internet didn’t work. The bed is hard as a cement sidewalk. There is an ant’s nest behind a bathroom tap and an ant highway in the bathroom. My girlfriend couldn’t get the shower to work because she wasn’t familiar with the controls. Instead of explaining how the shower worked our “host” said the pressure was low! even though the sink tap worked fine. They had assured us they had the adapters to connect our Canadian plugs into the Sri Lankan grid. They didn’t, and they finally sent a flunky into Matara to buy one only after we vehemently insisted that we needed to plug in our electronics. The worst was yet to come. It is two in the morning and our bedroom is sounds like the inside of a disco because our “hosts” have decided to have a party which they said will go on all night and we should have brought earplugs if we don’t like the noise. We were told this din will go on all night! We have stayed at some wonderful places through AirBnB here in Sri Lanka but this experience nullifys that. Remember when you book on Air BnB that what you get may be absolutely the opposite of what you were led to expect!

Hosts beware of “Mediation” – you have no say

We have been hosting with Airbnb for a couple of years. Our reviews were only 5 stars, with great feedback from guests. When people had problems or issues, we are always quick to react and resolve problems. We had the misfortune of hosting a couple of jerks who stayed in our rental apartment but treated it like a hotel. They reserved for 2 people for 3 weeks. They told us some extra family was coming after they arrived and asked us to bring around some more sheets and towels – we were miffed that we were not told beforehand but did so, and didn’t want to rock the boat. They told us 3 others were coming but in fact 6 others arrived for a total of 8 in an apartment with 1 toilet that sleeps 6 as advertised.
The extra people arrived on Friday, and on Sunday night we got a call saying the toilet was slow and had been since Friday. We asked if the toilet still flushed or was completely stopped up. We were told that no, it still went down but sometimes the water rose, but did not overflow. And we wondered why we were not told about it earlier – while businesses that do plumbing services were open !! We explained that on Sunday night, Father’s day in France for a non-emergency it was unlikely we could find anyone to come around that night (we knew it was in fact impossible unless an emergency as the very first thing the services as in France is whether the toilet is overflowing or blocked – if the answer is no, they send someone the next day). We said we’d call around and let them know more as soon as we had finished our dinner (we’d literally just sat down to dinner with our other Airbnb guest in our home). Before we were done with dinner, we received a text Airbnb message saying they’d resolved the issue by pouring hot water down the toilet and that it was “fine”. We called and told them we’d stop by the next morning to check on things.
We did stop by. To us the toilet was still slow though they said it was OK. They also said, oh and don’t worry about the hot water, it’s working again. We then realised they’d written in the middle of the night to complain about no hot water. We’d explained to them on arrival that the hot water heater was connected to the cheap rate electrics and that it operated only when that was on, hence to plan showers around this – which they did. They said they’d only run out when washing dishes after midnight. They were evasive when we asked how many showers they took – one said 5 showers and 1 bath, the other said 2 showers that were less than 5 minutes (we asked the couple separately). We explained that the hot water heater was working properly and they were using too much hot water during the day when the hot water heater was off – and also that for the number of people in the flat it was likely too much. We gave them instructions for how to set the switch to override to the hot water heater so that it could run during the day as well. For the slow toilet, we arranged with our neighbour to use the toilet of his office, which was in the hallway (the office was empty) as the service that we needed to use to clean the drains was unable to come immediately (they need to send a truck with a high pressure hose, as our old plumbing could not be fixed with a normal “snake” as there is a bend in the pipes that is less than 90 degrees so it won’t run). We told them to use the alternate toilet if the existing one developed more of a problem than slowness. They kept saying they thought this issue was caused by the building in front of ours, as they’d seen “workmen” there and a bad smell. We never in 4 visits were able to smell this supposed bad smell, and we also brought out the building manager of the other building. During the next 2 days we visited 4 times to investigate this “smell” which was not in our apartment, but they said in the hallway. The other building manager spoke to them and explained that no work had been done in that building and we tested all the pipes, and we assured them we simply had to wait a day for the drain clearing service to come out. They sent us a demand for a 50% refund for every day they’d experienced and would experience a “loss of service” starting with the day BEFORE they reported the issue to us. Their note contained a veiled threat to take further action against us if we did not agree to this. We refused on the grounds that they never had lost any service and in fact even had access to a 2nd toilet now. After this they called Airbnb and lied to their customer service. The “mediation” of Airbnb never spoke to us. They decided to allow the client to leave early and take away our rental fee for the unused days. We were able to get payment in the form of credit for some of the extra guests, but Airbnb refused to honour their rental contract. The drain clearing service came on Weds and cleared the drains but they’d left that AM and then they left a horrid review on Airbnb, claiming that there had been sewage flowing in the apartment, that we’d never called a plumber and many other lies such as claiming we had told them to use the public toilets as an alternate toilet and that they were without a working toilet in the apartment for 96 hours and were “forced” to leave it. Despite the fact that I sent in videos showing the toilet still functioning and flushing when they left and testimony from the other building manager also attesting to the toilet functioning as well as to the 2nd toilet they had access to, and despite the letters in the Airbnb system that clearly showed they were lying, the review was allowed on the site in the name of “free speech”. Additionally we were lied to and manipulated by the Customer Service – they briefly took down the review – and the minute we returned the security deposit of the guests, they put the bad review back up without notifying us and allowing even further lies now about our mental health on it ! We took down our listing as Airbnb refused to take down the libel. Disgusted with their customer service – and the “mediation” which is simply dictatorship.

Trust&Safety at airbnb behind low level

I`m a former Employee of airbnb and I can warn everybody who likes to travel not to use `the service` of airbnb. I worked in the trust&safety Department of airbnb and checked new listings and hosts on a daily base. The interesting fact I approached there is the low security standards airbnb put on potential new hosts and jeopardize the safety of all guests. If you want to host airbnb guests you can grab any pictures from the internet like a nice five star villa or a beautiful castle and declare yourself as the `official owner` of this listing, you do not need to provide any form of ID or Proof of Ownership like a Utility bill of the listing. This means in fact that almost more than 50 Percent of the listings on airbnb are fake or put from drug dealers or other criminals to make `the easy money` with the dumb tourists. Trust&Safety just work this way, that they take a look on the Pictures of the listing and declare them as genuine or not. There is no background-check put in place what kind of host you can expect (even serial-killer or Drug Dealers could be hosts at airbnb) . And if the host need to provide a ID they can easely fool the automated security system by providing any kind of Photo ID, the automated system called Jumio accept even Library ID`s . I discussed this issue with my Manager who is responsible for the Security of the listings and he replied to me back that airbnb don`t want to put much restrains on new hosts to register with airbnb (!!!) Sorry, every banking institution or Gambling Website has better security measures in place to prevent Criminals to do their illegal activities but on airbnb every Criminal is warm welcomed to register as a host without hassle to be security checked. You don`t believe it? Try to register yourself at airbnb website as a host with any `funny Name` and put the `Oval Office` as your listing, you will be surprised how quick you are `approved` and go live with this `listing` . Sounds funny, but what will happen when a Hannibal Lecter will be the next host inviting guests to stay for Dinner or even worse. Welcome to airbnb

Banned for life

My boyfriend and I were both banned by Airbnb. I’ve been a traveler with them years and have many positive reviews. I tried listing my guest house and they asked me to scan my drivers license. They used a consumer reporting agency and found an arrest from 7 years ago when I was a teenager, it was not even a conviction. I was found not guilty and charges were dropped. But because of this they denied me from using their website anymore, and when my boyfriend (clean record) tried to list our space they deleted it and banned him and said they did not have to disclose why they banned him. We already had 3 paid reservations that they canceled days before the first guest was to arrive. They wouldn’t return our emails, and who ever answered the phone was just trying to get me off the phone “I don’t handle these issues, they’ll email you”. This whole experience was just ridiculous and embarrassing. I’ve never been treated so horribly by a company.

Airbnb SCAM!

I’ve hosted several dozen guests via Airbnb without a single complaint or bad review… until I got hit by some total scam artists and airbnb didn’t do a thing about it!

This past month I had a seemingly nice couple staying with me in my condo… I saw the couple almost every day, talked with them, even drove them to the grocery store a few times! They NEVER had even the tiniest complaint about anything having to do with me or my condo. Well guess what, the day after they moved out I got a notice from Airbnb stating that the couple claimed they saw a MOUSE in the condo and that that Airbnb policy was to give them 50% of their money back FOR THE ENTIRE 4 WEEK STAY!!! Apparently the couple sent airbnb a picture of a mouse… which I actually FOUND using a reverse search and google! I sent airbnb customer service numerous messages explaining that the incident was a huge lie and I even showed them the picture of the dead mouse the couple “saw” on another site that was posted over a year earlier! Airbnb took over a week to reply with a standard form email that simply said there policy was to supply a 50% refund. HOLY CRAP was a retarded service! See if I EVER host another airbnb guest in any of my properties as long as I live!!!

Tropical cozy villa was a tropical cozy dump

The only good thing about this villa is its location (provided you like noise and feeling unsafe given it’s located down a dark alley with no security).
I booked Villa Rumah Damai for the month of July, having had a number of emails back and forth with the owner’s wife on the Airbnb website. After the owner assured me that it was an ‘amazing’ villa to take my toddler and confirming that aside from a staircase and stairs to the pool that it was ‘family friendly’, the beautiful photos of the villa had me sold so I stupidly paid the owners directly – as per their suggestion – therefore losing any (non-existent) rights I would’ve had on Airbnb(no doubt a ploy used by the owners to ensure they can keep your money no matter what).
Upon moving into the villa after the villa manager was an hour late collecting us (leaving us waiting in the humidity with no contact or explanation) it was evident just how old the villa was. I was shown around and everything in the website photos that appears ‘white’ – linen, mosquito nets, day bed etc – is actually a dull, dusty grey. The photos are incredibly deceptive, so don’t be fooled! It soon became VERY clear that the owners keep this villa in a state so it’s barely rentable and that’s it. The kitchen tap wasn’t just dripping, it was streaming water. A number of light bulbs were blown. The fridge freezer was frozen over. The lock on the upstairs bedroom broken (and I specifically asked about lockable bedrooms PRIOR to booking the villa of which I was assured that “all bedrooms have lockable doors”). There was no advertised wifi (told by the villa manager to ‘use next door’s’ which involved standing in a corner, holding phones up to the ceiling). The toaster was DOA and the kettle looked circa 1974 given the build up of calcium inside and the foul, floaty white particles in the consequent boiled water. The real kicker occurred after a night of rain when the pool flooded and filled with dirt. This wouldn’t have been a problem if the pool filter was working, but of course, it too was broken. The pool was unusable for 6 days with maintenance people appearing in the backyard at all hours (they had been given a key without my knowledge and appeared one morning, banging around at 07:30!) coming to ‘look’ at the pool. And more often than not, that’s exactly what they did. They would ‘look’ at the pool and then leave. Honestly, this villa was a disaster. I sent ‘nice’ text messages to the villa manager outlining what needed to be fixed (after 4 days of darkness in the upstairs bathroom due to no lightbulbs, I went out and bought lightbulbs myself) then escalated it to emails to the owner’s wife who was – conveniently – traveling. I booked the villa for 28 nights, but after just 12 nights of disruption (maintenance people coming and going, villa manager coming and going, us being asked to be there to let the internet people in, the villa being a filthy, dysfunctional dump etc) disappointment and despair overtook the situation (not to mention having a pool we could not use and no internet) I simply had to move out. Oops, I neglected to mention the giant knife left outside my bedroom door where I was sleeping alone with my 18-month old toddler – of course I freaked out when I found it the next morning given it wasn’t there the night before, but the useless nanny confessed that she left the knife there for the gardener!!! Seriously, what kind of nanny leaves a giant knife where a toddler can get it? Then we discovered the final insult. $320 had been stolen out from under our noses. I personally had IDR 2,200,000 stolen from the safe in the downstairs bedroom and my friend another US$100 from her bag in the upstairs bedroom. Both thefts occurred when we were in the villa and it was being cleaned. We – I had a friend over from Australia visiting us – waited until bank statements and money exchange receipts had been checked before we made such serious accusations, and when we were absolutely sure we’d been robbed, we informed the owner via email. In the email I stated that given the top bedroom had a broken lock, the owners were liable for the theft, to which I received the reply: “I’m afraid the lost [sic] of your money caused by broken lock isn’t relevant either. You mentioned yourself that it happened when the cleaning is being done — meaning the room has to be unlocked, correct? So I don’t see the correlation between two” . This pretty much sums up the attitude of the owners. Out to make a quick buck. I also went to the Balinese police to lodge a report, however, in true Bali style, when everything was said and done, the police were asking more in bribes that we’d actually had stolen!
I had noticed when providing the nanny/cook with money for groceries (she was thrown into the rental deal for free, not that we ever wanted her), that small amounts – $5 here, $2 there – would be unaccounted for in receipts, and I paid the villa manager IDR 60,000 to purchase an Indonesian SIM card for me. When I didn’t return the SIM card with the phone handset she’d lent me – after all, I’d purchased the SIM so it was mine – she slipped up and asked for the SIM, telling me that it was a SIM she’d had for years and lends to all her guests. All these little amounts of money added up and no matter If it’s one dollar or the three-hundred and twenty dollars, it’s NOT their money to take. I have the right to give MY money to whom I choose.
I informed the owner’s wife that I would be leaving the villa 16 nights early based on all the reasons above – stressing the point that the ‘broken’ pool was completely unacceptable given that every time it rained, it became unusable plus reiterating all the other faults and flaws with the dump-of-a-villa – and requested a refund for the nights we did not stay there. The owner’s wife then proceeded to direct me to the cancellation policy of the Airbnb website that I DID NOT book through! So, they kept my money for the nights we did not stay and sent ridiculous emails with ridiculous explanations as to why it was so poorly maintained, going as far as to tell me that my expectations were too high and that I should be grateful for the great monthly rate they gave me ($4,000, originally advertised as $2,500 but they conveniently did a ‘bait-and-switch’ scam on me) So, I ended up having to rent another villa as I had more friends flying out from Australia and this meant I was paying double rent for 16 nights. Not. Happy. About. That.
When I left Indonesia, I sent a pleasant email to Airbnb telling them all that had happened. I admitted that I had been foolish to pay the owners directly, I said that I understood and accept that all my rights in regard to payment/refund were null and void given I had paid the owners directly, I clearly stated that I was not ‘after them’ for a refund, but that I simply wanted them to consider the facts:
– that the villa is an old dump and nothing like the photos they use to advertise it (deception on the host’s part)
– that they are using the Airbnb website to attract business but then taking transactions off of the site (highlighting the fact that Airbnb lose their 18% commission on bookings)
– that they ‘bait-and switch’ by luring renters in with a cheaper rental rate than they actually charge
And all the twit ‘Helen’ on the Airbnb team could focus on was the fact that I (stupidly) took the payment transaction off the Airbnb site:
“Unfortunately the reservation was taken off-site. This is not allowed per our Terms of Service. We can not do anything about payments not made through our secured payment system”
I kept replying and reiterating that I knew they couldn’t do anything about the lost payment and that they should remove the listing given it’s nothing like what is promised on the listing, they (Airbnb) are losing money in commissions/fees via these hosts as they make people pay offline and the hosts are ‘baiting-and-switching’ rental prices. No response from these Airbnb idiots. Oh, but they managed to send through a questionnaire on their ‘service. Ha. What a joke. Just like Airbnb is a joke. Honestly people, DO NOT USE Airbnb. Pay the extra to a property management company/agent who actually has to work for their commission/fees.

 

-Editor’s Note: The story above was written about this airbnb listing www.airbnb.com/rooms/1025330.  Thank you for sharing your experience!