Worst Experience with Airbnb in Arlington

We booked an Airbnb to share with friends in Arlington, VA. It looked great and the host was responsive when we asked questions before booking. When we arrived at the complex and called the host, his number was disconnected. He did not respond on the Airbnb App and no one at the complex knew anything about an Airbnb listing. In fact, the management told me that owners were not allowed to list on Airbnb.

I called Airbnb (thank you Airbnbhell for the number) and got someone. He tried to contact the host with no luck either. After an hour of this, he said he would refund my money and help me find a place for us to stay. It took nearly three hours to find a place and I had to pay an additional $995 on top of what we had budget to get this place. When I pushed Airbnb to pay the extra they said all they could do was give me 10% of my original payment of $104.50. This was a terrible experience for me and my guests.

Confirmed Airbnb Reservations Mean Nothing

My wife and I had a reservation for Cologne, Germany from August 31st to September 3rd. We booked an Airbnb three months before. The apartment was confirmed and we send an email to the host. When we arrived in Cologne we reached the host at 6:00 PM. She said that she wasn’t in Cologne, and that she was in Berlin. She said she was going to contact the host, because, according to her, there had been a mistake and it was Airbnb’s fault.

After two hours she called us and said there was no apartment. That it was a mistake from Airbnb and that we should contact them. We did so and contacted Airbnb Germany. Airbnb said that the host was a mess and they proceeded to cancel the reservation. I asked them what to do, because we were alone at a city we didn’t know. We asked for Airbnb to find us a place, because it was not possible to leave us just like that in a foreign city. They said they were going to do so and they were going to contact us.

They never got back to us and we had to stay at a hotel. We asked Airbnb to help us pay the hotel. They said they could pay 50% of what we were supposed to pay on our reservation. That was 30 Euro. The hotel was 189 Euro. That was the cheapest hotel we could find that night, because there was a world event at the city. Airbnb said that was all they could do.

They never took responsibility for never contacting us and not helping us find a place to stay that night. Airbnb said they are only brokers, so they can’t do anything if a situation like this happens, because they are not liable for bad hosts. So if you don’t get a confirmed reservations you won’t be able to do anything.

The Airbnb Amityville Horror in Holbrook

The place was in a reasonably quiet neighborhood in Holbrook, NY (Long Island). The price seemed reasonable (before I found out why it was so low). After instant booking, the host sent a novel’s worth of questions that were already answered in my booking. I reiterated all the answers verbatim from my booking. I got the sense that either the host gets a lot of people who jerk him around, and/or he doesn’t understand how to use Airbnb to set the expectations for a clear-cut host/guest stay.

In any event, I ended up requesting the day of my check-in to show up earlier than the agreed upon check-in time as per Airbnb. I received no response, so I slowly headed over, given I was provided full check-in instructions.

I got to the residence, and entered the room easily. However, I noticed the room had a strong, overwhelming smell of vinegar (either the paint, cleaner, or both). Also, the air conditioner unit in the wall was caked with dirt inside it.

I was exhausted from walking across town from the prior Airbnb (it was a really nice day and I needed the exercise), so I decided to take a shower. I walked in the bathroom, and the first thing I noticed was the bathroom window was the size of a person, both horizontally and vertically, with no curtain, blinds, or other visual blockage.

The neighbors, and folks from the street can literally see you naked and watch you do your business in the restroom. I was provided a humongous, bathrobe sized towel as a part of the guest amenities, so I used this as a curtain, and left it hung up until I could discuss it with the host.

I then proceeded to take a shower. While the host did provide soap via a public restroom style soap dispenser (most normal hosts just put a bottle of nicely scented body wash in the shower instead of trying to treat guests like YMCA members), no matter how hard you pushed the soap dispenser, very little to nothing came out. It appeared to be either empty, broken, or both. Thankfully I came prepared for unprepared hosts (you need to with Airbnb), so I simply used my own soap.

I finished up and got to my door, but promptly forgot the correct four digit key code. I had been diagnosed with heat exhaustion by a doctor earlier in the day, with suggestion I had a minor heat stroke (too much fun in the sun). So, my short term memory took a hit. I also had not brought my cell phone, so I was really up ‘S’ creek without a paddle. I walked outside, to a side door of the host quarters. I knocked but nobody responded. I figured the host would mosey around eventually, so I posted up on the stoop and waited.

After about ten minutes or so, a guy who looked nothing like the host’s picture showed up. I introduced myself and shook his hand, asking him if he was the host. He said yes. Not to be mean spirited, but the guy in front of me either smoked meth, drank way too hard, or has a condition, as he looked nothing like the guy in the picture. The guy in the picture had black hair. The guy in front of me had white scraggly hair, was missing teeth, had glasses, and looked wild eyed.

Regardless, I proceed to explain verbatim how I had heat exhaustion, apologized for bothering him, and just needed to get back in my room. He walked upstairs and punched in the key code. I then thanked him for his help. As I was doing so, he rudely interrupted me, and abruptly shouted at me that I could not leave my towel on the metal banister.

I immediately thought, “Is this guy for real? I just explained in very clear terms how I accidentally locked myself out given my heat exhaustion, and he is acting like I just committed murder on his property.”

He then immediately proceeded to chastise me about his bathroom carpet being wet, and how I need to replace it. Again, I looked at this guy and thought, “How many shots of vodka did you down, and/or bong hits did you rip before you came up with that one?”

I just shook my head in disgust, walked into my room, and closed the door. I got the immediate sense that this guy either has an undiagnosed (or diagnosed) mental illness, he has a learning disability, or cut to the meth/alcohol suspicion above. Regardless, I knew this guy was going to be trouble if I didn’t settle it immediately.

I called Airbnb and advised if the host doesn’t change his tune pronto, along with deal with all the outstanding problems, I’m leaving tonight, with the expectation of a full refund. Airbnb said that his son is actually the one who runs the thing, not the host. I called the son, who seemed reasonable, noted his father has a ‘strange’ way about him (no ‘S’ Sherlock) and explained all of the above to him.

The son said he would talk with his father to set him straight, and all the issues will be addressed exactly as I advised: the temporary curtain will remain until a permanent one is installed; the host is going to ‘back off’, never enter my room for any reason, and not communicate directly with me going forward; the soap situation will be straightened out; towels will be placed in the common area, replaced daily at the guest’s discretion; the host will stop conscripting guests into ‘free help’ (ordering guests to replace bath mats, tie up trash bags and throw it out daily regardless of if trash is actually put in them, etc.).

Given how sincere the son seemed, and how he was profusely apologetic of his father’s behavior, I figured he would set the matter straight, and I agreed to stay on these conditions. I then started to take a nap, and not a few minutes into it, the host loudly stomped up the stairs, waking me up in the process, and dropped a giant plastic bin from waist high onto the floor, making a loud crashing sound.

I opened the door, and saw that the temporary curtain had been removed. I immediately called Airbnb, advised how the son said one thing, and the host is doing exactly the opposite of what was discussed. Given how Airbnb has no immediate influence or control over the host (and obviously neither does the son), I advised Airbnb I was leaving immediately to book a hotel outside of Airbnb (I tried booking an Airbnb but everything was either booked, or not ‘Instant Book’ so had to move on). I also advise the host of the same via the Airbnb platform and text message as I was leaving the premises.

Once settled in at the hotel, I attempted to request a refund from the host directly. Here are the points made to the host verbatim, and the host’s one-star, reality-denying, insult-the-guest’s-intelligence responses:

Me: No concerns were addressed with my discussion with the son in any way.

Host: This is not accurate. My son spoke to you for 10-15 minutes and all concerns were addressed.

Me: I walked in and the room smelled like vinegar.

Host: We use all natural cleaning products, that may be what you smelled.

Me: The air conditioner was filthy and caked with dirt.

Host: You did not discuss this at any time during your reservation, nor did you mention this on the call with my son. I would have been happy to come take a look. Please send photo documentation of this so I can see where the problem lies as I’ve cleaned that before.

Me: The shower had no soap.

Host: The shower soap is clear, so it makes the dispenser look empty. I did take a [SIC].

Me: The host is overbearing, maniac, and doesn’t understand basic human interaction.

Host: We’ve had a lot of great reviews and guest stays. We’re just trying to be good hosts here. After speaking to my son and him having thought all of your issues were resolved, you left without a word.

Me: The temporary window curtain I placed was removed by the host so neighbors could see guests naked (ridiculous).

Host: Again, we’ve had a lot of guests, none of whom before you have complained about the window. Besides the fact that I’m sure the neighbors have no interest in seeing you naked, I’ve already ordered some window fogger to make future guests more comfortable.

Me: The host refused to put towels in the common area.

Host: In our house rules we ask that guests do not leave belongings in the common area. It is a hazard and can cause an accident. You were asked to leave your towel in your room.

Me: I left shortly after my arrival due to the above.

Host: You did not leave shortly after your arrival. You were here until late evening, and even showered/bathed in the house. For a one-night reservation you did check-in, use the bed, use the room, etc.

The bottom line is the host treats people how a librarian on a power trip would treat guests: rudely, with contempt, heavy handed, and ‘doubling down on wrong’ at every turn. Airbnb gave me a full refund, and I would never do business with, let alone with Airbnb, with this guy, or his son. If you enjoy being mistreated as a guest, then please by all means, book away. Good luck to you. You will need it.

Left Homeless in Philadelphia after no Contact

My credit card was charged for a five-day rental in Philadelphia. The host emailed me through Airbnb that the entry code to the property would be sent to me 24 hours before I arrived. I was sent a file through Airbnb’s system, since all communication must go through the service. The file was sent, but couldn’t be opened. The host couldn’t be contacted by Airbnb’s case manager. I was told to go get coffee while Airbnb tried to contact the host. No contact was made. I was homeless, 3000 miles from where I live. Airbnb admitted to the error, but merely wiped the charges from my credit card; there was no effort to compensate me for a very expensive last-minute hotel. They referred me to their legal team, and all communication stopped.

Home Trashed by Airbnb Guest and no Customer Support

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An Airbnb guest trashed my home and Airbnb has been of no help whatsoever. A guest and his friends smoked in my home after specifically being asked not to. They emptied my locked storage areas and left indoor furniture and electrical items outside in the garden. They left cigarette butts all over the house and used the kitchenware as ashtrays. They ruined my coffee table and brand new kitchen worktops. My extendable dining table no longer closes fully or properly.

All this damage along with photographic evidence was provided by myself to Airbnb on the same day they checked out. I requested from the guest a sum of money to cover the damage but had no response. Airbnb did not intervene even though they supposedly do this after the 72 hours. They did not respond to my emails with any relevant information.

I was redirected to another member from the customer support team twice and on both occasions just told that they were sorry and will be in touch soon. I have been chasing Airbnb all week for updates or at least a timeline of procedure and what to expect. I have had no information or help at all.

Finally I called Airbnb to speak to a person who “couldn’t help” because it was not his department. I asked him to transfer me but he couldn’t do this either. When I asked him to give me the number of the department I was told that he couldn’t help with this either.

It has been a full week and I have had my home trashed and my own holiday ruined and Airbnb have done absolutely nothing to provide peace of mind or any help during the week. Their website suggests that these issues are dealt with swiftly and within a week. I find this very difficult to believe. I am stunned that such a well-established business like Airbnb can tolerate such incompetence within their customer support team.

Horrible Airbnb Hostel, Horrible Service

I suffer from middle ear issues which causes imbalance/vertigo, especially after long flights. I contacted a host prior to booking and asked if I could check-in early so I could lie down. She said that was fine. I booked at her place, but on arrival, she told me that someone was in my room and I couldn’t check-in. She wouldn’t even let me lie down in her house. Link to her room.

I was so dizzy I could barely walk. I had to leave my suitcase at her place and walk down and lie in an oval for six hours. While there, I had no water, food, and I was nearly mugged (I had my laptop out and a guy on a bicycle kept circling; I had to finally lie in the full sun because it was near a couple of other guys; I ended up sunburnt).

Airbnb contacted me and promised they would help me find other accommodation. I needed somewhere close by because I would be catching up with friends in that area in a couple of days. I couldn’t find any nice cheap accommodation in that area, so I sent a link for something just a little more expensive (not much considering what I’d gone through).

Airbnb stopped getting back to me and wouldn’t confirm if I could book. My phone was nearly flat and I didn’t know what to do, so I found another, cheaper, place in London and quickly booked (I didn’t have time to Google the address because I had 2% battery).

When I went back to get my suitcase, the host had locked me out of her house (I had a key, but she’d locked both locks). I then had to sit on her doorstep for long time. When she arrived she laughed in my face and said, “Because you asked me to cancel the booking, you can’t write a bad review.”

I began to cry. It got worse.

My phone went flat and then I had to walk my suitcase up a steep road to a cafe, charge it, and then call a taxi from there. It was then that I found out that my new accommodation was three hours on public transport from where my friends live (also a one-hour taxi ride which cost me 100 AUD; I sent Airbnb the receipt asking for refund and they have manually removed the receipt from the conversation).

I rang Airbnb and they told me that they would help. The gentleman said he would personally fix this terrible thing that happened to me and move me closer to my friends. He promised me that Airbnb would make up any financial losses. He promised me he would take on my case personally until it was resolved. Then I received a message through Airbnb, where he stated that he wouldn’t take on my case, and that it was being passed back to the person who didn’t fix things last time and who left me stranded in an oval, spinning like a top.

It has been hours and I still haven’t received any contact from Airbnb. Now I’m stuck on the other side of London, three hours on public transport from where my friends are. The first week of my holiday is ruined; and worse still, Airbnb is no longer answering my calls. I just want to cry. I wish I had booked a hotel room.

Never Allow Friends to Set up your Airbnb Account

My friend set up our account with Airbnb. She made herself the host and me a point of contact. All payments were going to my Paypal account. She was supporting me to get my business up and running. She had absolutely never put any money into the business. I was financing it all on my own.

After a year, the business was not doing well and I found myself in a financial down slope. I told her I no longer needed her help and that we should part our separate ways. I asked her to surrender the account to me or delete the account altogether. I solicited help from another company that had experience in business to help me.

In the meantime, she changed the password on me so I couldn’t go into the account and changed the default payment so all payments would be forwarded to her corporate account; I would not be able to get any payments for guests staying in my house.

I called Airbnb multiple times and had my situation forwarded to a “case manager” that in the end just sent me emails saying how sorry they were but couldn’t do anything for me. I got an attorney involved and worked directly with my “friend” after she took my money. I had to gently remove guests from my house and block them from entering after they would arrive.

Finally she said she shut down the account. I had to file a police report on her, contact the Better Business Bureau about Airbnb, and had a restraining order so she can’t come near my home. I had each incoming guest call Airbnb so they would get a refund but what an inconvenience for everyone.