I have yet to read about a case as unique and long as mine. Instead of explaining my story, since it would take me hours, I’ll copy and paste the email I sent to Airbnb about my experience. Long story short: I’m pregnant, homeless, no food, no gas, no shelter. Airbnb evicted me from an illegal sublet due to the host renting out his home illegally. I had to borrow $1200 from my family while I waited for the refund. Ten whole days went by when I was contacted via email saying the money had been put into my account. Not 15 minutes later, Airbnb double charged me and took every penny out of my bank account: $1500, $1100 for rent and $400 for living expenses.
This left me homeless because I couldn’t pay the rent. I’m two months pregnant and living out of my car. No gas. No food. No job since I haven’t had gas to get there. I couldn’t pay my family back from the refund I got that was taken back 15 minutes later. Now let me say what Airbnb has done seven days later: nothing. There has been promise after promise to help and call back. I have two days until my phone bill needs to be paid, which means no more contact with Airbnb unless I find wifi to email them. The only thing I have been asked to do is write an email for the investigation; this is what I wrote seven days ago and there has still been no call back (I call every day for hours just to be told “it’s not my department and I cannot help you but someone will call you”).
To whom this may concern: about eight months ago my fiancé and myself decided we would use Airbnb to save up to buy an apartment. We decided we would use Airbnb for one year to avoid moving costs. We knew this would be a hard year due to the fact we would need to divide our trip up; no host would allow us to stay more than a month or a couple months. Every single Airbnb has been a nightmare. I feel as though I’m getting into the wrong field (psychology) because I thought every host would be different so that it would work out better than the last. Instead, it got worse.
It was my first host who convinced me, brand new to Airbnb, that it was okay to pay cash the day we came to view the home. I now know why. The second day I called Airbnb due to health hazards. He began doing major illegal construction in the home. I called and showed all types of pictures. He did construction on the only shower in the home, knocking walls down while I was doing homework and hammering at 3:00 AM. He had no permits, and got saw dust all over my belongings; by this I mean ruined clothes, shoes, bedding, etc. and that was the day we left.
We took all our belongings and went to another Airbnb. We were promised a parking space and he didn’t even have street parking. We dealt with walking a half mile every day after work. My fiancé is a longshoreman that works 40-hour shifts and gets home all hours of the night. Every day he had to walk that when he parked after work. If you look at my messages with the host they say it all.
Then we stayed at an Airbnb which was absolutely disgusting. It started to get really bad when we went with another host. He began smoking crack cocaine in the house. I called Airbnb and opened another case. He was committing domestic violence. There were roaches, mice, and a lot of screaming between him and his wife. You can look at messages with the host as well; they will say it all and I opened a new case. We were supposed to stay with him for two months but I couldn’t do schoolwork once again due to an Airbnb host.
We left and went to a host who was the worst of them all. I was put in a completely occupied room. I was convinced he got confused and put us in the wrong room because it wasn’t the room in the pictures. We were promised a TV, AC, and fridge and we were put in a tiny 90-degree room with no fan. There were also bedbugs so Airbnb’s emergency department placed me with someone else. The money was transferred from one host to another. I got an email with a receipt stating I paid as well. The host, at the beginning of our month-long stay, said he received a $1200 payout. I sent Airbnb both the receipt stating I paid and messages from the host saying that I paid.
The new host’s house was disgusting too but we said we would stick it out. It was gross but at least the people were nice and had a newborn. I cleaned their home and was a very nice guest. Everything was fine until the host began going into our room when we weren’t home, and he would walk around half naked; he was rude. That’s all in our messages. I didn’t call the host on it since I decided I was going to leave him a review instead – stating the facts – so Airbnb and others could look at his reviews.
Why in the world would the host not reach out to Airbnb about $1200 if he didn’t receive that? That’s crazy. I even have him saying he received the payment. I got an email one day saying there was trouble receiving my payment so I called right away and the Airbnb agent said it took a little while for the money to be transferred and that I should completely ignore the mail. He proceeded to give me $20 for the inconveniences of the emails and I should not worry at all about the money. That phone call was obviously recorded so please listen to the man tell me to ignore the emails, state the host got the money, and offer twenty dollars for the inconveniences from the email scare. We stayed there for a month and it was the worst experience ever.
An hour after we arrived at our next host my fiancé dropped the keys down the elevator shaft so we called the host. He said it was no problem and he would get one from the landlord. Not 15 minutes later, I had his landlord and a police officer telling me I was living in an illegal house, that our host was not allowed to sublet, and we had to leave. Then I got an email from Airbnb saying to leave by 8:00 PM and that Airbnb was evicting me. At that point we took all our belongings and sat in the car for hours talking to Airbnb about a second emergency placement.
After hours and hours and hours on the phone of me saying I don’t trust Airbnb anymore I was convinced by an agent she would find me a “super host” with great reviews. Still sitting in the car with all our belongings, I listened to Airbnb telling me about our next host. She accepted all my money and then said that she couldn’t host us until the next day. I told her we couldn’t sleep in our car and she said it wasn’t her fault, that she doesn’t live there. My fiancé then told me to call Airbnb to get our money. He didn’t have it in him to work 70 hours a week to pay for us to continue to get screwed.
We made the scariest decision of our lives which was to take our money and move into a hotel. Like I said, we were using Airbnb to find an apartment so we decided that we would stay at a hotel for a couple weeks while we looked for an apartment and wait for our money to be put back into our bank account from the last host. Airbnb wouldn’t even pay for two full nights at the hotel for us. They gave us $200 and that was it. We were supposed to wait 7 to 10 days for a refund with literally no money. I had to borrow the money from my best friend to pay for the hotel and promised her Airbnb was going to give me a refund; we just needed a loan.
While living in the hotel I found an apartment for us. We just needed the refund and we could afford it. I waited those days and finally got the refund. I called the landlord and said I would meet him the next day to get the keys and pay. I told him I would meet him at 10:00 AM. Not 15 minutes after the money was put into the account Airbnb took it out and sent me a second receipt for a payment. I felt like I was in a dream; there is no way Airbnb could still be ruining our lives.
I immediately called Airbnb and had an agent tell me immediately that it was a double charge and that this would be fixed. I then called back after no word from getting the double charge back after 13 hours. At this point I had six hours to meet the landlord for the apartment so I called again and had someone tell me to call the landlord. My money would be put into my account.
Needless to say I lost the apartment we were supposed to move into today. Now I’m over a month pregnant and had to give the rest of my bank account to the hotel so we wouldn’t be homeless. We have a few days here then we are officially homeless because of Airbnb. I had three agents promise me the money within 24 hours. I was promised phone calls. I was promised this would all be fixed and nothing has happened. I have received not a dime, not a phone call, not even empathy. At 26 years old, my future, first apartment, and shelter was taken.
I start school on the 6th of September and I’m going to be homeless sleeping in our car most likely. I never thought something like this could even happen. I don’t even feel like I was compensated properly from all my troubles. This is the most stressed out I’ve ever been in my life. We are such hard working good people. Anyways hopefully I gave Airbnb enough evidence to prove my future was just pulled out from underneath me. I’m begging for our money back ASAP. I haven’t slept for two full nights waiting and waiting for our money. Please listen to the agents promising me this money and telling me I was double charged.