Shabby Airbnb in Beverly Hills with Ants

Last week we completed a nearly two-week Airbnb stay in Los Angeles. It was not good. There were ants in the bedroom and bathroom which were discovered in the first hour of arrival. Our host helpfully offered the upstairs accommodation instead (normally more expensive, but it was offered at the same price). We were grateful even as we noted that it had the same bug problem on a smaller scale.

The host responded the next day with ant bait traps and spray. We put the ant traps in the affected bathroom and bedroom and this confined the problem to those areas. Our group of five adjusted and moved into two bedrooms instead of the three and used one bathroom since the other had the bug problem, All was manageable and though it was disappointing, they were just ants. One can live with inconvenience.

However, on the last couple of days the ants moved into our beds. At 7:30 PM of the last night of our stay we texted the host that we had to camp in the living room since there were ants in our bed. Incredibly enough, there was no response.

A few hours later after 10:00 PM, I texted the host again. No response. Nor has there been any response, gesture, refund or apology since then.

I contacted Airbnb. I provided photos of the ants and a screenshot of my messages with host about the ants. The process with Airbnb had an investigative tone (somewhat tolerable and understandable) until the representative said that in order to really move the needle I needed to have taken photos the very first moment I communicated with the host on hour one of day one.

This seemed an excessive of burden of proof to require when nothing adversarial had even taken place. He also seemed to convey from the host that we attracted the ants in the first place or later. This felt punitive and demoralizing. It felt like a lot was required to back up a reasonable claim: refund the money for the last night because we had to leave the bedroom and maybe a small gesture in addition. We would have been okay with that.

Instead, what we got was a torturous, rigid and righteous reading of the rules as though it were the Magna Carta or the constitution of Airbnb. The offer of $126 (half of one night’s stay) was completely lacking in imagination and compassionate identification with the renter. It were as though I had to prove (even after photos were produced and messages sent) that we hadn’t fabricated a claim. To get what? One full night credit?

The prospect of writing a review is not only unappealing but unfair to the host and disconnected from reality. The host has medium sized business staging properties and manages them for Airbnb renters in southern California. What good is a single review against a conglomerate of Airbnb and its multi-property host?

I feel like David against Goliath. I simply want the respect entitled to someone who came to Airbnb in good faith with the presumption of a lodging where every night of your stay you can sleep in your bed.

Vacation Rental in Charleston Goes Wrong

We had a poor experience with an Airbnb in Charleston. In the midst of COVID-19 and the challenges of traveling at this time, we were disappointed that neither the host nor Airbnb would refund (nor give us a credit for) our $670 deposit.

My friend and I booked our trip to Savannah/Charleston back in October 2019. Our original dates of travel were for March and April 2020. With the onset of the pandemic and our optimistic belief that we would be able to travel again, in early March, we contacted our Airbnb hosts and changed our reservations to September. They both agreed and extended the reservations until September.

In June, we cancelled our Airbnb reservation for both Savannah and Charleston. We did this for several reasons: instances of COVID-19 and resulting deaths increasing in our country; restrictions put on place by our governor for travel to New York from South Carolina; nothing in the data indicating that the pandemic would be over (or a vaccine/cure would be ready) by September; and my personal health issues of diabetes and hypertension.

Advice from the CDC and my own physician indicated that individuals with these conditions are more vulnerable for serious health implications from COVID and should not travel. In good faith, we wanted to give our hosts plenty of notice and the opportunity to rebook if possible. Our Savannah host did refund our money except for $81.45 in fees which we appreciated. However, our host in Charleston refused to refund us our $670.

When we reached out to the Airbnb Resolution Department, the representative was not able to resolve this issue for us. He was professional and kind but simply quoted standard cancellation policy. At his request, we provided him my personal health information and a letter from my doctor. Bottom line, no refund.

We have written to Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky as well and are awaiting a reply (so far two certified letters have gotten lost). We find this unacceptable and unethical. Our Charleston host has $670 of our money for services we are not receiving due to the pandemic. Airbnb’s own extenuating circumstances policy was recently extended to the end of September.

In good faith, we gave plenty of notice of cancellation. We feel strongly that an exception should be allowed for this pandemic. Airbnb has stepped up to provide assistance to their hosts in this financially difficult time. We are shocked that they are not supporting their customers in the same fashion. Be aware if you are booking through Airbnb.

Airbnb Rip Off in Austin Forces Guests Out

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I’m a PM for a Internet technology company and I’m responsible for choosing Airbnb rentals for staff, usually 2-4 staff members. In September, I chose a host in Austin for one month. The rental had good reviews and looked good in the photos, so our admin assistant booked the unit for one month, starting the second week in September to the second week in October.

The staff arrived in the afternoon on a Saturday and were immediately underwhelmed, The cleanliness of the location was poor; there was debris in the front entry, dirty and dusty tile floors from the gap under the door allowing debris to blow in, sticky counter tops, a refrigerator with plenty of odds and ends from previous tenants with sticky unknown substance in nooks and cracks, and pubic hair in the toilet rim. In addition, the light bulbs and face plates in the house were not maintained and looked like the owner did not care to present a home they cared about, just a take or leave it house. However, they took 100% of our payment, $3,369.

Since our staff had to go through me and the company admin, the issue could not be addressed until Monday morning. Well, the host had an excuse for every issue, refused to let us out of our term, but was willing to send cleaners back over. After two days in the unit (not a home), our staff said “no way” to staying in this unit and we care and trust our staff. The host only offered a $220 refund and Airbnb is completely complicit in this behavior (they bear no responsibility or customer support for such situations). Since July my firm has spent approx. $41,000 with Airbnb. I will be recommending Extended Stay hotels to my executives for future projects.

Host Refuses to Communicate About Cancellation

We had plans to travel to the U.S. in October that were cancelled due to COVID. Alternative bookings were made for a property in Australia from Oct. 3-10 (we had stayed in this property 12 months ago with a great review from the host).

The cancellation policy on the listing at the time of booking was a 50% refund up until Sept. 25. We raised the question of flexibility to change dates if restrictions applied at the time of booking. The host responded “let’s talk about this in September.”

Flights cancelled by the airline, borders closed by our state governments and penalties (both financial and potential jail sentences) for breaching COVID quarantine restrictions forced our decision to request a change of dates to April 2021 to give us time for recovery post COVID. There was no response from the host.

We reached out to the Airbnb Support team who promised to look into the matter. We reached out to the host in September who advised that this property would no longer be available after February 2021. We were unable to take leave before February so pushed the “cancel” button and requested a refund. The host’s response was a “$0.00 refund.”

We reached out again to Airbnb Support who asked for evidence to be uploaded. They advised they were in contact with host. We were frustrated at how long it took to respond to a message. It would be great to actually speak to someone about this. I have been a very frequent user, supporter and promoter of Airbnb but the lack of real time support has left a very disappointing mark.

No Refund for $2600 Due to COVID Circumstances

We cancelled our rental on March 21 for our stay in Austin scheduled for October 22-27 through Airbnb with a deposit $2,581.62 due to COVID-related complications. We booked in January. Neither the host nor Airbnb will refund our money due to their strict policy of “no cancellations” unless there are extenuating circumstances. COVID falls under that clause.

We have been fighting with them since March to get a refund. Our business was shut down due to COVID on March 13. We are now hiring an attorney to recoup our money. Do not use Airbnb. They have no compassion for the current climate or what people are having to endure. These are huge businesses which are not interested in the welfare of the clients. Losing $2,600 is a big deal to us, especially now.

Charged for Two Airbnb Stays in One Night

The Airbnb unit we were staying in developed a water leak from the upstairs apartment. We called the host and tried to get in touch with Airbnb, but could reach neither. It was getting late and so we panicked and booked something else nearby.

We drove over to the new booking and it was just a rundown residential suite. It didn’t even have an outside window — not what we wanted for our vacation in the mountains. I promptly cancelled but the host would not return my money. He had done nothing at all and lost nothing in the brief interim between my booking and cancellation.

We ended up staying at the original place once the leak was repaired, but there were drying mats down and two dehumidifiers for the remainder of our trip. Airbnb never did respond to our initial plea for help and sided with the host of the apartment we panic booked. Surely there must be some negligence on their part for not responding.

Three Weeks: No Advice, No Refund, No Help

To start, I want to say how helpful I found this page to be. After trying to get advice and assistance from Airbnb for three weeks, I got nothing. I found the email address for the head of housekeeping at Airbnb on Airbnb Hell and within four hours had a phone call from an Airbnb representative.

I am a host of a cottage and unfortunately we discovered the boiler had packed it in within two days of my first guest’s arrival — the first since March. I contacted Airbnb to let them know there was a problem and despite offering the guests alternative dates for their holiday, an alternative shower or to just remain while the plumber replaced the boiler, they chose to go home. I offered them a full refund for the inconvenience and I thought that would be that .

Over the course of the next three weeks I phoned Airbnb six times and must’ve written to them about ten times, all to no avail. All during lockdown, all reservations were cancelled and given a full refund by Airbnb but despite my requesting them to refund these guests, they did not. One employee wrote back saying it was my fault the boiler broke down because I hadn’t maintained it well.

30 days after the guests left, I found this site and the email address for someone at the head office, wrote to them, and within four hours had a phone call from Airbnb. The guests have now been reimbursed their service charge from Airbnb, and though I am significantly out of pocket, the end result is good. All in all really frustrating though.

Cancellations During Pandemic Mean No Refund

In January we booked an Airbnb in Bath for two nights. The venue was booked so family and friends could celebrate an uncle’s 70th birthday. We paid £1,960.85 including an exorbitant service fee of £262.85 (for what we have no idea).

Due to circumstances beyond our control, i.e. COVID-19, we had to cancel the booking and did so in May. The guest of honour who lives in Ireland was not able to fly to England for the party due to flight restrictions caused by the virus. Consequently, we cancelled when we did in order not to lose the full amount. Had the coronavirus not happened, our party would have carried on with the booking as planned.

We received a refund of only £849 from Airbnb (50% minus the service charge). Our party of 10 had hoped under these unusual circumstances, the host would have given us a full refund. The owners did say that if their Airbnb was rented during the weekend we booked, then a refund would be issued. No surprise that this did not happen so we didn’t receive the other 50%.

Losing this amount of money through no fault of our own was devastating for our financial situation which, because of the lockdown, is precarious at best. We appealed twice to the owner’s sense of fairness and compassion by asking them to send the other 50% refund (£849) realising that the hefty service charge Airbnb charges is likely beyond their control. This did not happen nor did we ever hear from them. Consequently, they have £849 of our money for doing absolutely nothing at a time they couldn’t have rented their place anyway.

We also appealed to Airbnb but they were useless in resolving this issue. This Airbnb in Bath did not act in good faith and if you are looking to book this venue in the future, buyer beware — the owners have no scruples and will take your money and run if given the opportunity. Our advice is not to book this place now or ever.

Promised a Full Refund, Only Received Half

Anticipating the craziness of a parents’ weekend lodging nightmare, I made a reservation right away on September 19 after we got home while my hubby was still dragging bags from the van. The reservation was for October 1-4. At matriculation day on August 15, I received an email from my son’s school that the weekend was cancelled due to COVID-19.

I went online on the 16th to cancel my reservation. The instructions stated I should call my host to ask for a full refund. If she agrees, I would get my full refund. She did. I got an email back that I would be refunded the full amount of $200.98 but in reality, I only got half: $100.74.

I called the host back. She said that she gave me a full refund of $170 and sent me the receipt with a note stating it was a “penalty free” refund. I told her I did not get the $170. Instead I have $100.74 and I do not need the $170, just $100.74. She said that I should take it to Airbnb now since it is between me and Airbnb. Her partner explained to me that when I booked, the money went to Airbnb; they get paid after the guests stay. I compared her refund receipt number and the Airbnb refund receipt number; they were the same.

What happened to the $170? Where is my money? Their cancellation policy on COVID-19 is quite confusing because it states that they will give a full refund if the cancellation is due to COVID-19 and the hosts agree, which I qualify on both. But, it has also a window of dates that they consider “emergency dates” which my reservation and cancellation did not fit since I booked before COVID-19 and cancelled past their end of emergency date. Thus only a 50% refund.

Why would I be penalized for something that is out of my control? I made the reservation in good faith, paid in full for an accommodation I wouldn’t be using until a year later, and I did not cancel for whatever silly reason. I cancelled because due to COVID-19 our son will be “secured” in the barracks until his December holiday pick-up.

I called the number for help but of course there is no option about my situation because they do not entertain refunds (only current reservations). Instead, they encouraged me to read the link they sent me which is more or less the explanation again of their outrageous and unfair cancellation policy.

My son has two years left to complete his degree; I guess we will have to stay at Howard Johnson then. At least it gives me a clear option to book securely for an extra $10 and get a full refund in case of cancellation. I will continue to fight this to the end and will inform my son’s school’s alumni office which helps parents with accommodation information. We certainly do not need this degree of aggravation due to unfair policies. Thank you for providing this space where we can express our angst of injustice.

Is COVID-19 Not an Extenuating Circumstance?

How is anything related to COVID not an extenuating circumstance, after the government put in place a stay at home order after having everything open, preventing anyone from traveling into the island?

Our trip to the USVI got cancelled, per the governor shutting down travel, and in contacting the airline about this (they gave us our full refund without question by the way) the airline told me that if the island was shutting down they would not be flying in — so we could be stuck there.

Now the host had told me that I would need to cancel for reasons including COVID and I should get my full refund because it was out of their hands. Airbnb only refunded us half and it would’ve been less had I not done it sooner. The host said she is unable to do anything about refunding us because she hasn’t been given the money.

Airbnb stole thousands from me. Neither myself nor the host has been able to actually get in touch with anyone at the company, all I get is a phone recording that just hangs up on me. Never again. Do not use this company.