Illegal Airbnb Took Money That I Worked My Whole Life For

My host was illegally listing a property. I moved across the country to take a prestigious research job and to study at a prestigious school, but when the town apartment inspector showed up, she told me it was illegal. Airbnb promised to refund me my hotel room, gas and toll money back to my former community, but did not. I then went into another Airbnb because I was basically without a home, and that guy was a pervert and I had to flee. I got a third of my promised hotel reimbursements, and none of my gas and toll money reimbursed.

I maxed out credit cards to pay for this (some with high APRs) trusting I would get my money back from Airbnb as promised, but no. I was out of work and home for a month, and Airbnb has not done what they have promised. No more prestigious job or school, and I am in debt for $4,000 because of this. I finally found a home, but Airbnb has still not given some of my money back. I cannot afford hangers for my clothes, let alone winter boots or food now. My life is ruined, and both the illegal listing and the pervert are still on the platform.

Anyone Can Walk in, No Soundproofing

blank

I booked an Airbnb for two nights and I should have known I was going to have an issue when the host never responded to my inquiry about early check in. Later I messaged them again and she seemed really confused and didn’t get back to me with any firm information until 12:30 the afternoon of check in, well after I had made alternate plans.

I arrived at the Airbnb and, even though she knew my ETA, I had to figure out which “guest suite” was mine, where to park (I was immediately boxed in by other renters), and how to get in without any instructions. The real issues came when I opened what appeared to be a closet in one of the bedrooms and walked right in to the next unit over. The door between units was not properly secured and, while there was a way for the other unit to lock me out, the people renting next door could easily access my unit/belongings.

I immediately called Airbnb about this issue but received little to no help, unsurprisingly. Also, the door between units was so thin and ill fitting, you could literally hear conversations at normal volumes in the next unit from two rooms away in ours. I left the next morning after sending Airbnb and the host detailed messages as to why the situation was unacceptable. However, the host quickly stopped responding to my messages, refused my later request for a partial refund, and lied to the incompetent Airbnb staff.

Basically, she got away with scamming me and I hope it was worth the scathing review I posted for her property. So, beware of this host and any of her slummy listings. She uses the same profile pic for everything and (ironically) works as a realtor but yet somehow claims to be ignorant of soundproofing and security issues. Avoid this like the plague.

blank

Airbnb Fails to Follow Its Own Guest Refund Policy

blankblankblankblankblankblankblankblankblankblank

I rented an Airbnb for a four-night, five-day stay at a cost of $1906.76. On the host’s Airbnb primary webpage, there was nothing listed about the host having dogs that frequently barked, and one described that ‘may’ bite. Nor was there anything to indicate that the host might not be present at the property during the stay (as we had assumed).

The dog disclosure was only evident when one clicked on ‘show more’ in the ‘Health & Safety’ information, at the bottom of the web page. This is deceptive, as there are four or five health and safety issues listed at the bottom of the first page, but apparently the other more significant issues don’t ‘fit’ on the page, hence the need to ‘show more.’ How creative of Airbnb to do that. At any rate, the hosts are not fully transparent about having pets, as nowhere in the listing’s primary description page does one read anything about pets being present, let alone pets that bark and ‘may bite.’

The evening before the rental was to begin, the host messaged us that they were delayed coming back from Portugal, and that their ‘house sitters’ were leaving the property earlier than scheduled, resulting in them having to place their two dogs in a garage (directly above the area that we would be occupying during the rental), and that we might hear some barking. The host suggested that if we were disturbed by this, to simply turn on a TV, a stereo or a white noise machine (they’ve tested them – indicating this has been a problem for prior guests). It is our opinion now, that the host did this as a CYA [cover your ass] tactic, specifically so she could deny a refund should a request be made due to this issue. And congratulations, it worked.

We messaged the host that this new situation was not okay, that we did not know they had dogs that barked and might bite, and that, given the new information which had the dogs staying in the garage and barking, we did not want to stay at the property. I messaged her that we wanted to cancel and receive a refund. The host ignored this request, and refused a refund. We were scheduled to fly to Colorado Springs very early the next morning, and since it was already 10:00 PM, we made arrangements for another booking with Airbnb.

We had to get up at 5:30 AM to go to the airport the next morning, and did not want to continue a back-and-forth message session with the host, as the host also indicated that they would be flying international back to the USA, and could easily be out of communication with anyone. The host messaged us at 3:00 AM that morning (which we did not see until the next day) indicating that she would be able to get someone else to take care of the dogs. For us, this was too little, too late. This was her problem, but she made it our problem. We value our peace, security and safety, and did not want to risk a stay at a property without the hosts being present and with two dogs that might be kept with no supervision, barking.

We escalated this issue to Airbnb on the evening of the 7th (before the booking was scheduled to start), and spoke with seven representatives by phone and three by Airbnb messages over the course of the rental period. The first Airbnb representatives we spoke with on the phone told us about the dog disclosure under ‘show more.’ He was almost proud that he could do that, as if he had practiced doing it and had done it before. It made his day to be able to prove that we had been advised of the health and safety condition in advance, even though it is not immediately apparent that one has to do this in order to be fully informed.

However, we had also read Airbnb’s policy for hosts who keep ‘potentially dangerous’ animals on a rental property, and found that it stated that a secure enclosure had to be provided for such animals, so that they could not get out and threaten a guest’s safety (i.e. bite them). We shared with the Airbnb representative the host’s own ‘check in’ instructions (now curiously removed from the host’s website, but a screen shot has been added to this review). The photos in the ‘check in’ instructions show the guest being directed right by the area where the dogs are kept outdoors (yellow arrow), and more importantly, show the type of ‘enclosure’ provided by the host.

This ‘enclosure’ is nothing more than a portable ‘puppy’ fence, only two feet high (see attached photos). We did not believe this enclosure to be secure, and did not want to risk having my wife bitten by one of the dogs, who in our opinion, could easily knock down, jump over or escape the flimsy outdoor ‘enclosure’ (see photos). Not to mention we did not want to risk staying there, and having new issues arise with the host not being able to get home from overseas, or not being able to have a third party come to the property to ‘quiet’ down the barking dogs.

One has to wonder about the ‘intelligence’ and ‘foresight’ of any host who would own a dog that has a propensity to bite, place that dog in a non-secure enclosure, and then direct guests to walk immediately by that same enclosure every time they were coming and going from the property. This particular host is asking to be sued by a family with a small child who is bitten, and with the type of arrangements indicated by the host (in writing no less), they would easily lose that lawsuit. It was our opinion that the host lacked good judgment, and we did not want to risk discovering additional areas of poor judgment on the part of this host. This was a safety issue.

All of this was clearly explained to the Airbnb ‘investigative’ representatives and case managers/ambassadors/supervisors assigned to review our case. Screenshots were taken of everything. The host’s check in instructions were shown to an Airbnb representative. We were repeatedly told by Airbnb not to cancel the rental. When we asked one of the representatives if we should check in to the property, given the safety issues we had identified, the response was, “No you need to wait until the rep gets back to you with instructions.”

Their only messages to us were that they were in the process of communicating with the host, and then were escalating the issue (again) to a supervisor. Meanwhile the host had been told to message us ‘check in’ instructions, no doubt so she could claim us as a no show, and claim she had done ‘everything possible’ to accommodate us. The money was more important to her. Remember that about these folks, and wait until you see what she does at the end of this.

The time to check in came and went, and we were already staying at another Airbnb. It was not until the last day of the rental that the Airbnb supervisor indicated that we would not get a refund, and he added insult to injury by stating that we were denied a refund because we had not stayed at the booking.

I actually asked one of the Airbnb representatives this question on the day prior to the rental. Specifically, we asked if we would be considered a ‘no show’ if we did not cancel or check in, and were told, “No please do not worry, we have escalated this to the investigation team. They will contact you and let you know the status of this.” This was deliberately deceptive on the part of Airbnb.

I then requested that the decision be appealed, thinking that it would be viewed by another Airbnb management team member, higher up than the supervisor. No, it was the supervisor reviewing his own decision. And he did what he is good at: he lied to me a second time. I had been requesting all along that I speak via phone, directly with the rep and then the supervisor. Each time I requested this on the phone with Airbnb reps I was told that the rep and then the supervisor would be calling me. Neither of them ever called. We know our phone works, because we have received calls from Airbnb reps before, on the same phone we have in our profile, the same phone that is verified.

The supervisor lied and said that he was going to call but could not, because the phone listed in our account was not verified. The supervisor really should be fired for that. At any rate, the supervisor denied the appeal of his own decision. We hope his supervisor read this review.

We followed the advice of Airbnb customer service, and requested a partial refund from the hosts. They denied the refund. We were amazed that they simply ignored our original request to cancel the booking on Oct. 7. The hosts must be having a hard time paying the rent on their $800,000 home in Colorado Springs, that or their trip to Portugal must have been very expensive. The host was told that, in our opinion, what she did constituted ‘theft,’ specifically as a breach of contract, and a form of ‘unjust enrichment.’ She should have done the right thing and realized that they as hosts:

  • Deliberately do not state anything about the dogs on the first page of the rental. They don’t want you to know about the dogs because that might negatively impact their cash flow. It’s great to have dogs. But you know what, you really need to tell people about them on the first page of your rental description. Why are you hiding that information? Has one of your dog’s already bitten someone? That would be our guess.
  • Deliberately direct guests to walk to and from the entrance to the rental immediately by the non-secure ‘enclosure’ (that she says is a fence) every time a guest walks to and from the required entrance to the rental, subjecting the guests to barking and a potential dog bite each and every time. Why don’t you take some of that rental money you are making a build a proper enclosure? What would happen to one of your dogs if their head got stuck in that puppy gate when you weren’t there? Answer, they would likely strangle themselves or at the very least become injured. Ever hear of animal cruelty?

The final insult came after the host was told that it was our opinion that what she had done (not refunding the money) was wrong (i.e. theft), and that we would be posting a review of the experience online. Airbnb had removed our review of her property because they indicated we had not stayed at her rental. How convenient for the hosts. Remember, it was Airbnb’s own customer service representatives who said we should not cancel and not occupy until the safety issue was resolved and we received a call from the rep.

The host then threatened us in her final message, indicating that we should be careful because, “You don’t know us or who we maybe connected to.” We filed an extortion/threat complaint against her with Airbnb, which was summarily ignored by Airbnb, and the ‘investigation’ (if there ever was one) promptly closed.

We have utilized Airbnb six times in the past eight years. Every rental was a joy and a treasure, and we always had a wonderful experience at every property we stayed at. Every host we stayed at was very complimentary of our behavior as guests at their property. And most of those experiences were us travelling with our own dogs. Keep that in mind. We are excellent guests and excellent dog owners.
Probably why it is so easy for us to spot ‘bad’ dog owners. But this final experience with Airbnb was a true eye-opener for us.

Airbnb management did not have our back on this, and was deceptive and untruthful. We will never use Airbnb again.

blank

Lost $1000 to Avoid Sleeping in Filthy Airbnb

blank

Once you click “book” on Airbnb, your money is gone. Misrepresentation and filth are not enough to get your money back. I booked what was represented as a beautiful waterfront home where I could work for a week. I booked just a couple days in advance.

Upon arrival, it was a rundown cabin, part of a rundown crowded campground. On top of that, the place was filthy with sticky residue on the appliances, light switches and mystery drippings on the walls. The bathroom was disgusting with a moldy shower curtain and orange slick grime that’s hard to see in the pictures. The grounds were a mess with cars, debris and junk.

I texted the owner via the app immediately (because all communications had been through the app). I said the place was not at all what was represented and that I was leaving immediately. She did not respond. I immediately contacted Airbnb via the app as well and they did not respond either.

The next day Airbnb got back to me to say they had to ask the host for the refund. I never heard from the host. Surprise: the host declined. I suggested a 50% refund to settle, which was generous in my opinion. Airbnb said I needed to go back and take pictures (a two-hour drive). I made the trip back to the property and took pictures of a clearly moldy shower curtain, sticky surfaces and junky grounds. The host noticed that I was returning to take pictures, so the property was actually an improvement compared to the views on my original arrival.

Airbnb said the host refused the refund because I didn’t speak to her in person. When did that become a requirement? Then they told me they could not refund the money because I didn’t take the pictures that first day and never explained why they sent me back there. I gave up and posted a negative review on Yelp and cancelled my Airbnb account. I lost over $1,000 to avoid staying in filth. I will never use Airbnb again and frankly think this sort of thing needs to be better regulated.

Months later, a person I suspect to be a friend of the owner tried to comment on my Yelp review but that was rejected. The post was just a bunch of name calling. Now more than nine months later, the owner apparently did some research to find out my profession (attorney) and posted a response to my Yelp review trying to deflect from the photos of the grossness and reality of the junky grounds. I never mentioned my profession.

Another guest recently posted more photos on Yelp of the disgusting level of filth complete with another moldy shower, exploded food left by others in the microwave and more. Airbnb has yet to hold this property owner accountable despite pictures. Even the more positive Yelp reviews from guests expecting a campground experience note the need for better maintenance.

The stalking behavior by the owner in digging around to find out about my profession so many months later is disturbing on a whole different level. And there is yet another Yelp review describing how the host cussed out their group when they complained about the mess.

What does it take for Airbnb to hold a host accountable? I read an article about a Boy Scout troop that booked a place in Florida. When they contacted Airbnb to report that two different listings were using the same information, Airbnb protected the hosts. The Boy Scout troop showed up to literally no place to stay and it made the news. Apparently you need a news story to hold hosts accountable if they are making money for Airbnb.

Don’t trust Airbnb for reviews. When I tried to post my review on Airbnb, it mysteriously went into the cosmos. When the world settles down a little bit, I think we need to look to our legislators and consumer protection laws to make some changes. In the meantime, I suggest using VRBO and VACASA. They cost a little more but they also have higher standards in my experience. Take lots of pictures upon arrival in case you need documentation for any reason and let karma take care of the rest.

blank

Host Robs Customers and is Supported by Airbnb

blankblank

I checked into a condo in downtown Aspen, where you would anticipate a nice stay if you have even half a brain. I checked in to see the condo had a tiny mini fridge and for some reason a giant ice box freezer on the floor. The freezer portion of the fridge was completely frosted over. The fridge continued to freeze all of my groceries so I contacted the host asking for help.

The host dismissed me and told me they’ve had other guests with no complaints. Apparently appliances only break on their perceived timelines. After two days of trying to get help from the host, I reached out to Airbnb. This was too late since I didn’t contact them within 24 hours. They suggested I check out and request a partial refund. I checked out well before check out time so the host could have rebooked if they would have liked. The host assured me they would give me a refund for the nights the condo was booked by new guests (as shown in their message attached).

The host laughed at me, made fun of me, called me names and berated me for days. No refund was issued. Airbnb told me there was nothing they could do even though the host assured I was due a refund. During a conversation with an Airbnb support ambassador, I explained what happened and asked them if they would be okay with paying someone $2,000 when there was no working refrigerator and they checked out only after a couple of days of a weeklong stay. They respond that would absolutely not be okay and my request was reasonable.

Airbnb staff agreed this was unacceptable only to then state that Airbnb would not do anything to help. I’ve never experienced customer service like this and hope people are aware of how Airbnb treats paying customers.

blank

Greedy Host Working for Tourism Company in Area

blankblankblank

After a year of lockdowns in Melbourne our two families decided to book a holiday on the Gold Coast. Due to another outbreak, our lockdown has been extended and I approached the host for a refund or a credit.

The host has replied saying there was no refund or credit but I could reschedule. I communicated that due to the current escalation of the lockdown we don’t have a date available and appealed to his good will. I then tried to reschedule four times for available dates on the Airbnb website, and called Airbnb for assistance. That’s when he turned and started threatening me, abusing me over email and declining all rescheduling attempts while bullying us to cancel.

Only later did I learn that he was trying to get the 50% cancellation fee and enough time to rebook the property. I also learned that he works for Gold Coast Tourism and the properties he works for offer flexible terms for customers. He has no empathy for hard working Australian families. SeaWorld and JetStar were very easy to offer credit for future use.

blank

Host Shows Deceiving Pictures of Airbnb Room

blankblankblankblankblank

This host’s room at a Hollywood, Florida ocean resort was a complete dump. She posted pictures of the room to be nice and clean. When we got there the room smelled of mildew and an old motel room.

The room isn’t updated. It has a worn out kitchen area, and bathroom. There was a stain on the toilet seat so I knew they didn’t clean the bathroom. The bed cover had a stain on it, and there were dirty utensils. I couldn’t deal with it. Even my ten-year-old didn’t even want to sit on the bed. He told me he was gonna lay on the chairs if we had to still sleep there. Even my mother didn’t like the place.

The hallways were dirty and the carpets too. The people staying there looked sketchy. The lobby ceilings had huge water stains and holes. Airbnb wasn’t really a help by taking down my review which I couldn’t believe. I showed them the pictures compared to the ones she posted and they still didn’t budge and only apologized and gave a refund. I had to pay for one night and the cleaning fee which I felt I shouldn’t have had to pay, especially checking out an hour later.

Airbnb stated I should have called them before checking out and would have gotten my full refund. They don’t state that in their policy at all; they just state to contact the host. From here on, I am not booking hosts with few reviews.

Basically, Airbnb Thinks I’m a Liar for my Claims

I reserved an RV that was shown to be self-contained for a two-week stay while I was between homes. When I arrived to check in, I found the following: the couch pictured in the posting had been removed; the bathroom pictured in the posting had no water (no sink or shower), and the toilet contained dry brown material that emitted a foul odor; the kitchen faucet had no running water; the kitchen stove was not supplied with propane and did not function.

The property manager stated she was aware there was no working shower or toilet, and there is no propane connection for the stove. She went to the main house briefly to ask about the water in general, and confirmed there is no running water. The host was not present, but I contacted her immediately to inform her that none of the advertised amenities were working, and I requested a full refund. She responded “the amenities work”, said I would not receive a refund, and “god bless”.

I contacted Airbnb, and spent two weeks back and forth with “ambassadors”, and at the end of it all was told I didn’t request the refund quickly enough, and since I had no video evidence to prove the amenities don’t work, they will not issue a refund. Then said “have a lovely day”. I have repeatedly asked to have my case sent to a supervisor, and they just move it on to the next “ambassador”. I’m out over $400.

blank

Rude Host Refuses to Take Lockdown Under Consideration

blank

When lockdown hit in Bondi Beach and surrounding areas, it was physically impossible for me to travel to and from Bondi. Informing the host of this, she refused a refund, and Airbnb’s extenuating circumstances does not offer refunds for anything COVID related. I never actually ended up staying at this property, but still had to pay 100% of the cost.

I am a part time student and this was a lot of money that I lost. A little empathy in an unforeseen situation that none of us could have helped would have been appreciated and ensured I would have stayed with this host again. However, because of this situation I will never consider it, and I actually won’t consider Airbnb again in the future.

Think to yourself: would you want to lose all your accommodation costs with no chance of a refund if you are forced into another lockdown? Definitely not. Book a hotel. Understanding the importance of reviews and always written with the upmost respect to any business operations especially supporting small business practices but in the instance there is nothing positive to pass on with the experience.

Due to the sudden COVID outbreak in Sydney, I requested a reschedule date. Concerned I may have got stuck with no way of getting home if there were a lockdown to take place, I was well aware of being inside the cancellation timeframe so prepared to forfeit a fee under the cancellation policy in hope to reschedule so I wouldn’t lose the full amount that had already been deducted. However, the host was not accommodating nor was she prepared to compromise in any way other than suggesting to contact Airbnb directly for further information, which I did.

Airbnb said I could still request a refund or a partial refund from the host even if the policy stated otherwise. Desperate, I reached out to her again requesting some kind of resolution explaining so I could come to Sydney to celebrate a close friend’s birthday. Otherwise, I would not have planned to travel during such uncertain times. I was simply hoping to reschedule the trip for one month later aligning for when the birthday celebrations had been rescheduled. Further to this, I was happy to pay a fee for the inconvenience, only to receive a devastating response without even considering my request.

blank

Airbnb Had Bedbugs, Awful Host and Airbnb Wouldn’t Refund Me

blankblankblankblank

I scheduled a stay at Kalkoen Farm in Hahira, Georgia for my sister and I to spend the weekend together and catch up from June 11-13. The first night I went into the bedroom and when I turned the comforter back, I saw a lot of ants on a corner of the comforter. I couldn’t see what was attracting them and it was late so I went into the third bedroom (a bunk bed) deciding I’d deal with it the next day.

The next morning I decided I’d just wash the sheets (not everyone washes comforters so maybe there was something spilled that I couldn’t see). When I pulled off the sheets I saw a small something moving along the mattress pad. I called my sister in.

“Is that what I think it is?”

Yup. A bedbug.

We further investigated and saw a few dead ones. My sister got a zip lock bag and put the live bedbug in it. We then looked at her bed and the bunk bed. Her bed looked ok; the bunk bed had a few dead bugs on the mattress pad but we couldn’t tell if they were bed bugs (very small). My sis pulled a wash rag out from a bin under the sink and there were multiple live bed bugs on the towel.

At that point I booked a hotel and we got the hell out of there. I reached out to the host to tell him we found bed bugs in his place and that I got a hotel. His response was: “do you have photos?” Yes, I did and shared with him. I attempted to work it out with him — I only asked for a refund for the second night that I couldn’t stay in the place. We went back and forth and he said he would refund me. Then I stopped hearing from him.

I reached out to Airbnb’s resolution center, shared photos, and explained what happened. I had to wait for 72 hours for the host to respond. He didn’t. Airbnb reached out to me to tell me that they couldn’t refund me because I didn’t contact them immediately after the incident. They asked the host if he’d be willing to refund me and the host told them no.

At that point I wrote a review saying that the house had bedbugs and the host refused to refund me my second night. Airbnb took down my review. So, I am out the cost of the Airbnb and the hotel. I’ve since canceled my Airbnb account and will never use them again. Kalkoen Farm is still up on Airbnb and who knows who else has been exposed to bedbugs. I guess I should thank the ants because had it not been for them, I would have slept in that bed with bedbugs.