Greedy Airbnb Host at Apartment in Hobart, Australia

February was proving to be a tough month in Perth. Effective from 6:00 PM Jan. 31 until 6:00 PM Feb. 5, the Perth metropolitan area, Peel and South West regions entered a lockdown. At the same time, out of control bush fires were raging in the Perth hills and 86 homes were lost.

I had booked a much needed holiday in Hobart for Feb. 4 and was going to catch the bus up to see my dear friend in Burnie, Tasmania, on the 11th. I had to cancel all my reservations for Airbnb accommodations and sightseeing tours, and every vendor returned my money with a full refund.

With only one community transmitted case of COVID initially reported, the lockdown was immediate. We have had an almost honeymoon period, without any community transmitted cases of COVID-19 in Western Australia for ten months due to fast and strict measures by our state government.

As a mental health professional, I had been feeling I was approaching burn out and was finding the large influx of domestic violence cases had recently deeply affected me. I was waiting for a break. It looked like with no new cases had been reported we would be returning to low risk status, or so I thought.

Knowing the importance of self care, I booked five days at an Airbnb in Hobart and was going to travel to see my friend in Burnie after that stay. When I checked the cancellation policy, which was not upfront when I booked, the link took me to a long legal written description of exemptions for COVID-19. As every other vendor had given a full refund I was lulled into a false sense of trust.

I wrote the host when I booked, briefly explaining my situation and saying I wasn’t sure if restrictions would be lifted in time to travel on the 11th. I would never have booked if I knew it was a no refund property. An honest person would have messaged back that this was a no refund property and let me change the booking. I cancelled the booking one day later, after it became clear that Wester Australia’s status as a high-risk state had not changed.

That’s when I found out the host would only return the cleaning fee of $25 and was keeping the $466. I feel so enraged by this, not just the loss of the money but the lack of compassion and greed behind it. How can the host justify keeping my money under these circumstances? What else could it be but greed?

I contacted Airbnb and their representative was very gracious but the decision is the host’s to make and he would not refund my money. I am a kind and compassionate person and enraged that people like the host get away with taking advantage of others. A belief in justice is naïve and I choose to be an open-hearted person. Writing this post was a helpful outlet to let go of feeling like a victim to the host’s greed.

Airbnb Host Will Not Allow Us to Reschedule

My family and I booked a home for five days in Sedona, Arizona through Airbnb. We were so excited to go and learned, after our booking, that our sons, who serve in the United States Army, could not travel due to COVID restrictions. We asked Airbnb to reschedule our date (they were very nice) but the policy, as they explained eventually — six emails and three calls later — states that the host ultimately decides if you can reschedule your trip or not. He would not allow us to reschedule our trip under any circumstances and thus we are out $2,800.

It amazes me that we were not informed of this policy prior to our booking and that we were told, due to COVID, we would be able to reschedule if needed. Ten of us are out of a family vacation, one that we were really looking forward to. Disappointed to say the least.

Airbnb’s Cancellation Policy Leaves Guest Out $1.6K

I am planning on relocating to San Miguel de Allende so I booked a one week stay in a darling casita in January. When I realized the pandemic wouldn’t allow me to travel in January, I changed my reservation for the entire month of April. Now it looks like April is too soon to travel also so I wanted to cancel until we get the all-clear travel advisory.

I was told that I could cancel for a full refund up to 24 hours before my reservation. Now Airbnb is withholding all my money for the first 30 days (my entire reservation) and only refunding me $25 out of almost $1,600. This company sucks and I will never use them again. I will post warnings to others wherever I can. This company needs to be replaced with one that actually has customer service.

Airbnb Guests Might be Waiting a Month on Refunds

During the early days of the pandemic I understood that people were unsure about hosting strangers, especially someone traveling from another country in their house. In March, I had a few hosts either just not respond to my booking or else politely tell me that they’d suddenly had a family member turn up and therefore the room wasn’t available. They cancelled the booking and I got my money back… eventually.

Sometimes it can happen several times in a row and that can hurt you because I’m a world traveller, not a tourist, and I book for a month at a time to save money. Long after the pandemic fear was an issue, I sometimes had lazy hosts who may not have even been renting their house, just failed to respond to a booking. Sometimes it took a ridiculously long time to get my money back.

I arrived in Mexico after one fraudulent booking and I only had enough money left to take a cheap place for a week until I could afford to book again, which of course cost me more. Then I booked a really nice house in the mountains. The guy had only one review and it was terrible but I could also see that the person complaining was being completely unreasonable. I can see through those sort of reviews — some people are just whiny and expect champagne on a beer budget.

One thing that bothered me was that the guy had a long response time listed, so I tried to message him first. I didn’t get a reply for half a day. My current place was about to expire and I didn’t want to book again for a single day at a higher price, so I took a chance. I mean… people can be busy, right? So I booked for a month.

I waited. After 24 hours he hadn’t responded and Airbnb said I would get my money back. Sometimes this takes a few days. Sometimes it takes a week. Airbnb will always say that it’s PayPal’s fault or your bank’s fault, but I have a very efficient bank (Citibank) that accept intra-bank deposits instantly, and updates my account statement instantly. I don’t have that problem. When there are delays, it’s never my bank.

This time… the money just didn’t come back. I had to borrow money in order to make a new booking, which was really awkward. I’m stuck overseas. It’s hard to find work when I slap down a month’s rent and the renter doesn’t even answer. Airbnb has taken my money that really leaves me in a pickle.

I contacted Airbnb and of course it took a day to get some outsourced, incompetent idiot, to whom I complained at length, who ignored what I said, and gave me canned responses. When I complained further they escalated and then still gave me a canned response saying it could take “2-5 days” to get my pending transfer released. I pointed out that at this point it had been two weeks and then they changed their tune and said, “Well, actually it can take up to 30 days depending on your bank.”

I was just like, “No, man. Make up your mind. Is it 2-5 days or is it 30 days? It’s never been that long before.”

I’m currently at three weeks and my bank says the money hasn’t been released. PayPal say it has. Airbnb just says, “It’s not our problem.” But the thing is, I’ve had this crap happen several times this year and Airbnb just doesn’t care. I’ve been outright defrauded by hosts who’ve demanded huge (one month) deposits in cash and Airbnb hasn’t delisted them after complaining.

I’ve tried to book at places whose hosts have immediately cancelled the listing and messaged me saying, “That’s really just an advertisement. We don’t really accept bookings through Airbnb. You have to pay us directly.” Airbnb hasn’t removed those listings either.

Airbnb doesn’t care. They don’t remove fraudsters and they don’t remove people who just don’t bother answering their messages or accept bookings. It doesn’t matter how much you complain. They’d rather have millions of listings than actually weed out the BS ones and make sure that they have some sort of quality control, and their system of taking your money before the host accepts your booking is absolutely unconscionable.

If you’re a young backpacker, or a student, or you’re just living from week to week on a tight budget… if you slap down a month’s rent on a place and then it takes 21 or 30 days to get it back when the host doesn’t even bother accepting your booking, you’re up the creek without a paddle. Regardless of whether it’s your bank or PayPal’s fault, Airbnb should not do things this way. They shouldn’t take your money until the booking is confirmed and it’s absolutely ludicrous that they will take your money for up to a month on a speculative “this booking might be accepted.”

I’m so sick of having my money taken by Airbnb and having to fight with them to get it back, or have them tell me I just have to wait a month. I’m not some rich jetsetter. I’m just a schoolteacher who is trying to make a life moving from country to country. I don’t have the sort of money to have month’s worth of rent tied up in failed bookings. This system clearly has no regard for the customer’s rights and is designed with mistrust as the primary motivation. There is no situation in which it makes sense for anyone to take a customer’s money and hold onto it for a month before a booking is accepted. That’s not protecting anyone.

We’re all verified users with our passports on file. We’re not going to make fraudulent bookings. We can’t. No one’s going to book a place if they don’t have the money. If they did that even once, they could be reprimanded or banned. Instead the attitude is, “We don’t trust you. But we do trust the hosts. So we’re taking your money now just for expressing interest and even if the host completely ignores you… you’re not getting that money back for a long time so I hope you have spare cash to book something else because you might be waiting up to 30 days to get the money back. Sorry not sorry.”

It’s just not good enough. You shouldn’t pay for goods or services before it’s confirmed that they are available.

Dirty Hip-Retro Cabin in Big Bear — Not Airbnb Worthy

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The first weekend in November, my family and I (girls only trip), I stayed at an Airbnb property in Big Bear. The visit to this beautiful city, generally speaking, was nice. We arrived with no snow anywhere and were able to experience a snowstorm and see the landscape change to all white overnight.

Now I don’t know what to do. It is as if I have no voice or that my words do not matter. This is why I have sent this information to Big Bear Lake Mayor, Council and the City Manager. It is as if the host of the property I rented is a powerful man; he is getting undue favorable treatment by Airbnb. He has misrepresented his cabin, which is not in a condition to be Airbnb worthy. This host has supposedly reported me to Airbnb. I just can’t understand why and how this continues.

I originally made my reservation for the “hip-retro cabin” in August for a stay in September. On the day of check-in, we were told to cancel by a San Bernadino Forest representative because the El Dorado Fire was flaring up in the direction of Big Bear in addition to the air quality being dangerous to be outside. We had called because Google Maps advised one of two roads up the mountain was closed. All visitors were advised not to come up the mountain. Residents were okay, but visitors were advised not to come.

I contacted the host to tell him I was not comfortable going against the advice of the Rangers and that I did not want to cancel but would prefer to reschedule. The host asked me to select a date but to please avoid holidays. I chose Nov. 6-8, giving the fire time to be extinguished, avoiding Halloween and Thanksgiving. We both agreed to the new dates.

Two days before we traveled, I reached out to the host asking if it would be possible to extend an extra day because the winter weather was coming and traveling down the mountain on the 8th was not looking safe for us to drive. We are not experienced drivers in snow and certainly not during an active storm. The host was very helpful to extend another night and we paid an extra $357. Our new departure day was Monday, Nov. 9.

We arrived at the cabin around 5:00 PM on the 6th. It was getting dark, cold and windy: 38 degrees, and the storm was close. We were thankful to have arrived and get settled before the road conditions got bad. We had two cars. When we got into the cabin, as we brought all food and kitchen items inside, we noticed the countertops had old food debris and needed to be wiped. We brought Lysol wipes and used the paper towels to complete the job. It was very disgusting how much dirt there was. We decided to sit and eat our lunch that we missed hours ago and determine who would sleep where.

After eating, we put away the food and began to look around. I texted the host at 7:14 PM to ask if they were available for a call. I first had tried to reach them through Airbnb but the app was not easy to navigate. I wanted a live person to speak with and for the number I called I had to select several options. I decided that it would be easier to contact the host. In my conversation I shared that we are uncomfortable with conditions in the cabin and moving to somewhere else would not be easy with my daughter driving while it is snowing (18 years old). I wanted her to stay parked for the weekend.

Here is everything I verbally shared. There were dirty counters and floors, no dish soap, no dishwasher soap, the coffee pot was dirty/moldy with old grounds still in it, all the towels in the cabin are wet (not damp, wet), the heater on the second floor was not efficient, the third floor bathroom sink was stopped up/draining slowly and leaking under the sink, and the first floor bathroom sink had no hot water. The host’s response genuinely seemed concerned and that he wanted to help us. He sent his “house manager” within an hour.

She did not knock — just left bags on the doorstep with towels (which were also damp and smelled like cigarette smoke), dish soap, dishwasher soap, and firewood. He advised he would refund the cleaning fee, $180, and offered a cleaning crew to come the next day. We declined due to COVID-19 parameters; we were not going to allow non-family members in our space, indoors. The cabin should have been cleaned before we arrived. In addition, the storm was in full force we were not going to leave the cabin.

We had decided, as a family, we were going to stay positive and make this all work. But I do feel the $1900 I paid for the three-night stay, minus the offer to refund the $180 cleaning fee, is not what I agreed to. I agreed to pay this amount for an Airbnb Plus property that is clean and in good repair. What I got was a cabin that was decorated as advertised, “70’s hip-retro,” but I did not agree to dirt, grime, thick dust and poor heating (to withstand outside temperatures, as low as 9 degrees).

Here is my text that I sent to the host, at 6:30 PM, the last night of my stay:

We have our last night in Big Bear. My family and I have had the FULL winter experience! Wow- cold, wind, snow. Our lodging has been a little frustrating but we have made the best of it. As an Airbnb Plus property host, residing out of town, I am alerting you that the cute Retro Cabin, through poor upkeep, needs general cleaning-as pics show, in addition to my previously stated communication.

The condition makes me worry there has been no additional sanitizing due to COVID-19? Here is some cabin info: 3rd fl: bath sink plugged and leak under (we couldn’t use); and 2nd fl: heater is caked with dirt(see pic), many dishes in cupboard are dirty, dead bugs in kitchen light casing (which is not completely affixed to the ceiling-see pic), screen slider to the deck was off track/nearly blew away in wind-we had to secure it, snow coming in at slider as well as significant draft; and 1st fl: bath no hot water at sink, heater controls not safely mounted/wouldn’t turn on (didn’t use) 35-40°on 1st fl, mold on blinds. We found a vacuum &ran 15 minutes on main(2nd) floor and nothing was picked up in the bagless canister which is why we couldn’t clean the heater. (The extra towels delivered, *thank you* arrived wet – sprayed w/Febreeze – to cover up cigarette smell (unsuccessfully.)

Asking if you would consider refunding some fees? I am hoping for a fair amount. $180 cleaning fee, $357 extra day fee, Plus any additional you would deem appropriate for the inconvenience and discomfort we experienced. I will not provide a review at this time while we settle the situation, as you have been responsive to me reaching out to you. I saw on numerous reviews that you have communication with many of your guests. I would be glad to speak with you if you would like me to further elaborate on details. Thank you.

Almost immediately, he called me. He tried to tell me that my expectations were too high for a mountain cabin and that I should have stayed in a hotel since I was looking for a luxury experience. He said that he did not agree with me that anything I described was a problem and that he would be glad to reimburse the cleaning fee and, under his breath, he said he could offer me a free night at another time, but I wouldn’t want that, he knew.

He also stated after 30 minutes of trying to shift my attention from the poor lodging conditions to the fun family time and great memories we made from the weekend together. And the fabulous, stunning view this beautiful cabin offered us all weekend. And then finally, he said it. He said he would give you back the additional $357 we paid for the extra night if we gave him “a 4- or 5-star glowing review.”

I was astounded, offended, and disgusted that this man was trying to buy a good review from me to show on Airbnb. This explains all of the numerous reviews that state he’s “a great host, very responsive every time we needed something.” I now know that is an absolute red flag, in hindsight. A host should not be needed so much. Why would a host be needed? If the property is all that is represented, why would a host need to be contacted so often?

As I have taken our time, me typing this message, and you reading, I would like to conclude with a plea. A plea for a review of my entire experience. I really wanted to make things right with this host and help him with his property. I wanted to leave a satisfactory, he-did-the-right-thing kind of review. But not only did he reject my request for reimbursement, on the up and up, he has left lies and inaccurate statements in his response to my review. I was not mean or emotional when writing the review. I gave facts.

I called Airbnb the night we returned home and was able to reach a person. She advised that once she could validate the information I shared that I could be eligible for 50% of each day’s fees refunded to me. Since then, I have had messages back and forth with a case manager and most recently received one this evening from another stating that the decision to decline any additional refunds will be upheld.

What happened? Why did my request get disregarded? Please, can someone please review my file and all of the notes and the pictures I have attached here and even more in the Airbnb app? I would be most grateful for a phone call and an honest review. When will this host be held responsible for his actions, words, and dirty cabin? I have received suggestions and many angry sentiments from friends and colleagues. My hope is that Airbnb will see me as a valued customer, person, and family woman trying to do the right thing and give a proper evaluation of this property and refund what is deemed appropriate.

Strong Arm Robbery, Never Stepped Foot in Airbnb

I made an Airbnb reservation a couple days in advance in Oakland for a work-related stay that the host was aware of. I cancelled within the 48-hour timeframe due to a job termination. The stay was for Sept. 21 to Oct. 19 for $1281.27. I waited the 15-day grace period for my refund and it never arrived.

I wrote to the host inquiring where my refund was and she never responded. I never stepped foot in her home and she pocketed my $1281.27. I am a single mother with four kids that are still dependent on me. The Airbnb help center was of no help — they do not hold their hosts accountable.

I would never recommend Airbnb to friends or family; it’s been a terrible experience. Unfortunately common courtesy and hospitality are not in this host’s nature.

Money Lost After Host Lied and Airbnb Didn’t Care

I booked an apartment and thought the host was flexible… how wrong I was. Now COVID is everywhere and I had a headache, but it was not a good reason enough for a cancellation.

Airbnb let the host keep the money. I tried about everything I could. I tried to change the day of arrival for later but the host lied. He promised I could change the day then disappeared. When the host came back he told me it was not possible to change days. He booked days for new guests and left the calendar open for anyone else. I had good reviews and felt I didn’t deserve that.

The host got paid twice and also got a new payment from other guests. Airbnb let the host keep the money from both. I booked multiple apartments through Airbnb before but they don’t have any kind of service or respect for guests anymore. I used to book multiple apartments with very expensive service fees (compared to one night in a hotel). They didn’t care to help.

I can’t trust booking through the page anymore. Airbnb service centre sent me only some automatic messages about its cancellation policy, rules, etc. Nothing necessary and not helpful. As a guest I felt like I was not important. For them it’s the same if I end up outside as long as they get the money and also the service fee. Nothing else matters anymore.

All of them took advantage of the COVID crisis but it was me who felt sick and had to cancel — nobody cared. I used to book through Airbnb because it was cheaper than hotels but with money lost it is really more expensive. Now I feel like many others better not to book anything. If they do book, they should choose other platforms and ask for better offers.

Airbnb Horror with Cockroach Infestation

We booked an Airbnb for a few weeks in Florida. It cost over $2,000 total. On the first day we found one dead cockroach; we didn’t panic, but contacted the host to let her know.

The second day there were multiple live cockroaches. We contacted the host again, which is when we found out she lives in Europe, and is six hours ahead. She admitted she was late on her monthly exterminatory spray for vermin.

After finding the live cockroaches, we realized we may be in bigger trouble than we thought on the first day. We begin to search around the house more in depth to see dozens of dead cockroaches, cockroach poop, cockroach limbs and antennas in the bedrooms, bathrooms, and living spaces.

We found old garbage from the previous owner, a carton of ice cream, old water bottles, used tissues underneath the bed (so now we realize what attracted all the cockroaches). The old garbage and ice cream, combined with the great irresponsibility of our negligent and absentee and mentally unwell host forgetting to book her monthly exterminatory sprays on time, ended up with a cockroach infestation.

The host completely stopped talking to us at that point, and in her review later on claimed I was “rude” and “confrontational” when I told her the severity of the issue. I suppose I should’ve been nicer and more polite that she had $2,300 of my money, didn’t answer my messages, had old garbage and an unclean residence, a cockroach infestation, and cockroach poop in the bedrooms.

It was the final straw when I went to brush my teeth at 7:00 AM and a cockroach and four baby cockroaches came out of the drain in the sink. I really loved having cockroaches three inches from my face first thing in the morning. We had to leave the place two weeks before our departure date.

Of course Airbnb did nothing to help us and got us a grand total of $0 in refunds for the time we spent there. Every Airbnb “specialist” just sent generic responses, sending me the same link ten different times to its Guest Refund Policy that I already cited to them in the initial messages. They also said “We want to get your side of the story” — three messages in a row after I repeatedly and clearly shared my story with them.

It’s a total waste of time; they don’t care about people at all and just want money. I am so glad I will never have to use Airbnb again. Just cut your losses and stay at a hotel. I would share the link of the listing, but I am incredibly confident this host and her condo are so incompetent, disgusting, and terrible that they will run their business to the ground on their own.

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.