Airbnb Beach Getaway Right Next to Insane Train

It had been a very long time since we’d had a decent vacation and in our mind it was: “No beach? No vacation!” We’d heard some pretty good things about Airbnb so we decided to look around in the San Diego area where we wanted to go. My wife did the looking and she did it for days. As it turned out most of the area was already booked. That’s why we were so pleased to see this listing vacant in Oceanside, CA. It seemed to have everything; a nice kitchen, wifi, free parking, and only a three-minute walk to the beach – and it was a very nice beach.

When we got there, the host told us about the train noise but said that most people sleep through it. That was when I decided to look at the listing and sure enough, buried way down at the bottom was the mention of the train noise. I seriously don’t know how anyone could sleep through this and believe me we tried. The only air conditioning in the place was a one-room portable air conditioner that needed to be vented to the outside. This means that you have to have the sliding door open a bit for the vent. The Heat throughout the place was brutal, especially upstairs. You have to have the windows open for the cross-breeze at night to give you any relief, but then you’re listening to the train. My wife did go out and buy us earplugs and a noise machine but the trains even drowned that out.

We ended up leaving one day early, because without decent sleep we were exhausted. I feel like we threw away money and will never stay there again or probably at any other Airbnb. You just don’t know what you’re getting.

From Bad to Worse at Airbnb House in Mexico

I booked a house near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico last weekend, July 28-30, 2017. Making the reservation was smooth with no problems. When Friday came, the Airbnb app gave me the address where the house was located, and I already contacted the host where I learned he was not the house owner. I told him that we were running late because the traffic was very unforgiving coming from Los Angeles to Mexico. As we arrived at the destination that Airbnb gave me, the house was nowhere to be found. That’s when bad things started happening.

Imagine being in a different country late at night trying to look for a house that you don’t even know. I contacted the host and he told me that my party and I were nowhere close to his place. He gave me directions on how and where to get there. As we arrived at the property, we noticed the house was a great size and looked pretty decent from the outside. As we waited for the caretaker to open the gate, we met the host and were finally invited inside after the gate was opened by the caretaker. The host let us into the house in which had three bedrooms and two studios, which was a good size for my party: five adults, one teen, five kids.

As we went up to the second floor, we found that there was no fridge, no stove, and no microwave. As I continued to have a gut feeling that this stay was just gonna get worse I stayed optimistic and told my wife we should head out to Walmart early in the morning so we could get an electric stove; that’s the only thing we really needed because we brought our own cooler with our food to cook anyway. It was pretty iced up so it should have been good. As the host gave us a better look of the premises we noticed the rooms were average, but the two studios had clear glass walls. They had sliding blinds but they were pretty old, worn out, and raggedy. Then we headed to the roof. It had cement tables and benches. There were guide rails to prevent you from falling but they were unsafe – unstable and wiggling – and one part in which the glass was broken and had been blocked by a broken heater.

The bathrooms were okay. Unfortunately we had women and girls in our party, so that sucked for them because some of the restrooms didn’t have toilet seats. That having been said, we were tired from the drive and traffic. We decided to just sleep it off and had no other choice at that point because it was almost midnight with no Internet to work with. As morning came, we went straight to Walmart, got what we needed, and went back to the house.

As we were eating our breakfast we noticed that some other people were around. We figured they were friends of the caretaker just passing by, bu those people ended up being surfers, because the house is really close by the ocean. I decided to contact the host to check in with him as to ask if there should be other people in the vicinity since the host fully disclosed that the place was all ours. He called me and confirmed the property was ours. No one should have been there besides my party. I let that one go since the surfer guys didn’t take long, they left after a couple hours.

We headed out to do our trip into town, practically stayed out the whole day, and came home almost midnight. We honked and just waited for the caretaker to open the gate for us. Little did we know there was a small party going on and we felt like we were crashing the party. People were on the roof sitting on the ledge drinking, beers were on top of the cars, and there was a radio playing. At once I called the host and I told him that this was happening, so right after I messaged him he called back quickly and asked what was going on. I told him that his caretaker had visitors on the premises, drinking and having a party. People were on the roof and the two other rooms (unoccupied, suppose to be empty and unrented) were being used. I told the host I didn’t want to have a hostile situation so I would let the party go on but I needed it to be finished by midnight. The host agreed, as our kids simultaneously got ready for bed.

As soon as it was time for the adults to get ready for bed the water shut off. Again I contacted the host and his reply was to talk to the caretaker and she would help us out. We were already feeling like outcasts with a party on our own rented house, and now the host wanted me to go and talk to the caretaker, who was having a party. A few moments later I decided to come down to where the caretaker and party was and ask her; to my surprise, she was not in. The lady told me she left not knowing what time she would be coming back. We all decided to rest and use baby wipes just to get through the night. Unfortunately for my cousin, she was in the middle of showering when the water had gone out, so they used bottled water just to rinse off.

I stayed up while my whole party was resting, because people were still on the property, it was already past midnight, and the caretaker was unavailable. Between 3:30-4:00 AM I heard yelling, arguing and threats being yelled, so I walked out and went outside to check up on it, just to learn that it was the caretaker cursing some guys out over dropping little girls off. Mind you, it was 3:00-4:00 AM. The caretaker saw me and so I approached her and asked what was going on with the water. She said it was cut off, and she would know what’s going on in the morning.

I got up around 6:00 AM to see if the water had been fixed. Unsurprisingly, there was still no water, so I went back to the caretaker and knocked; no one answered. I went back abut an hour later and a man answered the door. I asked where the lady caretaker was. He told me she was asleep and asked me how he could help. I asked him what was going on with the water. He said the water was shut off, and they were going to talk to the owner to see what was going on. We decided to get our breakfast going so we could go ahead and do the last part of our trip.

If you think the hell stops there… the electricity shut off. Now the electric stove I brought was all for nothing. They said the circuit breakers shorted out and there was no way to get a quick fix. That’s when my whole party decided to pack it in. We placed all our belongings in the car and just gave our kids a quick walk by the beach. I tried calling and messaging the host but he didn’t reply until later on that day, offering a $100 discount. While I was talking to the host I told him that we ended up leaving the house to get a hotel room so we could get a decent shower, we ended up throwing our food to be cooked away because it was already half spoiled, and we ended up spending more for breakfast and lunch. The whole party ended up spending more, with the intention of saving using Airbnb. This was not even my first time going to Mexico as my wife has family down there.

The sad part is that it was my cousins’ first time coming down there. I called Airbnb and told them what happened. They told me to send a copy of the receipt of the electric stove that I bought and they would reimburse me $200 and the host $250. However, the food wasted, the stress, the hotel we ended up renting to shower in, the unplanned breakfast and lunch… I told Airbnb that it doesn’t even come close to whatever they were reimbursing me. Airbnb got so rude, thinking I was money hungry, which I’m not. I just wanted my party to be given back what they thought was right. The operator was no help either, telling me that the case was already closed and they could not reimburse anyone in my party because they were not listed on the website. I put down ten people as guests and they told me I should have put their names down so they could reimburse them. I’m still waiting on Airbnb to fix this for me.

Airbnb Party House Keeps Getting Worse for Neighbors

Our next door neighbor has turned his entire property (large house and guest house) into Airbnb rentals. He does not live on site. There have been multiple loud rave-like parties and there doesn’t seem there is anything we can do. We always call him personally and he refuses to take any responsibility. He says it’s Airbnb’s fault because they get the renters. He says to call Airbnb (haha, a lot of good that does) and then he says to call the police, which we do. They have come out so many times and there’s not a lot they can do either because the owner isn’t on site.

The latest rave resulted in a near riot in front of the house when drunken partygoers screamed and fought in the front yard when the police came for the third time that day. The party had started before 1:00 PM and this was at 1:00 AM. The whole day, disgusting foul music was pouring into our back yard. We couldn’t use our yard at all. There was screaming, fighting, and lots of free flowing alcohol. This was the worst that it has gotten but there have been plenty more events like this. He has been getting $1000 per event beyond the rental fee. These people did not tell him that they were having a party so he was mad also but still, he just told us to call the police. In the past, he actually had the nerve to ask me to go and quiet the partiers.

This last weekend, he sent his 70 year old mother over and she was afraid to introduce herself to the police. Then when I called him; he called his mother a coward. We are at the end of our rope and don’t know what to do. He has now posted “no events” on his Airbnb website but that isn’t going to help if the renters lie to him. Besides rave-type parties, we have had to endure a drug intervention with a poor addicted woman screaming and shrieking as she was detoxing. I did find an online form to complain to Airbnb as a neighbor. We’ll see how that goes. Not betting it does a thing.

Blocked Toilet and Freezing Shower Make a Bad Stay

I have been trying to get in contact with Airbnb for days to resolve an issue. The only time I got to talk to them was the day I decided to cancel my booking. The only person at customer service was a lady who was really hard to understand; it seemed like she had a muffin in her mouth, or was talking under a pillow. Her instructions were not clear; they left me even more confused and disappointed.

I made a booking for six days in one place. The toilet was blocked and every time I flushed it, it overflowed. It was the first day and first time entering in that toilet; it was supposed to be my private bathroom but it was dirty. I really needed to use it and felt uncomfortable telling the hosts the toilet was dirty. When I flushed everything just came back out. It was very uncomfortable because my host accused me of blocking in up when I had just arrived.

It was late and I took a shower before bed. The hot water was off and the shower was freezing cold. Coming out of the bathroom, I had to go through the baby’s room. He started to cry, and then the host said I was not allowed to use the shower or toilet at night because the baby would wake up very easily. I started to feel really annoyed.

The next day, due to jet lag, I slept all day. However, I woke up to eat something in the middle of the night since I was also very thirsty. The host’s mother came to the kitchen to say I was making noise, when in fact I was as quiet as a mouse. Again, I could not take a shower so I decided to cancel the booking the next day. In the morning, while getting dressed, their baby bumped my door open when I was practically naked. I notified the host and Airbnb about the cancellation and left the place.

Airbnb told me when the booking was completed they were going to refund me for the days left. I have been trying to reach them without any success, only to have them direct me to the host. I asked the host for a refund but she decided to insult me, saying that my change to the booking didn’t work. When I cancelled the booking, Airbnb didn’t get back to me at all. They paid the host the full amount.

What is going on? Where is the guarantee and protection for the guest? This is not fair.

Apartment Above Turned into Airbnb, Ruined Everything

This spring my landlord decided to terminate my upstairs neighbor’s contract and let out the flat on Airbnb. The reason was plausible: she wants to use the apartment when visiting from overseas and needs the flexibility. The apartment is being rented out on Airbnb now by a third party who manages about 15 other properties around our region (a big touristy region in the Alps which is very popular in summer).

Despite having an arrangement that the guests are supposed to arrive by 9:00 PM and be quiet by 10:00 PM, reality is totally different. Most of the guests completely ignore the arrival time and then because they must have major jet lag, stay up half the night crashing around the kitchen, walking up and down, and generally being a pain. Since the minimum stay is only three nights and they can use Instant Book. We get all the people that couldn’t give a toss about anyone else. I often get no more than two hours of sleep a night and have to scream and shout at them and bang on the walls.

Why?

Because we live in an old wooden chalet where you can hear everything. Life is hell. I hate Airbnb and the whole business it has morphed in to the past few years. It has nothing to do with the original idea. Where I live, everyone is getting on the bandwagon; homes are being bought up and rented out on Airbnb. They guests arrive at all hours, can’t figure out where they’re supposed to go, Walk into other people’s houses, leave their trash everywhere, and put out cigarettes in the garden. All these little things become so annoying over time. I wish someone would clamp down and regulate it more.

No Clarity From Airbnb Terms and Conditions

This was the first time I had ever used Airbnb. I made an account and followed the app as much as I could and then found a room for a night in Bristol with three friends. For £142 we could get one room with one bed and a sofa bed. How they can charge that much for that is beyond me but we were desperate.

I read the terms and conditions. One said no parties or events. Maybe I’m stupid, but to me that does not include going out with friends or having drinks with friends; a party or an event is so much bigger than that and I thought they’re charging a lot because they know it’s graduation in Bristol for two weeks. On top of this they had graduated from UWE and were teachers. My picture is of me: a 22-year-old girl with a glass of wine in my hand. I thought they would be fine; it’s not like we’ll be barging in at 4:00 AM with a bunch of people, playing music and carrying on. We will just need to go and sleep. There were no parties and we weren’t attending any event apart from my graduation the morning before.

The hosts then messaged me (I’ve attached it) saying things such as “will you be coming in early Thursday morning and can you please give us information on your friends for security reasons and can you finish your own form (I thought I’d finished but had a lot left to put in).” Not long after that they sent a message saying they accepted my request to stay. I then messaged back saying, “yes, we will be back in the early hours.” That’s when they got shirty. They wouldn’t allow us to stay.

After all that we were stranded in Bristol and I had forked out £142 I still don’t have, so I owe the bank money because I’m so bloody poor as a student – I am still applying for decent jobs. The hosts had no sympathy – it had not even been 24 hours since I requested a booking and they were so angry. I literally begged for a refund because I interpreted Airbnb’s terms incorrectly and they took my money and refused to give it back. Then they said they’d refund me, but they’d have to only give me the money they’re given by someone who takes the booking. I was so happy as they had told me about all the people who wanted to stay (also I had not heard or realised or seen anything about this pre-requesting thing) so I thought, “yes, I’m in luck!”

Then I saw £142 had been taken out my account. I emailed telling them the money had been withdrawn and asking if they had processed the refund yet. They told me they hadn’t because no one came to stay. I said to them, “okay, if you aren’t going to give it to me out of a friendly understandable gesture then I’m going to fight this.”

We spent four hours arguing and they blamed Airbnb for all of it and took no responsibility even though they asked me questions and took my money without even knowing my answers. People like that have no heart. They used my lack of knowledge, my age and my status of being a student to take my money. I understand that Airbnb writes the terms and they need to be clearer. These hosts weren’t even going to let me go out for a meal and drinks as they considered that a pre-planned event.

We were screwed even if we said we wouldn’t go for cocktails. I mentioned that they didn’t even let me introduce my friends. If security is breached (it wouldn’t have been; my friends are lovely) it would have meant that we would be stranded with £142 gone because they didn’t get this information before. Now they said Airbnb doesn’t have a step for this so they have to ask. What I don’t understand is why would you ask and then take the money before you even know? Essentially you’re scamming people. I couldn’t even tell them before they took my money.

I believe that because I apologised asap when I found out I didn’t realise what they (the hosts) meant by that term they should have just cancelled immediately or asked me to and refunded me so they could then accept these other people that were looking. Instead they got angry at me and acted rude. We are still arguing and I am not letting this go. I spent 45 minutes waiting to get through to Airbnb and there was no answer. I’ll keep trying. If you’re looking for somewhere to stop off before a daytime flight – as you probably aren’t allowed to leave early in the morning – then stay here.

Noisy Airbnb Nightmare in Jerusalem, Israel

On May 23rd, 2017 we booked a week at an Airbnb in Jerusalem. Our first impressions was that it appeared to be a nice clean apartment, and its owners appeared equally welcoming. We settled to sleep for the night, and then the noise started. It went on for some six hours or more. We heard talking all night, all from one man. As a result, I could not sleep.

I complained to Airbnb and they did not believe me. To date I have stayed in many Airbnb properties without an incident. The lack of attention Airbnb shows to their clients is appalling. They asked for photographs and communications. Even though I had a recording on WhatsApp of a dialogue that I had with the owners they did not believe me. The Airbnb contract is between the local owners and the guest, not with the company.

The hosts said: “I’m really sorry to hear about this incident. It’s the first time it has happened. We had a guest staying for a whole month and he never told me anything about it. I guess it’s a one time thing. The neighbor got drunk and made a lot of noise. Things happen… I really understand your frustration, especially since it happened on your first night with us. Unfortunately there is nothing I can do about it. I truly believe and hope it won’t happen again. My suggestion to you is to give it another night. Usually this apartment and neighborhood are very quiet! That having been said, I’ll understand if you want to cancel your reservation with us and move to another place. If you do so, we will refund you 50% of the reservation cost. By the way, did you try taking a broomstick and knocking on the ceiling, so he will understand he’s being loud? Maybe he didn’t realize. Try that or knocking on his door asking him to lower his voice. Like normal people do in this situation.”

A tenant in the next apartment revealed the truth of what was going on: “In this apartment complex, the Israeli Government lets apartments to Amidar, a social housing organization. According to the neighbor, who lives next door, next to him is a man who has a psychiatric disorder and in the garden there are two men who smoke joints. On the roof terrace are more drug addicts and this place is known to the Israeli police. [The host] knows this situation well and so it is no wonder that all night long there is noise. [The host]’s mother owns the apartment, and knows the situation here very well.”

I complained continuously to Airbnb and said I would send them the police report. At that point, they gave us a total refund. On our return to the UK they were still pestering me for the police report and I deleted my Airbnb account. I noticed that the apartment that we stayed in is still being rented out. You can view it here https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/17724596

Know What You’re Getting Into Before You Book

In the city center of Palma de Mallorca in the Balearic Islands of Spain, there was a cozy and quiet Airbnb apartment for rent in a building over 100 years old. It was newly renovated and in the historic center of Palma, located 150 meters from City Hall Square (Cort), 300 meters from the cathedral, and just 70 meters from the Plaza Mayor.

I would like to share my experience with you about this Airbnb host. I heard that Airbnb will start doing inspections and I am very glad for this. My last experience at Palma was not very good for a few reasons. I don’t want to make this story very long but I want it to convey what you are getting into if you are thinking about renting this apartment. The only good thing I can say about this apartment is that it was a good location if you like to be downtown. The rest I will be honest with you about; not a word of this is a lie. I have pictures and recordings to document my stay.

The stairs (she mentioned that there was no lift) are a nightmare. They aren’t meant to be used by older people; this should be mentioned in the listing. What she forgot to mention was that the building right beside the apartment (I mean less than two feet away) is under construction. The sound of drilling is still in my head. We had to leave from 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM. The noise seemed like they were actually in our bedroom. It was really terrible and extremely loud.

On a previous trip to Palma, we went to the beach and came back around 3:00 PM to take a nap. Not this time. One day we arrived at the apartment early and it was impossible even to talk because of the noise. I wrote a private letter to the host and the answer I received was not very good. He gave a very poor apology, saying that it was not noisy. I have this recorded.

There was also a very bad kitchen. It said on the listing that the kitchen was fully equipped, but there was not even a kettle to heat water. One knife that barely cuts.

The most important aspect for me was the safety. There was no fire escape, only two fire extinguishers in the second floor (people could be fighting over using them). I don’t know the rules in Spain, but this is unacceptable. An accident can happen when people smoke everywhere. There was no place to go in the event of a fire. There were also ants everywhere; the host was so “kind” that he left an ant killer spray.

Will Never Use Airbnb Again After Construction

I used Airbnb for the first time a week again and I will never use them again. The studio we rented was totally misrepresented. When we arrived at the rental, we discovered the building was a construction site. The hallways and stairwells were being decorated and the floors tiled. There was dust everywhere, building materials on the landings and stairwells, doors held open with fire extinguishers, and bags of rubbish left in the halls. There were workmen coming and going, and they were grouting the hall outside the rental while we were there.

The studio rental was also directly above a nightclub. The host gave no indication of the nightclub in the description and at no point contacted me beforehand to let me know about or apologise for the building work. In addition, the keypad system to enter the building stopped working. We were in fact locked out of the rental on our first evening. It was late and only by the sheer luck of another resident turning up with a key were we able to re-enter the building and get back to our belongings. I emailed and left a voicemail for the host the following morning about this issue and to date he has still not had the decency to contact me. Fortunately the estate agent next door that managed flats in the building was able to get us a key. However this took over an hour of our time, during which we could not leave for fear of not being able to re-enter.

As soon as I returned I logged an issue with the resolution centre. Again, the host has not had the decency to respond to me. I have now forwarded my issue to Airbnb directly, and despite a standard response saying I would be contacted within 24 hours, I have not had any communication from them. Previously I have used Booking.com and Hotels.com for both personal and work travel and I will be staying with them from now on. They are both excellent services that Airbnb could learn a lot from.

Downtown Dreamer Airbnb Nightmare with Trains Blaring

We took a job in Biloxi and had to find accommodations for two months. Of course, the day we got the job was the day that the summer rates kicked in so we struggled to find something in our budget that was within ten miles, had a kitchen, and was available for the full two months. We’d never used Airbnb before but after relentlessly searching for the traditional extended stay hotels without any luck, we found a property on Airbnb that was available, fit into our budget (barely) and advertised a full kitchen. Here’s the listing and description:

This spacious 900 square foot two-bedroom apartment is nestled on a side street just off of Washington Ave across from a city park. Private parking and walking distance to shopping, dining and all activities in the downtown area.

The space: Close to everything, downtown Ocean Springs.

Other things to note: We hope your visit to Ocean Springs creates wonderful memories that will last you a life time.

Further down the page there was a section called “House Rules.” Here’s how it looked as I scrolled down:

No smoking, no parties or events, check in time is 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM, prices subject to special event pricing and all local and state taxes. Listed price is for weeknights with a two-night minimum. Pets possible, deposit required. Possible sleeping arrangements for children. No more than four adults. Rules can change without being written on this site. However, the rules will be acknowledged by parties prior to completing the reservation. Cancellations must be made one week prior to stay for a full refund and three weeks prior on special event pricing nights. Enjoy your stay in beautiful downtown Ocean Springs.

You must also acknowledge the potential for noise – a train runs through the city of Ocean Springs.

This “acknowledgement” about trains running through Ocean Springs is the absolute last thing on this long list of “House Rules” and something that would be more appropriately listed under the “Other Things of Note” section, wouldn’t you think?

If you’ve ever used Airbnb, you will know that when you’re looking for the place, they don’t give you an address. They just provide a circle on a map and the property is somewhere in that circle. We didn’t notice the “acknowledgement” about trains until we were about to pay, but it seemed rather innocuous. I suppose we assumed that if the host had to warn us about noise, the warning had to adequately reflect the noise level. The fact that a train ran “through Ocean Springs” which covers about 12 square miles didn’t seem like the property would be close and based on the description that the property was right across from a city park, it sounded like the property was across from the only city park in that area; that was about as far southeast from the train tracks as you could get.

We booked it. Our job started, as did our reservation, on July 5th. We couldn’t check in until 5:00 PM, and we started work at 7:00 AM, so we didn’t actually get to the property until 4ish, which is when we discovered that the “city park” described in the listing was actually the railroad easement that runs along the tracks. The property was directly adjacent to the easement, separated only by a residential street, less than 100 feet. Being optimists, we thought, well, surely the trains don’t run at night because the host would have had to disclose that.

At 8:00 PM, the first train came blasting through. The whistle was earsplitting, and the entire property shook. However, we thought 8:00 was manageable. The next one was at 10:30 PM. It woke us both up and I thought maybe that was it. The next one was at 1:30ish. I almost laughed out loud because it was right out of “My Cousin Vinny.” The next one at 3:30 wasn’t even a little bit funny, and the 5:00 AM one would have been fine, since we had to get up anyway, if it hadn’t been for the three prior.

I immediately notified the host (at 5:30 AM) and Airbnb that there was no way we could stay there with the trains. We are working 10 to 12 hour days with heavy equipment, and we would either get hurt or hurt someone else if we weren’t able to get enough sleep. Airbnb sent an automated reply almost immediately assuring me that someone would be reaching “very soon.” I didn’t hear anything from our host until 4:00 that afternoon, and still hadn’t heard from Airbnb.

In the meantime, we were on the job starting at 7:00, and didn’t get off until 5:00, a short day. We were exhausted, but had to return to the property because we had no other place to go. We started looking for another place and actually found one that was available starting the next day. I reached out to that host and they preapproved us, but I was still waiting to hear from Airbnb about our refund. Our host had essentially not responded in any meaningful way so I knew we were in for a fight.

The second night the 8:00 PM train rolled through right on time. Then there was another one at 8:40, then another around 10:30, then another at 2ish. I was so tired I could not make myself get up for the 2:00 AM one, but I did record the 8:00 and 10:30 ones. Here’s the link to the video of the 8:00 PM one, and as you listen, keep in mind that the loudest part of the train has already past by the time I started recording.

I had not heard back from Airbnb by the next morning, so I called. I explained to my case manager that we could not stay one more night because we were exhausted and that was a problem at work. I needed to book something ASAP. She asked me to hold off for a couple of hours so that she could complete my claim and transfer any refund to my next booking. Four hours later, I had not heard from her and we lost the other booking by that time. We had to drive home, exhausted, and would have to drive back again tomorrow, though we have been able to book another place, just not through Airbnb.

Airbnb had nothing for us by the time the case manager got around to trying to transfer our refund. As for the refund, it’s pretty obscure what it would be. She said that the host was refunding half the fee we paid. However, her numbers didn’t add up. Here’s what she said: “As we’ve talked over the phone, I will now process the refund amounting to $3662: $1022 will be from the host, and $2640 will be from the nights not spent in the listing just for us to use the money for another listing that you want to book.”

The problem with her math is that we paid $2,428 for the first month of the reservation. We have not paid for the second month. A refund of $1,022 from Jeffrey amounts to less than half of what we paid. The remainder of the refund appears to be for amounts we haven’t paid yet (and won’t) so that’s not a refund. I was very suspicious of that garbled reference to using the refund “just for us to use the money to another listing that you want to book.”

I have written her back and asked for clarification, but I am already drafting a complaint to file in small claims court in Ocean Springs against this host. If I have to add Airbnb, I will move the case to federal court. The case manager was nice enough and definitely knows how to handle irate customers, but she told me things that were misleading at best, or flat out lies at worst. She told me that she had to negotiate with our host, and if he didn’t agree to refund us, then her hands were tied.

According to Airbnb, they have the final say in resolving all disputes. Since I have objected to this particular resolution, it is unclear if I will receive any kind of refund at all. I guess we’ll find out. At this point, I see no point in using Airbnb except that to rip off both legitimate hosts and guests by hiking up prices as a go between service without offering anything of value except a website. Rather, call a local realtor and check local listings for vacation rentals. Maybe it’s less convenient, but at least you won’t get ripped off. Because we cancelled, we are not even allowed to give a review of the host.

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