Extortion Review, Airbnb Won’t Take it Down Even With Proof

This guest used Instant Book for a month in advance for a weekend for 15 members of her family including herself. Note that she is a new member. From then on, there was no communication. She just wasn’t answering. A couple days before check-in, I finally got a hold of her and she informed me of some changes. I send her a price alteration, but time passed and she wouldn’t accept it. She kept ignoring me again. The day before check-in, I let her know since she was planning to break the house rules, I would cancel her reservation with Airbnb without a refund. Then she started responding. We finally got everything sorted out just before bedtime. One hour before checking in, she told me they were stuck in traffic and needed to push the time. Then again… and again. They finally arrived three hours late. We did strongly believe there were more than 15 people.

The first night, I got a noise complain from my neighbor. The entire group was outside, around the spa and had been screaming and very loud since their arrival. It was very late and dark, and my neighbor just couldn’t take it anymore. I tried to contact the guests, but my calls kept going to voicemail. I passed a message through Airbnb to warn her. I waited, and received no answer. I wrote to her again and made myself sound more serious. I got a response and from what my neighbor said, it took an additional 15 minutes, but the noise finally stopped. He still made it clear other neighbors wouldn’t have been as patient as him.

I arrived to check them out and found the upstairs hot faucet had been removed. How could this have happened? It was super noisy too. How could they have missed it? I continued my tour and a guest had decided to rip the lock off one of the closet to the point it ripped the door into two pieces. They forced open two other locked drawers too. They broke a large window frame probably by sitting on it or having a kid walk on it. They broke two parts of our spa and made a small tear in our spa cover. They were warned not to download anything because we didn’t have unlimited internet and they still used more than 85 BG in 40 hours. We have some decorative towels we asked the guests specifically not to touch because they already had a large number of perfectly usable towels at their disposal. Well, they decided not to listen and to only use our decorative ones. The BBQ was left in a horrific state; it was completely disgusting. This guest didn’t follow the house rules; she was truly disrespectful to me as well as the house.

I waited for her to reach out to me to apology about all the damages (my calls are still going straight to her voicemail each time) but she never did. She did text a week later inquiring about her security deposit where I finally was able to speak to her over the phone. She says she was unaware of everything. She didn’t do a tour of the house and wasn’t the last one to leave. She was not okay with everything I observed and was certainly not okay having any damaged charged to her. She said I better not charge her or she would give me a bad review. At the same time, I saw she just posted a review (a very bad one from what she said over the phone). I have some text messages exchanged that proves she indeed threatened me.

I called Airbnb and let them know immediately that she was violating their Terms of Service. They told me even if I had ”proof” and my story checked out, they couldn’t remove the review because in the text messages, she did not clearly say “don’t charge me or I will put you a bad review,” only “do not pursue or I will be obligated to take action.”

Because her review appeared at the same time, as she threatened me over the phone, customer service won’t budge. The facts speak for themselves. Airbnb guidelines strictly forbid reviews with content that is fraudulent, false and misleading, which is the case here. She had an amazing time and didn’t complain about anything. The review does not represent her personal experience. It is an attempt to use the review to force me to do something I’m not obligated to do (not charge her). They are not supposed to allow it, but they do. Thank you untrustworthy customer service at Airbnb.

Things to Avoid When Using Airbnb for the First Time

Last winter, after my wife’s bout with cancer, a catastrophic national election cycle, and a few other disasters, my wife and I decided to take a month out of Minnesota’s winter and go south to New Mexico. This was the first time I tested the Airbnb waters and that was probably not the best time for an “adventure”.

Our first three overnight stays were lucky and misleading. All three hosts were incredibly honest about their facilities and were terrific people. Our destination was in Truth or Consequences, NM (TorC, to local residents). We were trapped in TorC three years earlier when our VW-based Winnebago camper trapped us there for the entire winter, in my first year of retirement. As a result, we had friends in TorC and knew the area well enough to think we could figure out which Airbnb rentals were not just good deals but in a decent area. TorC, for a tiny place, has some really bad neighborhoods and even the “good ones” are in serious decline.

The place I selected had a slightly different description than the current, i.e. “You’ll love my place because of the privacy it affords. Not having to share a house with others. It is in a very quiet neighborhood in a Vintage Mobile Home park. Many guests end up making friends here!” It described being close to the Rio Grande River (it wasn’t) and having great views (it didn’t). That “very quiet” remark avoids mentioning a bunch of Harley gangbangers in the park and in a shop right behind the trailer… it was a trailer and not one that even begins to meet safe rental standards.

I have no idea how the host managed this picture, but it doesn’t even come close to describing how tightly the trailers were packed together. I would hear people coughing and snorting from three directions that first night. My wife has a moderate petroleum allergy and began to feel claustrophobic and agitated the moment we stepped into the trailer. To be frank, it stunk of cleaning chemicals and natural gas. All of the CO2 and fire detectors had their batteries removed. That is when I discovered what “strict cancellation” policies are all about.

In the end, my wife negotiated an exit for all of us, including us not notifying the host’s landlord that she was illegally renting his property. It cost me about $200 for that one night’s stay, but we found a far better rental through one of our TorC friends and I will never make that sort of mistake again with Airbnb.

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.

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.

Evening of Airbnb Hell in Marina Del Ray

The “Wayne and Abby Venice Beach” location is advertised as quiet, and their house rules insist on quiet behavior by Airbnb guests. My wife and I checked into this Airbnb location on Thursday afternoon, February 23rd. Thursday evening was peaceful, but Friday night, we endured non-stop loud noise in the building all night long, from 9:00 PM through 8:00 AM Saturday, February 25th. There was a wild party downstairs, which meant little sleep for us.

I notified and complained to the host at 6:09 AM Saturday. I did not receive any reply and sent another message via the Airbnb system before noon. At approximately 4:30 PM, I received a response from the host saying that she would notify her landlord. It was then that we realized that she as an Airbnb host is only a tenant herself in this multi-dwelling building. Her response and results were ineffective, and we decided to cancel the remainder of the trip, as another noisy party in the building was underway.

The host argued that we did not give her the opportunity to work things out. We notified Airbnb, checked out and canceled the reservation. We requested from Airbnb a refund for five of the six nights (one unsatisfactory evening plus four unused evenings). Airbnb processed only a partial refund of $444 (for the base room cost for three nights, but not for the pro-rated tax and “service” fee) already credited to our credit card. I contacted our credit card customer service on March 1st to complain. The credit card company is still adjudicating the matter. I’m requesting an additional net refund from Airbnb of $504.

Airbnb informed me that they consider the matter closed and will not respond to further inquiries from me. Furthermore, Airbnb has blocked me from posting a negative review. That’s why all you see are the positive reviews. We will never use Airbnb again, for anything. Imagine staying in a Holiday Inn, Hilton Garden Inn or Hampton Inn, getting no sleep because of noisy guests, and the hotel chain denying you a refund for lack of satisfaction? Imagine the hotel telling you to get lost with your complaint.

Dishonest Host at St. Patrick’s Day Party House

I have stayed at three Airbnb accommodations. The first two were great. I always got excellent ratings and feedback form hosts. The third experience was not good. The ratings were all five star for the accommodations. Well, the other guests who stayed in this accommodation obviously do not know what a five-star rating means…. the living room sofa needed cleaning, the screens were ripped and falling off of two windows, there were huge cigarette burns in the outside deck upholstery, and the oven needed maintenance. Her personal clothes were in cupboards and drawers. The dresser drawers fell out when I tried to open them. There was partying outside all night for two nights – it was a rough area. My friend yelled at them as the noise was loud and went on for hours.

When we left we did not do the dishes. The kitchen was so small one person could hardly move around in it. There was very little counter space, the sink didn’t have a drain plug that I could find, and there were no dish towels. I was quite sick when we left. We did not put out the garbage; however, it was all contained in bags. I left a note to say why we did not do the dishes. The host said they could not recommend me again as a guest, saying we yelled profanities at the “people who were just celebrating St. Patty’s Day”. We did yell at them at 4:00 AM to be quiet after hours of yelling and fighting on the street, but there was no profanity from us. The people on the street were yelling at one another and uttering lots of profanities.

This review is now on my file. My understanding is that this will never be removed. This host is a little batty… we did not break anything. She did not hire a cleaning person – she expected us to clean afterwards. When I am on a holiday I do not expect to have to clean the place before I leave. I will never stay using Airbnb again. This review process has no recourse and can be very damaging to guests’ reputations. Airbnb should be inspecting these places and negative reviews should be shared between host and guest so both sides can learn from the experience. I would have been glad to pay for a cleaning service if I had known this was expected. I was very ill. However, Airbnb should require hosts to use a cleaning service.

No Compensation for Trouble with Host and House

I’ve been an avid Airbnb user for a while now, paying for around nine consecutive months in my travels. I used to trust the service and recommend it to anyone. I recently booked a new place. The listing said it was for two people, a private room with one bedroom and six beds.  I messaged the host, who should have been a woman based on her profile picture. I asked to book for around a month and a half from March 11th. The response I got was that the house was not finished yet, but should be by March 17th. I said that it was important for me to arrive on the 11th. I got a response saying that they may have everything ready by that day, and if I was fine with that I may come; they sent a special request for the new time I stated for the same price. Later, I found out that they changed the cancellation policy to a stricter one as well.

Unfortunately, my flight was cancelled twice, leading to me getting there a day late. The owner declined a refund for that day when I asked. This is where things started to go astray. I met the owner, a middle aged man nothing like the woman featured on the profile. He showed me the place, which wasn’t where it was listed on Airbnb but a few minutes’ walking distance from there. He explained that the house wasn’t ready yet, and led me to a house still under construction, unfurnished, and filled with cardboard and dust. Basically I had a decent room, but no shower, kitchen, or almost any of the amenities that appeared in the listing. Construction workers woke me up everyday when they started working, and there was no internet in the apartment, though it had been listed – something that was specifically important for me.

There was another guesthouse rather close by where there were some of the amenities listed (like a shower, kitchen, internet). I used that for whatever necessities I had. On the second day, I was locked outside by the construction workers and had to call the owner in the middle of the night for help. The first time this happened he asked me to sleep in the other guesthouse’s attic, which I myself had suggested earlier. However, I found out later that this wouldn’t be a good idea since people go in and out of there many times and it wouldn’t be possible to sleep. I called once more and he angrily refused. I had to make him come and open the door to my house, which was very bothersome for him. The living situation wasn’t comfortable at all and it was very cumbersome to move between these places and in between the construction going on in the building.

He had said things were expected to be finished by March 17th. So I waited. Things didn’t improve much, besides the shower and adding a few hangers. There was still no internet, no common areas, and no kitchen. I decided to call Airbnb customer service, and had a talk with a guy named John who was nice and promised to help me. He said that he could refund all of my money and help me find a new place. However, after a while we couldn’t find anything feasible so he said that he would advise me to keep looking for places and his colleagues would help me. After that, I got few responses from the team, in which they sent me links to places that were very different from my requirements: much lower standards, way over budget, or very far away from where I was. I talked to them once more and tried to explain that right now, apartments in Tokyo are hard to find with such short notice. It was also a busy tourist season, which would make it even harder.

More time passed, and I called again. Emailing customer service was slow and cumbersome. This time I spoke to another guy who asked for pictures of the place, which I provided. He agreed that the pictures showed the place in construction. However, he decided to call the host. What followed was a long conversation I had between him as a proxy towards my host. I basically said that I would like to get a refund as well as some compensation for the trouble that I got. It is simply unfair to customers to sell them places that are still under construction and not ready; I wanted to get some compensation for the days I stayed in that house as well as the days I was looking for a new apartment. The customer service personnel told me that since the host sent me a special request that showed the value of the new place with construction and everything, and made it clear to me that the place was under construction, I would not be compensated. They also said I should have expected that construction such as this go well past deadlines.

This would have been a good response, if it weren’t for the fact that it was simply not true. The price was exactly the same price, and not a special offer at all. This was simply done to change the date as well as the cancellation policy, in and of itself something a scammer would do. The message I had been sent was “the house was not ready”. I always assume that the houses listed on Airbnb are held to some sort of standard. In no way do I think that “not ready” is equivalent to “there will be construction workers with helmets building rooms and running around you filling your socks with dust.” I was given a date when everything should have been finished. There shouldn’t be any excuses on that point. It’s a business. I paid money. I expect things to be on time. If they are, the minimum response is to compensate and apologize. I tried explaining this to the case manager but he wouldn’t really do anything about it. He decided to give me a coupon for Airbnb and said that this was already above and beyond what I should get. I left with a feeling that I would rather spend my next twelve months of traveling with a different company. I advise you to do the same; there is not much added value for a middleman if he doesn’t help you once things get shady.

Here are some pictures of the apartment on the first day.

House in the Woods Should be Called House on the Highway

People should be aware about an Airbnb property called the House in the Woods in Issaquah, WA. Cool home? Yes! Accurate listing? No! The host claimed it as a Business Ready Listing, but according to the Comcast technician, the Internet and Cable Account had not been set up. Airbnb requires hosts to notify guests in a timely manner if any listed amenities are not available. This host did not; he merely gave a partial refund for the inconvenience. The deferred maintenance issues were noted, photographed, and reported, some of which were paramount to our safety. There were dangerous steps leading to the unit, no smoke detector, and possible electrical issues including buzzing switches, flickering lights, numerous junctions boxes in ceilings, and burned out bulbs.

There was a security issue: no way to lock door between units from the upper unit side. The property was located 60 feet from an extremely busy highway; it was very loud hearing tandem dump trucks start rolling by at 3:30 AM. There was no privacy. The previous home owner operated a landscaping company and had several sheds, trailers, vehicles, work equipment, and a large junkyard located directly behind the home. All could easily be viewed from the wraparound deck, master bedroom and master bathroom. Men were on site all day, moving equipment around, working on noisy gas powered tools, and riding around the property on a noisy four wheeler. If we could see them, they could watch us as well. When we returned from an afternoon outing, one of the men appeared to be snooping around the home. He wasn’t doing maintenance, as he had no tools. What was most disturbing is he ran away when he saw my husband approaching the house. He ran towards the highway, up around the house, and back down to the commercial business. It was scary. The host dismissed it as nothing when we notified her.

At 2:30 AM, on the second night of a two-night stay, we realized one of the men was actually living in a red pickup truck located in the workspace behind the home. We became aware of this when the truck’s headlamps shone through the bedroom window each time he started the truck. It is winter; he ran the engine about once an hour, likely to warm himself. There were questions in our minds keeping us from falling asleep afterwards: is the man homeless? Is he a felon? Is he dangerous? Do we call the police? Needless to say, we were very troubled to learn this was not a quiet serene home located in the woods as the host wants people to believe. It was crazy that other reviews describe it this way. It should be named House on the Highway, as the host’s inaccurate description minimizes the truth. We were totally wigged out by the immense lack of privacy, no separation from the commercial business operation, catching a strange man creeping around the house, and finding another man living on property in a pickup truck visible from the bedroom.

Host Reviews Always Seem to be too Good to be True

We just returned from a really poor Airbnb experience in Chamonix, France. I looked at her reviews as host and they all were too full of sunshine. This makes me think that guests are afraid to tell the truth because then they will be reviewed negatively. So everyone says “It was great!” I’m tired of being lied to like this. The woman who rented to us was clearly crazy, micromanaged every moment of our stay, disrespected our privacy, told us what to do constantly, drove us out of the house the day before she left, gave us the bum’s rush about when we were leaving, had an infant grandchild stay in the small apartment who cried and awoke us, and smoked cigarettes. It was so difficult to relax and enjoy our vacation time. I am about done with Airbnb. It’s all roses in reviews then the reality is different. I do not trust the reviews at all. We were kind, quiet, clean and courteous guests and all we got was grief. We arrived an hour earlier than the 5:00 PM check in time and was greeted with disdain and freak out… how lovely. In addition, we thought it was a private attic apartment, not shared with her and a baby. I would have never booked a place with a baby in the house. Before we went to bed, I asked her to turn off or at least turn down a loud electronic baby toy next to the entrance to our room and she snapped and said “wear earplugs!” We were not allowed to touch anything in the kitchen due to an earlier guest. She should have stated that in her listing. We paid dearly for this crappy treatment and experience. It’s hotels or private accommodations from now on. Airbnb is not worth it anymore. There are too many flakes.