My husband and I have stayed (successfully) in many Airbnbs: houses, cabins, houseboats, and casitas. It’s been fun and interesting. We even became actual friends with the houseboat owner. During a recent trip to the Fresno area, we booked a room on Quail Lake in Clovis. My husband expressed concern about privacy, in that this was a room, and not an entire place to ourselves. I told him to be adventurous, and pointed out the nice photos of the deck on the lake.
I messaged back and forth with the owner, the usual: polite confirmation, polite reply, etc. We would arrive around 4:00 PM or so. At ten minutes to 4:00, the host messaged us on Airbnb: “Call me when you arrive, so that I can let you in.” I had printed out instructions, as my phone’s internet service is unreliable. I never got her message.
As per our printed instructions, we drove to the guard at the gate. He asked the name and address of the person whom we were there to see. We told him, offering up no information on Airbnb. Not that we were hiding it – it just seemed unnecessary. “She’s been told several times that the HOA doesn’t allow Airbnb. The police were here last night. If she hosts again, the police will be called.”
The guard was polite but firm. Two hundred miles from home, and tired, I asked if we could at least go in and sort this out, with the host. The guard said no, and suggested that we phone her. We phoned and texted, but heard nothing back. I called Airbnb on Saturday night, at 4:00 PM and was on hold for 30 minutes. Despite the distance, we drove home.
Two hours later, at 6:00 PM, the host phoned me. She was actually screaming: “You are so RUDE. The cops were never at my place. I’m calling my lawyer. You know what your problem is? You believe minimum-wage guards, with high school diplomas. The bottom 98% is who you believe! I’m educated, in the TOP 2% but you chose to believe minimum wage workers.”
Having worked with many psychotic individuals and mentally unwell folks as a career choice, I clearly saw a narcissistic explosion in full swing. Perhaps some other Axis II going on as well. She had been caught doing something that wasn’t allowed. Professionally, it was interesting. However, I wanted a refund.
I explained to the host what the guard said, and that perhaps he was mistaken, that indeed the cops were at someone else’s residence last night, not hers. Be that as it may, a paid representative of the community stated that no Airbnbs were allowed within their gates. The host agreed to a refund. I expected it that night.
When I didn’t receive it, I called Airbnb. This was at about 11:00 PM the same night. Someone picked up the phone right away. She heard my “side” of the story. She said that she would have to call the host, and to made a determination of what would be done, she would have to hear her side as well. About twenty minutes later, the customer service person phoned me back. She said that the host didn’t answer, and that a refund would be issued. During our phone call, the host had told me that she would refund me, and that I may never contact her again. Okay with me.