Thanks to Airbnb I Gained $500 and Lost $15000

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As with many Airbnb hosts, I decided to rent my flat in Dubai for some extra money while I was going away on winter holidays; it seems like a great deal through Airbnb. Little did I know back then that I was going to lose almost half my wardrobe and three of my expensive handbags, altogether worth about $15000.

The group of guests was from France, and there were four of them: the one I was in touch with, her mom and two siblings. The guest didn’t have her full name on her Airbnb profile; she is from France – Provence area, most probably Nice. I had all of my clothes, shoes, and handbags locked with a bike locker in my closet. I left five days before the group was going to check in, had the keys left at the reception and my cleaning lady coming the day before and after their check in to prepare the flat.

As the group checked in just after midnight, they only collected the key from reception; no one was there to wait for them. When I returned to Dubai after three weeks, I didn’t even notice that first day that something was missing. The lock was in place. Only on the second day when I start unpacking did I realize that my Chanel ($6000) and Fendi ($3000) handbags were missing. That’s when the nightmare started. I realized they opened the lock, went inside my closet, and locked it back up after stealing my stuff.

I first went to the security in my building to report what had happened and ask them to check the CCTV cameras from in front my flat’s door. It took me about two days to watch all three weeks of recordings and saw no one else except the Airbnb guests and my maid entering the flat. It wasn’t the maid – she came and left carrying her own small bag. Meanwhile I started noticing more and more stuff missing: Louis Vuitton bag ($2100), Louboutin shoes, Balmain Dress ($1600), Fendi scarf ($1000), two D&G T-shirts ($800), Liujo Coat ($300) and many other clothes (the whole list is attached).

All this time I must have called the Airbnb customer service line at least seven times. Each time I spoke to a different person who said that perhaps Airbnb might reimburse me some of the money and that I had to file a complaint. I filled the complaint and involved Airbnb under the “Host Guarantee Program” – which is totally useless by the way. They took three days to reply, they never investigated anything from my side, they only wrote me a short email (screenshot attached below), and they never wanted to tell me the guest’s full name, even though they had her ID.

She created her Airbnb profile just before she booked my place – that should have already been a question mark for Airbnb that they must be professional thieves. However, Airbnb didn’t care and acted arrogant, eventually not replying to my emails. After trying and calling Airbnb again, I got the same answer as before: “We can not do anything because it is not our department taking care of it.”

What a lame excuse. Basically you can never reach the department you want through the phone on Airbnb. I involved the police as well. The investigation is still ongoing but there’s little they can do if the thieves are already out of the country. Now I am left without my expensive goods. Airbnb was totally useless and careless; they never even bothered to give me a phone call to ask about what happened and if they could be of any help. Basically Airbnb is covering for thieves, but they don’t care as long they are getting money out of it. Airbnb’s staff have no power or knowledge of what is happening around them.

I will never use Airbnb again, and you should think twice before giving your house to strangers. I should mention that I did rent my flat before on Airbnb twice but both times everything was in place. I thought Airbnb was really a decent site and not everyone can just make an account and get away with illegal situations. In addition, I thought no one would dare to steal in Dubai.

List of missing stuff: Chanel bag – $6000 · Fendi bag – $3000 · Louis Vuitton bag – $2100 · Balmain dress – $1600 · 2 D&G tshirts – $800 · Fendi scarf – $1000 · Liu Jo coat – $300 · Hermes scarf – $200 · Louboutin shoes · Kenzo dress – $300 · Michael Kors dress – $200 · Old iPhone 5 · Victoria’s Secrets bath rope · Speaker · Pair of trainers · Hair lotion, perfumes, body cream, face scrub – basically everything expensive they could found.

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Football Game Turned Disastrous for Host

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What was supposed to be a routine family stay for one night with two adults and two children turned into a nightmare for me, the host. The guest booked was coming from out of town for the evening to attend a Monday night football game. He was supposed to be leaving early the next morning.

First of all, they could not follow check-in instructions and attempted to get in the wrong door, resulting in an angry phone call to me complaining that they could not get in. I realized they were at the wrong door and instructed them how to get in – no big deal really. The next day I went to change the bedding, towels, etc, and the first thing I noticed was water dripping off the counter in the kitchen, running into a cabinet and onto the floor. The entire counter was flooded and the coffee maker was plugged in and immersed in water. It was a Kuerig and was totally flooded with water. It was ruined and had tripped the circuit breaker.

Next I found all the bedding piled in the center of the bed. I removed it to find a peed up blanket, comforter, sheets, and mattress pad; even the mattress was soaked. I decided to tour the entire house at that point and found surprises in every room. My entire home had been ransacked and searched –
every room, every drawer, every cabinet and closet.

The heat upstairs was left on at nearly 80 degrees. An unfinished attic space was entered, ransacked, and the lights were left on. This was a room no one should have any reason to go into (I have now locked that room down). I went to get the vacuum out of the utility room, and it was broken. It looked like it was ridden as a toy – not used, but just abused. The plastic parts could not be repaired and it was now junk.

I opened the blinds on the patio door and noticed my awning was half extended. It wouldn’t operate anymore. The remote for it had been hanging on the wall behind a TV and it was laying on the counter. It was cold and dark out when the guest arrived and there would have been no reason to even use the awning. It appears to be ruined.

All the while, I have been trying to get an estimate to Airbnb for a resolution. I began taking pictures and documenting. Everything pointed to my final conclusion that the parents arrived with fast food and several canned and bottled alcoholic beverages, left their 12- and 6-year-olds unattended in my home, and headed for the game. What could possibly go wrong with that? Who takes their young children to a strange city, in a strange home, and leaves them alone?

All of the damages were done by the children, unknown to the parents. They later said they didn’t even know about a vacuum cleaner or an awning. Of course they didn’t – they weren’t even there. After finding several used K-cup pods, I also concluded that the kids had several cups of coffee before they broke it. Kids jacked up on coffee and left alone in a home…

I was emailed by Airbnb yesterday denying my claim in full even after providing proof, pictures, receipts, and the like. I have been in contact with them multiple times, the whole time thinking they would settle for something with their host guarantee. I originally asked for $2,500 and got nothing? It is evident that Airbnb will not honor their host guarantee even with unrefutable proof of loss. I am now working out of Airbnb Hell and looking for other options for my house so this doesn’t happen again.

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Be Prepared to Kiss your Damage Deposit Goodbye

Along with my husband and adult daughter, I rented a modest basement apartment from April 15-17 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada through Airbnb. This location was chosen for an Easter visit because of proximity to our son, daughter in law and grandson. I was surprised at the high damage deposit of $500 for this sparse unit but, knowing we are very careful, I decided to go ahead. During our stay the seat of a chair broke. I immediately let the host know and apologized, receiving a hostile response. Examining the chair and a matching chair, revealed dry, fragile leather that could be easily torn with fingertips. The second chair had a slit through the seat that one could see right through. We also realized that several other items in the unit were broken, precariously placed, or on the verge of breaking.

I met with the host alone, so no other family members would suffer. She demanded money, tried to shame me, pushed me and insulted our son. Once home and already stressed, I was confronted with a claim for $2,000. Several months passed with many reassurances of ‘fairness’ from Airbnb employees and promises that a manager would contact me. They took $250 from my damage deposit, even though it was clear the host was lying. Also, others should know that when I complained that her review was full of lies (a mistake, since I have no intention of ever using Airbnb again, but a matter of principle) they took it down but also took mine down. Do not believe reviews; the bad ones disappear. Now that fall is here, I have resumed my efforts to shake a responsible person out of Airbnb and to warn others. I am especially concerned for young people who rely on Airbnb. They worry that their reviews will be poor and likely hand money over to such unscrupulous hosts.

Lacrosse Team of Twenty Trashes Airbnb Home

I hosted an Airbnb guest who booked our home for five people. He then had his entire club team from the Virginia Commonwealth University stay in our home. They did damage to our home by making holes in walls, smashing windows, breaking furniture, etc. Airbnb will not consider receipts we provided for the damage because they are not on company letterhead. We live in a small town of 6,000 people and our dry cleaners have no computers for this. They will not explain the process of documenting damage so our cleaning crew can be trained by vocational rehabilitation. Our professional crew is from Autism Enterprise and they hire adults living with autism. For example, damage to the sheets was photographed on the bed and someone from the Trust and Safety Team wanted all four sheet sets photographed in one photo over ten days after the issue with the guest. The Trust and Safety Team asked for links for replacement items and then used links that were nothing like the item that was damaged. They asked for reports and invoices from carpenters and then denied everything on report after the guest admitted to damaging our home. I’m still waiting for a response but Airbnb seems to be unethical and unaccommodating of people with disabilities.

Airbnb Does Not Have the Backs of Superhosts

I am disgusted and disappointed with Airbnb, and I couldn’t be more heartbroken to admit that because over the last year, after Superhosting over 55 guests, having almost perfect scores across the board (last check was 4.9 Stars), being an advocate for Airbnb to everyone I know, feeling so lucky to be able to make much needed income while still working and taking care of my family, Airbnb has made me feel like nothing the only time I’ve really needed them, for damage that was done while a guest was staying.

On August 29th, almost a month ago, during a guest’s stay in my Airbnb-hosted basement, the toilets got clogged. As always, when a guest needs something, we have done everything in our power to help, fix it and exceed expectations. Since the electricity had gone off down there to a portion of it, along with sewage water flooding from my storage room down there too, I immediately made arrangements for my guests to move (at my own expense) to another home, bought them pizza, and called out a plumber to see what was going on.

After the plumber finally arrived that evening, he finally found the problem: baby wipes had been apparently flushed down the basement toilet (he literally pulled them out of the broken pipe in the storage room). He attempted to get the ejector pump working again. Realizing it was completely broken – also advising us that the overuse of the electricity the pump was putting out while trying to process the baby wipes, had tripped the electricity – he said that because the pump had been installed with the home when it was built, he would have to call the manufacturer to get a quote and then include installation fees and he said we’d also have to pay for an electrician to come out to fix the wiring.

In the meantime I went to the basement to start taking pictures of everything before I started my normal “cleaning up” after guests. Since there wasn’t electricity, it was the first time I really had looked in the bathroom area (where the toilet had gotten clogged in the first place). There was an empty container of baby wipes still sitting on the counter next to the toilet. I immediately look pictures of that and it was only at that moment I had evidence this was something my guests (not intentionally of course) obviously did.

After getting the estimate from the plumber of over $1250 just to fix the broken pump (several days later) and knowing the costs of the amount of things I had thrown out due to sewage water in the basement, the future cost of an electrician, etc., I was so deflated because I knew it was something one of my Airbnb guests had caused and I knew I wouldn’t be able to host (which has been a large portion of my income over the last year) until I could get that fixed. As a struggling mom trying to take care of her family, I knew I couldn’t afford the costly repairs on my own, which started me really looking into the host guarantee that Airbnb had always talked so highly of (especially to me, as a Superhost). As long as we submitted all documentation and proof of the damage and followed the steps of the process, I thought everything would be fine.

I won’t bore you with all the details (and I have every single one of them written down) but sadly since my first call to Airbnb on September 2nd (where I not only got hung up the first time, but waited over 20 minutes the second time, only to get a representative that didn’t seem to know anything about what he was talking about), I did everything they asked. I sent in a claim. I sent several online messages (that took them days to respond to and offered no real help in any way. I submitted documentation, pictures, and estimates from the plumber. I finally successfully got a case submitted, and had to wait for the guest to decline it for Airbnb to get involved.

Once they started getting involved on September 17th it really got quiet. Even after multiple calls to Airbnb, calls I made to them (as no one ever reached out to me proactively, despite the promises of getting assigned a person or that someone was “working on it”) days continued to go by, days with me getting no income or even being able to begin repairs to the area. I couldn’t even get the security deposit back, even though that is something the guests agreed to from the beginning.

After every call, after hours on the phone, frustrating conversations that led nowhere and being told “that group can’t get inbound or make outbound calls”, “we have no way of contacting them”, “they’ll get to it”, the most disgusting response of all being a guy who told me “I’m sorry, there’s no supervisor or manager you can talk to because they won’t be able to do anything to help either”, I was at my wit’s end. I begged for a supervisor, a manager, or anyone that could escalate the situation, not just the claim either.

At that point, since I was unable to host or even start repairs since that last guest checked out on September 6th in my basement, I had lost over $1700 worth of income based on what my rentals had been running after a year of hosting. I was getting nowhere and begged for someone to just tell me what to do, since I was late on bills and had a basement that didn’t even work. My bank account balance didn’t allow me to repair it myself and I shouldn’t have had to pay for it anyway, since it was the guest’s fault.

Airbnb does not have our backs, as hosts or Superhosts, no matter the good and dedicated Superhosts we’ve been to them and all of our trusted guests. I’m stuck. I’ve ended my relationship with Airbnb – not because I wanted to, but because they are forcing me to. I was wasting so many frustrated hours on the phone getting nowhere, talking to people that ultimately couldn’t and wouldn’t do anything, and no one is losing more than me in that. I am left with no guests, no repairs, and more bills I can’t afford to pay (bills that I shouldn’t have to pay) and Airbnb doesn’t seem to care at all, despite the faith I had in them.

I just want to be able to fix my basement, be compensated for my losses and loss of income from the days in which my case had just been waiting to be “looked at”. I guess at the very least I just hope someone who really cares about what Airbnb truly stands for will see this, hear me, fix what they should fix and do something, do anything to regain my trust. I just can’t tell you how much sadness and anger this whole situation has added to my life over the past month, a month that was hard enough as it was. I worked so hard to host happy guests. It had brought me so much joy up until I saw Airbnb’s true colors, and those colors certainly aren’t as pretty as they first might appear.

House Completely Destroyed by Airbnb Guests

I rented my villa in Marbella, Spain to a guest from Ireland. He informed me his family were arriving the following day. Subsequently I found out that six or more young guys turned up and in the week they were in my house, they destroyed it. Airbnb has been ‘looking into this’ for five weeks now. They blocked two toilets with whole rolls of toilet paper, ripped a door off the hinges, broke my washing machine, made cigarette burns on my brand new couches, vomited on the bed and walls and around the toilet, made marks all over the walls, and somehow got them wet. I had to employ three cleaning ladies for eight hours each, fix the toilets and door, and purchase new linen, towels, and glasses for what wasn’t broken or thrown out. I’m not sure how many people were sleeping on the bed but the supporting boards were also broken and this was a €3000 bed. The damage and costs equate to around €10,000. At check out, when we were supposed to meet, they vacated the premises and locked me out of the house without meeting me or giving me the keys back. I had to employ a locksmith on a Sunday to change my locks. It has caused me a lot of stress and my house is ruined.

Guests Trashed our Home, Airbnb Ignores us for Weeks

This guest and his family completely trashed  our home. We came home after five weeks to a complete infestation of flies, fruit flies, maggots, bed bugs and lice. This guest never took their trash out in five weeks in July; they simply left it in the house and, as you can imagine, the condition of it was deplorable. We found piles of maggot-filled trash bags inside our home. The smell of rotting food and trash was overpowering. The swarms of flies required multiple treatments from a professional exterminator, who said he had never seen anything like it. They apparently ate in every room in the house (living room, bedrooms, bathroom) and left spilled food on the rugs, couches, and bathroom floor. I’m not talking about crumbs; these were chunks of meat, broccoli, and tomatoes on our furniture just surrounded in flies and maggots.

They broke our TV, refrigerator, and dishwasher, ripped our brand new bed sheets and bedspreads, put tables on top of bureaus (why?), left the mattresses on the floor (had taken off the bed frames), and clogged up the kitchen and bathroom sinks with god only knows what. Our home will never be the same. It’s been over two weeks and the stench of these disgusting people is still in our home. We had to have exterminators come back twice to eradicate the flies and eventually had to throw everything away: beds, couches, pillows, rugs, sheets, towels. We hired professional cleaners to remove the dead bugs not once but twice. These guests lived like complete animals but that does not explain how as human beings, they could completely disrespect and destroy another person’s home.

We have been going all through the proper channels with Airbnb for three weeks and we cannot even get anyone to contact us regarding our claim for over $20,000 worth of damage. They supposedly cover up to $1,000,000 but I don’t believe it. We’ve been waiting on hold for hours at a time, and sending multiple emails with no response. Customer service agents claim to have no authority to do anything except send an email to a supervisor say they will contact us but they never do. We sent 50+ pictures of the damage to our home, videos, receipts for everything, a copy of the police report, and there has been nothing from Airbnb.

Our family has been displaced from our home for three weeks, having to stay in hotels and pay for and replace our damaged items completely on our own. Our lives have been put on hold and this incident has caused our family great emotional and financial duress.

Airbnb Guests Throw Party And Damage Our Home

I am sharing my story because I feel all hosts need to know how important it is to protect your home from unruly guests. We recently had our first guest in our vacation home on the Columbia River by the Gorge Ampitheatre. Sadly, our first experience did not go very well. We met the group coming in (a party of eight), went over the house rules, walked them around our home, and felt like we connected with them. Our home is a special place in the world, and we really were hoping to attract people that would enjoy it.

Unfortunately, our guests decided to host a party there and had over 50 people in our home. Our floors subsequently were damaged (over $14,000). We contacted Airbnb. We were directed to message the guests to see if they would pay for the damages. After three days of no resolve, we were allowed to escalate this to a case manager and seek coverage under the “Host Guarantee”. Our case manager asked us to get a bid from a contractor as well as furnish them with the original cost of the flooring (not the easiest thing to find, but we did). They had us send pictures of the damage to them as well as provide a professional statement from the contractor. We did all of this (keeping in mind we live over two hours away from our vacation home), and in the end, Airbnb emailed this to us (our home is 800 square feet):

Thank you for your patience throughout this process. After careful review of all related documentation and communication, we have issued a $50 security deposit payout for the reported damage. You can view this payout in your Transaction History. While the documentation you provided far exceeds this amount, Airbnb is only able to reimburse for fair market value of the damaged areas in question. The average laminate flooring costs from $2.40-$4 per square foot and since you have higher grade flooring, we’ve issued the payout based on $5 per square foot for the 10 feet of estimated damage. It’s been a pleasure to assist you. Please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns regarding this case.

$50 on damages over $14,000 (we have a $1500 security deposit on our rental… who knows where that went) and no further explanation as to how they came up with $50. We have emailed, called, and have gotten no support or help. I am shocked as a frequent Airbnb traveler as I have always had good experiences. As a host, this can’t be the way business is conducted. We are devastated. Does anyone have any thoughts or ideas as to where to take this issue?

Broken Door Claim at Airbnb in Las Vegas

I have a condo at the MGM Signature in Las Vegas that i just recently started listing on Airbnb. I had a guest stay on Mother’s Day weekend with her boyfriend. I got a message on Airbnb from the guest saying that she was locked in the room for two hours and that MGM employees had to break down the door to let her out. After following up with the employees I found out that the door was broken on arrival. It appeared that someone had kicked in the door at the lock, causing it to malfunction. The engineer had to take apart the lock to let her out. It cost $580 to repair the door. I have statements from the engineer stating the door was broken when he arrived yet Airbnb has refused to pay. Also, she was not locked in for “two hours”. The engineer had her out of the room 20 minutes after the call was placed. She says she waited two hours to call because she was trying to open the door herself. The manager stated that her boyfriend was clearly intoxicated when the incident happened. I am furious that Airbnb let her get away with it. There is no “host guarantee” – none at all. It’s false advertisement; a class action suit needs to be made against Airbnb.

My Place was Trashed and Airbnb won’t Pay

A guest booked my place for three nights. She agreed to my house rules: no parties, no noise, be respectful of neighbors, and have a maximum of four occupants. She hosted a prom party with a large group until 4:00 AM and trashed my place: they jumped on the bed, ripped kitchen back splash tiles off the walls, left spilled booze pooling on my countertop (it seeped into the seam, inflated and warped the countertop so much I had to replace it). All of the linens, comforters, blankets and towels were covered in food, makeup, and booze. The inside of the oven was black with food scraps and a big pile of stinking, rotten forgotten food. The floors and furniture were covered in scattered garbage, half eaten food, drink bottles, and personal items that had been left behind. My dishes and decorations were found tossed around in different rooms. What normally takes four hours to clean took twelve hours. The cleaning and countertop repairs cost me over $700. Airbnb took eleven days to get back to me, despite many calls I made asking for an update. They responded via email, refusing to pay for anything and described it as normal wear and tear. I emailed them back twice asking for someone to contact me, but they have not. I have hosted for almost two years and have had hundreds of guests. I have never put a claim in. I have zero trust and don’t feel safe using Airbnb after their refusal to honor the host guarantee. If it doesn’t cover partiers trashing your home, what does it cover? It appears that the host guarantee is a scam that gives you a false sense of security. If your place gets trashed you have no recourse.