Hosts and Airbnb: Perfect Partners in Crime

It was my first time using the Airbnb website to rent an apartment in Paris. I expected that I could get a better deal than hotel rooms; in the end, I had been forced to pay more than that for an IBIS or Holiday Inn.

Last month, I went to Paris with four of my friends. They were from Vietnam. They were very excited because it was their first time visiting Paris. All we needed was low cost accommodation for three nights. We decided to get an apartment for the five of us from the Airbnb website. After spending some time searching on the Airbnb website, we found a place in the north of Paris.

However, before three days we arrived, the host sent us a cancellation notice. We had to look for a different place on the Airbnb website; we did not like it very much but had no choice. Finally we found an apartment in the 18th District; it was in a good location, because it took no more than five minutes to walk from the underground station. The size of the apartment was large enough for the five of us, and it was not expensive – only £415.41.

I am living in London; it is very easy for me to get to Paris. I decided to arrive in Paris at lunchtime on Friday, September 8th. Before I left London, the host sent me an email to inform me his coworker would be there to give me the key. The host also told me if I did not keep everything in the apartment in the same condition as before I would have to pay 50 euro.

When I met his coworker, she asked me for 200 euro; she told me that she needed it for a deposit and this was stated in the contact. I thought that it was normal, so I gave it to her. I asked her if she would return it to me on Monday and she said she would. I did not think very much of it because we were over 50 years old, we had no children traveling with us, and we were not planning on making a mess or breaking anything in the apartment.

My friends could only stay in Paris for three days. I tried to take them around Paris as much as I could. Everyday we left the apartment before 9:00 AM and got back around 9:00 PM. Everybody was tired after a long day of walking and all we needed was sleep.

On Monday, September 11th, the host’s coworker came to collect the key. She went to the shower room to tell me it was wet. I did not clean it; I told her that I could not clean it because there were no amenities. The host did not write on the listing that guests had to clean the property before they left. After that, the coworker came straight to the thin worn out plastic folding door, which separated the first and second bedroom. She pulled it out – it was broken – and she said that we had to pay for it because we broke it.

This was impossible because we never touched it. We could not have broken it unless we intended to pull it out and push it back and continued to do it until it got broken. At this stage, I could see the coworker was trying to take away my 200 Euro deposit; she had it in her pocket, so what could I do? I knew I could not get the full amount back but I had to think to get something back. I told the coworker that we did not break the plastic folding door. It was not an expensive door, so how much did she want us to pay?

The coworker did not answer my question. She started to say she had four children to look after, she could not afford to pay the host, and she only worked for the host. She did not call the host to report what had happened. I could not tell her to talk to her host. So I told her to keep 100 euro and give me back 100 euro. She agreed to that. On the way back to London, I sent many messages to the host to report what the coworker did. The host responded with the following text: “Please tell me, how much did you pay?”

The next day I reported the problems to Airbnb. I hoped that they could determine the truth and get my 100 euros back. The Airbnb staff told me under their regulations no cash transaction were to be paid outside of the Airbnb website. After two weeks, I received an invoice from the host requesting me to pay an additional 810.05 euro; the host wanted me to pay for the broken door and the broken bed and said I did not clean the apartment.

The host had called a big decoration company to come to repair the plastic folding door and the wooden bed frame support, but when I looked at the invoice, I could tell it was a fake invoice; there was no company logo or letterhead, and it was designed on A4 paper by using Microsoft Word. There was no cost break down including the materials cost for each item.

After that, I sent an email to the decoration company to ask about this invoice. They said that they never produced it and they never came to this property to repair anything. I contacted Airbnb to prove it was a fabrication. I also told them that my friends were a doctor, a teacher, a finance officer, and a homecare manager. We had no reason to come to this apartment to break a worn out plastic door or jump up and down to break the bed. I sent Airbnb a link to show how much the plastic folding door would cost on Amazon: around 25 euro. I only wanted my 100 euro back.

After one week, the Airbnb returned with the following decision:

“After careful review of all documentation, we do believe that your host should be compensated for the damages caused during this stay. With that being said, we have concluded to charge you 468 EUR for the following:

– Cost to replace the damaged bed frame (labor fee included): 290 EUR
– Cost to replace the broken door (labor fee included): 378 EUR

As you have paid your host an off-site Security Deposit (200 EUR), we have deducted this amount from the final decision. As of today, we have charged and transferred to your host 250 EUR (237 GBP) of the Security Deposit originally authorized with this reservation.”

I did not know about this 250-euro security deposit; Airbnb took it straight away from my PayPal account after they sent this email. They did not allow me to read their email or to ask them why I had to pay compensation. I also wanted to see the invoice of these repairs. Airbnb was not allowed to tell me these costs without evidence.

– First the host sent me an invoice for 810.05 euro. Airbnb’s decision? 668 Euro
– The Host took my offsite security deposit: 200 Euro
– Airbnb deducted this to make 468 Euro
– The Airbnb security deposit: 250 euro
– Finally, I still owed them: 218 Euro, which I had to pay in 48 hours.

If I did not pay Airbnb, they would remove my account. Airbnb always said no cash transactions outside Airbnb. I asked them why they talked about offsite security deposit in their decision; this was a cash transaction, but the host returned 100 euro to me. If the host didn’t take 200 euro, why did you include a deduction of 200 euro in their decision? How could they take 250 euro from my credit card when we had not finished reaching a decision?

I provided a lot of information about the fake invoice from the host and Airbnb did not bother to talk about it. The host broke Airbnb regulations – cash transactions – so how could the host still be allowed to ask for compensation? I requested to talk to a manager. I also told them to please take me to the court because I would not pay 218 Euro. It was my first and last time I used Airbnb. I will find a way to contact the press or TV to tell them about my Airbnb story. I did not receive any more responses from Airbnb. The Airbnb manager never called me. I am a victim. The host got my 100 euro and Airbnb got my 250 euro. Both of them were a good team for stealing money from guests. Please see the 810.05-euro invoice from the host. Was it fake? Other photos are from the worn out plastic folding door and the wooden support bed frame.

Bully Host in Paris, Never Using Airbnb Again

I returned from my trip to France and Germany about a week ago. For the first time I decided to try Airbnb. My boyfriend and I had used it several times during vacation in the US under his account, and never had an issue. Then, I opened my own account this time to give it a try. Apparently, the review system is a hot mess. I received at least ten emails reminding me to write a review upon returning home. Quite frankly, I had such a bad experience I thought I should just not review it at all: a situation where if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say it at all.

However, I went ahead and wrote a review with the positive aspects of the place, which in reality was a bargain for the location. When I read the host’s review, I found he had given me one star, saying that I was not pleasant, and that I was rude. I was shocked to read those words because I barely exchanged a word with him during my stay in the place, and when we left, he was all giggles and smiles with my boyfriend. It took a lot from me not to tell him what I was thinking about his demeanor.

I am a straightforward person. When things are not good anymore, I just remain silent. I cannot fake being happy with a situation if I am not. This man was the king of fake; in fact, that was the whole issue. He pretended to be okay, and he faked being accommodating. He stressed us so much, and he basically ruined our romantic weekend.

I travel to Paris regularly, and normally use Booking.com or TripAdvisor (and believe me, I do regret not using those for this trip as well). My suspicions of making a mistake started when just a couple of days prior to the trip I did not hear anything from my host. I proceeded to message “her” through the app to arrange our meeting. To my surprise, I was contacted by a man. He replied to my message the day before my trip excusing himself already for replying late (first picture). I was wondering why the listed female host was not responding, but I figured this person was somehow related to her. I did not think much of it, and he requested we use WhatsApp to communicate. I agreed to it, but I assumed he did not have a clue about how cell phones work, because my American phone would only work in wifi friendly areas in France.

We originally sat up a time of 6:00 PM to meet at the place, but as soon as I landed in CDG, I received a message from my boyfriend who was flying from Germany to join me on the weekend trip, telling me Eurowings had a delay of an hour, and we would need to change the check-in time. I did that right away: contacted the host to let him know we would be arriving an hour later than arranged due to a situation beyond my control (second picture). His response to me was the following “Umm, okay – is there any chance you can come beforehand? The apartment is all ready to go and I have the keys. But I do have other plans tonight and had arranged around 6:00 PM.”

Who in their right mind would ask a woman that just traveled eight hours to come and meet beforehand with a male host (not the listed female host), and leave her boyfriend hanging in the airport? Thanks to some miracle, we both arrived at the place at 6:45 PM. At this point my boyfriend, who happens to have a European cellphone, was in constant contact with the host (fifth picture). He was pretending to be cool with the situation, but stressed us out so much by telling us he had to go due to his prior social plans. I had offered to meet him in another part of the city to pick up the keys since I mentioned I was familiar with Paris in my precious texts. He said it was no big deal, and that he would wait.

He was not accommodating at all. When we arrived, I was very tired, and disappointed at him for harassing us. I was very quiet and short. Before he left, I asked, when should we check out, to which he verbally responded: “We will sort it out. I will contact you guys.”

My boyfriend had mentioned at that point that we would like to leave around 1:30 PM because we had bags, and we wanted to go straight to the airport. He said that would work, and still he would contact us. The day before we left, there was no check-out information (sixth picture). It was around 7:21 PM when I told my boyfriend to contact the host since we had not heard from him at all. We had thought that the check-out time would be sometime around 1:30 PM, per our conversation.

Sadly, once again, this host was trying to pull a fast one bullying us. He said that we needed to be checked out by 10:00 AM because he had another person coming in at 11:00 AM. My boyfriend and I went back to the Airbnb website and looked at the listed times for check-in and check-out. “Sophie”, the host we never laid eyes on, listed 11:00 AM for checking out. My boyfriend pointed this out very politely to him, saying we would be ready at that time, as it was indicated in their Airbnb listing (eighth picture).

If you go to the property’s link now, that he has skillfully changed the check out time to 10:00 AM. Thank god for cell phones and the ability to take screen shots. At that point, we thought things were cool, and I actually prepared to leave the place in excellent condition. He failed to mention this in his very objective review. When he arrived in the morning, he was all smiles, and frankly, by then I was extremely dissatisfied with the whole experience. I avoided eye contact with him, and exited as soon as I was able to. However, he made small chat with my boyfriend and walked us out. It occurred to me he was so fake because he was there with the next host.

I forgot to mention he was late once again. Seems like that is his MO. But god forbid someone has a delay in flights that might interfere with his dinner plans. I do not understand what he meant in his review when he is talking about me being unpleasant and rude when he tried to bully us, and he failed at hosting. I am a psychotherapist, and it occurred to me that he might need a psychological evaluation.

I hoped to get a hold of the famous “Sophie” host. I sent a message through Airbnb, but of course Sophie is just a front, because the truth is this guy was in charge of the listing. As for the place, it looked like a storage room that had been conditioned for the sole purpose of renting it. There was no electrical outlet in the bathroom, so I did my hair with my hair iron plugged in the living room. The “bed” was an ungodly uncomfortable couch, and there was no temperature control in the room at all. The electrical breakers for the whole building are in the apartment, and there is no smoke detector alarm.

I hope people thinking about renting this place read my review. I am a world traveler, and have never had such an unpleasant experience. I guess that is what I get for using Airbnb. I should have stayed with Booking.com or TripAdvisor, which I will do for my next trip. I sure hope my next journey to Paris is more pleasant, and erases this terrible experience. Maybe my story will save you some heartache, and aggravation. I hope you don’t have to deal with this man.

Taking Advantage of Shared Economy: Airbnb in Paris

Let’s start at the beginning. I put my commentary here because the Airbnb website only allows five hundred words, clearly not enough to describe my experience. At my arrival, the host complained all the time about the big bag I had. It was my third week holidaying in France with one week at Guédelon and one week climbing in Marseille so yes… I had a big bag with lots of stuff inside. I had to insist not leaving my bag outside.

The apartment was small, smaller than 25 square meters. The host just rounded the number on Airbnb (for legal reasons, probably). At my arrival (more or less midday), nothing was ready. He hadn’t cleaned the room. I told him I would take a tour in Paris so he had time to clean (but after my bag was already inside).

After my tour, I came back to the apartment and saw the host watching TV. The problem was that the TV was in the bedroom where I must sleep and he was sitting in the kitchen. This is why there was no door; he could watch TV through the wall. It’s not a charming thing to see from a host. It was impossible to sleep without his consent (and after two weeks of playing sports and working under the sun, yes, you want to sleep a little). I had to wait until “his majesty” wanted to stop watching TV to have any rest.

It wasn’t even a room; there was no door. He could just come and go anytime he wanted. There was no privacy at all. The sofa was broken. He didn’t repair it; he just put a wooden board under the mattress, meaning it was a horrible night for my back. The host also complained every time I sat on it because… the board could break? He just slept in front of the main door, meaning it was impossible to go out without his agreement or any major evacuation. Or simply impossible to get water during the night or go to the bathroom without annoying him.

The host was not nice. He always complained about everything. For example, As I said, I had a big bag with stuff from my old trip (Guédelon and climbing) meaning there was a smell coming from my bag (I can understand). After an hour speaking with him, even him telling me the smell was coming from me, he just freely insulted me. Funnily enough, I closed my bag and the smell stopped. If the room had had a door, this could also have solved the problem.

The shower was disgusting; I thought I was in prison. There was no key on the door, and a big spider. There was also a cat. It was a cool cat but he slept on the bed and decided to sharpen his claws on my leg at 2:00 AM… that didn’t help me sleep.

After one night, it was impossible for me to stay longed. I looked for a room hotel (Ibis, Holiday Inn, etc.) but everything was full. I had no other choice but to take a ticket train to come back to Brussels (100 euro for the ticket). On the train, I asked the host to refund the money for the nights I didn’t stay via Airbnb. He refused and insulted me again (and probably will insult me again replying to this, as he did in the comments).

Some of his words were so surreal. For example, he said:

  • “If you didn’t find any hotel room in Paris, your mistake cost you 150 euro (An Ibis hotel room price).”
  • “I could find a room in a hotel when I decided to visit Paris, but someone just told me Airbnb was a cool experience.”
  • “Just look at your profile picture, I understand something’s wrong with you. Change it to improve your confidence.”

In conclusion, this host didn’t understand the Uberization and the philosophy of the shared economy. It’s just a guy with who said to himself “hey, I can make money with my crap.” I lost 277 euros (178 for the rent and 99 for the return train ticket) and had to accept that. I asked Airbnb for a case resolution (but honestly, I don’t believe in it). I also asked “Le Bureau de la Protection des Locaux d’Habitation” of Paris to check this guy out. I don’t have lots of experience doing this (or to see how to get my money back) but if someone can help me, please let me know.

Paris Airbnb Host Tries to Extort Positive Review

I rented an Airbnb in Paris, mainly because the location was so good. Check-in was delayed from noon, which is what was advertised, to 8:00 PM. That wasn’t much of an issue, because the host did let me know with plenty of time. When I got to the apartment, it was pretty dirty. I let it go because I wasn’t planning on spending much time there; I had the beautiful city of Paris to see. However, it was reflected in my review.

About a week after I rented the apartment I received the following message: “The apartment was dirty, and some of my belongings were touched and damaged. Did you have a party, and did you use my things? Please tell me directly as I would like to settle this with you directly, rather than legally.”

I did not touch any of his belongings nor did I throw a party (I was in a foreign city alone – who would I have had over for a party?) When I told him I did neither of those things and asked for more information, he responded with: “Ok. I must be mistaken. I suggest you change your review or I’ll put a bad one also for you, which is not good for either of us.”

So, first of all, I can only assume he was trying to extort money out of me. But, then he went so far as to try to influence my review? I don’t even know how he saw my review. I thought those were confidential until they were uploaded, to prevent exactly this type of scenario. I know there are worse stories, but it kind of ruined my day.

Host Didn’t Respond Correctly and Won’t Give Refund

We booked an apartment on the morning of April 12th after having confirmed with the host for an early check-in time as was allowed in the Airbnb rules. The host confirmed and said it was fine. We left the previous apartment where we had been staying and reached the given address. Then we contacted the host for the keys and he didn’t reply. He started saying he could not let us into the apartment before 6:00 PM; we reached the apartment at 10:45 AM. We started beseeching him, saying that we had only left the previous apartment because he confirmed with us… now he starts saying he couldn’t check us in before 6:00 PM?

It was really unfair when we booked the apartment and then someone says it is not possible. After an hour-long discussion with the host I said I would be cancelling the booking as it was not possible for us to wait till 6:00 PM with family and luggage. He messaged me by asking where we were. I told him we were waiting at his door step, which was unfair. Then he refused to give a refund and started saying that he would offer a 50% discount. I said I didn’t even have the keys yet… how could he deduct the amount? It was because of his own rules.

I would welcome any suggestions as I have requested a full refund. The host has not been replying anymore. We were not able to cancel our booking, so we didn’t get a room in Paris that day, just roamed from one hotel to another because of this incident. At night we got an apartment from booking.com and then I cancelled my Airbnb booking. I had a talk with the host to refund 50% of the cost, which has still not been done yet. I’ve attached screenshots of the messages. I don’t want to lose this money. This has made me lose trust in booking from Airbnb.

Airbnb Nightmare in Paris Leaves Guest Struggling

This was the worst Airbnb experience I ever had. I had booked a room at Catherine’s Hostel from February 27th to March 13th and from March 21st to April 1st. The first week everything was fine; I had a single bathroom which was quite fine and so forth. However, a few weeks before March 13th Catherine told me I couldn’t stay in her flat any longer because she had too many guests and there was no room left for me. She wanted to arrange another hostel on Airbnb for me, but the room was located in the 19th arrondissement, which is quite dangerous for someone who’s new to Paris. Even my local friends suggested I not stay there.

I’ve told her this whole situation is unacceptable: after all, I booked the room prior to my arrival and confirmed it before I came to Paris. Now I’m here but I’m not allowed to have a room? This is completely unreasonable. I told her I can’t accept how she dealt with this situation; she took a strong stand against me saying I couldn’t stay at her place, even if I had made a reservation. She said she would give me a full refund if I couldn’t deal with the change. I asked her to do so and found myself another place to stay. I was supposed to receive a refund of at least €300, but for some unknown reason in the end I got €255. I didn’t argue with her because I didn’t want to ruin my holiday mood. If you’re not fond of unanticipated situations in your travelers, I suggest you avoid this Airbnb in case of any trouble.

Paris Host Trying to Steal Security Deposit

My bad luck began when I found a really charming apartment in Paris on Airbnb and cancelled my hotel at booking.com. Apparently my host was very sweet, but time and again proved to be greedy. She demanded money for everything including early check in, a crib, and even an extra sofa bed which was listed in the property details already. Anyway, I paid and stayed there. I left yesterday and she knew I was in Paris for few more hours after check out and didn’t contact me at all. Now she opened a request for damaged goods demanding 500 euros. And what she listed doesn’t even exist in her apartment. Now she says her maid took pictures which she hasn’t shared yet, but reading stories here I’m not very optimistic. Should I block my credit card already? I have another booking coming up with Airbnb in two days for which I have already paid in advance. I’m not sure what to do.