Another Story of an Airbnb Vacation Nightmare

This was a very recent experience – mid-October 2017 – for a long planned and awaited trip to New York City. I am still immersed with the mess which I will relate in the following. Enclosed is my review of the experience, which Airbnb recently informed me they would not post onto the listing. Before posting it on the listing, they reviewed it. They said I had one chance at writing a review and since it didn’t follow their strict guidelines, I would not be given the opportunity to edit it so it could be posted.

In my research I learned that 95% of their posted reviews are positive. The bad ones never make it. That meant that people would not learn the truth of what caused my case to be the nightmare that it was.

“I wish I did not have to give a terrible review, but my experience was so negative that I have to warn others about this situation. The host was avoidant and unresponsive in her communication and her unwillingness to address critical problems about her living space led me to have to forfeit my stay with her and greatly upset my long planned trip. She was initially prompt in responding to my interest and I booked the room for nine nights.

As it was a brand new listing when I booked it, there were no reviews. I was excited about staying there. Unfortunately when I arrived in late evening, the elevator was not working and she did not mention that she lived on the 7th floor on her profile or anywhere else. I am a senior citizen and although active for my age, the seven-floor climb – each floor consisted of two long flights, fourteen total – to the room with luggage was horrible. I texted and phoned the host before ascending, but received no response.

Along the way I met three sets of residents who all said that this unreliable elevator was a long time, ongoing problem; indicating that she likely had prior knowledge of this malfunction. I stayed the night because it was so late. I called Airbnb immediately after reaching the apartment and they were sympathetic to my not being able to stay there. The next morning I called and texted the host asking her to speak with me so we could figure things out. She texted that she would call me when she was out of the subway. She never did.

The next three days were consumed with dealing with Airbnb customer service – 15 emails and 16 phone calls totaling 3 hours and 36 minutes. The host unexpectedly canceled my reservation, stating she did not feel comfortable with me staying there. Under Airbnb rules, she was able to keep my money for the nine nights even though I only stayed there one night.”

I was very upset with the final determination to refund a token amount of my money. Airbnb never accounted for the lack of full disclosure in the listing as well as the host’s total unresponsiveness in the situation. Certainly if I knew the listing was on the 7th floor in a 97-year-old building, I would not have booked it. Three weeks later, with full knowledge of my experience at the site, there have been no revisions on the listing to state it is a 7th floor rental with an unreliable elevator.

Airbnb, in denying the posting of my review, has contributed to/aided and abetted the dishonesty of this listing. The host continues to offer the listing omitting vital information that definitely would compromise her ability to rent it out, and Airbnb stands silently by taking their cut of the bookings.

I have done research on this site and many other resources to realize the ugly truth about Airbnb. You think their customer service is being helpful when all they are doing is wasting your time and wearing you down with the expectation that all will be resolved justly. It is disheartening that a $30 billion company consistently and definitively demonstrates a lack of regard and interest for the well being of its guests.

Airbnb Host Wanted Guests to Feel the Heat

We arrived at a rental for an entire house ($1200 US for three nights) with high expectations as it was advertised with air conditioning in the amenities. The host (Adam) was not there but left his cell phone number. On arrival, we found a single wall air conditioning unit in the first floor hall and turned it on. When we went to the second and third floors looking for the other units we were surprised; there were none and the temperature was 85F outside with 80% humidity. The host answered his phone and said to “close all the windows and leave the air conditioning on high.” The upstairs temperature continued to rise making it impossible to sleep or even breathe. We contacted the host the following morning and he said that he’d “see about renting a portable air conditioning unit.” We told him we’d be out for the day and he had our cell phone number.

We were surprised on our late afternoon return that there was no new air conditioning unit. There was an email on our 4:10 PM return that said he tried to find one but there was none. He was on a “waiting list” and if that wasn’t an acceptable solution we’d have to vacate by 4:00 PM, which had already past. We called him again and he became verbally abusive telling us that “he knew that New Yorkers would be trouble.” Luckily a friend from the town was with us and we found a local electronics store (thanks to Harvey Norman Inc) which had units in stock, but were closing at 4:30 PM. We rushed over, picked up the unit, and after six hours the third floor bedroom was cool enough to use.

When we told the host we spent 300 AUD he said we couldn’t use the unit because his electricity bill would skyrocket. We continued to use it anyway. Our friend kept the air conditioner when we departed two days later for the US. The host changed his Airbnb posting after we left so that it no longer said that the place had air conditioning in the amenities but then gave us a bad review; we never even reviewed him but did delete our Airbnb account. Never again. Airbnb gave us $175 US back and a credit for $100 since the host would not return his emails.