Moldy, Faulty Wiring, Broken Windows, Next to a Prison….

Dangerous safety and health issues, among many other problems, prompted us to leave our Airbnb in Buena Vista, Colorado after one terrible night. We have stayed in comparably priced facilities in Colorado and have never encountered anything even remotely this bad. Good luck getting any money back. We aren’t the only ones to have problems with this property either.

1. The house smelled moldy, especially in the downstairs bedrooms. In the kitchen trash were the lids from two “Damp Rid Odor Genie” units which confirmed that the place had moisture and odor problems. We both had runny noses for the remainder of our trip.

2. The smoke alarm was in pieces on a shelf. In a house with iffy wiring (#3) that was of particular concern.

3. When I plugged in my phone charger in I found another plug in the socket, connected to an extension cord-type wire that ran outside through a hole drilled in the window frame. In the kitchen there was another jerry-rigged extension cord for a light fixture, with a broken in-line switch. Upstairs there was a light over the bathroom sink similarly jerry-rigged. It did not work at all.

4. During the night I got up to close the window, which was open when we got there. It would not work. The next day I saw that the closing mechanism was not connected to the window itself. When we left the next day we closed it and another window by going outside and pushing them shut.

5. In one bedroom there was a large hole in the floor that had various odds and ends stashed in it.

6. That bedroom contained a laundry machine which still had wet items inside from the previous occupants.

7. The kiva fireplace was blocked by a large TV set.

8. The wifi worked properly only in the kitchen.

9. Both bathrooms had problems. The tub downstairs was very slick, the cold water control hard to shut off, and the toilet seat was terribly discolored. The upstairs shower had the hot and cold controls reversed. When we hung a towel on the hook by the shower the hook came out of the wall.

10. The front door lock and deadbolt were hard to operate, somewhat of a concern given the men’s state prison a short walk from the house.

11. The sorely needed “warning tape” on the many interior steps was worn off in places.

We have photos to document the above. Per this KKTV report the owner does not like negative reviews, which is the only leverage customers have. In short, stay away.

Negative Review of Crazy Host Deleted by Airbnb

This was truly the most negative Airbnb experience we ever had. I say this as someone who has hosted 300+ people and stayed in about ten Airbnb’s over the past six years. We stayed here for 2.5 months but we should have left earlier; we failed to notice early warning signs of bad hosting and I wish we read his other negative reviews better. We were hoping things would improve, but they only became worse.

To give you an idea: three weeks without a toilet (needed to flush using a bucket), broken air conditioner, every day there was new cat pee on the balcony, which prevented us from opening the door (we got tired after cleaning each day), lightbulbs spontaneously burning and incorrectly installed lights (made by the host) that caused electrical problems and electric shocks from the washing machine (a fire hazard), many rusty nails sticking out of the hardwood floor that ruined all of our socks (and hurt our feet), description says “A/C” but there’s only air conditioning in the bedrooms, a check-out fee (an early check-in fee is understandable, but a check-out fee during the daytime?), and lying about heating in the apartment – we had to wear winter jackets when autumn had just started.

The wifi didn’t work on my phone and the host said: “It’s working on my phone; nobody has ever had wifi issues in my apartments.” We read in at least five reviews that his other places had wifi issues too. The windows leaked when it rained, and there was a nightclub that was open until 7:00 AM and was very loud (I specifically asked the host about this; he just lied about it). The worst thing, however, was both hosts. In early messages they were friendly, but this changed as soon as they received payment – their tone soon became sarcastic and at times even offensive.

The very first day the 25+ year old air conditioner broke down, it was 90+ degrees out. The host refused to repair it. In the end they even wanted us to pay for repairing the flush of the 35-year-old toilet by saying we broke it. According to reviews of other guests and according to the plumber the toilet has been having problems months before we arrived. They knew about this but still tried to charge us.

We tried to solve some of the problems with the host and Nina at first. They were never helpful (at best) and at times even rude (at worst). Looking at how badly they dealt with the air conditioner, the nightclub, and the toilet and wifi issues we noticed we couldn’t expect much from them, so we stopped asking. Later the host said, “Why you didn’t ask me?” Well, we did notify them several times, but they just chose to ignore us.

The review above was deleted by Airbnb, because we mentioned other reviews. Why don’t they then remove that one sentence? Does this happen often? I wonder how many negative reviews Airbnb deletes on a yearly basis based on this. After the review was live for a very short time, the host even sent me this: “How can you be so repulsive? The lowest kind of human behavior… when did I not answer your problems? We constantly attended to your requests! You need to go to a hotel, not an apartment.”

This only confirms how crazy he was. While they never ever attended to the issues, this message comes on top of everything that happened. I need to say again that I was very understanding and even kind during our conversations, being a former host myself, but this host was completely uncooperative. We read some negative reviews about this host but wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt; as a former host I know how unreasonable guests can be. I now wish we didn’t. The least Airbnb can do is publish our review and warn future guests.

Hosts Cancel, But Airbnb Sends Reservation Reminder

In November 2016, my wife made two different Airbnb reservations for a trip to Atlanta, where I would be attending a conference. The first reservation was cancelled within days by the host. The opportunities to get a room where the conference was being held were limited. She went ahead and made the second reservation with another host. About a month later, the that one was cancelled too. There was still time to book with the conference hotel, but we decided we could do better and found a UU’re Home host very close. We’ve stayed with UU’re Home hosts before, and they were wonderful.

Fast forward three months, and the trip was coming up. Guess what? Airbnb sent me a “Reservation Reminder” (my wife put my email address on the trip), and it said the second reservation she had booked was coming up in a few days. I logged in, and voila, the trip shows: “Cancelled – this reservation was cancelled by the host.” Are we going to be billed? Does Airbnb’s system really know what is going on? I found the 855 number to call Airbnb to complain. However, they won’t talk to me because the reservation was made by my wife. All I want to know is if we will be billed. I can forward the email from Airbnb, but they won’t talk to me. My wife has to call and wait in their queue. Do they know why I received an email reminder for my cancelled reservation? They want more information, but won’t talk to me. I’m going to tell my wife to call them and make sure we won’t be billed. I’ve saved a screen shot of the Airbnb page showing the cancellation. Why can’t Airbnb get their act together? And why do they let hosts cancel stays frequently?

Airbnb: Easy for Guests, Frustrating for Hosts

As a host, Airbnb is not easy to deal with. If you have just one listing, it will take you a while to negotiate the system. Misunderstandings between lovely guests and yourself will make the experience barely worth the effort. I am a travel agent by trade. However, I have an Airbnb account and have tried to get three listings up and running. If you even attempt to create a second or third listing, the reviews will all be on the same listing. How are potential guests going to figure out why the feedback doesn’t even fit the room they are looking at? Also, your photos will get mixed up: when you open your profile, the photo listed may not even be there. Apparently, the photos randomly change. I cannot work it out and have had no success with contacting them. They keep asking if I am okay now and if they can close communication; the answer is always no.

The profile picture for your listing will be determined by Airbnb. You will have to delete the one they chose and play cat and mouse with them to get the one you want. The staff members barely speak English and sound really harried. You can email them but that will just be a communication exercise gone wrong. All in all, the site is horrible to use. I have stayed using Airbnb and that was easier, as anything other than the most basic hosting will be a nightmare.

Airbnb Charged USD when Price was in CAD

A few tips to potential Airbnb guests:

1. Customer Service is basically non-existent. So be extremely careful not to make any mistake, or you’ll have to pay for it.

2. Do not click “instant booking” if you are not 100% sure you want it, because you’ll be instantly charged if the host accepts, which usually happens in a few minutes. It’s better to contact your host if you have any concerns prior to booking.

3. Check Airbnb’s cancellation policies carefully. They’re stricter than those at most competitors.

4. Always double check the price with currency symbols because you might get overcharged.

I did my search via airbnb.ca and found an apartment listed for 157 CAD/night. I requested to book the apartment for seven nights with four guests. The host responded and the total price was 1238 CAD on the pre-approval email; the total price was calculated based on guest numbers plus service fees. I then clicked on the “Book Now” button from the email and got re-directed to Airbnb Canada’s payment site. The price amount on the page was still 1238 CAD, so I paid. Since I had been doing all the transactions through Airbnb Canada, I assumed everything was still in CAD. Apparently the currency symbol on the payment page switched to USD without me noticing. I was actually charged 1619 CAD and ended up paying $381 more in Canadian dollars. I tried to contact customer service but haven’t had much progress yet. Overall I think the Airbnb website has an appealing UI interface, but the business practice does not favor customers. I will not use it again or recommend to others.

Reflections from a Guest: Airbnb is Going Downhill Fast

As long term Airbnb users, we can say it that is starting to go south and management doesn’t care. Firstly the currency conversion fees: when I book in a location with a different currency I am forced to use Airbnb’s woeful rates (more profit to Airbnb). I’d rather use my bank’s rates, but can’t do that anymore. Next we have awful hosts (looking at you NYC). What happens here is you enquire about a booking for given dates at the advertised price. The host comes back with a ‘special offer’ which is much higher than the advertised rate and may or may not include a ‘please pay me XXX on arrival in cash as well’. Nope, the calendar price is what we will pay. Suddenly, ‘I’m sorry the house is no longer available’. A bit of a grey area, but customer support doesn’t really care as there has not yet been a confirmed booking. Although a confirmed booking does not seem to matter either, as my next and last gripe will explain.

This has happened twice now. We make a booking, it is accepted, paid and confirmed, and we are all happy. Then sometime before the arrival date, the host decides to increase the price. We refuse, and ask Airbnb for advice. In the meantime, the host contacts Airbnb and they cancel on the host’s behalf. There are no penalties to the host, who is also a Superhost. We are left to find alternative accommodation and Airbnb doesn’t even follow their own terms and conditions.

It’s Like They Don’t Even Want to Help

I wanted to book a room, but I was uncomfortable with verifying my ID (like, who the hell puts their SSN, even just the last four digits, or a picture of their license online?). The host I was trying to book with was wonderful- she tried everything she could to help me. After we talked for a bit (and she knew I was a real person) she tried to remove the requirement for verified ID. However, no matter what she or I did, I was still constantly asked to verify by giving either the last 4 digits of my SSN or a picture of my ID. When I tried to contact Airbnb about this issue, I found it impossible to do so (I couldn’t find their phone number OR email, and I could not click on the little fill-in box in the Help section. In the end, after three days, two calls to my credit card company (because I had tried to book and cancelled so many times due to the ID verification) and a lot of frustration, I eventually gave up and found another place to stay. Throughout it all, my host was amazingly helpful and very kind, but Airbnb was impossible for either of us to work with. I was frustrated with the ID Verification process, and she was frustrated that, even though she directly contacted them and asked them to remove the ID Verification requirement from her profile (after trying and being unable to remove it on her own) it was still there. Long story short, Airbnb is a nightmare and, though I really did wish to do business with my host, as she was lovely, I will not be using their services again in the future.