Host’s Tardiness Keeps me from Getting a Refund

We did not see our Airbnb hosts with the key for hours; they were working. There was no A/C. There were no curtains in the living room or bedroom; those above you could look in. The patio door opened at night for air and noise. Daytime hall door open for air. Garbage left behind. Did not know where the garage was so was not able to use it. Bedroom to small for suite case to come into. I was standing outside the building waiting to get in, I had no wifi and I was from out of country with no phone service. In the end, I was very unsatisfied and went home.

I was finally able to reach Airbnb about a refund. I was told that because I did not contact them within 24 hours I was not entitled to one. I told them I was not able to find my host. As of today, I was not able to contact anyone in reference to my $100 credit, which means I was not able to use it. Airbnb is a very difficult service especially if there is an issue. They are not there for you. The rental property I wanted was priced $80 plus a service fee. Why are we paying for a service fee? Should that not be part of the host’s fee? Not again. This is not worth the hassle.

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Airbnb is a Pig in a Poke: Don’t Trust Them

I was a great fan of Airbnb for about two or three years until I faced an ugly situation. I had a bad experience with an apartment in Tel Aviv in the high season, August. It was so bad that when I provided photos to Airbnb, they refunded me 50% of the total cost. Later I understood why there were so many good reviews (good scores) for awful apartments. It is just the policy of Airbnb. They do not want to spoil their reputation and image by admitting they allow bad hosts to keep using the site. That’s why they do their best to hide negative reviews. After my experience, I left an honest review of the apartment and they hid it. The explanation was that the host provided them with some evidence that I accepted a bribe from him for a good review. I have provided our SMS exchange and WhatsApp messages, but they took his side. It was especially strange and disgusting taking into consideration that the guy lied about the apartment description; there were awful conditions and his ad was a fraud. They themselves forced him to pay me back 50%. I will never recommend using Airbnb as you are buying a pig in a poke.

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Airbnb is the Law, Enforces their own Policy Arbitrarily

I booked a house in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on Airbnb last week. Shortly after booking, the host wanted to increase the price by nearly 50% and sent a request to alter the agreement. I refused and the host cancelled the booking unilaterally. As soon as the reservation had been confirmed, I informed my family about the extra space available so I had to take this back. It was embarrassing, a lot of time was lost, and I had to look for another place. Despite Airbnb policy to post an ‘automatic’ review that the host had cancelled and block the dates I had booked on the host’s calendar, nothing happened. I received a ‘full’ refund a few days later but I still had foreign transaction fees of 15 USD nobody will cover. My conclusion is that Airbnb policy is completely arbitrary and the whole process is set up to maximize the profit of Airbnb. They talk about the ‘Airbnb community’ , which is utter nonsense. It’s a (poorly regulated) business, and that’s all.

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Charleston Fabulous Studio Comes with Sewage Smell

I travel a lot for work and often use Airbnb to break up the monotony of hotel rooms. This particular listing turned into a personal nightmare. Too often I have noticed that Airbnb owners treat their guests like a paycheck instead of as a ‘friendly host’ that the Airbnb community was designed around. These individuals are ruining what started as a fun alternative to large hotel chains.

I arrived at the host’s studio (attached to a house) apartment around 4:00. She was still cleaning up and we chatted for a bit. The heavy use of cleaning products motivated me to go for a run. I returned, showered, and went to dinner with a client. Having to be up early for an installation for work, I returned to the studio around 9:00 PM. This is where my nightmare began.

When I opened the door to her studio I was hit by a wall of sewer/urine. It was pretty unreal. I held my breath, and grabbed my things and got out as fast as I could. So here I am standing outside at 9:00 PM in front of a sewer. I sent her a text letting her know that I had to leave because of this smell, I had an early morning and would deal with everything after work. Instead of apologizing, sending someone to check, or checking herself, she immediately denied that anything could have happened; she told me it “must have been something I did.”

She finally got to the studio later the next morning where she acknowledged the sewer smell, told me I could stay in the main house (that didn’t smell as bad). She said, “You’re a guy with one bag – here is a bottle of wine for the inconvenience, stop being mean and unreasonable.”

I’m sorry, what? I have a full day on a job site and now have to deal with this lady insulting me, and basically telling me to deal with it because I’m a guy? What century is this? Anyone in my situation would have done the same thing. It was late, I was tired, and had to be up early. She responded around 11:00 PM offering lodging in the adjacent home.

I honestly would have accepted lodging in the adjoining house (that had only a “faint smell of sewage”) but by the end of work the next day her messages had become angry, abusive, and mean. There was no way I was going to stay on any property associated with this lady. I attached a link to the back and forth messages. Read them for yourself.

I escalated the situation to Airbnb, who, in their defense, played the “keep the client happy” card. They offered a partial refund but I don’t care about the money. The place she rented me smelled like a sewage plant. She acknowledged that it did, blamed me, got upset at me for leaving, declined a refund, and told me to “deal with it”. Pretty unreal. She is also about to become a Superhost. I hope for everyone’s sake this does not happen.

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Charged over £1,000 for a 16-Minute Booking

We were the victims of a double booking at our first property. It actually wasn’t Airbnb’s fault, but the subsequent events had everything to do with an Airbnb host. This was not an individual, in fact, but a faceless and greedy property management company. After the double booking fiasco, seven of our group were stranded in the remote Tuscan countryside in rural Italy with, realistically, a couple of hours to sort it out and find somewhere to sleep. I was the eighth member of the group, travelling by train to meet the group. It was up to me to find an alternative at very short notice through Airbnb as I’d made the original booking and the money immediately reimbursed by Airbnb for the double booking mess up was allocated to my account. Network coverage on the train was very patchy.

Looking at alternative accommodation for suitability and availability on a mobile device was extremely difficult. It was hot. The train was packed. Going from Milan to Florence, you pass through an enormously long tunnel. Meanwhile, I was trying to converse with the group who were also wrestling with poor phone signals and trying to assess alternatives and report back to me.

Long story short: the circumstances were extremely difficult. Partway through this process I made another booking. It was a mistake caused by confusion and fat fingers. I take full responsibility for making an error but in the circumstances you can perhaps understand how it happened. I realised what I’d done and cancelled the booking within 16 minutes. Once we’d finally sorted out alternative accommodation, I contacted the host and asked for a refund. I figured he’d been put to no trouble; he could not have lost a booking in 16 minutes and could not have incurred any cleaning fees. He refused.

Of the £1953 we paid for the 16 minute booking, the host chose to refund only £842, citing his Strict Cancellation Policy. The 16 minutes cost us £1,111. This is the villa – beware if you’re booking it. The host was within his rights according to his and Airbnb’s policy. Is this fair? Reasonable? In the spirit of the Airbnb community? Someone you would like to trust with your holiday? Those are questions you might like to consider before making a booking with Airbnb.

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Fleas in the Bed, Airbnb Host in the Wind

We needed a place to stay for three nights before moving on to St. Ives and found a cottage listed on Airbnb. On arrival we were fairly happy with the cottage, which was decorated and kept nicely, if a little dirty, but nothing too bad. Our baby daughter was using her walker, and we noticed that her feet were dirty after a few minutes on the floor; again, we decided that we could live with this for a few days. The host had informed us that the previous guests had broken the curtain rail in the second bedroom, but that he didn’t think it would bother us. It did, as my teenage son was in that room, and he had to pile pillows into the window frame to block out the light in the morning. Again, we were only there for a few days so we could put up with it before our holiday moved to St. Ives.

Trying to run a bath for our daughter, I noticed that one of the bath taps wouldn’t work, so I filled it using the shower. Again not ideal, but we could work around it. The hosts kindly left some coffee, but the only coffee pot we could find was full of mould. We stuck to tea; it was no problem as I like tea. Now for the tipping point. We got into bed and allowed our daughter to lay with us for a little while, when my wife saw a flea jump onto her then off again. I sat up and we pulled the covers back and saw a flea (possibly the same one) jump onto and off of the white sheets. By this time it was too late to do anything so we had no choice but to sleep in the bed. In the morning we saw two more fleas and my wife had been bitten.

I contacted the host and very politely told him that he had fleas and that we couldn’t stay. He said he would refund me asap, and thanked me for being so understanding. I told him that if course we wouldn’t leave any negative feedback, as these things happen. We spent the day trying to find alternative accommodation, eventually finding an apartment in Plymouth, Devon. This was a very stressful day, not knowing whether we would be able to find a place to stay and having a six-month old to look after. A few weeks later I still hadn’t heard from the host, so I looked on the website and saw that you could request money. I did this, requesting £250 of the roughly £300 we paid.

A couple of nights later I received an email telling me that the host had refused to refund us, and in addition he felt that we hadn’t left the house in a respectable state. We had only stayed one night, and as far as I can remember the only things we left were items of food packaging by or in the bin, and the pillows piled up in the window. My son initially tidied this but I told him to put it back so that the host knew that it was an issue. I have asked the host to explain what he meant but haven’t heard back. I have asked Airbnb to get involved but haven’t heard back. Most annoyingly, the host left it long enough so that I couldn’t leave feedback.

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Airbnb Steals My $550, Then Host Ghosts Me

I am planning a trip to NYC in mid-November. I usually book with VRBO but wasn’t finding exactly what I wanted, so I tried Airbnb. Being my first time on their site, I wasn’t aware of the “Instant Book” feature. When I pressed the button, I thought I was only contacting the host as I hadn’t read the listing fully yet, but my card was charged immediately. I realized also in that moment by reading a few reviews that it was a room in the house with many other random boarders and that had not been made clear. I canceled within minutes but only received half back. I contacted the host in all manner of ways and he did not respond. I contacted Airbnb and they said they would contact the host for me. Five days later, they told me the host refused to issue a refund and there was nothing they could do on their end. I asked to speak to a manager but no one ever called back.

$550 was literally stolen from me and there’s nothing I can do? This host lost no booking time because of my mistake; he is just collecting free money. I have written to him now five times over the course of a week and he is ghosting me. Airbnb won’t take responsibility for the host. Isn’t this supposed to be a hospitality business? The only thing I can think of is to threaten this host with eviction by telling his property management company that he is illegally profiteering on their property (I looked up the address and called the realty company to inquire about subletting). Any ideas?

Images on Airbnb Never Tell the Real Story

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We are a family of four who loves traveling and exploring. We have been an avid fan of Airbnb for a few years and appreciated what it stands for: ‘community’, ‘trust’, etc. We understood that there are always unavoidable inadequacies with the advertised properties, and the photos do not represent reality. We never complained when some of these inadequacies arose, but left a fair review of the situation instead.

We were holidaying in the Spanish island of Majorca last August and stayed in three different Airbnb properties. The first one was beautiful but noisy. A cockroach appeared in one of the rooms. Other than that, the place was immaculate and lovely. It wasn’t a cleaning issue and the noise wasn’t the host’s fault. We left happy and our review reflected that.

The second property was another story. The bedrooms and kitchen were damp ridden, which was most visible in the main bedroom’s recessed wardrobe. The rest of the walls were repainted very patchy, trying to cover the visibility of the damp areas. At check in with a man who spoke no English (which is fine – that happens often), we thought the smell was the kind you experience in old houses. Anyway, the man simply pointed to an tiny old dehumidifier which was meant to resolve the problem of the smell in the air.

Once we realised it was more serious than that at first we felt helpless and cheated by the host. At peak season with two young kids, what were we supposed to do? We paid top price for the property. We had stayed in much better accommodations for that price, before and after our stay. Instead of ruining our only family holiday, we thought we would just bear with it until the next accommodation (which was a decision we were to regret later of course).

We stayed the full week, avoided the bedroom areas, and didn’t use the kitchen much. We documented the dampness, trying to visualise the situation which was not easy. As soon as we checked into the next property and settled in, we checked the Airbnb website to see how we could complain. The first option was to ask for a refund from the host, explaining why. We were told the host rejected our request completely on the grounds that we should’ve complained during our stay to give them a chance to resolve the issue. Okay… but how? Problems such as dampness could not be resolved in an instant. Furthermore, the host clearly lied about the condition of the property which surely must be against what Airbnb stands for: ‘trust’?

The next option was to ‘involve Airbnb’. We did, and returned from our holiday to no reply. After two weeks, we had to call them and we were then contacted through email, asking for more details, stating that we should reply within 48 hours, and that the decision they make would be final. We replied and presented the photos. They replied and rejected our claim. Apparently their policy requires the guests to contact the host or Airbnb with complaints during the stay. Because we didn’t, there was nothing they could do at that point. Okay, fair enough. We appreciated that the property also was no longer advertised on the Airbnb website, which was a relief.

However, is this the way to treat guests? Despite what the policy states, did we not alert Airbnb of this unsafe property and the host’s dishonesty? Were we not cheated? We were charged the full price, a cleaning fee, and an Airbnb service fee. Do we not deserve to have at the least cleaning fee or the service fee refunded, since we can prove the property was not hygenic and the advert on the Airbnb website was misleading? Surely that’s Airbnb’s fault? All we can say is we feel shocked how greedy the company is and the way they treat their customers. We all know that good customer service in respected companies goes beyond policy.

Ridiculous Airbnb Service Fee Never Refunded

I wanted to reserve a room in Bar Harbor so I did a search and some places came up that said Winter Harbor, which I assumed – yes, I know – was a neighborhood around Bar Harbor. After booking, I went to a map to see where the place was. It was close to Bar Harbor, but only if you had a boat. Within a few minutes I called the owner and he immediately agreed to allow me to cancel. He tried to cancel, but emailed me saying that I had to. After figuring out how to do that, Airbnb stated that I wouldn’t get any money back because the owner had a strict cancellation policy. I wrote him back and he did agree to refund my money, thank goodness. However, Airbnb still wanted to charge me their service fee, which is significant. All this trouble for a mistake or error caused by them because they listed a home more than an hour away from where I was requesting and I realized what had happened within two minutes of them taking my booking. I have used Airbnb quite a bit before and this kind of thing has never happened before. I guess I’ll have to be extra careful with them before I book another place or use them again.

No Protection Against Deceptive Guests Breaking Rules

I had a group of five people book the minimum stay in my house for three nights and they ended up staying only one night, getting a refund for the others. I received a snotty email the next morning with a list of unbelievable reasons why they left. This was planned. They must have had another booking somewhere and needed just one night as a filler. My house is immaculate. I work very hard to make sure it is always so, but they managed to get a refund from Airbnb, because Airbnb does not care. My “case manager” never got back to me or answered any emails. They just let me get cheated by some rotten people who even were so low as to give me a one-star review, when everything was provided and spotless. I did everything I could: sent maps, was there to greet them… I told them if they needed me to just let me know. Never did they look me in the eye. They were fishy, because something was up. Had they communicated any problem whatsoever – there were no problems – I would have been able to act and would have done so immediately. Airbnb will not ever provide any means to contact them, so basically it’s a one-sided system. I am very upset about the fact that there is no protection against assholes.