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.
On September 21, 2017, I booked a room over the New Year’s holiday in a resort town in Southern California. I made the reservation and paid in full in good faith. Yesterday, my host canceled my reservation. She got a better offer; I was dumped. This was her message:
“Regretfully, I will be cancelling your reservation as I will be out of town and have a family interested in renting the entire house for the holidays.”
Besides being pissed and having to scramble to find another place to stay in a popular location over a holiday, I have two basic questions (both likely rhetorical). Why do I not have the ability to leave public feedback about her regarding this? My host could have penalized me if I would have cancelled on her by retaining a portion (up to half) of the money I paid her. Yet as a guest, when my host cancels on me, I have to just take it. Why is she not monetarily penalized for my inconvenience as I would have been for hers?
We rented a beautiful place in Salò, Italy on October 1st, 2017. We were greeted by the host on the first day and she was very friendly. She gave us the keys and the code to the safe. We asked if we could change the code for the safe, and she said no. We also inquired about the alarm system and she replied she didn’t know how it worked but it’s a very safe area.
One night while out to dinner our unit was robbed. One safe was picked open, the other pulled out completely. Only after did we realise the safes were not fastened to the wall, just fastened underneath with some short wood screws. Our losses would have been considerably less if the safes had been secured and the code was not common.
A police report was made that night. The police came in and there were no signs of forced entry. We left the apartment the next day, a day earlier than our planned departure. We felt unsafe and violated. Our trip continued for another two weeks. When we returned to the states we asked the host for a refund or a partial refund since we left early and our losses were substantial. The answer was no.
When I arrived back in the states I tried to write a review. Airbnb gives you 14 days to post a review. It had been 21 days. I called Airbnb and explained the situation. I have used Airbnb in the past and the beauty is the transparency of the reviews. I felt it was my obligation to let others know that this host did nothing to provide the security and safety you would normally expect while renting. I wrote three emails to Airbnb and a few phone calls asking to not only let us review this apartment, but also help us with a refund. As of this writing, there has been no response from Airbnb except that they would look into it. None of the host’s items or property was disturbed or stolen except for the one safe. The safe was recovered by the police the next day… of course empty. My suggestion is to look for other accommodations.
We recently used Airbnb to rent a chalet in Tahoe City, California. We were charged for the entire week immediately upon booking, four months before our visit. Several days before our visit I had to contact the owners twice in order to get the address and entry information for the house. When we arrived the house was neat, clean, and attractive; however, it lacked numerous conveniences that we normally expect from homes that we have rented over the past few years. There was no information booklet or binder explaining how various things worked in the house, e.g. electric lights that came on intermittently but would not go off even at night in the bedroom.
There was no microwave in the kitchen and no closets in the entire house, or hooks, or racks on which to hang clothes. There was no shelf or dresser in three of the four bedrooms in which to place clothes. Everything had to be left on the floor. There was not a single shelf in any of the three bathrooms so all personal items had to be left on the floor. The master bathroom shower did not have a shower curtain so water went all over the floor and cool air surrounded you when you showered.
I communicated via text politely with the owners who did respond but they lived six hours away; they claimed that no one had ever asked about these items. We returned home and I wrote a polite but accurate review on the Airbnb website about the missing items. I stated that the house was lovely but that many common conveniences were missing. Weeks passed and my review was not posted on Airbnb. I finally tracked down a phone number. The Airbnb agent read my review and said that she did not see anything in the review that was against their regulations for reviews. She forwarded my inquiry to the Trust and Safety Department.
I received an email stating that the owner had been contacted and he claimed that we had a “personality conflict”; therefore, my review would not be published. I asked for documentation of the “personality conflict”. The second response from Airbnb did not offer documentation or comments in any way about the “personality conflict” but they did offer me a coupon for my next visit. I emailed back with my own documentation which was a complete thread of my texts with the owner during our visit that show there was no personality conflict; all of my contacts with the owner were polite inquiries. The third, and final email, from Airbnb was to to tell me that they considered the manner closed that that they would not respond to further inquiries from me. It appears that Airbnb handles any reviews other than positive reviews as a personality conflict and that this is their excuse for refusing to publish any negative reviews.
I’ll start off by saying that these were my first guests with Airbnb. We rent out a guest room in our house, with access to our sun room, kitchen and pool area. The guests were a father and son. The father did not speak English, but assured us that the son was fluent. They arrived and promptly began breaking all of our (very simple) house rules. They hung out constantly in areas that were not included in the listing, took our groceries, ruined a set of sheets and mattress pad with blood, talked loudly on FaceTime while wandering through the house, and were unsafe in the pool.
After a week of this activity, we sent a reminder email with the house rules, asking that they please follow them, and also slipped a copy under the door with a translation. The men apologized and said they would stop breaking the rules. They did not stop breaking the rules. The final straw came when the father returned to our home after visiting with friends, completely intoxicated. He was giggling and running around the house, trying to get me to swim with him in a pretty inappropriate way (my husband was at work, and I was working from home). I refused the swim.
My husband came home and we went out to dinner, only to return to find the man, still intoxicated, running around the house in his underwear. The next day I contacted Airbnb, and the representative escalated me to a higher up team member. The higher team member said, “Oh, no, we can’t have that,” and proceeded to terminate their stay with us and said they would contact the guests and have them placed elsewhere. She explained that we would lose out on the rest of the money from the listing, which I agreed to (just get these people out of my house).
When I returned home, the men were still there, not making any move to leave. When we spoke to them, they said their information on Airbnb was out of date and they had not heard from them. We explained the situation, and they became agitated and started arguing with us, saying that the underwear situation had “only happened once.” I had to threaten police intervention to get them to finally pack up and go.
Now, in an obviously retaliatory fashion, they have put up a one-star review with one sentence in their native language, but the listing is, obviously, ruined. When I contacted Airbnb to express my frustration, they said it was the guests’ chance to tell their side of the story. Except… they’re not telling their side of the story. They’re downrating our home so we will have trouble booking (as I mentioned, this was our first experience). I have been back and forth with Airbnb about the false nature of this “review” and the fact that it is defamatory. Supposedly my grievance has been forwarded to the legal team. I’m considering deleting our listing altogether and starting over. Shame on me, I suppose, for thinking they wouldn’t recommend eviction if they were going to allow these guests to ruin our listing.
Last winter, after my wife’s bout with cancer, a catastrophic national election cycle, and a few other disasters, my wife and I decided to take a month out of Minnesota’s winter and go south to New Mexico. This was the first time I tested the Airbnb waters and that was probably not the best time for an “adventure”.
Our first three overnight stays were lucky and misleading. All three hosts were incredibly honest about their facilities and were terrific people. Our destination was in Truth or Consequences, NM (TorC, to local residents). We were trapped in TorC three years earlier when our VW-based Winnebago camper trapped us there for the entire winter, in my first year of retirement. As a result, we had friends in TorC and knew the area well enough to think we could figure out which Airbnb rentals were not just good deals but in a decent area. TorC, for a tiny place, has some really bad neighborhoods and even the “good ones” are in serious decline.
The place I selected had a slightly different description than the current, i.e. “You’ll love my place because of the privacy it affords. Not having to share a house with others. It is in a very quiet neighborhood in a Vintage Mobile Home park. Many guests end up making friends here!” It described being close to the Rio Grande River (it wasn’t) and having great views (it didn’t). That “very quiet” remark avoids mentioning a bunch of Harley gangbangers in the park and in a shop right behind the trailer… it was a trailer and not one that even begins to meet safe rental standards.
I have no idea how the host managed this picture, but it doesn’t even come close to describing how tightly the trailers were packed together. I would hear people coughing and snorting from three directions that first night. My wife has a moderate petroleum allergy and began to feel claustrophobic and agitated the moment we stepped into the trailer. To be frank, it stunk of cleaning chemicals and natural gas. All of the CO2 and fire detectors had their batteries removed. That is when I discovered what “strict cancellation” policies are all about.
In the end, my wife negotiated an exit for all of us, including us not notifying the host’s landlord that she was illegally renting his property. It cost me about $200 for that one night’s stay, but we found a far better rental through one of our TorC friends and I will never make that sort of mistake again with Airbnb.
My husband and I had a lovely trip to New Mexico last month. We stayed at a nice house at a great location with beautiful scenery. When we arrived, I went to sit on the couch in the living room and saw that there was a large stain where something had been spilled on one of the cushions in the seat of the couch. Being a tad OCD and grossed out by that, I just went and sat on the other couch as there were two. My husband sat on the couch with the stain as he is not as silly as I am, but he did question why anyone would buy such a light colored couch for a rental home (it was a light tan or beige color). Other than that, we thought nothing about it.
During the week, we noted several other issues. The first day there we noted that the tub in the bathroom was leaking onto the hard wood floors. We hadn’t used the tub nor would we as we are shower people. We alerted the local person who manages the property for the owner, and the next day a plumber came out to have a look at it. He stopped the leak by turning off the water to the tub as it needed a new faucet (glad we didn’t need a tub).
One afternoon we came back and there was water leaking from the front bay window and also a leak in the back door. We looked at the door and there was a crack in the glass. We emailed the owner to let him know; he said he knew about the front window but not the door. We were in the mountains where it was cool and wonderful – a great place to open the windows and enjoy the outside fresh air. So we did. Within minutes the house was full of flies and moths. After looking at the windows we realized that all of the screens didn’t fit the windows so all the critters were just crawling in around the edges. No worries – we closed the windows and starting swatting flies.
The house had a full kitchen that was well stocked. It was also well stocked with rodents as all the pots and bowls had mouse droppings in them. No big deal – I just washed them out and used them. However, there were also droppings inside the cabinet that could have been cleaned if the housekeeper had looked. I mention the above because on our way home – we left about 7:00 in the morning as we had a long drive and check out was at 9:00 AM – we got a call from the owner (about 9:10 AM) asking us what we had spilled all over his couch. I first questioned what he was talking about, then I realized that he was referring to the stain on the couch that was there when we got there. He said that his housekeeper said that it hadn’t been there the previous weekend, that it was definitely caused by us. He then hung up on me.
I first thought that we had lost cell, but looked and that wasn’t the case. I called him back, and there was no answer. I waited about an hour and called again and he answered. I tried to explain that we had not done that, why would we have notified him about other issues and then ruined his property. He said that he knew that we had done it, that his housekeeper was wonderful, and he was not going to report us. When I got the review survey for the property I wrote a good review for his place as it was a lovely setting, had beautiful scenery, and was definitely a great deal.
I also wrote a personal review to him pointing out the above issues that all could be easily fixed, and also to let him know that maybe his housekeeper is not as great as he thinks she is and that maybe he needs to make a surprise trip to visit his property. A week later I got an email from the host telling me that he could not believe the nasty review that I had written, that I had irreparably damaged his business, and saying what a horrible person I am. The public review literally said, “Great property, beautiful scenery!” How is that nasty?
I did contact Airbnb to verify that only the public review was visible to the public. I emailed and got a reply from them within 24 hours verifying that, and they were very helpful letting me know that anything that was sent straight to the host was not public. So I have no complaints about Airbnb. However – if you rent some place and notice problems – document them immediately and contact the host or management immediately. I have a feeling in this case that would not have helped us. I think the housekeeper didn’t catch this when it was done originally or did it herself, and I think the host is crazy and would have said that we walked in the house and immediately destroyed the couch. In the future I will be looking upon arrival.
Do not use Airbnb. They only protect their hosts and not the guests. Our Miami condo was cancelled by the hosts one hour before check-in (literally as our plane landed I received a notice, and not even an apology). I’ve been trying to work with Airbnb the past three weeks and they even removed my bad review of their host, wiping their record “clean” on a technicality that I shared information about the case. When I said I’d rewrite it to omit what was not allowed, they refused and still removed my review, so consumers would never know the hosts or Airbnb did this. I can’t believe how their support is very one sided and favors the hosts. Trying to get their call number to report the issue as the issue is happening is like finding a needle in a haystack. Their call number is nowhere to be found on their site unless you click on at least six different links and you have to read everything to just figure out what to do. During the entire complaint, case managers that handled your issue refuse to talk live to you on the phone; they handle everything by email. If you must use Airbnb, do not use this host. They have four properties: I think two in Miami and two in other countries. They are based in Croatia and use some property managers in their Miami condos.
We booked a two-bedroom apartment in London two months prior for some relatives arriving from Japan. The night before – 11:00 PM – I received a cancellation notice. However, the apartment was still listed as available for those dates but at a price 50% higher than that which I had booked. Disgusted, I contacted Airbnb who “kindly” offered alternatives (all of which were of much poorer quality given the timeframe) and a paltry £25 credit toward the cost. Booking anything comparable was going to cost me £200 or more at that stage.
Airbnb policy does not allow customers to post reviews if a reservation is cancelled the day before, even though in my case there was only 14 hours before check in. The host clearly does this regularly as some prior reviews alluded to. However, Airbnb wont take any action against the host to enforce the contract or prevent similar occurrences. I’m appalled by their apathy and refusal to see it for what it is: greedy and unethical behaviour. We won’t ever use Airbnb again after this experience.
I had a flight to Zurich two weeks ago. When I was boarding, I made a booking on Airbnb at the last moment, like I always do. This is my travel life style; everything is booked at the last minute, and I thought no host would complain about it. Anyway, I booked it, they charged my card, and after a while this host in Zurich said that I could not check in at the time I wanted (1-2:00 PM) and I needed to wait for him until 9:00 PM. For me, after a long flight the last thing I want to do is wait seven hours with luggage, tired in the airport. Of course I wanted to arrive, take a shower, sleep, and then explore the city.
When I saw his reply that he only checks in guests at 9:00 PM and later, I said he could cancel my booking. He rudely said no, that this was my problem for not looking at the house rules on his profile page before I booked. I checked his page, and it was my mistake. I totally agreed with him and asked him what I could do now. I had already paid. Again, I was completely okay with this being my mistake, because I made the booking in a hurry before my departure. However, from the beginning I saw a rude attitude in his messages and honestly did not want to see his face. Even though I had already paid, self respect is more important than the fifty dollars I paid.
I arrived in Zurich, met my friends for coffee, and told them the story that I had to wait for host until 9:00, and that the host didn’t sound like a host. My friends told me I could stay with them, and forget about paying 50 USD for an Airbnb. I was very happy. That evening this rude host started asking me where I was, and why I was late. Really? I rented a room at his place, where he lives, not the entire home, and he wrote in his profile that checking in anytime from 9:00 PM until 3:00 AM was fine. Why should I hurry? He would be home all this time, waiting for me and his other guests, because this is somehow extra income for him. Why would he tell me he is not a hotel and I most arrive at the time which we agreed upon?
What is it, if not a hotel? The moment you start to get any money from a guest it’s called rent, and I’m his customer. I wanted to write a negative comment about him, but was busy with my travels. Now Airbnb is saying I can’t write a comment after 14 days, which is sad, because he wrote a comment about me. I don’t know how to remove it, or how to write and report about him.