Don’t Expect Any Host Support — it is Airbnb Hell

I am a property owner that has had listings with Airbnb for six years, with reviews that have been 4 or 5 stars 100% of the time. Even so, Airbnb chose to support a terrible guest who had been listed with them for two years (and had no reviews) over me. Not only did they support her, but they were rude and threatening to me.

The guest did a same day instant booking at 10:00 AM and then late in the afternoon sent an image text that was blank. I sent a text telling her that there wasn’t an image, and around 7:00 that evening she said it was her service dog information. They had already checked in.

We have a strict no animals policy. Our cabins are new, and we want to keep them dander free for the comfort of guests with allergies. Furthermore, our area had lodging options that accepted animals, so they didn’t need to ignore our no animal policy in order to find lodging. The guest also never provided any evidence that her dog was actually a service dog. I believe this is a scam she has been pulling wherever she travels.

After they checked out, I found short black hairs everywhere. I had to wash all of the fabric, including the curtains. I also vacuumed the floor twice and then mopped it. I finally thought I had gotten all of the hair out of the cabin, but when I opened the fridge there were short black hairs on the shelves inside.

I posted a review of her stay with information about the condition of the cabin and a private remark that we were disappointed that they wouldn’t respect our wish to keep our new cabins dander and animal hair free. The guest complained to Airbnb about my review (which I had posted to protect other hosts from her). They removed my review and sent me a threatening email that they could remove my account for being discriminatory. I asked Airbnb to explain what was discriminating about my review and they did not respond.

We are removing our listings from Airbnb and hope that other hosts will learn from our mistake and choose somewhere else to list their property. I would love advice on finding listing agents that have the backs of property owners.

Just as a side note, I understand that the ADA has tried to provide protection to those with disabilities, and I would totally support someone with a disability who needed a service animal. However, I don’t believe this guest or her husband have a disability. They were simply taking advantage of a system set up to protect those with real needs.

Bad Airbnb Owner Trying to Scam Guests

My wife and I chose Airbnb to find a location to have our wedding reception. The first day was very busy getting people from the airport, getting and putting up decorations, helping the caterer, and so on. Given that, we noticed but disregarded the broken refrigerator and dirty house and other odds and ends. We took a couple of pictures but carried on getting things done.

The week went by, and we head home. My wife received a message from the owner saying that we damaged many things and needed to pay $300 in repairs. She messaged her back calmly saying that these things were already broken and sent the pictures timedated to her as proof.

She said that her management service is very thorough and accused my wife of lying. She became very hostile when my wife pointed out all the other things that were substandard with a $3000 house rental. She insisted that we were lying and gave my wife a very negative review saying, “It would have been nice for you to be honest about it.”

Now she is publicly calling my wife disrespectful and a liar when we have the proof of her management company’s negligence. To add insult to injury they have deleted my wife’s review of the house while the owner is still allowed to publicly bash and harass us online and on her personal email.

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Orlando Stay Cancelled in Middle of Music Festival

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Do not book through Airbnb. Your stay can be cancelled with no repercussions for the host. We found what looked like the perfect place for a music festival but were a little concerned about reviews that included cancellations. I asked them about this and they blamed the guest and said the guest would not provide additional documentation.

I booked the unit in August and crossed my fingers. The host cancelled our stay in January and of course I can’t find anything comparable for the same cost because of the music festival. The offered other accommodations that they said were 15 minutes away. I insisted on getting the address and it was 30 minutes away.

Then the host told me to cancel the booking. I am sure it was to screw me again on my refund or so it would not show up in their reviews. Airbnb thinks all is good because they refunded our money but this in no way solves my problem. A lack of suitable options and they are all at three times the price of the property we had reserved.

If we cancel, we lose our money. If the host cancels, there’s no harm to them, but to us and Airbnb does not care. Airbnb does not allow people with cancelled stays to leave a review; it only states “the host cancelled your reservation.”

Do not stay with hosts and do not use Airbnb. What are you going to do at the last minute when your stay is cancelled? If you look through their reviews, cancellations happen way more than you would think. In fact, when I went back to look at their listings, a new cancellation popped up. Don’t risk your vacation with Airbnb.

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Hookers right outside the door of my Airbnb

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I rented a place. I was there for just a few minutes before contacting the host and telling him we need to talk. There were hookers outside the door and the people upstairs sounded like they were a stomp dance group. The host told me if I went on my app and just hit cancel he would return all the money if I left. I canceled and left as fast as I could. He lied and kept well over two nights’ worth of payment when I was there for five minutes total.

I opened a case about it and when I started asking how he was getting away with this, the conversation quickly ended. I left an honest review about “hooker hell” and it was pulled down because of the “refund motive”. So now other people, possibly with their child or children like I was, are being put in a bad situation. I have asked repeatedly for a link for my honest review and have been ignored.

Airbnb Censors Reviews for Guests and Hosts

I hosted two Airbnb listings for past two years, earning Superhost status with nearly a hundred five-star reviews. If ever on the fence about a guest due to condition of my Airbnb post- checkout, I’d avoid leaving a review altogether instead of a bad one.

Not so with my last guest. I thought the guest did not match his photo, traveled alone despite claiming to travel with a spouse, staying all day long in the guest house for purposes unbeknownst to me, but definitely not a happy vacationer. Uneasy about security for the first time, I went so far as to write a negative review so other hosts might consider him depending on how their Airbnb was situated.

Airbnb actually deleted my negative review of this guest against my protests. They tried to say it was for my own good because it would delete his negative review of my Airbnb as well. I said it was fine to leave his critique as is. With so many five-star reviews, travelers could read both sides to decide. That’s how reviews are supposed to work: present balanced views. Instead, now I discover Airbnb censors negative reviews, so their whole rating system is worthless.

Airbnb has become too greedy. Disregarding safety, misleading the public via censored reviews. Consequently, I will stop working with Airbnb entirely this year, moving my listings to VRBO instead.

No Review is Safe from Removal on Airbnb

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I have to share two host stories. One relates to systemic fake reviews. I recently had the most horrible guests at my house. They were incredibly messy, rude and blackmailed me to have free pool heating during their entire stay free of charge with the threat of a bad review (pool heating is about $200 per day).

Once I reviewed them, I simply stated that they were very messy and overall very difficult to deal with as I had heard that Airbnb tends to delete bad reviews based on “policy violation” and therefore didn’t want to get too factual to avoid any frivolous claim retracting my honest review (note that this was my first ever “bad” review and frankly it wasn’t even that bad).

Airbnb said that, based on a summary investigation (note: I even sent pictures of various damaged objects as well as messages from my neighbors stating how impolite and ‘obnoxious’ those guests were – I wasn’t even asking for any dollar compensation), they determined it was “fair” to delete those reviews. They stated as follows:

“We adhere to the community’s goal of friendship and trust which in total built Airbnb.”

Note that these guests were exactly the opposite. As a result, anyone can dispute any review and get it removed saying it’s not ‘friendly’ and it’s really hard to trust anyone’s reviews.

The second story happened in my New York apartment. A crazy guest claimed (after using my apartment two weeks) that my neighbors threatened to get her arrested as Airbnb is “illegal” in New York. While she had no factual evidence whatsoever and she spent her time in my apartment, she was given a full refund after the stay (at my expense since Airbnb took out the full $4,000 from my next guest’s stay without letting me know).

What this means is that, contrary to popular belief, Airbnb takes the strong stand that they are illegal in NYC and will refund anyone who makes up any similar story without evidence. So, if you are dishonest, go for it.

Boycotting Airbnb Until They Stop Advertising Falsely

I recently experienced a truly unpleasant encounter with Airbnb that has left me and my partner totally guttered and disappointed at the way Airbnb management has handled our complaint. They have given me no other alternative than to take to social media on all platforms to make others aware of a system that puts profits before honesty and integrity.

We booked a stay on Airbnb for two nights and informed the host two days prior that there were two of us staying and the approximate time of arrival. On arrival, the host was unable to meet us but had another person check us in. The room was not as listed and so I insisted that I speak with the host; he said that I could find another place if I wasn’t happy with the room booked but he wouldn’t refund our money.

I took photos (attached) and forwarded them to Airbnb. At the time they gave us a 50% refund which was satisfactory as we were not in a position to argue the difference, let alone try to find another place at the last minute. Airbnb also informed me that the host was in breach of Airbnb policies and would address the matter directly with him.

During our stay, the linen we believe to have been from an “Op Shop” had a musky smell and the Doona for a child’s single bed with teddy bears on it for a listed king-size bed was in fact for a queen-size bed. The listing stated there was a bathroom (not listed as shared nor did Airbnb state that within the house that all the other rooms were rented out as well) and at our time of stay we had to share the bathroom with six people; the house can accommodate up to nine people at any one time with only one bathroom.

The other issue with the listing was that most of the door handles had one screw holding in the handle which could result in the handle falling off into either the bedroom or bathroom, leaving a person locked inside as the host doesn’t live at the house. On my return some three weeks later I checked to see if the listing was still listed as we saw it; to my surprise, it was.

I messaged Airbnb about the situation and instead of addressing my concerns, they removed my comments that I left on the host’s page that provided an honest description of our stay. Second to that, the host at the same time left a message about us, trying to swing the situation around. I decided to ring Airbnb, which went to an offshore call center. I explained my experience with the stay and how I was extremely disappointed with the fact the host was still listing the property exactly the same as when we booked and stayed. I told Airbnb that it appears profit has been put forward over integrity and requested a full refund for my stay, including having the host’s untrue comments erased.

I mentioned all of the above to an Airbnb senior case manager who informed me via message that the case was closed and no further actions will occur. As a loyal customer for the past several years with multiple listings worldwide, I have now decided to boycott Airbnb until they can address my concerns in a professional manner, including making the changes that I believe are truly overdue with falsely advertising listings so that the customer is aware of all the facts prior to committing to a booking. Airbnb gave me no alternative than to take my concerns to social media on all levels. This was conveyed to Airbnb prior to this post with little to no concern as profit appears to be the governing factor at play rather than addressing genuine complaints.

Pointing out illegal Airbnb gets me kicked out

Earlier this month I rented a studio in Boca Raton, Florida. After numerous discussions about the unsatisfactory conditions of the rental, I was evicted at 9:30 at night from the property and Airbnb refunded the unused portion of the rental. A police office who was called to assure a quiet resolution to the dispute told me the short-term rentals in Boca Raton are illegal. Subsequently I filled a complaint with the Boca Raton department of zoning compliance, since the rental was illegal in that community. The department caused the owner to agree to no longer offer his house for short-term rentals.

The owner then sent me several threatening, vulgar, unspeakable texts. Coincidentally, after a very difficult exchange with an Airbnb associate, wherein my review was expunged because I said the rental was illegal, I cited the sections of the code that apply to short term rentals In Boca Raton. The associate said someone from management would get back to me; I have heard nothing in over two weeks.

Furthermore I filed a complaint with the Florida Better Business Bureau which is pending and I sent copy of my terrifying, embarrassing and traumatic experience to the Los Angeles Times. Clearly I am very disappointed and angry at the cavalier manner in which my problem has been handled by Airbnb. Please note I have complete documentation of all communications regarding this matter. Recently I read an article discussing Airbnb and its concerns with discriminatory practices and their desire to minimize any such incidents. In that vein seems to me that illegal rentals that violate public policy should be of equal concern.

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 Removed My Review Mentioning Bed Bugs

I stayed at a listing in Brooklyn. The room in the informal “hotel”-style accommodation (i.e. a house with a digital lock and multiple rooms) had bed bugs. I was removed from the property, Airbnb (after I was forced to fight aggressively with their customer service representatives, who lied to me about reimbursement) paid for a hotel for three nights, and I left a very honest review articulating exactly what happened.

The review was posted two days ago, and it was removed today, presumably at the prompting of the host who did not want a review mentioning bed bugs on their listing page. Lest I be accused of bringing the bed bugs to the listing, let me say that I found the bugs – a lot of them – on the second night after the host said that her “cleaner” accidentally cleaned my room, instead of another room in the house. One of the bed bugs – a large adult – came crawling out of the “clean” duvet/sheets that night.

On the whole, the three-star review was more than fair in terms of positivity (I said the listing was clean, the bed was comfortable, the house was quiet, and that guests might want to stay there again after the bed bug problem is fixed), but I did detail the bed bug experience in the middle of the review. Well, lo and behold, a day after posting the review, I get a message from an Airbnb “case manager” stating:

“Good morning! My name is CASE MANAGER and I am a Case Manager with Airbnb. I hope this message finds you well and that you’re having a great day! I am contacting you today about your review for your reservation with HOST. It has come to our attention that your review for HOST is in violation of our content policy. For your reference, you can learn more about our review guidelines in our Help Center.

Reviews are the backbone of Airbnb’s community. In order to maintain this structure, we have guidelines in place that ensure that all reviews are fair, honest, and relevant to your trips. We also don’t allow reviews to mention any actions taken by Airbnb, including investigations or mediations in our Resolution Center. As such, it is our responsibility to remove your review from HOST’s profile. As of this correspondence, it has been taken down.”

Let me be crystal clear: my review did not mention the resolution or mediation at all, other than saying “Airbnb told me to leave for a hotel.” When I called to question the review’s removal, I was told it was because of my sentence about the hotel. This is absurd, because I didn’t say Airbnb paid for the hotel or describe the mediation process. Regardless, how an accommodation provider responds to a problem is an essential thing to mention in a review. I was also told it was removed because “mentioning bed bugs would hurt the host’s future listings.”

Isn’t this the whole point of leaving honest reviews? To allow guests to make up their own minds about staying somewhere based on past experience?

If hosts are going to be allowed to get around critical reviews with such ease, guests should have zero faith in Airbnb. Why do guests even waste their time writing honest reviews when hosts can so easily find an inexperienced “case manager” to take any slightly negative review down from their listing? This is positively absurd. What should I have done instead? Left vague language about vermin, cleanliness, and then had the review removed for not being based in facts because it would have been so ambiguous? Now, a future guest may suffer from bed bugs, or other incompetence, at this listing, simply because Airbnb can’t competently execute its model.