Was My Host Just Plain Nuts? A Guest Ponders After Bad Review.

As a warning for Airbnb guests, you are only allowed two weeks to respond to reviews. I didn’t even know I had a review until after the fact. There is no way to contact Airbnb from what I could find. On the listing of reviews, my visit didn’t even show up on the site from my viewing.

I have to wonder about Airbnb’s practices regarding reviews of hosts. They make their money from having hosts supported. Even a few negative reviews too many would hamper their success. If negative reviews are kept out, no one is the wiser. Notice Amazon businesses bending over backward to do right by their customers. The overwhelming number of reviews of my hosts portray their experiences as all sweetness and light. There’s a dark side.

It is difficult to fathom the animosity and personal attacks expressed in my host’s comments about me as a guest. She began by claiming I disregarded her 11:00 AM check-out time. Her listing stated nothing with an 11:00 AM check out. Her Airbnb listing stated, “Flexible check out time.” She never stated differently. The fact is, I did, coincidentally, leave the room at 11:00 AM.

I checked my emails while in her living room and left the house until about 3:00 PM, returning to pick up my belongings. Her listing also stated she and her partner “work 8-5 jobs” and that I took advantage of her and her partner, claiming I knew they were not home. I did leave my bags in a corner of their living room during the day while I was out. I certainly did not know their whereabouts. They appear to live in the basement of their house. I didn’t see them Saturday and they made no effort to communicate with me. I assumed they would have been home.

Where the host stated I stayed five hours after her check-out time, I did make a judgement call about leaving my bags at her house while I spent the day out. I was not at her house during that time. But what did Megan actually communicate to me regarding my departure time and my leaving my bags at her house while I was out? We texted at 3:00 PM that day: “Okay, if you could leave prior to 5:00 that would be great… I have no problem with you leaving bags while you were out, but would like to have known in advance.”

Fair enough. My bad. An egregious transgression of etiquette? Additionally, she claimed I lingered at her house, “When I realized [the guest] was still lingering, I asked him to leave,” but, as I quoted her above, she admitted to being okay “if you could leave prior to 5:00,” which I did.

The host also wrote “rides to/from the airport are not included or offered in our listing but you pestered my partner into driving you 20 miles across town.” Pestered her partner? Going back again to her and my 3:00 PM phone text, “I won’t be home in time to give you a ride. I apologize!”

She omitted the fact I stated I could also call Uber. She omitted I offered her the $20 for the service I was told Uber would have charged. There was no pestering. Moments after our phone text, and her demonstrating an openness to my offer, I walked into the house and made her partner the same offer just before the next guests walked in. As he checked in the new guests, I sat at their dining table waiting for his answer. When he finished with the guests, he offered to take me. If he had said no, I would still have had 2-3 hours to catch a ride with Uber or a taxi. I had no investment either way how I would have gotten to the airport. I thought I was being thoughtful with my offer.

The host added to her complaints, saying I was “creating a chaotic and uncomfortable situation” in her house. Her new guests, her partner, his brother, and I were all the people at the house. Five people. At other times it would be possible for her partner, his brother, their housemate, and his friends or relatives whose were staying there, along with the host and her son, to have all been at the house – four additional people. Somehow, I, as one person sitting quietly at her dining table was “creating a chaotic and uncomfortable situation?” I waited patiently for her partner to do a routine check-in, and then he gave me a lift to the airport – accepting my $20 payment. Easy-peasy. How was that “creating a chaotic and uncomfortable situation?”

In addition, she left out the fact that because the bedroom was so hot, even with windows open and fans going, I slept on top of the bed where the only attention for the room would have been to straighten the bedcovers – I had cleaned the room before leaving. I left a note for her saying as much.

It appears that despite any effort on my part, the host glossed over if it might show I was not the “unpleasant,” “entitled and disrespectful,” “pestering,” “lack[ing] etiquette” and “lingering” guest she portrayed me. 
Considering her comments of me, perhaps I should have given a more frank telling of the condition of her house and my experiences with her. The house was a mess (I politely excused that, with her having a young son). The bathroom had the appearance of a college dorm bath being used with several people’s bath items strew about, crowding the sink and tub areas. I wrote only, “The bathroom was adequate, but in need of updating.”

I was shocked by her insulting accusations and other comments about my stay. I went back to her site to see what credibility there might have been in her numerous accusations… precious little. What I did discover was a photo of her bathroom only showing the toilet, excluding the tub. I believe this was an intentional deception on the host’s part to hide the bathtub from view – with good reason. The tub is the worst I’ve ever seen in a house. To that, I wrote only the bath is in “need of updating.”

I nearly chose not to shower because of the dark brown and grey-black stains where the finish had long worn off. It looked like a vat used for toxic chemicals that had worn off the finish. I wish I had taken photos to show I am not exaggerating. I’m surprised no one else had mentioned it in their reviews. I suspect it was left unsaid, just as I had left it unsaid, as an act of generosity as a guest.

It appears after all is said, her only issue with any legitimacy was that I did not call her before leaving my belongings at her house for a few hours. For that, she lashed out, maliciously lying, misrepresenting and berating my character and my actual behavior, all the while creating a fanciful fabrication of what my stay actually consisted.

I was willing to be graciously forgiving of her failings as a host and in my overall assessment of my stay. She suggested as her last comment to me, “Let this be a learning experience for each of us.” Indeed!

Airbnb Experience Different for Older Guests

We experienced our first Airbnb in the US this past week. How we came to be there is that my husband’s nephew stayed at this same place. He is 30. Our tastes in accommodations and his are dramatically different. In his review he gave them seven stars.

Anyway, he said they would give us a deal if we went directly to the hosts. We weren’t sure but that may have been a bad sight. The rate on the advertised room was $35 a night. Even with cleaning costs, that was still overcharging for seven days; we paid $400.

On arrival we met them. They seemed like an okay but aloof couple. After three days our towels start to smell. We texted a request for fresh ones. The host replied Airbnb required us to provide one set… Later on in the day I got a text from her about which towels I wanted replaced. I replied the ones in the bath which was exactly what I got: one damn towel. My husband missed out.

The host advertised on their page that they had European and American coffee pots. She never said or showed how to make espresso. When I asked for the American coffee pot what I got was a pot that was full of mold; it looked like it hadn’t ever been cleaned. It was disgusting.

They advertised they had a balcony. It was there all right… if you could forage through the crap laying all over it. Cigarette butts overflowing in the ashtray, and glasses and cups had been sitting there for days. As far as cleanliness, there were always dishes in the sink and a pot of food on the stove.

This takes the cake. They had a shoe rack outside the hallway and asked us to remove our shoes… no joke. I know there are better places out there and I will give Airbnb one more chance but this was an eyeopener. There was a TV in our room; however, it didn’t work. There were no mirrors and the pillows were as flat as pancakes.

They advertised they were students as their occupation line… this is their way of making a living? I’m not sure. They seem to be living in the bedroom opposite ours. The host mentioned she has a degree in international business and the husband in entrepreneurship. I think they missed a class or two in hospitality. The bottom line is don’t expect a 30-something to know what your expectations are. He tried to do well and we appreciated it. However, it was a lesson learned by us. Too bad, so sad.

Host Slept in Living Room While Guests Stayed in her Room

Not so long ago, I went to LA with my friend and decided to stay in the heart of Hollywood. I saw this one-bedroom place on Airbnb and decided to book it because it was heaps cheaper than hotels. The place looked amazing and the bed was massive. I contacted the host and she was very prompt in replying.

On the day of arrival, I pressed the intercom and was surprised that a guy answered and told us to come in. As far as I can remember, I was exchanging messages with a female beforehand. Anyways, my friend and I decided to go ahead. When we got into the place, we were not so pleased to see three people (two girls who were the host and
her sister, and one guy). The host was very friendly and took us to our room. My friend and I were becoming a bit jittery of the situation. We decided to go out and have dinner, hoping the three would be gone when we come back. After all, we booked a one-bedroom unit; we expected privacy.

To our surprise, they were still there when we got back. We decided to sleep just one night and leave the next day. Upon waking up, we saw the host and her sister sleeping on the couch just like it was their usual routine. I couldn’t describe how I felt that day. I was angry deep inside. I felt I was cheated. In spite of what had happened, I told the host that we were leaving and that we didn’t like the experience.

I tried to put a bad review on that listing but it didn’t get published. I made a complaint on Airbnb but there was no reply. Unfair, right? Upon checking up on the host, I found that she had moved to a new place and had a new listing. It seemed to me that she didn’t own the place at all. What she probably does is lets people rent her place so they can pay for her rent. That’s why I have been very skeptical of Airbnb, because of that terrible first experience.

Airbnb Only Bothers to Protect Hosts and their Reviews

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.

Stranded in Florence After Host Lied and Cancelled

Have you ever wondered why so many hosts have five-star reviews on Airbnb? It’s because all the one-star reviews are deleted. If only hosts were as good at cleaning as the Airbnb admin folks. We were left stranded in Florence in high season. The host first told us he’d sent an email with details of the key pickup. There was no email. Then he said he would send someone with the key (by then it was 3:00 PM). We waited outside for an hour, and there was no sign of the key. After a few more frantic calls, the host said someone was three minutes away with the key. Then we got an email saying our booking had been cancelled.

We emailed Airbnb but didn’t get a response, so we regrouped and booked another apartment. It was much smaller, only had one bathroom, and didn’t have the same great view, but it was a bed and it was available. Airbnb emailed suggesting we leave a review for the host who let us down. “You can leave a review for your host even though the trip was cancelled,” they said. So we wrote a review thinking at least other guests wouldn’t find themselves and their suitcases on a pavement in Florence. We checked a few days later and the review had been deleted. Airbnb said the host had trouble accessing his account (not true because he was messaging us through the site while we were waiting for the key) so there was no penalty for the cancellation. Not even get the standard “host cancelled” message on the listing. So after leaving us stranded, with no explanation, the host still has 74 five-star reviews and is a “Superhost”. Deleting reviews is deceptive and misleading; it takes away the customer’s right to make an informed decision, and it jeopardizes their safety and comfort.

You Can’t Trust Pictures or Reviews on Airbnb

My wife and I have booked some apartments through Airbnb and we can now say that what you see is never what you get. The property pictures on Airbnb are embellished; everything looks shiny, but the moment you enter the apartment you realize you more or less bought a pig in a poke. Not once did we feel an apartment was more beautiful and better than its pictures. Sofas and chairs looked nice in the photos, but turned out to be very cheap and uncomfortable.

Beware of apartments with old furniture. Some owners advertise them as art, design, or something. This is rubbish. They’re there because they’re old and almost broken, and the owners don’t want to use them anymore. They’re too greedy to buy new furniture. I prefer apartments with IKEA furniture, because at least that’s new.

Once during an Airbnb stay, my wife got bitten so badly by lice from an old bed (I slept on a new IKEA bed) that she had to go to a doctor. We like to cook, but in some apartments the kitchen utensils were also old and broken. Don’t trust five-star reviews. I know for sure that owners can make a guest change a negative review. Once, we stayed in an apartment that had a bad smell in the bathroom. After a week, a previous guest published a negative review mentioning that same bad smell. I even made a print of the review. Some days later, I looked again and… voilà: the review was 100% positive. The bad smell was no longer mentioned. It’s clear that the owner promised the guest a partial refund if he would change his negative review into a positive one.

As bad as a hotel might be, if you have problems you can complain to the staff; someone will be there to help you. Not so with Airbnb. After you check in, most owners disappear.

Do Not Use Hosts Who Demand Positive Reviews

Upon arriving at this pool house that was suppose to sleep ten people, we discovered there were only three beds. We had expected three pull-out couches from the listing on Airbnb. After contacting the host, she informed us that the other four people could sleep on the couches, that the couches were not beds. While looking under the cushions for the pull-out bed, we discovered food, candy and dust under all the cushions. It look like they had not been cleaned in months. We did not even want to sit on the couches, so we covered them with sheets.

Then we contacted her and asked what the hours were for use of the pool. She said they had no restrictions on the pool use and that we would not disturb them. She knew that our girls did not get finished with dance until after 9:00 PM, because we told her. After we left, I received an email from her telling me how surprised she was at how clean we left the place. I explained that was how I was raised, to clean up after yourself.

She went on and on about how great renters we were, then she bashed me on my review. She said the children were left unattended at the pool (the “children” were 16, 17 and 18 years old) and that they removed the Polaris from the pool. That was not true. She also reported that they had to scrape food off the couches. As I stated earlier, the couches were covered with sheets she provided for us. If they were scraping food off the couches, it was from the previous tenants. She begged me for a good review and stated that she would give me a good review as well. As it turned out, she lied about that too. Take my advice: do not rent from hosts like her.

Airbnb Deletes Negative Reviews, Favors Hosts

This is an echo of the same stories other guests had. I just want a way to let Airbnb know as they don’t seem to hear. I had a great experiences with Airbnb hosts for a few years. I always left the place very tidy and clean. I respect these are the hosts’ homes and livelihoods perhaps. I think there are some really picky people out there who pay for three-star services and expecting five-star treatment. I believe in honesty. However, I suppose any comment would possibly be taken personally by a host as it is their own home or livelihood and Airbnb is a way to help pay for their mortgage. Usually I try to be gentle.

I had a two-week road trip in the UK recently from tip to tip. We had great experiences, and honestly we just wanted to have a clean place with our own bathroom and toilet, in a quiet location… a place that appears the same as we see in the pictures. We also needed a place to boil some drinking water. We didn’t expect to have breakfast or meals there.

The place we stayed at Cornwall was not the cheapest nor the most expensive: a double bed with no views for £60 a night with no breakfast. It was advertised as two minutes from a cliff with a great view. The reviews there since May 2016 (about one year’s worth) have been 100% positive and still are since our visit. There was a friendly host, great place, etc.

However, on the night we arrived, we found out that it was a shared bathroom/toilet situation and we didn’t know that this was something Airbnb hosts don’t have to disclose. Most hosts would based on our favourable experiences. The host mentioned part of their home was closed at night for their family’s own use, i.e. their best selling point – the balcony – overlooking the sea cliff was only available in the morning. We were fine with that. We are pretty much out most of the day anyway.

Here is what we disclosed from our experience on our review:

1. There was no toilet paper in the shared toilet on the night we arrived. It was all used up. We didn’t want to bother the hosts, so we waited until the morning to tell them.
2. No wifi password was provided on arrival and we forgot to ask when we first met. We texted them to leave us the password in our bedroom during dinner. They did but it was on a card with writing so blurry you could hardly read it. We took a picture with our iPhone, blew it up, and could finally make out what it was.
3. The second day we were there, the other guests left the bin in the shared toilet full. It is the only bin which we have access to at night. They must have left it there the whole day since check out is in the morning and we found the rubbish at night after we returned around midnight. We messaged the host in their own home on the second floor to ask where we should put the rubbish. Our intention was not to mess up anyone’s home. We would like to respect their privacy but not go into their closed kitchen and lounge area. We didn’t leave all these gory details; we just suggested they could provide a bin in each room so that guests could leave rubbish. The small bin in the toilet may not have been enough.
4. We didn’t feel that the nicest part of the house was available to us as they left the door closed in the morning and didn’t quite tell us on our arrival that it would be okay to walk right in anytime before certain hours. This is the point to which they objected and thus Airbnb removed my review
5. The area that we got to see the most often was the room which faced a wall of the garage. The bathroom could be heard clearly from our room. There was no mention of any of this in the listing of course; we commented on this.
6. The bathroom was shared and not mentioned on the listing.

Airbnb removed our review based on this last point as well. What we only mentioned privately was we were badly bitten by some sort of insects which we are pretty sure happened at their property; the redness and itchiness appeared at least 30 minutes after we had left. The host vehemently denied it of course. Now I know better after reading this website. Airbnb is much more concerned about insect attacks than any of the neglectfulness we experienced. What I feel is most unjust and sour about this Airbnb experience is the host said we should be in a hotel and not use airbnb at all.

Airbnb said I cannot mention the shared bathroom was not disclosed, since they want to hide that fact, obviously. The host said that my comment about the accessibility of the nice balcony was incorrect. It is a bit of he said-she said I suppose. However, if Airbnb had looked into my history, they would have seen I was never vindictive towards any host. The whole review was taken out and Airbnb tried to call me once to explain or discuss the situation. I feel that they really should have done better to help expose the truth here for their user experience which was what made them stand out in the first place.

On the other hand, I had then stayed with another host two days later where they had a lodger just below us banging the ceiling and shouting at us when we were just taking showers. We still rated them five stars because they were friendly and helpful; they didn’t know their lodger was doing this. We told them the next day. The place was otherwise fantastic. The price was reasonable. We didn’t leave any bad remarks. In addition, Airbnb protecting these Cornwall hosts bad mouthing us by leaving us a bad review ‘saying that we should have stayed at a hotel’ when they are just providing service worse than that of a hostel at a price I think 40% above a hostel rate is leaving me a sour taste. It is bad business for the hosts who are doing the right things as well.

Airbnb Refused to Allow me to Write a Negative Review

I booked a last minute apartment in Athens, Greece called “50 Shades of Grey with Acropolis View” by Minas. Upon arrival, I discovered there was a full scale renovation of an apartment above mine creating loud noise all day and into the night (I arrived at 8:00 PM and there was still noise). I immediately told my host that I would not be able to stay there, but he refused to give me a refund. I also called Airbnb but they offered no help. In addition, because I told them I would write a review about the construction to warn future guests, they told me I would not be able to write a review. So yes, they charged me (even though I stayed elsewhere that night) and they denied me the right to write an honest acurate review because this particular host is a “superhost”. Airbnb has become a shady company and I won’t be using them anymore. They care more about receiving their service charge from a stay than the guests or hosts themselves.

Ottawa Airbnb Nightmare: Kate the Con Artist

I’m currently fighting with Airbnb and this con-artist host to resolve this issue. I will post updates if possible. Here is the rundown of everything I sent to Airbnb, with a request for a full refund:

I’d like a full refund for this incorrectly advertised, poorly hosted, nightmare of an Airbnb rental. I’ll start off by explaining what was wrong with the property itself before I go into the more disturbing issue with the host. First of all, the advertisement was listed as: “massive downtown seven bedroom.” The description said it was a large home that was very spacious, with large bedrooms.

The first thing we noticed as we we drove twenty minutes past downtown was the location. A rundown, beat-up house in the middle of a bad neighborhood in the south end of Ottawa. We were disappointed before going in, but tried to make light of the situation. We walked in to a crammed kitchen, a tiny excuse for a living area, with what was supposed to be the rest of it converted into the first “bedroom”. The rest of the house was just as small and crammed.

The first thing we went to do, as a small group of six, was to sit down in the kitchen and start eating some of the food we brought with us. We went to go sit down and the table tipped over and almost broke. We lifted the corner of it and I messaged the host to tell her about the issue. She kindly told me where the tools were in her house in case I wanted to fix it. I told her I’d leave the table in the corner and wouldn’t use it instead; she had no problem with that.

The place was clean for the most part except for bugs. Only eight of us stayed the night, and only four bedrooms were used out of the six small ones available. The next day, we cleaned up what we could, except all the dishes, because we knew that was taken care of with the cleaning charge. We even swept everywhere before we left. I personally checked every bedroom and washroom to make sure the place was properly presentable and a five-star rating was completely within reach for myself as a guest. I locked the front and side doors and put the key in the lockbox happy with the overall trip even though the Airbnb was disappointing.

Then came everything afterwards. Kate messaged me asking me what I thought of the property and to give her a personal review. I gave her a review in a polite and respectful way and even praised her as a host, just to be nice. I don’t think she liked my review so that was the last I heard from her for the day.

I realized I forgot my wallet in one of the rooms and messaged Kate the same day to ask her if she could please meet me or do whatever protocol we have to go through to retrieve my lost wallet. It took her over 24 hours to reply, after I reached out to Airbnb support for the issue. This leads me all back to right now. The host just sent me a disgusting message and is outright lying in all her claims. It’s very shameful someone in a position such as herself, who manages multiple properties, would be this slimy and corrupt in an attempt to pull more money out of her overpriced rental property than she already has. I’d like Airbnb to call me personally to deal with this. The only claim that she was accurate about was us moving that 8×10 paper-thin sorry excuse for a ‘carpet’ she had on the living room floor. No one touched the TV, the windows or the screens. We never left the residence so no one was ever locked out. The host is trying to steal money and delete the mediocre review I gave her.

There’s more I have to add. The six pictures of evidence the host provided were lazy enough to help prove all of it was a lie. She showed one broken screen in the backyard of the house that we didn’t go near or had any reason to go to. She opened the garbage bag that we left outside of all the things we cleaned, and for some reason took a picture to prove something in her favor…? There were a few flakes of ash in a bathtub that they placed to take a picture of, and then there’s a picture of what looks like a perfectly good TV – no picture of the “pulled out” cord. No picture of any broken fan. Then a picture of the living room that also looks very neat and tidy. There was also one more picture of a window, one with nothing wrong with it. Apparently we broke two windows?

The house was “smoking allowed” so the years of stench from other people smoking was strong when we came in. I still feel like I’m dreaming because I can’t believe that people have to resort to this slimy low level just to make extra money. Anyways, I’ll fight this in court if I have to.