Airbnb Break-in after Few Hours… No Refund, No Review

I organised a trip last year that I will surely remember. I’m getting married in September and I organised a hen-do in Barcelona with my Italian friends who were flying from Rome and Bologna. Lots and lots of preparation. A nice flat with a terrace to enjoy our precious (and rare) time together. What could possibly go wrong?

We were all so excited. The area was Hospitalet de Llobregat. Not central, but not that far from it; we just wanted to spend time together. From the beginning, we realised how dodgy that place was, and this was confirmed by many people we spoke to after the break-in, police included. Some taxis refused to take us there on Friday night, and the policemen said that in particular the street where we were was very dangerous, so extra care should have been taken when someone has to stay in that building. Were there any mentions from the host? None whatsoever.

After few hours after our arrival, we had a break-in in the flat as soon as we went for dinner. They stole iPad tablets and glasses. The terrace (i.e. the major selling point of the flat) was extremely exposed and not safe. We discovered the following day that it was easily accessible through other communal terraces and the police forensic expert confirmed that this is what happened for our break in. The window of the bedroom facing the terrace where the thieves entered was faulty; it was not possible to secure it properly.

This should have been sorted by the host before we entered the flat, given how dangerous the area was known to be and how accessible the terrace is. It is not possible that the owner did not know both of these things, and yet (again) there was no warning or thought given to our safety or the security of our valuables in the flat. We had to spend our Saturday (the only day we could have been together) dealing with Forensics and Police statements and searching for another place to stay for the night.

Airbnb completely refused to give us any compensation for the accident, not even of the items stolen. This was all host’s fault and it was very preventable. The holiday with my friends that we dreamed so much about it? That opportunity is gone forever and there will not be another time to do this. I kept phoning the complaint department who kept saying that they were re-opening the case, to then discover that the original department, Trust and Safety, kept closing it.

Did someone check into the flat after the break-in? They just “recommended” the host to repair the window. Trust and safety? A lot of trust for the reckless host and zero safety for me. The host begged me to not post any reviews and I was holding until the case was closed. Discovering what? That for a hidden policy you’re not allowed to write any review on the place you’ve visited after 14 days. This is not mentioned in any email they send you or on the website at all. It is buried in one of the forum posts. I felt I completely lost on every angle.

I was a great fan of Airbnb, but this completely changes my perspective. Security is not contemplated at all in any of the flats they list, and this is shocking. Something goes wrong and they don’t take any responsibility, they don’t refund you and you cannot even share the experience with the others. A total disgrace.

Guests Robbed in Salò Airbnb, Host Possessions Untouched


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.

Your Personal Safety Comes First With Airbnb

I have heard hundreds of horror stories from neighbors, guests and hosts alike. First of all, I cannot believe the number of people who give total strangers the keys to their home. Unless these hosts are changing the locks after each guest, they are asking for huge problems. A guest could easily have a copy of the key made and come back to the home at any time. Since guests book online, you have absolutely no idea who these people are who are staying in your home. It could be another Ted Bundy who may rape and kill your daughters. It could be another Jeffrey Dahmer who may rape and kill your sons. It could be a serial killer who could return in the middle of the night at some future date and kill your entire family. Or, in a less violent scenario, the guest may return sometime while you are away and rob your home. If you are going to allow strangers into your home:

1) Get a copy of the driver’s license of any guest who will be staying at your home.

2) Get an electronic front door lock and change the code after each guest departs.

3) Be sure you have dead bolt locks on all bedroom doors where your family members are sleeping.

In the US there are all sorts of online sites where you can check people’s backgrounds. Sign up for a membership to one of these sites and do a preliminary background check on each guest who will be staying in your home. There are actually a lot of very nice people in the world and you may be lucky enough to host some of these people in your home. However, there are also some very unethical, sick and violent people out there. Your first priority should be to protect yourself and your family.

How Safe is Airbnb Really if Guests Can Copy Keys?

Last weekend my girlfriends and I rented a super pimped out, amazing three-bedroom house near old Montreal. We’re talking high roller kind of place… after all, it was my bachelorette party, so we figured we would splurge a bit. The reviews were great, the host was nice, and the place was amazing. Everything was great until we got home at 3:00 AM on Saturday night to find everything ransacked, and all our stuff stolen. Not just a few things, but a lot of things: $20,000 worth of iPads, diamonds, purses, sunglasses… all gone. They even took one of my wedding shoes. That’s right, just one.

After dealing with the police, filing a report, doing all the things we had to do we were finally able to contact the host. He came the next morning, and as he was inspecting the place he told me that someone had rented his place a few weeks ago, under a false name and stolen credit card, and stole a bunch of his stuff. Why didn’t he tell us that before? The buggers probably copied the key to the place and just came back a few weeks later.

Which leads me to ask: how safe is Airbnb? Keys can be easily copied. A quick trip to a convenience store or home depot – that’s all it takes. You can’t tell me that every host changes their locks after every guest. I’m guessing that doesn’t happen. So really, how safe are you sleeping in a house that could have hundreds of copied keys to the front door? We were just lucky that none of us stayed in that night. The night prior, one of my girlfriends stayed in. If they came in on Friday things could have been much worse. All of this tell us Airbnb is not safe unless the host has a pin pad lock and changes the code after ever guest. Always ask, and really it should be mandatory by Airbnb. By the way, none of the host’s stuff was stolen, not a thing.

How To Lose $8000 and Two Months of Your Life


Ill start off by saying this was the first time I used Airbnb, and it was the last. This past January, my boyfriend and I traveled to New Zealand (for two weeks) with a few friends to go on tour for his music. On our third day of the trip, we started off by visiting a local beach since it was a perfect summer day. We eventually made it to Hamilton, the town where my boyfriend (Joey, AKA Hoody Time) was performing and where I booked the Airbnb. I looked at the message from the host to see if there was a chance we wouldn’t meet her that night and to use the lock box to get the key. We got into the unit, set our stuff down, and relaxed before we had to take off to the venue. We had the front sliding door open for some fresh air when two men, one on a bike, walked by our unit and began chatting with us. They looked like the lived in the building and were just saying hi. Joey invited the locals to our show.

Later that evening we left for the show, locked up the apartment, and never thought twice about anything. Around 1:00 AM we returned to the apartment to find all our backpacks were gone with our laptops, cameras, clothes, money, even my medication and birth control. We all began to panic and then Joey realized that the kitchen window was broken and ripped wide open. We called the police and Airbnb right away. We told them everything that was going on. Airbnb had told me that this was “not common” and they would pay for a hotel for the night if I wanted. I simply told them no because I didn’t want to start looking for a hotel at 2:00 in the morning. I then called the host to tell her that the place had been broken into and robbed, and her only response (in a calm voice) was “Oh wow, I’m sorry, ummm… I’ll try to be there as soon as possible in the morning.”

No one could calm down or fall asleep until 4:00 AM. The police told us they would send their investigation team in the morning and to not touch anything that could have fingerprints on it. By 8:00 AM we were all up. No one could sleep and we had to be on the road by 10 latest, to make it to our next location in time. I again called the host to ask where she was and when she will get here. Her response once again: “I’m so sorry this happened it’s not common. Ummm… I’ll try to be there as soon as I can.” I began to get annoyed since we told her we had to leave, and she showed no urge or concern about what had happened.

By 10:00 AM we left. I had once again called the police and Airbnb to tell them we had to go, both said it was okay and we left. The police told us to leave everything as is since it was a crime scene. Later that evening we had decided to cancel our Airbnb in Wellington and stay at a hotel instead. We all felt so vulnerable. As I was laying down to take a nap and catch up on sleep, my phone beeped with a new email from Airbnb. I opened it up and became angry immediately. The host had requested $300 for damages that she claimed we were responsible for. She had a long list of damaged items and stolen adapters and claimed we left shrimp tails in the kitchen kettle (no one ate shrimp that day). Enraged, I called Airbnb to tell them this was absolutely absurd and if I see one penny taken from my card I was going to call my bank and tell them it was fraud. We literally had been robbed less then 24 hours ago and she had the nerve to claim we did something. I called the police to update them on the situation and decided I needed to take a break from this whole thing for the rest of the night.

The next morning we all woke up feeling down. How could we not? Our whole lives were stolen. Three laptops were stolen, from three of us who freelance and now have a loss of wages while on the road. This is where things get good. We saw in the news a sunglasses store had been robbed the same night, and the guys were caught on CCTV. To our surprise, the guys we had been taking to the night of the robbery were the guys in the photos robbing the store. Then Joey got a phone call from the police with an update, but it wasn’t good. The detective and forensic team showed up to the apartment to find the host and her husband had fixed the window and cleaned the whole place up already. Airbnb’s policy – as well as the police’s and just common sense – is to not touch a crime scene. Within minutes of hearing the detective saying they couldn’t do much now, I called Airbnb to let them have it: “How could you let your host get away with this? Now we are thinking she is in on it!”

Weeks went by of going back and forth with the police for a formal police report since Airbnb was hassling me for one. In the meantime, the host had written a nasty review on me, filling it with lies, claiming it was weird she never met us and we took off. While I wrote responses, Airbnb removed them as this was an “ongoing investigation.” Finally, I got the police report. Not once, but twice did it say that the investigation couldn’t be completed as the host had cleaned up the place and fixed the damages. Now we couldn’t even have a chance in finding the robbers and maybe getting our stuff back.

Once Airbnb got the report, they called me to let me know that my case was closed because they got what they needed and that was the end of things. When asked what will happen with the host, “We will have a talk with her and tell her to handle things differently next time.” Next time? Not once was I given help or aid from Airbnb. They returned any money that was put down for a Airbnb in New Zealand, and when they asked for the receipts for a hotel we stayed in so they could reimburse me, they never even paid me back for it. So that was an extra $600 NZ. We have tweeted at Airbnb and the CEO multiple times and received nothing but a robotic response. Our only option is to now try and sue Airbnb or the host. In total, we are out $7000 in things that got robbed, $1500 in lost wages, and $600 in hotels that replaced Airbnb. I’m sick to my stomach over this whole thing. I have heard too many horror stories from both guests and hosts. I will never use Airbnb again.

Side note: My reviews were never put back up.

I was Robbed by My Guest and Airbnb

I have been managing vacation rentals for over eight years. I’ve enjoyed welcoming people into my homes and take great pride in providing them with a clean, warm, and welcoming place to stay. I decided to try Airbnb in the hopes of increasing the number of rentals during my slow season (summers in Arizona don’t make it a wildly popular place to travel). My first guest booked a property for five nights. According to Airbnb, the payout for the reservation should have been in my account 24 hours after check-in. That did not happen. I went to my property after the guest checked out and was shocked and disturbed by what I walked into. My house was trashed and reeked of cigarette smoke, and I had been robbed. I called the police and followed up with a call to Airbnb.

I was told to use the Resolution Center to ask the guest that robbed me for the money to cover the cost of the items he stole. This didn’t really make much sense to me… but I did it. I was told he then had 72 hours to respond and if there had been no resolution Airbnb would get involved. Big surprise… the man that robbed me didn’t respond. That 72 hours passed a week ago. I have called and emailed Airbnb multiple times and received absolutely no explanation about what they are doing on their end to help resolve this matter. The customer service people just read from their script and tell me it’s being “investigated.”

Here’s the kicker: I never received payment from the reservation. The robbery and security deposit aside, I was never even paid by Airbnb for the five nights he stayed at my house. I’ve resorted to a negative post on their Facebook page to which they responded with a DM then on Twitter. Still there has been no response, explanation, or money in my account. I have been robbed by both the guest that stayed in my home and now by Airbnb. I feel totally violated and I can’t do a thing about it other than share my experience with as many people as possible in the hopes that no one else has to go through what I am going through.

AirBnB lets questionable host rent after guests denied access to property, robbed at gunpoint

I am an Air BnB “Super Host”, and have used them whenever I traveled abroad, with no problems…..UNTIL I recently travelled to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. I booked what looked like a beautiful apartment on the beach. When I arrived late night at the airport, I missed the cab driver who was supposed to take me to the property because he had the wrong name on his mobile phone, so I got another cab from the airport taxi stand. As we approached the property, there were dozens of prostitutes and assorted “others” (pimps/drug dealers???) out in front of the building. The cab driver got out briefly and contacted the security guard to let us in. He showed the guard our confirmation page. The guard said that this is “Not a hotel, it is apartments”, and that we should go away. The cab driver insisted that we were at the correct address, so the guard told us to go around to the side street by the gate. He then disappeared. The cab driver pulled us up by the gate entrance and popped the trunk. My friend got out and walked into the compound. I got out and walked to the trunk to get my bags. Within SECONDS, two men came up and put a .45 under my chin. I slid out of my shoulder bag and slipped away from the man who was beginning to subdue me. While I half expected to get the top of my head blown off, I only got a broken tooth as the gun hit me when he half-heartedly tried to keep me from escaping. I ran around the car away from him and into the compound. my friend and I quickly ran into the lobby and into an elevator to get anywhere out of sight. we made it to the 3rd floor, and got out, looking for a place to hide. we could hear men laughing downstairs and then I heard them say that the “stupid bitches must’ve gotten in the elevator! They’re in the building.” We then tried to go higher, but the elevator wouldn’t move! it had been locked down. So we got out and hid in a janitor’s closet for what seemed like hours(really just minutes). I was certain they were going to come and get us. I snuck out and waited to see if I could hear anything. Nothing. So I tried the elevator again(and it worked again) to get out of the building. we were headed to the lobby again, but atleast I had a broken broomstick to defend myself this time! The doors opened, and the cab driver was standing there with 2 of our bags that he saved from the thieves! Also in the lobby, were 2 pissed off security guerds that were telling us that we had no business here and that we needed to leave immediately! They didn’t care that we had just been robbed and that we had rented an apartment there, or that we had a piece of paper showing that we had rented it. Fortunately I still had my mobile phone in my pocket, so I tried calling the host. No answer! and he was in Mexico CIty, as well. I asked my cab driver to take us back to the airport because American Airlines had my passport number and a record of our arrival into the country. the next day after having the tourist police take us to the US Embassy to get emergency passports, Air BnB rebooked us at a nice property about 2 hours drive from Santo Domingo, in Bani. In addition, they got us $500USD via the new host, so I could continue my trip(cruise to Europe). This was good. HOWEVER…when I returned to the US, I wrote a truthful review of the property and recounted my experience. AirBnB quickly pulled down the review, and is continuing to let this host rent to unsuspecting guests. They say that it was my fault that I got mugged, and next time I should be a smarter traveler. I am a former flight attendant and quite an experienced traveller, having travelled to places such as South Africa, Mozambique, Honduras, Indonesia and India. In addition, I’m an experienced host with AirBnB. They basically said that because I missed the pre-arranged cab driver, it was my fault that I was attacked! I also found out from one of the other condo owners that this host is not supposed to be subleasing his place, and that he was getting around this by having his cab driver friend pick up guests and take them to the apartment directly, thus avoiding the security guards. So, I got robbed and nearly shot because I missed the cab driver at the airport due to a silly mistake! This will surely happen again to someone else, because this is a marginal host dishonestly renting a property in a very dangerous part of a very dangerous city in a 3rd world country. Please keep in mind that most hosts on AirBnB, myself included…are nice, trustworthy people who have your safety and comfort in mind. But now I realize that we have some questionable hosts, and AirBnB is unwilling or unable to stop doing business with these bad actors. My recommendations are to make sure that your host is available to you either in person or by phone throughout the check-in process and easily accessable throughout your stay. Also NEVER use AirBnB in dangerous/poor places like Honduras, Brazil or Nigeria. Use extreme caution when using them in Russia, China or South Africa. I have used AirBnB in several places in South Africa and had wonderful experiences, but don’t ever book in a township. VERY dangerous! Most importantly, communicate with your host and ask plenty of questions BEFORE you arrive. A good host will be happy to answer your questions and put your mind at ease. A good host will not ask you to send them money, around Air BnB. However, some hosts will offer other services(myself included) like airport pickup and bike rentals. Never pay for them ahead of time. You should be able to pay the host During your stay. If after communicating with the host, if it doesn’t feel right…cancel it!