Terrible host was ready for us to check in at 11:08 PM

Our Airbnb host informed that he would be abroad during our booking dates but we did not need to be worried because he would have a friend who would come to give us a key and was in contact with the cleaner. When we got there, no one was around. We could not find his place following his directions. We had to text him so he gave us all the details and all the codes that he had not given to us. When we got in his place, it was dusty and dirty. There were even leftovers in the refrigerator. The check-out time on his profile was about noon and the check-in time was about 2:00 PM, giving him about two hours for cleaning.

He informed us that after the previous guest checked out, a cleaner had not come in to do the cleaning yet. He asked us to open the door for the cleaner at 3:00 PM. The cleaner spoke Russian; we did not. I texted him to send someone to stay with the cleaner so we could go out to do our travelling and come back when everything had done. He informed us that he had no one. Since there was nobody there, we had no choice but to become the cleaner’s supervisors.

When the bed sheets, pillow cases and blanket covers were done in the washing machine, I asked him for the dryer. He informed us that he had none so the cleaner hung them in the middle of the room to let them dry. They were soaking, with water dipping on the floor.

Time passed until 7:00 PM came around. Then the cleaner finished her work. The host informed us he wanted us to help him by paying the cleaner, and he would return the money to us later. We did not want to get involved, so we had to refuse. The cleaner looked at us with her sad eyes. It is one of the most terrible memories that we have to carry with us in our life.

It was about 7:30 PM. We informed him that we did not have clean and dry bed sheets, pillow cases and blanket covers to use for the night. I informed him that we cancelled the booking for his place and let him know that we would leave the room key at the same place that we got it. He asked for two more hours to solve the problem of the wet sheets.

When the two hours passed, we left the room. We did not get even one single contact from him between about 7:30 PM to about 9:30 PM. We looked for a hotel and checked in at about midnight. I found out later that at 11:08 PM, he texted us that there was clean and dry bedding in his place. He could provide us a proper place to sleep in at 11:08 PM, about nine hours after the about 2:00 PM informed check in time. He informed us that according to his cancellation period rules in his profile, we cancelled the booking on the check-in date, so we would get no refund.

The good, fair and prudent rules and regulations should not protect the one who did wrong. He made mistakes in his job as a host. He needs to take responsibility. While he was on his vacation abroad, we were suffering and being burdened during our vacation in Moscow because of him. We are contacting Airbnb and asking them to investigate the case for getting us a full refund.

Run Away from Airbnb to get Paid on Time

It’s peak football season in Russia. I provided my townhouse to Airbnb guests from China. It is in Sochi. I was also helping my guests from the beginning with some situations when they mailed their football badges to the wrong address. I helped them with taxi as well. It was a lot of work, but it was okay to me, because I wanted to see my guests happy. It was my first experience with Airbnb as well… and the last one.

I have hosted my house through other websites and I have always gotten paid. But Airbnb refused to do so. First, they called me and said they would be paying me within 24 hours after the guests checked in. Later that same evening, they called me and said, “No, we will not pay you until Monday,” which is 60 hours after check in and my guests check out on Monday at 12:00 PM. Since I read too many hosts complained about not getting paid at all, I said that that was not what I agreed to. I had no trust in that system.

My guests contacted the company and offered to pay me cash and to get money back from the company. Airbnb replied: “We will not give you money back. You should not pay her any money.” Airbnb also switched my banking details from “verified” to “not verified,” which was a total lie. My banking details were good and other sites have use them with no problems.

The bottom line is: hosts have to provide a free place for their guests, guests have a ruined vacation, and then Airbnb gets away with this scam, keeping my money. Unfortunately I have more people coming though Airbnb for the FIFA games, and I have to email my guests and tell them this story. I will have to cancel their future plans to stay at my house so I don’t deal with rude customers to survive; I do not provide free housing and will not deal with this scam. I feel bad that football fans will get a cancellation from me, but I have no choice. Run from this company and never deal with them.

Airbnb Policy Violations by Hosts in Russia

Those who expect scary stories will be disappointed. My Airbnb experience is generaly good. No one has scammed me or robbed me, but still, there are some issues on Airbnb that are intolerable and must be addresed. Just please excuse me for my English. I would like to report serious policy violations by some Airbnb hosts in Russia, where I often travel for business or tourism (don’t get me wrong; there are also good hosts there – I don’t want to paint them all with the same brush).

According to the Russian Laws, if you are hosting a foreign guest, you’re obliged to register him/her, i.e. to notify the authorities about his/her arrival (by going to a governmental office, filling a certain form, showing some documents, etc.), but many hosts do not want to “waste time” with this bureaucratic procedure and they put their foreign guests in trouble. Airbnb rules say hosts must review the local laws before listing his/her space. By accepting the Terms of Service and activating a listing, they certify that they will follow their local laws and regulations. This procedure is informally known as “Registration of Foreigners”, but the correct term is Notification of Arrival of Foreign Citizen (Russian: Уведомление о прибытии иностранного гражданина).

Some foreigners may be lucky to get away without this paper, but still, the host must follow the laws and play on the safe side. Random police checks are common in Russia and if the foreigner fails to produce the registration slip, (s)he may be in trouble. Not all foreigners know the laws and their rights, so this allows some corrupt police officers to threat them with fines or detention, or even to demand a bribe. Once I was even taken to a police station because I couldn’t find this paper in my pockets.

Just don’t confuse this paper with the migration card, which is given to the foreigner at the border crossing. The host must register the guest either through the Migration Service offices (GUVM MVD, formerly FMS), or Russian Post offices (this is simpler). I understand that many hosts do not want to deal with bureaucracy, but this is not a complicated and lengthy procedure as some may fear. It is an annoyance, but it’s not mission impossible.

If your host is really the owner of the property and if his/her papers are in order, (s)he has nothing to worry about. This is mandatory; this is not a “special service” or a “favour” that a host may provide or not provide at will. I’m facing this registration problem everytime I go to Russia and this situation has repeated itself for years. I’m so tired. When I ask the hosts on Airbnb whether they can register me, I’m sometimes rudely turned down or ignored, or they find various “excuses” not to do it. Some hosts even suggest I go to a murky law firm, where I can be registered at a fake adress for like 20-50 USD or EUR. Basically, I can’t choose a property by its quality, but I must choose the one where the owner is willing to register me.

I see other guests complaining about this issue in their reviews on Airbnb, but no one seems to care. As one Italian girl says in her review, she asked her Russian host for registration and the reply was rude: “It’s your problem!”

Are the hosts afraid of taxes? Or are their papers not in order? Or are they just lazy? I don’t know, but this behaviour cannot be tolerated anymore. In normal circumstances, every foreign guest must be registered by the host within seven business days after arrival. If the guest stays at the property less than seven business days, registration is not needed. If the foreigner changes several properties, (s)he must be registered in each of them.

Note that this summer there will be special regulations. There will be temporary tightening of the rules due to the World Cup in 2018 in certain cities and the registration must be done within one day of arrival. Other details may temporarily change as well, so please educate yourself if you plan to go to Russia.

I noticed that many Russian Airbnb hosts did not even bother to educate themselves about these temporary changes. If I asked them about it, they were confused or didn’t care. These temporary changes have been published in the Decree no. 202 by the President of Russia: “On the specifics of the use of enhanced security measures during the FIFA World Cup 2018”.

Many Russian hosts do not really understand the concept of Airbnb. They violate its rules and their local laws, they accept only Russian guests, and they post ads only in Russian, etc. Airbnb is an international website and some of its principles are hospitability, inclusivity and respect for the local regulations. Some Russians are not so politically correct and they even write ads like: “I offer a flat for rent to Russians only / Slavs only” (Russian: Только русским / Только славянам).

I’m Slavic myself, but still, this is not right. I also see hosts who demand cash for an Internet connection, a security deposit or even bedsheets. How come the admins don’t see this? Note that Russia is not a 3rd-world country. Things there have improved in the last 10-15 years (at least in Moscow and other major cities). There’s a middle class that can afford decent cars, apartments, gadgets and holidays abroad, so there’s no excuse for violating the laws, committing tax evasion, and such. It’s not the “Wild East” anymore.

In the past, especially in the 1990s, many Russians suffered in poverty, so I could forgive them, but not anymore. It’s time to grow up, to file your paperwork, to pay your taxes and to stop playing games with guests. Right now I’m unable to find a good alternative to Airbnb and I’m sort of “forced” to use it. I can only hope that there are reasonable people who can clean up this mess or that a good competitor will show up someday.

Fraudulent Listing in Moscow Leaves Guest at Hotel

At the end of July 2017, I rented a room for two nights with Airbnb in Moscow, Russia. I sent text messages to the host of the apartment a couple of times asking him about his apartment number. Not getting any answers led me to believe there was an international communications problem.

When I got there, I called him many times but still got no answer. I went to the address which was centrally located and like many other apartment buildings in Moscow, it had security personal at the entrance. I asked the security guy about this listing and he answered me that the building had eight apartments. He had never seen the host in the picture I provided nor did he know any resident who rented an apartment in that building. He also contacted his partner who worked the same shift but he got a negative answer as well. That was about 3:30 in the afternoon.

I tried to contact Airbnb but I was unsuccessful. They had no help nor support from the website. I tried until around midnight by browsing with my luggage from one restaurant to another with no luck. I spent that night in a nearby hotel, paying around $100. The next day, after many hours of trying to rent a different apartment, I gave up and changed my return ticket to the earliest date, which happened to be on August 21st. That date was almost ten days earlier than my originally planned return date of September 2nd.

After changing my ticket, I rented a different place with Airbnb after many hours where I could spend the time enjoying my vacation. The place that I rented was not centrally located. Finally I contacted Airbnb, and told them that the listing was fraudulent. Because of that fraudulent listing, my entire trip was derailed and I was very much depressed.

When I returned to the states, I contacted Airbnb and spoke with a person at customer service who sent me an email earlier, presenting herself as a help/support department manager and promising to compensate me $300. According to her, this was the maximum amount that Airbnb could pay. I asked her whether this conversation was being recorded and she responded that it was. After speaking with her back and forth, she promised to compensate me with $400 plus my refund of $81 for a rental. I received an email today from a representative at Airbnb, stating that their company will not compensate me the amount that had been promised. I don’t like companies that don’t understand how to calculate their costs and benefits. In my case, if I don’t rent with Airbnb for three or four times, they lose me as a costumer and the amount that they had to compensate me.