Retired Public School Teacher Staying in Costa Rica

Our first stay in Costa Rica we used Airbnb for a stay that should have lasted three weeks. Because of problems with the host and his large dog, the host agreed to let us leave early. After we left he did not return our messages and eventually sent an email saying that he had decided to keep the $1,000 payment to teach us a lesson.

We contacted Airbnb but they closed our case due to not being able to reach the host in Costa Rica. The reason the place wasn’t working out was because his large German Shepard was free to roam around during our stay (including in our small pool) keeping our dogs from being able to leave the house freely. The dog also jumped up on my wife standing up trying to keep our dog away from the other dog. The dog was able to push his muddy paws on my wife’s face.

The last straw was when the host cut down a large tree outside our window and then started burning construction trash. The smoke and toxic fumes filled our rental. We told the host but he did not stop. We yelled that we needed to leave asap and he agreed. We stayed up till very late repacking all our stuff and cleaning the unit (three bedrooms, two story) only to be ripped off by this man. Another issue is that early on he told us that he was heavily armed on his site which now we believe to be a threat. We reported each of these issues individually to Airbnb and they have yet to respond to them.

Anyone Can Walk in, No Soundproofing

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I booked an Airbnb for two nights and I should have known I was going to have an issue when the host never responded to my inquiry about early check in. Later I messaged them again and she seemed really confused and didn’t get back to me with any firm information until 12:30 the afternoon of check in, well after I had made alternate plans.

I arrived at the Airbnb and, even though she knew my ETA, I had to figure out which “guest suite” was mine, where to park (I was immediately boxed in by other renters), and how to get in without any instructions. The real issues came when I opened what appeared to be a closet in one of the bedrooms and walked right in to the next unit over. The door between units was not properly secured and, while there was a way for the other unit to lock me out, the people renting next door could easily access my unit/belongings.

I immediately called Airbnb about this issue but received little to no help, unsurprisingly. Also, the door between units was so thin and ill fitting, you could literally hear conversations at normal volumes in the next unit from two rooms away in ours. I left the next morning after sending Airbnb and the host detailed messages as to why the situation was unacceptable. However, the host quickly stopped responding to my messages, refused my later request for a partial refund, and lied to the incompetent Airbnb staff.

Basically, she got away with scamming me and I hope it was worth the scathing review I posted for her property. So, beware of this host and any of her slummy listings. She uses the same profile pic for everything and (ironically) works as a realtor but yet somehow claims to be ignorant of soundproofing and security issues. Avoid this like the plague.

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Airbnb Fails to Follow Its Own Guest Refund Policy

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I rented an Airbnb for a four-night, five-day stay at a cost of $1906.76. On the host’s Airbnb primary webpage, there was nothing listed about the host having dogs that frequently barked, and one described that ‘may’ bite. Nor was there anything to indicate that the host might not be present at the property during the stay (as we had assumed).

The dog disclosure was only evident when one clicked on ‘show more’ in the ‘Health & Safety’ information, at the bottom of the web page. This is deceptive, as there are four or five health and safety issues listed at the bottom of the first page, but apparently the other more significant issues don’t ‘fit’ on the page, hence the need to ‘show more.’ How creative of Airbnb to do that. At any rate, the hosts are not fully transparent about having pets, as nowhere in the listing’s primary description page does one read anything about pets being present, let alone pets that bark and ‘may bite.’

The evening before the rental was to begin, the host messaged us that they were delayed coming back from Portugal, and that their ‘house sitters’ were leaving the property earlier than scheduled, resulting in them having to place their two dogs in a garage (directly above the area that we would be occupying during the rental), and that we might hear some barking. The host suggested that if we were disturbed by this, to simply turn on a TV, a stereo or a white noise machine (they’ve tested them – indicating this has been a problem for prior guests). It is our opinion now, that the host did this as a CYA [cover your ass] tactic, specifically so she could deny a refund should a request be made due to this issue. And congratulations, it worked.

We messaged the host that this new situation was not okay, that we did not know they had dogs that barked and might bite, and that, given the new information which had the dogs staying in the garage and barking, we did not want to stay at the property. I messaged her that we wanted to cancel and receive a refund. The host ignored this request, and refused a refund. We were scheduled to fly to Colorado Springs very early the next morning, and since it was already 10:00 PM, we made arrangements for another booking with Airbnb.

We had to get up at 5:30 AM to go to the airport the next morning, and did not want to continue a back-and-forth message session with the host, as the host also indicated that they would be flying international back to the USA, and could easily be out of communication with anyone. The host messaged us at 3:00 AM that morning (which we did not see until the next day) indicating that she would be able to get someone else to take care of the dogs. For us, this was too little, too late. This was her problem, but she made it our problem. We value our peace, security and safety, and did not want to risk a stay at a property without the hosts being present and with two dogs that might be kept with no supervision, barking.

We escalated this issue to Airbnb on the evening of the 7th (before the booking was scheduled to start), and spoke with seven representatives by phone and three by Airbnb messages over the course of the rental period. The first Airbnb representatives we spoke with on the phone told us about the dog disclosure under ‘show more.’ He was almost proud that he could do that, as if he had practiced doing it and had done it before. It made his day to be able to prove that we had been advised of the health and safety condition in advance, even though it is not immediately apparent that one has to do this in order to be fully informed.

However, we had also read Airbnb’s policy for hosts who keep ‘potentially dangerous’ animals on a rental property, and found that it stated that a secure enclosure had to be provided for such animals, so that they could not get out and threaten a guest’s safety (i.e. bite them). We shared with the Airbnb representative the host’s own ‘check in’ instructions (now curiously removed from the host’s website, but a screen shot has been added to this review). The photos in the ‘check in’ instructions show the guest being directed right by the area where the dogs are kept outdoors (yellow arrow), and more importantly, show the type of ‘enclosure’ provided by the host.

This ‘enclosure’ is nothing more than a portable ‘puppy’ fence, only two feet high (see attached photos). We did not believe this enclosure to be secure, and did not want to risk having my wife bitten by one of the dogs, who in our opinion, could easily knock down, jump over or escape the flimsy outdoor ‘enclosure’ (see photos). Not to mention we did not want to risk staying there, and having new issues arise with the host not being able to get home from overseas, or not being able to have a third party come to the property to ‘quiet’ down the barking dogs.

One has to wonder about the ‘intelligence’ and ‘foresight’ of any host who would own a dog that has a propensity to bite, place that dog in a non-secure enclosure, and then direct guests to walk immediately by that same enclosure every time they were coming and going from the property. This particular host is asking to be sued by a family with a small child who is bitten, and with the type of arrangements indicated by the host (in writing no less), they would easily lose that lawsuit. It was our opinion that the host lacked good judgment, and we did not want to risk discovering additional areas of poor judgment on the part of this host. This was a safety issue.

All of this was clearly explained to the Airbnb ‘investigative’ representatives and case managers/ambassadors/supervisors assigned to review our case. Screenshots were taken of everything. The host’s check in instructions were shown to an Airbnb representative. We were repeatedly told by Airbnb not to cancel the rental. When we asked one of the representatives if we should check in to the property, given the safety issues we had identified, the response was, “No you need to wait until the rep gets back to you with instructions.”

Their only messages to us were that they were in the process of communicating with the host, and then were escalating the issue (again) to a supervisor. Meanwhile the host had been told to message us ‘check in’ instructions, no doubt so she could claim us as a no show, and claim she had done ‘everything possible’ to accommodate us. The money was more important to her. Remember that about these folks, and wait until you see what she does at the end of this.

The time to check in came and went, and we were already staying at another Airbnb. It was not until the last day of the rental that the Airbnb supervisor indicated that we would not get a refund, and he added insult to injury by stating that we were denied a refund because we had not stayed at the booking.

I actually asked one of the Airbnb representatives this question on the day prior to the rental. Specifically, we asked if we would be considered a ‘no show’ if we did not cancel or check in, and were told, “No please do not worry, we have escalated this to the investigation team. They will contact you and let you know the status of this.” This was deliberately deceptive on the part of Airbnb.

I then requested that the decision be appealed, thinking that it would be viewed by another Airbnb management team member, higher up than the supervisor. No, it was the supervisor reviewing his own decision. And he did what he is good at: he lied to me a second time. I had been requesting all along that I speak via phone, directly with the rep and then the supervisor. Each time I requested this on the phone with Airbnb reps I was told that the rep and then the supervisor would be calling me. Neither of them ever called. We know our phone works, because we have received calls from Airbnb reps before, on the same phone we have in our profile, the same phone that is verified.

The supervisor lied and said that he was going to call but could not, because the phone listed in our account was not verified. The supervisor really should be fired for that. At any rate, the supervisor denied the appeal of his own decision. We hope his supervisor read this review.

We followed the advice of Airbnb customer service, and requested a partial refund from the hosts. They denied the refund. We were amazed that they simply ignored our original request to cancel the booking on Oct. 7. The hosts must be having a hard time paying the rent on their $800,000 home in Colorado Springs, that or their trip to Portugal must have been very expensive. The host was told that, in our opinion, what she did constituted ‘theft,’ specifically as a breach of contract, and a form of ‘unjust enrichment.’ She should have done the right thing and realized that they as hosts:

  • Deliberately do not state anything about the dogs on the first page of the rental. They don’t want you to know about the dogs because that might negatively impact their cash flow. It’s great to have dogs. But you know what, you really need to tell people about them on the first page of your rental description. Why are you hiding that information? Has one of your dog’s already bitten someone? That would be our guess.
  • Deliberately direct guests to walk to and from the entrance to the rental immediately by the non-secure ‘enclosure’ (that she says is a fence) every time a guest walks to and from the required entrance to the rental, subjecting the guests to barking and a potential dog bite each and every time. Why don’t you take some of that rental money you are making a build a proper enclosure? What would happen to one of your dogs if their head got stuck in that puppy gate when you weren’t there? Answer, they would likely strangle themselves or at the very least become injured. Ever hear of animal cruelty?

The final insult came after the host was told that it was our opinion that what she had done (not refunding the money) was wrong (i.e. theft), and that we would be posting a review of the experience online. Airbnb had removed our review of her property because they indicated we had not stayed at her rental. How convenient for the hosts. Remember, it was Airbnb’s own customer service representatives who said we should not cancel and not occupy until the safety issue was resolved and we received a call from the rep.

The host then threatened us in her final message, indicating that we should be careful because, “You don’t know us or who we maybe connected to.” We filed an extortion/threat complaint against her with Airbnb, which was summarily ignored by Airbnb, and the ‘investigation’ (if there ever was one) promptly closed.

We have utilized Airbnb six times in the past eight years. Every rental was a joy and a treasure, and we always had a wonderful experience at every property we stayed at. Every host we stayed at was very complimentary of our behavior as guests at their property. And most of those experiences were us travelling with our own dogs. Keep that in mind. We are excellent guests and excellent dog owners.
Probably why it is so easy for us to spot ‘bad’ dog owners. But this final experience with Airbnb was a true eye-opener for us.

Airbnb management did not have our back on this, and was deceptive and untruthful. We will never use Airbnb again.

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Airbnb Guest Sublets Our Property to Film a Commercial

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We are a Superhost family who has been using Airbnb since September 2019. This was the second time around the Airbnb had sabotaged our listings. We recently had a nightmare guest, who had horrible reviews on Airbnb. We tried to give them another chance and decided to host them.

She was a nightmare. She sublet our house to a group of filmmakers and videographers to shoot a commercial for Adidas, while she was away. We saw in the surveillance cameras that a large group of filmmakers came to our house. They were taking all the furniture outside. When I called her, she didn’t answer. After this incident, she lied to Airbnb, saying that her friends who were staying at a different house came to visit her.

After she checked out, she left a defamatory nasty review, full of insults and attacks, lying about safety, etc. Her reviews were thankfully removed for violating Airbnb policy, but the Trust and Safety department — which I do not trust one bit — emailed to go over her booking. The last person I was speaking to twisted the story around and 30 minutes later she suspended all our listings. She claimed she was doing an investigation, based on the guest’s lies. We asked to speak to another one of the untrustworthy “Trust and Safety” personnel. So far there has been no luck since last Friday.

We’re planning to send a demand letter by tomorrow, and if this doesn’t work, sue Airbnb for unlawfully framing us for wrongdoing that we haven’t done. Any suggestions?

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Host of Dog Beach Penthouse Lies, Making Guests Leave Early

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What can I say? We were told this was a special place: lots of great reviews; $300 a night; accepted small dogs. We arrived and used a Schlage code on a half installed security door. Mind you the lock was not even installed properly. The main doors were open as were all the sliding doors. The main door after entering the security door did not have a lock on it at all so we couldn’t feel safe.

We put one of the ripped chairs under the entry door that didn’t have a lock to help keep us safe when trying to sleep. We could see the door lock installed on the security gate wasn’t installed and there was a gap. You can stick your fingers in the gap and move the lock to open it. It wasn’t installed on an entry wood door. Unsafe and scary, though that’s another issue.

The bed sunk in the middle. All but one of the sliding doors wouldn’t lock. Once inside, the walls were filthy, along with the floors, furniture, bathrooms, vents and stove. There were missing blinds so we couldn’t close them. Faceplates on electrical outlets were missing. They had the cheapest paper towels and toilet paper and bath towels that looked like something I would use on my dog when giving them a bath.

This place was a dump. Probably worse than a Motel 6 at $300 a night. We left the next morning and vacated. We filed a complaint with Airbnb for a full refund for being an unsecured property with no locks to keep safe along with a dirty environment. I’m still waiting. Airbnb doesn’t allow uploads for videos so take a lot of pictures of any issues you might have. Hosts are scamming people. Stick to name brand hotels. Our first and last stay at Airbnb.

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Do Not Stay at the Lodging from Hell in Ghana

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Airbnb has unethical and deplorable practices. They would do whatever it takes to make sure their “Superhosts” keep their status, even if the reviews are honest. I read an article online about Airbnb removing a guest’s review because he posted an honest review about his stay at a lodging. I posted my review and within two days, it was removed because I was informed by someone at Airbnb that it violated the review policy. Since Airbnb will not allow for my review to be on their website, I will post it here.

I only reserved this place because of the reviews and I would like to say, I absolutely regretted lodging here. The Airbnb is not in a secure location for other travelers, but rather a community of renters. There are no security precautions in place and that is the reason I caught someone looking through my window.

The neighborhood is trashy, unkept, and very noisy with neighbors consistently slamming doors, babies crying, chickens crowing at all hours of the day, as well as other things. There’s no backup generator for the plethora of blackouts that occurred. How can you run an Airbnb business and have no backup electricity?

We had a broken toilet seat for five days and when I reached out to the host, she dragged her feet and responded to messages late. She claimed that 500 MB of data would be given per day, which is inaccurate. She claimed she added 5.13 GB of data and by day 3 it was all gone, which means there is a high likelihood that the data was being pirated.

If you want high water pressure, you have to perpetually go outside to turn on a switch. The beds feel like you’re sleeping on a hard floor and the apartment looks very outdated. The building is not clean: wires hang from the ceilings, and when I would return from my excursions, trash would be left outside my door.

I did not want to leave Ghana, but I was counting down the days to leaving this place. I guarantee that when the owners travel to Ghana, they are not staying in accommodations with these kinds of problems. I would never recommend this place to anyone.

I have posted pictures of what this place truly looks like. Don’t let the nice photos fool you; the bathroom was small and crappy as hell and looked like it was never cleaned before we got there and the furniture was extremely uncomfortable. Don’t let the positive reviews fool you because Airbnb removed the negative reviews, like they did with mine.

Airbnb Charged Us Over $5,000 When We Didn’t Stay

We rented this unit at an Airbnb hotel for 7 nights and paid over $5,000. When we arrived we realized that the hotel was not accurately described and the most important details were left out.

This hotel sits behind a sister hotel and across a busy street. The host purposely deceived us with interior photos, very few street photos and very brief description to keep it to her advantage. To our shock, when we scouted the area we realized we had to cross a busy street in 100-degree weather with three kids. We noticed a homeless person screaming and doing her business in public.

We asked at the hotel if this was on a daily basis and locals confirmed. We arrived at 10:00 AM and check in was from 4:00 on. The host promised to let us store our bags in the room and that way we could also take a quick glance at the room. When asking the front desk about this, they said that they could not accommodate us and did not allow us to see the room or store our luggage.

We went to see where the pool was and found out that it was packed like sardines with an outdoor movie theater that did not work. Around 11:00 AM I had had enough and contacted the host to let her know we were not going to check in due to the resort not being safe and as advertised.

She is refusing to return our money. Airbnb is trying to resolve this issue. Discover card doesn’t care so we are stuck. I feel like this host robbed us. She is literally taking our hard-earned money and has the power to do whatever she wants. I am appalled this is happening in the United States.

Who can and is able to help? How can we get our money back?

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Dog Lost his Life due to Airbnb Host’s Negligence

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We rented an Airbnb in Cape May  last week. There were many issues with the rental but my family and I were happy to be there just to get a break. The one issue we did contact the host over was that the air conditioning on the first floor was not working. Three days later she sent a repair man without our knowledge; the doors were locked she provided him with the code. Inside were my daughters and my one-year old bichon.

Due to the front door not closing properly, my bichon ran away. The host called my daughter to notify her. We raced home and began the search for my pup. He ran into a corn field nearby. My family and I searched for three days and nights with the help of neighbor’s drones and bloodhounds. We found her three days later torn apart by a coyote. We are heartbroken no one should have entered the premises without our knowledge.

No one has ever even apologized. I know some will think “oh, it’s only a dog” but suppose someone’s child ran out that door — I am sure all hell would have broken loose. Well he was my baby and the pain is no less. He was part of our family.

Airbnb Platform Allows Hosts to Threaten and Extort Guests

We rented an Airbnb apartment to stay in downtown Toronto from April 19 to May 18. When we arrived, the place was extremely dirty. All kitchen items were in poor conditions. We couldn’t even cook or make coffee. There was a lot of hair and food stains all over the living room rug and carpets, a couch full of some animal hair, among many other issues.

I have a one-year old child and such a place would be less than appropriate for a toddler to be crawling all around. Not to mention Toronto was in the midst of a lockdown, and with all COVID safety protocols in place, those were the hygiene conditions of that Airbnb Plus property. After a lot of stressful back and forth communication with Airbnb and the host, they sent someone to clean and replaced a few kitchen items so we could at least cook. It was better, but far from ideal. We had to stay there for the rest of the contract because we wouldn’t get a refund and it would be hard to find something else at that point, so we made it work.

We left the Airbnb apartment two nights before the contract was up. The apartment was incomparably cleaner and in a more organized conditions that what we found when we arrived (I cleaned everything up myself because I couldn’t have my baby staying in such a dirty place). We took some pictures just to be safe and left. We thought everything was okay.

After Airbnb sent me multiple emails requesting that I write a review about my stay, I decided to do so. I believe that was around 11:00 PM on May 31. I woke up in the morning and there was an email in my mailbox titled “action required: your host is requesting $2,635 CAD for damages.” All the damages listed there were untrue. It’s scary how just a few hours after I had written my review that host was able to come up with a whole document with pictures of the alleged damage and invoices from stores for all the furniture he supposedly had to replace.

I won’t go into details of each of his absurd claims, but I called Airbnb and explained that I was being retaliated because of a review. A week later, Airbnb sent me an email saying the host’s claims were not covered by Airbnb, that he hadn’t provided enough evidence and they would not be pursuing payment from us. The request was removed from my account. We thought we were done with this.

The host sent me a message through the Airbnb app trying to extort money from our family. He threatened to start legal action against me if didn’t pay him $2,635 through Airbnb in three days. The payment request wasn’t even there anymore because Airbnb had declined it. Again, I called Airbnb and said I was not feeling safe, that I wanted to block this host from communicating with me (which I still am not able to do because the Airbnb app is not allowing me). They sent me an email a few days later saying I did not need to worry anymore, that they had given the host a final warning.

I received a letter from the host’s lawyer in my new home demanding payment by Aug. 20 (we just had moved to this address a couple months ago and that guy found out where we live). Airbnb was again notified about that.

We are not feeling safe. This host is clearly a troubled unstable person going to great lenghts to retaliate because he didn’t like a review. This is all happening because Airbnb created a platform that allows people to easily harass each other like that. We made a contract with Airbnb, not with this criminal and now we are being persecuted for that. He won’t leave us alone. Why are we having to waste our resources and time to deal with this?

Other things to consider:

– This criminal host is an Airbnb “Superhost”.
– The Airbnb Plus property is located in a building that does not allow short-term rentals. We had to constantly lie to the concierge and every time we parked our car in the garage.
– I communicated with Airbnb every step of the way and we are still having to deal with that criminal host almost three months later.
– Once I wrote my review, I could read the review the host had written before. He called me “nice and polite” with no mention of any damages. Would you call someone that caused you an almost $3,000 worth of damage “nice and polite”?
– He replied to my review with more false accusations, saying I was going after monetary compensation and Airbnb did nothing about that. But I am not the one trying to extort $2,635 from a family, am I?

That is the hospitality Airbnb offers you. We are not feeling safe and I am posting this here because we don’t know what else to do.