Airbnb Not Providing Guest Protection As Advertised

Never again, Airbnb. I am a professional and network daily with many other professionals, government personnel, and elected officials. I’m now attempting to get back more than $3,000 from a host whose property was seriously falsely advertised and unusable. To date, Airbnb customer service has been no help as advertised. One of the reasons I used Airbnb for a Cape Kata/Thailand rental was because they claimed they would help if there were major issues upon arrival and the funds would not be turned over to the host for at least 24 hours after arrival in the event something was wrong. It was wrong alright.

The photos used by the host were apparently taken over a decade ago when the property, pool and furnishings were in better shape. We arrived to find a rundown, grossly unsafe property which included but was not limited to: mold in the bathrooms and throughout the units; an active aggressive beehive with bees inside the units; broken and uneven stairs to/from the units; multiple spider webs in the bathroom areas; old severely worn furniture with some pieces broken; a brown-stained pool with dirt and leaves and other unknown items; marijuana butts found outside doors of the rooms/units; personal items (probably staff) including used toothbrushes, clothing, and other hygiene-related garments in all the units.

We were unable to reach the owner. A staff member in charge of the property told us this happens all the time and people refused to stay once they arrive and actually see the property. After a 26-hour flight and an hour taxi ride to the property, I had to scramble to find another suitable place to stay (last minute hotel) at great expense for my family and grandchildren. There has been no help thus far from Airbnb. Of course the property owner is claiming nothing was wrong and he was never contacted.

Now I’m in a fight to recover my $3,000. Never again Airbnb. I’m going to tell everyone I come into contact with about this horrific experience. If I can average just five people a day, that’s 1825 people a year and if those people share my Airbnb and Cape Kata horror story with just five others, that’s 9125 I can reach this year alone, not including Facebook, pictures of the property I’ll post on Instagram, etc.

Moving to France, Booking on Airbnb, Facing this Situation

Let me start by saying that I am a frequent Airbnb user. Until this happened. I moved to France (Rennes to be more specific) 11 days ago and I booked two nights in a private room in order to rest and start looking for an apartment full time (moving to a foreign country, carrying a lot of luggage, and finding a proper place to stay even for a couple of days is necessary). The host answered my messages before arrival, but when I checked in, I encountered a problem which made me feel suspicious of the surroundings.

As a foreign young girl who had to stay for two nights in an apartment with two other men, whom I had not been informed about beforehand, and was preparing to consume alcohol that night, I had to think twice about spending the night. I would like to add that even if it was a private room, I didn’t have the key to it. I was accompanied by a friend of mine who shared the same feeling about the situation, saying that he wouldn’t let me stay in there.

The host told me I should cancel the booking and he would give me my money back. In other words, no fees would be charged for my cancellation, with the exception of the website tax. When people make you feel threatened or unsure of your safety, taking pictures is not highly recommended, which is why I do not have pictures of the place/situation. I have noticed that the money was taken from my account; I had reminded him about the money and our understanding and requested a refund once more. I have contacted him four times so far with no hope for a resolution.

I was forced under these circumstances to pay for a service that was not delivered. I would like to include the link of my meant-to-be-safe host’s profile. I know that it might be in vain, but I tried my luck in sending Airbnb an email concerning my issue. I would like for others to be aware of some people and to pay attention to what they are “buying”. Thanks.

Airbnb Customer Service Dismisses Concerns and Hangs Up

I recently cancelled on a guest whose reviews were atrocious, and after being told I’d be penalized $100 dollars anyway, despite making clear that the guest made me uncomfortable, I called Airbnb’s (hard to find) customer service number. I was connected with a woman who told me she would make a one-time allowance (that’s not how Airbnb cancellations work), and then proceeded to argue that the guest’s reviews aren’t that bad. I went through each review, explaining that they were among the worst reviews of a guest I’d ever seen, at which point the agent cut me off to proselytize on the injustice of Airbnb guest reviews.

Reviews are “an attack” on a person’s character, she argued, and as such are unfair. She then argued that reviews are not legitimate information for a host to take into account when assessing a coming guest. When I asked her to stop interrupting me so that I could finish my thought – for interruption was the way through which she made those remarks – and then heard the sound of her phone hanging up. On the bright side, I called back to file a complaint and was connected to a very nice, very knowledgeable guy who helped me with my original issue, and is now helping me to figure out the name of first agent.

Inaccessible, Leaky House in Bali Makes for a Bad Stay

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We booked a house in Bali this February 2018 for 25 days. Overall the reviews were good – 4 1/2 stars – so we trusted in them. However, as we arrived we saw that the whole house was a rundown disaster. The most it was capable of was for private use, but not in any condition to rent out as a holiday home at all.

We are pretty sure the house was built on a cliff without any permission. During rainy season the part of the cliff where the house was built on was eaten away by big rock and mudslides due to the fact that the water was running down to the sea nearly every day… that was scary. The only access to the house was over steps, but not normal steps; you had to climb around ten minutes down the cliff, over broken, irregular, slippery, tumble-down steps.

When it was dark, of course there was no light on the property. To give it a little bit more of a kick, there were cables everywhere and water pipes running over the steps; we had to clamber over them. The whole stair system wasn’t maintained at all; we all slipped away, because it was so mossy and slippery like ice. My son and I were injured on our arms and legs and we’re not too stupid to walk up steps. As we were travelling with our child, it was impossible to walk up them everyday during those 25 days. In the Airbnb listing the host didn’t even mention one word about the steps or difficult access to the house and she knew that we were travelling with our child.

The house and the whole area were so rotten and covered with trash and mud that there were rats climbing into the main room and over the roof of the bedrooms. In one bedroom, there was a lot of water damage; there was always water running down the wall over the ceiling when it was raining… and we stayed during rainy season. It was extremely humid, stinky and moldy. There was no way to use this room.

We already had the electricity break down on the first night, but we couldn’t find the fuse box. The next day the housemaid came, because we informed her an electrician had to come. He just “fixed” it superficially, but at least we knew about the fuse box. We were shocked to see an open box with just three simple fuses for the whole house, open wired cables, no FI switch, everything outside behind the house just a few centimetres away from the thatched roof. In front of the box was construction waste and big glass shards, so it was hard to get there and not get injured. The whole situation was unacceptable and really dangerous.

Not even this was not enough. The host placed two night table lamps next to the bed in the main room. One lamp had parts of a broken cable with open wires; she just fixed it with paper tape. The other lamp she extended not with a proper extension cord, just by cutting the plug from two cables and connecting them very amateurishly. This was one reason for the regular electricity blackouts until the whole makeshift wiring started to burn down under our bed. I could make the list longer and longer.

Just to be clear – the host wasn’t Indonesian. We met extra friendly and reliable Indonesian people whilst travelling over seven weeks in Bali. All the other accommodations we had stayed in were above average, the same price level with a super fair price-performance ratio. The host from the horror house came from Europe. She was travelling the world and wrote that she studied economics; she should have known better. For sure everything she did was on purpose and her whole behaviour was negligent.

We were really in shock about the whole situation and we tried hard to find new accommodations near us for a long term stay. We moved out on day 3 of 25. We tried to find a solution first with the host, then “together” with Airbnb; that’s what made the situation even more absurd. We wrote a safety warning addressed to Airbnb about this location, but they seemed fine with everything.

Airbnb’s “mediation center” decided that everything was perfect in the house and there was no refund at all for us – we paid over €2000. No apology or regret from the host, just lies and rudeness. We filmed and photographed the whole circumstance, so we could prove it all. We gave all the information to Airbnb, as we were told. We talked on the phone to our “case manager”, someone who seemed mostly trained to deny, and not provide customer service or problem solving.

The host lied to Airbnb by saying that the photos and videos weren’t from her house, but if you compare them, it’s easy for anyone to see that they are. The case manager just didn’t care. Obviously it worked better for her denying policy to just not see the issues? Just be careful with Airbnb claims – you have just 24 hours to file a report with Airbnb. After that you are out, no matter what is up. This time is set not to make it customer friendly – it is set up to exclude an enormous number of claims.

Our realistic, but not good review just came up on the page, when we pressed Airbnb. It even came up late. Normally it has to be posted within 14 days and we wrote it on the first day of the automatic invitation to review. Did you know that every guest has to write a review first and then the host has to review it before his review will be published? When he does nothing and he is clever enough, he can censor the review or even prevent it from being posted.

Of course the host gave a bad review for us on Airbnb with lots of lies and incivilities, even though we left her house with respect, no damages, no mess, and no dust or trash behind us. After all of that, we still got a bad review. This review system in our opinion is not a realistic or democratic process. We don’t trust it at all anymore, and we don’t trust Airbnb.

They just want to get bigger and bigger. It is not about hosting anymore, it is just about making money and winning market shares. They don’t care about a single customer, they take it all from us, and if they skip one they take from the next. They don’t care about the neighbourhoods or the cities they are destroying, they don’t care about the originally nice idea of hosting, and they don’t care about culture. They are just pretending. They are abusing everything to get more. They are a hypercapitalist ulcer that pretends to bring the people together, but they really don’t care… we are not conspiracy theorists.

The house is still online. Airbnb is doing nothing, so be careful with booking with them, something I would never do again, even when there are lots of nice hosts. I’m sure I will find real hospitality somewhere else. We booked Airbnb five times. We had two really bad experiences: the first we tried to take with humor and did not complain, but the second one was enough. We put Airbnb on the case, and that’s what made the whole situation even more obvious that this would be our last time.

A Holiday from Hell Thanks to Flooded Apartment

We arrived in Palma to find our apartment had been flooded. Our host took us to another that had been hurriedly evacuated by a Roma family (at least that’s how it looked). Our dealings with our Eastern European host were through a go-between who was simply charming and promised the Earth, but delivered nothing. We were promised we would eventually be settled in our booked apartment but it was never going to happen.

On our third day, water poured out from our shower and flooded the place, so we were moved to a hotel for one night. At first the go-between, who was on a sympathy kick, told us how lucky we were and he was paying for the hotel out of his own pocket. Fawlty Towers would have been an improvement.

Despite being asked to provide three rooms, the owner waited until we arrived before frantically searching for bed linen. We were asked to wait with our cases half way up an unlit staircase while he went looking. After twenty minutes or so there was a frantic knocking on the front door – the police. They had come to arrest a guy in the room opposite the one I was destined for. There weren’t three rooms, only two.

At this we told the go-between to forget it. He finally put us in a hostel. It was clean and modern and had ensuites so we were okay with this. But we had no idea where we were staying the following night as he had confessed our originally booked apartment was nowhere near habitable, the cost of the hostel was twice that of Fawlty Towers, and he wasn’t sure he’d get back what he’d already paid.

We had already started negotiating with Airbnb by email and phone (they hate you using the phone and hide contact numbers). They had only two responses to urgent messages: Airbnb didn’t believe we weren’t in the booked apartment so we had to send photos to prove it. Of course, by then we were in the hostel. Luckily I had taken a couple of pics to send to my wife so we retrieved those and sent them to Airbnb.

They then agreed on a partial refund but debited us the full cost of the first night, despite the fact that our original contract had not been honoured. We had already booked a new apartment so the refund was good news but still cost us. Then as we were (mid-afternoon) on our way to the new place the phone rang and it was the go-between, saying the leak had been repaired and we could go back to our revolting apartment. We told him where he could shove it.

The new apartment was lovely, modern and clean. However it turned out this apartment was next to a drug dealer’s home. Although the block had a entry lock I think they disabled it at night. We had paper-thin walls, and comings and goings all night long. This ended at 5:00 AM on our last night with a couple of guys hammering on the door and kicking it trying to attract attention. I’m not sure anyone was even in. I got out of bed and went to our door to suggest they stop (unpleasant confrontation in the extreme) but parted telling them I was calling the police. They left. The end of a lovely holiday.

Airbnb Wants Two Women to Stay Without Working Locks

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This link is to a host who has a dangerous Airbnb rental. Upon arrival, the lock codes did not work. We had to go to the “cafe”, which is also a bar, to get someone there to help us. It turned out that everyone working at that bar has all the lock codes, and manual keys to override the codes; at least one person was trying to get in. The lock was broken. The host was unavailable and said that the bar employees would have to help us. One employee said we would have to leave the place unlocked since the lock did not work. When we examined the doors to find out why the locks weren’t working, we saw severe damage to the doors and door jambs. Apparently this place had been broken into and the jambs were never repaired. In addition, there were cracks in the wooden doors. With everyone else being able to get into this place, and we were two women traveling alone, we left immediately and got a safer room. Airbnb and the host fought us on the refund, and refused to pay for any additional expenses because we had to spend more money on a hotel, even though we chose the cheapest one we could find. I will not use Airbnb again. Ever.

Host Became Aggressive Asking for Personal Information

After booking a long stay costing over $2000, the host became quite aggressive and asked for pictures of me, my full name, and the address of where I lived. I find this completely inappropriate. Even if I knew the same about him, which I don’t, I still think this is inappropriate and invasive. Airbnb won’t respond to my concerns (can’t get through on phone, emails no good, and no place on the help forum for this type of concern) and I can’t cancel without losing half of the booking fee. I’m out of my mind as to what to do. Given the aggressive behavior I don’t want to stay with this host, but losing half the fee would be a big financial impact for me. I’m a bit afraid because the host already has my personal email address and some other details so I don’t want to post the listing.

Using Airbnb on Disability when the Weather is Dangerous

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I am recognised as disabled with severe impairments and high PTSD and high vulnerability. Here is a picture of my highest Disability Living Allowance awarded in 2007 because I am deemed vulnerable and unsafe and need support. I have fought and become as independent as possible as most care and support is abusive and disgusting physically abusive, sexual abusive, or financially abusive. I use this allowance to be independent, free, and as active as possible.

I am actually travelling because I feel unsafe at home due to disability hate and threats. I’m looking for better future accommodation in Scotland using my disability benefits to do it. Social and support services are hopeless. “Disabled people are not human being but animals – it does not matter what anybody does to us.” That is from the professionals. I am independent and manage myself. I am active in the disability movement and an active blogger. I also campaign regarding disabilities, austerity, and the effects of cutting funds and services. I am also an active blogger and defender when it comes to abuse and discrimination.

I have travelled to Scotland using my DLA and highest Disability Premium Rate to work closely actively with others to move here. I feel very unsafe where I am in the southeast of England; councils and police are ineffective and disability abuse and targeting is high. I chronicle and write about disability abuse and inequalities. I get in a lot of trouble and ruffle a lot of feathers.

I paid for an Airbnb for last five days with a host in Glasgow, opposite Alexandra Park, which my little dog enjoyed immensely. I paid upfront for next stay, a full two weeks near Gretna Green, a remote dog and horse holiday place. The snow came down, and it got worse. Travel was impossible, and not only could I not get there but future hosts said they were not snowed in and could not come out themselves for next few days at least.

The host where I stayed wanted me to leave in the thick snow and blizzards. I did not have anywhere to go and was then short of funds. I begged to stay and even sleep on floor. She wanted me to leave and also got her boyfriend to approach me and insist. They offered to order me a taxi to get me out.

There had been no problems. I had been a perfect guest. I questioned the cruelty and unsafety of kicking me out and emphasised my disability and vulnerability. This seemed to fall on deaf ears. They went out to get more friends to come back later. I contacted Airbnb. It took ages for a response. By now people were being advised to stay at home; travel services were cancelled and weather was on high red alert and would be for at least two days. There was nowhere to move on to and no more money.

I argued and Airbnb agreed to refund my last payment as I could not get anywhere otherwise: nearly £300 and an extra £75 on top so I could immediately find somewhere else. I insisted and they assured me it would be in my account immediately. This communication, threat, and fear had now taken eight hours. When their email alerted me to payments refunded it said clearly it still could take up to 15 days for the funds to transfer and clear.

This means I have no accommodation. I have no money. I am under threat and pressure to leave, and there is only the streets and homelessness as a severe disabled woman with cognitive impairment, experience of a series of strokes and gross PTSD due to attacks and sexual assault faced with the prospect of being put in even greater danger.

I have contacted Airbnb again and warned and informed them of the consequences. I informed them of their duty of care They have so far not gotten back to me and I am alone in a cold flat where I am not wanted, waiting for hostess to come back with companions to pressure me. The only prospect is the streets and the cold. So far Airbnb has not gotten back to me.

This is where I am now. As I write this, I feel this is very important as Airbnb likes to promote itself as a trendy, aware, dedicated to equality, cheap accommodation service for those on little money and travelling cheaply. Yet now I am in a very distressing and precarious position. I wanted this dreadful state of affairs to be known as important for the health and safety of other vulnerable lone disabled women.

I have been active in addressing abuse and like many when I suffer discrimination and potential harm I can only write about it. Thank you for listening I am going to have another cup of tea and try and sleep on the floor until the hostess comes back and maybe I am out on streets. This is disgusting. I am an active writer, campaigner, and blogger on disability rights. Hate and failure of services and businesses accommodation of any kind is a nightmare. It’s more about intimidation and abuse than safety and having a home.

Fight Breaks Out, Airbnb Does Nothing to Help

Recently, my family and I visited the midwest. We are regular users of Airbnb and, most of the time, whatever issues we encounter are easily remedied by adjusting our attitude or expectations. But this stay was different.

The property was one of twelve hosted by the same person in a suburban area. Because our stay was only four days and we anticipated being tourists, we booked a basement with a bath and small kitchen. We arrived and things went smoothly: the beds were comfy, there was no kitchen (but there was a microwave and small cooler), and our check in was a breeze.

About 6:00 PM, we heard what sounded like a Dothraki horde running laps around the main floor of the place. We would hear loud bangs and even heard glass shatter. I quickly messaged the host and got a reply from a number not related to our host. The responder was, we think, his wife. In any case, she apologized and said they had three dogs and were pet sitting two more. The barking and noise was constant for nearly three hours. Finally, we heard the owner come home.

Night two began at 7:00 PM. We returned to the basement exhausted. The Kentucky Derby was in full swing upstairs. We tried everything we could think of, including purchasing a very large box fan, to dampen the noise. At 11:00 PM, I contacted the host. They said: “We’re at a concert… sorry about the dogs.”

In the meantime, we did our best to stay quiet so the dogs would stop barking. At 2:00 AM, the owners arrived home and it got quiet enough to sleep. They apparently kennel the dogs at night.

At 4:22 in the morning, a large bang jolted us awake. We heard swearing and footsteps and then someone let the dogs out (and not in a funny, rap song way). For the next three hours, we were subjected to bangs, stomps… think of a stampede. I texted the owner multiple times with no response. At 9:40 AM, I had had it. I went and knocked on the main door. No one answered. I did get a text saying that we had just woke them up. The wife of the owner apologized and said a friend had come home drunk at 4:00, so it wasn’t their fault.

Then, we started hearing a fight break out. Women were screaming. A man was ranting about losing money and we heard a woman say, “You f***ing turned our home into a hotel and those mother f***ers can go to hell!”

Then we heard shuffling and chaos and the lady screamed: “Help!”

I tossed my car keys to my kids and told them to go lock themselves in the car while I called the police and packed up our stuff. After calling the police, I called Airbnb to report an emergency. I was asked to leave my number and a rep would call me back. I never got a call back. My phone did ring, once, but no one spoke.

The host cancelled our reservation so I couldn’t leave feedback. The host told Airbnb there was no fight and that what we heard was a television. Ten minutes later, the wife, who obviously had left the house, texted us and said she was sorry for subjecting our children to a fight but we shouldn’t “expect people to walk on eggshells when we book a basement.”