Unsafe House for Children on Graduation Night

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We booked this house for our kids to stay in downtown Ottawa after their grade 12 prom. The host charged five times the regular price but unfortunately, the kids paid it because there were few options for them that night. That price was robbery alone. The host knew our kids would be there and we assured him there would be no problems: no mess and no parties. It was for them to sleep after the final prom party and get up in the morning to meet others for a final graduation breakfast.

We parents (four of us) went to the house first and it was uninhabitable; the temperature was 33 Celsius. We walked in and there were two useless fans and the smoke detector had been unplugged. There wasn’t even any soap in the bathroom. It was so hot and humid. The smoke detector was disabled by the host during the day.

We contacted him for more fans but there was no reply. We told him it was unsafe and against the law to not have a working smoke detector but he did not take responsibility for his house. Our kids could not even stay there as it was stifling hot, too few fans and the detector had to be unplugged or the alarm continued to run. He replaced the detector the next day but that was too late for our night. He would not refund the price of the rental and ignored our request for more fans the night of the rental.

Airbnb offered $100 of the $700 rental for the house yet the kids did not even sleep there. They went in, changed their clothes, and left. We grabbed their stuff and we would not let them stay there, as it was unsafe to stay there. He should not be allowed to rent out a house when it does not meet safety standards. This is unacceptable, irresponsible and to not refund us is robbery. It is illegal to disable a smoke alarm and he did that before we entered the house.

What do you have to do to get a refund?

We booked an apartment on a street in Boston where we had lived when we first got married. There were photos of the basement, one bedroom, apartment, and it looked livable. It was close to the college where our grandson was graduating. We kept asking our hostess if there was a place to park. She said yes, but we had no idea where it was. Our hostess told us how to get in and that was the last we heard from her.

The entryway was dirty. We went down the stairs, unlocked the doors, and our adventure began. There was no wifi, we couldn’t contact our hostess to ask for the password, and no electronics worked. There were steep steps leading down into the bathroom and no banister, except for a towel rack that had been pulled out of the wall. The shower had a naked light bulb hanging from the ceiling surrounded by wires. The water did not drain.

My husband, who was alarmed, warned me not to touch the light bulb while I was standing in water… sure thing for electrocution. That night the fuses blew and the lights were out for a long time. I tried to use the bathroom in the dark and tripped down the stairs. The exposed pipes dripped something and made puddles on the living room floor. Our room was next to the laundry and garbage room.

We asked the janitor, who was taking out the garbage, where we should park. He pointed to a small area surrounded by garbage cans and behind a giant SUV. We had one hell of a time parking our car. The parking “space” cost us $40 a day. Our hostess had given us a phone number. We tried over and over to call her. Her message service said her messages were full and could not accept messages. I gave up trying to reach her or anyone at the home office.

We went to the graduation and tried to spend as little time as possible in the apartment. When I got home I phoned the home offices, spoke twice to reps, and told them I wanted my money back. I wrote to them and to the hostess explaining why I wanted my money back. They wanted photographs. How do you photograph fuses blowing, water that doesn’t drain, puddles dripping from the exposed pipes, and a parking space that was surrounded by all the garbage cans from the building?

I read the reviews by other renters and they also said, “there is NO WIFI”, “the shower does not drain”, and “fuses blew and the apartment was pitch black.” Three different “committees” turned down our request for a refund. The host won’t reply to our mail. We are seniors. We get the feeling that the people at Airbnb think we are senile. I can assure you we’ve got it together. They keep informing us that we have lost our request for refund. They email us this and we cannot reply because their return email address is not deliverable. What do we do next? Our bill was over $600. The place ruined our vacation.

The Mystery of the Host’s Black Curtain…

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It was a basic schoolboy/girl error. I have watched enough TV crime detective series so why on earth didn’t alarm bells ring when I saw mention of personal belongings behind a black curtain on the Airbnb listing for what appears to be a charming and well-located ‘apartment’ at the heart of an historic German city?

All seemed fine on making the two-night reservation. The host accepted my solo female traveller booking and a few days before check-in I messaged him, helpfully I thought, with my arrival time in the city. To my surprise I received a very abrupt response, telling me he wouldn’t be providing any details until 24 hours before check-in, not ideal as I was already travelling with limited wifi access but oh well.

Instructions arrived promptly, and I collected keys from a gruff local shopkeeper. On arrival at the property, I dropped a line to my host to let him know I was safely inside. He immediately replied – like in two seconds – insisting that I gave him a five-star review before I’d even put my bags down. He added ominously “do not touch any of the belongings behind the black curtain.”

I glanced across at the curtain in question. It was a very flimsy piece of sheer fabric hung over a kitchen alcove stacked with plastic boxes. I thought no more of it until the following day. I received umpteen abrupt, accusatory texts from the host (which I have saved as screenshots) that put me on edge to say the least. In the first two, he said I had made his front window ‘messy’ but gave no indication as to how that could possibly be.

My heart started beating a little faster when, a few minutes later, I got the next one. He claimed his neighbour had told him that I ‘love’ his black curtain and that I had been going through his belongings… what? I glanced at the windows front and back and realised the lack of blinds or much in the way of curtains would make it possible for someone to see right inside with a strong pair of binoculars. That said, I had not gone near his alcove of mysteries, nor would I. So what was he on about?

Feeling unnerved and by this point seriously considering paying to stay the second night in a hotel, I glanced again at the listing and his reviews. I was struck by how many negative reviews he’d given his guests despite their seemingly positive public reviews. He’d accused several of going through his stuff. I calmed myself down – perhaps he had experienced some very bad tenants that had left him feeling anxious and hyper-vigilant? Still, my mind boggled. Why did he keep his precious things in such a vulnerable place instead of in storage?

I settled myself down on the balcony with my book and salad to distract myself from all negative thoughts – this was meant to be a relaxing mini break from work after all. I’d be gone early the next day. Then I caught movement through the corner of my eye. There was a man standing in the centre of the open plan studio holding a key to the door. I leapt up in shock and fear and, seeing my surprise, he muttered that he lived downstairs and had permission to access the wifi hub in the studio, which apparently served the entire building.

I ushered him out of the door politely in case things turned nasty, and contacted the host. Instead of apologising, the host replied defensively that it was my fault for not answering when he knocked and range the bell. Again… what knock, what bell? How would he even know so soon after the incident? Needless to say I left and I never did find out what was behind the black curtain…

My Account was Deactivated After Guests Fought

I rent a big apartment where I live with two permanent guests and rent another room on Airbnb. I left on a long trip, letting one of the guests co-host. After ten days, the permanent guest got in a fight with the Airbnb guest. Both guests ended up injured but one from Airbnb more so; he was in the hospital with a broken nose.

I lost sleep during the holidays talking with the two guests, my co-host, and Airbnb trying to see what had happened, who was more responsible, and how to act. The permanent guest was claiming that the Airbnb guest was disrespecting him, leaving common areas dirty, so he confronted him and got in a fight. The Airbnb guest was claiming he was overreacting and attacked him. We first announced the incident to Airbnb and as a result they cancelled the reservation of the Airbnb guest, refunding his money after he had stayed for more than a week.

I found this unfair and asked for a case manager who asked for more information. I provided photos of the permanent guest who was hit as well as the mess the Airbnb guest left. I tried to be objective saying to the Airbnb guest that he probably irritated the permanent guest enough to start the fight (I knew him; he was really quiet and respectful). Both have some responsibility. I also advised the permanent guest to be very careful in the future and let him stay.

The Airbnb guest was mad I didn’t support him and finally after a week without any explanation I received a message from Airbnb they deactivated my account due to violating the terms and conditions. Somehow the host is responsible for the actions of the guests, something that is not logical from my point of view. Nor could I find this in the user agreement.

I found the whole decision totally unfair to me with zero support from Airbnb. It’s a dispute between guests – how can I be responsible for their actions? No explanation about why they deactivated me, or why they believe the Airbnb guest. From my point of view, disputes and fights can occur and both parties should be responsible, but why the host?

Can Airbnb charge my account as a host for the expences the Airbnb guest had in the hospital? Can they do this legally? I can’t remember if I register with my credit card, IBAN number, or both. The bank told me if I cancelled my credit card I can dispute the matter otherwise they can do it. An attorney said they probably could charge me. Under what evidence or legal process can they do that? Who is responsible in a fight when there are no witnesses and if there is evidence the permanent guest started it, is he the only one responsible? I’d appreciate any answers.

Sleeping on the Streets of Madrid with my Baby

I am looking for someone to listen to my story about my negative Airbnb experience. I am begging for help, as the customer service representatives and hosts of the place I have booked have insulted me and refused to help, and I will be sleeping in the streets with my 19-month-old daughter because of this.

A month ago, I booked an entire apartment in Madrid, Spain from June 16-25th. We arrived and the host rushed us through the apartment door, through our long hallway, and our room had a bedroom door. After he left, we discovered a locked door next to our bedroom door (in our apartment). We thought it was a closet, but I could see there was a light on.

I immediately contacted our host and asked if there was a person in our apartment. He said someone lives there. I could see a freshly used toothbrush in our bathroom. We were incredibly nervous. I was with my one and a half year old daughter, which is why I booked an entire apartment to ourselves. I did not sign up for a person living there.

By this time, it was midnight. I could not go out into the street with my child. My family and I did not sleep the entire night. It’s 2:30 PM in Madrid now. We have now been in contact with Airbnb for 12 hours now. When I emphasized that I am simply trying to protect my daughter, the customer service representative accused me of abusing my daughter. I was given warnings when I was just begging for help.

We are now left with nowhere to go, no refund, and being told left and right that we are not entitled to anything. It has been twelve hours with no resolution. Twelve hours with no safe haven for my 19-month-old daughter. We were thrown into an unsafe situation and basically told it doesn’t matter that this was a fraudulent listing, and if I want my daughter somewhere else, I need to once again pay out of pocket, and my $700 for the unsuitable unsafe fraudulent listing will not be returned. They told me they are done with the conversation.

They are silencing a mother, who is concerned for her child’s safety. People need to know what kind of company this is: one that not only disregards customers, but does nothing to ensure the safety of children. The safety of children in any situation should always be the number one priority. A mother should never be silenced. I should not have been mocked and accused of mistreating my child because I wanted her safe.

A man at Airbnb kept writing me messages saying I deserved nothing. I politely asked him numerous times to step back and please let me speak to someone else and he ignored that and kept telling me he’s closing my case. I am a customer. The case is closed when we reach a resolution and I say it’s closed. He clearly had something against me and wanted to wound me up further. Because of him and this host, my one year old daughter is sleeping in the streets tonight. I am begging for help. Begging. Please help me either receive my entire money back or a safe place to stay for the dates I requested.

Airbnb Blocks Legitimate Negative Reviews

I’ve used Airbnb at least 15 times but never again. A host screwed me over (warning: do not stay here). I had never been to New Orleans and was so excited. Six of my girlfriends and I planned a fun weekend getaway. I booked us a house that was listed as “3 miles from French Quarter” on Airbnb and paid over $1000 upfront (included $130 cleaning fee, $113 service fee, and $45 in taxes). I was boarding the plane to NOLA when I got a phone call from two of the girls saying they aren’t staying at the house.

Their Uber driver said it’s a very dangerous part of town and is considered the projects. I Googled it later and found out it was the second largest housing project in the city. There were boarded up houses on the street (something I could not have known). When they arrived at the house, two men drinking from paper bags across the street started catcalling them and made them feel very uncomfortable.

There was only one other review posted before me and the guy said that the neighborhood was “worn down”. I didn’t want to base my stay on one review, but looking back I should have. I immediately contacted the owner and said we did not feel comfortable staying there and we would be staying somewhere else. I ended up paying a fortune for a hotel last minute.

Usually a hotel would make you pay for that first night and give you the rest of the money back. Nope… not this host. She wouldn’t even give me back the $130 cleaning fee. She blamed the boarded up houses on hurricane Katrina which happened 13 years ago. She also had Airbnb block me from leaving a review because I was never inside the house. My friends did not enter the house, just parked the car in the driveway and then left after being harassed. After two months of arguing with Airbnb’s customer support, they blocked me from messaging them and closed the case. I lost over a grand and was blocked from leaving an honest review. Save your time: don’t stay here or use Airbnb.

Locked Out After a Late Arrival at Airbnb

We traveled from Indiana to Iowa for a friend’s wedding that I was the personal attendant for so we were ready for a busy weekend and only planned to use the Airbnb to sleep. The hosts texted us about an ETA and sent a detailed message about wifi and the room, but failed to mention anything about the keys or doors.

The door was unlocked when we got there so we walked in. The hosts were there and were welcoming when showing us the room and bathroom accommodations. We set down our stuff but quickly had to leave for the rehearsal dinner. The host had texted if we had any questions to let her know but I didn’t think to respond since I had a lot on my mind and didn’t have any questions at the moment. We didn’t talk to the hosts much because we wanted our privacy, knew we would be gone most of the weekend, and didn’t really know what the “social rules” of Airbnb were since this was our first trip using the platform.

We arrived back on the first night around 10:30 PM. The door was unlocked but we didn’t see the hosts. We were practically gone the whole entire next day due to the wedding and didn’t arrive back until almost midnight and we found the door was locked. We were exhausted and tried calling the hosts because we didn’t see their car in the driveway. The back door was also locked. Finally, one host answered the door (in his underwear) saying they had fallen asleep.

At this point we were not comfortable staying there since our things were still inside and we were without a place to stay for a while. We had to drive two hours away to find other accommodations around 3:00 AM. The host texted us the next day saying she heard everything turned out okay but I never responded because I wanted to go through Airbnb for a refund. I later messaged the host through the Airbnb Resolution Center to see if I could have a half refund since we only stayed one out of two nights.

She proceeded to say I was extorting money from her, got back late, and that we were unfriendly, racist, and rude. I’m not sure how we could’ve been all those things if we didn’t talk to the hosts much other than to text them about the door being locked multiple times. There also was never a rule saying we had to be back at night at a certain time or keep in constant communication with the hosts. It was a busy weekend and we were just looking for a place to sleep at night.

I have read other reviews of this host where guests said the accommodations were wonderful but the hosts were kind of loud and that was frustrating. The host replied back to this review calling them racists as well. This is slander and defamation of character and a host should not be able to throw that word around lightly.

Domestic Violence Nightmare at my Home

I have been a host on Airbnb since 2009. I had guests stay at my place at the end of March 2018. During that visit, the police were called by a neighbor at 3:00 in the morning due to a domestic dispute. In fact, the police had to break down my front door to get in. The incident was pretty serious.

I received a copy of the police report. There were physical marks on her and apparently he had his foot to her throat to the point where she could not breathe. I had to have my entire front door and frame work replaced. Additionally, as a result I was forced to cancel all future Airbnb guests who were confirmed as my HOA was so freaked out by the entire incident that we can no longer do rentals under 30 days.

All in all I have approximately $10,000 in damages that has not yet been addressed by Airbnb, despite the fact I have submitted all invoices, photographs and police report. They are also aware that I had to cancel already existing reservations (which I relied upon as supplemental income.) Not one person from Airbnb has called me to let me know my case is being handled. What is really sad is that I went to the guests who destroyed my place and violated my living space to ask them to pay for the damage to my home and also the loss of income. They pretty much told me to F off and that they were “trying to heal” from the incident. Wow.

Airbnb Guests Part of Identify Theft and Fraud Ring

I always ask people what time they are arriving and get a confirmation on a time frame. Locking them into a set time gives me an idea about what kind of people they are too. Since this individual confirmed for 2:00 PM, he had me sitting there until 11:00 PM without showing. It smelt of “let me sleep over and then look through your s$%t when you leave home for work.”

I just got that vibe and I was correct. I did a Google search and found I was in a Airbnb Hell story. It was already past the cancellation deadline on the website. Dude was outside my house; I had to deal directly with Airbnb instead and get the knife out of my hand. They probably intended to rob me. I intended to wait at the door and prepare for any kung fu battle that always begins with an ambush.

I told Airbnb he was not coming into my house. They said, “Wow, how did he manage to make a reservation this time? We have procedures in effect that were bypassed by the reservation system.”

I said I didn’t care what was bypassed or how they managed to do it; there was no way they were coming in.

Airbnb said “You wont be getting any money for cancelling.”

“I could bloody care less, and I don’t care about my Superhost status either.”

Guest Ripped off by Host’s False Promise to Refund

I booked accommodation advertised on AirBnb on October 19th, 2017 for our nieces and nephews attending our daughter’s wedding from February 18th to 21st, 2018. It wasn’t possible to see the exact location as Airbnb only provides a circle in which the property lie, no address.

The property was very nice and within a few minutes of our house. The full amount needed to be paid immediately and the host required a 50% non-refundable deposit. After the full payment had been taken off our credit card by Airbnb, we received the address, and realized that there were safety concerns. The property was on the other side of the railway line from us and our guests would need to use a subway to get to our house. We contacted the host immediately explaining our concerns and asking if she would consider waiving the 50% deposit. As it was immediate, she agreed in writing and we cancelled with Airbnb. Airbnb’s portion was refunded quite soon, but they said the host had to give permission for them to release her portion.

Sufficed to say, over 20 emails to the host and seven months later, we have not managed to get a penny from her. I am handing this matter over to a debt collecting firm, as I have it in writing that she agreed to pay. She has had a long term rental on the property, our dates falling in that period. Unfortunatey, this will be an expensive business, as one is only given a client custom email address by Airbnb. So there will be tracing fees involved. Feeling ripped off and sad. Make sure you have someone who is conversant with the pitfalls of Airbnb when you book.