A local Airbnb was being hosted by sexual predator (now serving multiple years in prison). He lived in the house with guests before his court date, which took two years. He was not allowed to have anyone under 16 at his house. I called Airbnb and let them know that this was occurring and single women might not be comfortable sharing his hot tub and pool if they were aware. They did nothing. Please Google your hosts and guests if you’re sharing a house.
I wanted to take a moment to share our recent experience with Airbnb and explain why we will be deleting our listing and not renting our home. We are being threatened by a crazy guest who cancelled her reservation and was upset at the cancellation policy.
Someone named “Maygan” booked a reservation at our home for one guest. I accepted the reservation and began chatting with her through Airbnb messages. In these messages she informed me that there would be twelve people staying at the house. I informed her that our home only sleeps ten, but I could increase the maximum to twelve if she promised to take excellent care of our home. She agreed and thanked me.
When she made the change the price increased and I explained that there is an incremental increase in price for parties greater than four guests. Maygan is claiming that we are scammers because we charge more for a party of twelve than we do for a party of four. I disagree.
When I book properties through Airbnb as a guest I always make sure I put in the correct party size so that the system shows me accurate prices of places when I consider booking. Instead of thinking that we are charging more for larger parties, I prefer to think that we are offering a discounted rate to smaller parties.
Regardless, Maygan accepted the reservation change, which clearly shows the price changes. She then said she was going to check with the rest of her party to make sure everyone was still interested. Since it had been two days since the reservation was originally booked, Airbnb charged her card for the reservation she was booking.
Towards the end of the second day Maygan decided to cancel the reservation, but due to Airbnb’s cancellation policy, she was informed that she would not be getting a refund. At this point she apparently told her group that “the hosts went ahead and charged her credit card without authorization for the entire amount of the reservation.”
Maygan claims that it was a couple of hours from the time she booked until the time she cancelled. I wish that were the case, but unfortunately she booked in the early morning on 2/27 and cancelled in the evening on 2/28.
After this I was contacted by Airbnb and asked if I would refund Maygan’s money. Every single time a reservation had been cancelled up to this point, I have been asked by Airbnb to make an exception and refund the money… and I have always allowed it. This time I said I would refund the full amount if our home was able to re-book for the dates or I would refund half of the amount if I was unable to re-book for the dates.
I was traveling out of town that weekend for a baby moon, as we used IVF and surrogacy to (very expensively) get pregnant with twins. It is a month until they will be born and our soon-to-be children’s godparents decided to gift us a baby moon trip to rural Colorado.
It was a wonderful trip and upon arriving back home I received an Airbnb message from someone in Maygan’s group. This person created a fake spam account on Airbnb and messaged me to say that I was an unethical and evil person because I wouldn’t make an exception to the cancellation policy.
This person then said they posted our physical address, names and personal information on this site and others in the hope that other people would get angry. They said, “Who knows what other angry trolls will do to you.”
This person then threatened to get into our home somehow and plant lots of bedbugs in the beds, release full traps of deer ticks in the yard in the hopes that we would get Lyme disease, post fake items for sale on internet sites in the hopes of having lots of random strangers come to the house, etc.
This person then sent another message saying that they could see on the calendar that people would be at the house this weekend and they were going to “post an anonymous classified ad at the house while it was booked so dozens of people would show up looking for stuff… it will be an ordeal.”
At the end of this horrible message it ended with, “P.S. I enjoyed looking at your photos of the wedding in (LOCATION). The photographer did an excellent job. You too look really happy.”
Now this person is stalking me? I have reached out to law enforcement and was told that these threats could be considered criminal harassment and result in fines and a year in jail. Now, I don’t want it to go that far but it is nice to know that the law is on my side here
What I have proposed is that if Maygan provides the identity of the person threatening my property and family I will authorize Airbnb to refund all of her money. If something were to happen to my home or my family, I want to know the identity of the person that was threatening us.
I will update this but for now I am just awaiting Maygan’s response. I do think it’s a little ironic that someone is hiding behind a fake profile in order to threaten me and make my personal information public.
We recently stayed at an Airbnb in Los Angeles. This was a family vacation with small children ages two and three, plus visiting family with a newborn 0-3 months, and another two-year-old toddler. We viewed all the site photos, read reviews, and thought the location was nice, the place looked good, and everything should be fine. We were wrong.
When we got there, the security code to get into our unit was wrong and the host did not let us know he had changed it. This was at 11:00 PM when we got there with crying children. We got inside with no safety lights down 20+ concrete stairs with – again – small children, and luggage. There was no lighting to see where or what we were going or doing, because it was pitch black outside.
After we finally get the door open in the dark, we looked for our pack and play for the toddler to sleep in. It was not there. I called the host and he told me he would bring it tomorrow. I said we requested this back in September when I booked this reservation and he had replied “No problem!” He complained about it to me via IM – never by phone – and told me I was a very demanding guest.
The next things to happen were so ridiculous that I could not even believe they happened, but they did. We were told in the listing the property had a BBQ grill that was very nice. It was not: it was a rusty, filthy, piece of crap, that had a broken gas regulator on it, unsafe, a plugged grill jets and so rusty you would get lockjaw from eating off of it. We again sent an IM. He told us again we were demanding and he was not responsible for a BBQ grill even though he listed the place as having one.
The next thing was the loose railing on the very large and scenic overlook on a cliff setting that was not secure or up to code. The code states 42″; his was maybe 36″ and very loose. If our grandchildren would have leaned on it it would have been disastrous.
We paid for the place to be cleaned and ready when we checked in. There was so much grime on the floors that our socks were always black from it. We would have even washed the floor ourselves but there was no proper equipment – no vacuum, no mop, only a two-foot broken sweep broom and a spray broom which really just pushes the dirt around. Black mold was in every corner.
The host would say the floors looked clean. They did, because it was a light colored vinyl floor that looks clean until you walk on it barefoot. This was our problem and we discussed it with our host, sent him photos, and asked if he could make any of this better. He came back with “I suppose I could come and clean it if you will be keep your complaints on the other things quiet.” I refused and took photos of what he considered acceptable to rent – a construction zone – and still charge full price for with only a half ass way of doing things.
I complained to Airbnb and they told me I had no claim because I waited until after I checked out to do so. We were all afraid we would have no place to stay if we did it ahead of that, and of course they said that would never happen.
I believe this is all a shame: bad Airbnb hosts getting away with poor listings, a system of checks and balances that does not work, and everyone still making money off of honest unsuspecting renters like us. If karma is working I am hoping this comes back to bite our host big time and am very glad none of our family got hurt or sick from such a poor listing.
My Airbnb Hell season begins today. I live in a small 36-home community in Myrtle Beach, SC. We purchased a home here because we didn’t want to live around the tourists, but wanted to be close to the beach.
The short backstory is my neighbor’s wife left him last year around this time. She hastily signed a lease for an apartment and they reconciled in a few days, presenting their family with an issue of having an apartment that was unable to be sublet and a house in a residential only community. Our master deed states our homes are residential use only and the husband requested to rent his home on Airbnb.
Before we were able to have a Board of Directors meeting regarding his request, he had set up the account and had half the summer blocked off. We denied his request and had our attorney give an opinion in our case. Our attorney has sent two cease and desist letters but he has continued to book this year.
Last summer ended with Mustang Week: 22 Mustangs revving all night and day – fun times, right? Our homes are huge, so he fit more than 24 people in his home at times. The summer was full of riffraff in and out every three days that thought all the houses on my street were vacation rentals.
I have a pool so several renters tried telling me that my pool was the community pool and I had to let them use it because they were “paying for it”. A group of frat boys were catcalling at all the old ladies that walk the street for their workout. Several groups were so loud, I couldn’t let my children sleep in their own room.
Today, we have a new group in the house. It’s a small group but my children have school for a few more months and I’m worried about noise levels from vacationers, child molesters, and drunk people roaming my community again.
It was my first day in Italy. My Superhost dropped me at a train station to get the fast train to Pompeii and said he would send me directions to return to his home. He helped me book my ticket with my EU rail pass so he knew my return time.
He sent the train and the bus information but never mentioned what stop to get off at. An hour and a half later, now after 11:00 PM at night, I sent another text letting him know I was stranded. 35 minutes later he responded with his address that I already had from my pre-approved booking.
I finally found my way after almost two hours, two buses and walking around with very few people to help at that late hour at night. I never saw my Superhost again until the day of my departure. I stayed there five nights and six days.
The next day at the metro, the staff informed me the bus he had recommended was not the most direct route to get to his home. Where he suggested I catch the bus was a poorly lit area with vandalized cars and a construction area about a 5-minute walk from the train station he recommended. They advised me to get off one more stop, the last stop on the line, where there was a bus terminal, well lit and had both police and soldiers present.
The bus the metro staff suggested placed me, right around the corner, approximately a 10-minute walk from his home. The bus stop my Superhost recommended was on the main road with many different streets to navigate and approximately a 20-minute walk to his home.
After two weeks of emailing Brian Chesky and then Chip Conley with no reply, I filed a Resolution Case. A Senior Escalation Supervisor suggested “a Superhost is not required to help you navigate the city.” He also replied, “a Superhost has 24 hours to reply to a host.”
Let me get this straight: giving precise and complete directions to get back to a host’s home on the first day of your stay in a foreign country is “navigating the city.” Secondly, by being stranded at night on your first day in a foreign country, he is suggesting “wait 24 hours for your host to contact you”?
Folks as I read CEO Brian Chesky doesn’t care about guests, only hosts. Obviously his staff are trained to do the same. I tried calling, spoke to three staff members, and told my story three times until I requested a manager and refused to tell it again. The Senior Escalation Supervisor concluded “it seems like your Superhost tried to help.” He signed off and closed my case.
Airbnb can go to hell and burn there. Karma is a sure thing. Avoid Airbnb at all costs. Decrease guests booking means more hosts without reservations and hopefully then Airbnb will change their bottom line.
Almost a month ago, my boyfriend and I suffered a terrible experience in an Airbnb. On Sunday, September 1st, at 4:00 AM, while we were sleeping, two men entered our Airbnb. They broke the window lock, opened the window, and managed to open the door and get inside the apartment.
We woke up because of the noises, and when I turned on the light one of the men was at the entrance of our room. With much fear, my boyfriend tried to confront them, but he noticed that the second guy had a knife and that to do anything was too risky.
We shut the room door (that didn’t have a lock) and my boyfriend struggled with one of them to prevent him from entering the room and hurting us or stealing more things. We were inside the room for the duration of the robbery, the longest and most frightening six minutes ever. They stole everything but our phones that we managed to hide under the bed. Suspiciously, only our things were taken.
There was some kind of renovation in front of the apartment, and they saw us go in and out everyday. We are concerned that the information that hosts were in the property was passed to the criminals. I will never forget the face of the man, surprised that we were there. The night before we went partying, so at 4:00 AM we were not home.
To this day, the response from the hosts has been as follows:
• Reimbursement of the Airbnb reservation.
• Reimbursement of taxis and a meal.
I am really angry and wanted to share this situation. I accept any advice you can give to try to get compensation from Airbnb and the hosts.
It started off as a decent listing on Airbnb with two good reviews. Since it was in the middle of downtown Toronto, a high-end neighborhood, I decided to book for 15 days.
The photos represented a photoshopped version of the real space, and the information about cleanliness was far from accurate. On the first night (check-in at 5:00-6:00 PM), the host arrived and immediately started talking about her interview and her concerns about not getting a job. I thought the condo was hers and she would have a room instead I found only one room and she says she sleeps on the couch.
She jumped right into a sexual harassment case she experienced at her university and I quote: “My professor tried to have sex with me in exchange of ideas.” She proceeded by stating, “This triggered bad memories of my father touching me…”
In one sitting, she also stated that this case at the university ended with her at the mental hospital. She said she was dumb because she was not that smart in school and had trouble with the English language when they moved from China (when she was in high school until she reached university).
She went on to mention that she was afraid that if she did get this government job, since the majority of employees in that department are men, she believed that they would think that it was “okay to have an orgy with her…”
She then mentioned that she attempted to take her own life a few times, and put out her wrists and showed me. I told her that government jobs are far from a certainty for having such things happening.
After trying to console her and encourage her to use good words, she stated that she got this interview because her other professor sent a recommendation and if it was not for her, she would not have gotten interviewed. Once again, I tried to help her by encouraging her and stated that the economy was not going well and that people in the city of Toronto are complaining about the rent hike, especially those with children and parents to take care of.
She stated that they shouldn’t have gotten married and had kids, instead they should’ve taken OSAP, studied, and ultimately focused on their careers. Obviously I disagreed and said that her comment was absurd. I mentioned that there are many like me who graduated with two degrees yet finding a decent paying job is difficult, especially as an immigrant. She disagreed and said everyone with a degree gets interviewed and gets a good job. Since she raised her voice and tried to force her opinions on me, I left the common area and went to my room.
Moving on, I started to find that the bathroom and other spaces were dirty. I looked for cleaning supplies but couldn’t find anything except dish soap. Hair was everywhere and even the toilet seat was dirty. The shower was so small. The water pressure is high, but the downside is that the water doesn’t drain and starts to rise. Hair and other things start floating… totally gross.
I asked her about cleaning supplies, and she told me to use the wet cloth. I tried to explain about different types of cleaning detergents, but it seemed she did not understand. Hygiene is extremely important, especially when sharing a space.
The next day, I contacted Airbnb and told them the whole story. I shared photos and explained in detail the mental issues that this host has and how it was definitely not safe for me. They told me that they would review the photos and then issue a refund for the rest of the time I booked.
After a few hours, they said that the apartment was not that dirty and therefore no refunds will be provided unless they inform the host about all the reasons why I am uncomfortable staying there. I suggested not to tell her all the reasons as I was afraid that since she was in a mental hospital and tried to take her own life, she might try to hurt me as well. I emphasized that the place was not clean but most importantly, it was not safe to spend 15 days with someone who is obviously mentally ill and does not have any friends.
On the third day, I spent the entire day out. The host messaged me every hour. At 11:00 PM, she sent her last text saying “it’s almost midnight, where are you?”
Airbnb informed her that I had to leave due to an emergency, so when I arrived, in a very condescending way she said that she did not believe me and would not issue a refund. We got into a heated argument and at the end of it she agreed that if I found someone else to take over the rest of the days she would issue the refund.
The next day I found a new guest who was interested, but she asked if the host was the owner of the condo. If she was not, she would ask me for a document that showed that the host had a lease and that she would not get kicked out if the condo management found out about her using Airbnb. The host confirmed to me that she only rents from the condo owner and since she cannot find a job due to her sexual harassment lawsuit, she makes money by renting the condo through Airbnb, which pays all her bills.
She continued to say that the lady who booked a two-month stay (before I booked) had cancelled early. She does not issue refunds because she uses the money to pay her rent and bills. After a few hours, she came into the room and interrogated me about the new guest. I informed her that I was not feeling well and that we had to wait until she sent a request on Airbnb to book.
She refused to listen and instead came in the room three times while I was trying to rest and refused to leave. She insisted that I was rude because I was not giving her my full attention and eye contact. I told her that I was not well enough to give her all my time and that she should leave because I wanted to rest. She refused to leave, so I raised my voice and freaked out, telling her to leave and to close the door.
She came back again and told me that she was not going to issue a refund if the next guest booked because now she was afraid I would inform condo management, which would result in her getting kicked out. She insisted that I tell her when I will be leaving the condo and when my flight will be. She also told me to turn the volume down (I was listening to a lecture on YouTube at low volume, but she wanted complete silence and insisted it was music). She finally left.
I then informed Airbnb that I would be leaving and my friend would come help me with my bags since I am afraid she will physically hurt me. My friend arrived around 11:00 PM. We got the bags out, when the host got up and followed us to the room and then to the door. She asked my friend if she would be spending the night and she replied by saying, “No, we are only getting the bags out.”
The host followed us to the door and said, “What’s this? You didn’t tell me of your plans. Where are you going? You can’t do this.”
I told her that I was uncomfortable staying there and thus I was going to stay at my friend’s for a couple of nights. She asked for the key but I repeated: “I will come back after a few days as I need a safe and sane space.”
Airbnb contacted me the following day after speaking to her, and they asked me to free up the dates I had booked and to return the key. I told them that I would only accept that if she sent me the refund, but somehow they kept insisting I free up the dates for other guests to book.
I finally agreed after a day, but it turned out that they were siding with her in order for her to get the keys back and to have the space all to herself while enjoying a free $700 + Airbnb fees. In addition, she filed a complaint to charge me an additional $300 for key replacement. I finally returned the keys and asked her to confirm with Airbnb.
Once I left the public place where we met, she followed me. She tried to take my photo and then kept asking when I would be flying. I told her that it did not concern her and to stop that behavior. In the end, the other guest sent a request to book but she rejected it because she wanted the guest to give up her ID. The new guest told her that she would only show her in person, but she declined.
Airbnb refuses to assist, stating it is the host’s choice to do as she pleases. They had already promised that they would assist in helping book the new guest I found and then help her issue a refund. The hosts now says that she will not issue a refund if the new guest cancels within 48 hours.
I informed Airbnb that this was a trend and it is unfair to bill people just to chase them away and keep their money. The host switched to contacting me via Airbnb to inform me that she rejected the new guest’s request. She said she would charge me for the stress I caused her if I reported her to the building management. I then told her that I will report her to the condo management and the police since she is trying to get more money from my card.
I am truly fed up and will not use Airbnb anymore. I am sick of the threats and attempts to extract more funds from me. How do I get my peace of mind back? How do I get a refund? How do I get Airbnb to ensure that the guests are protected from such fraud and aggressive psychotic behavior?
I am shaking as I write this, as what I’m about to tell you about just happened. I have stayed in well over a dozen Airbnbs in countries around the world, both long term and short term. I have become friends with some of my hosts. I have had universally positive experiences until now.
I booked what was advertised as a “cozy apartment for a couple” in the center of an Eastern European capital. The flat in the photos had a small but cute white bed, a small two-burner stove, and nice lighting. It looked like a very small, modest, but stylish studio. The ad promised wifi. I booked the flat for one month, until after the New Year, because it becomes almost impossible to find a flat around that holiday in this city. I planned to use the month to look for better, cheaper long-term housing in the city, as I work in the region.
I arrived jetlagged and haggard, with several suitcases. The host did not meet me, but left the key under the mat. I opened the door, and was absolutely shocked. It was literally not an apartment. It was a modified space for storage, or holding reserves of food. A closet, really. Equally as shocking was that there was no bed. In its place was a brown, ratty, diseased looking mini sofa. The two-burner stove in the pictures was also missing; in its place was a single-burner glass stove from the seventies, which looked to be a fire hazard.
Shards of glass, large and dangerous enough to use as a very serious weapon, made up the plate of the stove. There were smaller shards of glass on the floor and in the sink. There was a small bathroom with a water boiler, but there was no shower. I looked around feverishly for a shower head. I had been traveling for 17 hours and desperately wanted – and needed – a shower. There was no shower.
I tried to login to the promised wifi network, but no such network could be found. I went down the street to a restaurant and proceeded to drink several shots of the local liquor. I wrote an angry, firm, message to the Airbnb host via the Airbnb messaging system. “Where is the bed? Where is the wifi? Where is the show? Where is the space? This is not an apartment but a closet. I didn’t know I’d be sleeping on a sofa for a month. I need a full refund.”
Thus began a 48-hour long adventure in communicating with the gaslighting host from hell, and (to their credit) much more helpful Airbnb support. The gaslighting (and I don’t toss that term around; that’s exactly what it was) began straight away: “The internet is working – your devices are the problem. The sofa is more comfortable than the bed, that’s why we switched it out – we did this for your comfort. Stop with your lies. Maybe the flat is small for you but we had two people living there as guests for five years and they were fine.”
She kept repeating that they’d had satisfied guests before – which is literally impossible – and I kept asking why there were no reviews if this was true… it’s not. I spent the first night with my legs cramped and back aching on a 1970s, fibrous sofa, feeling like the wall was closing in on me. The space was smaller than what I imagine a prison cell to be. Solitary confinement.
The shower, according to my host, is shared. It just so happens to be down the hall. The neighbors are all youngish men who look strung the hell out on all variety of drugs, and I’m a youngish woman alone. They stare at me in the hall. The shower has no shower curtain and looks like it has gangrene. There is no functioning light in the shower room; it’s pitch black. If you walked around barefoot you’d end up with fungi taking up residence in your toe nails.
I was so shocked at all of this, that all I could do was send messages every ten minutes to the host, mostly in all caps. Our dynamic was incredibly toxic. The more she denied that anything I was saying was true, flying in the face of all the very obvious and observable facts, the more my anger would escalate.
Meanwhile, I contacted Airbnb, irate. They asked for photo documentation. As soon as they saw images of the couch where the bed had been and the space and the shards of broken glass where the stovetop was supposed to be they said the host had many clear violations and gave me a small reimbursement.
That was not enough. I told them that I wanted a full refund and a new place. I could not be stranded with all of my luggage in this city at the most difficult time of year to find accommodation. Meanwhile, my host kept lying: “The internet is working. We know you are lying. You have a bed. It’s a sofa bed. We will replace the stove but the one you have is newer and better and that’s why we replaced it. The shower is cleaned daily. You have a huge bed.”
Just total, completely crazy lies. At the same time, she was telling me that I’ve “made a problem” for her with money, and ruined her financially because Airbnb has sided with me. She keeps asking me to “make a deal.” My messages to Airbnb grew more frantic and panicked. They told me that they would give me a full refund for all of the nights I didn’t stay there and a partial refund on the two nights I did, if they can rebook me at another property.
The problem is that everything is much more expensive and the listings are scarce this close to the holidays. I’m freaking out. The host starts saying that she’s been sending me text messages because she needs my personal documents to take to the police station to register me with the authorities because I’m staying at her property, even though she knows full well that I’m leaving. I tell her to only communicate with me through Airbnb, because that way the company can see our communication.
Airbnb saw how bad the situation was and said on top of the full refund they would give me a coupon for $200 off a rebooking. They finally found me another accommodation, and told me that the host will likely be suspended from the site forever. I was feeling somewhat relieved, and went to a cafe to use the internet before going back to pack up all my luggage and move to the new apartment.
I went back to the original property to pack and encountered a very disturbing surprise: the door to the flat had been locked from the inside with a chain. I was due at my new flat in an hour and a half but I couldn’t get in or access any of my things. A light was on and someone was inside the apartment, which had all of my belongings: computer, money, passport, jewelry, personal items.
I started panicking and banging on the door, yelling and asking what was going on. I had not agreed to let anyone in while I was away, let alone have them lock me out. The host opened the door. It was the first time I saw her. All of my suitcases were open and my passport was on the floor. I panicked. I started screaming that she was a thief and to get out.
I had no idea what was going on. I had hardly slept the previous two nights, I was jet lagged and stressed out, and had not expected to see this woman in the closet-sized flat with all of my personal items strewn all over the place. I told her that I was leaving in a little over an hour but needed to pack, and told her to leave me alone and get out. She stood in the doorway and refused to leave, saying that it wasn’t my apartment, and that she had every right to stay. I pushed a clothing rack towards her and told her to get the hell out, and that I needed to see if she’d stolen anything while going through my suitcases.
She said I had falsely accused her of stealing and that she was calling the police. I closed the door and started packing. I was shaking and had no idea what was going on, if the police were showing up. I was in a foreign country and realized I would likely have to speak to the police in a language I barely knew.
I heard them arrive, and listened to them speaking to the host. I asked if I could leave because I needed to go meet my new host at my new Airbnb and they said I needed to wait. I spoke with the police. They asked me if I had all of my things, and I said I thought I did. I said we had a disagreement and that I was moving to a new flat. The police decided I’d done nothing wrong, and helped me carry all of my luggage downstairs and called me a cab. I arrived at my new Airbnb, which is very lovely and relaxing, with a very kind host, where I am right now.
I got bashed by a host in Brooklyn because of one four-star rating in one category (everything else was a five), but I guess I cannot be truly honest nor give constructive criticism. Other guests I noticed who didn’t rave about the host also got a very heated response that implied the guest was somehow at fault or unfair. The host reply doesn’t show the original criticism so it is out of context. I also had a potential host turn on me quite suddenly when I asked for clarification on which unsafe areas to avoid in Harlem since I was advised by a neutral 3rd party NYC acquaintance that there were dodgy areas in that particular neighborhood.
As a woman traveling alone, I thought it was a legitimate and fair question but after a bit of a wait, the host asked me to cancel, which would’ve incurred a fee. I phoned Airbnb to discuss the matter. The customer service gal read all the emails and couldn’t understand the host’s sudden negative reaction either… maybe the area was dodgy. So far, only one out of three hosts have been honestly kind. The other two were just faking it apparently.
I’m now back to using hotels. Some aren’t that much more expensive and you get to deal with professional staff instead of a thin-skinned, petulant host. I have come across articles on how unsafe some venues/hosts can be since there’s not much vetting of hosts. A registered sex offender could be a host.
Niagara is not where you want to book an Airbnb to take your family to relax on vacation. I have seen combat videos from Kandahar that were filmed in better neighborhoods. The house was listed as “excellent” and I couldn’t get my husband and children to leave the car. There were burned out buildings and boarded up houses all along the street and the only indication that anyone lived in this neighborhood were the blue recycling bins randomly scattered about. I think they might roll the sidewalks up at night to stop them from being stolen.
Now, I have an adventurous personality and out of curiosity, I entered the residence with a flashlight because I couldn’t see the keypad on the doors; there was no hallway light. The good news was there was power and heat, though the derelict furnace that had been replaced was sitting in the downstairs hallway. The living area was cleaned, but really shabby and not in any kind of a “shabby chic” way. The spray painted clawfoot tub installed crookedly on the rotted sloping floor was the bathroom.
The rest of it was furnished like a college student’s apartment: mismatched single curtain panels stretched across the painted shut windows, old mattresses on metal bed frames, and a slouchy futon. We immediately left and contacted the host to tell her we were not staying the night. I could tell she’d had this conversation before. Her very best defense was that “many people” had stayed there and had never had a problem in this neighborhood. It was my choice to leave and she was not giving me my money back.
Of course she wasn’t; I’m sure it was my $200 she’d spent to furnish the place. I later looked up the address on Trulia and learned she bought that dump for $15k just recently. Since May of this year there have been six assaults, five shootings and a robbery in that very same blighted neighborhood. I should have looked for blood stains on the floor.
That’s right: she bought a whole duplex for $15,000. You’d think this would have tipped off Airbnb. Isn’t this their business? They don’t have some algorithm to compare and evaluate real estate listings? God bless the Canadian border agent that took pity on our shocked faces as we crossed the Rainbow Bridge twenty minutes after we had just left. He was empathetic and understanding and more than willing to help provide a safe passage into Canada for a family of Americans seeking refuge from what I have since come to learn is the most dangerous city per capita in the State of New York.
Airbnb has so far been pretty responsive to my complaint and they refunded me about $30 thus far. I wanted $200 to cover the cost of the hotel room I had to rent at the last minute but I’ll settle for them pulling all the listings in that zip code because it’s just not a safe place for anyone to visit after dark or leave their vehicle unattended. I would not be the least bit surprised if the police were afraid to patrol there.