I have had a few horrible experiences which I will describe below. The underlying problem is Airbnb’s self-protectionist deceptive practices. The review system is but one facet of the core problems.
I was booked a stay in an RV which the owners, who also had rooms in their house, would not let you use the bathroom. I asked if it was alright to come in at night to use the bathroom. As soon as I asked that question, the hosts (who are Superhosts) told me that the refrigerator had something smelly in it. This was the afternoon that I was to stay the night.
I told them I did not have time to change my plans (I was at work) and hoped that was the only thing wrong. The “superhost” kept trying to contact me so that I would reassure her that I would only give her positive reviews. Mind you, I had not stayed there yet and I was unable to return the contact because I was at work.
She cancelled my reservation at the last minute out of fear of the tiniest chance someone might give her a bad review and because I think she really did not want me coming in the house in the middle of the night. I ended up sleeping in my car that night and missing out on the next day at work because I had nowhere to shower and I was so tired. I missed out on making money and disappointed a lot of people. It took days to get my money back.
Another Superhost decided to sell her house and we were told we could not be in the house during the day so the realtor could show it. Also, this Superhost was never really there. She left this crazy tenant in charge who made life miserable for everyone else. When I brought my concerns to the Superhost about what was going on, she told me I could leave if I did not like it. She told me she would give me a full refund on the whole time I was there.
Then she told Airbnb she was cancelling my reservation and they told me to leave, even though I had done nothing but relay concerns to the Superhost and I was only refunded the part of the stay I was not there. It took Airbnb days to refund me. This was in the middle of my daily month-long radiation treatments and I could not work. I ended up sleeping in the BART station.
I have paid for an Airbnb in which no one ever came to the door. When I emailed the hosts they said they had forgotten and did not want visitors in their house after all. I had to email them myself for six hours to have them cancel so I could get my money back. Airbnb was no help at all and when they did finally cancel the reservation, it took days to get my money back from Airbnb. There I was again with nowhere to stay. Airbnb actually told me to get a hotel, which is $200 around here.
There are other similar incidences. Airbnb has a review system set up so that guests cannot get good reviews without giving a good review and may be penalized otherwise for not guaranteeing a good review for the hosts before the guest even arrives. This is really to Airbnb’s advantage so their company appears to be more positive than it really is. People continue to be Superhosts while other people get to sleep on the street, all for Airbnb’s profitability. This is a form of false advertising and one day there will be legal ramifications. I look forward to it.