Moldy, Faulty Wiring, Broken Windows, Next to a Prison….

Dangerous safety and health issues, among many other problems, prompted us to leave our Airbnb in Buena Vista, Colorado after one terrible night. We have stayed in comparably priced facilities in Colorado and have never encountered anything even remotely this bad. Good luck getting any money back. We aren’t the only ones to have problems with this property either.

1. The house smelled moldy, especially in the downstairs bedrooms. In the kitchen trash were the lids from two “Damp Rid Odor Genie” units which confirmed that the place had moisture and odor problems. We both had runny noses for the remainder of our trip.

2. The smoke alarm was in pieces on a shelf. In a house with iffy wiring (#3) that was of particular concern.

3. When I plugged in my phone charger in I found another plug in the socket, connected to an extension cord-type wire that ran outside through a hole drilled in the window frame. In the kitchen there was another jerry-rigged extension cord for a light fixture, with a broken in-line switch. Upstairs there was a light over the bathroom sink similarly jerry-rigged. It did not work at all.

4. During the night I got up to close the window, which was open when we got there. It would not work. The next day I saw that the closing mechanism was not connected to the window itself. When we left the next day we closed it and another window by going outside and pushing them shut.

5. In one bedroom there was a large hole in the floor that had various odds and ends stashed in it.

6. That bedroom contained a laundry machine which still had wet items inside from the previous occupants.

7. The kiva fireplace was blocked by a large TV set.

8. The wifi worked properly only in the kitchen.

9. Both bathrooms had problems. The tub downstairs was very slick, the cold water control hard to shut off, and the toilet seat was terribly discolored. The upstairs shower had the hot and cold controls reversed. When we hung a towel on the hook by the shower the hook came out of the wall.

10. The front door lock and deadbolt were hard to operate, somewhat of a concern given the men’s state prison a short walk from the house.

11. The sorely needed “warning tape” on the many interior steps was worn off in places.

We have photos to document the above. Per this KKTV report the owner does not like negative reviews, which is the only leverage customers have. In short, stay away.

Images on Airbnb Never Tell the Real Story

We are a family of four who loves traveling and exploring. We have been an avid fan of Airbnb for a few years and appreciated what it stands for: ‘community’, ‘trust’, etc. We understood that there are always unavoidable inadequacies with the advertised properties, and the photos do not represent reality. We never complained when some of these inadequacies arose, but left a fair review of the situation instead.

We were holidaying in the Spanish island of Majorca last August and stayed in three different Airbnb properties. The first one was beautiful but noisy. A cockroach appeared in one of the rooms. Other than that, the place was immaculate and lovely. It wasn’t a cleaning issue and the noise wasn’t the host’s fault. We left happy and our review reflected that.

The second property was another story. The bedrooms and kitchen were damp ridden, which was most visible in the main bedroom’s recessed wardrobe. The rest of the walls were repainted very patchy, trying to cover the visibility of the damp areas. At check in with a man who spoke no English (which is fine – that happens often), we thought the smell was the kind you experience in old houses. Anyway, the man simply pointed to an tiny old dehumidifier which was meant to resolve the problem of the smell in the air.

Once we realised it was more serious than that at first we felt helpless and cheated by the host. At peak season with two young kids, what were we supposed to do? We paid top price for the property. We had stayed in much better accommodations for that price, before and after our stay. Instead of ruining our only family holiday, we thought we would just bear with it until the next accommodation (which was a decision we were to regret later of course).

We stayed the full week, avoided the bedroom areas, and didn’t use the kitchen much. We documented the dampness, trying to visualise the situation which was not easy. As soon as we checked into the next property and settled in, we checked the Airbnb website to see how we could complain. The first option was to ask for a refund from the host, explaining why. We were told the host rejected our request completely on the grounds that we should’ve complained during our stay to give them a chance to resolve the issue. Okay… but how? Problems such as dampness could not be resolved in an instant. Furthermore, the host clearly lied about the condition of the property which surely must be against what Airbnb stands for: ‘trust’?

The next option was to ‘involve Airbnb’. We did, and returned from our holiday to no reply. After two weeks, we had to call them and we were then contacted through email, asking for more details, stating that we should reply within 48 hours, and that the decision they make would be final. We replied and presented the photos. They replied and rejected our claim. Apparently their policy requires the guests to contact the host or Airbnb with complaints during the stay. Because we didn’t, there was nothing they could do at that point. Okay, fair enough. We appreciated that the property also was no longer advertised on the Airbnb website, which was a relief.

However, is this the way to treat guests? Despite what the policy states, did we not alert Airbnb of this unsafe property and the host’s dishonesty? Were we not cheated? We were charged the full price, a cleaning fee, and an Airbnb service fee. Do we not deserve to have at the least cleaning fee or the service fee refunded, since we can prove the property was not hygenic and the advert on the Airbnb website was misleading? Surely that’s Airbnb’s fault? All we can say is we feel shocked how greedy the company is and the way they treat their customers. We all know that good customer service in respected companies goes beyond policy.

Guests Trashed our Home, Airbnb Ignores us for Weeks

This guest and his family completely trashed  our home. We came home after five weeks to a complete infestation of flies, fruit flies, maggots, bed bugs and lice. This guest never took their trash out in five weeks in July; they simply left it in the house and, as you can imagine, the condition of it was deplorable. We found piles of maggot-filled trash bags inside our home. The smell of rotting food and trash was overpowering. The swarms of flies required multiple treatments from a professional exterminator, who said he had never seen anything like it. They apparently ate in every room in the house (living room, bedrooms, bathroom) and left spilled food on the rugs, couches, and bathroom floor. I’m not talking about crumbs; these were chunks of meat, broccoli, and tomatoes on our furniture just surrounded in flies and maggots.

They broke our TV, refrigerator, and dishwasher, ripped our brand new bed sheets and bedspreads, put tables on top of bureaus (why?), left the mattresses on the floor (had taken off the bed frames), and clogged up the kitchen and bathroom sinks with god only knows what. Our home will never be the same. It’s been over two weeks and the stench of these disgusting people is still in our home. We had to have exterminators come back twice to eradicate the flies and eventually had to throw everything away: beds, couches, pillows, rugs, sheets, towels. We hired professional cleaners to remove the dead bugs not once but twice. These guests lived like complete animals but that does not explain how as human beings, they could completely disrespect and destroy another person’s home.

We have been going all through the proper channels with Airbnb for three weeks and we cannot even get anyone to contact us regarding our claim for over $20,000 worth of damage. They supposedly cover up to $1,000,000 but I don’t believe it. We’ve been waiting on hold for hours at a time, and sending multiple emails with no response. Customer service agents claim to have no authority to do anything except send an email to a supervisor say they will contact us but they never do. We sent 50+ pictures of the damage to our home, videos, receipts for everything, a copy of the police report, and there has been nothing from Airbnb.

Our family has been displaced from our home for three weeks, having to stay in hotels and pay for and replace our damaged items completely on our own. Our lives have been put on hold and this incident has caused our family great emotional and financial duress.

Things to Avoid When Using Airbnb for the First Time

Last winter, after my wife’s bout with cancer, a catastrophic national election cycle, and a few other disasters, my wife and I decided to take a month out of Minnesota’s winter and go south to New Mexico. This was the first time I tested the Airbnb waters and that was probably not the best time for an “adventure”.

Our first three overnight stays were lucky and misleading. All three hosts were incredibly honest about their facilities and were terrific people. Our destination was in Truth or Consequences, NM (TorC, to local residents). We were trapped in TorC three years earlier when our VW-based Winnebago camper trapped us there for the entire winter, in my first year of retirement. As a result, we had friends in TorC and knew the area well enough to think we could figure out which Airbnb rentals were not just good deals but in a decent area. TorC, for a tiny place, has some really bad neighborhoods and even the “good ones” are in serious decline.

The place I selected had a slightly different description than the current, i.e. “You’ll love my place because of the privacy it affords. Not having to share a house with others. It is in a very quiet neighborhood in a Vintage Mobile Home park. Many guests end up making friends here!” It described being close to the Rio Grande River (it wasn’t) and having great views (it didn’t). That “very quiet” remark avoids mentioning a bunch of Harley gangbangers in the park and in a shop right behind the trailer… it was a trailer and not one that even begins to meet safe rental standards.

I have no idea how the host managed this picture, but it doesn’t even come close to describing how tightly the trailers were packed together. I would hear people coughing and snorting from three directions that first night. My wife has a moderate petroleum allergy and began to feel claustrophobic and agitated the moment we stepped into the trailer. To be frank, it stunk of cleaning chemicals and natural gas. All of the CO2 and fire detectors had their batteries removed. That is when I discovered what “strict cancellation” policies are all about.

In the end, my wife negotiated an exit for all of us, including us not notifying the host’s landlord that she was illegally renting his property. It cost me about $200 for that one night’s stay, but we found a far better rental through one of our TorC friends and I will never make that sort of mistake again with Airbnb.

Horrible Experience and Resolution for Hong Kong Airbnb

I tried to open a resolution case on the Airbnb website. It was really challenging so I’m just writing this long email to Airbnb. I think the part of my user experience differed from that four years ago. I started using Airbnb back when you could reach a live person about your problems; nowadays, it trys to automate everything.

My latest stay was in Beijing from April 13-16, 2017 in what was advertised as a modern, quiet, and relaxing apartment near the CBD. The resolution center kept asking me to “request money” from this stay which I didn’t have a problem with.

However, I am writing about my stay in Hong Kong, during which time I was overseas so it was difficult to call Airbnb. I was contacted by a local Airbnb resolution center specialist but it was handled really poorly. The room itself was horrible. It looked nothing like the pictures. In fact, I have pictures to prove what the actual living conditions were (will reply to any email with the pictures).

I landed in Hong Kong on April 6th. I was pretty jet lagged so just booked a place and fell asleep. The second day while I was in the city touring around, the owner moved my luggage into a different room. It was slightly bigger; however, there was a sewage problem with the bathroom (not to mention the fact she moved my stuff and suitcase and entered my room without permission). I was pretty upset, but still jetlagged. I decided to just go to bed.

In the middle of the night, I woke up from the unbearable odor from the bathroom. It was so strong and the room was tiny, with no window for ventilation. I was very upset and called Airbnb for help. Someone picked up the call and promised he would “call me back soon.” He asked me to “find a cafeteria or some place, wait for his call, and try to book a hotel: Airbnb would reimburse me.”

It was 2:00 AM at the time, and I had to leave and try to find another hotel. Nothing online allowed same-night bookings (in fact, I accidentally booked something for April 9th and was charged on booking.com even though I was supposed to fly out of Hong Kong the afternoon of the 9th). Finally it was 3:30 AM. I took an Uber and found a hotel to sleep in. The whole experience was horrible.

The next morning, someone from the local Hong Kong team finally contacted me, I couldn’t talk to her for long because I needed to check out of that hotel and try to catch my flight. I told her I would “reach out and resolve this once I can settle down.” She went ahead and cancelled my resolution case. Right now, I am asking for a formal resolution process to start. Due to the unresponsiveness of Airbnb as well as false advertisement of this “hostel” trying to be a house, I lost my valuable travel time in Hong Kong, spent money on Uber both ways, booked a hotel at 3:30 AM, and had to spend 30 minutes on international calling. Overall, my experience of Airbnb in Asia was just a much lower standard when compared to that in the US.

Airbnb Nightmare at Casa Pasco at Lake Chapala, Mexico

We arrived at Casa Pasco in Lake Chapala, Mexico, having booked through Airbnb. Our welcome started with the owner answering the door after repeatedly ringing the bell at the gate. No “Hello” or “Welcome” just, “Where have you been?” Well, we landed in Guadalajara, grabbed a taxi and the taxi driver had difficulties finding Casa Pasco. The owner, Scott, gave us quite the rude welcome. Immediately my first thought was this place was not going to be what Airbnb advertised, starting with some small out-of-control dogs that attacked the pet we had traveling with us.

There was a sewage/chemical smell in both Casa Pasco Casitas. The internet was not working, as had been promised in my Casita. I went to my family member’s Casita, and the internet was still working poorly: forget about watching Netflix or even getting some work completed. The smell was so disgusting I returned to my Casita. Every time we went to ask for help we always felt uncomfortable as the owners were not so friendly, as if we were a bother since we were complaining. It was almost comical watching Scott try to work with a simple internet router that was hanging outdoors on a nail outside my Casita.

Within a couple of hours of being there I knew we had to get the hell out of this place. No way we were staying for multiple nights. I talked to my family member and explained that we were leaving no matter what. We stayed up the entire night, keeping my family member up in my Casita outdoors to avoid the stench of sewage and chemicals (maybe roach spray?). Scott claimed to be so involved with the local community; he said that his local friends and soccer team kids would be visiting and that we should be kind and accommodating. We were also told to lock our belongings up while they visited. I won’t say or express what I think about this host.

Within 12 hours we were packed and left this Airbnb nightmare. The photos look great and the reviews are all great but one must wonder about the authenticity of each review as we had to negotiate with Airbnb and the owner to get a partial refund. Airbnb seemed to side with the host and I wonder if they even suggested that the owner take an honest look at our complaints and resolve them. I will never use Airbnb again, as I don’t feel I should have to negotiate the way we had to. I think that us offering to pay for the first night was more than fair especially after our experience. Don’t use Airbnb, and stay away from Casa Pasco at Lake Chapala. We found an amazing place within those first 24 hours by searching for accommodations on Google. A place that said “welcome”, loved our pet, and allowed us to decompress after 12 hours of hell.

Memorable Anniversary Hell on an Airbnb Boat

We had an issue with a host. She flatly refused to offer assistance. The result was a prematurely short weekend – a memorable experience for sure – and the loss of almost $400 in Airbnb payments. We simply wanted what was fair, and we got a “we’ll gladly reduce your next stay by 25%.” What a joke. We started our trip with grand hopes of a romantic getaway; it was our one-year anniversary. An Airbnb on a sailboat sounded wonderful. We arrived on Friday afternoon, March 10th, a bit early for our check-in. We had been told earlier than we could check in anytime, and we were excited about that. Upon notification of our arrival, we were given authorization to board “the Lydie” and await Clint Austin’s (the captain) arrival.

When he arrived, he briefly walked us through the cabin, and tested faucets. They didn’t work, so he flipped a few switches, the water came on, and viola. He showed us the bathroom and said there was plenty of water for the weekend. We tried the stove and oven; they didn’t work. He tried to get the pilot lit, but it eluded him. We never did get the stove or oven to work. A few more switches flipped, and Captain Austin was away. We were on our own. The trouble began on Friday evening; while getting ready for dinner, we noticed the smell. There was air freshener beneath the bathroom sink, which we used not sparingly. Showering, we noticed the water not draining. We made contact with the host to explain our concern about standing water in the shower, and she absently suggested we wait for it to drain or “use the showers above.” We had just spent $400 dollars to stay the weekend, a romantic getaway, on a sailboat, and we were told not to worry about the water because the showers above worked fine. Incredibly, the host’s reaction to a stopped-up shower gave her no pause, nor any real concern for our comfort or wellbeing. She simply didn’t care. Taking her advice, we waited for the shower to drain, but it did not.

By the next morning, the smell was beginning to become an issue, and our next contact was with Clint Austin, the captain. We tried calling, then sent a text at approximately 8:00 AM. As our day had been planned – a leisurely trip to Catalina Island via ferry – and we were going to be gone all day, we figured any issues would have been taken care of and the boat would be back to an acceptable condition. We arrived back to the boat well after 6:00 PM with the same water standing in the same shower and the smell was now unbearable. We again notified the host and was told not to use the showers, which were directly tied to the toilet, and that this had not happened before. At the end of the day we’re dealing with a marine toilet and marine shower. They were not as fool proof as your own home toilet, but the good news is no one got stranded, as we had showers and toilets at the marina within walking distance to the boat. Walking distance. Outside the boat, 50 yards away, through a gate, across a parking lot, through a locked door, and into 1970’s ripped shower curtain hell.

Though there was evidence someone had been on the boat at some point in the day, the issue was not resolved: the boat smelled horrific, and our host seemingly had no intention of making right what had gone so wrong. We were heartbroken. This was supposed to be a memorable weekend. The next morning at daybreak (6:00 AM), after a horrible evening of no sleep, horrific smells, standing water in the shower, an unusable toilet, an oven that didn’t work, a stove that didn’t work, and a host with better things to do, we left the boat. We notified the host of our departure, requested a partial refund (we were willing to split the difference, as the first night wasn’t perfect, but not worthy of challenge, even though nothing worked), and were told “no”.

We realize things go wrong. We understand that. We simply requested a partial (one night) refund as things certainly weren’t worthy of the money spent, and simple requirements, not creature comforts, were unavailable at the time of our stay. Toilets are necessary in a $200 a night room, regardless whether it’s marine, or otherwise. When we requested a refund, the host gave every indication she was unwilling to pay. I suggested that our review hadn’t yet been left and it would be great for me to be able to say “our host, though we experienced some technical difficulties, did the right thing, and we would highly recommend the Lydie, etc.” However, if she continued to be unwilling, our review would reflect as such. She took that as a threat, though none was intended. We were simply trying to get her to understand our experience wasn’t what was purported, advertised, nor expected, and that she, as a host, was under an obligation to right a wrong. The wrong was simple: that which she sold, and we purchased, was not provided. Our contract was breached, and though we were willing to compromise, she flatly refused. She even had the gaul to comment “at least it turned out to be a memorable weekend.”

We are therefore requesting a complete refund of our weekend. To date, though it clearly states within 72 hours we will have a resolution, we have had none. We have had no replies from Airbnb, nor the host (other than to offer a 25% reduction in cost on our next stay – as if that were a possibility), and are currently frustrated at the process. We simply want a favorable resolution to our issue, as the circumstances certainly warrant it.

Airbnb Breach of Contract During Month-Long Stay

Airbnb (and their host) breached a contract for us to rent for a month. I live in Oakland, CA. My wife was visiting our daughter giving birth in Portland, OR when she had this experience with Airbnb. My wife stayed there one night before needing to leave because of the smell. The contract called for an an incense-free apartment. When my wife got there, she was told another renter had burned incense in the apartment. My wife tried to stay one night but the smell was too strong. Both Airbnb and the host refused a complete refund minus one night’s charge. They both said it wasn’t their fault; they couldn’t fix it, but wanted to keep half our money and rip us off. If they had refunded our money, that would have been the end of it. Now that I have to spend time and worry about chasing after them for not abiding by US laws, I want consequential damages and punitive damages. It is obviously Airbnb’s policy to keep hosts happy even if customers get ripped off.

Guests Refuse to Use our Plates, Cup and Cutlery

We have been hosting with Airbnb for two years now and have had over 400 guests (we live near an airport in the UK) from 30 different countries. There have been mostly very good experiences but obviously with over 400 guests you do meet a few weirdos. This one booking was for six weeks for a guy living in Australia coming to the UK for a training course. He was an aircraft engineer and very nice guy in general. However, I noticed from the first day that he seemed to have an issue with using the cutlery, cup, and spoon provided in his room and was downstairs in the kitchen, i.e. washing the items then cleaning them quite thoroughly. I thought this was very strange as we make sure everything is spotlessly clean. A couple of days in and he was asking for more toilet rolls to be put in the bathroom as he was going through at least one a day. It seemed like he had a cleaning fetish of some kind or a compulsive cleaning disorder.

Anyway, we had to go to our property abroad for a month and left him alone in the house (our part of the house we can keep locked so he only had access to the kitchen, bathroom, and garden). On our return he was due to leave in a few days but on the last day asked me if I wanted to keep the cutlery, plate, bowl, and mug that he had purchased new because he did not need to take them back to Australia. He obviously did not want to use our items and we found this to be incredibly rude, to say the least.

Another time we had a young girl arrive for three weeks with a large suitcase and a big box full of cooking pots and herbs, spices, and food. This girl was cooking Indian food twice and sometimes three times a day because she didn’t want to eat food from the supermarket. The house stunk of Indian food for the whole three weeks and I was having to apologise to our other guests (as we rent two rooms in our home) every day due to the smell. Lastly, we had a girl stay for a couple of weeks and she had to be told to stop using the kitchen at midnight. She was always cooking (like a frying pan full of eight chicken legs) late at night and the smell would move throughout the house, even into the bedrooms. Since the last guest, we added “no cooking after 8:00 PM” to the house rules.

Terrible Experiences and Service from Airbnb

I’ve now used Airbnb three times and each time was a nightmare. The first time, the house had no heater and we froze. I left the host a note, but being a nice guy, chose not to review them. The second was in a lovely location, but the unit was dirty and had safety issues. Worst of all, it was built into a garage full of automotive parts and old cars; it smelled of oil and gasoline. My wife has a serious medical condition that is severely impacted by strong chemical smells. We contacted the host and cancelled the rest of our stay and had to find a hotel, which ended up costing a lot more. The third time, I contacted the host in advance and told them about my wife’s condition. I was given assurances that the rental did not have chemical smells and was told to expect an upscale luxury retreat in a great location. When we arrived (after eight hours of driving) the condo complex was a dive, with sketchy people standing outside smoking, nestled between two freeway overpasses. The real issue was that when we went inside, there were strong air freshener smells that immediately made my wife ill. Throwing open the window flooded the place with foul mold smells from the sprinkler system and smoke from the shady guys outside. I contacted the owner, who started to deny all of it, but then apologized and told me to take it up with Airbnb. I will say her taste in decorations was very nice, but I had to find a different place for us to stay again. Once again, it ended up costing me a lot more. I’ve been battling with Airbnb customer service ever since. I did manage to get my money back, but conversations about compensation for my extra lodging has (which one agent promised me) have gone nowhere and I never receive the calls they promise me.