Tricks and Traps When Using Airbnb Platform

Strict cancellation terms: if you book two months before, but cancel one month before, you will be reimbursed only 50%, even in low season. This is the choice from a “host” who, since my cancellation, has earned three nights without having hosted anyone and maybe accepting other guests.

I kindly requested a partial reimbursement from the host, attaching medical certificates of treatment, but he did not deign to answer. If he had done so I would have immediately asked Airbnb to intervene, because there are only 14 days to make a complaint. The host certainly knew, was silent, and waited.

Airbnb tries to convince you to buy their service of “free cancellation within 48 hours” but this is effective from the time of payment, not 48 hours before staying (which would obviously be disadvantageous for hosts). It can be misinterpreted.

If you look hard you will find the number of guests who have used the house, and much more in evidence like the number of positive reviews. Subtract the positives from the total number of guests and you will have a more realistic idea of ​​the appreciation of the place. It is not transparent because negative comments are censored.

I had booked two weeks in two different houses, then canceled the second due to the need to use a vacation for medical treatment. With the remaining house, however, it did not go well: we arrived on a rainy day and there was a strong smell of dampness. The radiators were never turned on and there were no instructions, so time was lost to avoid getting cold at night.

Everything was clean except for the shower (of which there were no detailed photos in the listing) and some details in the kitchen. The indecent thing is that two days after the check-in the host told me that due to the risk of clogging the drain, I had to throw used toilet paper in the basket.

I left, he repaid me, but in any case he kept 40€ of “cleaning fees” over the two nights. In general it is better not to risk ruining your holiday. Choose a hotel directly or take a vacation in a tent or campground if you want to save money.

Hosts will offer any sleeping arrangements for a easy buck

We had our first Airbnb experience on October 12th, 2019. We should have requested more pictures than the host’s profile provided. When we arrived, we soon learned the hosts didn’t put a lot of thought into what they were pitching on Airbnb. They had an old Murphy bed in their basement behind their garage and called it a “private suite”. Because it was their basement, they had a large dehumidifier that turned on and off every five minutes throughout the night. The private bathroom smelled of mold. The basement space could only be locked from the host’s side of the door. These horrible conditions are apparently okay with Airbnb. We won’t be using Airbnb again as it’s obvious they don’t have monitored standards for their hosts who are simply looking to make an easy buck.

Hope Making Good Curry was Worth it

I’ve been a host with Airbnb for years and found with solid house rules, filtering guests with no government ID through using Instant Book and reminding guests using a house manual including rules, I’ve had no problems.

I recently had guests who cooked curry every night for a week and the cleaning was a nightmare. I hadn’t thought to put “no cooking strong curries” in my house rules. The whole guest suite needed cleaning, including the walls, curtains, verticals, lounge and I had to hire an ozone machine to do the rest.

One week later, the smell had gone. This could happen with any rental, so it’s important to add this rule into a contract or house rules list.

Even though the guest was non responsive to my request for payment, Airbnb followed up immediately (after their 72-hour wait for guest to respond time), and refunded the costs of this incident. So even though my curry nightmare was not good, Airbnb was responsive, positive, caring and great.

Many of the things I’m reading on this site may be due to hosts not choosing to set firm enough boundaries and house rules. Those who choose anyone as a guest over filtering guests with ID, are always running a risk no matter which platform they choose to list their property on. I’ve found Airbnb to be nothing but wonderful.

Worst Airbnb Experience Ever, Rust Smell

My destination was Acadia National Park. Everything was booked nearby so we decided to book an Airbnb outside of Acadia, and in Sullivan. The house was on a street in a rural to suburban area. In rural areas, I expect and know that rust might be in the pipes, but I also was banking on the fact that it would go away after a few minutes. I was so wrong.

I was in a group of four. The first person went into the shower for twenty minutes, and the smell of rust didn’t dissipate in the hot water. The second person went in and tried the cold water shower, only to end up with the same rust smell. No matter how long the shower water was running, the rust smell was so bad I couldn’t stay another night. I can’t even document the smell of rusting pipes or the water tank for Airbnb.

Chemical Smell at San Diego Airbnb Nightmare

Anyone up for a horror story, a real one that happened to me last week, which is, as of yet, unresolved? If so, read on for my cautionary tale.

It was the last day of a three-day intensive transformational workshop through Sistership Circle and I was both exhilarated and exhausted. After many “Jewish goodbyes” with my dear sisters, I was excited to join a dear friend for a four-day stay in an Airbnb bungalow in San Diego.

As a person who lives with the insidious autoimmune disorder known as MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity) or EI (Environmental Illness), I had carefully done my homework to be sure the place would be environmentally safe. The response I got from the host was assuring. He wrote that they use all natural products and would wash the linens in vinegar just to be sure.

“Wow,” I thought, “that is so accommodating. Surely it will be fine…”

Wrong. The chemical stink was emanating from the place before we even opened the door. I had hoped it was coming from the laundry exhaust of a nearby neighbor. I never thought I would hope for that before.

Once we stepped inside, we were blasted with strong synthetic chemicals. You can imagine the horrors when my friend and I found three Airwicks. We opened all the windows, but it was too late – the place was saturated with toxins. Even the bedding reeked of strong chemicals.

We had been deceived and had to leave within minutes of arriving. Our hearts sank as we sat on the patio trying to calm down our bodies’ reactions to the chemical assault: burning eyes, asthma, nausea, irritated throat, mood irritability and major brain fog, AKA neurological impairment that affects cognition.

We weren’t thinking clearly and needed to come up with a back-up plan. It was such a drag. The host found us outside and came out, speaking all smooth as he calmly blamed us and his housekeeper. He was a living snake-in-the-grass and of course offered not one iota of compassion or a single suggestion as to where we might could find a place to stay during spring break at 11:00 PM.

Both the host and I reported the situation to Airbnb. Since this host had a five-day notice required for canceling (which I had foolishly overlooked), he charged my credit card the 100% full amount for a four-day stay with all fees included, to the tune of $633.05. Meanwhile, Airbnb’s resolution was to apply an arbitrary $111.00 to that fee which was not acceptable.

You can imagine the flurry of calls to Airbnb and my credit card company that I made to dispute the charges and the hassle of finding a mediocre-at-best hotel late at night and so on. Unfortunately, the only place we could find was toxic too, but we managed as it was bearable, albeit barely.

It seems Murphy’s Law was in effect for us, but we did the best we could with what we had, spending most of the time out in nature on the coast or in Balboa Park. Airbnb’s case manager said she was leaving town for two weeks after she applied the $111 to the full charges for a place that we not only could not stay in but made us feel quite ill. Again, this was unacceptable.

I felt I had no choice other than to call my lawyer and open a case. First thing tomorrow morning, we will discuss the case again and get moving toward an acceptable resolution.

Some “professional”. Never again. I am owed my refund in full and am determined to reach that solution, even if I have to get the Americans With Disabilities Act (the ADA) involved. Airbnb is culpable here too and they need to be reasonable and have the backs of their guests when it’s called for, not just the hosts who bring them so much money.

No Better Way to Put it: Airbnb Guest Smelled

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I had a guy book for a week in my very nice home since my kids are off in college now. He claimed he worked in accounting at Powell’s Books and was needing a place while he looked for an apartment. From the second he stepped into my home, I knew something was wrong. He was twitchy, awkward, and filthy, smelling of vomit and feces. He had horrible shoes, filthy clothes, no socks, and a trashed suitcase he drug over my good wood floors.

I left the house and called Airbnb. They said that I would be penalized if I cancelled the reservation and they were reaching out to this guy. He promised he’d get to the laundry. I had a sleepless night with the stench in my very clean house. The next day he never left. The stench got worse and worse and he clearly had no job. I left for two hours in the evening and when I returned my bathroom was flooded; glass was all over the floor.

I marched into the room and almost choked. I told him to get out. I called Airbnb and they treated it like it was nothing. I got him out at 1:00 AM and stayed up all night hauling out fouled mattresses and bedding, cleaning up glass and feces. I am on day three with Airbnb and have spoken to no fewer than eight people. They are still not helping me.

Nightmare Airbnb in the Middle of Nowhere

I thought that I found a new Airbnb holiday flat in a good location in a city centre in Spain. The host lied in his profile by saying “everything is nearby” and had also market names that were not really nearby. I believed their lies and lost time and money.

The host had an incorrect map showing the apartment in the city centre but after booking he had a new map with other details and another place far away in countryside. The location was not excellent as the host and some of his guests lied. I saw fields, not the markets he mentioned. There was a heatwave and nothing nearby. There was no possibility to buy water without walking 3-5 km. The host just didn’t care; he and his friend didn’t even leave a bottle of water.

The host didn’t bring the keys as he was living abroad. He had a friend or worker who gave me the keys and his friend didn’t speak English at all. His friend tried to communicate but he didn’t speak any English and he wrote everything with a translation app.

It felt like a scam. The dirty apartment had too many good reviews and false information about services nearby. It was not a suitable place for walkers; it was just a countryside location out of the centre and only suitable choice for drivers. I wonder if some guests really like to spend all day waiting for a bus or taxi in middle of nowhere to go buy food.

Now I think that the former guests were the host’s friends and not many real guests because they bragged about the apartment and its location without a good reason. The apartment was in an old hotel building. It had a strong urine smell, and almost everything was broken. The microwave was burnt and couldn’t be used. I had to walk a long way to fast food places during a heatwave.

The air conditioning was not the best inside, keeping the temperature about +30 or +33 C. The towels were left dirty even though I saw a cleaner and paid cleaning fees for nothing before seeing the apartment. I don’t know from where the smell came but the floor must have also been dirty. The washing machine was somehow broken; it took three hours to wash a few clothes. The oven I didn’t even try to use, but many plates were left broken.

The apartment felt to me like a old sock left for new people. The host told too many lies without even being in the same country. I wonder how Airbnb accept these hosts who don’t need to be in the same country where they rent apartments. It’s okay for Airbnb that a host has some friends (who don’t even speak English) bring keys. The host was thinking that all people on this planet have cars for driving to the food market. I cancelled and lost money from the cancellation fee but at the end it was best. Even hostels were better than this nightmare dirty apartment far from everything.

First Time Using Airbnb Will Be My Last Time

My childhood friend and I were planning a girls trip to Washington DC. I’m a savvy, frugal traveler and always do very well researching and booking hotels. I suggested a few hotels where I had stayed, but my friend insisted on Airbnb. I should have just said no, but didn’t want to seem bossy and figured it couldn’t be so bad.

She told me she found a small place for $72 per night. I wasn’t impressed with the pictures, but she liked the place. My friend then emailed me and told me that my half for the three nights would be $225. I thought it was $72 per night. I know there are taxes and a cleaning fee, but to double the price seems ridiculous. I had already booked my flight and didn’t want to deal with a confrontation, so I just let it go.

The host sent us a text about an hour before our arrival that the cleaning crew was late or something. No big deal. The unit was in kind of a brownstone on the ground floor. The place was dark, dank and reeked of mold. It was a nasty odor.

The host informed us that the laundry in the dryer was taking a long time and to “throw another 90 minutes on it”. The reason it wasn’t drying was because he had stuffed four towels, washcloths, a hand towel and a set of sheets into the dryer (and these are the small stacking washer/dryer). I took half of it out so that it would dry. The host never came back and took care of the laundry. I had to fold it.

My friend took the bed in the bedroom, which left me on a pullout that looked like it had come out of the dumpster. If you laid back too far on the bed, the bottom would come off the ground. There were also broken springs in the mattress. My friend kept insisting “well, this is ok…”

The next morning, I was trying to dry my hair (thankfully I brought my own hairdryer because the unit didn’t have one, nor did it have an iron). This blew the circuit, which shut off the power in the unit. We sent the host texts and emails. A while later (after we left) he replied and told us how to switch the breaker… seriously. He wanted his paying guests to do it. I refused and told my friend the power would be on or I was going to a hotel.

Our entire trip my friend complained about the rain (it was misty). She complained about the heat outside. She complained we walked too much and her feet hurt. However, she kept trying to convince me that $150 per night for a dump that was out of the way was a good deal.

Shortly after we left, while waiting for our train, the host sent an email asking for a five-star rating and good review. Unfortunately, my friend booked it or I would have blasted the hell out of him. Ironically, the place had good reviews. I’m certain they were fake reviews from his friends because anyone paying $150 per night for that dump wouldn’t be happy. If you can’t afford to stay in a safe, clean place then maybe you shouldn’t travel.

Airbnb Host Won’t Acknowledge Paint Fumes

We had the most horrible night at this Airbnb due to the host recently painting all of the woodwork in this Victorian bedroom with gloss paint. My eyes were stinging, my nose and throat were burning. My husband was exhausted as our check in wasn’t until 4:00 PM so we had from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM walking around sightseeing to kill time in Kirkwall.

He didn’t want to leave to find alternative accommodations. I saw a hotel down the street, which he agreed that if they had availability we would move, but they didn’t. We could only get one window to open; the rest of the windows were painted shut. When we saw the host we told him the paint bothered us. He just said it was recently decorated and that it should air out by keeping the window open; it didn’t because all of the painted woodwork was around the windows.

We found a fan and had that in front of the windows and my husband found a face mask in his first aid kit for me to wear. The next morning we asked the table of two other couples if they were bothered by paint fumes, one couple also noticed the fresh paint smell, the other couple didn’t (their room wasn’t painted). When the host came into the room and asked how we slept I told him that the paint fumes bothered me and he acted like I was crazy and stated that no one else complained (the other couple didn’t speak up). Frankly, it was embarrassing.

On the way out I asked for a receipt and they couldn’t be bothered to get me one. Instead, they rehashed why I should be so bothered by paint fumes. When we got home, I made a list of complaints which I posted on Airbnb and Tripadvisor. When he read them he went off his rocker and started accusing us of being nightmare guests and advising people to avoid us like the plague.

He even went so far as to read through four years of my Tripadvisor reviews and to look me up on the internet trying to look for any dirt on me he could find. The worse he could find was that I complained about odours a few times and had three complaints of food related illnesses out of 250 reviews. I’m just hoping his nasty response shows him in a bad light. They are nothing but a pair of liars and scam artists.

Dishonest Host Takes Advantage of Airbnb and Decent People

I booked a room in Clearwater, Florida for a month with the most evil, manipulative and dishonest woman I have meet in my life. I do not recommend this room to anybody; it was a nightmare. The air conditioning didn’t work right, my room in the afternoon was so hot that I had to stay out, the ceiling fan didn’t work, and the glass lamp felt off, so I couldn’t even use it.

The host was expecting to get a new roof during my stay, and moved me to a room in her house as her convenience – another problem. She knew of all this but did not tell me at the time of my booking. The ceiling in the bedroom was all damaged, with open holes; it was disgusting. The door didn’t close properly, so anybody could get in or out of my bedroom without my permission.

The host couldn’t care less about my concerns. One day I came back to my bedroom. The door was open and the smell of fish was so strong that even my clean shirts smelled bad. She didn’t have the decency of closing my bedroom door when she was cooking. From the first day I got there I told her my concerns about the heat in the bedroom; she told me that the air conditioning was off, and added that the cleaning lady left it off and that was the reason for the bedroom to be so hot – another lie. Day after day, she manipulated the air conditioning; one day it was okay, and the next it was off, really making it a hot room.

The worst thing was her intrusive and imposing behavior. She kept inviting me to drink beer, and I kept telling her that I don’t drink. She ignored my words, and every day kept inviting me out to go dancing and do other activities. I told her I wasn’t interested, but she would not stop pressuring me. I started to feel intimidated by her abusive behavior.

Another concern was she had a obsessive compulsive control issue; everywhere you looked was a little piece of paper telling you what you can do or not do in the house. There were paper posts all over the house which made me feel like I was in a military camp: so many rules. She also told me things that I was not interested in hearing, bad mouthing all the guests that gave her bad reviews in the past (she is always the victim).

The garden was a mess. There was no way anybody could sit and relax on that patio. They had chairs that didn’t work. She even told me to be careful about the rats, and the coyotes. How could you live or enjoy a whole month in a place like this?

At the time I didn’t know one could call Airbnb and make a complaint, and I am sure many new Airbnb users had similar experiences but are not familiar with all the rules. I also tried to sit and read in the living room when my bedroom was too hot, but it was not a very cozy place. The whole house was full of objects and boxes that the host used to sell online. She was also trying to sell me a bicycle. I even hurt my knee one night when I needed to go to the kitchen by hitting the same bike she was trying to sell me: she left it next to the kitchen sink, and she keep bringing up the idea of how nice it would be for me to have a bicycle.

After seven day of broken promises, she didn’t fix anything and kept up her abusive behavior. I dint know what else could I do; I was in her house. I told her again about the air conditioning. I was so tired of this situation and I decided to leave. She begged me not to call or report her to Airbnb and “promised” to pay me back the other three weeks I hadn’t stayed. I believed her. I thought there was a bit of decency in this woman; I even felt sorry for her.

A few hours later, somebody from Airbnb call me and promised to resolve the situation. I was surprised because I hadn’t reported her. The host called them. She went about her manipulative ways, called Airbnb, and told them that I had decided to leave. She knew that I was new in this kind of situation and took advantage of the opportunity. Airbnb told me that without any pictures, written complaints, or any proof, they couldn’t help me. I paid $1,250 for a whole month’s rental and stayed only one week. The hostess never paid me back the money she promised. She is a scam artist, and now I know better. I just hope that my terrible experience with Airbnb prevents other decent people like me from been used and robbed.