Airbnb Made My Move to Montreal Traumatic

In January 2017, I moved to Montreal, Quebec for work. I was a single woman moving from the west coast of the U.S. and was fearful and looking for a secure place to live for my first month while I looked for a more permanent place. I saw a listing that seemed nice and paid ahead of time for it. I was very poor at the time and so it was a difficult gamble to make but I did it because I trusted that such a big company like Airbnb would protect my best interests. Boy was I wrong.

The day I was to move into my Airbnb rental I brought along a new friend to help me carry my luggage and make sure I felt safe. I am so glad she came with me — I would’ve been in a horrible situation if it wasn’t for her. When we showed up to the building there was a different person waiting for our arrival than the one listed as the owner on Airbnb’s site. It was a young male who gave off very creepy vibes. He walked us up a small/crammed stairwell to my “apartment” and stood in the doorway while we looked around.

Right away I noticed there wasn’t a bed but a futon couch, which wasn’t mentioned in the listing. I also hadn’t gotten a new cell phone number and was relying on wifi. Well, this apartment shared a router with the entire building and so the wifi was non existent. As my friend and I were making these observations out loud, we heard the aforementioned creepy guy muttering to himself about how wrong we were about the apartment.

Feeling uncomfortable and unsafe, I called Airbnb on my friend’s phone and they advised me to leave the Airbnb and go somewhere safe. We took a taxi back to my friend’s place and Airbnb called me back on my phone this time via the wifi from her apartment. They asked if we had taken video or photos of the apartment and we said “No, your Airbnb customer service rep told us to leave immediately.” This new rep insisted I had to go back and take photos.

Of course the Airbnb host wouldn’t permit us back into the building and refused to refund me. Airbnb insisted that because we had no photo evidence that my only option was to ask the Airbnb host for a refund which of course wasn’t given. I cried and panicked. I was in a new city with no money for an apartment or hotel and only my new friend’s couch to sleep on.

Thankfully my new friend’s brother in law is a lawyer and he advised me to call my credit card company instead and make a fraud claim with them. They could undermine Airbnb and get me my money so I could find an apartment. My bank was immediately helpful and believed me. They refunded me the money while they investigated and a few weeks later I was told they did find what Airbnb did was fraudulent. Take that Airbnb.

I’ve never used the site again to book anything. If you do, be sure to take photos and videos especially if there’s a creepy property manager. I’m including the listing to the Airbnb rental.

Write Honest Reviews for your Airbnb Stays

I’ve stayed in four Airbnb properties over three years. One was very good, two were okay, and one was awful. The awful one underlined why everyone needs to be so careful with Airbnb.

One part of the awful stay included when the host embarked on a two-hour daily tickle game with his young son right on the other side of my room door. There were no curtains in my room, with the neighbor’s lights shining directly into my face all night long. There was one bathroom for eight people, a washing machine regularly operating right outside my window, a barking dog upstairs, family feuds on the other side of all walls round the clock, and hosts that stayed in with the TV blaring from 7:00 AM. I came away with insomnia and was so happy to return back home.

I simply would not pay above a certain amount for a place that I’ve never seen (and in an area I’ve never visited before), for which I cannot cancel once I’ve booked, and for which I need to make a large leap of faith having tried to read between all the lines of previous guest reviews. Airbnb relies heavily on trust, and as we all know, not everyone – both guests and hosts – can be trusted. You would be really foolish to part with more than a thousand dollars for an Airbnb stay.

I’m not defending Airbnb, but people have to be realistic about what they get, and if a place doesn’t have, for example, an electric kettle but an old-style stove kettle, I don’t think this really warrants a complaint. However, when what they get is dangerous and/or harmful to their health, then there is real cause for complaint.

As a female, I’m careful not to book with male-only hosts and to research the street crime around the apartment area, but some people seem to forget that your host/guest could be just about anyone. You should never let your guard down.

I definitely do think Airbnb should do a lot more to ensure greater safety of both their hosts and guests, and they certainly need a more thorough and better host profile and review system. There also needs to be more regulation around short-term rental markets to protect guests, hosts, and the surrounding community. The all-round system could be so much better than it currently is, and it’s a pity Airbnb seems to do everything to avoid leading the way on this.

The fact that Airbnb also seems to remove some negative reviews is also disturbing and effectively false advertising. I was so careful to scrutinize all the reviews for the bad place that I stayed at. Not one review mentioned that there were children in the house or that the place was beyond noisy 24/7 or that the neighbors’ lights were so bright at night, making it impossible to sleep. I simply cannot believe that no one else other than me had a problem unless other guests simply did not want to point out the negatives for fear of damaging the host’s income stream or receiving a poor review from the host.

I urge all guests who have stayed at an Airbnb to write a review and to be honest about anything that wasn’t good. If I had seen just one review saying there were young children in the same house, I would not have booked that property.

The Dark Side of Airbnb for Female Travelers

We are a group of backpackers who have stayed in many Airbnbs. In all our stays, we had pleasant and safe experiences apart from our most recent stay which was awful beyond words. Our stay at an Airbnb in Kalpakkam opened our eyes to the dark side of Airbnb and safety.

We had to encounter probably one of the most horrible experiences of our lives by staying at this place. We encountered a host who abused, insulted and shouted at us. It’s only now that I am reading the reviews of this property and I can see the abuses hurled at by the host even while answering. It was a grave mistake that we did not really read the reviews properly while booking.

On January 3rd, we had a long, tiresome journey from Pondicherry to reach this place at Kalpakkam, near Mahabalipuram. When we came to this Airbnb we were quite upset to see that the beach beside the property was littered with garbage and local people in the area openly defecating in the beachfront. In addition, the rooms were not really tidy. The air conditioning in one room did not cool properly and the toilet in one bathroom had no flush. To be fair it is mentioned in the property description that the flush was broken and would be fixed after January 2nd (we arrived at the property on the 3rd and we had booked this place two months in advance).

After we arrived, we called the host to inform him out of courtesy that we had arrived and we were facing some issues regarding the AC and also mentioned that the flush was broken (yes, it is mentioned in the property listing but it also says that it would be resolved on the 2nd). There was no confrontation from our part and we casually happened to speak with the host about the issue. Immediately the host got furious and asked us to cancel the reservation.

The property is in the middle of nowhere and we had girls in the group. Obviously we couldn’t cancel and find alternative accommodations when it was already dusk. Within ten minutes or so, the host turned up with his mother at the place and started shouting and abusing the girls. We were unable to comprehend why would a normal person behave this way, unless the person is not really sane.

Apparently the host was quite upset because he has “sentiments attached with his home” and that we dared to complain about. However what remains inexplicable is the reason the host would shout at us, abuse us, and ask us to cancel the reservation when it was quite apparent that the location is remote, there are several girls in the group, and it was almost dark.

The host used insulting statements like “Why [would] Airbnb send such characters?”, “Get out of my house”, and “Who are you?” When we said we were not going to leave without talking to Airbnb, he shouted “Airbnb is nobody. This is my property – Airbnb cannot stop me” again and again.

This entire experience made us feel utterly unsafe and stressed. The most unfortunate thing is the fact that our female friends had to suffer such abuse. In a civilized society, no gentlemen would ever assault women, but this vile creature of poor manners is not man enough for civility.

One of our members had a nervous breakdown because of this episode. We are not used to abuse and altercations and we have unfortunately not taken any lessons on how to handle an adult who would bully and shout at you for no apparent reason.

Furthermore, the host said that he only wants “local people” to stay at his place. Apparently we are neither Tamil nor South Indians; he was implying that he does not want people from other parts of India. This was most insulting, humiliating and the highest form of discriminatory abuse. We were so stressed and traumatized that we could not sleep that night.

Apart from such an awful host, there was a group of boisterous local guys in the next house in the same property (probably belonging to the same owner). They were making catcalls, hooting and flashing lights at the girls of our group. It was an isolated place and naturally we were terrified for safety reasons.

To sum up, our New Year party trip was ruined by an unmannerly and unstable host who abused us and we had to endure these insults since we were trapped because of the location. I was constantly reminded of this quote by Gandhi throughout the frightening encounter: “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” But alas, since I am no Gandhi I cannot forgive or forget this horrible episode.

Though we had booked this miserably grotesque place for two nights we left the next day in the morning as apparently we had an appalling stay and felt extremely unsafe and violated. This property is in the filthiest of places with an evil-mouthed, pathologically-egocentric and abusive host.

Airbnb has been requested multiple times to delist this property for the safety of guests. I am waiting for Airbnb to take appropriate actions. We managed to take a small video of the episode. Since we were not smart enough to take the video initially we missed the most insulting parts. But still, this video will give you an idea on how unsafe Airbnb is, especially for women.

Airbnb Experience just an opportunity for sexual assault?

Recently I booked several Airbnb Experiences during a long stay in Merida, Mexico. Most of these trips were magical experiences with wonderful guides and friendly tourists. One thing I learned quickly was that the guides preferred to have more than one guest on a tour. In general, this makes sense because fixed costs like transportation can be spread over several people.

I personally try to book tours early so that guides have time to rally other guests to help with costs, and since Airbnb does not enforce a minimum guest count. However, on one particular tour I was the only tourist. The Experience took me deep into the jungle with a man I didn’t know, to rural places where we were completely alone.

I felt panic as we drover deeper and deeper into the jungle. I frantically shared my GPS location with friends for some modicum of security. Unfortunately, my cell phone had absolutely no reception at all. This tour guide seemed to prefer that I was a woman alone with him. He told me he habitually does tours for single women, as if it was proof that he is trustworthy.

During the tour, he would ask me to model for photos. It appeared that he was using the Airbnb Experiences as a dating service. I deeply regret going on this Airbnb Experience with this man. I felt like I was in danger during the entire eight-hour trip. I wish I had known I would be in this situation, and I wish I could have cancelled this trip.

For the safety of everyone involved, Airbnb should allow hosts and guests to enforce a minimum guest count on trips. Please offer us the opportunity to cancel these trips if there is only one guest. Ultimately, I am safe. However, I fear for the next woman who signs up for an Airbnb Experience and finds herself alone with a stranger where no one can help.

TL:DR I hope no one else has an Airbnb Experience like I did.

Airbnb Condones Lying and Scamming Hosts

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I booked a stay in Los Angeles from September 23rd to September 30th. My total was $2134.46. Upon arriving to the location at 3:00 PM, the host took me through what seemed to be a back entrance to enter the building and up to the unit. I asked if he had two keys as I had a second person staying with me and he told me the building only issued one.

He showed me around to the unit, told me that the pillowcases and towels were still in the dryer, and then left. Within minutes of him leaving, I noticed that the bed linens were dirty, with hair on the sheets and white stains all over the bedspread and pillowcases. I was going to just wash them myself. However, the linens that were in the dryer were not dry. I tried resetting the dryer three times but it kept cutting off.

I tried to connect to the wifi and it would not work. I then set out to go pick up something to eat. Upon leaving, I double-checked to make sure the front door was shut tight and locked. However, when I pushed on the door, it popped right open. I tried to shut it about three more times but it would not shut and lock completely. Therefore, I called the host and explained:

• The bed linens were dirty.

• The dryer kept cutting off whenever I tried to reset it to dry the pillowcases and towels that were in them. I had to reset since after the first cycle had finished; they were still damp.

• I could not connect to the wifi.

• The front door would not shut and lock properly.

The host said they never heard that before. While on the phone I again attempted to shut and lock the door hard. However, it would not shut and lock properly. Add this to being brought in using a back entrance and I did not feel safe. I could not stay in a place that does not have a front door that shuts and locks properly.

The host said I could cancel my reservation and they would give me a full refund with no contest. I then called Airbnb to follow up; the person I spoke with told me she needed to see the communication and that she had to contact the host. Airbnb called me back, saying the hosts said they would come over to fix my issues.

This turn of events was alarming since when I talked to the host they said I could leave, cancel, and be given a full refund. I tried to tell Airbnb that I did not feel safe and was uncomfortable. However, the woman on the phone aggressively ignored my concern. Being a single female, taken through a back entrance, then realizing the front door did not shut and lock properly, the hosts being two men, I was completely terrified.

I packed up my belongings and went to wait for them outside in public. By the time I got to the door, they were on the other side of it. They came back to the unit to try to “fix” the issues listed above. They showed up to the apartment with an extra key in hand. However, I was told the building only issued one in the beginning; this was also concerning.

They proceeded to come in and I stepped outside into the hall, as I did not feel safe. They tested out the door and saw for themselves that it was not shutting and locking properly. On their several attempts to shut and lock the door, they told me that I just needed to slam it extremely hard. I should not have to slam and jury-rig the doors to the highly priced Airbnb I was staying at.

When traveling as a female alone, safety is of the utmost importance. I explained to both of them that I did not feel safe or comfortable staying here and I would really appreciate if they would stick to their word allowing me to cancel and give me a full refund. They agreed so they sent a message via the Airbnb app and confirmed they would honor a full refund for cancelling due to the issues listed above and their inability to fix them.

At this point, I returned the key to them, they walked me down out of the seedy back entrance I came in, and I left. The host agreed in the Airbnb app to giving me a full refund without contesting it. I then called Airbnb again to follow up; I was told that I had to cancel the reservation to get a refund. I did that and then called back.

At this point, I was told someone was handling my case and would be contacting me. I never heard from him until he emailed me at 5:41 PM saying that he had forwarded my case onto someone else who would be contacting me.

At 7:31 I began receiving messages from someone saying that he was handling my case. He said he spoke to the host and they sent videos/photographs of the issues listed above working. These alleged photographs/videos were obviously taken after I had left, after the host agreed to a full refund because he could not rectify the issues.

Airbnb told me that they would not honor my refund. They also said that the host was claiming that I refused to give them the key until I got my refund. This is entirely not true. As I mentioned above, I handed over the key to the host when he agreed to give me a full refund due to the issues listed above, as I no longer felt safe staying in this Airbnb.

There is absolutely no reason why I would withhold the keys. A key fob is not worth the $2134.46 I paid to stay in this Airbnb. Withholding a key fob is not going to get my money back, nor provide a place to stay. The host never informed me that any issues were fixed or could have been fixed. I tried reaching out to the host several times but they stopped answering my calls and texts and blocked my number.

I asked Airbnb who I could speak with but they ignored me. I called again; I just kept being told this particular case manage would call me. He did not; he continued to message me. He told me if I had proof of all this, to send it. Therefore, I sent him the screenshots of the messages where the host confirmed he would give me a full refund since. This is what Airbnb said they needed to see: verbal confirmation from the host agreeing to give me a full refund.

I requested Airbnb call me immediately. Finally, about seven hours later from the start of all this, they finally called and did not take into account my experience, but just kept reiterating that the host sent pictures. Had the host put any effort into seeing that all these issues could be fixed when he came back to the unit then I would not be writing this; the issues would have been fixed and I would have had a place to stay. However, he did not do any of that. The host agreed to give me a full refund without contesting it and we parted ways.

I asked Airbnb for a corporate number: they said there wasn’t one. Therefore, I asked to speak with a manager and he finally got us on the phone with one, who said an investigation would be launched.

I am appalled at this level of service. The constant run around with Airbnb customer service has taken up my entire day and ruined my trip. My brother was getting married and this week started in tears and fearing for my safety. Not only did I lose $2134.46, I am 3000 miles away from home without a place to stay.

This Airbnb host has scammed me. I deserve a full refund. My request was simple: I wanted a refund for the full amount which I was told from Airbnb customer service that the host had to agree to, and they did. There is no way I could have stayed in an apartment with a broken door, being taken through a back entrance and then having the host make false claims after confirming he could do nothing about the broken door, the dryer and wifi not working, and would give me a full refund.

This completely ruined my trip and overall experience with Airbnb. I have called numerous times, I have spoken with several “case managers”, I have been told ad nauseum that someone will be reaching to me and no one has. I then had to spend another couple thousand dollars on hotel accommodations.

I have had nightmares following this incident of someone breaking into my hotel room and doing terrible things, all because of the traumatic experience I went through with this Airbnb host and the company. I deserve a full refund for the hell this host and Airbnb’s customer service has put me through during a time that should have been one of the happiest moments for my entire family.

I am glad I found this site to help me learn I was not alone in this nightmare. I wish I would have found it before booking but I will make sure everyone I know knows about it before they consider booking with dirty Airbnb.

Horny Hoarder Host Didn’t Make me Feel Safe

I arrived to the home in the rural south around 5:00 PM as planned. The host had messaged me letting me know that the door would be open, which seemed fine to me because the location was very remote. When I arrived, I saw three other welcome letters besides mine on the table, which was comforting because it was a single male host who stays on the property and I didn’t want to be the only person there.

Well, needless to say, those other letters were for people who were checking in way after I’d left. Within minutes of my arrival, the host told me about his marriage, about the girl he was dating and how that might not work out, and asked me if I wanted to go with him to dinner. I know a lot of hosts offer dinner but in combination with the talk of his relationship status and the fact that I was there alone and the remote location, I got nervous. I told him I was tired and just needed to relax to which he suggested I get in the hot tub. Um… no, and this was before I looked around.

All of the surfaces in the house were covered with stuff: dishes, trinkets, what have you. All of the cabinets were full of opened and unopened food. There was a piece of a condom wrapper on my bedside table and in the bathroom there was douche. Who would borrow that as a traveler? I decided to crash and just sleep this away. Of course, the bedroom door didn’t lock. I stood there in the dark in my room and seriously contemplated crawling out the window and never looking back.

Single Female Stranded Day One in Rome

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.

Death Threats From Other Airbnb Tenants

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Emails between Airbnb customer support and myself:

“Hello, I was not able to stay here as the other boy living in the apartment harassed and abused me. It was so scary. I had to flee at 6:00 AM, taking my wet clothes out of the washing machine. I was going to call the police but I just wanted to get out. The host offered me alternative arrangements but it was so traumatic and awful I just want a refund. So bad. Worst Airbnb experience. I can provide more details of the harassment. The boy took a video of me and laughed as I was crying and begging him to leave me alone. I can easily get a police report if you need it.”

We are very much concerned about your current situation and we want to verify if you are now safe. We also want to know if you were able to find a secure place. Please let us know how we can help so we can call this to the attention of the other department.

“Yes. I left immediately and am staying in a hotel. The host was extremely apologetic (obviously) but the situation was really scary. The power in the unit had gone out when I got home from work and so I couldn’t have a shower; my washing hadn’t finished and there was no air conditioning. When I asked the boy if he knew where the fuse box was he became irate that I had used his washing powder (which I didn’t realise wasn’t communal) and was also very angry that I had gotten home so late and that I needed to leave so early in the morning (I work very long hours). The whole situation was a bit of a nightmare to be honest, definitely out of character for an Airbnb experience. I am completely fine now, just a little rattled and in need of finishing my washing.”

Thank you for confirming that you are now on a secured location. We really value our guest’s security and you were right in highlighting this concern. In relation to your recent reservation, I understand that you paid a total of $465.32 for four nights, but due to what happened, you were not able to fully utilize the reservation. I have escalated this concern to our of our case managers. Kindly expect a communication from them anytime from now. I am really sorry that you have experienced this; I know that this is not normally how things go with bookings. In case there is anything else I can assist you with, I’m entirely at your disposal.”

A short time later…

“Thanks for reaching out. I’m happy to help. We’re very sorry about your experience. We’re glad you feel safe now and that you’ve found an alternative place to continue your trip. I’ll talk to the host about your refund for the nights not stayed. I may also need to alter the check out date.

“I think I should be refunded for the whole time as I was put in a completely unreasonable position. I also don’t think this a good place for people to stay. The boy who lives there is aggressive and even after I locked myself in my room crying on the phone to my husband he stood outside banging on the door abusing me. He smoked inside. The power didn’t work. It was pretty much a bust. A total refund is basically the minimum I would expect. Thanks.”

I understand. I’ll inform the host. To set your expectations, though, in our refund policy, the guest is entitled to a maximum of 50% if they stayed despite the issue. This is to be fair to the host as the listing was used. We are generally in a much stronger position to assist any of our guests when we’re contacted within 24 hours of check-in so we could have helped you in arranging for a transfer to another suitable listing. I’ll talk to the host about the full refund. She is yet to respond.

Also, we need documentation for us to establish the issues so we can adjust the payment to the host accordingly. She agreed to refund you the last two nights. And she said the boy was disturbed by the noise late last night. Please send if you were able to take photos of the other issues. Once we establish a hosting violation, we can work out the additional refund. But as a courtesy from us, I’ve issued a discount coupon to help in your next payment should you book with us again.

“I feel as though as I should be extremely explicit about what occurred. It was my understanding, maybe misunderstanding, that I would be staying with my host and not an overseas student. When I first went to the house to get my key it was not what I was expecting at all and I was very apprehensive. However, I was on my dinner break with a taxi waiting downstairs so I chose not to bring it up. I also chose not to stay at the apartment and crashed on a friend’s couch instead as the apartment was a bit dirty and smelly. This meant last night was my first night in the apartment.

I arrived there at midnight. I did not make any noise but the boy (who I had never met) had his bedroom door open which opened onto the hallway. I apologised and closed his sliding door. I appreciate he probably wasn’t expecting me given we had never met and I hadn’t been there the night before. The house smelled intensely of smoke and there were empty bottles on the table and bench.

I put in a load of washing and while I was reading in bed the power went out. It was very late (2:00 AM) so I just went to sleep. In the morning when I woke up (6:00 AM) the power was still out, my washing was sitting in a pool of water trapped in the washing machine and the bathroom was too dark to have a shower. I messaged the host about the power and she told me to wake the boy, whom I assumed was her son, and ask him to check the fuse box. I knocked on his door and went in. I asked him about the power. He said “what the f#$k is wrong with you?”

I apologised and left the room. I messaged the host again. She messaged me back to ask what time I had to be at work. The boy got up and came to my room. He was shouting and getting too close to me. He kept saying “what the f#$k is wrong with you!?” and being aggressive. I was sort of flabbergasted and I asked him to leave my room. I also remember telling him to leave me alone. He left my room and I shut and locked the door.

I messaged the host to say the boy had been very rude to me. I got dressed for work and as I was doing my make up (by torchlight) he began banging on my door and shouting things like “what have you done to the power”, “you have ruined the house” and “how do you live?” – those sort of nonsensical things.

I opened the door to ask him to stop and also because I thought I could calm him down by explaining the power situation. Instead he stopped me from leaving the room, moved forward towards me, raised his fists. He laughed when I flinched. I thought he would punch me. I wanted to deescalate but I couldn’t work out what was happening. He said he wanted to kill me and some other threats I didn’t really understand.

I was very scared and I ducked down beside the bed. He left the room and went onto the balcony. I shut and locked the door again and sent the host a message saying “I am extremely scared for my safety. Please help.”

She replied saying the boy would not hurt me. It is sort of difficult to explain the way a woman feels when confronted with a violent man. We’ve been calling him “the boy” but he was in fact a strong young man. I thought he could do anything and I could not do anything. I began to cry. I called my husband to ask him what to do but he didn’t answer. I decided to just leave for work. I got completely ready and tired to leave even though I didn’t start work until 8:00.

The boy would not let me out the front door. He was mocking me for crying. He threw somethings at me. He took a video of me on his phone as I begged him to leave me alone. He got mad at me about the washing detergent, demanded I pay for it, held the box up to my face with his other hand behind my head. Pushing them together. Mock rubbing my face in it. He wasn’t aggressive, but more menacing and frightening.

My husband called me back distressed by the panicked voicemail I had left. He instructed me to pack my things and leave and if he wouldn’t let me leave to call the police. I told the boy I would call the police if he didn’t stop. He mocked me for over reacting but also seemed a bit nervous. He said a few more awful hurtful things. I was crying a lot by then. The power came back on. The boy got in the shower.

I quickly packed while he was in the shower. I put my wet clothes in a bin bag. I left my toiletries in the bathroom and my phone charger. As soon as the shower went off I ran out the door. I stayed on the phone with my husband until I was in the lift and it cut out. The left items are worth about $50. I had to get a taxi which cost $30. I was too upset to work today, which cost me $350. I had to go to the laundromat, which cost $6.

If you think what happened to me deserves a partial refund you have a very strange idea of customer service. While the host was not malicious she was culpable, neglectful and opportunistic. This is not a safe place for women or anyone really to stay. For documentation, you could check the hotel’s security tape of me running and crying for my life. You could ask the front desk who saw me terrified. I have the messages with the host which I sent you. I have the voicemail to my husband. I offered to get a police report. I’m still considering pressing charges.”

Again, we’re very sorry for what happened. Due to lack of documentation, we are unable to chase a full refund from the guest and also to be fair to her, you’ve stayed for two nights hence she has to be paid. If you were able to get a police report, we’d like to check this so we can also see if the listing is safe for future guests. It would be a great help from you. For the missing items, kindly open a resolutions tool for the host. 

“I can’t help but feel you’re not taking my report of physical and emotional abuse seriously. I don’t care about the money. I’m worried other single women will be harassed. I don’t feel like this is the political climate to ignore women’s reports of abuse.”

I hope you can believe me when I say safety precedes everything. The reason why we cannot chase the full refund from the host was because you stayed for two nights. The first and foremost best and first responders to an emergency are the police and I do hope you were able to report this to them. I also hope you understand our position to maintain our objectivity and our need for documentation.

“And I hope you appreciate that by putting the onus on me to prove what happened to me you have already made a decision to prioritize property over people. Is the host being asked to provide evidence I was safe? It seems clear that you care about your bottom line but I wonder how it might affect the bottom line if people no longer believed solo female travellers were safe in Airbnbs.”

That is exactly the reason why we ask if there is documentation you can provide that the property is not safe so we can present this to the host. I already mentioned the boy to the host and the host said he might have been disturbed with the noise about 1:00 AM when you got home. This was between the two tenants, you and the boy mentioned, so we are trying to establish the safety concern you raised to us. Were you able to take photos of the empty bottles you saw? Also, the host said the power was cut for a few minutes only. We are a third-party website not present during the reservation and we need to be objective in making our decisions. I may believe you, I truly do, but we need proof. Please advice if you are able to send that to us.