Airbnb has no Standards for Hosts and their Homes

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This was my second time going through a dirty Airbnb experience. I guess one time wasn’t enough for me to learn the lesson. In the heat of the moment I have decided to go to Honolulu for quick getaway. I was on a budget and decided to go with Airbnb instead of a hotel. I had booked a condo that got my attention with its very colorful wall paintings and warm atmosphere (how far that was from the truth).

Upon arriving, I first noticed that the place had nothing to do with the pictures. The colorful wall was gone; it looked very empty and out of order. That turned on my warning signs. It didn’t take too long for me to spot the filth in the place: cabinets, walls, mirrors, windows… you name it. The only thing I could say that truly felt clean were the bed sheets. I am a very clean and detail oriented person and very sensitive to dirty environments.

However, that was not the end. The place felt like someone donated already “used to the limits” stuff and placed it in there for the guests, including towels, pans, and furniture. The wallpaper was coming off and the toilet was scratched and stained indicating the long years of use.

I contacted the host and he did agree to refund the money. The problem was that I didn’t know the rules and the process of getting a refund. I filed a complaint with Airbnb, attaching pictures. The next day I got a notification that the host was refunding my money. So I was very satisfied, and moved on with my vacation.

The day after that I saw there was a message from Airbnb. I opened it and noticed that I had to accept the refund. So I pressed the button, and because it was one day too late they couldn’t process the refund. I called Airbnb and they said they had not received any complaint from me (I am very sure they did but had a reason to pretend not to), and promised to fix the refund.

They halfway did: instead of $300 I got $178 out of the $502 I originally paid. I am not that mad with happened to the money but mostly that those stressful situations even occur. There is a lack of competence on the part of Airbnb in any apartment’s quality control. There is a 50/50 chance you will come a across great place or hellish crib. It is messing up our vacations and plans we make. We lose money and get more stressed than relaxed.

It looks as if everyone who has an empty corner in their house think he/she can be a host. The truth is to be a host is a bit more difficult than just putting a blanket on a mattress. It involves time and dedication. I personally believe that we should not put the total blame on the hosts but mostly on Airbnb for not putting any restrictions and control on the hosts to follow and to apply in their apartments.

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Multiple Infestations of Bugs and Mice at Airbnb

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The first (and last) time I traveled using Airbnb I got to my first cabin and it looked beautiful. However, when I went to have a shower, the water smelled so bad of rotten eggs (hydrogen sulfide) that I couldn’t put my head under the water in the shower. For two days I avoided showering because of the nausea the smell caused. The next morning there were mouse feces all over the buns in the cupboard, the dishes, and the outside of the fridge… hello Hantavirus. That same night mosquitoes snuck in through the cracks at the top of the door.

On to the next Airbnb. On the second day of our stay, I was sweeping and found what looked like live and dead cockroaches, some larva, and many many spiders (both dead and alive in five different places in the rental unit). When I contacted Airbnb they asked for pictures, which I sent. They claimed the pictures were not enough evidence and refused to help me. I then called a health inspector who wrote a report which included building deficiencies. Airbnb does not require inspections to ensure building codes are safe or health inspections. This is the first and last Airbnb experience for me.

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Airbnb Doesn’t Care About Basic Cleanliness

I booked a room in LA for three months. It was probably not the best move, but I didn’t know anyone in LA and I actually thought it would be safer to use Airbnb. When I finally got there, I thought it was the dirtiest place I had ever seen. I can only assume that the host and his flatmate used used all the old furniture they had to furnish the so-called guest room. There was one shaky secretary, one chair whose height adjustment no longer worked, an old drawer, and one old bed. This bed was quite a sight: its stage was broken, so the host decided to put one mattress on top of the other in order to compensate for that. The mattress on the top looked and felt like a rescue from an underfunded dog shelter: it was quite possibly older than myself (30) and it sank in when I’d lie on it to sleep. Quite soon I had a lot of back pain.

The room itself was filthy beyond belief. It seemed to have never been cleaned for over a year. I vacuumed the carpet the first morning I spent there, and I cleaned the secretary, the windows, and the drawer. Everything was dusty and stained. The sheets also did not seem to be recently cleaned. The rest of the house wasn’t much better: the furniture was far newer and more appropriate, but it was equally dirty. It boggles my mind: do these people actually think it’s normal to live like this? There was an unpleasant smell in the house. The kitchen had mold. The floor was sticky due to the accumulated filth.

I left the house after one week (as soon as I found another room). I asked for a refund, which, as expected, the little scammer that calls himself a host refused to pay. So I got Airbnb involved. What did they do? Nothing. Zero. After two weeks they still hadn’t responded to my claim. I had to call them, after spending an hour searching for their number on the internet (it’s nowhere on their website, which is indicative of their whole attitude). When they finally said something, it amounted to nothing.

“The host is unwilling to negotiate a refund.” Oh, really? Who would have guessed?

So how much did I lose? $2000, thanks to the host’s strict cancellation policy (which has already been struck down by a court in South Korea). The host then went on to double book the room. In addition, some of the reviews on his posting were fake. How do I know this? I had seen one of his flatmate’s friends when I was there, the first morning. He left a review on the posting two weeks after I left, raving about how awesome the host was.