Fleas in the Bed, Airbnb Host in the Wind

We needed a place to stay for three nights before moving on to St. Ives and found a cottage listed on Airbnb. On arrival we were fairly happy with the cottage, which was decorated and kept nicely, if a little dirty, but nothing too bad. Our baby daughter was using her walker, and we noticed that her feet were dirty after a few minutes on the floor; again, we decided that we could live with this for a few days. The host had informed us that the previous guests had broken the curtain rail in the second bedroom, but that he didn’t think it would bother us. It did, as my teenage son was in that room, and he had to pile pillows into the window frame to block out the light in the morning. Again, we were only there for a few days so we could put up with it before our holiday moved to St. Ives.

Trying to run a bath for our daughter, I noticed that one of the bath taps wouldn’t work, so I filled it using the shower. Again not ideal, but we could work around it. The hosts kindly left some coffee, but the only coffee pot we could find was full of mould. We stuck to tea; it was no problem as I like tea. Now for the tipping point. We got into bed and allowed our daughter to lay with us for a little while, when my wife saw a flea jump onto her then off again. I sat up and we pulled the covers back and saw a flea (possibly the same one) jump onto and off of the white sheets. By this time it was too late to do anything so we had no choice but to sleep in the bed. In the morning we saw two more fleas and my wife had been bitten.

I contacted the host and very politely told him that he had fleas and that we couldn’t stay. He said he would refund me asap, and thanked me for being so understanding. I told him that if course we wouldn’t leave any negative feedback, as these things happen. We spent the day trying to find alternative accommodation, eventually finding an apartment in Plymouth, Devon. This was a very stressful day, not knowing whether we would be able to find a place to stay and having a six-month old to look after. A few weeks later I still hadn’t heard from the host, so I looked on the website and saw that you could request money. I did this, requesting £250 of the roughly £300 we paid.

A couple of nights later I received an email telling me that the host had refused to refund us, and in addition he felt that we hadn’t left the house in a respectable state. We had only stayed one night, and as far as I can remember the only things we left were items of food packaging by or in the bin, and the pillows piled up in the window. My son initially tidied this but I told him to put it back so that the host knew that it was an issue. I have asked the host to explain what he meant but haven’t heard back. I have asked Airbnb to get involved but haven’t heard back. Most annoyingly, the host left it long enough so that I couldn’t leave feedback.

Airbnb Sides With Host in Nearly All Cases

My husband and I were looking forward to a hassle-free stay at a beautiful converted barn in Dorking. We were heading to England for a family wedding and wanted somewhere close to the venue so we could have a few drinks and a short inexpensive cab ride back to our lodgings. By renting a large enough place, we were able to have family join in to share the cost and have more time together. The listing for the barn on Airbnb showed a welcoming, relaxed atmosphere and fit the criteria for location and amount of people it could accommodate. My husband went through Airbnb and booked it for Friday, July 7 and Saturday, July 8, 2017.

Prior to our arrival my husband saw a review about the property that made us question whether we wanted to stay there. He emailed the host with his concerns about the lack of cleanliness and she assured him the clients were lying and they had tried to have more people stay than was allowed.

On Friday, we helped with some set up at the wedding venue and were looking forward to hot showers and relaxing at the barn before a night out . The coordinates we were given brought us to a beautiful Airbnb but unfortunately it was not the property we booked. We spent the next 1.5 hours on the phone, using our data by the side of the road trying to find the place. By the time we found it, we were frustrated. Then we pulled into the parking lot beside a garbage pile.

After a tour of the rustic barn, the first sitting area looked fine. Then we passed down a hallway with a cot in it beside a bathroom, the bedroom that was supposed to be an ensuite. We entered the main room which was spacious and could have been wonderful. There were dirty ripped chairs around the table and furniture that was more suited for a frat house. This was not the furniture from the photos on Airbnb. We were worried about sitting on it because it looked unsanitary. The kitchen was small and the carpet was filthy along with the refrigerator.

Upstairs in the loft was an open area considered to be one of the four bedrooms mentioned with three beds, some with linens and some without. There was a shelf with what looked like black mold and a table with crumbs from previous tenants. Some cobwebs were also present. Next we saw an actual bedroom and it was well presented except for the dirty floors. The final and fourth bedroom had two single beds. When we lifted the linens to check for bugs we found insect shell-like casings.

That was really the last straw. When my husband spoke with the host to point out our concerns she was very contradictory. We were honestly worried about bringing our suitcases in and getting bed bugs that would then be brought anywhere we stayed after that and then to our homes. We decided we were not staying at this property and we did not check in. Now we needed somewhere to stay for two nights.

She offered to bring in a cleaner and switch out furniture from her home (this is what she should have done before we arrived). Now we know she used that as her argument with Airbnb. She told them she tried to fix our concerns and we refused. First of all, a reputable host takes pride in her property and ensures it is clean and safe before new tenants arrive. Secondly, no cleaning company could have solved a mold and bed bug issue in a short visit. I guess we were supposed to sit in our car by the garbage heap while all this wonderful cleaning happened. If she felt her home furnishings were more suitable than they should have been in the barn to begin with. The doors didn’t lock and the property looked tired. It in no way resembled the quaint, rustic conversion depicted in her photos on the website.

We had already paid Airbnb approximately $880 (Canadian). We would have split that three ways, two couples and one single, so $176 each person. Then we paid approximately $600 for two nights for three rooms for a total of $1800. The nightmare ended up costing the five of us approximately $2680 total. We have lost way too much considering the host misrepresented herself. She is smug because Airbnb has sided with her so far. She has an unacceptable listing and is still taking in money without even having tenants; that’s a good gig.

Airbnb has been difficult to deal with. They sided with the host because she offered to “rectify” our concerns. She has posted a reply to our review that states we are lying and that my husband is a disagreeable and spoiled man. The Airbnb customer service representative feels she has rectified the situation and sent us an email with her decision. They have not put us through to a new case manager even though I called to reopen the case and was told I would hear from someone by the end of the day on July 21st. It is now July 25th and no one has contacted us. I think they hope we will go away. Sadly, Airbnb lacks true customer service when service is needed. They should be ashamed to allow someone like this host to represent their company. She is abusing their lack of control over listings and taking her word that she meets their criteria.

Vacation from Asia to Europe Ruined Because of Airbnb

Last December I booked an apartment in London for eight nights in July via Airbnb. This booking was the reason for my coming all the way to London from Asia. A few days prior to moving in to the apartment I had exchanged pleasant enough messages with the host, so you can imagine my disbelief when three days before my booking , I received a two-line email saying my booking had been cancelled. There was no reason given and no apology offered.

With such short notice in the peak tourist season there were very few properties available and of course the prices has risen sharply. My much anticipated holiday was in ruins. I have written to Airbnb and been told that I would receive a proper and professional reply but there has been nothing so far despite my follow-up reminders.

On the basis of this my first foray into Airbnb, I would advise anyone else considering Airbnb quite simply: don’t even think about it. It is difficult to conceive of a less professional and ethical organisation whose vetting of hosts and properties alike appears to be non-existent.

No Clarity From Airbnb Terms and Conditions

This was the first time I had ever used Airbnb. I made an account and followed the app as much as I could and then found a room for a night in Bristol with three friends. For £142 we could get one room with one bed and a sofa bed. How they can charge that much for that is beyond me but we were desperate.

I read the terms and conditions. One said no parties or events. Maybe I’m stupid, but to me that does not include going out with friends or having drinks with friends; a party or an event is so much bigger than that and I thought they’re charging a lot because they know it’s graduation in Bristol for two weeks. On top of this they had graduated from UWE and were teachers. My picture is of me: a 22-year-old girl with a glass of wine in my hand. I thought they would be fine; it’s not like we’ll be barging in at 4:00 AM with a bunch of people, playing music and carrying on. We will just need to go and sleep. There were no parties and we weren’t attending any event apart from my graduation the morning before.

The hosts then messaged me (I’ve attached it) saying things such as “will you be coming in early Thursday morning and can you please give us information on your friends for security reasons and can you finish your own form (I thought I’d finished but had a lot left to put in).” Not long after that they sent a message saying they accepted my request to stay. I then messaged back saying, “yes, we will be back in the early hours.” That’s when they got shirty. They wouldn’t allow us to stay.

After all that we were stranded in Bristol and I had forked out £142 I still don’t have, so I owe the bank money because I’m so bloody poor as a student – I am still applying for decent jobs. The hosts had no sympathy – it had not even been 24 hours since I requested a booking and they were so angry. I literally begged for a refund because I interpreted Airbnb’s terms incorrectly and they took my money and refused to give it back. Then they said they’d refund me, but they’d have to only give me the money they’re given by someone who takes the booking. I was so happy as they had told me about all the people who wanted to stay (also I had not heard or realised or seen anything about this pre-requesting thing) so I thought, “yes, I’m in luck!”

Then I saw £142 had been taken out my account. I emailed telling them the money had been withdrawn and asking if they had processed the refund yet. They told me they hadn’t because no one came to stay. I said to them, “okay, if you aren’t going to give it to me out of a friendly understandable gesture then I’m going to fight this.”

We spent four hours arguing and they blamed Airbnb for all of it and took no responsibility even though they asked me questions and took my money without even knowing my answers. People like that have no heart. They used my lack of knowledge, my age and my status of being a student to take my money. I understand that Airbnb writes the terms and they need to be clearer. These hosts weren’t even going to let me go out for a meal and drinks as they considered that a pre-planned event.

We were screwed even if we said we wouldn’t go for cocktails. I mentioned that they didn’t even let me introduce my friends. If security is breached (it wouldn’t have been; my friends are lovely) it would have meant that we would be stranded with £142 gone because they didn’t get this information before. Now they said Airbnb doesn’t have a step for this so they have to ask. What I don’t understand is why would you ask and then take the money before you even know? Essentially you’re scamming people. I couldn’t even tell them before they took my money.

I believe that because I apologised asap when I found out I didn’t realise what they (the hosts) meant by that term they should have just cancelled immediately or asked me to and refunded me so they could then accept these other people that were looking. Instead they got angry at me and acted rude. We are still arguing and I am not letting this go. I spent 45 minutes waiting to get through to Airbnb and there was no answer. I’ll keep trying. If you’re looking for somewhere to stop off before a daytime flight – as you probably aren’t allowed to leave early in the morning – then stay here.

Horrible Host and Pathetic Customer Service

I checked into an Airbnb on June 12th, 2017. There were a few issues that I realised were not advertised on the Airbnb listing. The “The Chinese spa style bathroom” advertised in the listing was just an old bathtub with no shower handle, meaning you had to use just the hose to take a shower. Furthermore, the bedroom did not have any curtains, just decorative tulle over the windows that did not even cover the whole window. As there was construction going on next door and there was a scaffolding, it was uncomfortable to sleep and get dressed in the bedroom without the windows being covered.

Finally, the listing stated: “Your bedroom is situated upstairs with the living room, the bathroom and the toilet that are only shared with me” which led me to think that she had a bedroom upstairs too. When I went to collect my keys she told me I would be staying in her room and she would be sleeping on the couch in the living room, which was not advertised. She did not stay in the house for the duration of my stay. I did not complain about these at the time because of the cancellation policy. I thought I could just get on with it.

I did contact Airbnb to say I felt uncomfortable at the property, and wanted to talk about my options. I left the property on the morning of June 20th, and did not come back until the next night. When I entered the house, the bathroom was a complete mess, and the bathtub was under construction and not usable. Even the sink was blocked with heavy furniture so I did not have access to any water. I’ve added photos from my first cancellation request; however, if needed, I can provide more photos.

This was a week in which the temperature was over 30 degrees in London. Since I work full time, not being able to take a shower or even wash my face in the bathroom sink was extremely inconvenient. If the construction started after I left on Tuesday, then she or the flatmate had more than 24 hours to let me know about the construction. If it had started on the morning of Wednesday, they had a full day (12 hours) to let me know about the construction. Yet no one informed me.

When I went to the property to pick up the keys on June 9th, the host had told me that there could be some quick work going on in the bathroom during my stay, but she told me she would give me notice. This was not ideal either, as if I had known this I would have not booked the property. This should have been told to me before the booking process.

After I left for work not having taken a shower, on Thursday, the host told me I could use her flatmate’s shower. However, the flatmate had strictly marked her own areas in the house and was not friendly at all, so I would have not been comfortable using her shower. I am sure the flatmate would not be happy with it either. More importantly, there was also work being done in that bathroom with tiles missing and dust around. Therefore, there were no clean usable shower amenities in the house. This is contrary what was advertised and I believe constitutes a Travel Issue under Airbnb’s Guest Cancellation Policy: “The listing booked is misrepresented (ex: number of bedrooms, location, lacks promised amenities).”

On Friday, June 23rd, I messaged the host, asking to shorten my stay and leave on Sunday. She immediately agreed and gave me the option to deal with the refund through Airbnb or directly with her. She gave me a calculation of how much my stay had cost with the weekly discount rather than the monthly discount, and agreed to refund me for the nights after my checkout. We then agreed that I would leave on Saturday, June 24th, making my stay 12 nights. However, I had not stayed in her house since Thursday, the 22nd, meaning that I only stayed at hers for 10 nights.

In short, from the first moment she agreed to refund me. All this is documented in our messages (not on Airbnb but if required I can provide screenshots of the conversation). If she had not agreed to refund me, I would not have left the property and would have stayed there until the end of my tenancy, July 10th. I immediately contacted Airbnb on what to do, yet I was kept being promised a call back from my case worker but I never received one. After calling Airbnb many times over the week I was advised to cancel my reservation and then ask for a refund.

I was advised to ask for a refund starting from the night I stopped staying at the property due to the bathtub construction, so I calculated my stay only for 10 nights. I cancelled my reservation and asked for a refund based on 10 nights, however the host declined my request. I imagine you can see her reply – she said that it was my responsibility to know the refund policy. I was aware of the refund policy; that’s why I wanted to confirm that she would refund me for the nights I did not stay. When she confirmed she would refund me through our messages, I cancelled. So I feel victimised now that she is saying she won’t refund me after I left the property. Like I said, if I had known, I would not have left.

Secondly, in her response she said that the construction had been finished in two days. When I went to collect my belongings on Saturday, the bathroom was still a mess; the bathtub was not finished and unusable, there were still construction equipment, and there was dirt and a mess all around the bathroom. There was no one working on the construction and since it was Sunday the other day no one would have been working on it the whole weekend. This means that the construction was going on for four days, and was probably going to go on for the next two days. Her claim in her response is simply untruthful.

Finally, in her response she said that I stayed 12 nights (even though it was 10 nights in reality), and that I should submit a refund request for the remaining nights after my stay. This is against what Airbnb advised me to do, but I just wanted to be done with this whole process and get my money. I requested another refund for 12 nights as she said. It has been more than 72 hours and she hasn’t replied. I’ve sent her another reminder message and she hasn’t replied to that either. I have been calling Airbnb every single day for he past week, and I can never reach my case manager. I don’t know what to do.

Airbnb Deletes Negative Reviews, Favors Hosts

This is an echo of the same stories other guests had. I just want a way to let Airbnb know as they don’t seem to hear. I had a great experiences with Airbnb hosts for a few years. I always left the place very tidy and clean. I respect these are the hosts’ homes and livelihoods perhaps. I think there are some really picky people out there who pay for three-star services and expecting five-star treatment. I believe in honesty. However, I suppose any comment would possibly be taken personally by a host as it is their own home or livelihood and Airbnb is a way to help pay for their mortgage. Usually I try to be gentle.

I had a two-week road trip in the UK recently from tip to tip. We had great experiences, and honestly we just wanted to have a clean place with our own bathroom and toilet, in a quiet location… a place that appears the same as we see in the pictures. We also needed a place to boil some drinking water. We didn’t expect to have breakfast or meals there.

The place we stayed at Cornwall was not the cheapest nor the most expensive: a double bed with no views for £60 a night with no breakfast. It was advertised as two minutes from a cliff with a great view. The reviews there since May 2016 (about one year’s worth) have been 100% positive and still are since our visit. There was a friendly host, great place, etc.

However, on the night we arrived, we found out that it was a shared bathroom/toilet situation and we didn’t know that this was something Airbnb hosts don’t have to disclose. Most hosts would based on our favourable experiences. The host mentioned part of their home was closed at night for their family’s own use, i.e. their best selling point – the balcony – overlooking the sea cliff was only available in the morning. We were fine with that. We are pretty much out most of the day anyway.

Here is what we disclosed from our experience on our review:

1. There was no toilet paper in the shared toilet on the night we arrived. It was all used up. We didn’t want to bother the hosts, so we waited until the morning to tell them.
2. No wifi password was provided on arrival and we forgot to ask when we first met. We texted them to leave us the password in our bedroom during dinner. They did but it was on a card with writing so blurry you could hardly read it. We took a picture with our iPhone, blew it up, and could finally make out what it was.
3. The second day we were there, the other guests left the bin in the shared toilet full. It is the only bin which we have access to at night. They must have left it there the whole day since check out is in the morning and we found the rubbish at night after we returned around midnight. We messaged the host in their own home on the second floor to ask where we should put the rubbish. Our intention was not to mess up anyone’s home. We would like to respect their privacy but not go into their closed kitchen and lounge area. We didn’t leave all these gory details; we just suggested they could provide a bin in each room so that guests could leave rubbish. The small bin in the toilet may not have been enough.
4. We didn’t feel that the nicest part of the house was available to us as they left the door closed in the morning and didn’t quite tell us on our arrival that it would be okay to walk right in anytime before certain hours. This is the point to which they objected and thus Airbnb removed my review
5. The area that we got to see the most often was the room which faced a wall of the garage. The bathroom could be heard clearly from our room. There was no mention of any of this in the listing of course; we commented on this.
6. The bathroom was shared and not mentioned on the listing.

Airbnb removed our review based on this last point as well. What we only mentioned privately was we were badly bitten by some sort of insects which we are pretty sure happened at their property; the redness and itchiness appeared at least 30 minutes after we had left. The host vehemently denied it of course. Now I know better after reading this website. Airbnb is much more concerned about insect attacks than any of the neglectfulness we experienced. What I feel is most unjust and sour about this Airbnb experience is the host said we should be in a hotel and not use airbnb at all.

Airbnb said I cannot mention the shared bathroom was not disclosed, since they want to hide that fact, obviously. The host said that my comment about the accessibility of the nice balcony was incorrect. It is a bit of he said-she said I suppose. However, if Airbnb had looked into my history, they would have seen I was never vindictive towards any host. The whole review was taken out and Airbnb tried to call me once to explain or discuss the situation. I feel that they really should have done better to help expose the truth here for their user experience which was what made them stand out in the first place.

On the other hand, I had then stayed with another host two days later where they had a lodger just below us banging the ceiling and shouting at us when we were just taking showers. We still rated them five stars because they were friendly and helpful; they didn’t know their lodger was doing this. We told them the next day. The place was otherwise fantastic. The price was reasonable. We didn’t leave any bad remarks. In addition, Airbnb protecting these Cornwall hosts bad mouthing us by leaving us a bad review ‘saying that we should have stayed at a hotel’ when they are just providing service worse than that of a hostel at a price I think 40% above a hostel rate is leaving me a sour taste. It is bad business for the hosts who are doing the right things as well.

Airbnb is a Nightmare for Guests of All Ages

I am still fuming following outrageously dishonest treatment from a host in Leatherhead in the UK in early May which was arrogantly backed by Airbnb. They took over $849 AUD without providing any accommodation. I refused to stay in the accommodation shortly after check-in after enduring parking hell involving a building site with extreme restricted access in the “designated parking area” (see photo) and access to the flat. I was met with a drummer in the room above practicing and a room/flat which would never be described as “spacious” and certainly not “homely”.

The host was overseas at check-in and unreachable for three days. Instead he sent his mother to officiate, who showed no sympathy and was only concerned with defending her son. Airbnb even phoned me on my 50th birthday to tell me to take a hike and reduced me to tears as I apparently “hadn’t followed the cancellation procedure.” As far as the website was concerned, I had done so to the letter. The Airbnb representative was just nasty: she refused to take my photographic evidence into account that backed my case, saying that it was ” irrelevant” and condescendingly told me that “she didn’t have a problem with the website”.

I will never use this company again. I will certainly be warning others. The way the company operated towards me was utterly immoral and shameful and appears to deliberately make it extremely difficult to contact them. I would not trust them ever again. A disgusting organisation. Go to hell Airbnb.

Could it be? A positive Airbnb customer service experience?

I was renting my property with Airbnb. I had already had several great guests and I had many more booked for the rest of the year. I was then informed by the freeholder of my property that he would no longer permit short-term lets and changed the lease. This left me with a problem, as I had many outstanding bookings and a potential $50 fine on each cancellation. I phoned the UK Airbnb line and spoke to one of their customer service representatives, Olivia. She was very helpful and understood my situation. She wrote a report and sent it to the relevant department which dealt with lease issues. She said they would be in touch soon. The next day I received an email from John asking to confirm if I wanted to cancel my bookings. I confirmed, and they were all cancelled with an explanation email sent to my guests. John also provided me with a $100 voucher for the trouble. Overall my experience was very positive. It was horrible to have to let down so many nice people. However, the customer service team made it very simple and relieved a lot of stress. Overall I’m 100% for the Airbnb customer service team. I will continue to use it while I travel and will hopefully be able to host again soon.

The Worst Host in London Gives me Airbnb Nightmare

My experience with Airbnb was nothing short of a nightmare. I booked accommodation on Airbnb from February 9th through March 2nd, 2017 at premises owned by Tess. She asked me to leave the property on February 21st without contacting me. Airbnb also beglected to hear my side of the story, which is as follows:

The complaint by the host regarding the flat was based on three issues:

1. The locks being left unlocked. There were four separate locks to get into this tiny little studio flat. Two of these locks were in the middle of a dark alley with a step with no light whatsoever. I complained to the local contact about this. I asked him whether it is necessary to lock all four locks or would it be okay to just lock the one to the studio itself and the one to the gate outside, as this way the place is still safe and secure? There was no response from him. When Tess complained about it, I spent an extra ten minutes locking the two intermediate locks.

You may wonder why it took ten minutes? Because it was very difficult to see anything. Because she was complaining, I made this extra effort. I was in London to attend client meetings and buy a property and did not have the energy nor time to secure another flat… so I abided by her unreasonable requests.

2. There was loud music being played in the flat. I spent the evenings in the flat and spent my entire time working. Music was being played on my laptop to drown out the noise coming from upstairs with the constant walking around. I am a 40-something lawyer with my own practice, not a teenage girl playing loud music with no regard for neighbours. Not once did anyone knock on my door to ask me to lower the volume of the music. When the complaint came to me, I made a conscious effort to keep the volume at a low level.

3. There were uninvited guests. There was absolutely no room in the flat to have a person come and stand, let alone have me entertain them. The pictures of the flat do not reflect how very small it really is. The only explanation I have for people ringing the neighbours for me can only possibly be the delivery boys coming to deliver my dinner. There was no doorbell in the studio itself. This is one more thing that I told the local contact when I arrived. I asked him how I could have food deliveries, if I cannot hear when someone is at the door? He suggested I give the delivery people my phone number, which I did. But as you can imagine, they would not be calling a California mobile number for a food delivery in London.

When I came home on the night of February 21, 2017, it was after 10:00 PM. I then noticed the message from Airbnb. I had only one voicemail message on my phone at approximately 5:00 PM from her. By 1:00 AM, the local agent was at my door asking me to leave the property immediately. I insisted that the police be called so there is proof that I left the property, as every attempt that I made to reach Airbnb that evening was unsuccessful. After the police arrived, they sympathised with my situation but said they could not help in this matter. They provided me with a police report.

I was then told by the local agent that in fact the host was expecting relatives and guests and needed the empty flat. I was incredibly furious and shocked. The host does not live in the UK; she lives in Prague. She had assigned this property to yet another guest using an intermediary (as if Airbnb was not enough). She should have had the courtesy to call me and try to resolve the problem first, and come to a mutually acceptable solution. Furthermore, Airbnb should have defended me, as I am their customer; a legal relationship is created as I pay them directly. Since then, I have tried to reach out to Airbnb via emails and phone messages, and have not had even one representative bother to call me back. It is highly unprofessional for Airbnb representatives to make a decision to cancel a reservation on the evening of without verifying the facts with me and expecting me to leave the same night without reimbursement.