After using Airbnb faithfully for almost a year now, I can tell you that I am never, ever going to be using them again. Airbnb has consistently shown itself to be incapable of not only conflict resolution but protecting its guests from possible threats to their safety. Airbnb claims that they are committed to “creating a safe and trusted community around the world” and yet in this case they have failed on both terms. From the start of my long term rental, I documented and recorded the miscommunication between the host and Airbnb.
When I arrived at the apartment the house was clearly left unclean. I documented the mess and asked for the apartment to be thoroughly cleaned before I moved in. In response, Airbnb refunded me for the one night which affected my stay. They claim that this part of the case has been closed and “resolved”.
However, the problems which affected me at the start of the rental have grown into a much deeper issue. The host began messaging me at all hours of the day and night telling me that she had not been paid and was pregnant and therefore needed the money ASAP. I contacted Airbnb to ask them what needed to be done and they told me that they would prevent the host from contacting me anymore and that they would let the host know that this was neither my fault or my problem.
Clearly, Airbnb did not do what they promised as the host continued to contact me saying things such as she “expected me” to do something about her lack of payment. I decided to not respond to the host anymore as I started to feel unsafe and thought the best way to de-escalate the situation would be to not answer anymore.
The situation culminated in me receiving a message from the host’s boyfriend saying that he was going to come over the following morning to talk to me. He gave me no information as to why he was coming over. Immediately I contacted Airbnb concerned for my safety as a single woman in a foreign country. Airbnb handed me over to a case manager who told me not to worry and that I would be able to rent another apartment for two days (paid for by Airbnb) and then receive a full refund on my previous reservation. The case manager also said to not respond to the host and to avoid future communication with them.
I was on the phone with Airbnb until 1:30 AM clearly scared for my safety. As a woman alone being told that a man you do not know is coming over to your home is frightening but as a young woman in a country where I do not speak the language and am considered a foreigner is even more so. However, Airbnb promised me that I would be safe. By contacting me after business hours is enough to be a harassment case, but with the knowledge that the host is angry that she has not been paid, it makes it even more so.
Following Airbnb instructions, I did not respond to the host. Airbnb has not told the boyfriend to not come over to the apartment because the following day I received two furious phone calls from the host. This not only violates the promise that Airbnb made to me that I would not be contacted by the host but it is also incredibly threatening. The host is angry that no one is at the door and that no one told her that no one would be. I asked her to please speak to Airbnb directly and to not contact me anymore.
A couple hours later the host messaged Airbnb saying that there was a problem with the elevator and that is the reason the boyfriend is coming over. However, as a young woman who is alone in a foreign country, when you are told with no context that a man is coming over to your apartment you begin to panic. I no longer felt safe in the apartment I rented so I made an executive decision to extend the stay of the second reservation until the end of my time in Budapest as I feared for my safety in the other apartment.
Airbnb dared to follow up and tell me that “in context” this is not a harassment case and that had I not extended the second reservation I should have gone back to the first apartment. This is appalling because no one, especially a young woman in a foreign country, should be told that she should go back to stay in a place where she no longer feels safe. Secondly, it does not matter whether or not there is context; in this case, I was being harassed and felt unsafe.
The story should end there. However, I received calls outside of business hours, late at night, was told a strange man was coming to the apartment, was told I was “expected” to fix a problem that was not mine over a form of communication that goes against Airbnb safety policies. This should have been enough for Airbnb to take my case seriously and yet it was not.
I have been thrown around from case manager to case manager, who each promised different things with little to no results. Because the host (obviously) did not agree to give me a refund I had to cancel the reservation on my own volition, meaning I get almost no refund. This is completely unacceptable as I am not choosing to walk out of the apartment because the bed is uncomfortable or the pillows are dirty; I fear for my safety and needed to leave.
Now, I am being told that I have to return to the apartment where I feel unsafe to return the keys further proving that Airbnb does not care about the safety of its clients. Now, two weeks away from this awful experience I wrote the host a bad review sticking with the facts completely; the house was dirty and not as pictured, the AC did not reach the bedroom and that the neighborhood was unsavory.
The host messaged me on Airbnb again saying that I should not be allowed to write a bad review because I am a difficult guest and “falsely accusing them”. To retaliate, the host wrote a review detailing private information on the case which clearly goes against Airbnb’s Content Policy: “Content that provides specific details or outcomes of an Airbnb investigation” is never allowed on Airbnb, and I am starting to be told that I owe the full amount to the host after I was told I only have to pay the first 28 days of my long term rental.
Airbnb claims that they cannot find the case manager who promised me a refund (so I won’t get it) and the review does not go against content policy because the case is closed. Then what does “outcomes of an Airbnb investigation” mean? Help. This situation is a living hell.