Government Authorities Should Take a Closer Look at Airbnb

Airbnb made a business decision to censor the photograph of any potential guest so that you cannot see who you are letting into your home. This is an extremely biased moved because the guest can see your picture and make a decision but a host cannot. I had a 30-year-old woman from Canada who came to the UK to study and who booked to stay two months with me after her studies had completed.

After staying two weeks, I subsequently found out that she failed all of her exams and she declared herself to be mentally ill. I live alone and became insecure and afraid because she woke up early one morning accusing me of looking through her bedroom window throughout the night. Then she freaked out saying that I was checking on her food. She spoke about having a breakdown a few years earlier where she just got on a plane from Canada to Paris and ended up sleeping with men in cars to get by.

She said that when things got really bad, she used her status as a vulnerable adult and presented herself to the French Embassy asking to be sent back to Canada. The more she talked, the louder she became. I called my sister and kept her on the phone while I tried my best to talk her down. Eventually she went off, ranting and raving. I locked myself in my bedroom and called Airbnb. I was put on hold and no one came back to me.

The next thing I knew, the woman had run through the door, so I decided to email Airbnb over and over again. I also called and got promises of a return call. The next thing I knew, my doorbell was ringing really loudly. When I answered it, there were three policemen standing at my door. This mentally ill woman accused me of throwing her out, so I had to defend myself to the police by showing them that, unbeknownst to me, she had cancelled the remaining six weeks and that this was a ploy for her to get a full refund from Airbnb.

The police were good that day and suggested getting her out as quickly as possible. The so-called mentally ill woman was good; she knew how to work the system by professing to be mentally ill. The police packed her things in their police car and took her away. Would you believe that this woman texted me afterwards, apologising and saying that it was the only way that she could get someone to move her things for free?

Furthermore, a liaison person arranged for her paid flight back to Canada and she boasted that she got a full refund from Airbnb who had initially told her that she would have to forfeit a 30-day cancellation fee. For 12 hours, Airbnb never got back to me nor supported me through this awful ordeal. When I called they refused to give me my full cancellation fee no matter how I argued. They give extremely poor service and lied nonstop.

Things could have really gotten out of hand. It could have been a physical altercation if I had not played it cool that day. It was an awful experience and Airbnb did nothing. The authorities need to look into this organisation. The way this organisation runs things, someone is going to get killed one day. You just don’t know who you are bringing into your home.

Fancy a Summer Holiday on a Building Site?

blankblankblankblank

I went on holiday with my two daughters in Senegal through Airbnb. The apartment was directly located above the host’s accommodation and we rented it for a month. In order to access our apartment we had to go through a garage and squeeze pass a dusty car as well as a bicycle and a motorbike. When we first arrived, the car was only an inconvenience in the evening but after five days the car never moved (please find the attached picture).

On our arrival we noticed a scaffolding at the same level as the terrace which we had direct access to. The host informed me then that they had started some renovation work such as the inside roof being repaired which were not quite finished. He informed me that it would take no longer than three days to finish.

At that point I asked the host to ensure that the dust on the terrace would be thoroughly cleaned as it was really bad upon our arrival. They did clean it after my request. The following day I rapidly noticed cockroaches in the kitchen, bathroom (cockroaches were coming out of my toiletry bag), in the living room, on the tables… everywhere.

In order to have access to the wifi we had to go downstairs in front of the host’s apartment, despite the fact the access to wifi was mentioned on the booking and there was allegedly a working connection inside our apartment. The TV was not working. When I mentioned it to the host his reply was “the previous guests did not watch it.”

I informed him that my children do watch some TV. He then told me he had to ask his wife to renew the TV connection, which took a week.

I hear you saying: “Why on earth did you stay there?”

Well, here I am in a foreign country with my two young daughters, having nowhere else to go with a limited budget as the hotels were extremely expensive. I took it upon myself to never cook in that filthy place; we always ate outside. I was physically and mentally exhausted. Thankfully we went away for four days to a secluded area.

This gateway gave me the chance to reflect on what I was experiencing as I did not inform anyone in my family in France. My husband was not aware nor was my mum or my siblings. I truly did not know what other options I had but to bear with it.

Upon my return and back to square one, i.e. my holiday from hell, the cherry on the cake was the host had started building work around the entrance and pool area. They were actually building a roof with poles and beams everywhere. We actually had to walk beneath it all with no head protection in order to get to our apartment.

At that point, the penny dropped and I realised for the safety of my children and indeed myself we had to get out of that place urgently. That is when I asked for help and informed my family in France. I told the host (her husband at that point was away in France). She told me the work had to be done as the wooden roof was becoming unstable and was an immediate danger to the occupants. Therefore it had to be fixed urgently, however she told other parties including her own husband (who confirmed it in writing to me) that his wife wanted to surprise him whilst his was away with a new roof.

I told the host I had to seek an alternative accommodation as not only was I exhausted, my children were suffering with the dust and the noise, but most importantly were living in an unsafe environment on all levels. We finally moved out, and found a place where we managed to get some rest and make the most of the holiday we had left.

I spoke to different people in Airbnb. However, the person in charge of my case is offering me 100 dollars for the inconvenience of not using the swimming pool. Please find my photos and hopefully my videos in relation to this case.

blank

Terrible and Irresponsible Customer Service from Airbnb

blank

We booked an apartment in Panama City, Panama with a so-called Superhost. The neighborhood was so dirty and unsafe that we had to cancel our booking right after arrival. Please see attached one of the pictures and one of the many fruitless emails to Airbnb customer service. Airbnb not only did not refund our money, more importantly they did not do anything to rectify the situation and de-list this property so other guests don’t face the same situation. It seems they do not care about their reputation or the safety of their customers.

When we arrived at the location, we realized the condo was in an undesirable, unsafe and unclean neighborhood. Many people were hanging out and part of the intersection was under construction. Moreover, there were two big dumpsters right in front of the entrance, and homeless people were digging in. I have posted some pictures which show the garbage (even a toilet bowl) lying on the street and sidewalk right in front of the building.

We felt unsafe, both in terms of safety and health, to stay in that condo. I should also add that the condo we booked had a different name than the name sent by the host in the welcome note. When we inquired, the host mentioned that it was an error by their administration and assured the condo is the same as shown in the picture, while Google Maps shows them in two different locations.

As soon as we arrived and realized the situation, without checking in, we contacted the host’s assistant, reported the situation and asked if we could be placed in any other units owned by the host. Since they were all booked, she suggested that we cancel the booking to be refunded. We contacted another host, and he was kind enough to accommodate us last minute even by waiving the minimum 30-day requirement. We have since contacted the host and have asked for the full refund of our booking, which has been unanswered.

We would like a full refund including the booking fees charged by Airbnb. We have since given up on getting our money. Just wanted to share our experience so hopefully someone pays attention.

Major Fire Hazard at Airbnb Property in Medellin

There were major safety issues at an Airbnb-listed property. I was unable to leave a review of my last stay; the link sent me to a page that said I didn’t have access.

This “furnished studio” was actually a windowless (air vents onto a dirty courtyard, no natural light) single room with a double bed and a bar stool as furniture, linked by a corridor to a kitchenette and a bathroom with no hot water in sinks, but decent hot water from electric shower head. There was no microwave, no toaster oven, no coffeemaker or kettle, two very old pots and barely any dishes, and no dustbins except one in the bathroom for leaving used toilet paper.

The building in Laureles, Medellin is, like many buildings without doormen, locked from the inside and out. You need a key to leave. This one has two outer locks. The one on the outer gate hardly works; it takes five minutes of jiggling the key to open it. The lock on the front door of the building is slightly better.

The reason this is so dangerous – beyond the fact the exits should never be locked – is that the burner of the gas stove in the kitchen is very damaged and eight-inch flames shoot out when you try to use it. It is a miracle there has not been a fire in the building.

The building is old, the rooms are tiny, the hallways and the apartments themselves are dirty (I looked in to a neighboring one). The “Super Precio” of about $500 US/month is not a great deal in Colombia. Someone should do some sort of spot checking on the properties, most of all for safety issues.

Odd Airbnb Host and Bad Room Causes us to Leave

My mother and I wanted to stay in NJ close to NYC for a weekend. We booked a single room only to have it changed to another location at the last minute. We accepted just to not cause trouble.

We arrived at the time that we and the host agreed on and lo and behold, she wasn’t there. We waited an hour in the New York summer outside of the building only for a completely different person to arrive because apparently the host was out of town but didn’t tell us until that day.

We finally got in and the place smelled like cheap perfume or some garbage air freshener. We soon found out that there were four other people in this one apartment and only one bathroom. The kitchen was so cluttered that they stored the pots and pans inside the oven. They obviously hadn’t cleaned out the fridge; it had leftovers from the last guests and expired juice.

The bathroom had tiles falling down from the ceiling and I almost fell in the tub because the mat they put in was so slippery. Our bed was just awful; the sheets were mismatched and hideous (I know, small complaint, but it sucked). The room was obviously not up to code, no smoke detectors, and probably overall the listing was illegal in the first place.

I felt unsafe, it was hot, the host barely spoke english, and the other residents in the apartment locked the deadbolt, leaving us locked out until they finally heard us knocking. Just so disorganized, dysfunctional and messy. I’m paying for a hotel or a hostel in the city next time because this blew so badly.

Why Are Airbnb Services Even Allowed?

I just don’t understand why this type of service is even allowed. I moved into my neighborhood several years ago as a young family with plans to provide my son a happy and loving childhood. Now, because of the Airbnb that recently “opened” next door, that dream has been shattered.

I wanted my son to grow up in a community where everyone knows one another and neighbors watch out for the kids as they play. Instead, every few days, we have strangers living next door that have absolutely no respect or concern for our community. They are loud, disrespectful, and inconsiderate.

Last night, one of them parked in my driveway and attempted to enter my home while we were sitting in the living room watching TV. Do you know how terrifying it is for a four-year-old to have a couple of strangers attempt to walk inside your home? Neighborhoods should be focused on building a sense of trust and community, not utilized as a way to make money while jeopardized your neighbors.

These uncaring “guests” trash our local park, park in front of my driveway so we can’t get out, leave trash in my yard, and stay up causing commotion at all hours of the night. In a time where you can’t even feel safe going to the store, now I can’t even feel comfortable in my own home. This sense of entitlement to doing whatever you want with “your” house is ridiculous and completely defeats the purpose of living in a neighborhood.

If you want a short term stay, go to a motel or hotel; that is for what they were made. A house should be reserved for preserving a sense of community within those that live in the neighborhood and providing a sense of peace and comfort to raise a family. Thank you Airbnb for robbing people of this American dream.

This is a horrible concept and I hope cities crack down hard on how these services are managed. What a complete disappointment in those that have no respect for their neighbors (mostly because they don’t actually live there) and exposing us to a constant set of inconsiderate strangers that destroy our sense of community for a few extra bucks. What a shame that this is what has become more important to people.

Bad Airbnb Service for Family in Slovenia

We are having a nightmare in a guest house located in Medvode, Ljubljana, Slovenia. The host provided only three rooms for nine people instead of our original request of four rooms under a charge of 1000 euro and insisted on charging an additional 200 euro for a fourth room. He immediately started to shout at us after we questioned his service. We tried our best to comply by paying for the extra fee to settle down, as there were old people and a small kid in our group and everyone was exhausted after a whole day’s travel.

The guest house is right beside a railway track two meters away and trains pass by every 30 minutes. There isn’t any security protection between the railway and the house. Inside the rooms, there isn’t any fire alarm and every room has a stinky smell mixed with some kind of cheap perfume.

We were really worried about the security issues and tried to contact Airbnb. There wasn’t any reply from them. We tried to find a customer service number to call directly but couldn’t find any. This is the worst traveling experience that we have had in Europe in the past 20 years. I would be very grateful if this feedback could reach Airbnb.

Nightmare Airbnb Host and Even Worse Help from Airbnb

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.

blank

Tranquil Nature Reserve Actually Shanty Town

blankblankblankblankblankblankblankblankblankblank

Disastrous holiday with appalling customer service. Never will I use Airbnb again.

Over two months ago we found out my partner was pregnant. We decided that before the baby arrived we wanted a relaxing and peaceful break where we could quietly celebrate the news with her parents. We set about searching for somewhere suitable. We are both experienced travellers all over the world and happy hiking and camping but obviously this time with my partner being pregnant and her elderly parents coming along we didn’t want anything too basic.

We settled on the idea of a nearby island of Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands which is owned by Spain. It is frequented by millions of European tourists per year and well developed so it should have been a very easy trip.

After much research I finally found the perfect place on Airbnb located in a nature reserve in the north of the island. The description said “ideal for those who choose tranquility” and “for those who want to live in contact with nature while enjoying the sport and what seas of tranquility offer.”

Again, as my partner is pregnant, we didn’t want anything too basic and this was the perfect fit: TV, iron, laptop-friendly workspace, etc. We even got an extra reminder that this was one of a “few places in the area where breakfast would be included!”

It was advertised at 50 euros a night but slightly less on the nights we were looking for. I naively was only slightly wary when I saw it just had one review but it was a new place that had very recently opened and it was absolutely glowing: “The garden gives great spaces for the eyes. A feeling of great freedom, openness, connection with the authentic nature of Fuerteventura… great pleasure staying in the house… contemplate the beauty of what surrounds you.”

It went on and on with absolute rave reviews. This guest clearly thought this was the best, most beautiful place she had ever stayed so surely we in the very worst case weren’t going to dislike it. We booked four nights and were very excited about it. How wrong we were.

The trip started out well with good communication from the host who by a strange coincidence turned out to be Italian just like the solitary reviewer. Polite, quick to respond and would be meeting us at the property at the check in time. After a long day of travelling, by late evening we drove into the nature reserve; the reviews were correct, it was beautiful.

I continued to follow my GPS across a dirt track towards our peaceful isolated house. Upon the horizon a group of buildings started to appear. As we got closer we realised that these buildings were in fact made of pallets and various other discarded materials and were surrounded by rubbish. This was a medium sized chabola illegal house, called slums or favela in other parts of the world.

We have seen many of these on our travels through Asia and Africa. Essential and unavoidable in many developing countries but unusual to find in the middle of a nature reserve. It was with absolute disbelief when I saw the GPS was taking me right into the middle of it.

However, there was no GPS mistake when I pulled up outside a somewhat recognisable house and was met by a smiling host and a stray pit bull. We were quickly ushered into the house which in fairness wasn’t too different from what we were expecting; the interior matches the photos that were displayed. We had studied the photos on the website so we knew the basic style and layout.

What wasn’t apparent from the pictures was the horrible smell and that it was that it was an entirely open plan including the bathroom and toilet which was adjoining the living room. My partner started to panic about having to ask everyone to leave the house any time she needed the toilet (which is often during pregnancy).

It was then the other conditions started to be explained. First, there was no water main; it came from an outside container which is very limited so ‘use the toilet at least four times before flushing it’ as it will run out. Second, no electricity. We were taken back outside through a broken rusted door that was falling down and needed to be tied on by rope. There we found an old generator and a couple of jerrycans.

Our host politely explained the quirks of how to start this particular old generator. He also explained that it would last about five hours, then I needed to drive to a nearby petrol station (about 30 minutes), buy enough petrol to fill a jerrycan, and then refill the generator with a half water bottle scattered around the floor that could be used as a funnel.

While I was trying to work out why I was having to pay for the petrol or the logistics having to refill something every five hours night and day just to have a fridge working or the lights on I became aware that it wouldn’t really be a problem as there was no way we were going to be able to stand the ridiculous noise of the generator for longer than five minutes, let alone five hours. Once started we couldn’t be heard over the top of it and even in the house it was loud enough to feel like you were in the middle of a construction site. Tranquil it most certainly was not.

The tour of the outside didn’t get any better. Past the pizza oven – which was being used as a bin – around to the side of the house which wasn’t shown in the pictures we discovered a pile of broken furniture leaning up against the house (sofa, plastic table and a bathroom sink, indoor dining room chairs) and then just beyond that a dumpsite. All manner of broken things and building rubble which I imagine was the previous interior of the house had been piled up and left.

Was this the “authentic nature of Fuerteventura”? It was certainly true that in stunned silence we were ‘contemplating’ the ‘beauty’ that surrounded us. In truth at this moment the host looked so embarrassed by the place and eager to move us away from the rubbish that we didn’t really question it much, he just kept repeating that he wasn’t the owner, just the host.

Once the host had left and the pit bull had chased his car out through the chabola we had time to reflect upon what we were about to stay in. Luckily my partner’s parents weren’t due to arrive until the next day. I sat down on the sofa and rechecked the advert on Airbnb to see I had made no mistake. I had not.

It was clear that the accommodation no way matched what they were advertising from the important things like clean and with electricity and water to the less vital things like the breakfast that was most certainly not going to be provided. While contemplating how to explain the situation to her parents I looked down to find my shoes and legs cover in flees, and I do mean covered.

At that point my partner decided she would do the rest of her contemplating in the car. She rushed outside to find a local resident and extremely suspicious looking character peering into the back of car which was still loaded with all our holiday gear. When I asked who he was he merely commented that he was the cousin of the owner and continued to walk around the property at his own leisurely pace.

This was now a step too far, it had gone from being a somewhat comical, farcical situation to actually feeling quite unsafe. While the nature reserve is certainly ‘isolated’, the house being in the centre of the chabola most certainly was not. It may be the area is quite safe and the ‘cousin’ was just coming to be friendly but this certainly wasn’t the type of holiday that had been sold to us and we weren’t willing to stay and find out.

I stayed just long enough to take some photos and then drove away to try and work out what to do next. I called the host to tell him we wouldn’t be staying even a night and by his tone he had been waiting for that phone call. He said not a problem at all and even avoided an embarrassing situation by not asking us for the reasons. He just reminded us again that he was not the owner which I understood to imply that even he wouldn’t want to stay there. I asked about a refund and he said he hadn’t received any money and it would all be returned by Airbnb.

At this point it was 8:00 PM and with very little mobile battery left we were trying to navigate the nightmare Airbnb customer support site and look for somewhere to stay. I eventually found the support contact and emailed explaining the situation. On that evening I received absolutely no reply at all and we were in a desperate sprint to find something, anything safe that we could stay in that night.

By 10:00 PM we were lucky enough to find a very accommodating host who replied pretty much immediately to our messages and let us stay. Before I could book the new place my only option was to ‘cancel the reservation’ of the old which seemed to imply it was in some way our fault and therefore we were penalized in that they kept most of the money. Only 66 euros were returned to us.

While the new accommodation was excellent, a great host who had provided an honest and truthful advert, it was a more expensive flat, only for two people and in a crowded tourist resort. Not at all the holiday we were looking for. It also meant that there was no space for my in laws and with all the uncertainty they decided to cancel their flight and not come at all.

I have attached a link to show just how poor the support was when they eventually replied as my words couldn’t really do it justice. Needless to say we ended up paying for two accommodations (minus 66 euros). I wrote at length and sent plenty of pictures as evidence but Airbnb seemed entirely uninterested, delivering superficial responses.

It was only after five days with one day left in our holiday that I was passed to a specialist who asked if he could help book us into accommodation. I guess he imagined we had been sleeping on the streets for the previous four nights. When it was apparent that he wasn’t properly reading my replies or trying to understand the situation his response of ‘I have a lot of cases needed to be assisted as well’ was infuriating. A particular favourite phrase that he wrote after admitting it was a host violation was ‘just to set your expectation we will do our best in order to meet the proper standard but we cannot guarantee this hundred percent to provide the expected outcome’ (sic).

It has now been nearly a week and Airbnb has just stopped replying to my messages. Last I heard I was eligible for a refund but that has never arrived and they are simply ignoring all my attempts at communication. While we are both safely home and we can look back on a spoilt holiday somewhat fatalistically as I explained to customer support it is the safety of others that is most concerning. People book with them expecting a certain level of security, their whole brand is based around that. If not we might as well just arrive in a place and knock on any old door and ask to stay.

A current look on their site shows that this accommodation is still being advertised in exactly the same way. My lengthy review has not been published, still only the original poster, so they will have people booking it expecting what we expected. I find it worryingly immoral that Airbnb is continuing to advertise it in the same way. At best they will be spoiling people’s holidays and costing them money. At worst… well, it doesn’t bear thinking about. Here is the link to the place. Check it out in full here.

Airbnb Helps Scammers Rob Unaware Guests

After hearing about Airbnb for years, we decided to try it. We were visiting family and were too many to fit comfortably, so we decided to get an Airbnb nearby since hotels were 30-40 minutes away. The idea was to minimize the travel time. The price of the Airbnb was more than the hotel, but again, we wanted to be nearby.

We arrived to find the Airbnb was in a crime-ridden area of the city, with lots of people talking loudly on the stoops at 10:00 PM, drinking and smoking. Absolutely no parking around, even double parked cars. Police and emergency activity in the surroundings. We did not feel safe staying in this place, that by the way, was a tenement.

The listing made it sound like you would have a private apartment for your family, but what they have done is divide a house into rooms, each with a lock. Even the former living room was converted into a bedroom. There were four individually rented rooms in what used to be a three-bedroom house. That was not what we signed up for and paid $99/night. For comparison you could get a 2-3 star hotel room for $80.

We decided to squeeze with family and cancel this awful place. Then we discovered that even though we canceled the host was entitled to keep our money since most of what we paid was non-refundable. We only got 10% back.

I thought Airbnb protected the guest, but unfortunately they only protect the hosts. There is absolutely no reason that the host can rent this dump and when just arrive and decide not to stay, they get to keep all your money even though they can re-rent the place. Maybe they should keep the money for the first night, but all of it? Needless to say we would never, ever try Airbnb again.

PS: We Googled the address after seeing it and found that there was a murder next door in 2016, drug arrests, shootings and more in the recent past. How Airbnb thinks this is a place to offer to unaware guests is beyond me.