High-Risk Area Absent from Airbnb Reviews

I recently traveled to New Orleans with three other couples. I did not properly investigate the neighborhood and when we got there we discovered we were in a high-risk crime neighborhood. While we were there we had to run to the local Dollar General store and witnessed an assault of a homeless man right before our eyes.

There were no negative reviews mentioning anything about the neighborhood. I asked the host and her words were “it is a perfect neighborhood”. We went into the local chamber of commerce and Tripadvisor offices for things to do on our first day and both places stated we were in a very scary neighborhood.

I reached out to the host to ask her in the future to tell the truth about the neighborhood. I even tried to post a negative comment but they did not post it. Trulia is a great resource to see crime stats for neighborhoods instead of believing the reviews. Airbnb obviously does not post bad reviews. Has anyone else had this problem?

Held Against my will by an Airbnb Host

During my checkout, the owner of the apartment held me against my will inside the bedroom of his apartment because I told him I wasn’t going to pay for the already faulty shower screen door.

During my stay, the shower screen door broke off from the hinges and fell on me. I then removed the door completely as it was dangerously hanging off its hinges, which I then placed aside. I sent a message to the host (the daughter of the owner of the apartment) and explained this to her.

During my check out – and just before this all kicked off – the owners of the property came to the front door and I invited them inside. I was running a little late during due to my packing, and they were kind enough to give me a later checkout. As I was in the bedroom zipping up my bags, they inspected the shower screen door. They came back to the bedroom and insisted I pay for it there and then.

When I declined this absurd request and told them to take it up with Airbnb, things got nasty. We went back and forth a few times on the matter until he lost his temper with me and he began raising his voice. I told him I was leaving the apartment which is when he locked the bedroom door with me inside. He told me that he was going to lock me in until the police came because I owed him money for the apartment.

When I tried to leave, he became physical with me and pushed me back into the bedroom. I ended up ripping the door from its hinges so I could escape. I made a run for the front door, where he tried to do the same thing. I forced my way out the front door and managed to get free. It wasn’t without injuries and damage to my property. I sustained a torn ligament to one shoulder and a dislocation to the other.

During the ordeal, irreparable damage was also done to some personal belongings inside my luggage. I am now trying to figure out what to do in terms seeking damages as a result of this experience. Any help in terms of being pointed in the right direction would really be appreciated.

Safety of Guests is not a Concern for Airbnb

We stayed at an Airbnb-hosted accommodation near Slough in Beaconsfield previously and were planning to visit again. It’s a clean budgeted accommodation, with CCTV only installed inside the premises. We had an incident on the host’s driveway, which was distressing as we felt quite unsafe.

The host herself confessed a spate of burglaries in the neighbourhood. When we asked the host about a CCTV on her premises, she immediately said it was not on the outside as if she knew something has happened. Moreover, we were surprised that the host, as well as the Airbnb staff, were unempathetic and unhelpful. No consideration was given to guests’ safety.

We have cancelled all our future bookings at this place. We have used Airbnb in the past for may years. This is the first time we have had an unfortunate incident, and Airbnb customer support was very unhelpful.

We asked the Airbnb staff about the host not mentioning the CCTV in her listing, but the customer support insisted that the host did. When I asked Airbnb staff to show evidence of this, no response was received. Also, I requested to check when the host last updated her listing, and there was again no response from the Airbnb team. The Airbnb team also refused to refund the booking amount in full despite cancelling the booking two weeks in advance.

We have also used many American products and services in the past, and their services have been very customer-oriented. Special circumstances are always given an extra bit of attention. We have used Airbnb for many years and recommended it to others.

However, after this incident, we felt that the safety of the guest was not a priority for Airbnb. For that reason will try to avoid using Airbnb whenever possible and would not recommend it to others. We also plan to write about this incident and the way the untrained Airbnb managers have handled the situation on various blogs and websites and discourage people from using it.

Faulty Electrical Appliance Nearly Caused a Fire

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We returned from a weeks trip to Trulli Margherita, a traditional Puglian villa located in Gorgofreddo, Puglia, Italy. We experienced a number of complaints and inconveniences, as well as one distressing, near fatal electrical fault, that unfortunately put a dampener on the rest of our stay.

Although Airbnb and the host were quick to handle most of the complaints we were certainly not happy with how our main complaint was handled. To summarise our complaints briefly:

  • The electrical plug-in fan caught fire, causing a plastic smelling smoke to fill the bedroom in which our 6-month old baby was sleeping.
  • There was no air-conditioning in the bedrooms.
  • ‘Trulli shaped’ wood-fired oven locked away, not for guest use.
  • Bedside lamps to the second bedroom were not working on arrival, maintenance had to be called to replace them.
  • The house bathroom shower valve broke, maintenance called again.
  • Maintenance again called to provide more wine glasses

Our main complaint about this listing would be about an electrical plug-in fan provided in one of the bedrooms. To our horror, it caught fire and filled the room with plastic-smelling smoke. Our 6-month baby was sleeping in this room, so you can understand our distress at having to rush him to A&E to check he was okay. Please note we were sat outside in the courtyard area, checking on him at regular intervals as well as keeping an eye on him via video monitor.

After a few hours in the hospital, trying to convey the issue with a major language barrier, he thankfully checked out okay, but on doctor’s orders we had to follow up with another hospital appointment the next day and a further GP’s appointment again once we were home to be certain. This added incredible stress and anxiety to us for the rest of the holiday.

The host, although quick to respond and apologise for the incident, only offered a mere 10% refund as an apology (a sum we would have expected for the misleading description about the wood-fired oven alone), and no explanation as to whether the appliance had been checked over beforehand. We felt rather insulted at this small offer and upset the matter had not been taken more seriously. If we hadn’t checked on our baby at that time, the situation could have been a lot worse, even fatal.

Please note there were no fire alarms in the property that would have alerted us to this incident. We were further insulted during a phone call with the host where they stated the 10% refund from the owner was offered so we didn’t write a negative review – a rather tactless remark to make about their own self interests, in light of the serious nature of the incident.

To add insult to injury, during further discussions with the host after we arrived home, they claimed the fan was only for decorative use, and that we shouldn’t have been using it in the first place. This was never stated in writing or conveyed verbally during check in. If this were the case, why would they place a functioning fan in a bedroom if it were not for use in the first place? Especially a room with no air-conditioning? Very misleading if true, but we feel they are now only saying this to relieve themselves of responsibility and to avoid a case of negligence in terms of electrical safety.

Our next complaint would be about the ‘Trulli shaped’ wood-fired oven that is listed in the description of the property. On arriving at the property, we noticed it was actually locked away. We enquired with the host about this and they apologised about the misleading description and offered for the owner to come around and light it. Although a kind gesture, this was inconvenient and inflexible for us – we did not particularly want to ‘book’ in a time with the owner.

Overall it was disappointing, as the amenities and features of the property were some of the reasons why we booked it in the first place. Air conditioning is listed as an amenity; however, it is only offered in living spaces, not bedrooms. Again, a rather misleading description of the property. We had a few restless nights’ sleep due to the heat as a result.

The other maintenance issues, although not serious in nature, were just more inconveniences to us during our stay. We certainly got to know the maintenance man very well. Aside from our complaints and credit where credit is due, the Trulli itself is very charming and cosy – maybe a little basic – but perfect for a family getaway.

The real seller, however, is the spacious external, covered seating area and poolside. It was a shame the wood-fired oven was not for use, as we were looking forward to making pizzas out there. Other than that, the area was very good for evening dinners and sunny days lazing around the pool, which is exactly what we were after.

The area itself is a bit off the beaten track (hire car a must), but this rural setting was exactly what we were after. Within walking distance there is a well stocked ‘corner-shop’ as well as a charming pizzeria. Alberobello and Castellana Grotte (amazing caves) are both a 10- to 15-minute drive and well worth a visit. Monopoli and the surrounding beaches around 20-25 minutes and again worth seeing.

Unfortunately as a conclusion, I cannot recommend this listing to anyone, not until the owners, the host or Airbnb confirm there has been some sort of electrical safety check to assure users it is safe to stay in. They also need to go back and accurately re-write the listing description about he wood-fired oven and air-conditioning. A real shame, as otherwise it would have been a good stay.

Female Guests Flee from Sex Stalking Host

I am trying to get this Airbnb shut down. I have emailed Airbnb several times. Now, I am sending a letter. This borders on criminal.

Four people were sexually harassed so badly, they fled. Guest #1 was a middle aged woman, alone. The host had loud, domineering sex in his room next to women. She fled, fearing that she might be raped. Guest #2 was very young girl, 18-21, traveling alone. The host walked her upstairs to the room. he said or did something so inappropriate, the girl got in her car and left, right then. Guest #3 was a young woman, staying two nights a week for work. The host texted her outside of the property, wanting her to “hang out/party.” The host wanted sex, harassing her. She found another place to stay.

The host is an alcoholic. He is drunk every single afternoon until 1:00-2:00 AM. He stumbles around his lawn naked, urinates naked on the front lawn, and has women perform sexual acts on him out front/underneath guests’ windows. He just got out of jail a few months ago for assault/domestic violence/breaking a restraining order.

He drives guests drunk. it is illegal for him to drive, unless a breathalyzer is installed in his car. The host drives his mother’s car, or guests’. The host had sex with a guest he just met. He let her run the Airbnb (his house with his 84-year-old mom), while he was in jail for over a year. He also had a homeless young couple run the Airbnb, his house, his mother, after his release, so he could fly and spend a month with a female guest he had sex with.

The couple stole, and called police about the host waving a gun in their faces. The gun was found in the living room drawer. The host lied, denied having one.

Guest #5 was male. He paid cash, an under the table deal. The host asked him to have sex with him and one other person. The guest had to find another place to stay. He worked in Vermont. The host will use guests for anything he can get: sex, drugs, alcohol, or to lure women in to take care of his mom, cook and clean, and have sex with him.

He is currently manipulating a middle age women, alone and starting over, to move in, cook, clean, and use her for sex. He does not care who he hurts, as long as he gets what he wants.

Pathological liar. Unstable sociopath/narcissist. I can’t believe Airbnb lets him host. Would they want their mom, sister, or daughter staying there?

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Do Not Stay Here: Horrible Experience in Halifax

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My daughter, best friend, and I visited Halifax for a long weekend expecting to stay at a comfortable, new clean condo which is not what we got. When we arrived to the address we were shocked to see a full on construction site. This property was still being developed. The exterior of the building looked completely unfinished and there was no marked address. The building was completely covered in scaffolding and the grounds were a construction zone with workers and machines all over the place.

We drove right past it because we couldn’t even imagine that it would be possible to list a place on Airbnb that had not fully been built. Our host had not sent any check-in details as he had promised to do. Picture three women traveling and arriving to this sketchy construction zone without any check-in details.

I texted him and there was no response. I finally called a phone number and spoke to a woman who seemed like she worked for property management company who advised me that the cleaner was still cleaning up the suite. They finally sent us check-in instructions but the lockbox was empty. Thankfully the cleaner came down and was quite nice and offered to let us put our bags in the unit and that she wouldn’t be too much longer. We opted not to do this and grabbed some food while I scrambled to find alternative places to stay for the weekend.

Upon getting the key, we parked our rental car in the most shadiest, filthy dump of a garage where there was piles of garbage and barely any lighting. It felt dangerous, dirty and totally unsafe. The unit itself was as the pictures presented. Not sparkling clean, more of a surface clean and the windows were disgusting, covered in mud from the construction. The lobby and hallways were unfinished and the same went for the elevators. It was all very sketchy and unsafe.

It was also quite warm in the unit. I had asked the host if there was AC as many reviewers had mentioned there weren’t any. He said yes, which was not the case – he had two upright fans, not an AC unit. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find an alternative place to stay as the city was hosting a film festival along with back-to-school events and there weren’t any other places to accommodate the three of us.

On Friday morning we were awoken at 7:00 AM by drilling sounds that felt like they were taking place outside our window. I even wore earplugs but that didn’t make a difference. On the last night of our stay I messaged the host to see if we could check out half an hour later at 10:30 AM. Please note check in was at 4:00 PM and check out at 10:00 AM, rather early and late by normal standards. He flat out refused, making up some bullshit excuse blaming the cleaning company’s policy that the cleaners are scheduled to be there at that time.

The next morning he must have felt bad and sent me a message at 9:30 AM saying a half hour was not going to be too much of a problem. At that point it was too late. We wanted to get the hell out of that that construction disaster. I would not recommend this place to anyone. The reviews noted construction which differs from you are staying at a construction site.

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.

Airbnb Retaliates for Reporting Dangerous Hosts

Airbnb retaliates against those who report dangerous behavior by hosts (such as making solo female travelers run for their lives from the property when they’re chased by deranged guys) and gender discrimination/harassment by host. They start off by not taking any action against hosts and allowing them to continue operating (while lying to guests that they took action), even allowing hosts to leave false negative reviews for guests.

They know that some guests have to spend a night in a car after running for their lives from the property, as all was immediately reported to Airbnb. Guests insist that Airbnb take action, and they delete the guest’s account. It’s only a matter of time until next person is killed, like Carla Stefaniak, or harmed in the listings of this ruthless, irresponsible and greedy company. They must be stopped.

I was terrorized by a host who is the owner of Robert’s Redneck retreat Cabins (operating under a different name on Airbnb), made to leave the property out of fear for my life and was insulted and harassed by this host multiple times. All was immediately reported to Airbnb; I couldn’t find another accommodation on Friday night and spent the night in a car by the roadside.

Airbnb deleted my account when I said I’d go public since they’re not taking action and even allowed the host to leave me a bad review. This blog details the incident and pictures, as it’s too much to put in one post.

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.

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Fancy a Summer Holiday on a Building Site?

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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.