Exposed Jagged Glass, Bloodstained Sheets, Delusional Host

It took weeks to resolve our bad stay with Airbnb and, since it’s not actually resolved in my eyes, I have a tale for the sore-eyed.

My husband and I reserved a stay in a Catskills Airbnb with a hot tub, described as “clean” and “well-kept.” Suffice it to say it was neither: mildewed pillowcases, pillows yellow with the drool of years past, and I found lots of similarly stained sheets in the closet when I tried to change out the dirties (none were clean but all backup bedding had stains, and a lot of blood). The duvet cover had never been washed. My mistake was thinking that the host’s cranky answers to any negative reviews might have had some merit, and there were 180 reviews before my scathing one. Another mistake: not reviewing all of them.

Airbnb immediately refunded the cleaning fee after I send photos of the gross situation. Getting any further with support after that first level is like pulling teeth. I requested a refund of the service fee as well because in my humble opinion the listing should not be active. I researched their hygiene and cleanliness standards; feel free to send your photos in if you have a dirty experience like we did.

We did stay for the three days because the Catskills rental market is hot this year, and not a lot of rentals were available. We also have a dog — how many other rentals were likely to allow pets? Was Airbnb really going to pay for a stay at a swell, canine-accepting place like the Emerson Spa? I didn’t want anyone to crash right into our three-day stay, which we do annually after dropping the kids off at camp. What was the owner going to do, even if I did spend half the time on the phone with Airbnb support, send his crappy cleaning person in to do another bad job, and FedEx us new pillows?

We were worn out from waiting for a response from Airbnb about the host’s responsibility to provide a safe place. I accepted their inadequate offer of a $100 coupon instead of refunding the service fee. At this point it really wasn’t about the money; we didn’t want someone’s innocent six-year old gashing their chubby little finger on the exposed glass as host advertised as “fine for children six and over.”

At one point I had to rethink what other people consider “clean” and “hygienic,” but that morphed into wondering why anyone would think we’d want to shell out $300 a night to sleep on bloodstained sheets? I got my answer when I saw his “review” of us which wasn’t even posted as a review. The host simply responded to my honest review. He sounded positively unhinged.

Host Shows Deceiving Pictures of Airbnb Room

blankblankblankblankblank

This host’s room at a Hollywood, Florida ocean resort was a complete dump. She posted pictures of the room to be nice and clean. When we got there the room smelled of mildew and an old motel room.

The room isn’t updated. It has a worn out kitchen area, and bathroom. There was a stain on the toilet seat so I knew they didn’t clean the bathroom. The bed cover had a stain on it, and there were dirty utensils. I couldn’t deal with it. Even my ten-year-old didn’t even want to sit on the bed. He told me he was gonna lay on the chairs if we had to still sleep there. Even my mother didn’t like the place.

The hallways were dirty and the carpets too. The people staying there looked sketchy. The lobby ceilings had huge water stains and holes. Airbnb wasn’t really a help by taking down my review which I couldn’t believe. I showed them the pictures compared to the ones she posted and they still didn’t budge and only apologized and gave a refund. I had to pay for one night and the cleaning fee which I felt I shouldn’t have had to pay, especially checking out an hour later.

Airbnb stated I should have called them before checking out and would have gotten my full refund. They don’t state that in their policy at all; they just state to contact the host. From here on, I am not booking hosts with few reviews.

Hidden Fees Bump up Airbnb Stay by $1,300

I just completed my first and last utilization of Airbnb. I took my son and grandson to Oshkosh, Wisconsin for the EAA AirVenture airshow. We booked a beautiful home near the airport for the week at $550/night ($3,300 for 6 nights). The host was very good and communicated well.

When I returned I found my credit card had been charged $4,658. I attempted to download an invoice from their very difficult to navigate website and was unsuccessful. Only after sending a “chat” message, I obtained a customer service phone number, which I called. My first attempt I was disconnected after finally obtaining a representative and explaining my dilemma. I called back and again after a long wait and final explanation, I was disconnected again. The third attempt, again a long hold and menu negotiation, I got a customer rep.

I addressed the $1,300 additional charge and asked for an explanation. After several holds, the final explanation was a $501 Airbnb service fee, a $600 occupancy tax, and a cleaning fee of $250, which I’m told is kept by Airbnb and not even given to the host. None of this was disclosed at the booking. The difference from my original daily rate of $550 turned into $775/night. Armed with that information I probably would have made different plans. The customer service person was apologetic, but offered no explanation as to the Airbnb policy. I will never use their services again and I will tell anyone standing still long enough to do the same.

Hosts Can Cancel up to 48 Hours Prior to your Reservation

I booked an Airbnb in Montana on July 10, 2020 for my son’s wedding for the following year on July 10, 2021. It’s a big home with four bedrooms, four beds and three baths, sleeps 10 plus room enough for two RVs in the driveway. After establishing right away that the RV spaces did not have electricity availability, I booked the reservation.

Almost a year went by, but when I contacted the host to see how big her driveway is because we have a huge 45-foot diesel pusher RV that we just needed to park there and not actually stay in while we were there, she freaked out and said the HOA had changed the rules since she did not have a dedicated RV pad; she no longer could have RVs in her driveway. I quickly looked up the ad she had running for future bookings, and she still advertised RV availability in two different places.

This was strange, but I messaged her back and said that it was okay, we could easily store our RV somewhere else but that I still needed the reservation because the wedding was three weeks away and I had family coming in to stay with me and there were no hotel rooms available. She said she was concerned that I would still bring my RV because she had no way of verifying that I would not bring it even though I assured her I had other options to store it elsewhere. I even proposed she contact someone in town to do a drive by to verify there was no RV there during our stay.

Well, she promptly told me she had already cancelled my reservation and that there was nothing I could do about it because she has the right to cancel for whatever reason if she feels her home would be in jeopardy. Now, my original price for her home was around $250 per night for five nights which came to roughly $2,000, which was affordable for me. When I looked for a replacement home, the three homes left were approximately $1,100 per night, $1,600 per night and $2,200 per night.

I quickly booked the home for $1,100 per night which made my cost go from $2,000 to almost $7,000 for five nights. But what was I supposed to do? It’s my son’s wedding and I was responsible for housing the people coming to the wedding. When I messaged Evelyn to say it was completely unfair to cancel my reservation, her response was, “You have an RV” and in another response she indicated that we could all fit in my RV and so she saw no reason for my panic.

Panicked didn’t even cover the half of it. She completely destroyed my savings. I did everything right and booked a year in advance so I wouldn’t have to worry about housing for the wedding, and now she has placed me in financial difficulties and extreme emotional distress. I did what everyone in this situation would do; I contacted Airbnb customer support.

I spoke with four or five different support people, each time telling my story and each time they gave me different answers. One even said it wasn’t the RV issue, that the host double booked the home for that time period and made approximately $100 per night more, which only came out to her making about $500 more; however, it cost me $5,000 more to have to book a more expensive home. Support said it was also their “policy” (that they couldn’t show me anywhere on their site) that a host can cancel up to 48 hours prior to your reservation for any reason.

Their reason is that within 48 hours it’s too hard to book another home, but prior to that you are responsible for booking your own replacement home, even if the host lied as she did in my case. She still advertises RV spaces in her driveway so I just have to assume she lied to me and just wanted an out to make more money on a new booking. To tell me that it’s all okay because we can all just cram into my RV for the wedding?

Support also told me that in order for them to help me, I had to go ahead and book the replacement home and then it would go on their books and they could see that replacement home in order to help me out. Once I booked the replacement home, the next support person said that I booked the replacement home when I should have let them handle it and there was nothing they could do for me because I already booked the replacement home. How confusing is that? I did exactly what they said to do only to have them say I did the wrong thing. This is their job and they are supposed to give me, their client, the right information on how to deal with these types of situations.

When I asked support to look over the whole messaging between the host and myself, I asked them what I did wrong and what they would have done differently if they were in my shoes. Each time the support person said I did everything right and that it was just an unfortunate situation. Yeah, a $5,000 unfortunate situation for me that put me into complete hell with panic attacks and migraines nightly right before my son’s wedding.

What exactly is the punishment for a host canceling the reservation with little time left to rebook on the guest’s part? I was told the host gets fined $100 and gets a bad mark on their file for two weeks. If they don’t abuse another guest then it comes off after that time. In my case, the host lied to me (or lied to Airbnb) and the support person told me that the bad mark had already been removed after a few days.

I am now pursuing arbitration against Airbnb and a small claims court action against the host. Any advice anyone can give me will be greatly appreciated. I am a single mom and stage three cancer survivor who is not going to let this go as I did nothing wrong.

Everything That’s Wrong with Airbnb

What is wrong with Airbnb? As a host, it seems like there is a lot wrong with the company, thus the reason why I have decided to leave their platform. I am throwing in the towel after only three months working with the company. I wish I could point to one issue with the platform, but there are too many. I have outlined them below.

Airbnb does not follow its own guidelines to protect property owners. I had a guest book my home for her wedding and never stayed in the home. Instead, the home was a continual flop house party venue for her friends and family despite a “no party or event rule”. Instead of six guests in the home, most of which were supposed to be “elderly”, my home was a party house for over 25 people and nighttime occupancy was closer to 10-12 instead of 6.

When I confronted the guest about the party on the second night of her reservation and the damages, Airbnb allowed the proxy guest (who never stayed in my home) to give me a bad review even though the company states that it will protect owners from bad reviews from any guests who violate the “no party rule”. According to Airbnb, they are going to “take action” against the “guest” or third party “booker”, but that does nothing to change the revenge review on my profile.

Prior to this Bridezilla, I had a 5-star rating. I am eating my property damages because according to the Airbnb community forum, the company’s damages clause does not cover cases when the property was rented on behalf of other people. Only the guest who booked the property is responsible and since she did not stay in the home there is nothing I can do.

Before renting my home through Airbnb I had a gorgeous newly remodeled home that I purchased furnished from a builder owner in April. At least 20% of my guests have caused some damage to my property. We have had multiple guests smoke, despite a no smoking policy, and the marijuana and cigarette smoke smells seem to keep creeping back into the house no matter what we do. I have had broken bar stools and cabinet doors, a damaged kitchen island, multiple gate repairs, and a cracked panel in a Murphy Bed that I do not know how I am going to fix without replacing the entire front with matching wood. I also seem to have to continually replace ruined towels and sheets.

These joyous issues have happened with just over eight guests. Hosts have no access to the security deposit and the time for reporting damages ends when the next guest checks in. Upon making a claim, Airbnb asks to see receipts for the damaged item, a receipt for the replacement item, and repair estimates and receipts. How can any owner be expected to get a repair estimate from a contractor in four hours’ time to comply to with Airbnb’s short window for submitting claims if you have another guest checking in?

In my case, the furniture and much of the personal property within the home came when I purchased the house. I have no access to the original receipt for the Murphy Bed or some of the furniture. Airbnb allows owners to ask for a security deposit, but the reality is that hosts have no access to the funds in the event of a claim. In fact, the security deposit and host damages guarantee seems to be a ruse to placate unsuspecting hosts to list their home with the platform.

When considering an Airbnb or short-term rental, the numbers seem to be attractive. The reality is that damages, wear and tear, and the incredible amount of time dealing with the property and multiple guests eliminate much of the profit. Instead of renting my home on short term rental sites I have turned it into a monthly or seasonal rental, with more profit and less headaches. Plus, the United States has a significant nationwide rental shortage, and it makes sense to help everyday people with a place to live rather than trying to deal with a revolving door of vacationers. In my case I am focusing on traveling contract professionals in the medical field which offers me a lot more satisfaction too.

Airbnb uses foreign customer service employees that respond to host concerns at odd hours (usually in the middle of the night) to coincide with their workday. Additionally, hosts get passed around to different departments on a continual basis. Airbnb and hosts would benefit from U.S.-based customer service professionals. When you can finally reach a real employee, I have found that the Airbnb customer service department is not equipped to handle most issues and honestly seems to be uneducated with Airbnb’s policies and guidelines. Perhaps they need to stop using “bots” and artificial intelligence and invest in real employees that are knowledgeable?

If you are looking for a passive real estate investment, Airbnb and short-term vacation rentals are not for you. Being a host is a job, and I do not need another job. I have gotten calls at all hours of the night for various issues, including guests not understanding how to use the lockbox to access the property and noise complaints.

Let us all be honest, no one wants to live next door to an Airbnb and having a revolving door of vacationers in residential neighbors is bad for values and the neighborhood culture. Despite Airbnb’s media campaign regarding a global ban on parties, it seems to be nothing but rhetoric. Guests rent homes with the intent of throwing a party and entertaining and Airbnb does little or nothing to help hosts deal with problem guests. Airbnb and their business model might be the reason that the values in many communities and neighborhoods start to decline.

If you have any other reasons to stop working with Airbnb that I have not yet listed, please feel free to chime in. Best of luck to all my fellow real estate investors.

Birthday Ruined Because of Airbnb’s Latitude to Hosts

In the hopes of making my 35th birthday one to remember, I booked a top-floor penthouse in Atlanta, for July 8-10. That same day, I reached out to the host to confirm my reservation and ask him if there was any other information he felt I needed to know. He never replied. Red flag#1.

Considering he may have been busy, I didn’t press him for a reply. On July 8, my birthday and the day I reserved to check in, he finally sent me a message. However, his message wasn’t in response to my June 19 message; it was to inform me that I could no longer check-in at 3:00 PM, but instead, check-in was now 6:30 PM.

I asked him to explain the change, and he responded that “they” wouldn’t allow him to do so until 6:00 PM because of issues with the building. Red flag #2.

“What issues?” I asked.

He wouldn’t elaborate. I asked him if I would receive a discount since by having to check-in 3.5 hours later than I expected. I was missing a day on top of having a dinner reservation at 8:00 PM. He changed the subject and told me that his nightly rate had changed since I booked the penthouse. The price had gone up from $85 per night to $96 per night, plus there was now a $45 cleaning fee.

What got to me the most was his following statement. He told me that I could always cancel if I disagreed with his last-minute changes. So, after he told me that, I went to customer service about the unfortunate situation I had to deal with. I kid you not; customer service gave me the runaround for eight hours straight. Then, I would be transferred to someone who would better handle my situation, and that person wouldn’t answer.

Finally, around 8:00 PM, I spoke to someone and got a refund, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that my birthday was ruined because of this host’s inability to communicate. I tried to find another place to stay from the list of places emailed to me, but it was too late.

The Big Lie Airbnb Hosts are Allowed to Push

This isn’t the first time this has happened to me on Airbnb. In fact, I quit using Airbnb a few years ago, because of this BS and other nonsense. However, recently out of desperation (no hotels available) I booked a room for two nights at a “charming” home in Prescott, Arizona. I got a notification that my requested reservation was not accepted. That’s okay: her house, her choice. Then the host sent me a message telling me that it was already booked.

I’m a former Airbnb host. If a space is booked, it doesn’t show up in the listings. That’s how this whole thing works. That’s how reservation systems work. I think hosts should be able to deny requests at any time for any reason. It’s their house. What I don’t like is being lied to. All this host had to do was deny the request. It would’ve been inconvenient, but now its inconvenient and insulting. It’s also happened with confirmed reservations.

I once got a message from a host telling me to cancel my reservation with them because the city they were in (Las Vegas) no longer allowed Airbnb. I wasn’t going to cancel it and eat the service charge. She finally cancelled it and she got dinged. Which she deserved because she freaking lied. Airbnbs are alive and well in Sin City. Twice in the Bay Area I had reservations either cancelled or denied with little warning.

There’s too much drama making lodging plans at Airbnbs. I’m just always waiting for them to pull the rug out. Which, admittedly, it’s their house so its their right. But it’s a crappy way to do business. I have never in all my years of staying in hotels have had to deal with this BS. I make a reservation at a hotel. I show up. I pay. I have a place to stay.

Who needs the Airbnb cloak and dagger mystery theater, “will they/won’t they” drama? I’m over it.

blank

Airbnb Host Warns of No Air Conditioning During Heat Wave

blank

I had planned on having a fun, relaxing weekend for my husband and booked a cute cabin in Flagstaff, AZ for Father’s Day weekend. It was listed that there was no AC but that it is cool in Flagstaff and not needed. Based on the reviews, I didn’t think twice honestly.

I booked his airfare (I was going to drive to Scottsdale to stay with family with our two boys) to meet us in Scottsdale and researched hikes in Sedona. Upon checking in to the cabin, it was cute and had everything we thought we’d need for the weekend. It was 86 degrees F upon check in, but noticed that the host had left the largest window opened and it was 101 degrees outside. I was a little annoyed but figured once we left the windows open all night and immediately closed them upon waking up that it would in fact stay cool as the host left his “stay cool tips.”

Well, the joke was on us. It finally got to 71 degrees F at 4:00 AM. We couldn’t sleep comfortably at all. The kids tossed and turned (ages 1.5 and 8) and it wasn’t until 4:00 AM that I was able to finally fall asleep for two hours. We got up around 6:00, closed the windows and headed for Sedona. After hiking for a few hours we headed back to the cabin. It was 86 degrees F in there, again.

I reached out to the host while nursing a migraine and dealing with three very very grumpy and miserable boys. He basically told me that it was a heat wave and outside his control. Which yes, I understand he could not control the weather, but I mean come over and check out how hot it is. Bring over fans or a portable AC (we paid him enough), get us a cheap hotel with AC, give us a partial refund… anything. He could not have cared less honestly.

I ended up having to take a cool bath with our baby to just calm him (and myself) down. My husband had started packing because we couldn’t imagine staying another night like we already had. I messaged the host again to let him know it was now 93 degrees F and there was no way we could stand another night there with it being that hot. I asked for a partial refund (we checked out with 24 hours of check in) and was told no, that his cancellation policy said no refunds.

I can’t imagine treating anyone like that but especially knowing how hot it truly was. To expect us and kids to stay in that is infuriating. It was mostly disappointing that someone could be that selfish and cruel. After reaching out to Airbnb, I was ghosted for two weeks. I decided to just call and was told “unfortunately the host said he won’t issue a refund.” I explained the situation to the gal and she was very nice but not very helpful. I was told she was going to reach out to the host and see if he’d change his mind basically. I told her it was unlikely and asked if I’m basically out all the money even though we checked out within 24 hours and she said I could escalate it to some Airbnb team and go from there.

Well, now I’m being offered a $100 coupon. All I want is my partial refund for the night we couldn’t stay. We didn’t even ask for a refund for the night from hell. I can’t believe the host and Airbnb just wouldn’t do the right thing.

Airbnb Hosts in Spokane Were Scammers

The story I am about to tell is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I traveled 2500 miles and thought I found a perfect Airbnb. Upon meeting the host and his wife I felt good about the decision to pay upfront and thought the place was beautiful — this was only a first impression, though.

I went about my business and upon returning home I noticed my curtains were opened. I then quickly checked my belongings only to find a few prescription pills missing and then a credit card. I decided to hold off and sleep on it before making any accusations. Much to my surprise, the host told me he had to ask a young women to move out early because she was smoking. I said I have never smoked and hadn’t smelt anything although her room was directly across from mine.

Near the end of the week I was trying to reach out to the host and he was not responding. I received a response indicating I needed to look at my Airbnb message board and found a message telling me to “revert.” I didn’t know what that meant so I messaged back inquiring and was told I had violated the host’s smoking policy…. but I don’t smoke.

Then I received a message from the host that said if I initiated a cancellation then he wouldn’t wouldn’t have to and doing so would get me refunded for the days I didn’t use. I immediately called Airbnb and they said quite the contrary: it is the host that has to initiate cancellations and if their reasons are baseless and unproven you get your unused days refunded. So basically the host was baiting me with falsehoods so that I would initiate a cancellation and be liable for his losses.

There is a point when you know that a person is trying to run a scam. I eventually was able to get my refund but wanted to also let everybody planning to visit Spoken to stay away from hosts like this one.

Ransomware Attack Doesn’t Qualify as Extenuating Circumstances?

My family booked a trip in the mountains for North Carolina. Three days before our trip, the Colonial Pipeline was hacked and held for ransomware. This lead to a gas shortage and state of emergency that was declared in the state. We contacted Airbnb customer service to see if we could cancel our trip due to the state of emergency and the fact that we wouldn’t be able to make it to our destination. They told us they would look into it.

We reached out to them every day for five days, and continued to be told they were looking into it. Finally, after our trip was scheduled to be over, they came back and said it wasn’t covered under the extenuating circumstances policy but wouldn’t tell us why, even though a government-declared state of emergency is clearly listed as part of the policy. We asked for a manager to give us a call, so that they could give us a better explanation.

Instead of a call, a manager that was based in Europe emailed us to let us know that the decision was final and that she couldn’t call us in the U.S. because of the time zone difference. We asked for a manager located in North America or more specifically in the eastern time zone. She came back and said if we want to talk to someone, we can call the customer service line again and start over with a new ambassador. We still believe that our claim falls under the extenuating circumstances policy and would really like to talk to someone that understands why the decision was made to deny the claim.