Host in Tallahassee Needs to Grow Up and Accept Hurricane

We booked a townhouse in Tallahassee, Florida necessary for evacuation from Hurricane Irma. The host was to contact us one day prior to provide the lock box code for the key. He never fulfilled that promise. Rather than drive five hours hoping he would come through, we canceled the reservation at 6:30 AM and emailed the host. Note that the hurricane had shifted west and Tallahassee was now in the path of the storm. Being in an evacuation zone, we scrambled to find a safe place and inquired about a refund. The host responded a day later at 5:45 PM stating his no refund policy. After some back and forth after the fact, he had the audacity to blame the hurricane for the reason he hadn’t responded. The reason we canceled (besides never getting the lock box code) was the same reason he said he couldn’t communicate and he still denies us a refund? I’m not sure how many properties this host has on various sites but stay far far away from him. Perhaps he can grow into a real man but for now he is an immature child who can’t take responsibility for his own failings.

Crooked Host Holds Deposit After Long Stay

We arrived in Utah on June 20th, 2017 as a result of a military move from Arizona. This was our nineth move in 18 years, so my family and I were used to it. Utah was exceptionally difficult to find accommodations while we were waiting for base housing to become available. Air conditioning at the temporary lodging facility on base was broken and hotels were booked in the surrounding 30-mile area from the base.

I decided to give Airbnb a try. I found a property listing in Ogden. I messaged the host and asked if he would be willing to negotiate a deal on the property since I needed a place to stay for a month. He agreed and stated that there would be a $500 dollar deposit for the property that would be returned once his property manager determined there was no damage when we moved out. We agreed to the terms and paid for the stay in full.

Our stay was great with the exception of the condition of the mattress in one of the bedrooms and the downstairs sink that was cracked. The landscape outside was a mess: dirt and open irrigation holes were everywhere. The lampposts outside were on the ground and wires were exposed. We were assured that the landscaping would be completed soon. In the month we stayed, hardly any progress was made with the numerous half-completed projects. We never complained and just figured it was a money issue. We left the property on July 20th and moved into our house on base.

This is when the problems began with the host. We inquired when we could expect the $500 deposit to be returned. I was then contacted by the property manager asking about a shampoo bottle ring on the master bathroom shower shelf. I said it may have been caused by my wife’s color stay shampoo and we were glad to come clean it and see the stain for ourselves. We were assured we would have the opportunity to clean the bathroom and see the stain. We inquired several times over the next few weeks without any response due to the fact the invoice stated that the deposit would be returned in three days.

When the host finally responded, he said we would have to wait to clean the unit due to another guest staying there. We waited several weeks to hear from either the host or property manager but they never responded. I contacted the property manager six weeks after we moved out and asked about the stain and when we could expect the deposit back. I never received a reply. The next day my wife received a text from the owner asking for my email stating that his lawyer would contact me for to settle for damages. We are honest people so we gave it to him.

I received an email on September 11th from a bus stop bench lawyer located out of Orem stating that his client was not going to return the deposit and was in fact wishing to seek an additional $1575 for replacement of the entire upper vinyl shower piece. On the estimate, there wasn’t a itemized list of parts or labor, only a dollar amount and the name of a repair company. The estimate didn’t even have a business address. The lawyer also stated there were additional damages such as a scratch on “high end” furniture and stains on towels. The lawyer stated that I have received pictures of the damages; however, I have not. I have text messages from the property manager saying there were attached photos but I never received them and I said so in a response back to her. The unit was also supposedly occupied immediately after we vacated the property, which also calls the damages into question.

Be aware of staying in Ogden with this host. I strongly caution anyone to stay elsewhere. You will be opening yourself up to a money grubbing host looking to make a profit at your expense based on false claims of damages.

Double Booked, Impossible to Contact Airbnb Support

I have used Airbnb 20 times to stay in Charlotte on business with no issues. Two weeks ago I landed in the morning and had a packed day of meetings ending with a dinner meeting with clients. I was wiped out and ready to relax. I noticed I did not have an email from the host. I had stayed at this Airbnb before and they used an electronic keypad app for your phone. I called the host and he said I needed to call another guy to check me in. I called the other guy, who said: “Who are you? The home is already rented. Someone is staying there now. You can try the Comfort Inn… maybe.”

I called the other host back and he said: “Let me call the guy and see what is up.” Keep in mind it was 9:30 PM and I was sitting in my rental car in front of the property. All I wanted was to check in. Thirty minutes went by and there was no call back. I called again and was told that the “other guy messed up, he’s not quite sure what was going on,”

He never said anything like “I’m sorry, let me help fix this”… nothing. I scrambled to find a hotel room (the downtown area sells out often) and I paid $700 for three nights after I had paid Airbnb $425 for those same three nights. It has been two weeks and I have been chasing the guy to get my refund. Today he said Airbnb thought it was fair for him to give me back half. Are you kidding? You need to give it all back and cover the additional $275 I have now paid for the hotel. It is too bad. The idea is great but Airbnb has almost no customer service; it is like the wild west.

Host Didn’t Show, And No Help From Airbnb

For a one-day meeting in Boston I scheduled an Airbnb stay with an early morning flight out. The agreement was for me to arrive “around 5:00 PM” which is what I did; at 5:02 PM I showed up in front of the locked door of the apartment building. The profile didn’t say which apartment, and the host hadn’t told me me. I called, and there was no response. I texted… nothing. I waited, and no one showed. Fifteen minutes later I texted again. Thirty minutes later again… nothing. By 5:45 PM I had had enough and called a cab to find myself a hotel in Boston, which, on a Friday evening, is a tricky and expensive thing to do. I ended up in the Park Plaza with a shoebox of a room for $330, and I immediately contacted Airbnb through their website to report this issue. Yes, I clicked the “This is about the current trip”. A day later and there’s still no word from Airbnb and no acknowledgment of my email, let alone attendance to this issue. I will continue to nag. I want my money back and I want the added expenses refunded that this has caused me.

Airbnb Fisherman’s Hangout Unbearable without AC

We booked a fishing trip via Airbnb at a very quaint cottage on a canal just off the lake we were going to fish. To start off the nightmare, on Monday before the Friday we were scheduled to arrive, the weather report was forecasting a tropical storm “Cindy”, making a direct b-line to the location on the very day we were to arrive. We contacted the host and he acted as if he would work with us if the forecast was correct. Luckily it hit the night before our arrival a little east of its expected path.

We continued with our plans and got to the location on Friday and the weather was not as bad as it could have been. The cabin was very well kept and we were very excited to be there. We unloaded or stuff and while going in and out of the cabin I noticed the three AC units but only two were on. I promptly went to each of the two that were on and turned them down because it was not at a comfortable stage yet in the cabin. I also turned on the one in the bedroom. I also noticed a box fan in the living area pointing into the bedroom which raised my suspicions that something might not be right.

After we got settled down and got our boat docked, we were going to cook steaks, but after looking at the grill it was full of water from the rain. I decided to cook them on the stove. After going into the kitchen I noticed there was no vent hood and with the temperature being already at an uncomfortable level, I told my wife we better eat sandwiches instead, to give the AC time to cool the place down. I went into the bedroom to find it rather warm and after feeling the air coming out of the AC unit in the bedroom I could tell it was not working. Since it was rather late by that point I did not want to bother the host. I was hoping the other two ACs would catch up and with the help of the fan, they might have been able to.

I now knew the purpose for the box fan was there to help blow AC into the bedroom to help cool it down. We spent a very miserable and restless night sweating and experiencing back pain from the very small, very hard, full size bed. It was so bad I went into the living room at 4:30 AM in front of the AC and tried to get some rest on the couch, to no avail. I waited until 9:00 AM to call the host and told him of our issue. When I did I was greeted with the claim that I was complaining without a legitimate reason; the last guests had no problems and the AC was not having issues then, nor did he think there was a issue now. My question to him was then why was there a fan in the living room pointing into the bedroom. He said it was just for circulation.

He would never admit the AC issue and I even offered to help him install another window AC if he would go buy one. His reply was: “I can tell you are fishing for a refund.” I then told him we had planned this trip for a long time. Coming even in the shadow of a tropical storm should have shown him we wanted to stay at all costs. He never offered to fix the problem. Afterwards, I offered to go buy an AC unit and put it in another window; he did accept that offer, of course.

We then left to see if we could get some fishing in. The more I thought about it, the more I decided we should just go back, pack up, and go home. His lack of concern ruined the trip we had so looked forward to, and if he had at least tried to fix the problem or come over to the cabin to verify that the unit was in fact not working, I would have done whatever I could to help him get it resolved. He did not come by because he already knew that it was not working.

The bottom line is he did refund $198 of the $270 for the three nights, less our cleaning fee and the $39 Airbnb fee. I opened a case over three weeks ago and Airbnb keeps telling me they are going to help. So far I have not received any resolution. All I am asking for is the $72 left off my three nights, excluding my $50 cleaning fee and $39 Airbnb fee. All this and if the stupid host would have just shown a ounce of concern and fixed the AC. He would not have had to refund anything.

I am not at all impressed wit my overall experience at Airbnb, but I do think I will give it another chance.

Airbnb Colludes with Guests to Provide Refunds

I had a guest from Seattle: Canadian, liar, Harvard Extension student. She traveled via Airbnb to deliberately find problems with hosts in order to find a cheap place to stay and free food.

You should have the full story. She had full access to the kitchen. The microwave was not in the kitchen (in my room) and was not included in the listing. She misled Airbnb to believe that I did not allow her to use the kitchen, when in fact I did.

She came into my room without my authorization several times to use the microwave. While I was not home, She came into my room and turned on the air conditioning (there is only one unit A/C in the unit, and it is in my room) while also using the microwave at the same time. Therefore she could have caused circuit damage. Air conditioning was not listed for use by guests on Airbnb. I notified her that I would ask maintenance to fix the circuit damage.

She lied about the laundry. I stated in my listing that there was a laundry card and showed her the laundry room downstairs when she checked in. It was not across the street and not coin operated as she fabricated. She’s unhappy and is playing the victim. However, I am also unhappy about the damage she caused because she did not respect my house rules by entering my room without permission, by using my A/C and microwave without permission, and by lying. She needs to pay for the damages. I am the victim of her lies.

The Airbnb representative asked how much I was willing to refund her. I was not willing to refund anything. I provided my service to the guest according to what was stipulated on the listing without compromise and without misrepresentation. She misled Airbnb about the microwave. She misled Airbnb about laundry being across the street. She might have misled them about other things as well. I went out of my way to drive the guest to buy groceries, and go shopping. I was attentive to the guest’s needs. I even allowed her to use my laundry card when she was short on cash. I allowed her to take some of my food. I stopped short of cooking for her, when she said she didn’t know how to cook.

I’m concerned she might have made similar complaints during other Airbnb stays and have received refunds for deliberately finding issues. If so, I don’t think Airbnb should want her as a customer, because that is really bad for hosts like myself who goes out of our way to make sure the stay is comfortable for their guests by adhering to the listing’s descriptions without compromise and without misrepresentation. Please don’t hesitate to let me know what other complaints requires evidence to clarify the fraudulent complaint.

What Airbnb Will Never Tell You About Our Vacation

Once a year, our family gets together in a waterfront home large enough to accommodate all of us so we can relax and spend time together. As our family has spread out across the country, this vacation gives all of us and our significant others a time and place to reconnect and create new memories together. We typically select an east coast location in the middle states. Today, the ten of us who traveled as long as 18 hours to get to our vacation home thank this host. Without her my wife would never be able to say, “someday we will look back on this and laugh.”

This host is a self proclaimed intimacy MD. When advertising her psychiatry practice and her book she touts, “Achieve change. Are you ready for your best life ever?” If you are ready for your best life ever, stay away from her Airbnb and HomeAway listing in Virginia, listed on Airbnb  and HomeAway.

Giving credit where credit is due, the house is very pretty. Beyond pretty. However, the host was only looking out for her interests, not ours. The problems started when she requested a $200 deposit to use the boat listed with the house, which is a direct violation of Airbnb policy. Naturally, she accepted checks, but if you are already traveling how do you mail her a check in advance of your arrival? She also wanted us to take an online course and send copies of our driver’s licenses.

Once you arrive, be aware there isn’t a phone line in the house. Okay, she made it clear in her listing that there wasn’t a phone line. The listing stated there was Internet access, but upon arrival there was a note stating the Internet modem would need to be reset frequently. Frequent resetting didn’t matter The wifi never came up as available. Somehow the settings on the DSL modem/wifi unit were different than what was listed in the host’s looseleaf notebook about the house.

We would have set up our own hotspot, but there was limited cell service at that location. We could receive calls, but sending and receiving email was rarely possible. A number of us are techies. To fix the problem, we set the wifi to the settings she had written in the notebook. Unfortunately for us, the Internet modem did in fact need to be reset frequently. The unit barely functioned for any period of time.

The bigger problem was the A/C didn’t work. I couldn’t get the house under 88 degrees. Upon closer inspection, the return filter appeared to be clean, but was not connected to any ductwork. The air conditioning would not function. That is the reason the A/C kicks on and the compressors make noise. Cold air was never delivered because there wasn’t a return. Lucky for us, the host left us a notebook that said, “If you encounter any problems, please call #. We have a property manager who lives in the area but may not always be immediately available. We will do whatever we can to fix your problem as soon as possible.”

We called him. He asked us the address of the home. When provided the address, he told us we had the wrong number. What could we do? I called the host, but the call went to voicemail. The good doctor never answered her phone and only responded via email. When we emailed her to discuss getting internet access and air conditioning, she emailed back, telling us to leave and go to a local motel… talk about callous.

Ten people booked her rental home months in advance, paid good money, drove all that distance along with two dogs, and were told go to a local motel. Since I found it hard to believe, and you may too as she is an intimacy doctor, I pasted images of her email with the photos. Her next act to provide herself with her best life ever was to refund our long held deposit and email us to get out by 11:00 AM the next morning.

This goes to what Airbnb will never tell you about our stay. By refunding our money, this host ruined our vacation and prohibited us from posting a review of her home. Where do you go with ten people and two dogs for an entire week during the summer? By cancelling our reservation, even though we stayed in her 99 plus degree hell hole, she made sure that Airbnb and HomeAway would never let you hear about this.

If the self proclaimed intimacy doctor should ever read this, please note that there was no intimacy in your hellhole. At 99 degrees, which I am sure you never experienced in your personal home, intimacy is the last thing on your mind. Be sure to note that before you write your next book and invest the money somewhere else. Please don’t invest in another house and then use it to ruin peoples hard earned vacations.

Boyfriend and I Wanted a Unique Airbnb Getaway

My boyfriend and I wanted a unique vacation. We found a small place a couple of hours away that offered “glamping”. We figured it would be a fun experience. The strange thing is this boutique glamping hotel exclusively uses Airbnb as its booking platform. I wasn’t excited about that but figured I’d sign up and give it a shot.

It’s been nothing short of a hassle. First of all, signing up is pretty invasive. It asks for you to upload a picture of your ID or to give your social security number in lieu of that inconvenience. I don’t know about you, but no one is getting my social security number. I reluctantly uploaded a picture ID.

Secondly, have you read the terms and conditions? They are already assuming you are a dirty, messed up person and they are already thinking of ways to kick you off the property and keep your money if you have to cancel.

Apparently someone signed up for the same nights as me right around the same moment I made the reservation. Instead of contacting me, they just let the 24-hour period run. I got an email saying the host had not responded to my request and so I should simply pick another place. Another place? This place was the only reason I was on Airbnb in the first place. Why isn’t there an option for picking another weekend? Maybe it is because Airbnb really shouldn’t be used as the booking platform for a hotel. I had to go back through the system again and pick another weekend.

My second request was accepted pretty early and my card was charged at the same moment. That is fine. What’s not really fine are the hidden costs. The ad for the place reports you will pay $X per night, a $75 cleaning fee, and a $250 deposit. I thought the deposit seemed hefty, but I budgeted for it to be held. It turned out there were additional charges. On top of the things advertised above, they also charged me $56 just for using Airbnb (hefty – I’ll pay for the service but $56 seems like they’re gouging me). There was also a $27 occupancy tax, which I expected. All fine and done.

I received another email saying my host had requested even more money. $61 more was needed to cover taxes (6% county, 7% state of Texas). Taxes are taxes but I could not figure out how they arrived at $61. I calculated $50 and some change. I didn’t find the $11 worth asking or arguing over, so I sent the additional money while wondering how Airbnb could possibly be cheaper or better than a hotel. They’re currently sitting on $856 of my money (if you count the $250 deposit being held in suspense) for two days in a fancy yurt in middle of nowhere Texas, where you make your own meals, etc.

Is this an Airbnb scam? I start doing more research to see if others found it to be a little too expensive. Apparently Airbnb is being used to scam money out of people and seemingly not doing enough to stop it or help. I wish my $56 would go toward designing a more secure platform.

One week before we were supposed to check in, I received a call from the “host” (he claims). He was very nice but I was immediately suspicious. He went into a long, rambling, nearly incoherent story about how the property just switched owners and as a result, I booked under the wrong owner. He said (I think) that Airbnb wanted me to rebook with the right owner. He said it should be easy. He confirmed my email address and said I would receive an email asking me to “reapply the funds to [his] account”. I told him I would await the email.

It’s been three days and I haven’t received an email. I’m supposed to check-in in four days. I hope all goes well. I am already preparing myself to be kicked off the property or not booked due to a misunderstanding. I will probably pass on any hotels that use Airbnb as their booking platform exclusively from now on. I just feel it’s a bad business model. Why let another non-affiliated company have a say and a share in your business?

Update 6.12.2017:

I never got the email from Airbnb that the host said I would receive. I called Airbnb yesterday morning to ask about it.  They had no idea what I was talking about and put me on hold for 10-15 minutes. They then said they would look into it and contact me. I got an email this morning saying that my reservation had been canceled and that I had been given a voucher for what I paid with the option to reapply the funds to the same or similar place (like the host said I would).  I started going through the steps and realized the voucher does not cover the $88 in tax that I already paid. Airbnb wants for me to repay the $88 in taxes in order to complete this process. In addition, Airbnb is actually requesting that I reach out to the host to work this out… encouraging me to reach out to the host to discuss bookings even after all these scams they’ve been having?

It sounds like Airbnb and the host screwed something up and I am the one being inconvenienced.  I sent an email to the Airbnb team explaining how inefficient and frustrating this has been and this will be my first and last Airbnb stay.  Also, I asked the host to reach out to Airbnb if there is anything else he needs.

Airbnb Does Not Guarantee Your Room or Rate

This is the letter I sent to Aisling Hassell and Brian Chesky and received no response.

Dear Airbnb,

Over this past Memorial Day Weekend, my wife and I had the displeasure of finding out just how well (rather, poorly) Airbnb takes care of its guests in unfortunate situations. I have had so many wonderful successes with Airbnb in the past that I am convinced this is a result of mismanagement coming from the supervisor of the customer service member who was handling my case. This is a formal complaint about the supervisor. My customer service representative, Brian, did everything in his power to help me out and I do believe he tried his hardest to resolve the problem.

Three hours before my wife and I were going to check into our Airbnb rental in San Antonio, our host canceled on us. This is a booking I had made almost two weeks in advance. I found out our host had canceled when Brian from your customer service department called us asap to help resolve the issue. I was a little freaked out as this was for my wife’s birthday; we are on a fixed budget as we are expecting a child in three months. I had searched hard to find a nice Airbnb within our budget that was close to the city center so we could get around easily. Brian and I looked at all the available rentals leftover for Memorial Day weekend and the least expensive option was $612 for two nights in a neighborhood I was not familiar with. The rental we had reserved was $270 for two nights in a nice apartment building with plenty of security.

I was reluctant to opt for a bungalow house in a strange neighborhood but it looked nice enough. Brian then informed me that Airbnb would only cover the cancellation refund plus 10%. This was not even close to us being able to afford the higher priced rental – I told Brian that was unacceptable.

How could Airbnb not guarantee our stay? It’s not our fault this host canceled. How can we be expected to pay more money for our vacation than we already agreed to pay? I told him that if the $612 airbnb rental, which was the cheapest one available is too expensive then Airbnb needs to put us up in an adequate hotel. We looked online and found that the Weston had a special rate $570 for the two nights. Brian said he would have to check with his supervisor and get back to me in an hour.

An hour went by and sure enough, Brian called me back. This time the refund had gone up by $100 and I told Brian that was not good enough: it was still not enough to make us whole. It would mean we would have to spend an extra $242 in order to afford the only available Airbnb rental left. He said he would call us back in an hour. Another hour went by. We were now in San Antonio without a place to stay. Brian called us back and told us the refund has gone up to $200. Once again, I explained to him we did not have an extra $142 dollars to spend on lodging for this vacation.

At this point, I requested to speak to his supervisor. Brian said his supervisor was unavailable and will – yes, that’s right – call me in an hour. Another two hours go by. I sent an email to Brian explaining no one called us. Three hours go by (that’s a total of six hours since the cancellation). At this point, my pregnant wife and I had to change into our dinner attire in the bathrooms of the restaurant where we were celebrating her birthday. Brian called me back in the middle of our dinner. I had to step away from this lovely celebration so I could yet again discuss where we were staying that evening.

Brian apologized about his supervisor not calling and once again said there was nothing more he could do. At this point, I told Brian that we were not going to be able to afford our vacation. He still couldn’t help. So my wife and I had a lovely dinner and drove back to Austin.

Yes, we got a $200 credit for a future Airbnb but that’s poor compensation for ruining our long weekend. I just don’t understand how this happened. How could it possibly be the case that if a host cancels on you hours before arrival that Airbnb won’t guarantee a place to stay that is as good or better than what was reserved? How can I trust Airbnb with my larger trips from this point forward? Thank god we only had to drive home, but what if we were stuck in a foreign country? What would happen in London or Japan where the next cheapest room might be many hundreds of dollars or thousands by the end of a vacation? Must I take that risk every time I book with your company?

This can’t possibly be. If the world found out this was the case, no one would use your service. I would imagine Airbnb would want to protect a traveler’s room guarantee at all costs. This is why I think this was not an Airbnb policy issue but a manager’s poor judgment. A poor judgment that cost a family their hard-earned vacation. At this point, we didn’t spend any more money because we ended the vacation almost before it began so I am not writing this letter asking for more reimbursement.