Airbnb Bait and Switch Ruins Miami Birthday Trip

blankblankblankblankblankblankblankblankblankblank

I posted a review on Airbnb of the drama but they took it down stating I posted ‘sensitive content’ but have yet to tell me what that is. The host sent me an email with an address that was not the actual address of his unit. He lied. There were multiple codes to enter the elevator and the unit that didn’t work all the time either. There were also signs posted at the elevators stating that they do not allow Airbnb.

Our flight was delayed due to weather issues. We had to overnight in Nashville. I told the host and he said to call when we arrived in Miami. A full day after our initial check-in time, we arrived. It was when I called a second time notifying him of our arrival that the host revealed that he purposefully emailed me the wrong address. The real address was two blocks away. Not only that, he said we could not all enter the building at the same time, could not bring all of our bags in at once nor could we talk to the staff. If they did speak to us, we were to say we were his cousins. The Airbnb ad also said there was free parking; there was no free parking on the street or in the building, just $45 per day.

There was pubic hair in the sheets and pee stains on the mattress. Fingerprints were on most surfaces, the light switches were dirty, there were wet towels in the washing machine, years of dust and dirt buildup in the louvered doors to the laundry closet, the bedsheets were dirty (crumbs, specks of glitter, pen and marker on sheets), and makeup marks on the doorframe of the master bathroom. The toilet cover and seat looked around 50 years old. The toilet bowl was not completely clean. There were dry food pieces in the microwave. The high chair back had no screws. Refrigerator was dirty.

There were fingerprints on the sliding glass door to the balcony that had two metal folding chairs. Blinds were missing pieces and not even long enough to cover the glass on the door that lead to the master bedroom. A few random suspect sheets to change out but nothing matched. The towels looked recycled. There were only three washcloths, recycled from a car wash I suspect.

The host had the nerve to tell us his ‘man’ who was supposed to clean did not have time to finish. How is that even possible when we were a day late? He had the nerve to ask us to wash the sheets and finish drying the wet towels. We immediately went to Walmart and picked up sheets and cleaning supplies. Beforehand he promised to reimburse us for parking, the day we lost and Walmart costs. The time we lost doing this and standing in the longest line ever can never be repaid.

We told Airbnb about these issues but the first thing they said to us was we should have called within 24 hours of check-in. How can we call when we didn’t find out until after the time expired? Despite proof of the legitimate flight delay and proof that he waited 24 hours to reveal the real address, Airbnb refused to refund us outright. Instead they said the host would have to agree. Which of course he did not. The guy even sent me a threatening text message a week after his refusal.

I put up a review, they take it down. Do they take down his bait and switch post? Nope. Airbnb is completely complicit in his scam.

I am going to pay the arbitration fee and go through the process which is required by their terms of service before you sue Airbnb. I will never use this service again. To make matters worse, the unit wasn’t even cheaper than a hotel; it was just a busy weekend in Miami and we couldn’t get anything else close by all of the events we were going to for my sister’s birthday trip.

Airbnb and its Hosts’ Unfair Business Practices

I was looking for an Airbnb place for me and my son in the vicinity of Woodstock, New Hampshire, for Feb. 8-15, 2022. Because of my age and the circumstances due to COVID-19, I needed a private bathroom and two rooms.

I used a map displayed on my computer, as provided by Airbnb. I picked this property because it appeared very close to Woodstock and met my requirements. I booked it and paid a full fee of $910. As soon as my booking was confirmed I received an address of the property and it became clear that it was a mistake. The property was in Vermont, a one-hour drive from Woodstock. The mistake was caused by the scale of the map, in which the property appeared close to Woodstock, and I did not realize that.

Within less than 15 minutes I cancelled my booking and requested a refund from the host. I explained in my request that I made a mistake. The property was off the market for less than 15 minutes and was advertised as available immediately after my cancellation.

The host responded that he could not issue the refund. He did not explain why. He referred me to the Airbnb management. I explained my situation to them and requested a refund from the host again. He responded that he would answer in an hour, as required by Airbnb. He did not. He was holding my money, while at the same time he was advertising his inn on the Airbnb website.

I felt trapped. Obviously, I could not look for a different place since I paid the booking fee. The next day the Airbnb representative began negotiating with the host to obtain a refund. At some point during the next day around late afternoon or evening the Airbnb representative informed me that the host refused to issue the refund and that Airbnb could not overrule his rejection.

The host made money off my mistake and was listing his property as available for booking.
I understand that when someone books a property in advance and then cancels shortly before the planned arrival the property owner may legitimately face a loss of potential customers, but my case was totally different. I cancelled my booking within minutes of receiving an address of the property, and then it was back on the market.

The host kept me hostage and engaged in unfair business practices under the protection of Airbnb. Sometime late in the evening I received a message from Airbnb that the host agreed to a 50% refund. Considering the cost of this booking I could not absorb such a loss. This was totally unethical. The Airbnb representative agreed with my grievances, but appeared to refuse to overrule the host’s response.

My only option to which the host agreed was to rebook. I was stuck with this place. I drove an extra two hours every day during my five days staying there to reach my preplanned destinations.

Two days later the host sent me a message that if I would like to cancel for a second time, he would issue a full refund. And again, a day later he offered a full refund if I cancel again.
Everyone knows that when the number of days before the planned arrival gets smaller, the availability of places to stay declines rapidly. Every day, every hour counts. By the time the host decided to offer me a refund. I couldn’t find anything close to Woodstock that met my requirements.

Airbnb’s refusal to overrule the host’s response and his lack of timely responsiveness during the Airbnb negotiations, which continued for two days, inflicted great emotional harm and stress on me. I felt trapped. During my stay, I accrued additional financial cost, loss of time and unnecessary two hours driving daily to my destinations in New Hampshire.

Also, during our stay in his property, we suffered from vertigo, teary and itchy eyes due to the presence of enormous amounts of various laundry, house and personal cleaning volatile chemicals as well as air purifiers, and even charcoal starter above the kitchen stove. It was impossible to relax on the sofas due to the constant sneezing. And the TV was losing connection all the time.

I wrote this review to be publicly displayed on the Airbnb website, for the benefit of potential tourists. This information needs to be available to protect the travelers from the unfair practices of Airbnb and their host.

Unfortunately, Airbnb prevented me from publishing this review under the pretext that it violated their rules. I wrote the address and host’s name in my initial version of this document. While writing my review I found that the host’s name and address of this property are in full view on Facebook.

Thus, the privacy restrictions invoked in this case by Airbnb were used simply to prevent publication of my critical review and to protect their host and the company from publishing the inconvenient truth. The fact that this information is openly available on Facebook implies that I could not have violated the privacy rule of Airbnb.

Please note that I agreed to remove anything that Airbnb finds objectionable in order to resubmit my review. Airbnb refused.

Host Said I Booked a Listing that Does Not Accept Reservations

I sent a notification of a dispute and an attempt in good faith to negotiate an informal resolution. The dispute involved my confirmed reservation for an Airbnb listing in Clearwater, Florida. My confirmed reservation was for Dec. 11 to Dec. 18, 2021. This story shows that Airbnb has fake listings on their site, does bait and switch with listings, and allows host to cancel at the last minute if they can get more money elsewhere or from a different guest.

On Sept. 28, my husband’s sister called us to say she was driving to Clearwater to spend a couple months on vacation. We had not seen her in over four years and were really excited. After talking it over, my husband and I decided to drive from Baton Rouge to Florida and spend a week on vacation at an Airbnb to spend time with his sister. I spend several days going through the Airbnb listings and finally found the perfect one. I knew I would not find any listings the week for Christmas so we decided to celebrate the week before.

It was a whole house, would take the dogs, had a fenced yard, was on one of the canals, had a heated pool and included a pontoon boat you could take to the beaches. It was also only a few minutes away from where my husband’s sister was staying. I wrote Airbnb about the issue that the listing asked people to book on the Sandbar Vacation Rentals website instead of with Airbnb. I did not do that, but instead booked from the Airbnb site where I had originally found the listing.

As you can see my reservation was confirmed right away. Half the payment was made and we started to prepare for our vacation. I had not had a vacation in years and had been saving up my vacation days for a trip to Europe after COVID died down, but decided to use some of my days for this trip to visit with my sister-in-law. I applied to my employer to take the days and before I left for vacation, as required by my employer, I entered the vacation days into my timesheet. As far as I know once you do that they cannot be recovered.

I baked Christmas cookies, made fudge, and ordered some wonderful lamb tenderloins for our Christmas dinner. We planned an outing to the aquarium, a pontoon boat ride to look at Christmas decorations and even ordered our first meal from Casa Tina. We also planned a drive to Orlando to pick up a dog I was going to rescue. I got regular emails from Airbnb confirming my reservation, notifying me that the second half of my payment was due, and then received. I assumed the host also received these notices from Airbnb.

We loaded up the car and proceeded to drive eight hours to Tallahassee. At 2:00 PM on Friday, Dec. 10, I texted the host to let them know we would arrive and check into the house at 4:00 PM the next day (Dec. 11). The host asked me to confirm my name, saying he did not have the cell number on file. I texted my name and reservation confirmation code back to him.

He replied, “I’m sorry, but you booked a listing that does not accept reservations. We do not have a reservation for you.”

I texted back the confirmation number and that I had paid in full. The host confirmed I was talking to them and said they did not have my money, suggesting we call Airbnb. I got sent to a “customer ambassador” that would help me with my issue. He was nice enough but did not speak great English and seemed to not understand the situation. He said he would call the host and get back to me. He seemed to be reading from a script and was very concerned that I have the Airbnb cancellation policy, even thought I was not the one cancelling.

After he talked with the host, he called me back and essentially said they did not have a reservation for me but gave me no other explanation of how this happened. He admitted that Airbnb had a fully paid active reservation for me on an active listing but did indicate why the host was not going to honor the reservation. He said I would get a full refund but that it would take 5-15 days. I asked if it could just be applied to a new listing as we would need a place to stay. He said that was not possible as they just didn’t do that. I said we still needed a place to stay and could he find us comparable accommodations. He said he would work on it and call me back. I never heard from him again.

When we got to our hotel in Tallahassee, I immediately got on my computer and looked for a place to stay. My sister-in-law also started looking. Even the host sent some suggestions, but Airbnb never did. None of the listings that the host sent worked as they would not take two large dogs and were also not even in Clearwater. Everything, even nice hotels, that would take two large dogs and were close to my sister-in-law’s house was booked, since it was only a week before Christmas.

They next day we had to decide to drive on to Clearwater with no place to stay or to return home. My husband, bless his heart, felt like Airbnb would find a new house for us to stay in and wanted to drive on. I did not share his opinion since they had never called us back. With a grumpy husband, a grumpier wife, and two large dogs lacking exercise I said we were driving home.

Everyone was angry and depressed. He broke out in hives, his sister cried, and I tweeted my displeasure. My tweets got responses from Airbnb saying they would follow up. It’s been five days and the only real follow-up I got was to say I would get a refund: no help finding another place to stay, no apologies, except they were sorry for the “inconvenience”. Every message I got sounded like it was a canned AI responding to me with no mention of my situation.

My vacation was ruined, my vacation days stolen, and I am depressed and have started on medication. I submitted my mileage, my hotel bill, and the value of my lost vacation days to Airbnb, asking to be compensated. I got back another stupid canned message saying they couldn’t issue a refund as per their policies.

blank

Airbnb Fails to Follow Its Own Guest Refund Policy

blankblankblankblankblankblankblankblankblankblank

I rented an Airbnb for a four-night, five-day stay at a cost of $1906.76. On the host’s Airbnb primary webpage, there was nothing listed about the host having dogs that frequently barked, and one described that ‘may’ bite. Nor was there anything to indicate that the host might not be present at the property during the stay (as we had assumed).

The dog disclosure was only evident when one clicked on ‘show more’ in the ‘Health & Safety’ information, at the bottom of the web page. This is deceptive, as there are four or five health and safety issues listed at the bottom of the first page, but apparently the other more significant issues don’t ‘fit’ on the page, hence the need to ‘show more.’ How creative of Airbnb to do that. At any rate, the hosts are not fully transparent about having pets, as nowhere in the listing’s primary description page does one read anything about pets being present, let alone pets that bark and ‘may bite.’

The evening before the rental was to begin, the host messaged us that they were delayed coming back from Portugal, and that their ‘house sitters’ were leaving the property earlier than scheduled, resulting in them having to place their two dogs in a garage (directly above the area that we would be occupying during the rental), and that we might hear some barking. The host suggested that if we were disturbed by this, to simply turn on a TV, a stereo or a white noise machine (they’ve tested them – indicating this has been a problem for prior guests). It is our opinion now, that the host did this as a CYA [cover your ass] tactic, specifically so she could deny a refund should a request be made due to this issue. And congratulations, it worked.

We messaged the host that this new situation was not okay, that we did not know they had dogs that barked and might bite, and that, given the new information which had the dogs staying in the garage and barking, we did not want to stay at the property. I messaged her that we wanted to cancel and receive a refund. The host ignored this request, and refused a refund. We were scheduled to fly to Colorado Springs very early the next morning, and since it was already 10:00 PM, we made arrangements for another booking with Airbnb.

We had to get up at 5:30 AM to go to the airport the next morning, and did not want to continue a back-and-forth message session with the host, as the host also indicated that they would be flying international back to the USA, and could easily be out of communication with anyone. The host messaged us at 3:00 AM that morning (which we did not see until the next day) indicating that she would be able to get someone else to take care of the dogs. For us, this was too little, too late. This was her problem, but she made it our problem. We value our peace, security and safety, and did not want to risk a stay at a property without the hosts being present and with two dogs that might be kept with no supervision, barking.

We escalated this issue to Airbnb on the evening of the 7th (before the booking was scheduled to start), and spoke with seven representatives by phone and three by Airbnb messages over the course of the rental period. The first Airbnb representatives we spoke with on the phone told us about the dog disclosure under ‘show more.’ He was almost proud that he could do that, as if he had practiced doing it and had done it before. It made his day to be able to prove that we had been advised of the health and safety condition in advance, even though it is not immediately apparent that one has to do this in order to be fully informed.

However, we had also read Airbnb’s policy for hosts who keep ‘potentially dangerous’ animals on a rental property, and found that it stated that a secure enclosure had to be provided for such animals, so that they could not get out and threaten a guest’s safety (i.e. bite them). We shared with the Airbnb representative the host’s own ‘check in’ instructions (now curiously removed from the host’s website, but a screen shot has been added to this review). The photos in the ‘check in’ instructions show the guest being directed right by the area where the dogs are kept outdoors (yellow arrow), and more importantly, show the type of ‘enclosure’ provided by the host.

This ‘enclosure’ is nothing more than a portable ‘puppy’ fence, only two feet high (see attached photos). We did not believe this enclosure to be secure, and did not want to risk having my wife bitten by one of the dogs, who in our opinion, could easily knock down, jump over or escape the flimsy outdoor ‘enclosure’ (see photos). Not to mention we did not want to risk staying there, and having new issues arise with the host not being able to get home from overseas, or not being able to have a third party come to the property to ‘quiet’ down the barking dogs.

One has to wonder about the ‘intelligence’ and ‘foresight’ of any host who would own a dog that has a propensity to bite, place that dog in a non-secure enclosure, and then direct guests to walk immediately by that same enclosure every time they were coming and going from the property. This particular host is asking to be sued by a family with a small child who is bitten, and with the type of arrangements indicated by the host (in writing no less), they would easily lose that lawsuit. It was our opinion that the host lacked good judgment, and we did not want to risk discovering additional areas of poor judgment on the part of this host. This was a safety issue.

All of this was clearly explained to the Airbnb ‘investigative’ representatives and case managers/ambassadors/supervisors assigned to review our case. Screenshots were taken of everything. The host’s check in instructions were shown to an Airbnb representative. We were repeatedly told by Airbnb not to cancel the rental. When we asked one of the representatives if we should check in to the property, given the safety issues we had identified, the response was, “No you need to wait until the rep gets back to you with instructions.”

Their only messages to us were that they were in the process of communicating with the host, and then were escalating the issue (again) to a supervisor. Meanwhile the host had been told to message us ‘check in’ instructions, no doubt so she could claim us as a no show, and claim she had done ‘everything possible’ to accommodate us. The money was more important to her. Remember that about these folks, and wait until you see what she does at the end of this.

The time to check in came and went, and we were already staying at another Airbnb. It was not until the last day of the rental that the Airbnb supervisor indicated that we would not get a refund, and he added insult to injury by stating that we were denied a refund because we had not stayed at the booking.

I actually asked one of the Airbnb representatives this question on the day prior to the rental. Specifically, we asked if we would be considered a ‘no show’ if we did not cancel or check in, and were told, “No please do not worry, we have escalated this to the investigation team. They will contact you and let you know the status of this.” This was deliberately deceptive on the part of Airbnb.

I then requested that the decision be appealed, thinking that it would be viewed by another Airbnb management team member, higher up than the supervisor. No, it was the supervisor reviewing his own decision. And he did what he is good at: he lied to me a second time. I had been requesting all along that I speak via phone, directly with the rep and then the supervisor. Each time I requested this on the phone with Airbnb reps I was told that the rep and then the supervisor would be calling me. Neither of them ever called. We know our phone works, because we have received calls from Airbnb reps before, on the same phone we have in our profile, the same phone that is verified.

The supervisor lied and said that he was going to call but could not, because the phone listed in our account was not verified. The supervisor really should be fired for that. At any rate, the supervisor denied the appeal of his own decision. We hope his supervisor read this review.

We followed the advice of Airbnb customer service, and requested a partial refund from the hosts. They denied the refund. We were amazed that they simply ignored our original request to cancel the booking on Oct. 7. The hosts must be having a hard time paying the rent on their $800,000 home in Colorado Springs, that or their trip to Portugal must have been very expensive. The host was told that, in our opinion, what she did constituted ‘theft,’ specifically as a breach of contract, and a form of ‘unjust enrichment.’ She should have done the right thing and realized that they as hosts:

  • Deliberately do not state anything about the dogs on the first page of the rental. They don’t want you to know about the dogs because that might negatively impact their cash flow. It’s great to have dogs. But you know what, you really need to tell people about them on the first page of your rental description. Why are you hiding that information? Has one of your dog’s already bitten someone? That would be our guess.
  • Deliberately direct guests to walk to and from the entrance to the rental immediately by the non-secure ‘enclosure’ (that she says is a fence) every time a guest walks to and from the required entrance to the rental, subjecting the guests to barking and a potential dog bite each and every time. Why don’t you take some of that rental money you are making a build a proper enclosure? What would happen to one of your dogs if their head got stuck in that puppy gate when you weren’t there? Answer, they would likely strangle themselves or at the very least become injured. Ever hear of animal cruelty?

The final insult came after the host was told that it was our opinion that what she had done (not refunding the money) was wrong (i.e. theft), and that we would be posting a review of the experience online. Airbnb had removed our review of her property because they indicated we had not stayed at her rental. How convenient for the hosts. Remember, it was Airbnb’s own customer service representatives who said we should not cancel and not occupy until the safety issue was resolved and we received a call from the rep.

The host then threatened us in her final message, indicating that we should be careful because, “You don’t know us or who we maybe connected to.” We filed an extortion/threat complaint against her with Airbnb, which was summarily ignored by Airbnb, and the ‘investigation’ (if there ever was one) promptly closed.

We have utilized Airbnb six times in the past eight years. Every rental was a joy and a treasure, and we always had a wonderful experience at every property we stayed at. Every host we stayed at was very complimentary of our behavior as guests at their property. And most of those experiences were us travelling with our own dogs. Keep that in mind. We are excellent guests and excellent dog owners.
Probably why it is so easy for us to spot ‘bad’ dog owners. But this final experience with Airbnb was a true eye-opener for us.

Airbnb management did not have our back on this, and was deceptive and untruthful. We will never use Airbnb again.

blank

Airbnb Host Expected Me to Clean the Toilet After Fees

blankblank

I paid over $1,300 for a three-night stay at an Airbnb in Michigan City, Indiana. It had a pool. At first, all was well. We had a great time, but the night we got home, I got over 25 messages from the host, claiming she was disappointed in the way I left her house.

My crime? I didn’t vacuum or sweep the kitchen (I actually did sweep… must have missed a spot). I didn’t put her cushions back correctly in the garage (I tried; I just didn’t do it correctly). I put too many sheets in her washing machine (there wasn’t even a checkout manual — I had just stripped the beds and washed the sheets out of courtesy). I didn’t clean the stove (I don’t pay $1,300 to clean a stove). I didn’t wipe off the bathroom counter (again, just soap grime… no biggie). I entered her “clearly marked private space” (this was a cabinet with a post-it note where I found the laundry detergent).

She found dozens of other flagrant violations, all this from a person who didn’t leave a checkout manual. All this from a person I actually attempted to help by washing sheets and towels. All this from a person who included a $200 cleaning fee. All this from a person I actually left $20 for a cleaning crew (actually, there likely isn’t one). I did forget to empty the kitchen garbage into the outside garbage, but if someone strips your beds, attempts laundry, and doesn’t leave a dirty dish, you’d think this grave sin would be overlooked.

Instead, she left me a very, very mean review. I’ve flagged her conduct — which bordered on harassment — to Airbnb. Here’s hoping they care. I’ve attached some of the photos she sent me, that allegedly show what a “pig” I am. I’ve examined the photos carefully and for the life of me, I can’t spot what the problems are.

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.

blank

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.