Bad Experience Using Airbnb for the First Time

On August 28th, 2016, I paid the total amount for a two-bedroom condo with three beds in Chicago in full (which hotels never require). When my family arrived, there were only two beds, so that meant that three adult women all over 5’9″ had to share a queen bed. What a mess. With no permission or explanation beforehand, my host gave our room away to someone else. Even though I paid in full it didn’t belong to me. You see, the Cubs had won the World Series, and she most likely had made more renting out the larger unit. I texted her and asked her what had happened. She replied, “Oh, there is a queen mattress in the closet.” What an insult. I had no idea they could even do this. I was floored. Even though I had 24 hours for a cancellation, everything downtown was taken. Where would we go? I informed her there would have to be some sort of refund, and she said she would get back to me. In the end, I got $400.00 credited back to me, but only after I asked for it. The large queen mattress was put in the living and kitchen area, which limited our use of these rooms. It’s so unfair that they have my money, and I can say nothing. I will never book with Airbnb again. I’m sticking to hotels, where my stays have never gone wrong.

Last Minute Cancellation at Chic Apartments in Miami

Don’t trust this person for booking your holiday weekend; they are unreliable and untrustworthy. Anyone who cancels a booking to accept another offer for more money because it is a holiday weekend should get treatment a million times worse than what they have just done to us.

I had been planning a trip from NY to Miami for Art Basel for months with my closest friends, working around everyone’s busy schedules and of course the expensive and difficult task of booking somewhere to stay on a holiday weekend. After careful planning, we thought we had selected the ideal Airbnb: the place looked decent, the price was good, and the location was perfect. Because we had already been confirmed, approved, and billed, of course we thought we were safe with our choice of accommodations and had nothing to worry about. We are now less than two weeks from the start of our trip, and our host sent us a pathetic message to us explaining that there was “some glitch in their booking system with another site so actually someone else booked the same listing already and they didn’t notice.” As a result, they would be cancelling our reservation. The host was so rude he even suggested that “it’s not really [his] fault so we can’t be mad at [him].” In other words, this is a holiday weekend in Miami and they found someone to pay more.

Now, we are completely out of any other halfway decent options and have nowhere to stay. Not a single option that is still available on Airbnb is even close in comparison, and we have been completely screwed by this host. The best part is that Airbnb has done absolutely nothing to help us remedy this problem, and offer no help or suggestions as to what we can do when we call. Their feedback is that they are sorry, but not sorry enough to actually help.

What’s the Worst that can Happen with Airbnb?

How about traveling clear across the country only to find you can’t get into your rental and the host is nowhere to be found? In October, we booked two weeks at this lovely place near San Diego, CA. They looked legit: the owner is a lawyer, and their farm had recently been featured on the news. In fact, their listing mentioned staying at the property would fund an animal rescue. Who doesn’t love that? Not to mention they had glowing reviews as recent as a week before we left. So we felt comfortable with this choice. Imagine our surprise and dismay when we travelled 3000 miles to arrive at the home with no one to greet us and no way to get in. Mind you we had been up since 3:00 AM, and had now surpassed the 16-hour mark of being awake, schlepping our luggage around, having plane and airport funk on us, and wanting desperately to lie down and rest.

Multiple frantic calls and texts to the owner were not answered or returned, leaving us upset and in a panic about finding a new place that could take us for two weeks. I had communicated with the host, John, before arriving and he was well aware of our arrival time. There was a code lock on the door for which he could have easily sent us the code ahead of time, or even that morning, and he failed to do that. After an hour of calls to Airbnb (which was irritating in its own special way) and multiple area hotels, we booked a room at a Quality Inn; it was not what we were hoping for at all but it was clean and at least we could get in.

The host finally called us back and actually said, “Hey, how’s it going!”, as if he had no idea what was transpiring. As I felt my blood begin to boil I handed the phone to my boyfriend who told him that it was not ok that he left us hanging and we were refunded our money and are now moving on, in a much kinder way than I would have been able to.

So, a word of warning: you can’t solely depend on the reviews on Airbnb, because reviews like this one can’t be posted. They ended up canceling my reservation so now it’s as if I had no connection to it and am unable to leave a review. How many reviews are there for places that couldn’t be posted? Needless to say we are done with Airbnb. We’ve had two out of three bad experiences. It’s too bad, because some of these places are lovely and have more to offer than a hotel room.

Airbnb Almost Ruined our Honeymoon

My wife and I wanted to go to the Virginia mountains for our honeymoon. We had never used Airbnb before but thought that we would give it a try and rented a cabin. When we arrived we found the place to be only partially cleaned from the previous guests, we couldn’t get any of the heaters to work, and there were parts of the cabin completely off limits due to renovations (that was not stated anywhere in the listing). We spoke with the host and they said that they were sending over the maid. After waiting for 45 minutes we felt like we were being robbed of the first day of our honeymoon. We hadn’t seen the maid yet, and we couldn’t help but think about what else might not be clean in the house that we haven’t yet discovered and can’t be easily seen (like bed sheets).

A few more phone calls to the host and finally I was offered to either get a full refund or to find another one of their cabins to be set up. Although we thought the offer for a refund was considerate, we found ourselves in an unfamiliar secluded mountain town with night approaching. We had no idea where we would stay or even how far the next hotel was. We opted to take a look at the other cabins they had available but we had issues with the wifi and barely had any cell phone reception. After a road trip looking for somewhere we could sit to get some Internet connectivity, we browsed their listings but couldn’t find anything comparable to what we had except for one. However, it was slightly more expensive and would have cost a total of about $100 more total for our stay there. We called the host back to inform them of our selection but explained that we weren’t interested in handing over more money, even if it was only $100; we weren’t very confident in their hospitality thus far.

The host was not willing to work with us on the extra cost, so we opted for a full refund and spent the rest of our night searching for where we would stay during our trip. Luckily we still had a great time, but never got our refund until our entire honeymoon was over and we had made several more phone calls. Even then we didn’t receive a full refund, as it was short $124. The host explained that this was because Airbnb’s cut of the deal was $124 and that I would have to take it up with them to get that back. So a few back and forth emails happen and eventually, I’m offered the $124 refund from Airbnb. However, they were sure to let me know that this was a one-time courtesy and not to expect it in the future because these funds are “what Airbnb uses to cover their business expenses.” I’m glad I got the refund, but I’m astounded that they believe that it would be acceptable to justify charging any amount of money to a client when the only service they were provided was absolute inconvenience. Save your money and your time and use another service.

Creepy Experience with Airbnb in NYC

I am just sharing a very bad experience with Airbnb that I had a couple of nights ago. I booked for a friend who is out of the country with a host in Hamilton Heights, New York. First of all, her listing says that it is a quiet and spacious place. The sleeping area was just part of the living room, with a couch, separated by a curtain. The day after my friend arrived, the host’s mother slept in the living room, snoring all night, and making my friend very uncomfortable. The room didn’t have any blinds so my friend needed to sleep with pillows to cover herself from the light. In addition, she asked my friend not to speak one night at 9:00 PM when she received a call, because her mother was sleeping in the living room. Apart from that, the host’s boyfriend was living in her room. So in a very small apartment there were four people.

The third night, my friend went out to smoke a cigarette and when she returned (around 12:00 AM) the door was locked from the inside. She tried to enter, but she couldn’t open the door. After that she knocked on the door without any answer from the inside. She knocked several times. She was able to call me from outside, because she is from a foreign country and didn’t have internet. So she called me through Facebook. I heard how she knocked on the door without any response. She spent the night in my home, but she was very scared without any money, ID, clothes, and unable to speak the language.

The next morning I went back with her, and there was the host, telling me “that she should have rung the bell, and that they didn’t hear the door because they used earplugs.” Of course, my friend took her things and we ran from that kind of host. I then called Airbnb customer service and I requested a refund. They only refunded me one night, and I lost $430 dollars, which covered the rest of the stay. She said that my guest should have read the lock instructions (she never saw any lock instructions, nor this is explained on the listing). Also the customer representative said that my friend should have rung the bell. What is the difference between a bell and knocking on the door at 1:00 AM in a small apartment? It makes no sense.

I was treated badly. I feel robbed and disappointed with this company. This host charged me $40/night for this horrific experience.  I will never book through Airbnb again.

Airbnb Allowed me to be Scammed in Hawaii

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I booked a house from December 23-25 in Maui. The host asked me to use a wire transaction for the deposit and cleaning fee to his private account, a total amount of $840. He claimed the deposit is refundable but the cleaning fee isn’t. The first time he gave me his “secretary’s” account to wire the transfer but it fell through. I guess I should have stopped there. Then he gave me his property manager’s account so I filed the transaction on October 24th and it went through. He said he received the money and the house was booked. Then I received a message saying my reservation has been canceled. He explained to me that this was a result of a system error due to Airbnb being updated. He suggested I make my reservation directly with the property manager. He also asked me to proceed with the rent payment to his property manager’s account so they could complete the reservation.

As of this point, I had already wired him $840 and he still asked me to wire $749 more to his property manager’s account. He said as soon as I did that my reservation would have been officially made. He also said it was a private booking but it would show up on the Airbnb website as soon as the upgrade was finished. This was my first time using Airbnb and I thought it was normal that he sent me a text massage directly. I already wired $840 to his account. He asked me afterwards to also wire the rent, $749, to his account. Then I realized something was wrong. I replied to him, saying that my family had an emergency and we had to cancel the trip; I wanted my deposit back. He said he understood perfectly and will refund my money the moment he receives it.

Now it’s been one day and I still haven’t heard back from him. I texted him a few times but he still hasn’t replied to me. The property is in Haiku-Pauwela, Hawaii. The host’s name is David. His email address is davidforster518@yahoo.com.

Bad Experience with Airbnb in Washington DC

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The apartment was described as “cosy”. It was not. The place was dirty, dingy, run down and misrepresented. After two days of a four-day booking we could not take it any more and moved out to a hotel for the rest of our stay in Washington DC. We have not asked for a two-day refund yet because we were just so glad to get out. I notified the hosts, “Steven” and “Jane”, we were not happy with the apartment (without providing any details) and thanked them for their help before we arrived and also for the cleaning credit. We have heard nothing back from them. Like many other guests, we never met them before this trip.

Steven and Jane call it their home. We saw no evidence that it was used as a permanent home. For example, a complaint from another guest this summer about a big hole in the wall where there was an electrical plug in the bedroom was still there in mid-October of 2016. The small gas stove was so filthy inside and out that no one would ever want to use it. The air intake in a hallway was covered in dirt and could not have been cleaned for months or even years. There was no evidence at all of any male presence… and no man would ever put up with a toilet seat that would not stay up. The bathroom tub was rusted around the taps and the ceiling was peeling off above it. The place had not been painted for years.

To us this apartment looked like it was simply a substandard rental for unsuspecting tourists. It is in a very old run-down building which, unlike many similar buildings in the area, has not been kept up. The hallway and front door outside the apartment is filthy. When we arrived the place had not been cleaned. I contacted Steven and Jane by text and was promised a refund of the cleaning charge. So far we have not received it. The only good thing about our short stay is that people in the area were all very friendly. The attached photos are only a small sample of what this “cozy” apartment really looks like. I could only post five photos; they did not include the hazardous kitchen wall plug that has several adapters added to accommodate all the appliance plugs. We will be filing a complaint with Airbnb and also with the Washington DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

Cold-Hearted Airbnb Hosts after Traumatizing Death

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I received some money for a gift for my birthday which was a few weeks ago and was planning to use it for my first, short solo trip to Seattle. I found Cory and Amanda’s cute place and was so excited to stay there. After booking my reservation I was getting ready to take my mom and our family friend to the airport, who had come to visit for the weekend. Suddenly I heard my mother screaming like I’ve never heard before. She yelled that her friend was not responding and to immediately call 911. When I saw her I knew that we were too late: she was cold, purple and stiff. I’ve seen dead bodies before but nothing like this. I will truly be traumatized for a long time. A couple hours after making the reservation I told Amanda and Cory what had happened and asked for a refund since they had a strict cancellation policy. My reservation was still two days away and they refused… several times actually. They informed me that I should have known better and was aware of their policy when I booked.

Had I been aware that a loved one was lying dead in the next room I would have never booked the trip. Airbnb was actually very nice to me. I talked to two individuals who tried to get a refund on my behalf and were unsuccessful. I was floored by how cold and rude these people were to me. I even asked to just change dates for a time in the future and wasn’t able to. I hope that I never make someone feel as lousy as Amanda and Cory made me feel. You hope that most people are compassionate and good but this is just an example of how horrible some people can be. It’s also a little about the money for me: I make about 30k a year and have student loans, so trips like these are rare for me. I lost all of my birthday money and will not get to go on a trip. My advice would be to book a place without a strict cancellation policy because if something happens to you you’ll probably be screwed.

Airbnb Nightmare: Dead Bugs and Crazy Host

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All seemed fine until we arrived at our destination in Ocean City, NJ . The pictures showed this wonderful view of the ocean. They showed a pristine sitting area and kitchenette. Well, our first clues that this image might be different were the filthy walkways to the unit. The second clue: a dirty door. Then we opened the door and were stunned to find a carpet with so much filth it could not have been vacuumed. I went to the bedroom to turn on the light and the light fixture fell apart; the cord had been cut. Next, the cups in the cupboard had a brown goo on them. The stove had food crusted over and nothing short of filth. I contacted the host who responded “Well, I will get back to you.”

The next day I left for my morning walk, and grabbed the keys provided by the host from a lockbox. The key did not work, and she accused me of switching keys. When the host showed up at the door, I showed her the dead insects in the fridge and the filth on the carpets and table. She told me this is normal. Then told us to vacate the premises. We did, since she looked very unstable. We called Airbnb and they recommended for our safety we leave. This was at 1:00 in the afternoon. By 8:00 PM that night she posted a review that claims I damaged the wall and screamed at her. Then she said Airbnb recommended she ask us to leave. I did get a two-night refund but still had to pay a cleaning fee. Then Airbnb told me to contact the host about getting an additional refund for the cleaning.

Beware of using Airbnb; they obviously do not screen the hosts. I am attaching a few photos of what was in the fridge and on the stove. Yes, there were dead insects in the fridge.

Some Airbnb Hosts are as Dishonest as they Come

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Hi everyone, please see the attachments and the photograph of the host in it. This guy is Alejandro. He owns three rooms at the Ft. Lauderdale Hilton Beach Resort. He likes to play games with people and raise the rate on them while they are trying to book a reservation. He had his property listed at $349/night for a stay from December 25th, 2016 to Jan 1st, 2017. My wife and I were using the Instant Book feature to put all of our information in to reserve the room. While doing so, we used the phone app to message Alejandro to make sure the place had a pull out bed. He replied that it did… and then sent a follow up message that he had adjusted his rate. In the middle of us trying to book the reservation, he raised his rate from $349/night with a 3% discount for booking more than four days to a $439/night rate with no discount. I messaged him about it, but he ignored the message. I called Airbnb Customer Service, and they said they really couldn’t do anything about it. However, they agreed that Alejandro was running very shady business by treating customers that way. If you’re looking for a place to stay in Ft. Lauderdale, I would avoid any of Alejandro’s properties at the Hilton. He’s greedy and dishonest. Find another host to save yourself the headache.