Some Airbnb Hosts are as Dishonest as they Come

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.

Terrible Airbnb Apartment in San Diego Hillcrest

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I’m mainly writing this because I hate to see a lousy host continue to rent out his lousy apartment without making any changes to it. If the host was open to feedback and improvements, then cool. Not the case with this guy it seems. I booked this apartment for myself and two friends for San Diego Comic-Con. I could tell that the owner had raised the price for that week, something I expected anyway. Most of the reviews were fairly positive, but after staying there, I have no idea why they are. I can understand an old place just being old, but this place just felt dirty and lacked basic amenities that it claimed to have in its description. There was no extra toilet paper, not enough towels for the number of guests for which I informed him of, no hand soap, trash beneath the sink, gum in the bathroom sink drain, rug stains, and peeling floor paint.

The worst part of the stay was the handful of large, flying cockroaches that appeared on two of the nights. One of which actually flew into my friend, and another scurried over her foot. The host had left me a short but positive review; however, he countered my negative review for his unit, fabricating or embellishing most of the story. I don’t know if he doesn’t understand that there’s a thing called a paper trail. I’ve uploaded an image of my correspondence with the host regarding the issues that would negate his rebuttal to my negative review of his unit, as well as photographic evidence. To elaborate further on other certain issues he claimed in his counter-review:

  • He claimed that we had a late check in. Our check-in was actually early as my one friend showed up an hour before check-in, and I had cleared this with the host. He did not provide clear directions on how to get the keys (I guess I should’ve repeated my question in my emails), and my friend had tried texting and writing to him with no response. She then had to decipher how to get the keys from previous guest reviews. My own check-in was two days later at night, but that did not require the host’s attention, obviously, since my friends were already there.
  • He mentioned that we did not make any requests for toilet paper or towels. Regarding the toilet paper, this is because my friends had quickly gone out and bought their own (we did not know that the staff in the deli below was affiliated with the apartment in that way). Regarding towels, because the place already felt pretty filthy, we did not trust even using the towels.
  • He mentions that we did not allow them onto the premises to inspect for the cockroaches. In my correspondence with him, I explained that we did not want anyone to enter the premises while we were not present, and at the time we were about to head out for the day. What the host failed to mention is that one of his associates did actually show up to take a look just before we headed out. We let him in of course, and he asked us where the cockroaches were coming from, but how could we know specifically where they came from? They just started flying and scurrying around the place at night. The guy claimed they’d never seen them upstairs before as though it couldn’t be true that they had cockroaches. However, this makes me question the sanitation level of the deli below.

After the inspection, no solution was offered and the guy left. With two nights left of our stay, we were considering finding accommodation elsewhere. However, being Comic-Con week, everything was booked up or overly expensive. I communicated this with the host and suggested a 2-day refund as the unit was not as advertised and we would’ve vacated the unit if we could’ve. He seemed to be open to this discussion. However, his responses were more and more delayed going forward. After our stay ended, he eventually just stopped responding to me. I was also in communication with Airbnb regarding this unit. They offered me a refund on the cleaning fees (I have no idea what the host is spending this money on at all), and after further requests, a credit towards a future stay to offset our costs. Unfortunately I cannot counter the host’s stories on his profile at all. I hope that by posting this story I can deter future guests from staying at this unit, and that Airbnb will better monitor the quality and honesty of host listings. I’ve been using Airbnb for a number of years now with no major issues, and with this listing being the first problematic stay, it already shows me the lack of responsibility that both hosts and Airbnb can potentially have for their clients.

Families Love This Airbnb! Sorry, No Kids Allowed!

After months of looking for a special location for a quiet family vacation in Wisconsin my husband and my kids decide to take the Airbnb plunge. A few people at my office suggested I was crazy. The phrase “Aren’t you afraid of being killed?” came up more than a few times. A very good friend suggested that we might be video taped. Sadly, it turns out it might have been better if I had been. But I digress. We were tired of paying for tiny overpriced hotel rooms with stiff sheets and cream walls.

I started my search in early August for a quiet fall October weekend. I had specific needs: seclusion, a fire pit, a stream, and trees. Right away I noticed the limitations of the Airbnb search engine. I could not search for these criteria at all. I could only search for the number of guests allowed, the type of living arrangement, location dates, and other qualifiers that did not apply to my needs. I couldn’t search for any key words in my listings… all 350+. So, I searched and searched and searched. I found that many listings did not even match their own descriptions. Places that were listed as “the entire place” when they were half a house or even just a room. Many places said two guests only, but listed additional pricing for more guests.

I started to read the reviews of the actual guests. They made everything sound so good. Always five stars. Rarely did I see a grumpy review. Some reviews were so glowing, they seemed unreal. Certain hosts have little metals by their names. How did they get metals?Tonight, after a long hard week, I gave my kidney, drivers license, social security number, blood type, references, and money to go to an adorable purple cabin in Birchwood, Wisconsin. It was an uncomfortable bit of data collection that was scary… like, NSA, Snowden, scary. Two nights for $465, seclusion, peace, and cookies (all the reviews said we’d get cookies). I sent a message to the host about our four-year-old son. I asked if he was okay to come as he is four and pushed our numbers above the “limit of four people with $15 dollars extra per additional person.” I figured this would result in a price increase… Nope, I got a confirmation.

It was so fast. All the stress of planning and searching started to melt away. Victory! About six minutes after I was charged and my money was whisked away I got a message: the cabin is not safe for kids. Immediately, my mind went to the “guest experience” reviews that lead me to this magical looking place… they would say “great place for kids,” “great place for my family,” and “everything your family needs.” I did not text the host anything except for a question about how to get my money back. I started to cry. The app began to malfunction. I spent an hour or so steaming. Then I got the most “it’s your fault” email I have ever received from a company. Basically, the email said that Angel (yes, her name was Angel) from Airbnb was available to help me and that it was my fault that the host accepted and gobbled up my money before reading my questions.

After several nights of research I did not see the no-children clause for this place so many families have enjoyed. They said, and I quote, “It’s in small red letters underneath the About This Listing section.” Tiny, small, little red letters which probably should have been part of the filters for Airbnb or at least a series of questions about guests and ages. In addition, the host thought my four-year-old would not have been safe around a spiral staircase. The advertisement stated that we should use our best judgement regarding the use of the apparently deadly staircase. My son is very physically capable. I used my judgement. Airbnb called me twice while I started to look for another place to go and their voicemail directed me to an email. They have offered to help me find a place to go via email. How about an apology? How about reviewing your host locations’ reviews to make sure they are consistent? I called their number back just to see what I would get. If I wasn’t having an emergency I should email them. I emailed them.

Tomorrow, my family will wake up to realize our vacation is not happening and our money is gone. The money should be returned in ten days… I guess I’ll take a second vacation then. My boss doesn’t care. It’s not like I work for a living or anything! I might have to call so they can explain this to my kids.

I was Robbed by My Guest and Airbnb

I have been managing vacation rentals for over eight years. I’ve enjoyed welcoming people into my homes and take great pride in providing them with a clean, warm, and welcoming place to stay. I decided to try Airbnb in the hopes of increasing the number of rentals during my slow season (summers in Arizona don’t make it a wildly popular place to travel). My first guest booked a property for five nights. According to Airbnb, the payout for the reservation should have been in my account 24 hours after check-in. That did not happen. I went to my property after the guest checked out and was shocked and disturbed by what I walked into. My house was trashed and reeked of cigarette smoke, and I had been robbed. I called the police and followed up with a call to Airbnb.

I was told to use the Resolution Center to ask the guest that robbed me for the money to cover the cost of the items he stole. This didn’t really make much sense to me… but I did it. I was told he then had 72 hours to respond and if there had been no resolution Airbnb would get involved. Big surprise… the man that robbed me didn’t respond. That 72 hours passed a week ago. I have called and emailed Airbnb multiple times and received absolutely no explanation about what they are doing on their end to help resolve this matter. The customer service people just read from their script and tell me it’s being “investigated.”

Here’s the kicker: I never received payment from the reservation. The robbery and security deposit aside, I was never even paid by Airbnb for the five nights he stayed at my house. I’ve resorted to a negative post on their Facebook page to which they responded with a DM then on Twitter. Still there has been no response, explanation, or money in my account. I have been robbed by both the guest that stayed in my home and now by Airbnb. I feel totally violated and I can’t do a thing about it other than share my experience with as many people as possible in the hopes that no one else has to go through what I am going through.

Black Mold is Considered Clean and Sanitary to Airbnb

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This was my first experience with Airbnb and it went terribly. I really wish I had researched the company a little more before committing to a four-night stay in Myrtle Beach. I thought I had found a great deal and was excited about my trip. Unfortunately, the condo reserved was covered in mold and filth. There was black mold on the curtains, shower curtain, the walls, and the baseboards along with just general filth and stains everywhere else. I went to take a shower and the shower liner was covered in mold and the most disgusting part is that there were pubic hairs on the walls of the shower. There were random stains on the floor that didn’t even look like they had been attempted to be cleaned.

I contacted the owner who said that they would send someone to clean it. The longer I was in the room, the more I realized that this wasn’t a “cleaning lady” job and that someone needed to come in to remove this mold as it was a health and safety risk. I was also wasting precious vacation time on a long weekend away. I waited two hours for a cleaning person to show up. When no one had come, I reserved a room elsewhere assuming that once Airbnb saw my pictures, they would completely be on my side (that’s how dirty the room was) and would feel the same level of disgust. I followed the online steps and submitted a request through the resolution center within the 24 hours stated. Unfortunately, Airbnb restricts the number of characters that you can put in your request so I just tried to give the general run down and attached the pictures of the filth.

When I hadn’t heard anything the next day, I wanted to contact Airbnb directly. It was difficult to find the contact number but I eventually found it and spent quite some time on hold. When I finally spoke with a representative, the woman stated that we needed to give the owner time to respond and that she thought a refund wouldn’t be a problem… she was wrong. Airbnb denied my request for a refund and only provided me with a $200 credit (why would I be interested in using Airbnb again?), not the $475 that I paid on the room. The response from the resolution center claimed that I didn’t give the owner time to have someone come and clean. When I reminded them that I waited two hours and then sent additional pictures of the mold stating that my short stay wasn’t adequate time for them to take care of this issue, the representative then told me that I didn’t follow the proper procedure.

I not only contacted the resolution department within 24 hours but the next day, I called and spoke to a representative who gave me the feeling that I wouldn’t have any issues. As a reminder, their policy states, “at the start of a guests reservation, the accommodation: (i) is not generally clean and sanitary (ii) contains safety or health hazards that would be reasonably expected to adversely affect the Guest’s stay at the Accommodation.” At the start of the reservation… so, at the start of a reservation, the room should be clean. Also, I would think that black mold would be covered under both statements (i) and (ii) considering how dangerous it can be. Apparently not. The room is still up for rent. Airbnb and the host are still collecting their money.

I honestly cannot describe what I’m feeling right now; it is enough to want to cry. $475 is a lot of money to me and this falls in the midst of me trying to save every penny for a wedding. Not only am I out the money for the Airbnb but also the money for a safe hotel that wasn’t covered in mold and stranger’s pubic hairs. I feel like the money was stolen from me. They falsely represented a clean and SAFE room. They didn’t deliver and are keeping my money anyway, even though I didn’t stay at the accommodation. It is so unethical on the host’s side as well as Airbnb and is such a hard thing for me to accept about a company that appeared to be reputable. I have many more pictures but only attached the number of photos that the system allowed. The attached photos are what Airbnb and the host consider to be “generally clean and sanitary” and with no safety to health hazards. They “reasonably expect” the condition of this room not to affect my stay. They are crooks.

My NYC Nightmare: Building Doesn’t Allow Airbnb

My daughter and I booked an apartment on the Upper West Side of New York City several months in advance of our September 1st visit. I was in touch with the host via text several days in advance, who told me to tell her when I was landing, and she would give me directions on how to get to her apartment. Upon my arrival at the airport from Nashville and on the way to the apartment, I called her, at which time I was told that she was changing the location to her son’s apartment on the Upper East Side. I was also told not to tell the doorman that I was an Airbnb guest, but “a friend of her son’s girlfriend Zoe.” I was very upset and told her to cancel the reservation and I requested a refund of by $1,345. So far, in spite of repeated attempts to reach her and Airbnb, I have not received a refund. Help!

Airbnb Customer Furious over Refund Policy

Before I begin, let me say that I am staying in a very nice Airbnb right now as I just moved to Tampa. Last weekend I looked and saw a reasonable studio apartment in Tampa that was less than I am paying now for a room in a residence. I put down $1,431. Later that day I drove to the part of town where the apartment is – it is located in a ghetto with all kinds of frightening people around. I wouldn’t feel safe in that area. I cancelled the reservation the same day; it was booked more than ten days in advance. I only received $682 back. After contacting the call center and being very angry I got another $200 refund. I will not stand for Airbnb taking $549 of my money. I intend to contact the CEO of the company or maybe go on the Tampa news. I will not take this lying down.

Airbnb Representatives Ruined my Vacation

What a nightmare I had with this company. I had guests flying in from Atlanta and we planned on spending the weekend in NYC. I live in central New Jersey. The original house we rented was in Bayshore and totally misrepresented on the Airbnb site. There were holes in the walls, trash on the floor, large dead insects, exposed electrical wires, and dirty overflowing laundry baskets. The pool we were told we could swim in looked more like a black lagoon. Hence, we never even bought our luggage inside. As we were entering the house, there was a young man with a barking dog exiting. Did he have a key? Was he coming back? Was he coming back with friends? more dogs? Was he staying in the house at the same time we were? We had no idea who he was nor did we feel the need to ask.

We were a party of four girls and extremely concerned about our safety. After calling Airbnb right away to cancel, the four of us went out to dinner and tried to find new accommodations with the help of Airbnb. This was the true beginning of my hell ride with this company. From this point, I spent the next three days speaking with representatives. They called and emailed all hours of the day and night. Although I paid in full, there was a problem getting me verified. This verification process took no less than five representatives and had me at a near mental breakdown. Several times I could not continue the phone conversations which I now viewed as a barrage of harassment from the representatives.

The constant calls and emails ruined my vacation. I did not spend a lot of time with my guests because Airbnb took most of my time. Twice I had to get my guests to get on the phone with them because I could not allow them to continue to consume my time. Each day I logged almost 8 to 10 hours dealing with multiple representatives. I was getting emails at 3:00 AM and phone calls before 6:00 AM. On the fourth day, my friends left for home and I never got to spend any quality time with them. I was able to find another location, which was fantastic. The constant communication via email and phone, being placed on hold, taking photos, sending photos for which they “never received”, getting verified, getting a refund from the first location, finding and making a second reservation in NYC at midnight, and taking almost two days to get verified ruined my entire vacation with my friends. My three girlfriends are also doing their part in spreading the word on the incompetence of this Airbnb’s representatives.

Unstable Host and Airbnb Turned my Vacation into Hell

My first and last experience with Airbnb pointed out a fundamental flaw in their business model: hotel, motel and even most B&B operators are professionals; Airbnb hosts are amateurs. Because of that, they may not understand they are in the hospitality business, and Airbnb guests can be the unfortunate guinea pigs. As soon as our family arrived at our condo, our host came around and seemed to be spying on us. That evening she chased down a group of us out for a stroll; she asked them how many were staying at the condo told them she suspected more were staying there than she permitted. Later that night she pounded on the door and loudly proclaimed the same accusation. We explained that we had only six staying there (the two-bedroom unit was advertised to sleep six) and two people visiting who were staying elsewhere. She demanded we leave. When we refused, she picked up her phone and dialed 911, claiming she was the victim of assault! When asked if she had been physically assaulted, she replied “no, but I have been verbally assaulted.” When that apparently didn’t impress the operator, she claimed she had “nine drunk tenants and I want them out.”

We told her if she wanted in the unit she would need a warrant. Eventually the police arrived, and she demanded through texting that we come out and meet with the officer. When we didn’t respond, she called Airbnb. To my shock, Airbnb texted me that they had a serious complaint against me and that they had cancelled the reservation and ruled that a refund was not permitted! The next morning, this obviously emotionally unstable host opened the front door and pounded on the wall, shouting: “Your reservation has been cancelled and you need to leave!” We knew she had no legal right to evict us, so we stayed; however, the stress ruined our vacation. And the fact that Airbnb supported her madness only added to the nightmare. Beware of Airbnb… you will be subject to the whims of your host and the company will not have your back!

Lost Everything in Airbnb Theft… Inside Job?

We moved to Southern California on July 15th, 2016 and unfortunately, while staying at an Airbnb in Pasadena and looking for a permanent place, our apartment got broken into and everything we had brought with us including our passports, birth certificates, national ID cards, all our academic diplomas and transcripts, and every single immigration document we had got stolen (including the copies of them). This is in addition to the huge financial loss due to the jewelry, laptops, even specialty contact lenses being stolen. Obviously the police were immediately notified and involved. We are still in shock and I don’t think it’s something we can easily recover from. We’ve compiled the list of the items we remember that have been stolen and every day still remember some new items that are missing and realize they were in our suitcase or backpacks… The truth seems to be far from what the reviews and the Internet suggest!

Unfortunately, some of the documents are irreplaceable such as both of our undergrad and masters original transcripts and diplomas as they are issued only once in our home country. This can have a significantly negative impact on our professional lives and careers. The magnitude of the damage is beyond repair. The host and management company failed to change the lock on the unit, after the previous tenant had not returned the keys. The Airbnb host and the apartment management are telling us conflicting stories. The Airbnb host says he had asked for the locks to be changed but management denies it, as says he only asked for a duplicate key.

The apartment management claims that the security cameras were being serviced exactly in that hour when the burglary happened and thus no footage has been recorded. There was no evidence of forced entry (remember this is a gated apartment complex with a digital entrance, gated parking, and a key to the unit). These all suggest that it was an inside job. Nothing that was originally in the Airbnb property was even touched by the thief, whereas all of the stolen items belonged only to us! The property loss is about $20,000 (jewelry, laptops, bags, clothes, etc.). Financial loss is something that you can forget and recover from, however the loss of all identification documents, educational records, and most importantly the feeling of having been violated this way, is something that will be haunting us for a long time. We firmly believe the people who caused this need to pay for it and make sure this does not happen to anyone else…

We believe Airbnb should have done something to make sure any apartment that is being rented using Airbnb’s name is a safe place and that if a tenant does not return a key, that it is immediately reported, and the unit made unavailable as soon as possible. I hope this will not happen to anyone else!