My boyfriend and I wanted a quick vacation before the arrival of our first child. At four and a half months pregnant, we drove down to Miami from Toronto. We booked a nice-looking studio apartment in Miami and got ready for our trip. So, we made the 24-hour drive down to Miami and arrived at our listing.
The host came out of her house to greet us and show us to our place. She showed us where to find the key, and then started speaking to my boyfriend in Spanish. I didn’t understand much of their exchange, but he later explained to me that she told him “The owner of this property lives down the street, if she comes around or asks you any questions, just tell her you’re friends of mine visiting.”
I thought this was kind of sketchy, so I called Airbnb to let them know. Airbnb called me back, and let me know that they’ve simply decided to cancel the reservation and we needed to find a new place to stay. It was a Sunday afternoon at 7:30 PM. I was almost five months pregnant and dead tired from a 2500 km drive. I mentioned this all to the rep on the phone, and she told me that she was finished working and someone new would call me back right away.
Fast forward to two hours later, with me hounding and harassing Airbnb – spent well over 45 minutes waiting on the phone, only to be hung up on multiple times – and finally someone called me back. She said there was nothing available for the same night in our same price range. I argued over and over and over with her, and then she finally asked her manager for an approval to cover the cost of a new, more expensive listing.
She explained that she found a new listing with similar amenities to the one we previously chose. So we went ahead and headed over to the new place. The host on Airbnb was listed as a woman, but some dude showed up to show us around the apartment. We walked in; the place was a disgusting dump. He quickly rushed us through, and showed us the damp towels and airbeds. There was literally nothing else in the apartment. It was an empty apartment with two air mattresses on the floor. There were none of the amenities we previous requested: parking, TV, wifi.
To top it all off, the apartment door was secured only by a cheap $10 doorknob lock. There was a deadbolt, but they didn’t give us the key for it. I called Airbnb again at 11:30 PM and explained to them that this was not acceptable. The man on the phone told us that we should stay the night since it was late. He told me a case manager would contact me in the morning to sort it out.
The next morning, I called Airbnb yet again only to be told that my reservation couldn’t be cancelled since I stayed the first night. I explained to her that I was instructed to stay there by one of her colleagues, and she didn’t care. She told me I had to ask the host for a cancellation. I contacted the host, and she told us she could only offer a 50% refund. She then sent me a few nasty messages saying how we wasted her time and were just scamming her to get a “free night.”
We ignored that and told her we were leaving. She told us to leave the keys on the counter and lock the door. We did as instructed. We did get the 50% refund, and then after more and more arguing with Airbnb and speaking with a manager, they agreed to give us back the other 50% of the money to make a new reservation.
Finally, we brought all of our stuff back to the car, and as we were leaving, we saw a disgusting cockroach in the sink. I took a picture and sent it to Airbnb, which they totally ignored. I called them and aseked if they received my photo; they said someone would call me back. There still hasn’t been a response. I called them again and asked if they were really going to let people keep renting from a place that’s infested with cockroaches, and of course the line “disconnects” again.
Anyway, I put that out of my mind and tried to enjoy the rest of my vacation. A few days later, I saw the initial host wrote a bad review on my profile (how do they even leave me a review when I didn’t even stay at her house?). The second host sent me a request to pay her $285 saying she needed to replace the lock on the door (the $10 doorknob lock) because she couldn’t find the key that I left. I called Airbnb. They told me that I left the key and it was not my problem. The rep on the phone told me that a case manager would call me back. Again, no call back from Airbnb.
What was supposed to be a quick and fun vacation turned into a majorly stressful event. Two days of our week-long trip were wasted moving from listing to listing and talking on the phone with Airbnb reps. I will never use Airbnb again.