Fleas in the Bed, Airbnb Host in the Wind

We needed a place to stay for three nights before moving on to St. Ives and found a cottage listed on Airbnb. On arrival we were fairly happy with the cottage, which was decorated and kept nicely, if a little dirty, but nothing too bad. Our baby daughter was using her walker, and we noticed that her feet were dirty after a few minutes on the floor; again, we decided that we could live with this for a few days. The host had informed us that the previous guests had broken the curtain rail in the second bedroom, but that he didn’t think it would bother us. It did, as my teenage son was in that room, and he had to pile pillows into the window frame to block out the light in the morning. Again, we were only there for a few days so we could put up with it before our holiday moved to St. Ives.

Trying to run a bath for our daughter, I noticed that one of the bath taps wouldn’t work, so I filled it using the shower. Again not ideal, but we could work around it. The hosts kindly left some coffee, but the only coffee pot we could find was full of mould. We stuck to tea; it was no problem as I like tea. Now for the tipping point. We got into bed and allowed our daughter to lay with us for a little while, when my wife saw a flea jump onto her then off again. I sat up and we pulled the covers back and saw a flea (possibly the same one) jump onto and off of the white sheets. By this time it was too late to do anything so we had no choice but to sleep in the bed. In the morning we saw two more fleas and my wife had been bitten.

I contacted the host and very politely told him that he had fleas and that we couldn’t stay. He said he would refund me asap, and thanked me for being so understanding. I told him that if course we wouldn’t leave any negative feedback, as these things happen. We spent the day trying to find alternative accommodation, eventually finding an apartment in Plymouth, Devon. This was a very stressful day, not knowing whether we would be able to find a place to stay and having a six-month old to look after. A few weeks later I still hadn’t heard from the host, so I looked on the website and saw that you could request money. I did this, requesting £250 of the roughly £300 we paid.

A couple of nights later I received an email telling me that the host had refused to refund us, and in addition he felt that we hadn’t left the house in a respectable state. We had only stayed one night, and as far as I can remember the only things we left were items of food packaging by or in the bin, and the pillows piled up in the window. My son initially tidied this but I told him to put it back so that the host knew that it was an issue. I have asked the host to explain what he meant but haven’t heard back. I have asked Airbnb to get involved but haven’t heard back. Most annoyingly, the host left it long enough so that I couldn’t leave feedback.

Bedbug Nightmare Endures Long After Airbnb Stay

I checked into an Airbnb sponsored accommodation in the Daytona Beach area. The next morning after I showered, I noticed several sizable red spots on each of my front shoulders. I took my hand mirror and noticed that more of the same were on my back upper arms, and a trail of red discs led up my neck into my hairline.

My plan for the day was to meet with my friend for an early lunch and to do a bit of shopping. When I picked her up, I showed her my arms and also the picture I had taken of my back while still in the cottage. She said she hoped they were only flea bites but I should check for bedbugs. She explained how that should be done. I cut our shopping trip short, because it seemed as if more bites were appearing. I went back to the cottage and asked the host’s mother, the person who showed me around and got me settled into the cottage the night before, if she could tell me what she thought the bite marks were. She said she had lived in Florida for only two years and didn’t have a clue.

I went to Urgent Care, and the doctor, without examining my body, said they were bug bites, not specifying which bugs. I returned to the cottage and wanted to satisfy my mind to stay another night, but decided to check the mattress and box springs as my friend had suggested. At the outer corner of the head of the bed, I pulled the piping/cording around the box springs and a full-grown bedbug and a cluster of eggs and nymphs fell onto the top of my shoe. I went back around to the front and summoned the host’s mother to show her she had an infestation. Since I had disturbed them earlier, she didn’t see any. I didn’t stay around for her to check other areas of the bed. I was almost running to get out of there. She said she would refund my money, her portion. I needed to contact Airbnb about their share.

I contacted Airbnb and the first Customer Care agent said he needed proof, so I spent the next four hours trying to send the picture back to the email address he had used. It kept bouncing back. I finally found a place to send the picture after going to Airbnb’s Help Center. He did refund the total $175 I had paid for a three-night stay.

Before I returned home, I went to the dollar store, bought bedbug spray, and let off bombs in my car. I did not bring my soft side bags with my clothes and medicines in immediately, but I did wear the shoes in that I had on when I examined the box springs at Heidi’s. Since I had never experienced anything like this, I thought after the bombing, my belongings could be brought back into my house. I immediately started washing my clothes, but it was soon very evident I had some hitch hikers.

I then went to the hardware store, bought the most powerful kit they had, and started using it. I also turned the furnace on and a small electric heater, hoping to eradicate them with heat. After doing this from August 9-13 with still bites each morning, I called a professional company. I wanted them to come the next day, but it took extensive preparation, and since I had to do it all myself, I did not have them come until a few days later. By the time they arrived, I had thrown out nearly all my clothes, bedding, beds, and any soft items that could easily provide a nesting place for the bugs or their eggs. The professional returned three times to do both the car and the house.

Each morning I still woke up with pinpricks somewhere on my body. After the first time, I returned from the car with bites on both sides of my back just below my arms. My sister sent me over $200 of a spray, which I used over all the surfaces. I washed all my linens every day, sometimes twice a day in the laundry solution. There were still pinpricks. I have followed all the suggestions I could find. I went and bought a steamer and shop vac and steamed each inch of my bedroom floor up to the baseboards. I finally bought ten pounds of diatomaceous powder and spread it throughout the house. It looks like it’s a bombed-out shelter in a war zone.

To keep this from impacting my health further by inhaling fumes and dust, I asked my sister to come get me. She called me when she was about 30 minutes away from my house. At that time I took a shower, stood in the middle of the living room and waited for her to come to the door to hand me a change of clothes. She gave me the clothes, and I handed her a plastic bag with my medicine in it. I told her to wait for me in the car. I quickly put on the clothes and left with another bag containing the rest of the spray which I used on myself before and after I got into her car.

I anticipate being many miles away from my home for at least four months because I read that a bedbug cannot live longer without a blood meal. Since I was their host, I hope they will starve. As for Airbnb, they are full of hot air. They want the public to think they are concerned and responsive to a guest’s problem, but they’re not. They had the gall to send me pictures of someone’s lovely vacation to comment on. I did. I told them about my not so lovely one. The thread had over a hundred responses. Several were from Airbnb personnel who monitor the information. Each one continued to publicly post that they wanted me to contact a Case Manager. Each time I did, it was the same smoke-blowing.

Their final compensation offer was to wash the clothes I had in their Airbnb. At that point I said, “What clothes?” Airbnb wants to wash my clothes. I have thrown away most of my possessions. I can’t use my car or stay in my home, interact with my friends, participate in my social activities, or have a normal life and they offer that as a solution. Folks beware. Yes, this could have happened at a hotel, but at least there are inspectors and regulatory agents for them. With Airbnb, you’re on your own.

Guests Trashed our Home, Airbnb Ignores us for Weeks

This guest and his family completely trashed  our home. We came home after five weeks to a complete infestation of flies, fruit flies, maggots, bed bugs and lice. This guest never took their trash out in five weeks in July; they simply left it in the house and, as you can imagine, the condition of it was deplorable. We found piles of maggot-filled trash bags inside our home. The smell of rotting food and trash was overpowering. The swarms of flies required multiple treatments from a professional exterminator, who said he had never seen anything like it. They apparently ate in every room in the house (living room, bedrooms, bathroom) and left spilled food on the rugs, couches, and bathroom floor. I’m not talking about crumbs; these were chunks of meat, broccoli, and tomatoes on our furniture just surrounded in flies and maggots.

They broke our TV, refrigerator, and dishwasher, ripped our brand new bed sheets and bedspreads, put tables on top of bureaus (why?), left the mattresses on the floor (had taken off the bed frames), and clogged up the kitchen and bathroom sinks with god only knows what. Our home will never be the same. It’s been over two weeks and the stench of these disgusting people is still in our home. We had to have exterminators come back twice to eradicate the flies and eventually had to throw everything away: beds, couches, pillows, rugs, sheets, towels. We hired professional cleaners to remove the dead bugs not once but twice. These guests lived like complete animals but that does not explain how as human beings, they could completely disrespect and destroy another person’s home.

We have been going all through the proper channels with Airbnb for three weeks and we cannot even get anyone to contact us regarding our claim for over $20,000 worth of damage. They supposedly cover up to $1,000,000 but I don’t believe it. We’ve been waiting on hold for hours at a time, and sending multiple emails with no response. Customer service agents claim to have no authority to do anything except send an email to a supervisor say they will contact us but they never do. We sent 50+ pictures of the damage to our home, videos, receipts for everything, a copy of the police report, and there has been nothing from Airbnb.

Our family has been displaced from our home for three weeks, having to stay in hotels and pay for and replace our damaged items completely on our own. Our lives have been put on hold and this incident has caused our family great emotional and financial duress.

After Bed Bugs, Airbnb Cancelled Reservation

This has been the worst Airbnb experience of my life. We just checked out of a Lisbon Airbnb where bed bugs ate us alive. Please see the attached photos of the painful welts all over my body, face and neck. After complaining to Airbnb, the resolution manager proceeded to cancel the rest of our trip. We are now standing in the airport about to board a flight to Seville with no accommodations to go to when we land at midnight. Two girls alone in a foreign city. Three different resolution managers we initially spoke to told us that we would receive a refund and that we would also be rebooked in a hotel for this evening at Airbnb’s own cost (the least they could do). We did receive the refund and were trying to retrieve the hotel information when a new manager informed us that they would not be creating a reservation for us because they already went ahead and processed the refund. She claimed it was one or the other – which is not what three prior managers told us. We are now standing stranded in the airport with nowhere to go when we land. This was the most disgusting, unsafe experience I have ever encountered and I will be spreading this story publicly as far as I can so that other young women traveling don’t get put it the same unsafe and frightening situation.

Multiple Infestations of Bugs and Mice at Airbnb

The first (and last) time I traveled using Airbnb I got to my first cabin and it looked beautiful. However, when I went to have a shower, the water smelled so bad of rotten eggs (hydrogen sulfide) that I couldn’t put my head under the water in the shower. For two days I avoided showering because of the nausea the smell caused. The next morning there were mouse feces all over the buns in the cupboard, the dishes, and the outside of the fridge… hello Hantavirus. That same night mosquitoes snuck in through the cracks at the top of the door.

On to the next Airbnb. On the second day of our stay, I was sweeping and found what looked like live and dead cockroaches, some larva, and many many spiders (both dead and alive in five different places in the rental unit). When I contacted Airbnb they asked for pictures, which I sent. They claimed the pictures were not enough evidence and refused to help me. I then called a health inspector who wrote a report which included building deficiencies. Airbnb does not require inspections to ensure building codes are safe or health inspections. This is the first and last Airbnb experience for me.

Airbnb Nightmare – Roaches at Two Properties

This was my first time using Airbnb and it will definitely be my last. I just moved to Louisville, KY, and needed a place to stay for a week before my lease for my apartment began. I booked my trip and got to my new home for the week, where I was dropped off along with a huge carful of my stuff (to avoid renting a moving van, we decided to bring stuff down in different trips). The host was nice and the place was older, but clean. But I quickly realized there was an issue when I found roaches running around the kitchen and the bathroom. I took pictures and contacted the host, who was mortified and apologized for it, saying she would send maintenance out that day to take a look and spray. Maintenance didn’t come, and for another few days she kept giving me excuses about why they didn’t make it over yet.

After having a roach scuttle across the bathroom floor as I was getting out of the shower, I decided enough was enough and that I would call Airbnb. I thought it would be a quick process since obviously the listing had vermin, but I was on the phone for four hours, from midnight until 4:00 AM. They were originally refusing to refund anything except the nights that I didn’t stay at the residence (if I checked out early), but eventually I did receive a full refund for the nights I didn’t stay, as well as a 50% refund for the nights that I did stay, free accommodation at a different Airbnb location for the remainder of my stay, and compensation for the UberXL I needed to transfer my stuff to the new accommodation. It sounded pretty good, even though I had to fight for it.

When I got to the new residence, I found that there were more roaches there too. I made this video and contacted Airbnb customer service again. I requested a hotel room for the remaining two nights since I didn’t want to stay at another Airbnb location, for obvious reasons. I also asked for my stuff to stay at the dwelling since it was already paid for and I had no way to move it again, especially through a hotel (do you know how many trips on the elevators I would need? Let alone another Uber which I would need to pack and unload). The supervisor I spoke to told me that they could only pay for one hotel night, saying I could “use my refund to pay for the second night in a hotel,” and that they would only pay for the one hotel night if I canceled the current booking, which I needed for my stuff.

Let me remind you that my refund and paying for the new accommodation was meant to remedy the first roach-infested dwelling. Paying for two nights in a hotel would remedy this current dwelling’s affliction, but Airbnb wouldn’t make it right. Now I have potentially brought roaches into my new apartment, and Airbnb definitely doesn’t reimburse for pest control. I wanted to share this so that others don’t get screwed over by this company, since they apparently don’t seem to care about customer service based on my experience. Trust me, you’re better off booking a hotel.

 

 

Airbnb has Standards for Hosts? What Standards…?

Let me start with the link to the luxurious, custom and tastefully decorated house we rented in Union City, California. Whatever you do, don’t believe anything you read concerning this house on Airbnb and don’t rent this house. If you do, you won’t be able to say I didn’t warn you.

We rented this house because it was big (for seven people), it seemed nice, it was well situated for us, and the comments of past renters were all good. The stay started with the host saying that the house was not ready for us when we got there, one hour and a half after the check in time. The host then told me that he was told by the last renter that she might have heard a mouse during the night. We later learned that this was a lie because when the comments of the previous renter was posted, after our arrival, the mouse traps were already there before she got there.

The next morning we went away early for the day. We had time to see that the place was not very clean. We ate out that night and got home around 10:00. To our disgust, we killed two roaches in the kitchen. That was when we first contacted Airbnb. To our surprise, Airbnb replied immediately. We said we were disgusted and we wanted out. They told us we had 24 hours upon our arrival to file a complaint so we could get out of there with a refund. We had been there 28 hours.

To make a story short, here is a list of all the issues we experienced with the house and Airbnb:

1. We saw a mouse, we killed two roaches and we found many other bugs in the house.

2. The stove was out of order, the BBQ grill was disgusting, and there was supposed to be a gaming room with pinball machines, foosball, and pingpong table.

3. The house was not very clean: curtains were stained, the BBQ grill was disgusting, the doors to the bathrooms were dirty, the windows were filthy we could barely see through, and on the side of the house we found a dozen empty old paint containers.

Attached you will find a few pictures to show some of the nice things we had to live with. You should also know that these three points contradict two of Airbnb’s standards and regulations. However, Airbnb doesn’t care about their own standards and regulations and their customers. Like I said earlier, Airbnb were very quick to respond and seemed very helpful. We had constant contacts everyday. I was on vacation and the last thing I wanted to do during my vacation was run after Airbnb customer service.

In fact, they were not helpful at all and they were all but productive. I had seven case managers involved in my case, all seemed very understanding of my situation but none of them answered my questions. When our trip was finally over, I asked for a refund. After a few exchanges I was told that I could get a partial refund by one of the case managers involved. He changed his mind because the host sent him a copy of the invoice of a pest control company that supposedly visited the house during our stay and it said there weren’t any traces of vermin in the house.

I didn’t believe a pest control company came to the house so I asked to see the invoice or the name of the pest company, but Airbnb told me the host didn’t want them to share that information with me. Talk about transparency. If you have nothing to hide, show me the invoice, right? Not with Airbnb. The host did not want them to share it with me. I didn’t believe that a pest control company came because the host told me that when it came it didn’t find traces of vermin.

That same night we found traces of mice in two different places in the house. Then the host told me that the bag in which we found different bugs under the fridge were long dead according to the ‘pest control company’. In fact, I had killed the bugs myself the night before their visit. Lastly, we found rolled up paper coming from the mouse traps on the counter after their ‘presence’. It is not very professional for a company to leave their trash on the counter after they left, isn’t it. One last thing: my reviews, that were very negative, were never posted on the site. Maybe that is why we see few negative comments concerning the houses we can rent on Airbnb. Transparency…

Okinawa Rental for Eight Guests, Including Giant Cockroach

I rented an Airbnb house in Okinawa, Japan recently. The photo of the living room appeared very nice and clean with cozy wooden floors, walls, and nice furniture. When I entered the house, I noticed the floor and walls looked rather aged, but I wasn’t worried. The rent was very affordable for such a large space (seven to eight guests, according to my host). The bathroom floor had many strands of hair probably left behind by previous guests even though I was told the place was cleaned after every stay. Still, no worries.

When I tried to prepare some food, I noticed that the microwave and rice cooker weren’t working. Their power switches wouldn’t go on. I texted my host and he simply messaged back: “read the user’s manual.” I didn’t want to bother him so I tried in vain to get the appliances to work, to no avail. I finally texted him back about my suspicions that the power supply in that corner of the house was probably out, and he texted me back saying “check the breaker box which is probably near the main door or the bathroom door.” I searched thoroughly and found no such box. We ended up boiling some water and had instant noodles.

I realized there were not enough beds for seven to eight people, only for five. I ended up crashing on the living room sofa while my wife and two children shared a single bed. I turned off the lights and tried to sleep, but noticed something dark the size of my thumb scurrying across the floor in front of me. I turned the lights on and found myself facing a huge cockroach who was staring straight at me. I froze for several minutes and it scurried under my suitcase. I finally mustered the courage to lift the suitcase up and that’s when it literally flew into my face. I freaked out and fell on my back. Then I saw the beast hunkering in the corner. I picked up a slipper and whacked it as hard as I could repeatedly.

That wasn’t the end: my host instructed me to wash the towels before checking out and the washing machine didn’t work due to the electrical problem. I told him I couldn’t wash the towels and checked out on time. Since then, he has been pressuring me to write a good review so he can write a good review about me. It was my first Airbnb experience and I am never using Airbnb again.

Airbnb Slumlord and Customer Service Torture me

I planned a trip to New York from Feb 23rd until May 31st. From the day I arrived the place was filthy. I brought my own linens and a shower curtain out of fear. Then mice and cockroaches started running through the place. We came home to a mouse just sitting on my son’s pillow. The fresh paint was a patch job and already caused mold to form. The heat didn’t work for three days. When it finally was turned on, the radiator was leaking and so loud you couldn’t even hear a person speak. The steam ruined the entire room, and the water caused the flooring to rot. My son must sleep in that room and the water shot all over our stuff.

I have now had to wait three different times for a repairman to come. This has messed up most of my days and the issue is still not fixed. A couple weeks after arriving, the hot water started turning off. I have had the city health department out here numerous times. Still, you never know when you can shower. For a month I tried to contact Airbnb; they always say a supervisor will call back. This of course never happens. I even sent pictures and explained about the mice. Still, there was no answer. I finally decided to do my own research. It was not hard to find who owned the building… the same guy who is our host. I Googled his name and his family is listed on the NYC worst landlord list. His mother was actually sued in court over being a slumlord.

Does Airbnb have no responsibility to at least investigate the product they are selling? They make money off me as well as the landlord, so does only the landlord deserve protection? I am now in fear of these people as Airbnb has notified them of my complaints. I wake up and, no hot water. He can now torture me if he wants. I just want out for my own safety. I feel there needs to be more responsibility or laws for Airbnb as they are making a fortune and do not have to comply with rules we apply to hotel owners. My entire trip has been destroyed.

In regards to Airbnb customer service, I finally have just been continually calling as I have not only been to the hospital because the property made me sick, but now I have an eye infection from the filth. They still refuse to help. I have been through ten case workers in two days. Most of them lack knowledge or even decency. If I sue I will request all taped calls as most have admitted to the terrible conditions and that they themselves would not stay here. I even will have a tape of one of the agents who forgot to put me on hold, and was discussing me with the supervisor, who refused to get on the phone. They had a nice conversation about how their break was more important and were laughing about me. I have sent videos, pictures, hospital notes, health department notices, all the text messages between the host and myself, and even the articles on the host’s reputation, and they are still giving me the runaround. I need to get out but they have all my money. Anyone that can help, please give me some suggestions.

Cockroaches, Ants, and Construction Disruption in Airlie Beach

There were cockroaches, ants in the bed, and no privacy. We were even kicked out of our room for construction work. We booked a four-night stay at a place in Airlie Beach that was advertised as a ‘penthouse apartment’. The listing can be viewed here. This is possibly one of the most misrepresented listings I have stayed at through Airbnb. Advertising this as a penthouse is like advertising Adolf Hitler as a peacekeeper. It was dirtier than a Rawalpindi market, and the host, Leah, was as helpful as fly screens on a submarine. Jokes aside, here is the story.

The ‘King Bedroom’ was separated (used loosely) from a storage room by a tall cabinet and a piece of material draped over it, with a car’s sun visor leaning against it. This offered little-to-no privacy from the adjoining storage hall. The glass doors to the room had gaps between the walls, letting sound and light easily pass through. The sliding door to the balcony was old and unsturdy. It had a gap where, even if shut properly all the way, wind could come through and made sleeping at night impossible.

There were cockroaches. We saw several crawling around during our stay: two in the room (see pictures), and one in the laundry/bathroom area. There were also ants in the bed and on the walls. As we walked into the room at check-in, the building manager picked up a pinchful of ants from the floor. In the middle of the second afternoon of our stay, the building manager asked us to leave the room so that a wooden board (making up part of the wall of the room) could be patched up and fixed. We were trying to take a nap because of the lack of sleep we had on the first night.

By the second night, we’d had enough. It was approximately 8:00 PM when we looked for an alternative place for accommodation. As it was a Friday night, there was nothing available close by or within our price range ($100-$150/ night). We reluctantly spent the second night there and agreed to cancel the stay the next day, forfeiting the second half of the stay that was booked and paid for. Upon cancellation, I reached out to the host to try and request a refund for the total amount paid. We had not stayed for the last two nights, and the first two were atrocious. I did not think it unreasonable. I sent through photos of the uncleanliness and explained the poor experience we had. She sent back an animated response, wrought with spelling errors and incomprehensible sentence structure. I could barely understand the bulk of it.

I managed to deduce that she had denied the request, so I pushed on to Airbnb’s Resolution Centre. After several email exchanges, the case manager concluded that as per the terms and conditions, 24 hours was the window for cancellation and receipt of a refund. He offered a credit of 49 AUD as compensation towards my next stay. I responded by saying I would not be using Airbnb again to redeem this credit, so it is useless. I explained 24 hours to request a cancellation was an unreasonable part of the terms and conditions, as the bulk of the issues were encountered after this window. I referred to the ‘extenuating circumstances’ clause, highlighting the exception to their policy of ‘severe property damage or unforeseen maintenance issues’. He ignored this. He thanked me for my time in corresponding and my understanding in the matter.

Needless to say, I couldn’t understand a single shred of logic observed by this case manager. I initiated a chargeback through my bank for the $400 charge to my credit card. The outcome is pending. I have resubmitted a formal dispute with Airbnb. The result is pending. I have also investigated using the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) regulatory body to lodge a dispute. This will only take place if my bank is unsuccessful in recovering the charge. I’d like to note that this is not about the money, so much as the principle. Even if my bank is successful, I would like to warn users and non-users of Airbnb’s unreasonable customer service policies and poor support, as well as this host’s lack of consideration and diplomacy with respect to her guests. Stay here at your own peril.