Filth and Infestations at New York Airbnb Home

No more Airbnb-hosted homes for us. Although there are good clean places out there, we’ve had two ghastly experiences in two months. Airbnb refuses to post honest reviews, only five-star reviews. Avoid this Airbnb in Wynantskill, NY at all costs. We found the bedroom and bathroom filthy and extremely bug infested.

Food scraps, hair, bugs, and dirt were on both the floors and walls. Grime was on the door handles, toothpaste was splattered on the sink, counter, and bathroom mirror, and stains were on the carpet. The pillow cases and bed sheets were terribly stained and even had holes worn through them. The bath towels and washcloths were also badly stained. They looked as though they had been rags taken from a trash can. The place had the odor of a men’s locker room. I wouldn’t let my dog stay in such a filthy place.

Had it not been late and storming when we arrived, we would have never stayed. As it was, we found some Lysol cleaner and wiped down the tub and other bathroom fixtures. Then we went about trying to kill as many of the bugs on the walls, curtains, floor, and bed as we could. The host was not there. Her father let us in. He said that his daughter was renting out the bedroom just long enough to pay for her new Jeep. This is our second bad experience with renting through Airbnb in two months. When we spoke to their representatives the last time, we got nowhere. Never again.

Airbnb Removed My Review Mentioning Bed Bugs

I stayed at a listing in Brooklyn. The room in the informal “hotel”-style accommodation (i.e. a house with a digital lock and multiple rooms) had bed bugs. I was removed from the property, Airbnb (after I was forced to fight aggressively with their customer service representatives, who lied to me about reimbursement) paid for a hotel for three nights, and I left a very honest review articulating exactly what happened.

The review was posted two days ago, and it was removed today, presumably at the prompting of the host who did not want a review mentioning bed bugs on their listing page. Lest I be accused of bringing the bed bugs to the listing, let me say that I found the bugs – a lot of them – on the second night after the host said that her “cleaner” accidentally cleaned my room, instead of another room in the house. One of the bed bugs – a large adult – came crawling out of the “clean” duvet/sheets that night.

On the whole, the three-star review was more than fair in terms of positivity (I said the listing was clean, the bed was comfortable, the house was quiet, and that guests might want to stay there again after the bed bug problem is fixed), but I did detail the bed bug experience in the middle of the review. Well, lo and behold, a day after posting the review, I get a message from an Airbnb “case manager” stating:

“Good morning! My name is CASE MANAGER and I am a Case Manager with Airbnb. I hope this message finds you well and that you’re having a great day! I am contacting you today about your review for your reservation with HOST. It has come to our attention that your review for HOST is in violation of our content policy. For your reference, you can learn more about our review guidelines in our Help Center.

Reviews are the backbone of Airbnb’s community. In order to maintain this structure, we have guidelines in place that ensure that all reviews are fair, honest, and relevant to your trips. We also don’t allow reviews to mention any actions taken by Airbnb, including investigations or mediations in our Resolution Center. As such, it is our responsibility to remove your review from HOST’s profile. As of this correspondence, it has been taken down.”

Let me be crystal clear: my review did not mention the resolution or mediation at all, other than saying “Airbnb told me to leave for a hotel.” When I called to question the review’s removal, I was told it was because of my sentence about the hotel. This is absurd, because I didn’t say Airbnb paid for the hotel or describe the mediation process. Regardless, how an accommodation provider responds to a problem is an essential thing to mention in a review. I was also told it was removed because “mentioning bed bugs would hurt the host’s future listings.”

Isn’t this the whole point of leaving honest reviews? To allow guests to make up their own minds about staying somewhere based on past experience?

If hosts are going to be allowed to get around critical reviews with such ease, guests should have zero faith in Airbnb. Why do guests even waste their time writing honest reviews when hosts can so easily find an inexperienced “case manager” to take any slightly negative review down from their listing? This is positively absurd. What should I have done instead? Left vague language about vermin, cleanliness, and then had the review removed for not being based in facts because it would have been so ambiguous? Now, a future guest may suffer from bed bugs, or other incompetence, at this listing, simply because Airbnb can’t competently execute its model.

Airbnb Hell Cottage in Durham Gives me Allergic Reaction

So I booked a three-night Airbnb stay in a “cabin” in someone’s backyard in Durham, North Carolina. When I arrived I found that the place had seen better days (probably when the pictures were taken). It was a tiny cabin with some sort of heavy scratchy material attached to something that had a sofa-like appearance and something that was supposed to be a bed. I couldn’t even imagine sleeping on it, even if it had had sheets. For pillows, there were some filthy throw pillows that looked like they were from a sofa. I was planning on using my sleeping bag at that point.

The outdoor shower was exposed to the outdoors and any neighbors. I started getting stung by mosquitoes immediately (this was mid-October). I went to my car to see if I had bug spray and a yellow jacket sprung out of it and stung me. I’m allergic to all stinging venemous insects, so this was scary. I took Benadryl right away and watched to see if I needed an Epi Pen. I sent a note to the host but got no response.

I decided to find a drugstore and grocery store so I went back to the car only to find it was surrounded by a swarm of yellow jackets. It seems there was a yellow jacket nest right next to where I had to park, which was also the path to the back yard to reach the cabin. I ran off and called the host; there was no response so I left a message asking for help. Again, there was no response. I waited for a while and when it looked like the car wasn’t surrounded any longer I hopped in and backed it out towards the street. I very carefully got back to the “cottage” and grabbed my stuff and left.

I called Airbnb from a parking lot down the road and asked them for help. Airbnb and the host were totally useless. The host never responded to any of my calls. He sent me a note telling me I should go to a pharmacy at a WalMart. Airbnb said they wouldn’t return my money unless I could send them “proof” of the insects. How am I supposed to document a yellow jacket nest when I can’t go near them? I tried to send a pic of the sting but my camera doesn’t do close-ups well. I sent a picture of my Epi Pen too.

Airbnb has refused to refund the stay I couldn’t use; I had only recently arrived when this all happened. The host has not responded or been there. This place is a horror show and shouldn’t be rented on Airbnb. I had to go to a motel and stay there and am paying for three nights at the cabin I can’t stay at as well. I tried to call Airbnb again but they never connected me, no matter how long I sat on hold. I guess they know I’m calling about that listing as i clicked through it to call them.

My Airbnb Mistake and Personal Hell in Oaxaca, Mexico

This was not only the worst experience I have ever had with Airbnb, it was the worst experience I have had in Mexico. I will let the facts speak for themselves.

I booked a night with Airbnb on October 1st. The host offered me a discounted rate if I paid him in cash. This was my biggest mistake. On top of the the payment I made online, I paid 7,000 Mexican pesos (373.00 USD) in cash to stay in the center of Oaxaca between October 2nd and October 22nd. The main problem was the place was and is infested with bugs.

Beginning from the first night there were multiple fire ants, mosquitos, cockroaches (or cockroach-looking bugs) and small, black flea-like bugs. I was bitten by bugs each night I spent at the place. The second and third day I bought various bug sprays, bug traps, and tape to seal off the windows in an attempt to prevent the bugs from entering the bathroom and bedroom. I also bought anti-itch creams and lotions for the various red marks and bites I had on my body. I could not sleep because of the constant bug bites. The last night of my stay I killed up to 100 ants with Raid spray in the bathroom.

After eight days of trying to fix the problem, I informed the host that I wanted to leave, and that I wanted a refund for the days left that I had already paid for. I really should have asked for a full refund, but I just wanted to get the money back for the days I was going not going to stay there and leave. He got upset, demanded I send him the photos, and was disagreeable. I filed a report with Airbnb. He sent his cousin to check the room and she agreed there was a bug problem. I sent him various text messages and he did not respond.

After 24 hours, his cousin came again and said that I would receive my refund at 11:00 AM on Tuesday, October 10th. The host was two and half hours late. He arrived at 1:30 PM. He demanded I give him my passport. I let him take a photo of it. He asked to see the bite marks. I told him I sent them to him and he didn’t even check my messages to realize that I sent them to him. He tried to make the excuse or false reasoning that fire ants cannot leave bite marks, despite the fact that I sent him an article about it. Regardless of that point, a place infested with ants and cockroaches is not a suitable place for a person to stay, whether or not those insects bite people and leave marks.

He refused to refund the 3,000 pesos he owed me and offered me 500 pesos (the equivalent of one night, as the room is listed on Airbnb). He tried to rationalize it by stating that he lost money by cancelling other room requests, a statement that cannot be verified, is inexcusable, and does not address the fact that he was operating a place infested with a variety of bugs. I explained to him several times what was written above and he refused to refund me the money. He went on and on about how he loaned me a microwave and insulted the character of tourists from the United States.

In this situation, what is a person to do? I refused the 500 pesos because it was truly an insult, handed him the keys, and I left to get a taxi. I left the room and bathroom as they were, with no damage or alterations. I regret not paying through Airbnb for all of the nights, but I write this a warning to any visitor to Oaxaca to not stay at any place associated with this host. I have sent the administrators of this website several videos of the fire ants in the rooms. This recently happened and I am waiting on a response from Airbnb’s resolution center. I hope they take the proper actions against this injustice. At the moment, my review does not even appear on the same page of the listing.

I am including four video clips ( ordered in importance) of the bugs found in the AIr BNB I paid for in Oaxaca, Mexico.
(1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wu7NgK9fDEo
(2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DypDuPTqgkw
(3) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jMa_e2rR6s
(4) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpePm_jHkq0

Horrific Incompetence on Airbnb’s Part After Bed Bugs

A celebration was very quickly transformed into a monumental tragedy. Within a few hours of arriving to this home a part of our group was exposed to bed bugs, resulting in us all needing to take precautions to avoid further insult and injury. While Airbnb attempted to rectify the horrific experience, it was a impossible feat given that the second location we were taken to in their array of apartments also had bed bugs upon inspection.

One Airbnb representative was as understandable and kind as a person could be. Another attempted to remedy the situation and found a place to stay with another agency, but failed to inform them of entire situation putting us in a position to explain. They were obviously very upset and unhappy. We ultimately didn’t stay with Airbnb and fully blame them for their lack of a crisis plan, poor guidelines and policies and negligence. The company is not prepared for any such circumstance and believes it’s within its rights to keep our money despite what happened during our first partial night’s stay in one of their registered apartments.

The apartment we ultimately stayed in was not near the area we planned for, but was free of bed bugs so the bar was pretty low. Overall it was an awful experience that I would not wish on my enemies. To say the cost to our overall group far exceeded the cost of the apartment is a grand understatement to the tune of a few thousand dollars. I would stay away from Airbnb in Athens until they understand completely how to manage communal apartments for travelers. I would also implore you to look elsewhere to book a place. Airbnb is not experienced and negligent in their practices, especially given the fact that they admittedly asked us to go find a hotel that would be better equipped to handle “these types of situations”… I guess all hotel guests should be exposed to the pests they have no plan to deal with.

Three Types of Airbnb SCAMS

One of the most common and heartbreaking stories we hear at Airbnb Hell is about scammers. Newbies to the website think they’re paying a legitimate host for their dream vacation, when in fact they’re getting a room in a flophouse, or nothing at all.  What are some of the scams we’ve heard about?

 

Bait and Switch

It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book. Airbnb guests book what appears to be an amazing property at a more than reasonable price, only to be told on arrival or just when it’s too late to look for alternative accommodations that the house in the pictures isn’t available due to an “Airbnb glitch”, but what luck! The host has a comparable property at a different address.

News flash: the first listing never existed. It was all a lure to get you to pay and then force you to accept a worse deal because you’re now desperate and in an unfamiliar city. The biggest giveaway here is a lack of reviews, and a price too good for the quality.

 

Paying by Wire Transfer

NEVER, never pay for an Airbnb reservation by clicking on an email link – no matter how authentic it may look – or a wire transfer directly from your bank. Airbnb is slow to crack down on fake listings like these brazenly telling guests to click on a link in their profile to book; the more clever ones wait until you make a legitimate booking or inquiry through Airbnb, then send you a fake email with Airbnb logos with payment instructions. In the end, Airbnb may continue to list the scammers but – as far as we’ve heard – has never refunded anyone.

 

Lying About Vermin

Scams on Airbnb can affect hosts as easily as guests, and this particular one is why Airbnb Hell got started in the first place. A seemingly normal guest makes a booking, is friendly in his communications, and arrives without incident. Near the end of his stay, he abruptly leaves, files a complaint with Airbnb claiming there were cockroaches, rats, or some other vermin on the property, and expects a 50% refund.

These scammers usually book longer stays so they can maximize their ill-gotten refund. They might even bring bugs onto the property so they can doctor photos. Airbnb policy hasn’t changed much to protect hosts from these types of lies.

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.