No Support for Hosts, Airbnb Gives us the Runaround

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I decided to rent out my property for the Christmas holiday. I was selective as some people had too many in their party, or had large dogs — I accept animals under 25 lbs. I rented to a woman who said there would be her and two dogs. I usually only accept one pet but since she had no partner I thought it only fair to let her stay with both animals. We agreed on a $100 non-refundable pet fee just to allow her pets to stay, not for damages.

When I was leaving the property after prepping it for her arrival, I noticed two large commercial trucks pulling up. I doubled back as I thought they were at the wrong house. The boom truck drivers were dropping off the pick up driver’s stuff, then left. I said, “you are not Crissi?” She said no and called her husband who in turn gave me her number. Only then did she inform me that it was her employee staying there. The dogs she had stated were 25 lbs. were bull terriers weighing between 45-65 lbs and one was in heat according to the employee.

Crissi was supposed to provide a pet deposit of $100 and said she would give it to the employee to pass on to me the following day. He wasn’t there the next day (a wasted trip for me) but the next day he was home and said he knew nothing about the deposit. I reached out to her again and she said she would be there at the property in 10 minutes. I told her I was running an errand but to leave it under the mat so I wouldn’t disturb her employee staying there.

I wasn’t happy that she deceived me and actually looked up online (since I couldn’t find a customer service number to reach out) to see how Airbnb handles these situations. I read that different reps have given different advice to hosts. Some say to let it go and just see how it plays out, while another said to cancel the reservation because they put a “third party guest” on the property and Airbnb doesn’t cover damages for third party guests. I decided to leave it alone as the gentlemen seemed polite enough.

Following that, we had an unexpected storm with hurricane winds which required a lot of cleanup. I left a notice on the exterior door that I would be by the following day (24 hours’ notice) to do a cleanup of the exterior grounds, even soffits from a nearby home had blown onto the property. When I went to the property the front yard was littered with large piles of dog feces. I reached out to “Crissi” and said that her employee needed to pick up the dog mess as my lawn guy won’t drive through dog feces with his equipment. I immediately got slammed with a return message saying, “that’s what dogs do” and I and my neighbors were harassing them and peeking in the windows.

That came out of left field. She basically said that he would pick it up when he was good and ready. I explained that my lawn care guy would not cut the lawn if he had to roll his equipment through dog feces, he makes that clear. She said it will get picked up tonight. I said, no, it needs to be cleaned up now as my guy is coming to cut the lawn today. She said I didn’t tell her that and I said, I don’t have to tell you that, he is on a set schedule that he makes. Do you stay at a hotel and expect to be told when they cut the lawn? And do you let your dog crap all over the hotel/motel lawn and tell them, sorry we will pick it up when we get around to it?

I called her out for deceiving me as to who was staying there. I later noticed that one of her reviews read, “I can’t give a review as she wasn’t there.” Now it made sense. This woman was dumping employees in Airbnb’s who were using it as a crash pad. Seems harmless right? Wrong. I can’t give a proper review because I am basing my opinion on her and her reputation of other stays she has had on Airbnb. Most importantly, Airbnb will not cover damages if a third party stays on the property.

The employee she had staying there left his dogs in a guest bedroom during the day while he worked and the expensive thick mattress cover, expensive bedsheets, and high end comforter set were all covered in blood from his dog in heat. He could have easily left them in the kitchen area during the day with the baby gate provided to keep pets on tile vs. carpet when owners step out. He apparently left the dogs in one guest bedroom during the day while he worked, hence the blood everywhere. The beds are there for guests, not for dogs in heat.

What happened next blew me away. I received an email saying that the guest has closed out their stay. When I reached out to Airbnb asking if I could go by to make sure they didn’t damage the property on purpose on their way out, they suggested I reach out to Crissi to see if they vacated the premises. She snapped back to stop harassing her and to contact Airbnb, that she filed a complaint against me for harassment and I will be investigated. I told her Airbnb told me to reach out to her, and all I want to know is if there is someone still at the property, that’s on you. She chose to ignore me, that she herself said she would have her employee pass on to me. It wasn’t until I stated the dog feces needed to be cleaned up as the lawn guy would be coming to cut that she started the harassment complaints.

The outcome? You will love this: they took her recorded statement and my recorded statement. I thought they would back me as to her deception as to who would be staying there, and damages were incurred. Since the employee had no direct concern as to what happens in the property, I am only left with dealing with Airbnb. They told me to reach out to this Crissi and explain the damages. I told them, “I am not reaching out to her as she is already saying I am harassing her and this will only add to the problem.”

After a short investigation they decided to block me — temporarily, they said — then two days later made it permanent, saying I could appeal. However you can’t go on their site and appeal once they have blocked you. So they run you in circles telling you to appeal within a certain amount of time knowing you can’t. They sent me emails from five different reps saying do this or that, only adding to the confusion. I asked to deal with one person and they said no, that different departments handle different issues, e.g. claims for damages, or to file an appeal against closing my listing.

They contradict their emails. One rep told me I had 72 hours to provide further information about my case and four hours later told me they had permanently cancelled me off their site. When they told me I could appeal, I asked what specific issues were they concerned about so I could address them. Airbnb would not tell me, so I had no idea what I was defending myself against. They wouldn’t tell me if they had shut her down also for deception of who was staying there, for lying about the size of the animals staying, and for putting company vehicles on the property where it is a violation of city ordinance. Airbnb is judge and jury.

At last stand, I asked if the department that handles damages is still reviewing my claims and nobody has gotten back to me. They basically shut me down, affected me financially and turned their back on me after years of listing on their site. I have rented for over 40 years, long term and short term, in more than one state and have letters of recommendation from guests, and often these people became good friends. I take pride in giving people a place I would want to rent myself. I work hard to provide a nice experience for the guests that Airbnb tells me I am renting to. To shut me down shows how little value they see in their hosts when a problem arises from a guest and we are their bread and butter.

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Airbnb Truly is Hell When They Defend Guests Like These

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I was happy to stumble across Airbnb Hell, as that’s exactly what happened to me as a host. I had used the platform for years as a guest and loved the community and having the comforts of home when traveling. When a chance to travel to climb and work presented itself, I felt this was a no brainer to make some additional money while gone. However, my experience was cut very short after my second guest booked for a week and decided to violate all the house rules.

I alerted this guest that I would be by to pick up my truck camper and explained not to block it in. She told me family was visiting but ensured it would not be a problem. Upon arrival, my camper was blocked in, and after attempting multiple calls, text, and knocking on the door and seeing children inside unattended, I decided to let myself in. The house smelled strongly of marijuana, which I’m not opposed to but not in the home. Four young children were on the couch and I had a “no one under 12” policy. Then a cat appeared.

After speaking with the guest and explaining the house rules, I decided her ignorance might be honest and decided to give them another chance. However after climbing the next day and returning into service range I was alerted by my neighbor co-host there were more children and now a dog on the property. At the same time the guest had requested to book additional time, to which I responded “your stay is being canceled and I would like you to leave the home immediately.” All communication stopped and I sent the co-host over only for them to lock the door and refuse to answer.

The following morning I sent my best friend — a strong male — over to attempt to resolve this matter. However, again, they wouldn’t answer and he informed them that he would be letting himself in. Upon arrival, the same violations were occurring and he and the boyfriend got into an argument. Basically I called the police to have them removed for trespassing because Airbnb continued to say they were working on the matter.

I sent the police over with my friend and they were astonished the guest had been there for days and not weeks or a month. There were cameras up, random new tools most definitely stolen and all kinds of weird stuff. They stayed until the guests finally gathered their possessions and I thanked them for their service. This whole time for over 48 hours Airbnb support did basically nothing besides state they were looking into the matter. With the s%#&, smoke, drugs, and the thought of my newly remolded home being destroyed I took matters into my own hands.

Within 72 hours, I got a wonderful pre-Christmas gift of being removed from the app. I’ve attempted to be reinstated but can’t file the forms due to Airbnb locking my account. When calling and emailing them I’m basically running in a circle. With other bookings coming, I paid my co-hosts a large additional cleaning fee, and funds to replace the sheets and blankets.

I’m now left with that cost and the horror of attempting to resolve this as it feels like I’m in purgatory. Basically Airbnb can get AIDS, COVID, and be tortured for all I care at this point. They have the worst customer service I’ve experienced in my 38 years of existence. Thank you all for listening to my rant and I only hope no one ever experiences anything like this.

Retired Public School Teacher Staying in Costa Rica

Our first stay in Costa Rica we used Airbnb for a stay that should have lasted three weeks. Because of problems with the host and his large dog, the host agreed to let us leave early. After we left he did not return our messages and eventually sent an email saying that he had decided to keep the $1,000 payment to teach us a lesson.

We contacted Airbnb but they closed our case due to not being able to reach the host in Costa Rica. The reason the place wasn’t working out was because his large German Shepard was free to roam around during our stay (including in our small pool) keeping our dogs from being able to leave the house freely. The dog also jumped up on my wife standing up trying to keep our dog away from the other dog. The dog was able to push his muddy paws on my wife’s face.

The last straw was when the host cut down a large tree outside our window and then started burning construction trash. The smoke and toxic fumes filled our rental. We told the host but he did not stop. We yelled that we needed to leave asap and he agreed. We stayed up till very late repacking all our stuff and cleaning the unit (three bedrooms, two story) only to be ripped off by this man. Another issue is that early on he told us that he was heavily armed on his site which now we believe to be a threat. We reported each of these issues individually to Airbnb and they have yet to respond to them.

Exposed Jagged Glass, Bloodstained Sheets, Delusional Host

It took weeks to resolve our bad stay with Airbnb and, since it’s not actually resolved in my eyes, I have a tale for the sore-eyed.

My husband and I reserved a stay in a Catskills Airbnb with a hot tub, described as “clean” and “well-kept.” Suffice it to say it was neither: mildewed pillowcases, pillows yellow with the drool of years past, and I found lots of similarly stained sheets in the closet when I tried to change out the dirties (none were clean but all backup bedding had stains, and a lot of blood). The duvet cover had never been washed. My mistake was thinking that the host’s cranky answers to any negative reviews might have had some merit, and there were 180 reviews before my scathing one. Another mistake: not reviewing all of them.

Airbnb immediately refunded the cleaning fee after I send photos of the gross situation. Getting any further with support after that first level is like pulling teeth. I requested a refund of the service fee as well because in my humble opinion the listing should not be active. I researched their hygiene and cleanliness standards; feel free to send your photos in if you have a dirty experience like we did.

We did stay for the three days because the Catskills rental market is hot this year, and not a lot of rentals were available. We also have a dog — how many other rentals were likely to allow pets? Was Airbnb really going to pay for a stay at a swell, canine-accepting place like the Emerson Spa? I didn’t want anyone to crash right into our three-day stay, which we do annually after dropping the kids off at camp. What was the owner going to do, even if I did spend half the time on the phone with Airbnb support, send his crappy cleaning person in to do another bad job, and FedEx us new pillows?

We were worn out from waiting for a response from Airbnb about the host’s responsibility to provide a safe place. I accepted their inadequate offer of a $100 coupon instead of refunding the service fee. At this point it really wasn’t about the money; we didn’t want someone’s innocent six-year old gashing their chubby little finger on the exposed glass as host advertised as “fine for children six and over.”

At one point I had to rethink what other people consider “clean” and “hygienic,” but that morphed into wondering why anyone would think we’d want to shell out $300 a night to sleep on bloodstained sheets? I got my answer when I saw his “review” of us which wasn’t even posted as a review. The host simply responded to my honest review. He sounded positively unhinged.

Airbnb Discriminatory Hosts and Their Civil Rights Violations

We haven’t traveled for more than two years due to the pandemic. We are all vaccinated now so I booked a very special tour for my family of baseball fans at the Baseball Hall of Fame.

I did this after reserving a very nice place on a lake for my family of four. My youngest daughter is a person with disabilities. She uses a professionally trained service dog specifically trained for her (he does balance work, interrupt behaviors, alerts, and retrieving objects).

I booked a home through Airbnb. I read their anti-discrimination policy and they suggest allowing the host to know about her service dog. I reluctantly did this and explained that her service dog is trained. I actually gave them more information than was required so they would feel comfortable that her dog is indeed a well-trained “actual” service dog.

Once the host found out he abruptly cancelled the reservation, citing “allergies.” I complained to Airbnb who sided with the host — they told them the house was occupied. We rented the whole house. I looked at the tax records and they also said the house was unoccupied and that there was monthly rental income. Basically, the host lied and that was the end of their so-called investigation.

I tried to find another place and every one of the places was denied access due to her service dog. I have documented all of the incidents with a paper trail. I’ve spent most of my life serving the public. I am really appalled at the lack of respect for my daughter. It is shameful.

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Dog Lost his Life due to Airbnb Host’s Negligence

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We rented an Airbnb in Cape May  last week. There were many issues with the rental but my family and I were happy to be there just to get a break. The one issue we did contact the host over was that the air conditioning on the first floor was not working. Three days later she sent a repair man without our knowledge; the doors were locked she provided him with the code. Inside were my daughters and my one-year old bichon.

Due to the front door not closing properly, my bichon ran away. The host called my daughter to notify her. We raced home and began the search for my pup. He ran into a corn field nearby. My family and I searched for three days and nights with the help of neighbor’s drones and bloodhounds. We found her three days later torn apart by a coyote. We are heartbroken no one should have entered the premises without our knowledge.

No one has ever even apologized. I know some will think “oh, it’s only a dog” but suppose someone’s child ran out that door — I am sure all hell would have broken loose. Well he was my baby and the pain is no less. He was part of our family.

Don’t Expect Any Host Support — it is Airbnb Hell

I am a property owner that has had listings with Airbnb for six years, with reviews that have been 4 or 5 stars 100% of the time. Even so, Airbnb chose to support a terrible guest who had been listed with them for two years (and had no reviews) over me. Not only did they support her, but they were rude and threatening to me.

The guest did a same day instant booking at 10:00 AM and then late in the afternoon sent an image text that was blank. I sent a text telling her that there wasn’t an image, and around 7:00 that evening she said it was her service dog information. They had already checked in.

We have a strict no animals policy. Our cabins are new, and we want to keep them dander free for the comfort of guests with allergies. Furthermore, our area had lodging options that accepted animals, so they didn’t need to ignore our no animal policy in order to find lodging. The guest also never provided any evidence that her dog was actually a service dog. I believe this is a scam she has been pulling wherever she travels.

After they checked out, I found short black hairs everywhere. I had to wash all of the fabric, including the curtains. I also vacuumed the floor twice and then mopped it. I finally thought I had gotten all of the hair out of the cabin, but when I opened the fridge there were short black hairs on the shelves inside.

I posted a review of her stay with information about the condition of the cabin and a private remark that we were disappointed that they wouldn’t respect our wish to keep our new cabins dander and animal hair free. The guest complained to Airbnb about my review (which I had posted to protect other hosts from her). They removed my review and sent me a threatening email that they could remove my account for being discriminatory. I asked Airbnb to explain what was discriminating about my review and they did not respond.

We are removing our listings from Airbnb and hope that other hosts will learn from our mistake and choose somewhere else to list their property. I would love advice on finding listing agents that have the backs of property owners.

Just as a side note, I understand that the ADA has tried to provide protection to those with disabilities, and I would totally support someone with a disability who needed a service animal. However, I don’t believe this guest or her husband have a disability. They were simply taking advantage of a system set up to protect those with real needs.

Broke and Unhappy After Customer Service Experience

I’m highly disappointed in my recent experience with Airbnb’s customer service. My friends and I booked what turned out to be a scam listing. We were already about 8 hours into our 11-hour drive to the beach when we received a notification from Airbnb that our booking had been canceled and we wouldn’t be penalized for the late cancelation.

We expressed that we were already over halfway there and were left with no place to stay. We were told that Airbnb would book us a new place to stay and get back to us within an hour. We never heard back from them. We ended up booking the only other pet-friendly beach house in the area that turned out to be four times the price of where we initially thought we were staying.

We reached out to Airbnb many times and were told that we had to wait until our assigned case manager contacted us and that no one else could help us. My friends and I now owe a difference of $700 per person for the new booking and Airbnb has refused to cover any of this difference. Now I’m broke and upset and my whole vacation was ruined because of this.

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Fleas, Cockroaches, and a Late Check-in

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These Airbnb hosts made us wait an hour and a half after our check-in time to actually let us check in. Our dog caught fleas and there were live cockroaches, dirty floors, and a slimy shower. The hosts actually admitted to all of this. They said we broke their blinds when we never touched them and tried to charge us for it. They said I never paid the pet fee which is insane because we texted them like a month before our trip to pay it but they never responded to let us pay.

I reported all of this to Airbnb to which they sided with the hosts even with all this proof. They said they must stick to their guest policy and sent me a link. I went through the policy and showed that it said less than 24 hours after the trip ends, you can get a refund worked out. I told them if they want to stick to their refund policy then they should take the time to read their own policy and circled where it said that they would work out a refund less than 24 hours after a stay. Then I showed them that I messaged them in less than 24 hours.

The person I was speaking to said that it stated “24 hours before.” I zoomed in and screenshotted where it said “after,” circled it, and sent it to her again. They closed the case.

Even with Roaches, Guest not Sure Who to be Upset with

blankThis isn’t a clear cut black and white Airbnb horror story. There are some things I should have been more aggressive on, but in the middle of a pandemic I feel it fair not to be too aggressive because for all I know this could have been my host’s only source of income.

To begin, I walked in and the place was very much not clean. I was given a warning by my boyfriend, to which he felt the judgement call up to me. To be honest, my mind was on their cute little pig that met me at the door; he was so sweet.

I quickly looked around and noticed maybe one or two critters. It was no big deal; it’s getting warm and in Mississippi the critters start coming out. My boyfriend is definitely a city boy so he freaks out about everything. I messaged the host telling her exactly that.

However, I was wrong. It wasn’t until really late into the night that more started coming out and they were huge. That’s when I really looked at the place. The kitchen sink wasn’t cleaned (why did I pay a cleaning fee?) and under the bed/chairs/sink there were enough either droppings or roach body parts. I was disgusted.

We couldn’t find a place to book that late at night so we were stuck one night. I kept joking that my cat would defend us from the roaches while we slept (I couldn’t sleep that night). The next morning we were trying to get out to the Marriott that I booked. The pig says good bye on the way out (he really was a sweet pig and I’ve never seen a pig run to me until that day).

The host at least refunded me for the other days, and as for the cleaning fee I wasn’t very aggressive because as I’ve said before I’m not sure if this is their only source of income. They also let me bring my cat without putting in a pet deposit.

I contacted Airbnb later about the service fee (possibly the cleaning fee) that night because trying to get settled into a new place last minute had its own issues. I will admit I wasn’t very aggressive with it; maybe it’s because during all this pandemic I feel like that isn’t what the world needs right now.

Airbnb basically told me to f&%k off on the service fee and I definitely wasn’t getting the cleaning fee refunded. I should have checked with VBRO or nearby hotels, because most times with all the fees it ends up being more expensive than a Marriott. This was one of those times.

I’m not sure if I should be upset with the host, Airbnb, myself or anyone really. It’s up to you, are you willing to take the risk? Is the pig worth it?