From Host to Host, Payment to Payment, Until Finally Something Stable

I booked a historic firehouse Airbnb five miles from SOHO in Jersey City for August 6-13, 2017. My Discover card was charged $1509. While we were on our way on August 6th, I realized I hadn’t received access instructions. Since I was driving, I asked my son to message the host for access instructions. He messaged back that the property wouldn’t be ready until September 4th. My son messaged him that we had a confirmed reservation and my credit card had been charged. His only response was to call Airbnb. This was about 10:40 AM.

We did call Airbnb and worked with the customer service representative to try to find another place to stay. He sent an email around 11:20 AM with some other properties for us to consider and an offer of a $143 credit toward another property. My son was searching for places on my phone while I drove. I pulled off the PA turnpike into a McDonalds parking lot and we booked a townhouse in Brooklyn, based on the description and pictures in the listing. This was about 11:40 AM.

About an hour later the host of that property called while I was still driving on the PA turnpike. He told me that he noted that we were bringing two dogs and that they treat dogs like guests. I actually thought that sounded good. What he meant, but didn’t tell me, is that he was going to charge me $40 per dog per day for the dogs. It was the next day when I realized this and he had charged my Discover card $611.25. He never got my approval for this charge and I would never pay such an outrageous “pet fee”.

We arrived at the property about 5:45 PM. The property was not as described or pictured in the listing. The property was filthy, smelly, and uninhabitable. Walls were water damaged. Outlets had missing covers. The “couch” in the living area was a wooden bench covered with a throw pillow. The only TV was in one of the bedrooms. The bedrooms were on the upper level and the kitchen and living areas were on the lower level. They were separated by very steep stairs with no hand rail. The “back garden” was an enclosed, paved area with plants that had been cut down and left to decay. As a result it was smelly and bug infested.

There was no way I could stay there with my son and dogs. I immediately called Airbnb. I sent them numerous pictures documenting the condition of the property. I have attached the pictures at the end of this email. They refused to apply the money I had paid and the credit I had been offered to another property. They were awful to deal with. They were supposed to call me back that night and never did. I also called on Monday August 7th, left a message, and never heard back. By this point it was almost 8:00 PM.

In desperation, I found another place and reserved it. My Discover card was charged another $1,572.31. It turned out to be exactly as described and pictured. The host immediately cleaned it up and got it ready for us. We stayed there for the full week and found it to be everything we expected.

To summarize the amounts we were charged and amounts I believe we are due credit for:

– Charged by Airbnb to Discover card 6/19/17 for Airbnb historic firehouse in Jersey City 8/6/17 = $1,509.00
– Credit issued by Airbnb 8/6/17 = ($533.02)
– “Pet Fee” for townhouse in Brooklyn 8/7/17 = $611.25
– Two-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn = $1,572.31

– Amount I should have been charged = $1,509.00
– Credit offered by Airbnb for reservation cancelled by host = ($143.00)

Total = $1,366.00
Credit Due = $1,793.54

A Few Stained Carpets and a Hidden Guest with Your Stay?

It was a cold, miserable day in April 2017. My husband and I hadn’t been on a vacation where we stayed in one spot longer than two nights for years. We did do a stay at an Airbnb in the Okanagan, in British Columbia, Canada, last year, and it was amazing. We decided to try again, only for a longer time and on a lake. We perused Airbnb until we found the perfect spot. The pictures blew me away, it was exactly what we were looking for, and the reviews were all raving. What could possible go wrong, right? You know the old saying: “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is?”

Well, it was. This was the most money per night we have ever spent on a room, at $189/night, and we were so looking forward to it. For months, we dreamed about how relaxing it was going to be. Then we got there. We walked in, and the carpets were deplorable. This was a pet friendly suite, which I was totally fine with, being both a cat and dog owner. We left our dog behind, as she did not meet the height restriction imposed by this stay, which was fine; it would be a more relaxing vacation without her. I had no idea – someone correct me if I’m wrong – but when a place is pet friendly, does that equate to “please bring your canine friend, and make sure it isn’t house trained, and kindly have it piss and defecate anywhere on the carpet it pleases, as many times as possible, so that everyone who comes after will know it was here”?

That’s what the carpets looked like here. It was absolutely disgusting. I took a video and uploaded it to youtube. It really was worse in person, but you can clearly see all the stains in the video. As if that wasn’t enough, the listing said it was for a two-bedroom basement walkout. Perfect, I thought: we’ll have two beds to sleep on, I can see if my sister and her husband can come down from Vancouver for a night or two (out of the five nights we paid for, at an additional cost of $15/night if she stayed), and if she didn’t come, maybe I can starfish on that second bed a night or two, really stretch out and sleep alone. We stepped in, looked around, and tried the second bedroom door off the bathroom (a cheater ensuite). It was blocked from the other side; we couldn’t get in. The door didn’t lock though – it was just something against the door.

We didn’t think twice about it; I didn’t invite my sister and her husband down that first night anyway, thinking maybe they were still cleaning it (wanting to give them the benefit of the doubt). I was wrong. We woke up the next day, sharing the bathroom, brushing our teeth, etc. and we heard coughing from the other side of the door. What? Are you kidding me? There was someone in there, and obviously slept in there, because the coughing continued for at least half an hour before I texted the host and asked to talk to him.

He came down and explained it was his kid in there, that we didn’t ‘need’ the second bedroom, so his child from out of town would be using the room. Really? Gross. The door doesn’t lock, nor did the door to the main house that the suite shared. So I could be taking a shower, and dude could just say ‘oops’, and walk in on me? Let me be clear: the ad was for a two-bedroom basement walkout. Not once did he contact me and tell me we would be sharing the suite, nor that the second bedroom would not be available to me, nor that he would be lowering my rental rate. Not once. He had months to let me know this.

I told him I wasn’t happy about this lack of privacy (what if we wanted to get freaky with it in that second bedroom? None of his business since we paid for it). What if we wanted to get freaky at all, anywhere in that suite? We had to worry about his kid listening and hearing everything? Gross. Just gross. Well guess what? He texted me later and his solution to this was to put a different kid down there; she was ‘quieter’. Great, thanks. That solved everything (dripping with sarcasm).

After two nights, he texted me to tell me there was no longer anyone staying in that room, but we still couldn’t get in. We never even saw what it looked like. I waited, and stewed, and decided to leave an honest review, as follows:

“Rod and Penny are the loveliest of people, and their dog Dusty is adorable. The location is great, beautiful views, lovely patio and hot tub. I am leaving an honest review, because I feel like it’s the only way Airbnb can work for everyone. I was disappointed with the state of the carpets (pet stained – had anyone else mentioned the dirty carpets in their review, we may have cancelled). Being a pet friendly rental should not equal filthy carpets. And I am not a neat freak by any stretch – I just like it clean. Was also not happy at not getting the two-bedroom suite as advertised, with no advanced notice that we were not getting the full suite that we paid $200/night for. After two nights, Rod did tell us no one was staying in that second bedroom anymore (I had told him I was upset about it), but we still did not have access to it; it was blocked shut. That being said, Rod was concerned about our happiness while there, but there was nothing he could do to improve the situation. The damage was already done.”

Airbnb did a good job of responding to my request for money back; I will give them that. They didn’t get me what I asked for, but I got one night’s rent back, plus an additional $50. However, here’s the kicker: my honest review does not show up on his listing. My question is this: how many other people commented about the filthy carpets? If I had seen one complaint about cleanliness, I would have cancelled. When he came down to speak about it, he said how shocked he was, how no one had ever complained about it before, and how he had the carpets cleaned every three weeks.

In our correspondence about a refund, he told me I could have checked out. Right. In the middle of tourist season, I could have checked out, only gotten half my money back, and found a place to stay? I don’t think so. This guy was arrogant to deal with when it came to the refund. He only puts the good reviews up, and he knows his place is filthy. He has the location and pictures on his side, and will continue to scam people. Shame on Airbnb for not making a site where all reviews get posted. I paid my money to stay there, so I should be able to review it for all potential guests to see. I will never use Airbnb again.

Airbnb Expected us to Use our Psychic Powers

My husband and I recently sold our home and needed a temporary place of residence for three weeks before we could move into our new home. We figured an Airbnb would be the most comfortable route as we have a dog and a young son. Upon our arrival to our Airbnb everything seemed fine and the host had been very kind in his messages. Upon further inspection, the toilet was not clean, the shower looked like it had not been cleaned in awhile, the shower curtain liner was brown at the bottom, and the host had left his used bar of soap that had body hair on it in the shower. The fridge was full of his food which left no room for the groceries we would need for three weeks and the freezer had dried food stuck to it. In addition the bed was only a full bed for three people (myself, my spouse, and our son).

We stayed there less than 12 hours and the next morning I immediately messaged the owner and kindly told him it would not work. He asked if there was anything he could do and I stated that we just wanted a refund and it was okay. I later called Airbnb asking for a full refund and they stated they would back the owner’s refund policy of only 50% if we did not cancel prior to staying there. My question is this: how on earth could it be possible that we would know before seeing the apartment that it would not meet our needs? We paid $2156 to stay there for 22 nights and only actually occupied it for eight hours. How is it fair that we only received $856 as a refund?

The cancellation policy was stated, but the apartment we expected was not what we got. The owner is also at fault. It is not expensive to hire someone to clean a residence before you know you will be having guests stay there. Basically we are out $1300 because Airbnb somehow expected us to use our psychic powers to know that the apartment would not meet our needs prior to staying there. Not only is that the most ludicrous and ridiculous policy I’ve ever heard, but it’s also theft to let someone take so much money from us and then not provide us with a refund. I will never, ever, use Airbnb again and I will let everyone know how they do not advocate for their guests. I will also be filing a complaint with the BBB. My husband even offered to refund the host for the time we did occupy the residence and still a refund was denied. In the past I have used VRBO to book vacation homes and have never been disappointed with my experience. This has taught me that I should have stuck with a company who cares about its guests and to never, ever, use Airbnb again.

What Airbnb Will Never Tell You About Our Vacation

Once a year, our family gets together in a waterfront home large enough to accommodate all of us so we can relax and spend time together. As our family has spread out across the country, this vacation gives all of us and our significant others a time and place to reconnect and create new memories together. We typically select an east coast location in the middle states. Today, the ten of us who traveled as long as 18 hours to get to our vacation home thank this host. Without her my wife would never be able to say, “someday we will look back on this and laugh.”

This host is a self proclaimed intimacy MD. When advertising her psychiatry practice and her book she touts, “Achieve change. Are you ready for your best life ever?” If you are ready for your best life ever, stay away from her Airbnb and HomeAway listing in Virginia, listed on Airbnb  and HomeAway.

Giving credit where credit is due, the house is very pretty. Beyond pretty. However, the host was only looking out for her interests, not ours. The problems started when she requested a $200 deposit to use the boat listed with the house, which is a direct violation of Airbnb policy. Naturally, she accepted checks, but if you are already traveling how do you mail her a check in advance of your arrival? She also wanted us to take an online course and send copies of our driver’s licenses.

Once you arrive, be aware there isn’t a phone line in the house. Okay, she made it clear in her listing that there wasn’t a phone line. The listing stated there was Internet access, but upon arrival there was a note stating the Internet modem would need to be reset frequently. Frequent resetting didn’t matter The wifi never came up as available. Somehow the settings on the DSL modem/wifi unit were different than what was listed in the host’s looseleaf notebook about the house.

We would have set up our own hotspot, but there was limited cell service at that location. We could receive calls, but sending and receiving email was rarely possible. A number of us are techies. To fix the problem, we set the wifi to the settings she had written in the notebook. Unfortunately for us, the Internet modem did in fact need to be reset frequently. The unit barely functioned for any period of time.

The bigger problem was the A/C didn’t work. I couldn’t get the house under 88 degrees. Upon closer inspection, the return filter appeared to be clean, but was not connected to any ductwork. The air conditioning would not function. That is the reason the A/C kicks on and the compressors make noise. Cold air was never delivered because there wasn’t a return. Lucky for us, the host left us a notebook that said, “If you encounter any problems, please call #. We have a property manager who lives in the area but may not always be immediately available. We will do whatever we can to fix your problem as soon as possible.”

We called him. He asked us the address of the home. When provided the address, he told us we had the wrong number. What could we do? I called the host, but the call went to voicemail. The good doctor never answered her phone and only responded via email. When we emailed her to discuss getting internet access and air conditioning, she emailed back, telling us to leave and go to a local motel… talk about callous.

Ten people booked her rental home months in advance, paid good money, drove all that distance along with two dogs, and were told go to a local motel. Since I found it hard to believe, and you may too as she is an intimacy doctor, I pasted images of her email with the photos. Her next act to provide herself with her best life ever was to refund our long held deposit and email us to get out by 11:00 AM the next morning.

This goes to what Airbnb will never tell you about our stay. By refunding our money, this host ruined our vacation and prohibited us from posting a review of her home. Where do you go with ten people and two dogs for an entire week during the summer? By cancelling our reservation, even though we stayed in her 99 plus degree hell hole, she made sure that Airbnb and HomeAway would never let you hear about this.

If the self proclaimed intimacy doctor should ever read this, please note that there was no intimacy in your hellhole. At 99 degrees, which I am sure you never experienced in your personal home, intimacy is the last thing on your mind. Be sure to note that before you write your next book and invest the money somewhere else. Please don’t invest in another house and then use it to ruin peoples hard earned vacations.

Airbnb Hosts Shouldn’t Skip Important Details

I found a place on Airbnb, booked it, and started my conversation with the host. I found out that the host had two dogs that have roaming rights over the grounds. This was not mentioned in the listing. It’s probably not a big deal to most folks, but I’m a dog breeder, with an unspayed female bitch. Where I go, my beloved dog goes. As my dog is more than a pet, her welfare is of utmost importance to me. Given the presence of canine influenza and other male dogs, and the fact that nothing was mentioned in the listing, I choose to find another place. However, the strict cancellation fee states I only get half of my funds back. What a crock… I have placed a complaint and asked for help from Airbnb. They had to think about it and will let me know in due course if I’m able to get any more of my funds back. No time frame was provided when they may let me know. I had booked the place at 10:00 AM, found out about the dogs, and contacted Airbnb at 5:00 PM the same day. This is probably my first and last time using this company.

Airbnb Nightmare at Casa Pasco at Lake Chapala, Mexico

We arrived at Casa Pasco in Lake Chapala, Mexico, having booked through Airbnb. Our welcome started with the owner answering the door after repeatedly ringing the bell at the gate. No “Hello” or “Welcome” just, “Where have you been?” Well, we landed in Guadalajara, grabbed a taxi and the taxi driver had difficulties finding Casa Pasco. The owner, Scott, gave us quite the rude welcome. Immediately my first thought was this place was not going to be what Airbnb advertised, starting with some small out-of-control dogs that attacked the pet we had traveling with us.

There was a sewage/chemical smell in both Casa Pasco Casitas. The internet was not working, as had been promised in my Casita. I went to my family member’s Casita, and the internet was still working poorly: forget about watching Netflix or even getting some work completed. The smell was so disgusting I returned to my Casita. Every time we went to ask for help we always felt uncomfortable as the owners were not so friendly, as if we were a bother since we were complaining. It was almost comical watching Scott try to work with a simple internet router that was hanging outdoors on a nail outside my Casita.

Within a couple of hours of being there I knew we had to get the hell out of this place. No way we were staying for multiple nights. I talked to my family member and explained that we were leaving no matter what. We stayed up the entire night, keeping my family member up in my Casita outdoors to avoid the stench of sewage and chemicals (maybe roach spray?). Scott claimed to be so involved with the local community; he said that his local friends and soccer team kids would be visiting and that we should be kind and accommodating. We were also told to lock our belongings up while they visited. I won’t say or express what I think about this host.

Within 12 hours we were packed and left this Airbnb nightmare. The photos look great and the reviews are all great but one must wonder about the authenticity of each review as we had to negotiate with Airbnb and the owner to get a partial refund. Airbnb seemed to side with the host and I wonder if they even suggested that the owner take an honest look at our complaints and resolve them. I will never use Airbnb again, as I don’t feel I should have to negotiate the way we had to. I think that us offering to pay for the first night was more than fair especially after our experience. Don’t use Airbnb, and stay away from Casa Pasco at Lake Chapala. We found an amazing place within those first 24 hours by searching for accommodations on Google. A place that said “welcome”, loved our pet, and allowed us to decompress after 12 hours of hell.

In Airbnb Hell with my Cat for the Past Five Days

My Airbnb hell started when I tried to book a room for two weeks in the Fort Lauderdale/Miami area on April 19. I requested a booking for a room that showed availability for my dates:

Hello,

My kitty, Cookie, and I will be flying into Fort Lauderdale tomorrow at 3:30 PM, so we hope to get to your house about 4:30. I look forward to meeting you then! Kim.

P.S. Cookie is well housebroken and declawed.

I sent this last Wednesday at 5:14 PM only to receive the following response:

Hello Kim,

Sorry for the inconvenience but those days are not available. Thank you.

I then tried to book a different place in Miami that showed “pets allowed” only to receive the following email from the hostess, Andrea, the next day as I was landing at Fort Lauderdale Airport:

Hi Andrea,

Do you have room for me and my cat, Cookie, for one week, April 20-27? We are flying into Fort Lauderdale from Denver tomorrow, arriving 3:25 PM. Cookie is extremely polite; she goes only in her box or outdoors, and she does not scratch. We hope to meet you tomorrow. I am a 64-year-old nonsmoker and nondrinker with a live and let live attitude moving to Portugal. Please advise.

Thanks,

Kim

Last Wednesday at 7:53 PM:

Hello Kim,

Thank you for your inquiry. The room is not available on April 20th, only starting April 21-27. What kind of arrangements do you have for your cat? Where will she/he sleep, eat, poop etc? I already have cats living here.

Last Thursday at 12:33 AM my request expired because Andrea didn’t respond within 24 hours. Airbnb recommended finding a new listing. Now the cheapest hotel was a Red Carpet Inn for $48 through Priceline so I stayed there even though my budget was for $21 per night . It got worse. The following morning I went to book a new listing only to be locked out of the Airbnb website; when I tried to book a new listing, it asked me to verify my bank account by entering two small deposit amounts. So I entered $0.50 and $0.75, thinking I was supposed to tell them two amounts to deposit and then verify they were deposited in my bank account. The message said “FAILED – TRY AGAIN,” so I entered two different amounts, and again “FAILED TO VERIFY BANK ACCOUNT.”

Now I was locked out of Airbnb because it then said to upload my bank statement. When I tried to do so, it would not accept the upload. I went on the site to find a phone number for help; there was none. Nor does the “Help Center” offer any solution or help for my problem. It doesn’t even describe it. I Googled “phone number for Airbnb” and a site called gethuman.com gave me a number which I called. After a long wait on hold, I finally got a person, but was disconnected while explaining the problem. I called back, again was put on hold, got a person, and then was disconnected again. Third try: same results.

I tried to email the Airbnb Help Desk:

Dear Airbnb,

I have been trying to book a room for the past 24 hours. When you requested deposit amounts on my bank account, I thought you meant I should give you two small amounts to deposit in my US bank account. I did, twice, and it said it failed. Then I went to get a bank statement to send you and saw you had already deposited two amounts into my bank account; I was supposed to see and enter them. I didn’t understand that from your website and now my bank statement won’t upload to Airbnb. I cannot book a room. Please let me book something. I have no place to stay tonight. I can’t call you… it’s maddening. Please use better English to communicate on your website. It is very unclear what you want users to do. See the attached photo of my US bank account showing the deposits.

Here is the response:

Unfortunately, your email has not reached Airbnb. To find an answer to your question, please visit our Help Center.

Thanks, Airbnb Customer Service 

I must now stay at the Red Carpet Inn for $79 because it is not possible to book anything through Airbnb. The next day, yesterday, April 22nd, my Airbnb account was working again, so I booked the first room I could find within my budget in Fort Lauderdale, asking the host if he would accept my kitty. He said it was okay so I went to his house and was relieved to find he would also rent the room to me through my entire stay, until May 7th. Meanwhile another lady booked the room through Airbnb’s ” Instant Book” for April 24th for one week, after he had committed to renting the room to me for two weeks.

Now Airbnb says I must leave, though I have no place to go and there are no rooms for rent for my dates. I told Airbnb: I am a 64-year-old woman you are trying to put out on the street with her cat with no place to go; I had already rented the room from the host, and I am not leaving. According to their rules, when the host agrees to honor the commitment he had made to me, Airbnb tells him they will charge him a penalty of $100 and issue a bad review and not allow him to book on Airbnb as a SuperHost if he cancels the Instant Booking with the lady who is due to arrive tomorrow.

It’s unconscionable. Airbnb is a nightmare, treating its customers – both guests and hosts – horribly and the public should be made aware.

Giving up on Airbnb after Colorado Stay

There was dust, dirt, bugs, pet hair, cat poop, and an odor throughout the house. I told the host before I booked that I was allergic to pets and she said it would not be an issue. This was not true as the pet hair, dander, and poop smells had me wishing I had only booked one night and not five. I wanted so badly to be staying back in the two-star hotel from my first night. I did Linsey (the host) the favor of feeding her neglected and emaciated old cat with what little food she had available for him. When there was no cat food remaining, I used cans of fish at my expense to feed the poor creature. I also shoveled the driveway and sidewalk to help out more. The listing stated there was one room available. I was surprised by a strange man she concealed from me who came out of the basement. Apparently, Linsey had been renting the basement out to some random person. She told me she did not tell me because he was supposed to leave on the second day of my five-night stay. This was another lie from Linsey. The man returned on my last night. He is a permanent resident of her basement. Any travelers should be made aware that there will be another man here during there stay.

One of the host’s male friends who was over one night also drank one of my beers, so a guest can expect his or her food and beverages not to be secure as well if staying there. If you are good with pet allergies, uncleanliness, an unfriendly, nitpicking, irresponsible, and demanding host, a surprise strange man in the basement, and the police being called on you, then by all means stay here. Linsey was very quick to answer requests. I thought her quickness would translate into a good stay. This was not the case. I had expected Leslie to be friendly from her posting. She was not friendly nor willing to interact with me. Linsey kept sending me unwanted texts about the lights in the house, and accused me of not “respecting her house energy policy” by leaving a 15-watt fluorescent bulb on in the upper hallway at night. I thought that with the money a guest spends, one would not have to stay in a house of darkness.

I was a little late checking out. Linsey did not bother to contact me by text or phone as she had done so many times before about trifling things that should have been no issue, but she did manage to call the police to assist me in my check out. What I had expected from the posting and her promptness to be a friendly, peaceful, and relaxing stay, turned out to be a truly trying ordeal with an irresponsible and meddling host. I do not recommended anyone stay at her place. The host was dishonest, nitpicking, and unfriendly. She put my personal safety in jeopardy while at the same time I kept her place clean, shoveled her driveway, and fed her neglected cat. The location in Longmont was good, but I would highly recommend against staying here. For some place that was advertised as “420 friendly,” Linsey calling the cops on her guest was very unfriendly and very much not cool. She put me in jeopardy to satisfy her own crazy mental disorder. Based on this experience with Linsey’s house, I will no longer be using Airbnb.

Noisy Dog: Not What We Expected From Airbnb

I wish we had been told the next door neighbour had a barking dog. We could not sit out in the back as the dog stood at the fence constantly barking. Opening the back door or having a conversation inside set the dog off early one morning. I opened the door and it barked so much. I tried to make it stop, but it woke up the other guests into house. I went to the clothesline and it stood looking over the fence constantly barking. When we first arrived we tried talking to it; usually dogs want to know you but there’s no way the owner tried to tell us how stressful it is being around it. It’s a bloody cattle dog – he has no idea how cruel he is to it. Paying money for a retreat, being rounded up by a cattle dog, and then having to clean the fridge, washing machine, a lint filter full of animal hair, and an unusable BBQ full of cockroaches made it one week of misery. From the last Airbnb, I know there are different hygiene standards but this place did not meet mine. Walking in to find caked stains in the fridge wasn’t a good start, the dog didn’t stop barking, and the host insulted my 19-year-old daughter asking her many kids she had.

Be Aware of Strict Cancellation and Pet Policies

I booked the Amity Cottage in Albany Western Australia to attend a workshop, and was planning to invite friends to come along. It was agreed I would update the host later with details. Bringing my dog along was ok and the host appeared to be a dog lover. However, when I updated with details of my friends and their dogs, it turned out there was a limit to the number of dogs (not listed anywhere), and my friends were refused. Over the phone, the host explained more dogs were unacceptable and promised a majority of the money to be refunded after I cancelled. But the refund was declined. After Airbnb intervened, I got $300 back from the $1238 that I paid. The host rented the house out to others for at least two nights during that period.