Negligence, Falsified Reviews and Major Health Risks

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I wanted to post this so people who use Airbnb are aware of the level of hostile manipulation and false statements that can come your way as paying guests with little to no support from Airbnb to investigate or handle the situation. We have used the platform for over five years with great reviews from hosts, but after this experience we will be going back to hotels exclusively. Long post, but worth the read if you use Airbnb.

Our review:

“This review and what unfolded during our stay at this property all starts from cleanliness. We’re in the middle of a pandemic and Airbnb has strict cleaning protocols that all hosts have been provided with, and we hope they follow.

Upon arrival at this property, we noticed there was dust on several inside surfaces and unclean toilets. There were dead moths in one room. Three rooms had broken curtain rods. The grill needed a thorough cleaning. Some rooms didn’t have screens on the windows.

Normally this wouldn’t be a huge deal (it’s the mountains) but with the pandemic and past reviews stating this property was spotless, we were disappointed and skeptical this property had been thoroughly cleaned. We decided to inform the host, send him pictures and inquire about a refund on the cleaning fee.

We thought this was a fair question, but it offended the host. He thought we were trying to scam him, which was not our intention. If something’s not up to code, you don’t want to pay for it.

The host offered to send the cleaning lady over. We declined, because we didn’t want to interact with people outside of our party. We told the host the issues were minor, and we just thought he’d liked to know. We were happy to pay the cleaning fee.

The cleaning lady showed up anyway without a mask on and entered the property. There was only one guest at the property, as the rest of us were at the grocery store getting supplies for the weekend. The cleaning lady was very hostile and accused us of letting the dust in because we opened the windows and doors. The dust was already there upon arrival.

The cleaning lady says the toilet was leaking as an excuse for why it’s dirty. She then questioned why we’re washing sheets. The guest informed her she has allergies and is being careful during this time. The cleaning lady leaves, and we get a message from the host.

The host says he is uncomfortable with the reservation and asks us to leave. He says he only wants guests “who are delighted with the property.” We’d be delighted if it was clean. I ask him to call me. He doesn’t. Things have taken a turn. We assume he’s worried about a bad review, but doesn’t cancel the reservation. The host messages me back a list of what the cleaning lady saw:

1. Human feces all over the toilet and wall

2. Urine behind and on the wall beside the toilet

3. Sheets being washed because a woman in the cabin vomited on them

4. The woman at the cabin refused to let the cleaning lady in the master bedroom

5. The front door didn’t work

6. The spa was dirty

We were extremely confused by this feedback, as it wasn’t anything we said to the host or cleaning lady. Also, none of it was true. We hadn’t even gotten in the spa. The cleaning lady was trying to insinuate the house was spotless before our arrival, and we had created this mess within an hour of being on the property.

Again, I asked the host to please call me. The host’s dad called me and had the cleaning lady on the line too. He asked who got sick, and we informed him nobody was sick, and I’m unclear where he got this information. He says he has ring camera footage of one of us saying they threw up. We tell him it’s not true.

The cleaning lady is very upset and accuses us of lying. It’s all very unprofessional. The host’s dad tells us that when I asked for the cleaning fee to be refunded, it really “pissed” him off. I say I understand that, it wasn’t our intention, we want to stay and have a nice weekend. We thought he would like to know amidst a pandemic and Airbnb’s increased cleaning protocols. He says he’ll have to talk about it with his son and get back to us.

We don’t hear from him for an hour, and he has yet to cancel the reservation on the Airbnb app. We are frantically looking up other places but can’t find anything in our price range. We just bought groceries. The thought of having to drive home four hours in the dark is looming over us. We decide the best approach is to apologize again and say we are “delighted” to stay. We are bullied into saying the property is clean.

After we message the host this, he texts back that we can only stay if we are happy. He questions my motivations for asking for the cleaning fee refund. He states that “that is a warning signal to a game we shall not play.” We assure him we’re not trying to play games. We are happy to stay. The next day we want to get into the spa, but there is a warning label on the control panel. Not wanting anymore trouble, we decide not to get into the spa and inform the host.

The host accuses us of splashing water out but agrees to send a tech. The tech arrives and states the water level is fine (because we hadn’t even got in it yet), and a number of reasons can cause the warning label to flash. He reset the breaker and all was well. We made the best of the weekend. It is a great house with lots of room.

After leaving the house, the host’s dad texted me. He says the cleaning lady found the house is in great condition upon our departure. He then asks for a five-star review. He says if we leave a five-star review, he will leave us one. Who’s playing games now? I don’t respond.

I decide to leave a honest review, whatever happens to my rating. My suggestions to the host are deep clean your property, find a new cleaning lady and maybe get into a different line of work because customer service doesn’t suit you.”

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Unauthorized Charge; I Don’t Use Airbnb

I had a $1258 charge show up on my debt card for Airbnb. I don’t have an account with them nor has this card ever been used for an Airbnb purchase. I contacted Airbnb support and got this response:

Thank you for your patience as we looked into your question about a suspected, unauthorized charge on your credit card. We understand your concerns, but please rest assured that a full and thorough investigation has been carried out on the disputed charge.

As outlined in the previous message by my colleague, a refund cannot be issued in cases in which we believe a friend or family member who has access to your payment method has used it unintentionally. Unfortunately, we’re unable to release any information regarding the reservation or the user accounts involved without a formal request, such as a subpoena, from a government agency or law enforcement. If a government agency or law enforcement contact us regarding this issue, Airbnb will fully cooperate with their requests.

We again recommend getting in touch with anyone you may have given your credit card details to in the past. Additionally, we would suggest contacting any friends or relatives who have an Airbnb account that you have traveled with on Airbnb previously—if you added your payment credentials on another account and decided to save these credentials for future use, this could be what caused the unexpected charge. Best, Conn.

Fitting the message was signed “Conn”. I’m livid and will not stop until this is corrected.

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Cockroaches and Long Term Cancellations

I had an internship in a foreign country (not tropical, and not at all known for big problems in the slightest). I needed a place to stay for two months and couldn’t access any of the local sites from the states. So I turned to Airbnb.

Now, we all know Airbnb’s absolutely shitty long-term cancellation policy of losing a month up front (if not more). Well, on day two of my trip, I woke up to a cockroach in the bedroom, and this dude was absolutely massive. I also woke up pretty late, around 8:30 AM, so it was broad daylight outside.

I immediately Airbnb messaged my host and Airbnb support, specifically saying I found a cockroach. I then ended up killing it (this thing was so massive I couldn’t get its dead body off my shoes and ended up tossing them). My host’s response was to go buy something at the store and put it in the apartment… so spending my own time and money to fix the problem in his place.

I came back from work later that same day and there was another massive cockroach by the TV. At this point I was absolutely disgusted: two cockroaches in one day, both in broad daylight. I told my host I wanted to leave and since I had only been there for two nights I wanted a refund. I found another place and everything and wanted to leave. He refused a refund and told me to essentially wait a week and deal with it.

The day after, I woke up again to a third cockroach in broad daylight. This one was way slower so I took a video of him before I killed him. At this point I have messaged my host multiple times, messaged Airbnb, and tweeted at Airbnb. There has been response from Airbnb and no successful response from my host (he had mentioned when I checked in that he was leaving for Paris that coming Friday for two months so probably more worried about his trip than his guest).

At this point it had been a solid 60 hours and three cockroaches. I vacated the property. It was that bad I had to leave in the first week of my long-term reservation (there were also dead cockroaches literally everywhere in the hallway – it was nasty). I sent videos and pictures to Airbnb and still, no response.

Finally I cancelled the reservation so that I could considerately let my host re-list his place and Airbnb finally responded. They said that because I cancelled before hearing back from them I was not entitled to anything. There’s almost $900 down the drain. They told me cockroaches were a “minor” issue, even though almost every doctor and sanitation worker (and even landlord) would disagree, and I had patiently lived with them for three days coming out in broad daylight: clear signs of an infestation, especially in a city that is not at all known to have any issues with cockroaches.

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No Results from Airbnb Online Customer Service?

Most of the complaints from Airbnb guests are about dirty conditions. Unfortunately, I had to learn this the hard way. While the reviews might give five stars for cleanliness, perhaps some of those stars come from people who are not so clean; anything tidier than their own personal environment is indeed clean.

I rented from a “naturalist” in Las Vegas. His clean factor was rated high and the pictures boasted of this modern home in immaculate condition. I, of course, jumped right on it. He also listed the place as a serene and peaceful environment.

When I arrived, there were about 20 people in the house for a photo shoot that I was not made aware of. The music could be heard from the road. Not serene nor peaceful.

To top it off the bathroom was filthy. The sink had mold around the stopper, the shower had a significant amount of mildew, and there was hair all over the bathroom floor. They blamed the people from the shoot. Well, mold and mildew takes longer than half a day to grow; they were just making excuses.

Regardless of any of it, it was the host’s responsibility to provide a clean room. He should have blocked the room or put up a “do not enter” sign. I asked for a partial refund, which I thought was fair. He obliged and said he was sorry and wished me the best. However, he then posted a review full of half-truths, ad hominem attacks, and blatant lies.

I reported this to Airbnb and provided actual photo evidence of where he contradicted himself and of the room conditions. They did absolutely nothing and totally dismissed it. I then filed a complaint with the BBB, the reason being a lack of resolution. I was given a reply a week later from another department at Airbnb and given a full refund. I didn’t even ask for a refund from Airbnb – I requested that the host be flagged.

If you want to get Airbnb’s attention or have someone with some sense of how a business model should be run, go higher. It is worth mentioning that the background check Airbnb does is only a criminal check. Criminal background checks only prove whether or not a crook got caught… basically useless.

This is one of the ways Airbnb slips through loopholes and escapes liability when people get scammed. Ask guests and hosts questions regarding what kind of cleaning products they use or what the turnover is, and if they don’t answer or don’t want to be bothered, it’s a red flag.

As far as hosts, I think they should be made to prove they have proper licensing to do short-term rentals, proof of ownership of property, or an agreement between the owner and the tenant to use the property for Airbnb. It seems like this would keep everyone safe. This would undoubtedly damage their profits… so perhaps that’s why it’s not happening.

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Landlord Exploits Long-Term Guests on Airbnb

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My landlord has turned two rooms of the house I’ve lived in for nine years into an Airbnb. Last night three dudes checked into one room. Nobody in the house had any notice about these strangers. The first thing they did when they got there is let my cat out of the house, which resulted in my roommates and I spending hours tracking him down.

Two of the guests are allergic to cats and the landlord didn’t mention it in the add, so I gave them some of my own Benadryl. The landlord had purchased no amenities like toilet paper, hand soap, garbage bags, towels, ect. All of those things were purchased by my roommates and I, who also pay for the internet the landlord advertised on the listing.

The appliances, like the washer and dryer, are also owned by me, as well as the TV and other electronics the landlord has listed as amenities. The room the guests are in is plagued by leaks and isn’t insulated. The roof has been leaking since 2016 and the landlord refuses to repair it. She just plasters over the water damage in the Airbnb every time it storms.

The landlord or “host” made the guests pay up front outside of the Airbnb app. They decided they wanted to leave, but she demanded a week up front for a special price, so they’re out that money. They rented the room out for a month.

I managed to get enough people to report the listing to take it down, but the guests are still here, at the house, using the stuff we bought. Three guys in one room. They party and drink all night, leave doors and windows open, make messes, and use dishes that I then have to clean. Imagine if you had strangers treating your house like a hotel. My landlord expects me to eat up all the Airbnb expenses and do all the Airbnb labor while she nets all the profit.

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Do Not Buy Airbnb Gift Cards

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I purchased several thousands of dollars worth of gift cards on Amazon. Every time I try to book something with Airbnb I get an Error Code 500; if you look online this is a issue that they have with a lot of accounts. It’s not the same issue with the gift cards not getting applied to the account. I was able to apply them to my account and I now have over $1,900 worth of credit in my account that I can’t use. I actually needed to stay in another city for a medical treatment for cancer; I made Airbnb aware of my situation and nothing worked. All they can tell me is that they are working on it and this has been the only response for over six weeks. I have had to pay for a hotel instead and have been asking for a refund of my gift cards. Last week, they finally agreed to a refund, which has not yet happened, and they have currently stopped responding to my emails. I have contacted Amazon and they can do nothing about it. It looks like I will have to take Airbnb to court and hope that I get my money back. I have attached photos of what happens when I try to book. Please don’t lose your money buying these gift cards.

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Arrived safely, but no one was home?

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We had a horrible host who did not prepare for our check in even when we confirmed the arrival time weeks in advance. We were supposed to have a nice stay and a nice place. What we were met with was absolutely nothing. Check in was set for 12:00 PM, so we were there at 11:40 AM. We waited until just after 1:00 PM without a sign of the key or the host to greet us. We knocked on the door and got no answer; we called – no answer. What could we have done but leave such a situation? All he had to do was leave a note on what to do with the front desk or the key. This is unacceptable behavior for a host. Saying someone will eventually show up at an uncertain time in the future is absolutely disrespectful. Leaving a paying guest waiting and exposed to uncertainty is unprofessional and, on top of that, trying to say we were a no show or late is insulting. Trying to shift the blame to the guest is a slap to the face. We are demanding a full refund and suggesting that he be removed from Airbnb before he leaves another guest rushing to find suitable accommodation in a foreign country soaked from the rain waiting on him to eventually show up. This is the most embarrassing experience in my professional 40-year career in front of friends and colleagues for us to experience such disastrous service and ridiculing responses. I’m expecting a full refund by the next working day.

Paying $40/night to Walk on Eggshells to my Room

Overall, I would call this an uncomfortable Airbnb experience. The host was Beverley in North Port, Florida and the room was called “It’s a large private bed and bath” Yes, it was clean, and Beverley provided 3 mini bagels plus some fruit, which was nice. The bed was super high and a bit wobbly, and the mini fridge goes off loudly for intervals in the night–but those are non-issues for a moderate/deep sleeper. However, much as I am the kind of guest who made myself scarce and basically used the room to sleep each night, I didn’t get the sense that common areas including the kitchen or living room were truly open to guests. That was one of a few unspoken rules/expectations that I encountered here, and I was walking a bit on eggshells by the end. I suggested things like the 10pm curfew could be put up front in the house rules section for everyone’s benefit. That there are children in the house REALLY changes the dynamic. I was accosted on the 2nd night by Beverley for coming home at 1am–she said her children were disrupted from their routines from asking about my whereabouts and the noise even though I tiptoed in each night. I felt bad and her children deserve to sleep, but this was something I completely didn’t anticipate. I figured if someone’s putting up her house for airbnb that they would have thought of the possibility that the guest may not follow their sleeping schedule. I didn’t pay $40/night to come home early every night on my vacation for fear of disturbing the sleep of children, and would have considered that before booking, if I knew that was an expectation.

There were other things which I won’t go into, because I don’t want to speak ill of a person who seems like an OK person, but the place just wasn’t suited for Airbnb. She did say some things that were slightly racial (I am Asian) and I talked to her about that and will give the benefit of doubt. Yes, I reached out to Beverley privately before writing this review. We talked out some things up there, but it was not an easy convo (she accused me of some things that I did not do and insinuated that her daughter had abilities to perceive when something is “wrong” with someone, and that she perceived that about me when she first saw me, which was VERY uncalled for) and there are some other things that I am leaving unsaid. I don’t think Beverly is a bad person, and I wish her well. I made one mistake which I apologized to her for, which was bringing my boyfriend in for 15 min after I had given her an estimated time frame about an hour earlier. He came later and I forgot to text her before entering the house, thinking we would just drop off the items quickly, but when we stayed a few more minutes to apply sunscreen before heading out, she had covertly entered the house and saw/heard us, and later accused me of purposely coming in the house with my bf while she went out, which was so not true. It was just a mistake on my part and I did apologize.

Conclusion: I just don’t think this was a house that was ready for prime time on Airbnb. If I could do it over, I should’ve just paid more to get a place where I could feel free to be a normal person operating on my own time and feel free walking around. I wanted to post this since it couldn’t get posted on Airbnb in time.

Guests POISONED During Nightmare Airbnb Stay!!

We are SOOO disappointed with the accommodation that we booked in July 2015 in Amsterdam! It started out OK…

Upon arriving, the representative let us into the apartment, showed us through, provided some maps and information to the area etc. During his explanation of the apartment to us, he casually mentions that the apartment has a distinct smell as it was only days before, sprayed with poison/chemicals for routine pest control. At the time, we didn’t think anything of it. We left to get some dinner, returned, showered etc and prepared for bed. The next morning we woke with varying degrees of headaches, nausea, dizziness and near-vomiting. The smell was unbearable. (It was also quite rainy so no windows could be opened to air the place out.) We called the representative EARLY that morning (approx 7am) and informed him of what had happened and that other arrangements would need to be made. We let him know that we had activities planned for the day, but he said that ‘someone would be in touch’ to let us know of what to do from there. By 4pm that afternoon, we had not heard from him, the owner of the apartment OR Airbnb. We left and checked into a hotel. We did not hear from anyone for the remainder of our time in Amsterdam. We began the process (online) to claim a refund. We were surprised to learn that approximately only one night’s worth of accommodation was refunded and we were still out of pocket for the rest of the nights! (approx $AUD1700!)

The first issue is this – THEIR website states: Accommodations on the Airbnb platform should meet minimum quality standards regarding safety, access, and cleanliness, and they should be consistent with the description provided by the host. I’d like to know how an apartment, sprayed with toxic chemicals, is in any way SAFE?! We had two small children aged only 4 and 6 at the time, we were the most affected by this. On these grounds alone we should have qualified for a FULL refund. The apartment should have NOT been available at that time – to let the chemicals air/disappear. Airbnb DID NOT inform us of this prior to our check-in and should have. Had we known, we would not have stayed there. So I have to assume then that maybe they knew this, and that’s why this wasn’t disclosed? (can anyone say ‘fraud’). So they took our money anyway, knowing that the apartment was less than acceptable.

Second issue is this (again from their website): For a full refund, cancellation must be made a full 24 hours prior to listing’s local check in time (or 3:00 PM if not specified) on the day of check in. For example, if check-in is on Friday, cancel by Thursday of that week before check in time. or If the guest cancels less than 24 hours before check-in, the first night is non-refundable. or If the guest arrives and decides to leave early, the nights not spent 24 hours after the official cancellation are 100% refunded. Clearly, we fit into the third category. We did check in, we did leave early. So the nights not spent after the official cancellation are 100% refunded!! (or should be…)

I have called the Australian number (only to be diverted to some Phillipino call centre) where the staff are clearly only trained to answer with very scripted answers. My details are ‘passed on to case managers’ who DON’T call back even though I have asked for TWO calls now, but instead reply with emails that state: Thanks so much for your patience throughout this process. We appreciate the time you’ve taken to share your concerns with our team. However, we have issued our final decision for this case and we will disengage from further discussion on this topic. Really?! They’re “disengaging” from this topic?? The customer, ME, does NOT accept the matter closed! Their OWN policy tells me I’m entitled to a refund! What is the point of a policy if you do not stick to it?! It isn’t worth anything. Given the seriousness of our complaint – the POISON you expected us to live in – they STILL have not addressed this issue and they continue to say that they’re decision is final. Again, I do not consider this matter closed and I will be informing the relevant authorities here in Australia that I can and any and all social media platforms!

Save your money and just book with hotels! Zero stars for you Airbnb Fraudsters!

Disappointing and inconvenient

Rented a place through Airbnb, the first night didn’t get a key. The second night was locked outside, and so-called “host” said that I should have texted/called before [showing up at the place I had paid money for]. After asking why can’t I get a key, the host became hostile and suggested to cancel reservation. I contacted Airbnb, cancelled, got full refund (thanks to Judy W. with Airbnb), and got offered a hotel room for free due to the inconvenience that was brought upon me from this psychopath, ungrateful, imbecile “host”. I hope nobody ever stays at Martha’s place in east Austin, and I hope Airbnb gets her place off the list.