I cancelled my airbnb account because I was disappointed with the way the help center dealt with my issues with a host. Ironically, airbnb claims to value freedom of speech but could not accept me saying that my friend and i felt “unfairly treated”. Afterall, feelings are subjective isn’t it? When the host left a bad review saying that she had a “hard time”, i accepted it. However, what i couldn’t accept is the lack of professionalism on the host’s part and the service person who responded to my complaint. First of all, I had contacted several airbnb hosts before booking with, let’s call the host S. As we had plans to visit a local theme park on the first day, i asked S if it would be alright for us to leave our luggage before check-in time. And she said ok. This was the deciding factor for booking with S. 5 days prior to my trip, i contacted S again to remind her of my early arrival but there was no reply from her. Her room was PIN-coded and she was supposed to let us know what the PIN is, before our trip. When we arrived, we tried calling her but she did not pick up our calls. We were locked outside for almost an hour. Thankfully, there was a cafe downstairs which had free wifi and we planted ourselves there to message her. Though she gave us the PIN in the end, the room was still occupied and i decided not to waste anymore time but to leave our luggage at the lockers in the train station so that we could head over to the theme park, which was quite a long journey away. We retrieved our luggage from the locker at 10+ pm at the cost of 16,000 won each. When we finally got in, we found used towels in the washing machine that were left behind by the previous guests. The towels gave off a damp stench. We contacted S on Whatsapp Call and found out that the laundry lady had forgotten to remove them. However S said that the laundry lady would clean up the towels the next day and do the laundry for us. When we returned, the towels were still untouched and i texted S about it. She then said that we had misunderstood her and that we did not pay for laundry. Then she said that they are not a hotel, which was quite uncalled for and said that she would accept a bad review from us (which i had preempted her should things not improve). Also, the clothing rack in the bathroom collapsed suddenly and i informed her about it, so that she could get it fixed before the next guest checks in. When i got back, she left a bad review of me, saying that we had given her unclear complaints, while i left a factual review. In my review, i mentioned the convenient location and cosy room which met our basic needs. Of course, i also mentioned how there was no breakfast provided, even though it was stated in her amenities description, but wasn’t a problem as the neighborhood has plenty of cafes. I also cited the hiccups which we experienced. She then replied saying that she accepts my honest feedback and included a few smiley faces 🙂 in her public reply. I then texted her after the review was published to tell her that we were indeed not mistaken about the breakfast as she had posted that under her descriptions. She then replied saying that we had disturbed her privacy by contacting her day and night and added on by saying that we are childish. Seeing how things got personal, i contacted airbnb help center. The personnel defended the host and overlooked the points that i pointed out. He even said that i should resolve matters by talking to the host and not threatening to leave a bad review. Airbnb has access to our private messages with the host, in which he selectively quoted words that supported his claim. He brushed off the fact that S’s remark of calling us childish is not covered under the guidelines. So it seems like guests’ safety in private conversations aren’t protected? But he protected S based on her private messages with me. From this harrowing experience (albeit being my first with airbnb), i’ve decided to discontinue with airbnb as it seems to protect hosts more than guests. Probably so since guests are the ones who give them business. It also disturbs me that guests are rather powerless when issues arise and this will of course pose problems to mutual trust. Of course, my experience is a unique one but i will certainly not return to airbnb in the near future.
Tag Archives: bad airbnb hosting
Rented a house in Laurel Canyon on airbnb 3 weeks in advance of trip. Evening of trip had not received address of property from home owner. Sent 2 texts and left 3 voicemails. His response took hours. He responded with slight disdain “…the address is shown in the listing…” An hour later he realized he had given me the wrong address. He texted correct address and revised check in time. I asked if we could drop our things off an hour earlier than the 4 PM check in time (we had traveled from NYC with our 3 year old. He said yes. We arrived at the address about 50 minutes before check in time. The exterior of the house was a mess, junk everywhere, large bags of dog food, dirty laundry, old plastic bottles, towels, etc. Nothing was neat or organized around the house. Bad sign number one. Entered the house to find 3 housekeepers doing a very superficial cleaning job in a slow casual way and a handyman with a paint can, other supplies he was using spread around the house. Host was there and seemed unpleasantly surprised to encounter us. The pool was dirty with debris floating on the top, there were cigarette butts and remains of joints on the tiny concrete area around the pool. The cheap pool chairs were rusted and filthy. There was a large ceramic ashtray that looked like it hadn’t been wiped clean in months. The host left, we left and drove around for 45 minutes. We returned at 4 PM. House didn’t look any cleaner. Handyman still working (when not chatting with his girlfriend who had now arrived.) Cleaning crew and housekeepers left at 5:15. Our toddler walks around the house in her socks. Socks are black on the bottom in 2 minutes, pool is still gross, surfaces of house appear to be sort of wiped clean, but nothing feels clean, dead bugs in the shower, lamps don’t work in 2nd bedroom, sheets in master b/r don’t smell clean, ants are everywhere, bedroom tv doesn’t work, upholstery is filthy, living room tv works only after messing around with cables, etc. We call host and complain of dirty house. He sends cleaning crew back who don’t really know the difference between clean and dirty and don’t know what to do. They mop (with water) and leave. Pool guy comes and says pool is clean, but looks dirty “don’t worry.” There are floor to ceiling windows in master bedroom, no curtains, no shades, We stay 2 of 4 paid days and tell host we want a refund for remaining days. House is truly filthy dirty. He fights and ultimately agrees to refund of 2 days as long as we give our word not to post a review on airbnb. Feeling we had no recourse we agreed. I will NEVER use airbnb again. Probably a coincidence, but my daughter and I were both ill for the next two days. Laurel Canyon guy-you’re a jerk and your house is disgusting!