A year ago, my girlfriend got me a birthday gift: a trip to a Caribbean island! However, we had to cancel at the last minute due to our Airbnb host sending us crazy private messages before we got a chance to get to the place where we wanted to go. We filed an appeal with Airbnb to get the refund then the host went completely insane on us: death threats, stalking, criminal harassment. We filed a police report and they could not do anything of course… Airbnb sided with their host, would not let us post a review, suspended the account, and covered up their mess as best they could after we provided a copy of the police report as well as all the creepy and harassing messages and death threats. We have shared our story with over a hundred people and they were completely freaked out and said they would never support Airbnb for covering up criminal activity. They are a joke and it is only a matter of time before people start dying then they might consider a screening and application process for hosts…. but I doubt it…
My nightmare with Airbnb started with a horrible event but really escalated when I tried to complain about it. I booked an Airbnb to go to my friend’s wedding in Ukiah, California. The reviews seemed good; she was an older lady, so I thought she would have been harmless. The nightmare started shortly after I got there. After I arrived, I introduced myself to her, and she happened to be home with her friend. Then, after getting ready for my friend’s event, I went to go ask her directions to the winery where it was being held. While I was getting directions from her, she said that I looked very nice and told me to have fun. As I walked away, she grabbed my butt with a full hand and I was wearing a thin dress so it was very direct contact. I was in utter shock when it happened and didn’t know how to react.
First, this was an old lady, and second, all my things were still there and it was her home, so I didn’t know if my reaction was going to instigate something. I was in a hurry and tried to run out but it was raining when I got out and I came back to get an umbrella from her, still not knowing how to react when that happened. When I got to the event I was in such a shock, I told my friends there and then I told some friends online and people were telling me to get out of there as soon as possible. That’s when it sunk in what had happened. I tried to call Airbnb’s emergency line which my friends told me about but I was constantly put on hold and once I got through to someone and told them what happened they just said “can I put you on a long hold” and after ten minutes went by I had to hang up. I went back with a friend because I didn’t feel safe going back alone to pack up my belongings at night and checked into a hotel at midnight.
I finally got in touch with someone in the morning and told them about what happened; they said something to the effect that this doesn’t happen very often. They said they’d refer the matter to someone and get back to me. I didn’t hear from anyone and I had already contacted multiple people. I also went to file a police report before I left. The police were pretty horrible in Ukiah. The officer was really combative: he asked me if I did anything to bring this upon myself and actually went to the host’s house and asked her if she did it and then came back and told me she said she didn’t do it. He told me I was combative and referred me to his supervisor when I tried to make a report. I don’t think anything happened and the experience of filing the police report was one of the worst things I have gone through. I realize this is why so many sexual assaults go unreported.
A couple of days later they emailed me to put a review for my host on Airbnb. I was shocked. I wrote a tirade of what happened to me. Finally someone replied to me and I attached a screenshot of the reply to this review. Really repulsive. Thanks for allowing me to cancel when I didn’t stay there and doing nothing else in the air of customer service besides continuing to aggravate me after I was assaulted. The host’s profile is still on Airbnb, and my review is nowhere to be found. This is very disturbing because it looks like profiles on Airbnb are curated, leaving guests in complete danger. It’s EXTREMELY disconcerting that Airbnb does not take these allegations seriously and it is only concerned with making money: no matter the price, even putting people in danger. I hope this company eventually gets shut down (which it will). Here’s the host’s profile.
We have been airbnb/VRBO hosts since November 2014. Yesterday we encountered a strange situation with a guest attempting to book with us via airbnb. I tried to decline them, but the site wouldn’t allow it, showing the dates were blocked (with “pending verification”). I called airbnb and they stated that the guest was still unverified and she needed to submit her online profile (and she has 12 hours to complete this, which ties up my calendar so that no one else can book during this time). Of course, I asked every question you can think of from “how is this possible?” to “how can I decline her now, so my calendar is open again for the next prospective tenant?”. All I got was that they understood that it was frustrating, but that’s the way it is. I had to wait 12 hours for the calendar to be freed up. Then, this morning the guest tried again – same problem all over again! For whatever reason, her profile wasn’t completed (or wasn’t being approved quickly) and our calendar was again tied up for 12 hours! I have had 4 conversations with 4 different airbnb customer service reps since yesterday, to no avail. They simply allow unverified guests who request a reservation before they’re verified, to tie up your calendar, therefore blocking anyone else from those same dates. The crazy thing is that your calendar is tied up, even if you’re just going to decline the guest anyway – you just have to wait to do it ! We haven’t had any trouble with VRBO – in fact, we used to think we’d like airbnb better, but VRBO wins by a landslide! We’ve had better experiences and we’ve gotten several more times the guests via VRBO than airbnb. We are seriously considering dropping airbnb altogether and just working with VRBO!