Before reading this story, quickly Google “Airbnb account hacked” and you will see this is a regular occurrence, happening to many people. Upon signing up for Airbnb, our account was hacked. Access was gained to our personal emails and even work accounts. We do not know exactly how this happened except that it was done through Airbnb. This by itself is scary and completely unacceptable. The hackers accessed and changed our bank details on the Airbnb website. Money was then stolen from us. Without getting into the details, customer service was terrible and infuriating. We fought for a month: phone calls, emails, the lot. Without our consent, Airbnb opted to close the investigation. This cut us off from replying to emails or talking to the customer service team. We never got our money back and ended up cancelling our account. I would strongly advise others to find alternatives. You have no security with Airbnb.
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.
I left my Airbnb after one day, fearing the owner of the place. The picture on Airbnb looked like a decent place. When I walked in, it turned out to be a rundown dump in a dangerous neighborhood: rusty bars on the windows, expensive cars in the driveway, Boost Mobile stores on every corner, etc. It looked nothing like the picture inside. The house was a wreck and reeked of cat piss. Stray cats all over the property were wandering in the house through a broken back door. The windows didn’t close, and the A/C was broken. The inside thermometer said it was 94 degrees. I went to Target to buy two box fans and stayed for one night.
Today a strange guy walked in the house drunk. This guy looked like Doc from Back to the Future after two years of meth addiction. I asked how he was, and if he was another guest. He answered: “No! And I’m absolutely terrible. You see, my girlfriend rented this place without my permission. She does not own it. I own this house, but she’s desperate for money.”
He said he was the homeowner, and that the lady who rented it out is his girlfriend who is desperate for money and doesn’t actually own the property. After his furious rant I grabbed my stuff and bounced. She messaged me apologizing, saying he was “off his meds and incoherent.” Why are you hosting someone else’s home, assuming it was owned by a crazy unmedicated lunatic?
This was my first time using Airbnb and it will definitely be my last. I just moved to Louisville, KY, and needed a place to stay for a week before my lease for my apartment began. I booked my trip and got to my new home for the week, where I was dropped off along with a huge carful of my stuff (to avoid renting a moving van, we decided to bring stuff down in different trips). The host was nice and the place was older, but clean. But I quickly realized there was an issue when I found roaches running around the kitchen and the bathroom. I took pictures and contacted the host, who was mortified and apologized for it, saying she would send maintenance out that day to take a look and spray. Maintenance didn’t come, and for another few days she kept giving me excuses about why they didn’t make it over yet.
After having a roach scuttle across the bathroom floor as I was getting out of the shower, I decided enough was enough and that I would call Airbnb. I thought it would be a quick process since obviously the listing had vermin, but I was on the phone for four hours, from midnight until 4:00 AM. They were originally refusing to refund anything except the nights that I didn’t stay at the residence (if I checked out early), but eventually I did receive a full refund for the nights I didn’t stay, as well as a 50% refund for the nights that I did stay, free accommodation at a different Airbnb location for the remainder of my stay, and compensation for the UberXL I needed to transfer my stuff to the new accommodation. It sounded pretty good, even though I had to fight for it.
When I got to the new residence, I found that there were more roaches there too. I made this video and contacted Airbnb customer service again. I requested a hotel room for the remaining two nights since I didn’t want to stay at another Airbnb location, for obvious reasons. I also asked for my stuff to stay at the dwelling since it was already paid for and I had no way to move it again, especially through a hotel (do you know how many trips on the elevators I would need? Let alone another Uber which I would need to pack and unload). The supervisor I spoke to told me that they could only pay for one hotel night, saying I could “use my refund to pay for the second night in a hotel,” and that they would only pay for the one hotel night if I canceled the current booking, which I needed for my stuff.
Let me remind you that my refund and paying for the new accommodation was meant to remedy the first roach-infested dwelling. Paying for two nights in a hotel would remedy this current dwelling’s affliction, but Airbnb wouldn’t make it right. Now I have potentially brought roaches into my new apartment, and Airbnb definitely doesn’t reimburse for pest control. I wanted to share this so that others don’t get screwed over by this company, since they apparently don’t seem to care about customer service based on my experience. Trust me, you’re better off booking a hotel.
This is what happens when you leave a bad review for this nightmare host in Athens, Georgia. We stayed at this listing. There were some maintenance issues: a completely clogged bathtub drain that was loaded with the entwined hair of previous guests, a mattress with no mattress pad that had a huge stain on it, and stained pillows. I let the host know before we left that these were some things that he might want to address. I would never stay there again but I was polite and just told him. No reply.
Upon returning home from a long road trip over a week later, I had an email from Airbnb reminding me to write a review. I wrote an honest but fair review three days before the deadline. Although the host had many positive reviews, I felt that being honest was the best thing to do. The host never reviewed me but I received this email from him last night. I did contact Airbnb to report it and had him blocked from contacting me again. They say that they are escalating it and will contact me… I’m not sure what that means. Keep in mind when you read it that I never met this guy and we wouldn’t even know each other if we passed on a sidewalk. I actually posted this doozy on Facebook and people were floored. It makes me wonder whether posting honest reviews are really worth it. I have never received anything like this from anyone. Ever. This is what I originally wrote to him, the message he never replied to:
We should be leaving soon though. We loved it here and wanted to let you know about a couple of maintenance things that you might want to address. The bathtub drain was completely clogged with hair and was not draining at all last night. My husband unclogged it but you might want to keep an eye on it because it was pretty gross. Also we stripped the bed this morning and there’s a huge stain on the mattress. You might want to think about a good mattress pad that’s waterproof. I want to say that they are under $100. The pillows have stains on them, as does the comforter cover. We’ve left it pretty clean for you and thank you again!
We have his response:
You seem pretty bent out of shape that I didn’t heed your advice or reply to your email so I thought I’d share the message I started to write on July 10th that I never sent:
Thanks for the feedback. I had my handyman over just now and he couldn’t find anything in the drain. He also said the drain cover hadn’t been removed so please thank him for using his magic skills! There’s a brand new stain-free Tempur-Pedic mattress in my garage just waiting to go into that bedroom, but I get consistent and overwhelmingly great feedback about the current bed so I’m afraid to rock the boat. I’m almost to 350 reviews! It’s a shame about the stains, though as I have a boatload of pillow and mattress protectors (I have to keep them for my Tempur-Pedic warranty!) I’ll alert my cleaners.
Thanks for stripping the sheets. No one has ever done that before. I’ve not inspected the duvet cover enough to notice a stain other than a small ink stain, and I can’t justify replacing it for that reason alone. I’ll be sure to check. It’s washed frequently so it must be permanent.
I never finished or sent that response because I didn’t feel your suggestions were offered genuinely, rather masked insults, and I don’t let things like that get to me if I can help it. You like to complain. That’s okay. It won’t matter; did you see I have 350 five-star reviews? The issue isn’t with me or my listing…. it’s time to soul search.
I’m very on top of things at my house and with my listing and I almost always make adjustments based on guest feedback. However, you didn’t have any positive comments of substance. I just didn’t value your opinion. I do want to remind you, however, that you received a house manual upon booking. I spend a lot of time maintaining that house manual to ensure every guest has what they need prior to visiting. Immediately upon booking you get a message from me with every single thing you need so there’s no need for me to send an additional message. Did you want me to ask your favorite color? I’m very communicative.
Again, it’s obvious you don’t like me and you don’t even know me. Whether I responded to your email of “suggestions” is pretty much irrelevant in reviewing your trip, but bringing it up in your review lets me (and the countless guests I will have in the future) know just what kind of person you are. Not hateful. Just strange. Perhaps entitled. Certainly one who thinks highly of her opinion and someone who lashes out when she feels ignored. Thanks so much for giving me two weeks to respond to your critique. Do you realize how it sounds that you “gave me a chance” to respond? I didn’t feel the need to review you. You have almost two dozen positive reviews. What good would it have done to say anything negative about you? Your issues aren’t specific to traveling. You’ll be who you are forever and that sucks for your husband and daughter.
Also… who cares whether I park in my driveway? I explained why I keep the area in front of my house available and that’s for my neighbors. I’m not sorry you had to walk 30 feet. You’re insane. And catty. And you mask negativity with exclamation points. Best of luck!!!!
The comment about the driveway is referring to the fact he wanted me to park in the street 2-3 houses away from his. It’s not a big deal – he has a thing about anyone parking in the driveway including him – but he claims that it’s only a few steps from the house and it isn’t. Since it’s a sketchy neighborhood, this might make a difference to some people.
I stayed with a host who is quite literally one of the most unpleasant human beings I have ever encountered. How she has any good Airbnb reviews is beyond me. Her communication skills are beyond deplorable. The following review is for this listing in Tokyo. I noticed that she was very rude when I first asked her if it would be possible to check in early. A simple “no” would have sufficed; instead, she went on a rant. Given that she is Japanese, I brushed this rudeness off as her not being familiar with the English language and maybe she didn’t understand the underlying connotations of the words she was using. That was a mistake.
We arrived at the apartment, which looked like an absolute pigsty. See the attached photos. It was absolutely disgusting and not even the same apartment that was listed on the website. The host lied, in that it was not her apartment. I say lied because the key was in a specific mailbox with a code that she had given us, so it was practically impossible that we “by chance” got the wrong key and went to the wrong apartment. She kept lying and trying to blame us for her mistake. She also never offered to come help us. In fact, in the beginning we couldn’t even get in touch with her. Instead her husband who spoke no English was answering the phone.
Eventually, after a 21-hour flight I was fed up and went to a hotel. Then I proceeded to call Airbnb for a refund. It took over an hour to get my refund but finally the Airbnb case manager discovered that it was her apartment and that she had double booked it. Because it was her fault, Airbnb forced her to give me a refund. Afterwards, she left me a negative review. Why she was able to review me when the reservation was cancelled is beyond me. I had to call Airbnb to get that fixed as well.
Needless to say I will never use Airbnb again. Just realize that if something like this happens they pretty much leave you high and dry. The host should apologize for what she did but is such a horrible human she never will. She is lucky I didn’t leave a review on Airbnb and ruin her obviously fake reviews.
This was the first time I had ever used Airbnb. I made an account and followed the app as much as I could and then found a room for a night in Bristol with three friends. For £142 we could get one room with one bed and a sofa bed. How they can charge that much for that is beyond me but we were desperate.
I read the terms and conditions. One said no parties or events. Maybe I’m stupid, but to me that does not include going out with friends or having drinks with friends; a party or an event is so much bigger than that and I thought they’re charging a lot because they know it’s graduation in Bristol for two weeks. On top of this they had graduated from UWE and were teachers. My picture is of me: a 22-year-old girl with a glass of wine in my hand. I thought they would be fine; it’s not like we’ll be barging in at 4:00 AM with a bunch of people, playing music and carrying on. We will just need to go and sleep. There were no parties and we weren’t attending any event apart from my graduation the morning before.
The hosts then messaged me (I’ve attached it) saying things such as “will you be coming in early Thursday morning and can you please give us information on your friends for security reasons and can you finish your own form (I thought I’d finished but had a lot left to put in).” Not long after that they sent a message saying they accepted my request to stay. I then messaged back saying, “yes, we will be back in the early hours.” That’s when they got shirty. They wouldn’t allow us to stay.
After all that we were stranded in Bristol and I had forked out £142 I still don’t have, so I owe the bank money because I’m so bloody poor as a student – I am still applying for decent jobs. The hosts had no sympathy – it had not even been 24 hours since I requested a booking and they were so angry. I literally begged for a refund because I interpreted Airbnb’s terms incorrectly and they took my money and refused to give it back. Then they said they’d refund me, but they’d have to only give me the money they’re given by someone who takes the booking. I was so happy as they had told me about all the people who wanted to stay (also I had not heard or realised or seen anything about this pre-requesting thing) so I thought, “yes, I’m in luck!”
Then I saw £142 had been taken out my account. I emailed telling them the money had been withdrawn and asking if they had processed the refund yet. They told me they hadn’t because no one came to stay. I said to them, “okay, if you aren’t going to give it to me out of a friendly understandable gesture then I’m going to fight this.”
We spent four hours arguing and they blamed Airbnb for all of it and took no responsibility even though they asked me questions and took my money without even knowing my answers. People like that have no heart. They used my lack of knowledge, my age and my status of being a student to take my money. I understand that Airbnb writes the terms and they need to be clearer. These hosts weren’t even going to let me go out for a meal and drinks as they considered that a pre-planned event.
We were screwed even if we said we wouldn’t go for cocktails. I mentioned that they didn’t even let me introduce my friends. If security is breached (it wouldn’t have been; my friends are lovely) it would have meant that we would be stranded with £142 gone because they didn’t get this information before. Now they said Airbnb doesn’t have a step for this so they have to ask. What I don’t understand is why would you ask and then take the money before you even know? Essentially you’re scamming people. I couldn’t even tell them before they took my money.
I believe that because I apologised asap when I found out I didn’t realise what they (the hosts) meant by that term they should have just cancelled immediately or asked me to and refunded me so they could then accept these other people that were looking. Instead they got angry at me and acted rude. We are still arguing and I am not letting this go. I spent 45 minutes waiting to get through to Airbnb and there was no answer. I’ll keep trying. If you’re looking for somewhere to stop off before a daytime flight – as you probably aren’t allowed to leave early in the morning – then stay here.
I have used Airbnb on several occasions before and always gushed about how great they are to anyone who will listen. After this week I won’t be making that mistake again. I’m currently on holiday in the USA (from Australia). I had a place booked in Chelsea, NYC with a male host and another booked with a woman in Washington DC.
The NYC host hadn’t responded to any of my emails before I came to the US but as I’d never had trouble with Airbnb hosts before I just figured he was busy or had forgotten; the booking had been accepted and Airbnb took my money so I had no reason to be worried… or so I thought. The day I was flying to New York I called him. As soon as he heard me say Airbnb, he hung up on me. He then diverted all calls from his phone so I couldn’t reach him again.
I called Airbnb customer service and they told me they’d try and get in touch with him on my behalf. I then hopped on a flight from LA to NYC and figured it would all be sorted out when I touched down. My check-in confirmation email had come through so I tried calling the host again to let him know I was on my way… again, the call was diverted. I rang Airbnb back and proceeded to have the most painful “customer service” experience of my life.
I had to repeat the most basic information over and over, and it was only after half an hour of having to talk to the representative like an intellectually challenged five year old, only after I lost my patience and started yelling into the phone in the middle of JFK airport, only after all of this did I finally pry out of her that he’d cancelled the booking while I was en route from LA. They’d already processed a refund which I was told would take up to two weeks, so I had to shell out $1300 from my holiday money to get new accommodations. Anyway, I was cranky and poor three days into my holiday but I decided to move on with life.
A week later, the day before I was due to get a bus to DC, I messaged my next host. There was no answer from her and I got distracted doing touristy stuff so I forgot to follow up until the next day. I called her before I jumped on the bus and she was shocked that her listing was still online because she hadn’t used Airbnb in a year and didn’t even live in DC anymore. I called customer service again; they told me to make another booking and they’d transfer what I’d paid. I went nuts because that option hadn’t been given to me a week ago. I made the booking, paid a little extra to make up the difference and then went without wifi access for a few hours.
When I got to DC, I found out the replacement booking had also been cancelled. Cue a very angry call back to Airbnb where I finally got someone who wasn’t completely useless and she found some options for me to choose from. With all my holiday money sunk into these cancelled bookings I didn’t really have a choice; I’d originally wanted my own place but I had to settle for a room in someone’s apartment. It wasn’t ideal, but to give credit where credit is due, my host was super friendly and accommodating so that removed heaps of stress. Still, after the past week you couldn’t pay me to risk ever booking through Airbnb again.
Our flight was delayed putting us in our Airbnb apartment over 24 hours late. There was a devastating forest fire that broke in Chile the night before we were to arrive. Our penthouse apartment had glass walls on two sides for air circulation; there was no air conditioning. I texted the host expressing concern about the smoke and ash. His response was that it wasn’t bad at all.
We arrived to a city filled with smoke and ash. We had to have the windows/walls open because it was over 90 degrees Fahrenheit each day. In the morning, we had to wipe off our cell phones and wash the ash off our faces. It was very bad. We wore our sandals around the apartment because the ash would turn our feet black instantly. Every time we wanted to sit down we had to wipe down the chair or leather couch off.
I contacted the host our second day and told him that the ash was pretty bad and also to ask for additional towels. We had reserved the apartment for 11 days and he only provided two towels. Guess what? He couldn’t help me because he left town the day I arrived; the ash was so bad from the forest fires. He was not willing to release us from our contract so we spent as much time as possible away from the apartment and pretty much only slept and showered there (which was bad enough).
Our last day, I hung the towels over the tub (no towel racks) and took out the little bag of trash that we had accumulated. We were frustrated that he had not let us out of the contract due to the extenuating circumstances, but we made the most of our trip. Then I got home and discovered the man had said hateful things in his review of me. His review stated that I am a filthy person and no one should rent to me. I was shocked and devastated. I have never had anyone speak so horribly of me and now the lies are out there. There is nothing I can do to get them retracted. It wasn’t filth; it was ash and he knows it was ash all over his apartment through no fault of mine.
We rented a private room in an apartment in Virginia Beach for three nights for the weekend of July 4th. The apartment was listed as non-smoking, but in reality there was a strong, pungent cigarette odor that was pervasive; you could smell it in the sheets, the towels, and even stuck to my clothing. The apartment was also not very clean. There was a piece of toilet paper on the bedroom carpet. There was a ring of worn-in grime around the toilet bowl, dishes in the kitchen sink, and hair on the bathroom sink; our host did not even bother to clean the apartment before we arrived.
My boyfriend was allergic to cats and the host did not specify that a cat lived there. We filed a complaint with Airbnb. They reached out to the host, who claimed that he never smoked inside the apartment, that he cleaned it before he left, and that the grime around the toilet bowl was not actually dirt, but a stain leftover from a remodeling project. Basically the host just gave Airbnb outrageous lies.
We cut our stay short and stayed two nights instead of three. The host initially offered to refund us for two nights, but reneged and then offered to refund us for only one night. Airbnb offered to refund us one night to make up for the inconvenience. While the refund from Airbnb went through, we are still waiting for the refund from our host… who knows when that will ever arrive.
Airbnb is essentially only an advertising platform for people renting out their spaces. Their conflict resolution center has no power to compel hosts to issue refunds or resolve issues. There is no quality assurance and no inspections of properties. Airbnb’s policy states that if you contact them within 24 hours of check-in and report issues with a listing related to cleanliness and misrepresentation, they will refund you or find alternate accommodation. In this case, we followed the rules but they seemed to take the host’s side over ours and made every effort to give our host the benefit of the doubt, despite all the photographic evidence that we submitted.