Unusually Warm Airbnb Stay with Frenemy

I stayed in Temecula to train my dog as my service dog. My host knew I had a medical condition. She came across as pleasant and friendly. I left her some private feedback as I didn’t want to affect her business. She took it very personally and left me a bad review. This happened after staying three separate times at her home, being invited into her pool, and using her goggles! Service with a smile, right?

After the final review she left me I don’t know if anyone will let me book with them. And I had given her all stellar public reviews. Now I’m going to give the true review to let others beware staying with her. There was no toilet paper in the designated bathroom when I arrived. I had texted her about this and didn’t get a response as she was at work. I had to search through a strangers home while I desperately needed to go poo! Imagine after driving three hours in a heat wave!

There was also no use of the air conditioner except during the party she had on my next stay; she let the air stay on for that! The host does not use an air conditioner and the full house fan system is not enough to stay cool. Temecula is a desert community. It’s regularly in the high 80s or 90s and during my first stay there was a heat wave, with the temperature around 110 to 115. Private feedback was given. The host did not provide obvious hand towels in a restroom shared with others. Again, I gave her private feedback. The screen to the bedroom window was broken at the bottom. She’s in horse country and a lot of horse flies were coming in. She did fix this by my 2nd visit. The privacy curtains block air flow and without curtains there is no privacy.

This room never cools down. I brought a temperature gauge on my second visit to make sure I wasn’t going crazy and it stayed 76 to 84 degrees in the room. There is no breeze at night. Even though the temperature can get down to 60s late at night the room never gets a chance to cool down, even with a room fan. Again, I communicated this information privately on my first review. Wanting to get along and realizing I’m going to be staying in a person’s home which is different than a hotel on the rest of the stays, I didn’t give my host any more private feedback and tried to stay on the positive side of things as there were very positive things.

I mean was I not supposed to tell her that flies were coming in…? That I didn’t know what towels to use because her brother and son were sharing the bathroom..? She also put towels in the room in a nice basket, well I guess these were only for decoration as when I opened them naked and wet in the bathroom they were off white and I saw light yellow and brown stains. Yuck! I had to put my clothes on when I was wet and get towels in the hallway. There were new looking towels hanging in the bathroom for her son and brother, but the Airbnb guest towels were really worn and a bit hard on the skin. I left private feedback that this was noticeable as a guest and the towels she left confused me as I guess they were for decoration only.

I don’t know because she never got back to me about that. I brought my own towels and toilet paper for my second and third stay, as well as a cool water bottle and baby wipes. I’d never put towels in a guest’s room and not expect them to be used. I don’t know… maybe that’s just me? I told her about all these things so she could be a better host. I mean if I had flies coming in and my guests were sweating it out… I mean I didn’t sign up for a sauna experience! As retaliation, this host said I didn’t clean up after my dishes in the kitchen. Well this is true as her brother came home during my first visit and offered to do them. I guess I was supposed to decline….? I can’t believe this was used against me and gave one side to make me look bad.

She claimed I didn’t clean up after my dog. It’s actually a big pet peeve of mine for people not to clean up. I cleaned up every time. I think maybe she wanted me to use a hose too. She could have let me know at any time during my three almost consecutive visits. She did stress energy and water conservation. I’m pretty sure she would have put it negatively in my review in either case. Knowing how she left me an unfair and slanted public review with no communication about these issues I would really not trust this host in my opinion. As a matter of fact, during my second stay she said I could leave the dishes undone, but my boyfriend did them. Talk about a two-faced, lying… well, you fill in the blanks. She also invited us to her pool to swim with the family on my last visit. I thought this was a nice gesture, but say it with me again: “Two-faced blankety blank told me everything was fine and left me a terrible review.”

Falsely Charged By A Scamming Airbnb Host

My family stayed at a beautiful Airbnb in the central village of New York City, owned by a man named Nick. After our stay, he specifically asked us for a good review, which we found odd at the time. Once we had done so, he waited a few hours to accuse us of the most absurd damage claims. He claimed we completely destroyed his apartment, including a washing machine, a chair and a bunch of towels that we had literally never laid eyes on in our lives. He asked for 1000+ Canadian dollars, thinking we wouldn’t fight it, and just pay to make it go away. Not only did we spend hours finding holes in his story, which clearly proved that we were being scammed, but Airbnb didn’t even help us, taking Nick’s side almost immediately. We clearly proved he was lying on all points, but they took the lazy way out and charged us about half the amount, to make it, in their words, “fair.” There’s no telling how many people he’s first asked for a good review, then charged when it’s far too late to make an edit or delete the review, just for the sake of improving his apartment. I’ve attached the link here, so i warn you, AVOID THIS AIRBNB AT ALL COSTS.

Negative Review: Host from Venice

We were unlucky during our trip from Zagreb to Venice. We missed our bus due to some administrative fault with the bus company in Venice. We had no choice but to take the next bus which was at 10:00pm that night, so our timing was way off to check in to our Airbnb. We messaged our host about it in advance, telling her that we had no choice but to check in late. She asked us to pay an extra 40 euros for the late check in. Eventually, we paid. So during our stay in Venice, we paid the city tax (3 euros per night), cleaning fees (20 euros in cash), and 40 euros for a late check in. In regards to the cleaning fees, there’s a problem with her listing: she is NOT SUPPOSED to collect cleaning fees in cash, but she did. When I tried to resolve this issue with her, she just brushed me off by saying that the cleaning fees are to be paid to the lady who cleans the apartment.

I’ve submitted a report to Airbnb about this and they are still not getting back to me. Initially, I didn’t want to post this story over here but I’m left with no choice as she left me a negative review (which I couldn’t view until I wrote a review for her). I ended up writing a good review for her but was shocked to find a very negative review! Please, those who are going to Venice: DO NOT RESERVE THIS HOST!

Fearing Bad Reviews, Airbnb Host Accuses Guests

A couple of my friends and I traveled to Siem Reap, Cambodia during early monsoon season in June. I decided to go for my first Airbnb experience and to be safe, I chose a superhost thinking that will be the safest option. What was in store during this off-peak season at ‘My Home‘ (name of the superhost’s house) was a super warm experience, literally. As the temperature was high and with a little bit of rain, it was difficult to sleep at night as it was very hot (35 degrees Celsius) and humid with only a tiny fan available (if you can call it that) to circulate the air.

On top of this, there were lizards and insects coming out of the wooden roof from small crevices. As my partner is afraid of lizards, we changed rooms with my single friend living in the other room. It worked for five minutes before a lizard came out of the ceiling and my partner was paranoid it might fall on us. At the same time, a small bee started hitting the light on our mobile phone, in the dark; she thought it was the lizard and started screaming. After I calmed her down, we decided to go to a hotel the next day as the place was booked for two nights.

The next day, we left the place after coming back from sightseeing as the hosts were asleep and my friend staying in the other room was there to explain why we left. The French couple were fine the entire length of the trip and, expecting a bad review, ended up writing a nasty review that we left like thieves and gave a fake note to the driver they hired for us. We did not ask for a refund nor did we create a fuss. I ended up giving a nice short review that they guided us well, but as for the review they wrote accusing us of being thieves and cheats… it made us realise the lengths people go to discredit guests from whom they expect bad reviews. I wrote to her to explain and make amends to the wonderful driver who took us around and her replies can be seen here and here. I realised that people can be racist to people they think won’t fight back. How can such people masquerade as superhosts is a mystery.

Airbnb Nightmare in Downtown Indianapolis

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My daughter had a volleyball tournament in downtown Indianapolis in June 2016. The hotel I wanted to stay at, Crowne Plaza, where the team was staying, unfortunately was fully booked at the parent rate and a neighbor mentioned I should check out Airbnb as an option. I was surprised to find an apartment at only $100 a night about 1.5 miles from the convention center. Another mom whose daughter was also in the tournament agreed to split the fee with me and one of us would bunk on the couch since tournament days are often long with minimal time spent in the room.

My first red flag happened the night before check in. The host, Eric, asked me to give him a call when I had a moment to go over check in. At this time he revealed he wanted to be up front (nice of him to be upfront with less than 24 hours to check in…) as he had a small issue that “wasn’t a big deal” but that he wasn’t supposed to be subletting his apartment so if anyone asked who I was, to say I was a family member. That immediately made me uncomfortable as I had booked FOUR NIGHTS at his apartment. If something went wrong, what might happen? The “upfront” comment really pissed me off. There was nothing upfront about it at all. I was told last minute and not given the option if I wanted to be at risk in this way.

I called several hotels immediately but no one had any rooms available. The day of check in I contacted Eric to find out how to retrieve the keys. He had previously told me he’d have the keys available for me to pick up when ready. I wrongly assumed that meant he would leave the keys with a doorman, an apartment manager… but alas, I made an error in using common sense. What Eric sent me to show me how to retrieve the keys was a picture of the front of the apartment building where a red circle was placed on the left side of the photo indicating where I could retrieve the keys… which were hidden under one lonely slate piece of rock that stood out like a sore thumb next to the door.

I was in a rush to get my daughter to the hotel to meet the team so I rushed in, dropped off my bag, and left. I noticed the lock was difficult to handle and saw there was no metal casing where the deadbolt should sit, just wood roughly carved out that left the door closing very loosely. My friend, the mom of my daughter’s teammate, Uber’d back with me to the apartment and I showed her where the keys were left for us. She was shocked. We scurried to the apartment hoping no one was going to stop us on the way and we noticed a cubby door near the front door of the apartment. This was not mentioned in the listing, so we opened it.

The door fell off in our hands but we noticed when looking inside it looked vaguely familiar. No wonder – it led to the closet inside the apartment, which had no lock on the door, and was easily sized for someone to climb through. We pushed a chair up to the closet door for security measures. Two women in a strange city alone with a door someone could crawl through and wind up in the apartment left us feeling vulnerable and worried. Again, I called around to more hotels, and nothing was available. I went to the Airbnb site and couldn’t find an emergency phone number.

We then proceeded to look around the apartment and noticed what a sty the place was. The bathroom was disgusting! I was so grossed out I wouldn’t even brush my teeth that night because I didn’t trust the water flowing through the faucet. The shower was beyond human use but oddly enough the photos in the listing did not depict the nastiness; they were staged in a way to not show it. I had asked the host for a set of sheets for the couch since there were two guests staying. There were no extra set of sheets to be found anywhere, just a lone blanket with holes in it folded up next to a chair and a brand new thin blanket thrown on the couch, but no sheets.

The bathroom had ONE washcloth and three towels. That’s it. There was one roll of toilet paper. The floors were nasty; the edges of the entire place were thick with black grime from years of dirt and lack of scrubbing. I sat on the couch while my friend had an anxiety attack and used her inhaler. When I got up, cat hair was all over my pants (the listing did say he had two cats but I asked him to remove them because of my friend’s allergies – he insisted he cleaned the house the morning of check in for three hours – a total lie) The house smelled, just like the apartment building. I don’t mind old but I do want CLEAN. This place was old, dirty, and disgusting. I wouldn’t judge anyone if that’s what they can afford or for how they want to live but when you open up your place for others to stay at and risk their security, health, and sanity because you want to make a buck (or in this case, $400 bucks), I have a problem.

Did I mention we slept on the couch because we were too scared to sleep in the bedroom with the wonky cubby hole/door thing going on? I kept smelling something seriously rank all night and when light finally hit in the morning, I looked on the side of the couch and there were two wine bottles (which were probably not empty, by the smell). I finally was able to Google Airbnb and find a hidden phone number. I spoke to someone named Buster and uploaded tons of photos of our situation. I felt I should have been refunded the ENTIRE amount we spent. They did cancel our reservation which gave us back two nights and they proceeded to also refund the third night and our service fee.

I will never use Airbnb again. It was so stressful. We got two hours sleep total the entire night leading to the day our daughters played. Luckily my husband is a Platinum Marriott member and they were able to give us a room for the night about 15 minutes away from the convention center at a great rate. I seriously felt like I was walking into the Astoria when we got there. Coincidentally, I got a text from Eric asking “Hi, how is the stay going?” about two hours after the reservation was cancelled. I proceeded to block his number and enjoy the rest of my stay at the Marriott. Never never never again! Too risky and too much work to get a resolution. Buster was nice but I like the option of going to a front desk and speaking with a person for an immediate resolution at a hotel. Too much was left up for Airbnb to agree to despite how wrong the listing was and the security issues we faced.

Tokyo Host Never Responded, Then Cancelled

On May 1st I made a reservation and paid $1,920. I left numerous emails using the Airbnb website email but didn’t get an answer. Then I emailed the host from my regular email and still didn’t get an answer. Less than two days before my departure, the host cancelled with no explanation. My biggest beef is that I can’t even give a poor review because the website doesn’t allow me to post unless I have actually gone through with the stay. That doesn’t seem fair or democratic. If the business revolves around trust, then we should be able to leave both good and bad feedback. At the very least, that host should have been barred and immediately suspended from renting to anyone. But Airbnb said they won’t do that.

Airbnb: Lying and Disrespectful Host

I have been renting homes on Airbnb for the past three summers, so I have had my fair share of landlords who are normally very nice and engaging, some who even come by before or after to meet the tenants. Brin was rude and unaccommodating the entire weekend. We were charged a cleaning fee but when we arrived the place was covered in dust and dead bugs. The pots needed to be cleaned and the house was not stocked. For starters, there was half a roll of paper towels in the entire house and that was it. I could understand this had we been informed that we needed to stock supplies other than groceries but per his confirmation the cleaner would have cleaned up from the guest the night before and the place would be stocked with supplies; we only needed food.

After we wiped things down and tried to settle in, we headed out to the pool only to found that it was filthy and gross. After a number of times reaching out to Brin to ask when they would come clean the pool and make it usable, we received a message stating “The pool cleaner will not come until next week, but you can use the skimmer to clean it yourself…” Excuse me? No, we paid for a pool, a clean pool, and a clean and stocked house. At that point Brin stopped replying and refused to answer any calls to resolve these and other concerns/issues. So basically he lied: we were the first group to start the rental season and the landlord did not bother to clean or stock the house or pool.

Other things to note: the upstairs bathtub did not drain properly so you would be standing in water that covered your feet. He then lied when we reported him, saying we just wanted a discount, but he did not have proof because the discount was asked for in person… He never came to the house, nor did he make an effort to rectify the issues with his tenants who paid to rent his home. So basically he took the money and disappeared. Very disappointing and I would never recommend this location to anyone in the future. All we asked for was a clean pool and a lot less attitude and the other issues would have been less noticeable but instead we were handed the pompous, disrespectful, liar Brin.

Cancelled, Stranded in Miami

I spent hours looking for the perfect spot for my romantic getaway weekend in Miami. Today, in trying to coordinate with my host on the arrival time I was told to call Airbnb directly. Airbnb informed me that my host cancelled my reservation today, less than 24 hours prior to my arrival. Their only solution is to either give me a 10% surplus for rebooking another unit or a refund. I am at work and leave on a redeye flight to Miami. I have no time to contact other hosts and line up a place that took me hours to find. Another unit in the same building is $300 more for the two nights and it has a $45 parking fee when I was supposed to have parking included.

Airbnb has ruined my weekend plans and they have no solution other than for me to spend many more hours trying to make a new booking or spend hundreds more for a hotel. TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE. Not to mention it will take 5-7 days for my refund to clear!!! GRRRR!!! They don’t even allow you to write a review about the host without having completed a stay. I should be allowed to warn other potential patrons of his inexcusable behavior. I am not booking anything with Airbnb again.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival: Airbnb Hell

We booked a stay with a couple in Edinburgh for the 2015 Fringe Festival. It was our first experience using Airbnb. Although the room looked nice in the photos and was fine in real life, it turned out the young couple renting the room were renting themselves – evidently from a very cruddy landlord – and had decamped to the lounge for the Fringe in their one-bedroom flat (up six flights of stone steps). We therefore had access to a cramped and windowless kitchen and a cramped and windowless bathroom only. The water pressure was ridiculously weak throughout the flat and the WC didn’t flush without pouring a bucket of water (which took ages to fill from the low pressure taps) into the cistern. The shower also leaked, as did the wash hand basin.

The couple were obviously getting drunk every night on their rent money from us and the woman barged into our room one night and nearly got into bed with us, evidently having forgotten they had rented their room out! They also needed to go through our room to get to their washing machine, which was in a tiny room behind the bedroom. The kitchen was very poorly equipped and we were given nothing with which to wash up and no space to put our breakfast things. The man was pleasant enough but his partner was sullen and avoided us. Luckily we were out most of the time at shows or our stay would have been unbearable. They had the cheek to press for a review when we left, but we felt the kindest thing to do was say nothing as we had nothing good to say about our stay. Never again!

Airbnb Host Invoked the Wrath of God upon us

My husband, best friend and I booked a place in Khaosiung, Taiwan through Airbnb last week. The house was definitely a bottom-of-the-barrel budget listing, and we knew that we shouldn’t expect luxury. However, we did expect that the house would AT LEAST match the listing.

The problems started before we’d even arrived. The host, Cindy, refused to give us the address of her home and insisted on meeting us at a nearby MRT station. Unfortunately, we had trouble locating the station. We found Cindy after about 20 minutes of waiting/searching. After taking a quick tour of the apartment, my husband asked about the wifi – something that is crucial to us since we both work online. Cindy tells us that the apartment does not even have wifi, the complete opposite of what she wrote on the listing. Okay, we thought, we can deal with this. My husband spent about an hour trying to find a data plan for his phone so that he could use it as a hotspot for work.

Fast forward to checkout time. We tidy up the apartment, pack our things and get on our way. My husband promptly leaves Cindy a 4.5/5-star review; only marking the host down for the inconvenience of not having her address and the issues with the wifi. Several hours later, we see a message in our inbox: “Cindy has a request of $30 USD.” Perplexed, we open the email to read a loong tirade from Cindy. To sum things up, she said we’d clogged her toilet, and that we unfairly left her a poor review. My husband, respectful as ever, gently tells her that we are not willing to pay $30 for something we didn’t do, and that our review was honest. Boy oh boy, did we make the wrong choice.

Cindy writes back an even longer message accusing us of 1) purposefully clogging her toilet to sabotage her, 2) taking advantage of her because she’s Taiwanese (for the record, my husband is Taiwanese), and 3) intentionally using English when we could have spoken to her in Mandarin (my husband is self-taught in Mandarin and not quite fluent). The best part? She said that “God knows what you did and he will judge you for it”. In other words, God knows that we intentionally incapacitated her toilet and he is going to fill our lives with misery because of it. So at this point we’re laughing at the ridiculousness of our situation but also feeling a bit nervous. This chick was going to take things straight to the top with Airbnb. I prepared a message to tell them exactly what happened, and sure enough, we got an email informing us that the Trip Team would be reviewing Cindy’s case.

Long story short, Airbnb emailed us an apology for our experience. We received a refund as well as a $25 voucher. But, it didn’t stop there… Cindy sent us a message thanking us for the $50 we’d (supposedly) paid her. Huh? Perplexed yet again, we chalked it up to Airbnb giving Cindy some money to get her to simmer down. We didn’t respond to Cindy’s message because we didn’t want to encourage her. But lo and behold, my husband’s phone rang several hours later, and he picked it up because he was expecting a call from a family member. It’s Cindy on the line (she had the number since we were trying to coordinate things over the phone before our stay). “Thanks for paying $50 when I only asked for $30! I hope that you have an excellent trip, and that you enjoy your future journeys!” My husband hastily responded and hung up.

Finally, FINALLY, we were clear of Cindy. It was time to file this saga away in our book of travel memories. Or so we thought. Two hours after her maudlin phone call, Cindy writes yet again. “You guys are LIARS. You said the apartment was hard to find, but it’s your fault for not being able to locate the MRT station. You should have picked somewhere else to stay if you weren’t able to afford a hotel.” I sure wished we’d picked somewhere else to stay. But here we are, still dealing with Cindy a week after the fact, and hoping that Airbnb will put this issue to rest for us once and for all. Thankfully our Airbnb profiles are still filled with glowing reviews. We are also grateful that Cindy hasn’t been able to get her hands on any extra money from us… but I will never feel completely at ease using the toilet in an Airbnb again!