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!

Apartment in Paris: Definitely NOT Calm and Cozy

This is one of those rare Airbnb horror stories that is so wild, it’s hard to believe. Luckily, I have attached the slew of text messages the host exchanged with me as proof. The first thing to note is how misleading the location of this Airbnb is. All the pictures, as well as Franck’s description of the environment, makes it seem like a “calm” and “cozy” apartment in a cute side street. This is far from the truth. Franck’s apartment in Montreuil is in the middle of a GHETTO. The street two steps away from his apartment is LITTERED with destitute African migrants – the majority of whom ask you if you want to buy drugs when you pass by. In addition to this, there’s a very apparent stolen goods market there – people always peddling things in the streets. At night, the place feels very dangerous to walk through – I can’t imagine how it feels for a young woman. If you’re a white European, you feel like a stranger there. I felt like there were nightwalkers as well. There’s NOTHING cozy about this neighborhood. It’s also beyond filthy. That’s just the environment.

The host, Franck, is an entirely different monster. Before I even arrived, Franck send me over 100 WhatsApp messages, most of them having nothing to do with my rental of his Airbnb. He was sending unusual pictures of his friends partying, and implying that I should respond to him ASAP because he might be “too wasted” to let me into his apartment on time if I don’t tell him when I’m arriving. I thought “whatever” at first… maybe he’s too friendly… but that shouldn’t be a problem. I’m one, like most Airbnbers, to just keep to myself. However, the messages kept on coming, long before I even arrived. Most of them were verging into very business personal territory, until finally, at 3 AM one night, the host messaged me with totally inappropriate drunk texts. This made me feel insanely uncomfortable, obviously. I am not homophobic, nor do I have any problem with staying at a gay Airbnb hosts apartment. I simply stop replying politely to the messages and expected he would get the hint.

However, when I arrived, the host’s attitude had completely changed. He appeared angry or upset about my lack of responding to his (literally) 75 texts. I began to feel as though this guy was expecting a “friendly” (quotations relevant) guest but didn’t get what he wanted. The worst thing to come was when I stumbled upon one of his neighbors in the building, who demanded to know who I was. When I told them I was an Airbnb guest, THEY told me Airbnbing in this complex was illegal and that tourists were generally not welcome. NOW I began to be extremely uncomfortable. I decided at first to stay quiet about it and make it through one more night, but after my host sent more passive aggressive messages (totally inappropriate) in regards to demanding to know when I’ll be in and out of the apartment, I spilled the beans. I told him I paid him and I don’t need to talk to him or explain myself period. I want to be by myself and left alone. I also told him I don’t appreciate the constant comings-on, or so they could be interpreted.

Lastly, I said that it was making me uncomfortable being in an illegal Airbnb, especially since the neighbors said that cops have been called in the past regarding this. He told me that it wouldn’t behoove me to leave a bad review of him regarding this, because via Airbnb review policies, I am at bigger risk than he is. One bad review won’t do anything to him, but leaving a bad review of me as a bad guest essentially ruins my chances of Airbnbing. Needless to say, it was a complete clusterf#$k. I left the Airbnb without much of a hassle after that, and told myself I would not leave a bad review and we can just go our separate ways. Two weeks later, the host leaves a completely libelous review of me, way after the period in which I could have left a review for him. He timed it out perfectly. The review was an immature scatological reference that apparently accused me of “not flushing” (it’s the best he could come up with). The irony, of course, being that after all the questionable prescription drugs I found in his apartment, I never even considered using his toilet. (Needless to say, the guy has an open homosexual lifestyle – not that there’s anything wrong with that – but he’s not the clean type).

 

False Advertising Keeps Guests out of Beach House

The ad claimed that it was a private room with its own bathroom close to shops and the beach. Upon arrival it was evident that the host had just rented out one of his bedrooms and everything else was shared. Furthermore, he had other tenants staying in the same house. The bedroom was so tiny my wife and I could not even move. The ad claimed the beach was a 3-minute drive; the beach was so far from the place that I presume you need a 10-minute car drive to get there. It was definitely not walking distance. After about 30 minutes my wife and I decided we couldn’t stay there so we left and when I contacted the host and explained why we left (false advertising) he refused to refund me any of my money.

In summary:

  • The smallest room I have ever seen.
  • This was not a private bedroom; everything was shared
  • The host was completely unreasonable in terms of the cancellation policy. I now realize why he has a strict cancellation policy. I am sure most people would leave after seeing the place… total disaster.

Airbnb: Worth Complaining if Nothing is Done?

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Most horror stories centre around a cabin in the woods… mine is about an apartment in Nashville. But, same difference. Bit of background: my sister and I started planning a trip to America (we live in the UK) for her 30th birthday. Our trip gradually grew and grew as we started adding more places thinking ‘ah, that’s not far…’ and before we knew it we were travelling thousands of miles across the country. We started in New York then flew down to Washington, on to Nashville, Los Angeles, and finished in Las Vegas. Having used Airbnb many times before, we decided to make that our first search for accommodation. We went for a hotel in New York and Vegas (as it was, surprisingly, cheaper) but we booked Airbnb accommodation for Washington, Nashville and Los Angeles. Our stays in Washington and Los Angeles were fantastic; absolutely nothing to complain about. Nashville, however, is a different story…

We chose an apartment right on Broadway, in the centre of all the action so that we could get out and see as much live music as possible, as was the opportunity described in the listing – ‘immerse yourself in a world of honky-tonks where locals, musicians and the music industry executives hang.’ Live music, there was not. The bar next door to the apartment building played very loud, very bad, hip-hop music ‘til 5am. We were less than impressed. The noise, however, is not where my complaint lies…

This is the link to the listing in question. It’s called ‘MIDTOWN: BARS, MUSIC & HISTORY!!’ Blake – the owner of this apartment – had sent us an email the day before our stay was scheduled to begin saying that he would leave the key – I won’t say where, as I don’t want him to be burgled, no matter how angry I am – and to text him when we had arrived. Firstly, he failed to provide a number on which to reach him. Secondly, we both had UK mobile phones and couldn’t get a signal to ring even if we had had his number. So, we sent him a message through the Airbnb site letting him know we had checked in and asking a couple of questions… Firstly, he claimed in his listing that he had wifi… we tried to find a connection that looked like it could belong to the apartment but couldn’t. We had a look around to see if we could find a wi-fi box, but had no luck there either. Secondly, we needed to stock up on some basic supplies for the week so we asked him where the nearest shop was.

He replied some time later that day (obviously he was not that bothered about being a good host) and his response was thus: ‘Hi!!! So sorry for the delay – my phone has seemingly been without great service. We have been out at the vineyard this afternoon. For wifi use *** …’ I have omitted the wifi details because, as it turned out, Blake does not have wifi; he simply piggy-backs off the connection from the bar next door. This, in my opinion, does not constitute the provision of wifi. Glad to hear that he had had a good afternoon at the vineyard, though… We left our luggage in the apartment and went out to explore. When we initially arrived we climbed the fire escape stairs, as per Blake’s instructions, but as there was a noticeable amount of broken glass and rubbish at the rear of the building we opted to exit out of the front. Any better? Well, the main front door to the building did not lock; it didn’t even close. Not very safe and secure…

When we returned later that evening we had more time to actually have a look around. Wishing we had done so before, we discovered that the apartment was, quite frankly, filthy. A thick layer of dust covered every surface, the oven and hob (editor’s note: stovetop) clearly hadn’t been cleaned for quite some time and the bathroom… well, I have lived in student accommodation that was cleaner. The bathroom was painted black and Blake seemingly uses these black walls on which to write messages to his guests (no other welcome pack or leaflets were provided, just the graffiti). There were directions to a fried chicken joint alongside the message ‘sorry the shower is old’. ‘Old’ I can cope with. ‘Old’ is acceptable. ‘Old’ is how I would describe my parents’ 1850s cottage. ‘Old’ is not what this shower was. This shower was revolting. Neither of us even wanted to set foot in the bath tub for fear of needing another shower on exit. Not only were there hairs in the bath (a common occurrence and, admittedly, difficult to get up every single one) but the mat inside the bath which, in a past life had started out as white, was pink with grime and dirt.

Continuing on in the bathroom: the toilet, when sat on, came away from the wall. If the fear of catching a disease wasn’t enough to turn the most avid sitters into stoopers, the fear of potential drowning certainly was. The sink was covered in a thick layer of dust and grime. The bathroom floor hadn’t been cleaned for a considerably long time. The only thing that we could say, with some degree of certainty, had been ‘cleaned’ prior to our arrival were the bedsheets. Bravo, Blake, you changed the bed. Although the bed cover had a giant grease stain on the top, so maybe my praise was premature… As it was rather late when we noticed all of this, we decided to grit our teeth and stay one night. Obviously, with the bar next door playing music ‘til 5am, it wasn’t a very restful night. First thing in the morning, we discussed the best action to take. As we had had no physical contact and very little virtual contact with Blake, we were very reluctant to contact him with our complaint. He certainly didn’t seem a very hands-on host and as we were two women alone in a strange city, we really didn’t fancy the thought of confronting him.

We made the decision to find somewhere else to stay and sent Blake a message explaining the situation in full and that we had decided to leave. As it was last minute and there were events on in Nashville, we struggled to find anywhere with availability so ended up paying out substantially more money for a hotel. As well as informing Blake of the whole situation, we made an official complaint to Airbnb. This is where the fun starts. The response we had from Blake: ‘Hey – so sorry that the place was not up to your standards! I certainly did clean it thoroughly. There is a wifi extender in the unit – so all works. Please make sure to cancel your reservation and I will reimburse you for days that are able to be rebooked. Again, very sorry that the place did not meet your standards!’

Standards. I will be the first to admit that I have standards. It is not, however, unreasonable to have a standard of cleanliness. I am not asking for the place to be immaculate; when you have a fast turnaround of guests it is not always going to be possible to clean every spec of dust. I am not asking for that. I am simply expecting, as a paying guest, a basic standard of cleanliness. But this apartment simply had not been cleaned, and he is now lying to us saying that it had. Airbnb responded to my complaint and requested photo evidence, which I gladly sent over. As Blake had volunteered to refund us for the days that he was able to rebook, I reiterated this to Airbnb who proceeded to cancel the reservation on our behalf to enable others to book Blake’s listing. Straight away, Airbnb refunded us their service fee as they didn’t want to ‘benefit from the uncomfortable situation.’ Isn’t that nice?

That’s really where the niceties end, unfortunately… ‘Although [the photos] do show significant dust and a messy oven, these are issues that your host may have been able to attend to had he been offered the chance. Because the cleanliness concerns aren’t egregious, I won’t be able to supply you with a mandated refund from your host aside from the cleaning fees, which I wanted to make sure you received given your predominant concerns.’ We were advised to set up a case through the Resolution Centre which is their formal route of requesting a refund. I filled this out in detail and this request went through to Blake himself, not Airbnb.

Unsurprisingly, our request was declined… ‘Jennifer – I’d like to apologize again that this apartment was not up to your standards. I can assure you that the place [is] very clean — however, as mentioned in the listing – the building is over a hundred years old and is quite creaky and aged. Airbnb is a wonder[ful] community with PLENTY of options. I hope you are able to be more selective next time and find something that meets your tastes. If you ever come back to Nashville, I will be more than happy to help recommend something. I have told Airbnb that I will refund the cleaning fee since this was the cause of your concerns. Sidenote: upon my arrival to the unit after your departure, both doors were closed and locked. The door operates as any standard door would — I’m glad you figured it out!’

To start, in my initial complaint about the cleanliness I made a point of stating ‘although we understand that the building is old and this can provide reason for cracks in walls, etc’… to make sure that he knew we weren’t complaining about the age of the building. Clearly he did not read this as he seemed to assume we were complaining about the creaks… I also added that ‘the main front door to the building does not lock or even close’ – is this not clear that I am referring to the ‘main front door to the building’ and not the apartment door? I thought so, too. So now not only is he refusing our request for a refund, he is insulting our intelligence. The added sarcasm just made my blood boil even more. Game on. Another email back to Airbnb stating my dissatisfaction in Blake’s response, his sarcastic language and our refusal to back down. I stated that we were willing to pay for the night that we stayed and also the second night as that would have been extremely difficult for him to re-let – more than reasonable, in my opinion. But the other five nights (yes, we were staying for a whole week) we wanted back.

Annoyingly, as were travelling back from America to the UK, I was unable to check my email in time before the 24 hour (yep, that’s all they give you) time limit to respond to Airbnb had expired. So, on our return I had to open a new case to enable me to continue with my complaint. I asked if Airbnb had a policy to go out and inspect a listing that had a complaint against it… ‘When it comes to hosts and listings we have multiple internal routes and tools that we use to ensure unwanted ones are removed. Once this case is closed I will be sending the details of the case and a team will be following up with them directly. This often requires additional steps from the host and does not guarantee a host’s future within our community. We do not have people go out to listings to personally inspect them but instead we go off of reviews set by past guests. I am able to search the host’s end of things and see if there is a pattern worth nothing and in this case, there was none found. The many reviews reflect that the listing worked greatly for people due to the location and there are a good amount of people who said the apartment itself was great.’

That’s not entirely true. I had another look after – something I wished I had done before – and there are several reviews that mention the cleanliness and even one guest who described the apartment in very similar words to me, and had even requested a refund only to be denied. I told them this, and their response… ‘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. We’re truly passionate about providing our community of hosts and guests with the best possible traveling experience. I’m really sorry that this hasn’t been the case here. Just know that we’re always working to improve our products and policies, and even when we aren’t able to accommodate requests, we absolutely value our users’ feedback. As a customer of Airbnb, your voice is both powerful and essential and I’ll be sure to pass your thoughts on to the right team.’

‘Disengage from further discussion on this topic.’ Have you ever heard such a response from supposed Customer Services? They wanted no more to do with it so they basically said ‘end of,’ ‘we’re not listening anymore.’ Needless to say I did not leave it there. I did some research and found a different email address for Airbnb and I have now written a very strongly worded complaint in the hope that a member of the management team will now be informed. Initially, my complaint had nothing to do with Airbnb; my complaint was about the host and the listing. Airbnb made my complaint about them when they disengaged themselves from the topic.

I did some further fact checking before sending off my latest complaint and found that Blake has five reviews from April meaning that he was actually able to re-let his apartment, after all. So, should we not be entitled to our money back for the nights that he re-let? He has also changed the description on his listing, adding ‘This building has not been renovated since the late 40s – so if you’re accustomed to staying at 5 star hotels… you want to keep looking as this place may not be for you!’ I may be paranoid but it feels like that comment is slightly aimed toward me?… Also, he has, without a doubt, uploaded new photographs onto the site… it sure does look cleaner. Worried much? He has also added that he will ‘be there to greet you upon your arrival…’

If he had done this for us, he could have saved us all this trouble as we would have met him initially, had a face to put to a complaint and all of this could have been dealt with a lot easier. Let’s hope he’s learned his lesson. I, myself, as well as many of my friends and family, have used Airbnb and have never had any trouble. We stayed in two other places during our trip and had absolutely no complaints, whatsoever. It seems, however, that in the event that a customer does wish to complain, they make it extremely difficult and do whatever they can to ignore your words. On my discovery of this Airbnb Hell website I felt slightly less alone in my complaint and thought that I would, as many others have, use this as a platform to get my voice heard.

Plus, as Airbnb cancelled our reservation to enable the listing to be rebooked, even though we stayed for one night our reservation was removed so we are unable to write a review. Well, this is your review. Airbnb has clearly washed its hands of this complaint, but, in my experience, a complaint should be dealt with until the complainant is reasonably satisfied with the resolution. Well, I am not reasonably satisfied. So, Airbnb, if you are reading this, what are you going to do? And for all you potential guests out there: stick to hotels.

Evicted while Renting on Airbnb

My landlord sent me an eviction notice while my apartment was being rented on Airbnb but Airbnb provided zero support. I was in Africa at the time and could do nothing. It took me three days to get hold of an Airbnb representative who then said there was nothing they could do to help me. They could not even give me advice on how to proceed. They could not even recommend a lawyer. Nothing. Airbnb were very supportive in getting my apartment rented. They even sent a photographer to take photos of it for free. I really had no idea they were encouraging me to do something illegal and that it would cost me my home. Why would I do something illegal on a website that everyone can see? If I buy something from Amazon I don’t first check to see if it is illegal. I thought Airbnb was similarly a reputable company. But I was naive. Airbnb is pure evil.