San Diego Airbnb Gem Turns out to be Nasty

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The tags more or less say it all. We arrived to an overwhelmingly bad smell, a mixture of body odor and dog pee. It turned out the sheets were dirty – I mean really dirty with hair on the pillowcase and a horrible smell. We contacted the host who sent out her mother (the head of housekeeping) to put on fresh linens.

Fortunately, we lived close (long story) so we went and brought our own bedding. After removing all of the bedding the whole house smelled better – except the dog pee – so we sort of got used to it. The bath linens were dirty too. The towels smelled of mildew but the hand towel smelled of ass, literally. I found out the hard way after washing my face. Looking closely anywhere showed a lot of dirt including dust, stains, grime, hair, spider webs, spider shit, rat shit, mildew, and more.

The filth kicker was the cabinet above the kitchen sink. There was an opening to the outside and rats have been coming into the house. Two un-set rat traps still with peanut butter residue sat patiently waiting to be used again and were peppered with rat shit. Another cabinet had three other rat traps in it as well.

The amenities consisted of a used roll of paper towel, a nearly empty bottle of dish soap, a mishmash of silverware not even making up a full complement, some pots and pans but no colander for making spaghetti, and just random barely acceptable $1 store plastic ware. I mean it has some charm, but this crap sets the stage for a lovely four-night stay.

During the stay we discovered the casita next door had a couple in it on a vacation where they never left their unit, talked and laughed loudly all day and night with their windows open we think on a recreational weed holiday. On the other side the neighbors had a nest cam pointed out their window at the Airbnb unit looking past a fence cut down low for visibility and peering into the bathroom and kitchen windows. With no fan in the bathroom you open the window only to be filmed while showering.

When you go to write a bad review and you dispute the $85 cleaning fee, this is the response you might get: “We have to keep traps because of the surrounding fruits trees. I’m sorry that you experienced uncleanliness. I will bring this to the cleaners attention. I just ask you to not write me an awful review. Thank you for your understanding.”

Fortunately they refunded that fee. I am absolutely stunned that anyone recently even wrote a positive review.

Racist Host Can’t Help But Write Negative Reply

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I have had a pleasant trip using Airbnb over the last month until I read the messages from a host in Florence. I stayed in Florence and the bathtub in the apartment was so clogged that the water covered my feet while showering; hairs floated. I mentioned this discomfort in my review, and the host seemed to be very dissatisfied with the problem I raised.

According to her, the apartment was in poor condition and the water went down a bit slower but her apartment was clean. Yes, it may be true some hairs from the pipe came out and her tub had been clean. However, how could I know the status of her entire building?

Her public review wasn’t that bad, but the private message was terrible. I can not stand this discriminatory statement. She has a huge bias for the people of my country, and this kind of person should not be an Airbnb host.

[Translated and edited public review] Thank you for the kind review. I would like to point out that some of what he wrote was incorrect: the apartment is advertised as clean (including the tub), but unfortunately the internal condition of the pipes does not depend on cleaning. This can happen in an apartment in which the speed at which a bathtub drains is slower than it should be. It certainly does not depend on cleanliness, so I hope you will take care of it in the future 🙂

[Translated and edited reply] The tub was clean. It simply drains slowly. Next time, go to a hotel. This is the usual attitude I see from Koreans. You’d better get an education, and learn not to be so unpleasant. It is no coincidence that I don’t have other negative reviews. I hope we don’t see each other again.

Do I have to deal with hosts like this because I just left a review that does not appeal to one host?

Airbnb Host Won’t Acknowledge Paint Fumes

We had the most horrible night at this Airbnb due to the host recently painting all of the woodwork in this Victorian bedroom with gloss paint. My eyes were stinging, my nose and throat were burning. My husband was exhausted as our check in wasn’t until 4:00 PM so we had from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM walking around sightseeing to kill time in Kirkwall.

He didn’t want to leave to find alternative accommodations. I saw a hotel down the street, which he agreed that if they had availability we would move, but they didn’t. We could only get one window to open; the rest of the windows were painted shut. When we saw the host we told him the paint bothered us. He just said it was recently decorated and that it should air out by keeping the window open; it didn’t because all of the painted woodwork was around the windows.

We found a fan and had that in front of the windows and my husband found a face mask in his first aid kit for me to wear. The next morning we asked the table of two other couples if they were bothered by paint fumes, one couple also noticed the fresh paint smell, the other couple didn’t (their room wasn’t painted). When the host came into the room and asked how we slept I told him that the paint fumes bothered me and he acted like I was crazy and stated that no one else complained (the other couple didn’t speak up). Frankly, it was embarrassing.

On the way out I asked for a receipt and they couldn’t be bothered to get me one. Instead, they rehashed why I should be so bothered by paint fumes. When we got home, I made a list of complaints which I posted on Airbnb and Tripadvisor. When he read them he went off his rocker and started accusing us of being nightmare guests and advising people to avoid us like the plague.

He even went so far as to read through four years of my Tripadvisor reviews and to look me up on the internet trying to look for any dirt on me he could find. The worse he could find was that I complained about odours a few times and had three complaints of food related illnesses out of 250 reviews. I’m just hoping his nasty response shows him in a bad light. They are nothing but a pair of liars and scam artists.

Desperate Situation After Airbnb Refuses to Answer

I made a reservation on Airbnb for seven weeks in Paris as I was doing an internship there. On our arrival, we noticed that the apartment was a bit dirty and very stinky (cigarettes) and noisy (neighbors). Tired from our travels, we did’t want to make a fuss so we cleaned a bit by ourselves. When we got home at 9:30 PM after a long walk we realized there was no cover for the two-person bed as written on the description. We had to buy one (70€) for our first night. We tried to contact the host but there was no reply that day.

We contacted Airbnb the next morning. They tried to contact our host but he made no effort to find a solution or give us a refund; he denied the facts. There was no hairdryer as described too. On the eighth day, we discovered something else: cockroaches. We couldn’t stay there anymore and made a reclamation on the Airbnb website. They told us we could cancel our reservation and make another reservation. They also promised us we would get a full refund for the nights we didn’t spend there (1000€). That’s what I did; I made a reservation for another apartment (2500€) but my refund was only 39€. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Since then I have been trying to reach them by phone and messaging to get my money back but there has been no answer. I’m quite desperate…

Cautionary Tale: Reservation Alteration by Guests, for Hosts

Here is a little known Airbnb policy we got screwed by: hosts who cancel a previously booked reservation do face some sort of penalty or automatic bad review. For a complete host cancellation, there is a 10% credit from Airbnb for the guest to rebook with another host. However, hosts that only partially withdraw the reservation are not penalized, the guest does not get the 10% rebooking credit, and when the reservation alteration feature is initiated by the guest (due to the host’s circumstances) to receive a refund, the recalculation formula for reducing the number of days penalizes the guest, not the host. This process did allow me a refund, but several days later my credit card was fraudulently charged again for the amount of my refund.

Forget about getting any help from customer service; they just keep passing you off to another case manager for another go around. If you do get someone who knows how to correctly apply a refund, it takes up to 15 business days to get it. I finally went to my bank to submit a fraudulent charge report.

We learned a hard lesson. It was not possible to find another house with similar amenities in the same location with such short notice. My suggestion to others is before you book with any host, ask if the house is currently on the market, or undergoing renovation. Also, I suggest that you review carefully Airbnb’s “reservation alteration policy.” Unless the host cancels the entire reservation, the guest gets screwed. I was instructed by an Airbnb case manager to “alter” my confirmed reservation for the reduced number of days the host could accommodate us. Do not do this if the reason for alteration is due to the host’s circumstances, not the guest’s. Have the host cancel the reservation and start over, either with the same host or a new one.

Save Yourself This Airbnb Experience in Austin

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For three nights and four days, I stayed in a shared space Airbnb in the beloved Austin, Texas. I was in Austin for some job interviews with a friend, so while we spent most of Saturday and Sunday out and about, we really buckled down Sunday evening and Monday morning to prepare for our interviews in the space we paid to rent. We also disclosed to them that we would be generally pretty chill all weekend, and that we were there for job interviews when requesting the booking so if that sounded too chill to them they did have the option to deny the booking request.

I went to the University of Texas at Austin, but chose to stay in an Airbnb rather than with a friend at school because I didn’t want to be distracted by the college lifestyle when I was there focusing on upcoming interviews. The house itself was beautiful, modern, and the hosts were generally great too (while we were there). We were also super respectful of the space, cleaned when we left, put towels in the washer, stripped the beds, took the trash out – the whole nine yards.

The only questionable things that happened during our stay was a rooster (in the middle of the city) crowing constantly throughout the day and night and a lacy thong left on the floor one night when we came home. Still nothing too crazy or alarming. The neighborhood was sketchy but I generally am unafraid of sketchy areas in Austin nowadays after navigating the city on my own for four years.

On our last morning, we came outside to see my friends car had been in a hit and run sometime from when we came home at around 11:00 PM to when we went out that morning around 9:00 AM. As shitty as this situation was, we handled it with the Austin PD accordingly (like adults) and didn’t get our hosts involved as we didn’t see it was their fault. Moving forward, we left them a raving review on Airbnb (which now cannot be changed – see Airbnb profile for our review) because we figured, “These people are trying to make a living too.” We didn’t want to ruin their Airbnb business, and we’ve heard worse nightmares about Airbnb. As far as we were concerned, our stay was good.

Flash forward: this host left us this review.

“Sarah was very sweet and gracious. She and her guest left the space nice and clean upon checkout. The two of them would likely be more comfortable/suited to renting an entire space rather than a private room in a shared space. They seemed to enjoy being home rather than out and about all day long. Renting an entire space would have given them more freedom to have lively conversations and make use of the entertainment areas without the worrying about noise levels.

We hosted two groups during SXSW (a large music festival in Austin) and it worked out really well, because, well… the guests were literally out all day enjoying the festival. The other host and I would leave for work early in the morning while the guests were still knocked out. And by the time they made it home, he and I were usually already asleep. But for you guys, since you seemed to like to be home a little more often.”

Are you kidding me? We generally didn’t want to stay in this Airbnb because it wasn’t super convenient to downtown but we pulled the trigger because with this past weekend being Round Up and Texas Relays it was one of the last places left (shared or not) when we were renting. We also never really considered using their entertainment areas or have lively conversations because most of the time spent at home was either spent working or stalking our potential employers to seem more prepared.

Additionally, if you don’t want people in your house simply don’t rent it on Airbnb in the middle of mid-gentrified East Austin. That having been said, I’ve included some pictures of our car that was in the hit and run as well. We weren’t given the opportunity to park in their driveway, and were told street parking was the only option.

Airbnb won’t let us change the review we left for them before they left this passive aggressive review on us. We now have to live with it on our Airbnb profile forever more. We are not bums. We do not typically stay in Airbnb to live in them all weekend. Aside from that, we spent maybe six hours there on Monday during the day because I also had a full work day at my current job that I was still expected to show up to remotely.

That having been said, friends, if you are ever in need of a space in Austin, pleasde save yourselves (your cars, your Airbnb guest review) from this place. If Airbnb won’t let me tell the whole story then by golly Airbnb Hell will.

We understand this review isn’t that horrible but it really left a bad taste in our mouths when we read it, seeing as we were overly respectful of the space. Why rent your home as a shared space on Airbnb if you aren’t good at sharing? Additionally, future Airbnb hosts can now see that review forever more and to be honest I’m bitter that I’m gonna seem like some lame-o that comes to Austin and ‘enjoys being home rather than out and about all day long.’ I do enjoy being out and about all day long, but I also enjoy walking into a job interview and murdering the game and sometimes that takes sacrificing one night and day out for some preparation.

TLDR; If you’re ever in Austin don’t stay at this Airbnb.

Two Nights in Airbnb Hell for Pregnant Guests

My boyfriend and I wanted a quick vacation before the arrival of our first child. At four and a half months pregnant, we drove down to Miami from Toronto. We booked a nice-looking studio apartment in Miami and got ready for our trip. So, we made the 24-hour drive down to Miami and arrived at our listing.

The host came out of her house to greet us and show us to our place. She showed us where to find the key, and then started speaking to my boyfriend in Spanish. I didn’t understand much of their exchange, but he later explained to me that she told him “The owner of this property lives down the street, if she comes around or asks you any questions, just tell her you’re friends of mine visiting.”

I thought this was kind of sketchy, so I called Airbnb to let them know. Airbnb called me back, and let me know that they’ve simply decided to cancel the reservation and we needed to find a new place to stay. It was a Sunday afternoon at 7:30 PM. I was almost five months pregnant and dead tired from a 2500 km drive. I mentioned this all to the rep on the phone, and she told me that she was finished working and someone new would call me back right away.

Fast forward to two hours later, with me hounding and harassing Airbnb – spent well over 45 minutes waiting on the phone, only to be hung up on multiple times – and finally someone called me back. She said there was nothing available for the same night in our same price range. I argued over and over and over with her, and then she finally asked her manager for an approval to cover the cost of a new, more expensive listing.

She explained that she found a new listing with similar amenities to the one we previously chose. So we went ahead and headed over to the new place. The host on Airbnb was listed as a woman, but some dude showed up to show us around the apartment. We walked in; the place was a disgusting dump. He quickly rushed us through, and showed us the damp towels and airbeds. There was literally nothing else in the apartment. It was an empty apartment with two air mattresses on the floor. There were none of the amenities we previous requested: parking, TV, wifi.

To top it all off, the apartment door was secured only by a cheap $10 doorknob lock. There was a deadbolt, but they didn’t give us the key for it. I called Airbnb again at 11:30 PM and explained to them that this was not acceptable. The man on the phone told us that we should stay the night since it was late. He told me a case manager would contact me in the morning to sort it out.

The next morning, I called Airbnb yet again only to be told that my reservation couldn’t be cancelled since I stayed the first night. I explained to her that I was instructed to stay there by one of her colleagues, and she didn’t care. She told me I had to ask the host for a cancellation. I contacted the host, and she told us she could only offer a 50% refund. She then sent me a few nasty messages saying how we wasted her time and were just scamming her to get a “free night.”

We ignored that and told her we were leaving. She told us to leave the keys on the counter and lock the door. We did as instructed. We did get the 50% refund, and then after more and more arguing with Airbnb and speaking with a manager, they agreed to give us back the other 50% of the money to make a new reservation.

Finally, we brought all of our stuff back to the car, and as we were leaving, we saw a disgusting cockroach in the sink. I took a picture and sent it to Airbnb, which they totally ignored. I called them and aseked if they received my photo; they said someone would call me back. There still hasn’t been a response. I called them again and asked if they were really going to let people keep renting from a place that’s infested with cockroaches, and of course the line “disconnects” again.

Anyway, I put that out of my mind and tried to enjoy the rest of my vacation. A few days later, I saw the initial host wrote a bad review on my profile (how do they even leave me a review when I didn’t even stay at her house?). The second host sent me a request to pay her $285 saying she needed to replace the lock on the door (the $10 doorknob lock) because she couldn’t find the key that I left. I called Airbnb. They told me that I left the key and it was not my problem. The rep on the phone told me that a case manager would call me back. Again, no call back from Airbnb.

What was supposed to be a quick and fun vacation turned into a majorly stressful event. Two days of our week-long trip were wasted moving from listing to listing and talking on the phone with Airbnb reps. I will never use Airbnb again.

Harassment by Host After Ignoring Check In

We booked accommodation in Madrid from January 19-22, and as previously agreed with the host we were supposed to arrive between 12:00-2:00 PM. We sent a text via Airbnb inquiring as to who would be available to meet us, with no response from the host. As agreed, we arrived at 2:00 PM, and found the main door of the building locked and with no response from the host to several phone calls and messages made to her registered number.

We waited outside for more than three hours with several calls and messages during the time, only to find her mobile was switched off the whole time. Finally around 5:00 PM she made it to the apartment and showed no remorse for leaving us stranded, instead asking us to look for another place if we were unhappy. Her attitude and mannerisms were extremely unprofessional and rude, and instead of containing the situation, she talked down to us and was very aggresive. She did not help us settle in, did not show us the amenities or even how to get the wifi started, which was already a problem.

Half an hour after moving in while we were using the shower, we had a neighbour bang at our door, non-stop buzzing and yelling and complaining about water leakage from our bathroom to theirs. They mentioned complaining about this water leakage to the host in the past, with no action from her. We were asked to immediately stop using the shower. We paid for all amenities – not only did we lose half a day for the host to show up, but now we were also asked not to use the shower. The wifi also stopped working soon after that.

The host was extremely rude and aggressive, and as confirmed by Airbnb support staff, she also repeatedly used profanity, and threatened us with cutting off the water supply if we were not available when she would send someone to fix it. As of 3:00 PM today, we have been forcefully vacated from the accommodation with no proper/prior notification. Airbnb denies the confirmed mistreatment and unprofessional attitude of the host, which has all been documented in Airbnb messages to us. Furthermore, we were asked to immediately vacate the premises by Airbnb with the assurance that they would take care of re-booking us immediately.

This booking we made with the host was fully prepaid, and as per Airbnb rules, the payment to the host is only released after 24 hours of check-in. Our first complaint was registered 20 hours ago. Kindly refer to the complete communication in the email trails between Airbnb support team and me. We have been repeatedly threatened and harassed by this host in person, via text and phone calls, all of which have been documented and shared with the Airbnb team. We are still waiting to hear from Airbnb regarding an alternative accommodation, and are literally on the street for the next two days, with no communication from their team regarding the above or even our money. We are looking for a full refund, and a solution to our current dilemma.

Last-Minute Cancellation before Christmas Holidays in Hawaii

My booking through Airbnb six months ago for a monthly rental during the Christmas holidays in Hilo, Hawaii was cancelled at the last minute by the hosts and their agent. There has been no remedy or compensation for the last minute disruption or the costs incurred by us. This caused significant stress, anxiety and costs for us. Airbnb will not remedy the matter, the rental company has not responded to us – see my detailed issue filed with them – and there has been no remediation after many emails and phone calls. I would avoid doing business with these guys. The next step is to pursue legal action to bring the matter public and make buyers beware.

We are an elderly couple from Chicago. We planned to celebrate our Christmas holidays and spend our winter months with my wife’s aging mother in Hilo. This was a special occasion for us celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary. It was also a final anticipated return visit to the island after 30 years for my wife’s mother. We spent a lot of time researching the house because my wife’s elderly mother needed a single level house with no steps to climb and a walk-in shower set up.

The house we booked met our needs. After the cancellation by the host, we scrambled to find an alternative through the agent as well as through Airbnb. Due to the last-minute nature of host’s cancellation, the local agent was unable to find any place suitable in Hilo for Christmas or in any of the neighboring islands. We requested help from Airbnb and they too were not able to locate a suitable accommodation that met our needs. This caused significant stress to our family, incurred additional costs, and disruption to our long-anticipated vacation.

We had airline bookings that we could not cancel. My daughter and her husband were planning to be with us for Christmas and had booked all their flights and made plans to be in Hilo. We ended up finding a small two-bedroom townhouse in Oahu on our own after two weeks of searching in Hawaii and ended up paying a much higher cost and a premium to get the property during the Christmas holidays. We also paid a penalty to change the flights to Oahu instead of Hilo.

The townhouse does not meet our needs and we are not happy. My daughter and her husband could not change flights due to the Christmas rush and were not able to celebrate Christmas with us. They had spent money out of pocket to find accommodation and transportation in Hilo and it caused significant hardship to them. Given the unexpected nature of this cancellation by the host for rental during the holiday period, our options were very limited. We hold the owner, their agent and Airbnb responsible for this cancellation.

Crazy Airbnb Host in Miami with Unreasonable Rules

I suffer from severe, excruciating menstrual cramps. During this period, I depend on ibuprofen to get through the day and I take hot showers of approximately 20-30 minutes to ease them at night. Girls who have this issue will know I am talking about.

Knowing that I would have this problem during my stay in Miami, I specifically booked a private room with a private bathroom so that I would be able to take these long hot showers without inconveniencing other guests. One night, my host and his mother came knocking on my room door while I was in the shower. They confronted me for taking an excessively long shower, telling me that as a result of my shower there was no more hot water in the rest of the house.

I was shocked and confused, because nowhere in the house rules or policy did he state any restriction on shower time. Of course, if he had stipulated such a rule in his listing, it would have been perfectly reasonable for him to stop me for exceeding the time limit. I probably would not have booked his place in the first place anyway. I had never encountered any other host, or anyone for that matter, whose house ran out of hot water as a result of someone taking a 20-30 minute hot shower. Furthermore, I was staying alone in a room that was meant for two guests, and I definitely wasn’t using more water or power than what two guests combined would have used.

Even after I explained my problem with cramps to him, he was not understanding or empathetic at all, insisting that I was inconsiderate and using up his water and power supplies excessively. One particular rule that this host had was that guests must not do laundry in his bathroom. Fair enough. I refrained from washing my jeans, pants, jackets, blouses, singlets, bras, and T-shirts. But this was Miami, where you go to the beach. When you go to the beach, your swimsuit gets soaked in seawater.

When I got back to my room after an evening of paddle boarding, I rinsed my swimsuit and shorts in the bathroom sink to get rid of the seawater. I also washed my panties every day for hygiene purposes. I hung these up to dry in the bathroom. The host and his mother inspected the room the moment I left for breakfast. He then came down and confronted me for doing laundry in his bathroom. I’m not sure what he expected… for me to leave my period panties and seawater-soaked swimsuit and shorts hanging in the room unwashed? Maybe that’s normal to him – but to me that’s just gross and unhygienic.

The worst thing was he later told me that he had taken photos of my “daily laundry” as evidence that I broke his no-laundry rule, i.e. he had taken photos of my panties and my bikini. How disturbing can that be? Finally, he accused me of being impolite and unfriendly to his elderly mother. His English is bad, but his mother’s English is worse. In fact, she cannot speak English at all – she cannot even understand something as basic as “how are you?”. All I could do was to smile and say “hi” when I saw her. There was no way I could have managed a conversation with her due to the language barrier.

My stay in Miami could have been perfect, but this host’s bizarre and unreasonable expectations and behaviour left me extremely distressed and uncomfortable.