Memorable Anniversary Hell on an Airbnb Boat

We had an issue with a host. She flatly refused to offer assistance. The result was a prematurely short weekend – a memorable experience for sure – and the loss of almost $400 in Airbnb payments. We simply wanted what was fair, and we got a “we’ll gladly reduce your next stay by 25%.” What a joke. We started our trip with grand hopes of a romantic getaway; it was our one-year anniversary. An Airbnb on a sailboat sounded wonderful. We arrived on Friday afternoon, March 10th, a bit early for our check-in. We had been told earlier than we could check in anytime, and we were excited about that. Upon notification of our arrival, we were given authorization to board “the Lydie” and await Clint Austin’s (the captain) arrival.

When he arrived, he briefly walked us through the cabin, and tested faucets. They didn’t work, so he flipped a few switches, the water came on, and viola. He showed us the bathroom and said there was plenty of water for the weekend. We tried the stove and oven; they didn’t work. He tried to get the pilot lit, but it eluded him. We never did get the stove or oven to work. A few more switches flipped, and Captain Austin was away. We were on our own. The trouble began on Friday evening; while getting ready for dinner, we noticed the smell. There was air freshener beneath the bathroom sink, which we used not sparingly. Showering, we noticed the water not draining. We made contact with the host to explain our concern about standing water in the shower, and she absently suggested we wait for it to drain or “use the showers above.” We had just spent $400 dollars to stay the weekend, a romantic getaway, on a sailboat, and we were told not to worry about the water because the showers above worked fine. Incredibly, the host’s reaction to a stopped-up shower gave her no pause, nor any real concern for our comfort or wellbeing. She simply didn’t care. Taking her advice, we waited for the shower to drain, but it did not.

By the next morning, the smell was beginning to become an issue, and our next contact was with Clint Austin, the captain. We tried calling, then sent a text at approximately 8:00 AM. As our day had been planned – a leisurely trip to Catalina Island via ferry – and we were going to be gone all day, we figured any issues would have been taken care of and the boat would be back to an acceptable condition. We arrived back to the boat well after 6:00 PM with the same water standing in the same shower and the smell was now unbearable. We again notified the host and was told not to use the showers, which were directly tied to the toilet, and that this had not happened before. At the end of the day we’re dealing with a marine toilet and marine shower. They were not as fool proof as your own home toilet, but the good news is no one got stranded, as we had showers and toilets at the marina within walking distance to the boat. Walking distance. Outside the boat, 50 yards away, through a gate, across a parking lot, through a locked door, and into 1970’s ripped shower curtain hell.

Though there was evidence someone had been on the boat at some point in the day, the issue was not resolved: the boat smelled horrific, and our host seemingly had no intention of making right what had gone so wrong. We were heartbroken. This was supposed to be a memorable weekend. The next morning at daybreak (6:00 AM), after a horrible evening of no sleep, horrific smells, standing water in the shower, an unusable toilet, an oven that didn’t work, a stove that didn’t work, and a host with better things to do, we left the boat. We notified the host of our departure, requested a partial refund (we were willing to split the difference, as the first night wasn’t perfect, but not worthy of challenge, even though nothing worked), and were told “no”.

We realize things go wrong. We understand that. We simply requested a partial (one night) refund as things certainly weren’t worthy of the money spent, and simple requirements, not creature comforts, were unavailable at the time of our stay. Toilets are necessary in a $200 a night room, regardless whether it’s marine, or otherwise. When we requested a refund, the host gave every indication she was unwilling to pay. I suggested that our review hadn’t yet been left and it would be great for me to be able to say “our host, though we experienced some technical difficulties, did the right thing, and we would highly recommend the Lydie, etc.” However, if she continued to be unwilling, our review would reflect as such. She took that as a threat, though none was intended. We were simply trying to get her to understand our experience wasn’t what was purported, advertised, nor expected, and that she, as a host, was under an obligation to right a wrong. The wrong was simple: that which she sold, and we purchased, was not provided. Our contract was breached, and though we were willing to compromise, she flatly refused. She even had the gaul to comment “at least it turned out to be a memorable weekend.”

We are therefore requesting a complete refund of our weekend. To date, though it clearly states within 72 hours we will have a resolution, we have had none. We have had no replies from Airbnb, nor the host (other than to offer a 25% reduction in cost on our next stay – as if that were a possibility), and are currently frustrated at the process. We simply want a favorable resolution to our issue, as the circumstances certainly warrant it.

Airbnb Raw Sewage Nightmare over Spring Break

We had our vacationed ruined by Airbnb and a host who was an absolute nightmare. Upon arrival at our condo we opened the door to an overwhelming smell of raw sewage. I’m not talking about a slightly unpleasant smell but a “you had to cover your face and eyes watering” smell. The condo looked nothing like the pictures that were on the Airbnb website. It was listed as a two bedroom but was actually only a one-bedroom condo with a three-foot crawl space with two mattresses thrown on the floor, which I guess made the second bedroom. In the end, none of that mattered as the condition and smell of the unit made it unlivable. We tried to phone the owner who told us to throw a couple of cleaning tablets in the toilet and the smell would eventually go away. There was no way this smell was going away anytime soon and the fact that we could not air it out due to the cold weather with open windows and doors only exacerbated the problem. The ultimate insult was when we stated the smell was not going away and the owner hung up on us. At this time, he is still refusing to return any calls.

We could not live in the accommodations and so literally had to spend our evening wandering, trying to find a place to lay our heads during spring break. We finally found a place that could take us for two nights for literally double what we had anticipated paying but we had no choice as we were at their mercy. I guess we will spend the rest of our stay trying to find accommodations for the rest of our stay. I have tried to call the Airbnb customer service line only to be disconnected before I ever reach a live person. The reward is not worth the risk. Don’t risk ruining your vacation and being put in financial distress by using Airbnb; it is just not worth it. I would not wish what happened to us on our worst enemy.

Not even a Response from Airbnb Customer Service

Don’t trust the information on the Airbnb website. I have had three good experiences with Airbnb in Australia so I thought I would use it for a recent overseas trip. Two of the four were terrible. The Dublin accommodation did not mention it was a very old building with no lift and the room was on the third floor; not even a mention of the unit being an apartment, just ‘self contained accommodation’. My travel partner was unable to use the stairs so we had to cancel. We cancelled before the cut off date for a 50% refund but the host refused to process the refund. We contacted Airbnb with absolutely no response.

The second experience was in Edinburgh. The room was uncomfortable and the host rarely spoke. When he did, he was very rude. We paid top dollar for this property as it was central, but we were very glad to get out of there. We contacted Airbnb and once again, there was no response. Absolutely no response to disputes and concerns is extremely poor customer service. I will never use Airbnb again. I would rather pay extra and feel confident in my choice of accommodation.

Bad Airbnb Guest Invites all her Friends to Stay

I had a guest who stayed at my place for two months. In summary, she violated Airbnb policy many times by bringing many guests, including her boyfriend and more male friends. I clearly told her to stop (except once for her boyfriend) when she asked whether it was possible, but this girl keep pulling it off night after night bringing in different guys. I didn’t want to make it embarrassing so avoided confronting her as I had other guests. One day when I went overseas, I reminded her not to bring unregistered guests as she was alone in the house. To deter this girl from bringing guests I placed an IP camera in a visible location at my main gate a few days before I left. This girl has a very thick skin; she brought another guy home again. When I texted her from overseas to remind her, she argued that it was her right to bring guests because Airbnb didn’t mention anything about additional guests and blamed me for it. Then she made all sorts of crazy threats regarding reporting me to the authorities and a ton of other BS. I tolerated her and tried to behave as professionally as possible.

A few days later she proceeded to cancel her booking without my knowledge and blamed Airbnb for the cancellation, explaining that they had made a mistake. She stayed on the property. I checked with Airbnb but they took two weeks to respond and concluded that this girl had actually cancelled her booking. Airbnb refunded her money and refused to honour my cancellation policy, blaming me for surveillance of the entrance of my rather large property. I leased a room, not my house. This girl basically stayed for free for half a month and left the room in a filthy condition after using it as a motel and without notice or penalty. Further calls and complaints to Airbnb were ignored. The Airbnb Service Fee was fully deducted for two months obviously. There were no deposits, no documentation, and one non-paying guest. Who believes in Airbnb standards now? I am really tempted to expose the guest and the evidence which I have submitted to Airbnb’s resolution center. I think the problem here is not with the guests who don’t follow rules, but Airbnb’s insane policies and self-interested actions that have destroyed the experiences of many hosts and guests. I would strongly recommend others find an alternative to Airbnb or build a platform that can replace this selfish monster.

Arrogant and Opaque Conflict Resolution – Host Extortion

I went to visit my daughter in Seattle, planning to stay for a week. The apartment, given that it was the host’s primary residence, was pleasant. However, after five days the host called my daughter on the phone and informed her (not me) that I was to vacate the apartment immediately. He claimed that if I didn’t his landlord was going to evict him and charge him $600. My daughter was distraught; she took one of my checks and gave it to the host. The host gave me about twenty minutes to pack up and leave. The only review of the host stated he’d abruptly cancelled the reservation of two young women who just happened to be counting on staying in his apartment when I was requesting a reservation. I doubt that was a coincidence.

Of course, Airbnb would have liked to have washed their hands of the whole matter. I persisted as best I could and the host offered a small settlement. Airbnb claimed they’d tried to reach me; they tried exactly once. After that, they screened my calls. In the end, being the clever person I am now and then, I had my bank cancel the check due to fraud. I also immediately cancelled the credit card Airbnb had on file. Once they have your card they can do anything they like. In the end I guess I prevailed. The $600 was returned, the security deposit was returned, and I still received the settlement.

Now they send an email a day over a bill for $19. I go to their help section and tell them I’ll send them a check. I just put one in the mail. The point is that their customer service is dreadful. It’s all skewed towards the hosts. How many young people get caught up in this kind of nonsense? They’ve gotten too big, too fast. I do give Airbnb some credit. The host has lost his privileges after extorting cash from my distraught daughter. No cash should ever change hands directly between host and guest.

 

Math is Funny to Airbnb Customer Service

To even attempt to express my full dissatisfaction with Airbnb right now would be difficult; I barely have the words. I have been attempting to resolve the following issue for two weeks. I’ve spoken to six people, and nobody will connect me to an actual manager. I asked for a manager before even explaining what I was calling about this evening and was hung up on. Airbnb has lost my business forever. This all started with a $500 gift card. I placed a reservation, then cancelled the reservation because of issues with the host. Everything is documented. The host refunded half. Airbnb refunded the other half after a case review back to the gift credit. While this was going on, we placed another reservation with a host we have booked through Airbnb in the past.

The balance at booking we owed before the resolution with the original host was refunded: $181. This was charged to my debit card. Then I was refunded $8 to the debit card. Then Airbnb charged $210 to the gift card. Then Airbnb refunded $210 to the gift card. Then Airbnb charged $113 to the gift card. Then Airbnb charged my debit card $218. Airbnb has $391 of my money now after the $8 refund. The amount left on the gift credit is $387 (a difference of $4) The total for the trip: $504 The original starting gift credit: $500. I owe Airbnb $4. They managed to take their $4 after charging me for everything else instead of using the gift card. I need my money returned to my debit card. I have been attempting to accomplish this for two weeks. The gift card needs to be depleted to $0. I owe Airbnb $4. I needed a phone call from the “trip team” or an actual manager capable of issuing the refund. This has been absolutely ridiculous, unbelievably frustrating, and incredibly disappointing.

Left in the Dark: Abandoned in the UK

I travelled in the UK Sunday for my one-night stay, planning to arrive late evening at 10:00 PM. During the day the host asked if I would switch to an alternate property. I understand now that this is common tactic from disreputable hosts. When I arrived at the property, there were three people having a discussion in the hallway – they were other residents in the same property. I headed upstairs to my room, but found it locked. As a surprise to me, the door opened and there was already someone else in the room. I phoned the host, but his phone was turned off. When I got back downstairs, the couple in the hallway had exactly the same problem. The third person was a regular resident, and he said: “At this time of night, just take any of the empty rooms.”

The couple took one such room. I investigated another but it was clear the sheets had not yet been changed from the previous resident. I tried to phone the host again but there was still no answer. I sent the host a polite text message to say I was giving up, and used my phone to book a room at the nearest hotel. Later that evening I exchanged text messages with the host, who promised a full refund, and apologised. Monday I had a busy day at the office, and then traveled home. On Tuesday, the host refunded me, but not all my money. When I pointed out that I was still owed a small amount the host said that it was Airbnb’s responsibility.

Here is where the problems start. First of all: a navigation hell going around in circles to get a refund. All options pointed me towards the host. Eventually I found a chat link. The customer service representative could see the refund message from the host, but told me they have to check my story with the host. I don’t like my word being challenged like this. Then customer support told me that if I really did not get my room there would be penalties for the host. I wondered why the host would volunteer to take such penalties? Surely it is in their interest to say, “I turned my phone on later, and if he had waited I would have cleaned and prepared another room.”

I argued for 30 minutes in the chat window trying to explain to customer service that I’m only asking for my £5 booking fee to be refunded, and do they not understand how foolish it is to upset customers. She only had one answer which is to quote the policy of checking with the host. I gave up trying to change her mind. Later I received an email from customer service saying I could not get a refund because I would not allow them to contact the host. This is definitely not true; I remember saying it was pointless, and not good service. Many emails have gone back and forth with Airbnb. It seems that each time I complain about the process, they take it as a reason not to perform that process. If you ever fail to get the promised room that you booked, cancel through Airbnb and rebook again if you choose to. Don’t let the host promise an alternative, or a refund. Don’t deal with the host. I don’t normally print the booking receipt, but the agent said that the Airbnb phone number is on the receipt, and with hindsight I should have called that number when I was left in the dark without a room.

Unsanitary Airbnb Stay in Anaheim, California

I am not sure who to reach out regarding my recent Airbnb stay in Anaheim. I am conflicted between leaving a negative review for my host or contacting Airbnb. Christine was responsive and genuinely a nice person when I meet her but the place that she hosted was not sanitary. She met with me and gave a quick tour of the studio. Upon entering, the studio had a pungent smell – hence the multiple candles and air fresheners in the room. The place looked clean but upon settling in, we found the bed was covered in white dog hair. We know it was dog hair because she drove away with her boyfriend and a small white dog. Luckily, my fiancé and I are not allergic to dogs. We found dog hair on top of the comforter and inside the bed under the sheets. We thought a quick fluff would do the trick but the bed was disgusting. As we removed the bed sheets, the mattress was yellow and brown and had nail polish on it. We found a fake purple press-on nail. The towels provided were gross. She said they were clean but they left purple lint on us as we dried off. The other towel was folded nicely on the counter; we turned it over to find crusted white stuff throughout the towel. We had to use our shirts to dry off. We checked in at midnight so we couldn’t find another place on short notice. Instead, we placed pillows on the floor to sleep. The next day, we ended up crashing at a friend’s house. I do not want to leave a negative review for the host, as she was super nice, but the place she listed was not Airbnb quality.

“Grotesque, Lying Hag” Says Airbnb Review

Antler’s Inn was by far the worst lodging experience with Airbnb we’ve ever had. After we’d already gone to bed for the evening, the manager of Antler’s Inn woke us up and told us we had to move to a different cabin. We said that we’d gladly move in the morning, but we were in bed for the night. He said that his staff put us in the wrong cabin so we needed to get our things and move to another cabin now. We scrambled to pack our things (a guy in a Hummer was screaming at us to hurry up). The cleaning crew came in and didn’t change the sheets for the bed we’d just been sleeping in; they just remade the bed.

When we checked in, the cabin was not in very good condition (stains on the furniture and Budweiser cans in the freezer), but I’m horrified that they don’t change the bedding between guests. In the manager’s office, we were pissed. We had checked in seven hours ago and they waited until we were in bed to let us know we needed to leave? The manager told us, “I’d rather you just get out. I can rent the cabin in a heartbeat for hundreds more than what you’re paying.” He was also upset that we had a dog, though we mentioned it when we requested our booking and got a confirmation for two adults and one pet. He kept trying to pressure us to just leave, but it was freezing cold and dark, the winding mountain roads were icy, and we’d each had wine with our dinner. We didn’t feel like it was safe to leave.

He gave us a key to a new cabin (oddly, he let us keep the key to the original cabin, which seemed really unsafe), but didn’t check on it ahead of time. There wasn’t even a pathway cleared and we both slipped and fell on the ice. We left in the morning, still furious with them for treating us like this. He said he wasn’t going to charge us for the stay and we civilly left it at that. Then surprise: we got a charge. Because we settled the dispute with Airbnb (they felt the charge was inappropriate and refunded us in full), we weren’t going to write a review. Antler’s Inn felt differently. They called me “a grotesque, lying hag.”

Albuquerque Host Takes Advantage of Widow

I’m a widow who made a reservation to see family in New Mexico. As the sole caretaker for my brother, who is a disabled Vietnam Vet, I got hung up when he needed an operation at the VA in Georgia. It came up suddenly and I ended up having to contact Douglas, my soon-to-be host. I apologized heartily, told him I didn’t want to cancel, that I’d be back in New Mexico as I am there 3-4 times a year, and asked him what I should do. He told me I should cancel immediately and perhaps get some of my money back. I did as he said and I got nothing back. He refused my request for a refund of my $530, lied by saying he suggested I should have simply changed the date, and gave me a song and dance when I asked him why he asked me to cancel if he would have changed the dates. In reality he just wanted to keep the money I took five months to save to see family. When I asked more about how to work it out and expressed my dissatisfaction, he suggested I simply contact Airbnb. I will never rent from this man again (he has multiple properties) on my many yearly trips to Albuquerque and will do my best to make sure no one else has the same bad experience that I’ve had. What a total disappointment. He is a liar and a thief. I trusted this man. I suppose it was because the other Airbnb hosts I’ve had were so wonderful. I have documentation of my reason to cancel and it’s hard to know someone would take advantage of a widow. I do not recommend Douglas Lopez or his properties to anyone. Avoid him if at all possible.