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.

Terrible Bed, Dildo in Nightstand: Harsh Review

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We booked a stay in an Airbnb for four nights in Toronto. The location was great. However, there were a few major issues:

  1. The bed was terrible. There was no box spring or support for the mattress, so it sagged badly.
  2. Not an inch of closet space or a single drawer was available.
  3. The apartment was not very clean.
  4. Living room was totally open and exposed for the neighbors to see; there were no blinds or curtains.
  5. The patio advertised in the listing didn’t have any furniture on it at all.
  6. Light bulbs went out and there were no replacements.
  7. The nightstand had dildos, vibrators and owner’s underwear inside.

I gave an average review on Airbnb. They cut my review and only posted the positive: the location. How would the next renter know about any of the problems? This is the second time I had a problem with an Airbnb rental. I’m not likely to rent through them again.

Dirty, Dusty Apartment in London: No Refunds Given

So I went with my wife to London the week of November 1st because she had an interview on November 2nd. We rented this “clean” place from Airbnb. We got to the apartment at midnight (there were only late flights out of Milan) and as soon as we started to make ourselves comfortable, I realized that the place was dirty. Now I understand we, Brazilians, have different standards of cleanliness. But the place was full of dust, and a lot of spiderwebs and spiders (3-4 in the bedroom alone) were inside the apartment. Under the mattress there was a lot of dust. Dust makes me feel sick and I knew that if I slept there I would wake up feeling terrible the next morning. I can’t imagine how my wife would feel, having a job interview the next day.

So at 2:00 AM, I decided we would leave this place and I booked a hotel room through Booking.com. We walked outside on a 4-degree night to the new hotel, where we could use a shower not full of rust and dirt and have a proper night’s sleep on a nice and clean bed. Funnily enough, the next morning we canceled our reservation through Airbnb and filed for a refund. It took until today (15 days) to received confirmation from AirBNB. And their decision is that they won’t refund us. We stayed at that place for two hours. We left in the middle of a cold night, to walk to an hotel because I knew we would have woken up sick with all the dust. The host didn’t agree with our request for a refund (what a surprise), even though we stayed only two hours. I can expect that from someone who has a dirty place, but I would expect more from Airbnb. I won’t ever rent anything else from them and I urge you to use other methods for finding a place when needed. When the time comes, Airbnb won’t help you at all. In our case, I ended up spending twice what I had in mind: a full reservation on Airbnb that I canceled within ten hours of my arrival, after having stayed there only two hours, and the hotel reservations. I hate Airbnb.

P.S.: My wife can’t even post a bad review on the apartment because we canceled our reservation within ten hours. Funny how I can’t warn other travelers about how this apartment is a bad option (if you like clean and dust-free places), but Airbnb can charge me the full amount.

American Woman’s Airbnb Hacked by Norwegian Man

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I am a frequent Airbnb user with a perfect rating. I was going to California for the weekend for a friend’s wedding. My husband, two other couples, and I were going to share a cabin. I tried to access my account yesterday to contact the host and the site told me my email was not valid. So I got on the Airbnb app on my phone, which luckily had still been logged in. From there I could see that someone had taken over my account, changed the email address and phone number to his, changed the picture, and changed the name. No matter what was on the profile there were still reviews saying “Sarah was a great guest.” No hosts seem to notice this and are gladly letting “Masteusz” stay with them. He is sending people messages in Spanish and as we speak is staying in someone’s home in Mexico City.

I called Airbnb about 14 hours ago and told them they needed to not only fix this but also find us another place to stay ASAP. I heard nothing for several hours, called again, and was told I would hear from someone in a couple hours. After hearing nothing, I called again this morning and was told they would “send it again”, that the case still didn’t have a case manager, and that there was no supervisor or anyone else I could talk to. Meanwhile, through the app, I could see that hosts are still none the wiser that this guy is a fake because they are still communicating with him about key drop offs, etc. In addition, my idiot host didn’t seem to notice that the person he was corresponding with named “Sarah” changed her name to Masteusz and is now a man from Norway. Masteusz canceled my reservation. When I messaged the host saying I didn’t want to cancel my reservation and that I was hacked he said “I’m sorry to hear that, Masteusz.” After having no luck on the phone, I posted something on the Airbnb Facebook page thinking the PR people wouldn’t like this situation. They told me to “tweet” them… really?

Do Not Buy Airbnb Gift Cards

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I purchased several thousands of dollars worth of gift cards on Amazon. Every time I try to book something with Airbnb I get an Error Code 500; if you look online this is a issue that they have with a lot of accounts. It’s not the same issue with the gift cards not getting applied to the account. I was able to apply them to my account and I now have over $1,900 worth of credit in my account that I can’t use. I actually needed to stay in another city for a medical treatment for cancer; I made Airbnb aware of my situation and nothing worked. All they can tell me is that they are working on it and this has been the only response for over six weeks. I have had to pay for a hotel instead and have been asking for a refund of my gift cards. Last week, they finally agreed to a refund, which has not yet happened, and they have currently stopped responding to my emails. I have contacted Amazon and they can do nothing about it. It looks like I will have to take Airbnb to court and hope that I get my money back. I have attached photos of what happens when I try to book. Please don’t lose your money buying these gift cards.

Terrible Airbnb Apartment in San Diego Hillcrest

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I’m mainly writing this because I hate to see a lousy host continue to rent out his lousy apartment without making any changes to it. If the host was open to feedback and improvements, then cool. Not the case with this guy it seems. I booked this apartment for myself and two friends for San Diego Comic-Con. I could tell that the owner had raised the price for that week, something I expected anyway. Most of the reviews were fairly positive, but after staying there, I have no idea why they are. I can understand an old place just being old, but this place just felt dirty and lacked basic amenities that it claimed to have in its description. There was no extra toilet paper, not enough towels for the number of guests for which I informed him of, no hand soap, trash beneath the sink, gum in the bathroom sink drain, rug stains, and peeling floor paint.

The worst part of the stay was the handful of large, flying cockroaches that appeared on two of the nights. One of which actually flew into my friend, and another scurried over her foot. The host had left me a short but positive review; however, he countered my negative review for his unit, fabricating or embellishing most of the story. I don’t know if he doesn’t understand that there’s a thing called a paper trail. I’ve uploaded an image of my correspondence with the host regarding the issues that would negate his rebuttal to my negative review of his unit, as well as photographic evidence. To elaborate further on other certain issues he claimed in his counter-review:

  • He claimed that we had a late check in. Our check-in was actually early as my one friend showed up an hour before check-in, and I had cleared this with the host. He did not provide clear directions on how to get the keys (I guess I should’ve repeated my question in my emails), and my friend had tried texting and writing to him with no response. She then had to decipher how to get the keys from previous guest reviews. My own check-in was two days later at night, but that did not require the host’s attention, obviously, since my friends were already there.
  • He mentioned that we did not make any requests for toilet paper or towels. Regarding the toilet paper, this is because my friends had quickly gone out and bought their own (we did not know that the staff in the deli below was affiliated with the apartment in that way). Regarding towels, because the place already felt pretty filthy, we did not trust even using the towels.
  • He mentions that we did not allow them onto the premises to inspect for the cockroaches. In my correspondence with him, I explained that we did not want anyone to enter the premises while we were not present, and at the time we were about to head out for the day. What the host failed to mention is that one of his associates did actually show up to take a look just before we headed out. We let him in of course, and he asked us where the cockroaches were coming from, but how could we know specifically where they came from? They just started flying and scurrying around the place at night. The guy claimed they’d never seen them upstairs before as though it couldn’t be true that they had cockroaches. However, this makes me question the sanitation level of the deli below.

After the inspection, no solution was offered and the guy left. With two nights left of our stay, we were considering finding accommodation elsewhere. However, being Comic-Con week, everything was booked up or overly expensive. I communicated this with the host and suggested a 2-day refund as the unit was not as advertised and we would’ve vacated the unit if we could’ve. He seemed to be open to this discussion. However, his responses were more and more delayed going forward. After our stay ended, he eventually just stopped responding to me. I was also in communication with Airbnb regarding this unit. They offered me a refund on the cleaning fees (I have no idea what the host is spending this money on at all), and after further requests, a credit towards a future stay to offset our costs. Unfortunately I cannot counter the host’s stories on his profile at all. I hope that by posting this story I can deter future guests from staying at this unit, and that Airbnb will better monitor the quality and honesty of host listings. I’ve been using Airbnb for a number of years now with no major issues, and with this listing being the first problematic stay, it already shows me the lack of responsibility that both hosts and Airbnb can potentially have for their clients.

Bad Experience at Portland Airbnb Studio

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I recently had a horrific Airbnb apartment rental, in which I was harassed and threatened with eviction by the property manager for breaking house rules, even though none were broken (a picture of the house rules, which is on the apartment refrigerator, has been provided). It seems she has a history of threatening eviction, keeping the renters money, and even having her husband nearly getting into physical confrontations with renters as I found out in other posted reviews. The property link can be found here. The following is the review I posted on Airbnb:

“The apartment is very nice, but unfortunately I had to cut my stay short due to harassment by Kim, the property manager. She met me at the property and seemed like a nice lady. The apartment was clean, in close proximity to many local attractions, and as described in the listing. Later in the evening, things turned very bad. Three friends and I were walking back to my friend’s apartment and I thought it would be okay to give a quick whirlwind tour of the place I was renting which just happened to be next door. My friends and I were in the house for less than five minutes. No one sat down, had anything to drink, or even went to the bathroom.

About 15 minutes later I received a text from Kim asking if I had read the house rules on the refrigerator, to which I said yes. She then sent another text asking if anyone else had been in the house, to which I replied yes, I quickly showed my friends around. I was told I violated the house rules, and I apologized. She then says she will not be penalized for cancelling my reservation. I then called Kim to explain the situation. Things became much worse. I tried to tell Kim that I did not have a party, event, or gathering. She would not let me finish speaking, cut me off, and then began with verbal harassment. I was told I was not truthful (which I was throughout the conversation), I was not honest, and that I was “a man without honor.” After which, Kim then said that maybe she would kick me out in the morning, and hung up on me.

No guest should ever have to put up with this kind of abuse. Especially when the rules were not broken. According to the house rules, there are to be “no parties or events” or “no gatherings greater than the number of reserved guests allowed”. There was no party, no event, and I would not call four people doing a quick tour in under five minutes a “gathering.” During the one night of my stay, I did not get any sleep after being threatened with eviction. I called Airbnb in the early morning to cancel the rest of my stay and report the harassment I received from Kim. I was able to get another Airbnb apartment at the last minute, and went on to have a nice stay in Portland. I cannot properly convey my disappointment with the property and its manager, Kim. The disrespect shown towards me was not justified in any way. When I am being honest and respectful towards someone, I expect the same in return. That did not happen here. I believe everyone looking at properties managed by Kim should think twice and look elsewhere.”