Expected Female Airbnb Host in Geneva, Not Male

I recently booked a room on Airbnb with a so-called host in Geneva. I arrived late due to the late departure of my Easy Jet flight and sent an SMS to the host. After making my way to the address listed on the Airbnb website, a Swiss lady was entering the building and let me in. She said she had lived there for more than seventeen years and there was no one by the name of my host.

I called the number listed and a man answered; he said it was a different address and that he had notified me. I didn’t have access to email for only one day. The kind Swiss lady accompanied me to the new address. There we were met by a man wearing only a pair of shorts. I asked where the host was and he said she was not there. I asked when she would return, and he said perhaps it would be tomorrow.

As a solo woman traveller I told him that I was not going to stay in an apartment with an unknown man. He then said: “Well then, go away and shut the door!”

The lady with me said she would not have stayed there either. I then had to look for a hotel at close to midnight, at great cost. This was a total misrepresentation of the property.

I contacted Airbnb and received no answer. To add insult to injury, the host refused to give me a refund. I have to add that this was the first time I have had such a bad experience with Airbnb after two other experiences. I never would have expected scammers in Switzerland. It’s a good thing I’m half Swiss, have lived in Geneva, and speak enough French. Heaven knows what any other non-French speaking woman would have done. He was a horrid rude man. Be warned they are still listed.

Bait and Switch… Airbnb no help whatsoever!

Weeks ago I booked several nights at a “bright executive apartment” in Shenzhen via Airbnb. Hours before I was to arrive the host sends a note saying “very sorry… room has power problem… must switch you to other room… hope you understand”. I arrived (via flight) late in the day and was hurried to my alternative room, given the key and the host quickly vanished. Without going into excruciating detail the room was disgusting. There were cockroaches climbing the walls and running wild in the kitchen. (some pics at https://imgur.com/a/3QclV) There were splat stains on the wall where one could assume that people had killed roaches in the past. I immediately sent the host an email (via airbnb) saying the room was unacceptable and that it needed to be fixed asap. Unfortunately it wasn’t until the next morning that the host showed me another apartment (it seems they have a couple dozen units that they manage). The second unit was nominally better though it had a mouse trap and noticeable droppings in the kitchen cupboard. I decided that I had *no choice* but to leave and find accommodation somewhere else. Trying to enlist help from airbnb was utterly futile and useless. Going to the help/support I left a message for support – which has never been responded to – despite the automated “someone one the team is working on your issue and will get back to you as soon as possible”!! I discovered their resolution page where I found that the guest only has an option to *request* a refund from the host. Again, no involvement from a human at airbnb… just a facility that lets the visitor send a request to the host – which I suspect they can completely ignore. Loooong story short… still not a peep from someone at airbnb… but fortunately the host accepted my request for a refund. So now we’ll see if it somehow actually appears. Bottom line. I will NEVER use airbnb again. Not only do I travel alot, but I was actually also thinking of being a host too. But after this terrible experience I will not. In my opinion Airbnb’s pathetic customer service is a terrible business model that will ultimately be their downfall. I will resume using mainstream booking methods (eg. expedia, priceline, booking).