Over the last couple of years I have been a satisfied user of Airbnb with an exceptional rating. On a recent trip to a supposedly sleepy fishing village I was robbed within 30 minutes of arriving at the the house by a window left open by the hosts cleaners. When the police arrived, they basically told us “Welcome to Paternoster”, I found this quite bizarre as it’s meant to be a very quaint town where South African’s can escape the crime ridden cities of which they live and work. After contacting the host he was completely disinterested and a refund was not possible as per his terms and conditions, this meant I was stuck in a house that was invaded by criminals. A few days later some more locals tried to rob us on the beach (with knives) and we defended ourselves, this resulted in calling the police to protect us while the house was surrounded by at least 30 locals (some of which where armed) throwing rocks at us. The police had to provide an armed escort to escape this town alive. After filing a report with the police, they informed me that this is an area notorious with robbing the tourists and even the landlords are sometimes involved. The police in the last year have given up all hope of resolving the crime in the area due to the increase of drugs and “maffia” presence. At first I didn’t believe it and thought I was the only one until I read such articles as listed below: http://goo.gl/AbrI68 http://goo.gl/EoLWtg https://goo.gl/eT6L43 http://goo.gl/vmwhVd After this ordeal I contacted Airbnb for two reasons, firstly to get the ad removed to protect future travelers from the dangers of this area and secondly to request some kind of insurance. Airbnb is refusing to assist unless I provide receipts for lost goods and told me that I should research the area. Maybe I’m naive or should Airbnb offer equal protection to their customers as they do to their hosts?
New host. Had several reservations booked. Became concerned when I didn’t hear back from my correspondence with guests. Had one guest who became pushy and passive aggressive before her rental dates. Informed Airbnb. Customer service was good at mediating and said they’d protect me. To call them if I had a problem with guest. Guest was not a good communicator and had no graciousness at all. Wanted me to let someone into the unit before her, that had not made the reservation. I wasn’t comfortable with it. Airbnb had every excuse for the guest and said I should let other members of the group in that didn’t make the reservation. Ended up cancelling reservation. Reached out via text message to next guests cell phone, only to find out she never received my emails through their site. Tried to talk to Airbnb and some dope named Lyle senior case manager decided it was all my fault and I’d pay a penalty for it. Tried to call with new information that guests don’t receive email, got tossed around. Got contacted via email from Lyle even though I asked to go above him. Was told their community relations dept would call me back. They never did. Called them a day later. They disconnected me. Called again. They had no record of the day before a conversation and reiterated that the decision by Kyle was final. They never let me talk to anyone higher. I dumped their service, app, my reservations… Everything. They couldn’t care less.
In August, my wife and I booked a “lovely” houseboat on the Seine River in Paris. The reservation indicated that there would be an access card entry and the reviews were generally positive. When we arrived, we noticed that the entire river embankment in our part of town was being used as a camp for migrants. The owner assured us that there would be strong police presence and that the area was safe. She enlisted her neighbor to keep watch over the area while she was gone. There was no access card, however, as promised. Unfortunately, the neighbor who was supposed to be keeping watch skipped town for the weekend and we were robbed in the middle of the night while sleeping. The thieves took our wedding rings, engagement rings, laptops, jewelry, cash, cards and passports. They were actually right above the hull of the ship where we were sleeping. Thereafter, we were informed by another resident that this had become quite common; i.e., there had been a rash of break-ins in this very area. We had to sit in a police station for 3.5 hours trying to tell our story in broken French. AirBnB and the houseboat owner were extremely callous and unsympathetic. Most of our items were uninsured, so we lost a decent chunk of our property, as well as our security. They have refused to reimburse us and they do not seem to realize that they had a duty (whether moral or legal) to inform us about the recent activity in the area or to take bona fide steps to secure the property. Worse yet, our negative review of the property has been removed from the AirBnB website. The owner is Marie and here is her unsecured property: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/527140?s=CwERv8I5
I booked three weeks of a room in London way in advance. Yesterday, I turned up there as the host said I can check it a 8 pm. Yes, it was late, and I did not like it very much because it was in Greater London, and took a long time to get there. Then when I arrived there, right on time, nobody was there. So I waited, it was very unpleasant, also very cold, and I felt unsafe (am female, and when you are not in one of the busy areas of London at night, it is not a good experience at all). A bit after one hour of waiting, I was too scared, and decided to look for another accommodation, so it took me over an hour to get into the centre of London (also cost me lots of money travelling there and back again). The host THEN contacted me (as I left a note in the letter box). Said she got held up by traffic (which is a joke because she also used the buses, like me, and there were NO issues, hardly any traffic in that area at all). And now she does not want to refund me my money.