We asked for an early check in and our host said it would be fine at least three days before check in. As we were driving she asked for an estimate as to what time we’d arrive because her previous guests asked for a late check out. We arrived about an hour before check in to drop our luggage and leave. That’s when we heard a key enter the lock to the outer door and a man walked in, said “sorry,” and disappeared. We were scared as he opened the door with a key and then was gone when we went out to ask him who he was. So we immediately left and called Airbnb to say we were uncomfortable and wanted to leave with our money back. They said they had to speak with the host and figure out the whole story. At that point we had been driving around for about an hour in another country with all of our stuff in the car, having nowhere to go. They called back saying they were having trouble getting in touch with her and that we should try to go grab something to eat. As we’re eating (now about two hours after the incident) the customer service representative called saying that it was “probably” just the cleaning guy and that we shouldn’t worry and to just go back to the place. No one could tell us definitively that it was a cleaning guy, but it probably was. For all we knew it could’ve been the previous guest who still had a copy of the key and could come in at any time during our three-day stay.
After being hung up on twice and being on hold for about two hours they also said they couldn’t give us a refund; only the host could. We tried to get in touch with her and she said to “go ahead and cancel” to which I replied: “Will we get our money back?” She didn’t reply for another five hours. Airbnb refused to help us, saying they needed to protect their host and they couldn’t take her money as it couldn’t be proven we were in any immediate danger. No one cared that we were not safe and felt uncomfortable and had to barricade the door with the couch just to feel safe; they had to protect their host. To top it all off, after we returned home the host sent an email requesting money saying we checked in early and wasted her time because she was on the phone with Airbnb for 39 minutes. She wasted the entire first day of our vacation and she wants to be compensated. Absolutely the worst customer service I have ever dealt with.