I booked an Airbnb for the first time for a recent two-week stay in the Los Angeles area. I was messaging the female host who sounded pleasant but upon arrival was greeted by her “boyfriend” who I was never even told lived there. He helped me with my luggage and I was taken to my room. I was never greeted by my host, saw her in the flesh or spoke to her in person. I started to question if she was even real. The boyfriend told me to keep quiet to the neighbors about him as he wasn’t on the lease. The whole thing felt sketchy and I was a woman traveling alone. There was no way I was going to stay there for one night, let alone two weeks, so I left and got a hotel. I called Airbnb, told them that I did not feel safe and that the listing was not as advertised which they seemed understanding about. I am now in a dispute with the company and had the full prepaid amount of nearly $1000 reversed from my bank as the case was being disputed.
Today I received a letter that I lost the dispute because of the Airbnb reservation policy and will only receive a partial refund of about a third of what I prepaid. I was in the room for less than one hour and their policy includes you must be greeted by the host. This is ridiculous and I am looking into small claims court. Has anyone else experienced something similar? This service came highly recommended to me by friends who both host and others who have been guests. I am beyond disappointed with this experience and being told I’m obligated to pay for a misrepresentation of the service being offered. All hosts should have to supply documentation of other residences and have a formal letter from their landlord or coop that they are allowed to host.