What’s the Worst that can Happen with Airbnb?

How about traveling clear across the country only to find you can’t get into your rental and the host is nowhere to be found? In October, we booked two weeks at this lovely place near San Diego, CA. They looked legit: the owner is a lawyer, and their farm had recently been featured on the news. In fact, their listing mentioned staying at the property would fund an animal rescue. Who doesn’t love that? Not to mention they had glowing reviews as recent as a week before we left. So we felt comfortable with this choice. Imagine our surprise and dismay when we travelled 3000 miles to arrive at the home with no one to greet us and no way to get in. Mind you we had been up since 3:00 AM, and had now surpassed the 16-hour mark of being awake, schlepping our luggage around, having plane and airport funk on us, and wanting desperately to lie down and rest.

Multiple frantic calls and texts to the owner were not answered or returned, leaving us upset and in a panic about finding a new place that could take us for two weeks. I had communicated with the host, John, before arriving and he was well aware of our arrival time. There was a code lock on the door for which he could have easily sent us the code ahead of time, or even that morning, and he failed to do that. After an hour of calls to Airbnb (which was irritating in its own special way) and multiple area hotels, we booked a room at a Quality Inn; it was not what we were hoping for at all but it was clean and at least we could get in.

The host finally called us back and actually said, “Hey, how’s it going!”, as if he had no idea what was transpiring. As I felt my blood begin to boil I handed the phone to my boyfriend who told him that it was not ok that he left us hanging and we were refunded our money and are now moving on, in a much kinder way than I would have been able to.

So, a word of warning: you can’t solely depend on the reviews on Airbnb, because reviews like this one can’t be posted. They ended up canceling my reservation so now it’s as if I had no connection to it and am unable to leave a review. How many reviews are there for places that couldn’t be posted? Needless to say we are done with Airbnb. We’ve had two out of three bad experiences. It’s too bad, because some of these places are lovely and have more to offer than a hotel room.

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