AirbnbHell.com was originally founded by Dan Weber in July of 2013 after he personally experienced a loss of almost $3,000 US dollars due to the senseless and unfair policies of Airbnb, as well as the incompetence of a series of Airbnb customer service agents. The following is a summary, told by Dan himself, of his own personal story:
I had been a successful and enthusiastic Airbnb Host for almost a year when a young European couple in their mid 20’s booked one of my rooms for a 6 month reservation, a very long stay by Airbnb standards. I welcomed them into my rental unit, and spent time with them socially on a few occasions during their stay as they were trying to learn their way around Los Angeles. My wife even sold them her used car well below blue-book value, just to help them out as they seemed like a nice young couple and they clearly didn’t have a lot of money. Everything was going fine… until the couple left in the middle of the night without saying a word two nights before their 6 month reservation was scheduled to come to an end.
I was surprised by that fact alone, but I was even more shocked when I received a notice from Airbnb saying that the couple had filed a complaint about me and they claimed there were mice in the condo! It should be noted that I had over 40 perfect reviews from previous guests at this point, and there most certainly were no mice anywhere on my property. According to Airbnb, their “standard policy” when a guest claimed rodents were in the house was to refund 50 percent of the entire reservation, in this case almost $3,000 USD for 3 months of renting one of my bedrooms in Los Angeles, California.
I immediately tried to contact Airbnb to dispute this obviously fraudulent claim, but I was passed around from one customer service agent to another, none of them able to give me any explanation better than “this is our policy”. I was furious. After about 2 weeks of calling and emailing various Airbnb reps, I finally reached a “manager” who provided me with a copy of the scammers’ complaint including a photo of a mouse they had sent. My rebuttal included written testimony from another guest who was staying in the condo at the same time, stating that there were no mice or signs of any other pests in the house. Thanks to the wonders of google image search, I was even able to find the exact same mouse photo that the couple had used to file their complaint… it was originally posted on a blog TWO YEARS EARLIER! I sent all of this documentation to Airbnb and asked them to consider my many positive reviews, and that their “policy” to refund 50% of a guest’s entire reservation for a simple (obviously fraudulent) claim was crazy. Another week went by without my claim being addressed. Airbnb kept my last payment from the European scammers’ reservation, as well as money from my next few guests, so in total I had lost almost $3,000.
After about 3 weeks of this frustration I finally had enough. My last message to the manager at Airbnb was “Go ahead and keep my money. I’m going to cost your company more money than you have cost me!” That was when I launched AirbnbHell.com – I felt that others needed to be warned.
Now, almost 7 years later, AirbnbHell.com receives tens of thousands of unique visitors every month from over 200 countries around the world. Thousands of stories have been shared by other former Airbnb Hosts and Guests who have experienced their own Airbnb nightmares. Although Dan is no longer involved with the day-to-day operations of the website, his legacy lives on through our community and through the awareness the website has brought to a growing industry.
The goal of AirbnbHell.com as a community is not to whine for no reason, but rather to warn other potential hosts and guests about the dangers and risks associated with using the Airbnb service specifically. Some of our authors hate the “sharing economy” concept in general, but we personally don’t agree with that. We think it’s a great thing to be able to rent out extra bedrooms for additional income. To broaden the discussion, we’ve also launched a dedicated page to make our website visitors aware of the many reputable companies that now compete with Airbnb.
Thank you for taking an interest in this issue and for supporting our community. Together we will create a safer and more pleasant residence sharing environment for all!