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Bad experience as guest - Greedy hosts?


#1

Hi everyone. I’m new to this forum. I’ve been a guest with Airbnb many times since 2010 and have been a host for 3 years. I’m a superhost (in case that matters).

The reason I’m writing this is because of an experience my daughter (who is an adult and also a superhost) and I had as guests last week. Long story short: We expected to stay in a room with a shared bathroom of a house with a female host. What we got: We ended up in a house full of guests (6) sharing a bathroom with male guest(s) and the host was a man (well he was the “house manager” but he lived there and had complete control of the account.)

If the host had honestly written up the description, s/he would have mentioned that there would be other guests in the house and that another person (of another gender) would be hosting. But instead, it seems that the host wanted to purposely avoid these facts in order to book up her/his house to the max.

We complained to airbnb, and they refunded the amount. Unfortunately they cancelled the reservation so we couldn’t write a review. But, the amount refunded did not (by any means) cover the cost of a last minute hotel in Los Angeles. We’re trying to get this covered by claiming that Airbnb misrepresented who the host was. So far, no luck.

What do other hosts think? Is this just greed? Is this the future of Airbnb? (Apparently it is according to this article: http://skift.com/2014/05/30/the-professionalization-of-airbnb-hosts/

Oh - and also there were roaches all over the kitchen - out in the open, scurrying around as if they owned the place.

Do any of you use managers? And, if so, do you mention this fact?

Mami


#2

Mami, I have 2 rooms In a house that are for rent, but i don’t mention it in my description. Now, after your post may be I should. My rooms are on separate floors and have separate bathrooms, so it was never an issue and guests at times don’t know about each other existence.,

I travel as guest since 2010 also, and if some things are important to me I ask before I book. Like smoking in a house, how many people will share a bathroom and so on.
I am not mentioning my second room only because I don’t find it nessesary buti am not doing it on purpose to hide the fact and get people to rent with me.

Also i don’t mention my husband who stays up later at night than me and greets late check ins. No one seemed to mind that it’s him that greets them not me.
From your post it’s not totally clear why Airbnb refunded your money. Did you ask the host Ina beginning if it was all female household or about amount of rooms and guests she will be having? Did she falsely mention that there is only 1 room for rent, and specified that she will be hosting you personally?


#3

One bathroom for six people? That’s completely unacceptable!!! Almost like a health violation… Roaches like that… counts as vermin, which right there should get you a refund.

I’m here in Kona, Hawaii and we DO have big B52 bugs in the tropics, especially in summer. They are all over… outside my house, on the street, etc. It’s not an indication of how clean I am… I try my damndest to use roach motels, spray, and make sure every nook and cranny is sealed up and I still get them at times… Just disclose it to the guests by way of saying “We do get bugs in the tropics. Don’t panic. Some are big but most are harmless.”

But in LA, that’s unacceptable… and as they say. If you see one, that means there are 50-100 more hidden in the nest… Eeek!

Escalate your case until they agree to pay for your Los Angeles hotel room fees and the booking fees! A true nightmare, yikes!

If I were you, I’d report that property to the Department of Health. An inspector will then possibly come out and shut them down or issue a violation! ???

AirBnB becoming slumlords! Yikes!

One other thing… do you think the manager guy was a tenant and the owner of the place didn’t know about the AirBnB renting? Maybe try to find the owner of the house by searching property tax records and contact him? I’m betting anything this was a lessee and renting out their place in violation of their lease. You probably want to be done with it, but if were me, I’d be thinking of some ways to turn them in.


#4

Hi Yana, Thanks for your reply. If I were you I’d mention it. I mean, you never really know your guests - and God forbid one of them turns out to be a criminal and harms the other one. If they knew ahead of time that they’re sharing the house with “strangers” then they can decide on their own. Honestly, we didn’t mind that it was him since he seemed nice - until everything else started happening and suddenly we were in the house with 6 other people, roaches, etc and no real host to be found to figure things out. That’s when we started to feel that the entire situation wasn’t kosher. It’s one thing for a husband to greet a guest - it’s another when someone else runs the entire operation with the real host never to be found and unable to be reached.

Kona, I’ve tried getting info from Airbnb about the real host. They say that the manager is the point of contact and is verified. Well, I looked on the Airbnb host sign-up page and didn’t see anything about setting up a “point of contact”. I pushed them to tell me about it, and they say you can assign one by calling. I asked how is that person verified and they won’t give me a clear answer. The reason I’m pressing them for this is because it seems to me that if the purpose of their platform is to match hosts with guests, they aren’t fulfilling their end of the contract if the guest gets another host - especially one that is not verified. Anyway, I don’t know if this will matter to them but I do know that they won’t (absolutely won’t) pay for a hotel “just” because the place is unacceptable.


#5

So are you saying that the house manager you encountered at the place and the “owner” are two different names? Is there any way you could send another inquiry reaching that person and maybe telling them what went on? But I know you are more than over it by now… It just seems wrong… and has to be in violation of something. Call City planning or DOH on them? You have the address! They have to go out and investigate a complaint. Try it and see?


#6

I still have unanswered questions to your situation.
Have you spoken with the “real” owner? Did she tell you the person who will greet you will be someone else’s? I manage my friend’s house and she always tells guests that it won’t be her to greet people, but me. No one has problem with it .
On what grounds Airbnb refunded your money? I thinki am missing something here. Did you think you would be the only person renting the only room in a house and it appeared to be another 3 rooms for rent? And combined it was 6 other people? And one bathroom?
Whati understood so far that you were unhappy with the fact that it’s too many people for 1 bathroom, and there were roaches. That’s why Airbnb refunded your money?
Why I am asking it is that out of almost 60 guestsi had no one had problem with another room being rented.,I guess people figure that another guest goes through the same verification as them and a chance of having a serial killer in an house is very slim. I have private bath so there was never any quarrel about this issue. I didnt even know that Airbnb can refund guest money based on afact that additional rooms room were not disclosed. I assume that if it was so important for a guest to be just him In a house and an owner that a guest would ask.


#7

Kona, I stayed few times I a house where I shared 1 bathroom with the owner and 2 more rooms. And I had absolutely no probem with that. In one room there was a small child. Owner kept bathroom very clean and as i wake up very early, I managed to take a shower before anyone else’s and it was always clean at any hour of the day.
Roaches is disgusting, I encountered that too, and now I think I would just leave and called Airbnb, but back then I stayed


#8

I think the problem here possibly seems to be that the guests were not really told there was going to be one bath for six people? Am I understanding that correctly from the OP? Not so much that there were other rooms and other guests. (which I also think should be disclosed.)

I think personally I would be OK with almost any sort of set up , as long as the EXACT situation was disclosed up front. In Tokyo, I shared a dorm style bathroom with maybe 30-40 ladies… no problem. Had lockers for our stuff. Out by 10AM. No shoes anywhere inside. No talking AT ALL. I knew that would be the case when I booked a Capsule, and of course, abided by their terms.


#9

Kona, Yes the host listed was not the same person as the manager, and there was no mention of the manager’s existence. We have not spoken to the real owner. We explained everything to the manager before we left and he was very sorry and he said he understood how the listing was inaccurate. He promised to change it. And, he offered to refund the money.

Yana, the reason that Airbnb refunded the money was because the host/manager agreed to it. The host did not mention in the description that she was not living there. It sounded like she was and even said things like “we like to hang out with our guests in the back yard.” But, the fact is, she was not there and had no plans to be there since she lived in another location. I don’t have a problem with an absent host. Not at all. I have a problem with purposeful misrepresentation of SO MANY things on top of another. If it were just a manager, ok. But it was a manager, AND a small bedroom, AND extra guests, AND roaches, etc.

Also, it was not just one other bedroom. There were 4 bedrooms being rented plus the managers bedroom. There were two bedroom upstairs and three downstairs. The “bedrooms” downstairs weren’t even real bedrooms. For example, one looked like what would have been a dining room with a curtain for privacy instead of a door. In other words, they were really packing guests in to the max.

You are right that most people don’t have a problem with sharing a bathroom. I don’t either. I’ve done it many times before on Airbnb. The point it that I KNEW ahead of time. I wasn’t suddenly surprised to be sharing the house with 6 other people. And - by the way - the house was very small, the bedrooms were tiny - literally not enough room for the two of us to stand in it at the same time. The walls were thin and we could hear every thing the folks in the next room were saying. etc etc. The description did not match the reality.

Yana, I think that you may be trying to imagine the situation based on your own experience as a host. But, this was an exceptional experience of a really bad situation. Like I said, I’ve travelled with airbnb for 5 years. I’ve been to Mexico, Italy, Spain, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Greensboro (NC), Memphis and I’m sure I’m forgetting places. And I’ve hosted over 100 guests. This was NOT a normal situation. I’m sure you are a great host and wouldn’t host in the way that this person does.

I feel that Airbnb needs to take more responsibility when things go wrong and immediately step in to remedy the situation. By the way, they didn’t do that. After my daughter called, they told her that someone would reach out to her by phone. It never happened. We were on our own. What if we had been in a foreign country where we didn’t speak the language? What if she had been alone? There are so many what-if’s and I realize that Airbnb just doesn’t care. They leave guests in the cold. No help. No sympathy. No nothing. I think that in big cities, they should keep a reserve of rooms for emergency situations. They should do SOMETHING! But they don’t help at all. NOTHING!

I used to be a big supporter of Airbnb. Now I’m having severe doubts. They have so much money. They could set up systems to help people. Instead, they have terrible customer service and just don’t care. If the host had (for example) refused to refund the money, we’d probably have a uphill battle to get it from Airbnb (based on their responses up until now.)


#10

I’m not entirely understanding the situation either. If the guy was nice, and described by you as the house manager who lived there (also confirmed to be so by Airbnb), what exactly do you mean when you say you had ‘no real host to be found to figure things out’? What did you need to figure out?

I assume you were after a room that was a good deal, not easy to get in LA centrally without being willing to sacrifice somewhere. To me it sounds like you may have not done due diligence with your research on the room, and made some assumptions you shouldn’t have.

i’m going to make an assumption now, and that is that you got your refund for the night based on the ‘vermin’ call, which is a well known way to get an Airbnb refund. I’m sure you’re not lying about seeing cockroaches, but then you’re in California, and while I haven’t lived in Cali, any time I have lived in a temperate environment and especially nearer to the coast, roaches are going to happen to you at some point, no matter how meticulously clean you are. Your neighbors, or even last guests might not be so on top of things, and boy do they get out of control quickly - especially the small German type. In fact, we live on the east coast, but even so, we once had an outbreak of German roaches after some studio/ guesthouse guests brought some along in their suitcases. They were not easy to get rid of, even though we got right onto it. It was one egg sack that suddenly birthed hundreds of them. This is just to explain how the roach thing really can happen to anyone as we’ve been hosting on Airbnb for over three years and have never once gotten less than five stars for cleanliness from anyone, even the most hard to please guest. That’s not to say they aren’t gross because I despise the things, but was the home really unkempt and filthy, or could this have been an unfortunate issue carried in by another guest?

Another thing to mention is I manage almost everything on Airbnb because I have more time, and just my pic is up (keep meaning to change it to us both), yet my husband who is spoken about if you read ‘about us’ will occasionally do the late check ins. He does the breakfasts so checks in with guests in the morning. I will let guests know if he will be checking them in, however, I can see how it could be legitimate for the woman you were messaging with to be in a simply administrative role in regards to the house. It surely wouldn’t have been difficult for you to have found out, either. With 6 guests staying at a time, I can only imagine there were some reviews for you to read which would have been revealing of how things were set up there if the listing failed to mention anything. Reviews tend to be great like that. If other guests were surprised about anything, but not upset to the point that you and your daughter were they would no doubt have mentioned any issues. Did you not check any reviews?

Regarding the shared bathroom, if the price is good enough many guests are happy to put up with an inconvenience such as this, particularly younger guests. We have a home with many rooms, but it is not inexpensive $150-$170 per night, and I don’t tell guests how many other guests are staying in my home (I don’t typically accept more than 6 strangers or three couples, but can easily fit eleven friends). I’ve never had a problem with this as a superhost. In fact people excitedly ask who else might be staying. I simply can’t think of why you have a problem with it either. You only booked a room, not the entire home, or the host.

The rooms who share a bathroom (no more than two rooms per bathroom) it is written in the listing, and I expect them to read it properly. So far we have had no issues with strangers sharing a bathroom (except for me when there’s gross inconsiderate guests who leave a pigsty who I have to try to get in and clean up between them like little kids).

As far as I can tell right now, it seems that you are unhappy because you expected too much for too little, but I await for further details. Things aren’t adding up with your description of events, and I would like to understand why you felt you couldnt ask the nice man managing the home to help you figure out what you felt you needed to figure out.

Regarding your interpretation of Airbnb almost like a dating service for hooking up hosts and guests, I think you have it unfortunately quite wrong. It is the room you are booking, and you were quite lucky to have a nice host on hand. I am baffled by your reaction to his being male. A nice person is a nice person, I would have thought. I am more than sure that if you were that concerned that your hook up with your host go well that some reviews would have given some extra info on that. I may be wrong here, but I’d love to hear how.


#12

Actually, I don’t want to take sides, I only want to have a reasonable discussion that makes sense. Again this makes no sense. You say ‘of course we read the reviews’, and then you claim that all the reviews were removed. I find it difficult to understand why an experienced host would stay at a property for whom the host was an important factor without reading a single guest review. That’s what you appear to be saying when you say ‘my guess is that other people complained about this place and …no review was shown’.

I’m sorry if I choked back a little gasp of disbelief when you claim that every negative review has been removed. Did it appear that the other guests staying were extremely unhappy and in the process of checking out asap and getting refunded during your stay? Surely the mood would have been pretty palpable for such a terrible environment. If there are no reviews on a property it is obviously a good idea to check if it’s a new listing. Your comments make it clear it is not.

The only reason Airbnb has ever removed reviews to my knowledge (and believe me, I have a strong interest in this, having had one removed), is when their set of rules for reviewing are broken. Unfortunately mine was removed because we had been blackmailed by a guest, and Airbnb said we referenced the case (well, of course we mentioned the guests blackmailed us as it was kind of important). I haven’t seen any evidence of reviews being removed outside of their set of rules which are based on not making personal insults about guests/hosts or giving away personal info, or mentioning open cases. Beyond these rules it is almost impossible to get Airbnb to remove a review. If you are going to present such claims, you need to produce evidence. You can’t just say “Airbnb does this” with nothing to back it up - actually you can, but nobody with common sense will believe such a statement, because if they do it all the time there should be plenty of cases to pick from.

In regards to canceling a stay and getting a refund, that’s obviously different and if you feel this is genuinely what has happened then that must mean the property had been listed for some time, and despite having no reviews you took a risk by booking a it. It is an obvious red flag when a listing that isn’t brand new doesn’t have reviews. The review system is in place to help guests navigate listings, and most importantly to hear how their hosts are. Of course hosts can list their property however they like but it’s hard to describe themselves. Guests can do that best, and if a good female host was important, I am bewildered as to why you chose this listing without reviews, unless theree were other factors that made you feel the risk was worth it,

I’m not sure what you came here expecting to hear- it seems to be that because you think Airbnb failed in matching you to the host you expected, that they should now pay for your hotel in LA. I’m pretty surprised at this to be honest. I feel like people have become like children, expecting to be walked through everything like little toddlers.

In regards to our own Airbnb, we have gushing reviews. I often don’t know how to take just how much people enjoy staying in our home. We consistently get five star reviews and guests that return and refer friends. The problem for us is dealing with the guests that are demanding, turn our home into the ‘me’ parade, and treat our home like a hotel. After 3 years on Airbnb with 97% 5 star average as superhosts, a nomination for a host award and many years more hosting before then we feel pretty sure that our guests are quite comfortable visiting our home - eek! other guests and all.

I’m really sure that your host ‘chose not to control’ the cockroaches. I’m sure she/he thought the guests would find them charming. Everyone loves living with cockroaches! I’m sorry if you remind me of one of those people that wants to blame mistakes on others and that feels like if they make enough noise and complain enough they can make a company refund them (oh hang on, you got that already :confused: ), or in your case pay for your mistake. What’s that word again? Oh that’s right. Entitled.


#13

Sandy, Most of the assumptions and “facts” on which you’ve based your conclusions are wrong. But I have neither time nor desire to discuss it with someone who epitomizes the statement, “My mind is made up, don’t confuse me with facts.” Call me entitled, call me whatever you want. When a person resorts to name calling it’s clear they’ve exhausted rational arguments and, out of frustration, resort to insults.


#14

I am not following the thing about complaint of a host who isn’t female. Did you plan to stay in a property that only had another female staying in it? And with only one other room? You said you and your daughter are both Superhosts yourselves.


#15

Sorry to hear about your bad experience.
How were the reviews of the property?
What about the pricing? I find that hostel type prices usually means hostel like accommodation.
Roaches having the run of the place is unacceptable though! None of the reviews had mentioned this?


#16

Mami, I am really trying to understand what’s happening with your stay and honestly after you answered me several times I still can’t get the full picture.

I understood you were unhappy with the whole accomodation. 6 other people, noises, thin walls, cockroaches, 1 bathroom, it’s all very uncomfortable I get it, but what I don’t get is why you assumed it would be otherwise?,
I stayed in many many Airbnbs and what I learned is to never assume anything.,
Before I asked a host millions of questions, I read reviews. Pretty much reviews would mention multiple guests and hygien of the house even if reviews were good . Very rarely a host would disclose how many bedrooms are for rent. I could see multiple listings of the same house and figured there were several rooms there for rent.
You are mentioning the size of the room. Did the host specifically said anything about the size of the room being spacious and then you discovered it was so small?
The set up of the house looks like the host is trying to make the most of her space and rents out every single corner. But isn’t it her right? May be her house is perfect for some youth who travel the world and don’t mind to have cheap accomodation in LA with all these people and 1 bathroom.
I just don’t see how the host was misrepresenting her space.
I think the problem here is that you did not realize there were other people and the fact that they were all male bothered you. The male manager was a legal entity that you could talk to, why did not you? You said it yourself, he was a nice man. You could address with him the roaches and multiple rooms, I just don’t now what he could have done about it.
One thing I agree with you is the roaches. This is unacceptable and they need to do something about it.

About removal of reviews: I have a very hard time believing Airbnb removes bad reviews. I have so far 34 reviews. All of them but 1 are mostly 5*. That one pulled me down quite a bit. I called Airbnb about it and told them to look into it because the major reason why the guy gave me 1* is because he found 2 dead termites ona floor and then a bunchof accusations followed that my house is dirty and sheets were not fresh. I pointed out to Airbnb that the cleanliness category in all 34 reviews is 5* with the exception of this 1 guest. They still refused to remove it. So, I really doubt that Airbnb would remove a bunch of bad reviews from one host.


#17

Mami, I’m terribly sorry if you feel like a whole bunch of holes have been punched through your story about the awful place Airbnb made you stay in - and should now pay for your hotel because of ‘their’ mistake matching you with the right host.

Takeaways from this for you should be:
read reviews before making a booking (although I don’t believe for one minute that there were no reviews on this place).
Check to see if the host has other listings at the same address seeing other guests bother you so greatly.
Ask if the host will be on site, because this can not be assumed for all properties by any stretch.

I hope that helps.

For all the hosts here: anyone can come on the forum claiming to be superhosts.


#19

Hi Yana,

It is absolutely the right of the host to do anything she wants with her space. But it is not right (I believe) to not be honest in the description.

The point is this: The manager AGREED with us and immediately offered to refund the money. So for anyone in this forum who still wants to play “blame the victim”, let’s be clear that he knew that what he was offering was sub-par. So, yes, we did address all the issues with him. He agreed with us, and offered us a full refund. However, 10pm in Los Angeles on a Thursday night. Good luck finding a hotel.

Fortunately we found one because I know the town fairly well, but what if we had been in a foreign country or another city that I don’t know? This is a BIG problem for Airbnb, and they refuse to address it. They use slippery language to avoid responsibility. If other hosts don’t see the problem with this, I suggest they open their eyes because this could end up taking down the entire Airbnb platform. If hosts keep offering sub-par experiences, guests are going to stop using it and another more professional platform will take its place - one that relies on honest reviews and keeps hosts to a higher standard.

I also have stayed in other Airbnb’s and they always disclose if they have other rooms. But, I think (as 1chicretreat states) there seems to be a trend of non-disclosure and hosts packing in people to maximize their income. I guess this is the first run-in I’ve had with this type of host. If you or other folks on this forum are this type of host, then - yes - obviously you are going to take exception with my posting. Again, that’s fine - everyone is entitled to their opinion. If hosts want to pack guests in and not disclose this, then that’s their right. It’s just a shame that this is becoming more common. And, like I stated, in the end, it could be detrimental to Airbnb.

As for reviews - in order to save myself time to explain why reviews are not reliable, I’m attaching these two articles:

So for all the hosts who think that their great reviews are actually a true reflection of the guests’ experience, please realize that it’s not. I’m just surprised at how grossly inaccurate this particular situation was.

I had one other experience that was similar, but not nearly as bad, so I know this can happen, but - truly - this was ridiculous on so many levels!

Yana, if you don’t and can’t understand, that’s fine. I don’t need your approval or anyone else’s to know the reality of what happened to us. You can judge me as someone who should have known better, someone who expects too much, someone who didn’t talk to the host/manager, someone who doesn’t get how Airbnb works. If that makes you feel more comfortable with the situation, then fine, great. I don’t care.

Have a great day and weekend!


#20

1chic - I agree. Unfortunately, this may be becoming more common. I know that I’m going to be much more careful in the future. This whole experience has left a very bad taste in my mouth. Thanks for your support and understanding!


#21

AquaticQuests,

That’s what is so crazy! They were NOT hostel prices. I’ve stayed in Airbnb’s on the beach with a private bathroom for the equivalent price. Trust me, if it had been cheap, I would have lowered my expectations.

Thanks for your comments.


#22

Mami–one plus in the host’s favor is that they did refund. They could have told you too bad so sad. I hope they will get a clue and then clean up their place and maybe not pack so many guests in? I don’t know… The uncertainty of booking a place like you describe is one reason why I’m willing to pay for a hotel when I travel! And I am a 5.5-year Air host. (I opened for business before the rest of the world had ever heard of Air! ) but I am a chicken about traveling via Air as a guest!

I guess next time book the days inn. :slight_smile: A lot more comfortable and you get your own bathroom. :slight_smile:


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