According to Business Insider, one of its employees had rented a private home in the Hamptons on New York’s Long Island with his girlfriend last weekend.
After some back and forth texts with the host to find out if the home had a hair dryer, ice and other last-minute details, the couple was happy to arrive and find everything on the up-and-up (besides a missing railing on the stairs) for the $900 rental.
They met with the host, got their keys and prepared for their stay. All appeared to be well, for at least a few hours.
Then at 2:45 a.m., the girlfriend got a text from the host, reading only, “Do you want to try”.
She figured he sent it in error, and went back to sleep.
Cut to about 3:30, when the couple said they heard noises downstairs. Peeking down, the BI employee reportedly saw the host, who had let himself into the house with his own keys and was apparently out of his head.
“He was drunk and or high and mumbling incoherently,” the BI employee recalls. “He asked me to come downstairs. I cautiously went down the railing-less staircase to confront him.”
After a mumbled, strange conversation lasting about 20 minutes, he convinced the host to leave around 4 a.m. The couple then booked it out of there immediately.
“It was a terrifying experience,” the girlfriend said.
They called Airbnb’s 24-hour emergency line but gave up after waiting 45 minutes to get through, and filed a report using the company’s app. Then they drove back toward Manhattan until they found a hotel.
The next day they booked a stay at a bed-and-breakfast for the rest of the weekend, racking up about $850 in extra costs with that and the hotel.
Airnbn responded within hours to their complaint, apologizing for the situation and adding that “This is definitely not acceptable behavior.”
But while that message noted that their case had been forwarded to the Trip Experience team, which would supposedly reach out to the couple, they didn’t hear anything else that weekend, and said they called Airbnb twice on Monday with no response.
“I didn’t expect them to have a lot of customer service agents at 4 a.m. I understood they might not get back to me on Sunday,” the girlfriend explained. “But by Monday, end of day, on a message listed as urgent? I’m not freaking out about the money. I wanted to know, are they taking down the listing?”
After Business Insider contacted Airbnb, the company took down the listing and banned the host permanently, as well as refunding the couple for the house and their extra hotel costs. The company also threw in a $500 credit to try Airbnb again — which seems unlikely, given this experience.
“We deeply regret that this matter was not handled properly and our response fell well short of the standards we set for ourselves,” the company said in a statement. “This behavior is totally unacceptable and the host has been permanently removed from Airbnb. Our Trust and Safety team has reached out to these guests to apologize for the delay, issue them a full refund and cover the cost of their alternative accommodations.”