Woman Puts Airbnb on Blast for Initially Refusing to Refund Filthy, Roach Infested Listing

Once heralded as a game changer in the travel lodging industry, the backlash against Airbnb has been quietly mounting for quite some time now. Some travelers have begun to eschew the rental listing platform in favor of traditional hotels due to hidden fees, excessive pre-checkout chores, inaccurate listings, poor customer service, and increasingly, scams.

The company's woes can be perfectly encapsulated in a social media thread from a long-term renter who found her listing not up to standards, which is putting it lightly, with Airbnb initially refusing to offer a refund or viable solution until changing course after the story went viral

Author M.L. Rio posted her gripes with the property, in an undisclosed location, which she had apparently rented for an entire month for $2,500. Among the surprises she documented over the course of her brief stay in a lengthy X (formerly Twitter) thread were visible filth, a faulty deadbolt, cockroaches, evidence of rodents, no heat or hot water, a gas stove with malfunctioning knobs, and a leaky ceiling.

"For a fun game, let's do a tour of the unit Airbnb refuses to give me a refund for!" Rio wrote on the platform. "I'm sure they'd hate if you liked it shared this, which seems to be the only way to get their attention. Let's start with the entryway. Not off to a great start re: cleanliness."

From there, Rio documented the unit's door, which she says she locked and came back to find unlocked with a screw missing from the deadbolt, as well as one of apparently many roaches she encountered on the property.

She also noticed a package of "natural rodent repeller packs" sitting out after discovering mouse droppings in the kitchen. In an initial correspondence with customer service outlining her concerns, Rio was asked to provide documentation that the hot water wasn't working. But that was just the tip of the iceberg.

As the thread continued, Rio posted images of the unit's dirty bathroom and leaking ceiling. But apparently none of this was enough to warrant action on Airbnb's part. In another piece of followup correspondence, she was informed that there was not enough evidence to allow for the company to issue a refund, and that she would have to take it up privately with the host.

In the ensuing posts, Rio gave a timeline of her arrival at the unit along with her communication with the host. She only finally reached out to customer service after her concerns with issues including the heat and hot water, went unresolved.

As of early Wednesday morning, Rio was still working on a resolution with Airbnb. After several hours on the phone and support chat with a rotating peanut gallery of customer support personnel, she was finally able to get the company to agree to a partial refund. However, she was asked to pay 70 percent of the cost for the nights she did stay at the property, which she says she only remained at due to initially being refused a refund.

Of course, the company may be more amenable now that the thread has gone viral, having been viewed over 28 million times as of Wednesday morning. But unfortunately, that's not especially promising for customers who don't wield the power of the internet to help resolve their issues.

A rep for Airbnb told Men's Journal that Rio has since been fully refunded for her stay.

“We were sorry to hear about our guest’s experience, and our team has fully refunded them and offered further support through our AirCover protection for guests," the rep said. "We enforce quality standards for listings, and have suspended this listing from the platform."