Airbnb complaints are on the rise. Everyone seems to have a different opinion about Airbnb.

This sentiment is contrary to actual behavior. Airbnb and vacation rentals are becoming more popular than ever. According to AirDNA, an analytics platform for vacation rental rentals, the U.S. total demand rose 19.8% in December 2022 over the previous year and 31.7% over 2019. While some Americans are tired of vacation rentals, there is more demand for them than ever.

Many Airbnb horror stories are shared by frequent travelers. These include tales of dirty bathrooms and inaccurate photos, as well as bizarreness that is impossible to print. It’s easy to be critical of Airbnb’s poor vacation rentals. But it’s much harder to figure out what to do if your Airbnb isn’t for you. Talk to the host. Contact customer service? Refund request?

Well, it depends.

Communicate directly with the host

Generally, communicating problems to the host, such as a leaking faucet or dirty sheets is the best way to start.

Jenny Radick, an Airbnb Superhost from the Poconos Region of Pennsylvania and vacation rental consultant via email, stated that communication is key. It is not just one person managing an Airbnb unit. The hosts will likely have put a lot into their home and are eager to fix any minor problems span>

Hosts want guests to have a great experience. Their rental’s success is dependent on their guests leaving positive reviews. It’s a good idea not to judge a host, but instead give them the benefit of doubt by using kind and constructive communication that assumes good intentions.

Hosts will usually fix small or even smelly problems at check-in.


Even if you have a friendly host and are eager to resolve any issues that may arise, it is a good idea for guests to record these problems early and thoroughly. If you find bedbugs or other insects during your stay, a photo of them with a time stamp will prove it.

This is particularly important for issues that could pose safety or health concerns (e.g., faulty locks or malfunctioning fire alarms). It is important to clearly document the issue and send it to the host using the Airbnb app. This will help in the event that customer service needs to be involved.

Some things are more difficult to capture with a camera. For example, funky smells won’t show up even on the best phone cameras. It is best to write these concerns to your host in the app.

Once, I was asked to document a bat that entered my Airbnb cabin. It turns out, that is not an easy task.

Call to Customer Service at Airbnb if you need

If the host has not given you the benefit of doubt and you have clearly expressed your concerns, it is time to escalate the matter. For any assistance, you can consult the Help Center or contact customer service via the app, website or phone.

Radick stated that Airbnb provides both hosts and guests with an insurance policy as well as a mediation center to resolve any issues. “Guests and hosts have the ability to request money for whatever reason they like, and the recipient party has the option of accepting or declining that request span>

The host offered me a 50% reimbursement on the night that my cabin bat was affected. This seemed fair to me, and the refund was handled through the app.

These policies address many issues that might arise:

  • The accommodation is not clean or sanitary. The property is not expected to have any health hazards such as mold, pests or mice.

  • The special amenity described in the listing does not exist or function.

It is crucial to have evidence and provide the documentation required for an Airbnb refund.

Keep things simple

It is easy to become frustrated when a vacation rental doesn’t meet your expectations or isn’t as advertised. Resolving the problem does not have to be a difficult task.

  1. For all your questions, contact the host.

  2. Take photos whenever possible and write down everything.

  3. If the host fails to resolve the problem satisfactorily, contact Airbnb support.

Airbnb hosts are often real people with real lives, and not hotel companies. Even though they might not be able to provide immediate assistance like a front desk at a hotel, you can still give them some grace and assume the best while documenting every detail. This will allow you to manage any disappointments.

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