My Airbnb Horror Story
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My Airbnb Horror Story

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My Airbnb Horror Story

It was bound to happen, after numerous years traveling and mostly great accommodation, I was surely overdue for something that was a bad seed. It’s a little funny that it happened in my new hometown, especially when I have a perfectly nice apartment there. Unfortunately, prior to me moving in, my roomie had arranged for one of her friends to visit for a few weeks. This was fine as most of the time I was going to be overseas, but there were a few days where I needed to find somewhere else to stay.

My friend Stacey decided to move to Antigua to live, so we were looking for a property that had at least two bedrooms, would be good for her long term, and wasn’t too expensive. We found an Airbnb house that looked amazing; the kitchen was a minty green colour, the rooms looked basic but sparking clean. From the moment we arrived in Antigua, we had problems with this host and things only got worse. My Airbnb horror story began as we were trying to find the place.

My taxi and I both misread the directions. Whoops. So we spent some time cruising around the cobblestone town, trying to find the house. I’d told the host that we were going to arrive between 4 and 5. At 4.30pm I tried calling her, no answer. I called, I texted, I wrote to her on Airbnb and there was no reply. This went on for a total of 45 minutes before she decided to ‘grace’ us with her presence.

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She met us at the house and gave us a quick tour of the rooms. As soon as I saw them, my heart sunk. They looked nothing like the photos; there was dirt and stains smeared across the walls. The floor was so dirty and dusty that I could see clumps of mess on it. The bathroom was worse: there was mould in the showers, no hot water, and countless mouldy bottles covering the floor. The Kitchen smelled like rotting bananas, there were roaches that were clearly more at home there than I was.

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It was awful. The walls were so paper thin you could hear anything anyone was doing in the bathroom downstairs, and, as you can imagine, it wasn’t pleasant.

I was disgusted, upset and disappointed. I’d had such great AirBNB experiences in the past, that this one was really upsetting. I was sleep deprived from the paper thin walls and the noise streaming into my room at all hours of the day.

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I dealt with it for two days, before realising it was ridiculous. My health was suffering. My eyes were itchy from all the dust, I was feeling sick from feeling forced to shower in the cold. I ended up going to my boyfriend’s apartment in the city a day early when he was away on a business trip just to get away from the disgusting place.

I decided to let AirBNB know the condition of the property and the problems I had suffered through their Facebook page. Within minutes I had a reply and by the next day I had a refund for the cost of my stay. I’m thoroughly impressed with their service.

My friend unfortunately had pre-paid for a much longer stay, and through Paypal, so she didn’t have the same security I had in leaving early and getting a refund. I really enjoy AirBNB as it’s much cheaper than a hotel, more personal and usually more comfortable. This was a bad experience that left a sour taste in my mouth, but AirBNBs rapid response and refund has ensured that I’ll continue to use this service.

Have you had a horror story experience on Airbnb? I’d love to hear about it. There’s nothing worse when something’s advertised a certain way and then is nothing like you were led to believe.

11 Comments

  • Oh, yuck! I can’t believe those people even offered their place in that condition. (What were they thinking?!) I’ve never actually had a bad experience (yet). But, It’s really good to know how great AirBnB’s customer service is though, that’s such a relief. So at least one positive thing came out of that experience!

    • Izy Berry says:

      It was seriously so gross. I made a very accurate complaint on their Airbnb page and they lied – said things like I had a friend stay, not true, my friend DID stay but she paid separately for her accommodation and so on. It was really sad! It was also so disgusting, I cringe thinking back at it. I love Airbnb, they dealt with it so quickly and I’ve stayed in two Airbnb properties since and they’ve both been excellent. There are always going to be bad seeds. Love your blog name!

  • Sam says:

    How unfortunate! This place sounds truly awful! I’ve only ever had great experiences with Airbnb, to be honest, and I recommend it to everyone because I agree with what you said about how it usually works. Sorry you had such a bad experience this time, but it sounds like the company dealt with it in the right way. Hopefully it hasn’t put you off!

    • Izy Berry says:

      It hasn’t put me off! I recently stayed in two Airbnb properties and loved them. There’s always going to be some bad seeds but now I feel like I’ll be better able to avoid them. Thanks for dropping by, Sam.

  • grasya says:

    good to know of this story coz I’m going back to Thailand and renting out thru airbnb

  • April says:

    How did you pay that you got a refund? I thought it was only through PayPal.

  • Anne says:

    I have not tried Airbnb but have heard mixed reports. Great that they acted on your complaint so quickly

  • Robert Jones says:

    The place looks terrible, but it happens everywhere. Every business has gangsters in it, even governments.

    Friends of mine are in the accommodation business in Amsterdam since 2000 (15 years), and they hear stories like this all the time. People book accommodation and when they arrive it looks nothing like it did in the photos.

    They deal with this problem by visiting all properties listed, and they insist on taking the photographs and video which is how we verify the apartment is as advertised.

    Airbnb does not insist you have their photographer visit to prove the place is as advertised so many places are bait and switch based scams of some sort or other.

    They say all properties are verified, but it is simply not true as this article proves.

  • Stefan says:

    I had a similar experience in Romania! Sometimes you’re really lucky and find a true gem of an apartment with an amazing host but other times it doesn’t quite work out the way you plan. I have to keep reminding myself that 99% of my experiences with AirBnb are wonderful, especially during the times when they’re not so great.