Thursday, June 13, 2024

‘Desperate’ US tourist shares Airbnb ‘horror story’ on trip to London

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An American tourist has documented an account of his disastrous trip to London, which saw him suffer an Airbnb “horror story”. 

In a lengthy review of his travels, the man took to X (formerly Twitter) to bemoan his late flight, which proved the catatlyst for as series of unfortunate events. 

“It’s 2:30am in London,” he began. “Flight delayed 3 hours. Raining. I message our [Airbnb] host that we’re going to miss the check in window. There’s a fee. Weird since it’s self check in, but okay. We get to the Airbnb and the lockbox doesn’t work.”

Raising the issue with the host man then claimed he was simply told: “Too bad. You missed the check-in window”. The host reportedly added that the “lockbox code is changed after every window” resulting in the man seeking alternative accomodation on his first night in Blighty. 

“Remember, it’s 2:30am, so in desperation, we get a last minute room in a nearby hotel,” he explained. “Meanwhile, I check with the hosts on when we can get in the next day. No response, despite answering my other questions. Malicious or fraudulent?”

The man went on to add that he proceeded to escalate his dilemma with Airbnb HQ and “walked them through his situation”. 

“I have a simple ask: 1. Please refund me 2. Please cover my last minute hotel costs 3. Please investigate if this is fraud,” he said, before cursing the company’s “classic” response. 

He went on to detail his phone call to the firm, claiming he was told by a rep they could “contact the host and ask if they’re willing to refund you” as it was “their discretion”. 

An when asking about AirCover – Airbnb’s insurance scheme – the man said he was told by the rep it was “against policy”, only adding to his frustrations further. 

The next port of call was the Airbnb rep’s manager, meanwhile, who will “call back in an hour” according to the now very frustrated American traveller. ” We are now at 3am,” he adds. “I ask if we can talk to a manager in the morning since it’s already quite late.

After waking up at 9am, the man said he recieved an email apology at 4:30am telling him Airbnb had “reached out to the host”. 

However, he claimed a follow-up message was sent half-an-hour later, declaring: “As I have not received a response from you I am closing this case”. 

Continuing his saga, the man fumed: “Airbnb has given up on us. The host has still not written us with a plan to get into the apartment this morning I guess they’re just going to take our money and leave us stranded?”

There were more woes to come, however. The man went on to claim that the host had filed his stay as a “no show” and was “refusing access” to the property at 10am. 

“The host is refusing to let us get into the unit,” he ranted. “Also, they are refusing to give us a refund Also, Aircover can’t do anything about this? So… they’re just going to take all our money and not let us use the space for the next week?”

In a further update, however, he said he finally received some positive news from Airbnb support. “After 18 hours of disputes, they agree, the host technically has to let us stay. I should add that this was not their original position.

“It took them 18hrs to decide that yes, I should probably be allowed to check into this stay that I have pre-paid for.”

Summarising his tale, he closed: “Here’s the sad thing: I’ve been using Airbnb for 10 years Most of my experiences have been great. But 10 yrs of trust can disappear in a moment. 80% of my travel has been hotels of late. There are use cases where Airbnb still makes sense… but they’re shrinking.”

Returning to his post later in the day, however, his despair had turned to joy somewhat at least. “Airbnb is sending a full refund,” he reported. “They’ve even offered to cover my next stay, obviously this is a happy solution for me but one thing that’s become obvious today is how many others have had similar challenges with no resolution.

“As I reflect on last night, it’s obvious they had to send someone physically to change the lockbox code So either: 1. They went out of their way to lock us out at 10pm 2. They never intended to let us stay in the first place.

“You shouldn’t need to go viral just to get a resolution.”

Daily Express Online has invited Airbnb to comment. 

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