‘Airbnb ruined our Christmas getaway with full ashtrays and hair on the bed’


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My family decided to organize a get-together before Christmas and we found an Airbnb that was £1,250 for three nights. The host had “superhost” status and looked charming in the photos.

However, when we arrived with a group that included three children and several disabled adults on December 18, we were horrified. Unlike the immaculate looking photographs used to advertise it online, the place was absolutely filthy.

We immediately did a walk-through and documented all the issues we found. There were 65 different numbers, all of which we photographed.

Our observation was that the place was more run down and less equipped than advertised. For example, there were broken toilet seats and no cutlery provided, even though the main attraction of the place was a huge open kitchen.

The floor tiles were broken and there was a large hole in the wooden floor, which was potentially dangerous for children.

Clearly this house could not have been cleaned after the last guest, as there was dust, dirt and crumbs everywhere. Someone had left a pile of cherry stems on the stairs. The garden was littered with cigarette butts and full ashtrays lying around, as if someone had been having a party.

Some of our discoveries were absolutely disgusting. We found feces and stains in all the bathrooms, uncleaned and food-stained high chairs, caked-on food on the ceiling of the microwave, stains and hair on the bedding, and trash in all the bins, including used feminine hygiene products.

We even found a pair of dirty men’s pants in the back of a closet.

We immediately contacted the host, who was a property management company. He was not helpful and only allowed us to speak to a manager via text. He offered to “reclean” the property, which was ridiculous since it clearly hadn’t been touched in the first place.

Unsatisfied with this response, we contacted Airbnb and provided them with all of our documentation. Following this, we have been told repeatedly since the afternoon of December 18 that someone would call back within the hour and that it had been “referred to a supervisor.”

However, no one called us back and we had to call again and again. Airbnb informed us that if there was no contact from the host within an hour, we would be moved to a new place. However, the next day came and this never happened.

In the meantime we had to make a decision about what to do. We decided to stay put and clean the place up as best we could. However, sleeping on dirty sheets was very uncomfortable, so most of us slept on couches. One person even had to take a nap on a stool.

Because of all of this, I’m afraid there have been a lot of tears during what was going to be such a special time for all of us.

After midnight the next day, Airbnb sent us photos that the host had provided as proof that the property had been cleaned. They said the photos were “time stamped” and showed that the property must have been cleaned prior to our arrival.

However, they showed the bathrooms and bedrooms from afar, and the timestamps must have been edited. I know this because the toilet seats were dark gray in the pictures, but in my pictures taken on the 18th, they were white.

I sent photos of each bathroom in the same style they had sent us. I also took close-up photos of each individual bathroom.

It was incredible that the host seemed to accuse us of having caused the disaster ourselves. We arrived at 4.30pm on December 18th, which should have been recorded by the property’s Ring doorbell.

When we first contacted the host with the 65 photos we took, it was 5:09 pm, meaning we had been on the property for only 39 minutes.

Far from the relaxing break we were hoping for, this trip has been absolutely horrendous. Can you help?

UB, via email

I was hoping for a weekend of family fun in a beautifully renovated and well-appointed home, which unfortunately never materialized.

What he got instead for the princely sum of £1,250 was the chance to patrol dirty rooms and gardens, documenting dust and counting crumbs, photographing bathrooms and inspecting a stranger’s underpants, only to be told it must have been his family. the one that caused the disaster. In the first 39 minutes you were inside the property.

Honestly, talk about taking the cookie.

You were so upset by all this that your daughter took over communicating with me. She was also the one contacting Airbnb and trying to contact the host.

She sent me the pictures the host sent to prove the house had been cleaned, which Airbnb said were “time stamped.”

However, some of the images seemed to match those in the live listing. As you say, one showed a toilet with a gray seat. The photographs he took on December 18 showed this particular toilet with a white seat, suggesting that at least some of the host’s images were in fact historical and therefore did not prove anything about whether the property had been cleaned. .

Airbnb said the host sent another image of the toilet with a white seat, but did not share it with me and could not confirm if it had a timestamp.

The only other possibility is that you planned this situation by purchasing and installing white toilet seats on the property, scattering crumbs, cigarette butts, dust, cherry stems, and men’s pants, and smearing food all over the kitchen to make it look dingy to the eye. arrive.

Clearly the latter is extremely far-fetched and I don’t believe for a second that you did this.

However, you felt that Airbnb and the host believed that you and your family caused the disaster, and this was further corroborated by a sarcastic response to the negative review you left online suggesting you were looking for a free stay.

This struck me as deeply inappropriate behavior on the part of the host.

It also appears that Airbnb let him down on this occasion, as it did not fully interrogate the central issue in this case or provide his family with alternative accommodation.

However, I am pleased to inform you that following my involvement, Airbnb has provided you with a full refund for your stay as a “gesture of goodwill” while they further investigate the issue. It also appears that the host has lost his “superhost” status, although his listing is still active.

An Airbnb spokesperson said: “We were disappointed to learn of this experience and have provided a full refund to the guest.

“In the rare event that an issue arises, guests are protected by AirCover for free on every booking, and our global community support team is available 24/7 to help.”

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