My husband and wanted to return to the New Forest for a weekend 23 years after we had our honeymoon there. I found a beautiful barn conversion on Airbnb. We arrived around 8:00 PM on the Friday evening and was treated by our host’s son, a student. He said the door was unlocked and the key was inside. We went in and made ourselves at home. I cooked a meal and we lit the fire log burner. We sat and tried to access the internet; I had to ask him for the password. He said it was in the manual on the fridge. I looked and there was nothing but a bread board. I located the book (which was a completely unmarked ring binder in a small bookshelf), we found the code and I started to read through the book. There were lots of pages to read, but I read them all. There was a little note at the end, almost an afterthought, saying that the towel rail gets hot.
We then watched some TV and went to bed around 11:00 PM. When we woke on Saturday morning my husband wanted a shower. It was a great shower. However, when my husband got out and bent over to pick the towel off the floor, he burnt his buttocks on the towel rail. He screamed so loud, I ran to him and thought he was messing around at first. Then he turned around and he had the most horrific burns I had ever seen. It had removed several layers of skin and seeping raw flesh was in welts across his buttocks. He was in agony.
The worst part of this was that we had arrived on our Victory motorcycle, and the thought of travelling 3-4 hours home on Sunday was worrying to say the least. I wanted him to go to the hospital, but without knowing the area we opted for the nearest chemist. I asked the host where that was; he asked if everything was ok and my husband replied: “No, it bloody isn’t! I’ve just burnt my arse on your f%&#g towel rail!”
He was in so much pain. We set off tentatively to the chemist where he did not want to come in out of embarrassment. I went in, described the symptoms, and got the largest wound dressings they could find and some burn gel. Returning to the barn, I dressed the wound. However, the gel he’d given us was hurting it even more, so I carefully washed that off and tried to keep as much of the skin I could around the wound.
Later the same day, my husband went off to find his friend to take his mind off the pain as much as he could. At this stage we still had not seen or heard from the host’s son. I was sitting in the sun when a friend of hers came by, saying she was just popping in to see the host’s son. She was there for some time so I gathered he was in. I thought this extremely rude, especially under the circumstances. We stayed until early Sunday and left.
There was another surprise when we returned home as the host had written a report that I was pleasant, but my partner was rude and had shouted at her son about the towel rail. She also stated that we had left black marks all over her white rug which she said we had made from our dirty boots from the motorcycle we arrived on. Instantly I realised she was completely prejudiced against bikers and would blame anything she could on us. We took our boots off at the door (as we always do) and the marks were already on her rug; I thought they had probably come from the log burner. I thought nothing of them when we entered the property.
As you can imagine, we were both livid with her response. We decided to make a claim against the host and got our solicitor onto it as soon as we could. However we seem to have many problems with that, as the host has not responded to any email and our solicitor wants another address we can contact her by. This I realised was more difficult than I thought as trying to contact Airbnb is almost impossible.