Fair Warning? Who’s to Blame for this Airbnb Accident?

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.

Expensive Bedwetting Accident in Airbnb

My first Airbnb experience was so awful it was nearly my last. Unfortunately for me I endured an embarrassing accident on the second night of a two-week stay when I wet the bed. It wasn’t just a little bit that could be hidden; everything was totally soaked through the mattress to the bed base. I was burning with shame but had no choice but to get up, shower, and change the sheets. In the morning I took the mattress out to dry in the sun and explained the situation to my host along with a thousand red-faced apologies. She wasn’t happy in the least but what was done was done. I remade the bed the next night and tried to put the embarrassing situation behind me. I’d forgotten about it until two weeks later when I received my review and a damage bill for $1200 for a new mattress. My review (which is public and has my photo) said something like “Joel has problems controlling his bladder at night and was made to pay the full cost of replacing the mattress he ruined when he peed on it.” I overheard the host telling two of her friends and a customer service lady from Airbnb. I learned a valuable lesson that stay and every time since I bring my own waterproof mattress protector… just in case.

Strenuous Hike to Airbnb Cottage: Unable to Warn Others

My wife used Airbnb to rent what was advertised as “a charming fisherman’s cottage” in La Caleta near Salobrena, Spain. There were some nice photos of the view, but no reviews posted. First lesson learned: if there are no reviews, pass on by. The photo showed an uphill path to reach the cottage, but there was no mention of the fact that there were actually over 250 steps, most of the time steeply uphill, to get to the cottage. The renter mentioned the place was “not for [the] disabled” but my wife and I, in our 60s, are both active people; this climb to the cottage was really hard, especially carrying something in the August heat.

A few days after we left the cottage, my wife suffered a complete hamstring rupture in Granada. I am not claiming there was a cause and effect relationship, but a week of doing that climb (and coming back down was also challenging) couldn’t have helped. The information on the cottage should have stated “uphill climb of over 250 steps to reach the front door may be challenging for older renters or anyone with potential leg problems.” That’s all I would ask. Unfortunately, I was too busy tending to my wife’s accident and the aftermath to even think about posting a review on the site before the deadline ran out and there does not seem to be any way to contact Airbnb directly with a problem like this.

I would never, never consider this “service” again. There is no real accountability other than a bad review, but in our case there was no review at the beginning. We missed the two-week window in which to add one. Hopefully, the next renter will be young and athletic. There were a couple of other issues with the cottage, like the fact that the sun shade over the terrace got ripped to pieces by the wind and even after informing the owner, nothing was ever done, making the terrace unusable during much of the midday. But the accessibility was by far the worst part of this story.