My husband and I were looking forward to a hassle-free stay at a beautiful converted barn in Dorking. We were heading to England for a family wedding and wanted somewhere close to the venue so we could have a few drinks and a short inexpensive cab ride back to our lodgings. By renting a large enough place, we were able to have family join in to share the cost and have more time together. The listing for the barn on Airbnb showed a welcoming, relaxed atmosphere and fit the criteria for location and amount of people it could accommodate. My husband went through Airbnb and booked it for Friday, July 7 and Saturday, July 8, 2017.
Prior to our arrival my husband saw a review about the property that made us question whether we wanted to stay there. He emailed the host with his concerns about the lack of cleanliness and she assured him the clients were lying and they had tried to have more people stay than was allowed.
On Friday, we helped with some set up at the wedding venue and were looking forward to hot showers and relaxing at the barn before a night out . The coordinates we were given brought us to a beautiful Airbnb but unfortunately it was not the property we booked. We spent the next 1.5 hours on the phone, using our data by the side of the road trying to find the place. By the time we found it, we were frustrated. Then we pulled into the parking lot beside a garbage pile.
After a tour of the rustic barn, the first sitting area looked fine. Then we passed down a hallway with a cot in it beside a bathroom, the bedroom that was supposed to be an ensuite. We entered the main room which was spacious and could have been wonderful. There were dirty ripped chairs around the table and furniture that was more suited for a frat house. This was not the furniture from the photos on Airbnb. We were worried about sitting on it because it looked unsanitary. The kitchen was small and the carpet was filthy along with the refrigerator.
Upstairs in the loft was an open area considered to be one of the four bedrooms mentioned with three beds, some with linens and some without. There was a shelf with what looked like black mold and a table with crumbs from previous tenants. Some cobwebs were also present. Next we saw an actual bedroom and it was well presented except for the dirty floors. The final and fourth bedroom had two single beds. When we lifted the linens to check for bugs we found insect shell-like casings.
That was really the last straw. When my husband spoke with the host to point out our concerns she was very contradictory. We were honestly worried about bringing our suitcases in and getting bed bugs that would then be brought anywhere we stayed after that and then to our homes. We decided we were not staying at this property and we did not check in. Now we needed somewhere to stay for two nights.
She offered to bring in a cleaner and switch out furniture from her home (this is what she should have done before we arrived). Now we know she used that as her argument with Airbnb. She told them she tried to fix our concerns and we refused. First of all, a reputable host takes pride in her property and ensures it is clean and safe before new tenants arrive. Secondly, no cleaning company could have solved a mold and bed bug issue in a short visit. I guess we were supposed to sit in our car by the garbage heap while all this wonderful cleaning happened. If she felt her home furnishings were more suitable than they should have been in the barn to begin with. The doors didn’t lock and the property looked tired. It in no way resembled the quaint, rustic conversion depicted in her photos on the website.
We had already paid Airbnb approximately $880 (Canadian). We would have split that three ways, two couples and one single, so $176 each person. Then we paid approximately $600 for two nights for three rooms for a total of $1800. The nightmare ended up costing the five of us approximately $2680 total. We have lost way too much considering the host misrepresented herself. She is smug because Airbnb has sided with her so far. She has an unacceptable listing and is still taking in money without even having tenants; that’s a good gig.
Airbnb has been difficult to deal with. They sided with the host because she offered to “rectify” our concerns. She has posted a reply to our review that states we are lying and that my husband is a disagreeable and spoiled man. The Airbnb customer service representative feels she has rectified the situation and sent us an email with her decision. They have not put us through to a new case manager even though I called to reopen the case and was told I would hear from someone by the end of the day on July 21st. It is now July 25th and no one has contacted us. I think they hope we will go away. Sadly, Airbnb lacks true customer service when service is needed. They should be ashamed to allow someone like this host to represent their company. She is abusing their lack of control over listings and taking her word that she meets their criteria.