I booked and prepaid in full for a house near Terengganu, Malaysia for our main family vacation in July. Before doing so I checked out reviews which were positive. I also kept in contact with the owner through Airbnb’s website. We had a long-haul flight from Abu Dhabi to Kuala Lumpur followed by a domestic flight to Terengannu. Our party consisted of three adults plus our six-year-old twins.
We were met by my friend who lives locally and drove a hire-car to the house. An old lady who spoke no English met us and we had some trouble opening the door which should have tipped us off that no one had entered in quite a while – certainly not to clean. The house looked like the photos on Airbnb but, within a few minutes we noticed a bat flying in the entrance hall. Then another bat appeared and another… and another. Three things I know about bats: they like unoccupied buildings; they are nocturnal; they live in colonies.
By now my young girls and wife were screaming so I got them into a bedroom while I dealt with the bats. This entailed killing them one by one. It was obvious we could not stay there. The bedsheets had not been laundered in months and my wife found a rodent’s decomposing body under a bed. Clearly, no one had entered this house in months as they would have known about the bat infestation.
The owner came but said she could only reimburse me at the end of the month. In that event, it would be two months before I was repaid. Now we had to find a hotel suitable for a family which of course turned out to be expensive. For the next month we had to move every few days and lacked a set base. On return to Abu Dhabi I contacted customer service and eventually got my money back; however, there was no compensation for my extra expense and inconvenience.
The worst thing is that this property is still on Airbnb’s site along with my negative review. What does a host have to do to be deleted from their site? I challenged Airbnb about this so they know the story with this house and owner – a perfect illustration of how they value hosts more than guests. The property is still on their site. The key lesson I learned is never ever to use Airbnb again but to use booking.com when you can pay on arrival. If booking a place near Terengannu take great care.