Airbnb: Business Based on Trust, but Where is it?

I recently brought a party of seven to a ‘luxury beach villa’ in Boracay in the Philippines. The listing looked fabulous and perfect for our two-night stay. I booked it on the day and arrived with my party three hours later. Then the fun started. We were greeted by armed guards. Talk about putting us on edge. The house was uncomfortably hot. There was no way to freshen the house and the two air-con units in two of the bedrooms were useless. It must have been 40 degrees C inside. There were smelly animals everywhere. When I wrote to Airbnb about this they told me the animals were mentioned in the listing. I argued that the smell was not.

Once they have your money they don’t care. There was a pond inside – part of the listing. It smelled really bad. Again, not something you can discern from a photograph. But Airbnb didn’t care. When we tried to leave the host sent her unstable husband to the villa. The husband shouted at us and acted in a most aggressive manner. He threatened us with the armed security guards. When I brought all this up with Airbnb they were useless. It was extremely difficult to get through to them. When I did and asked for a full refund as per their guest refund policy they refused. No matter what argument I gave them they took a blanket line. I will never use Airbnb again. You simply cannot trust their site and how they vet their hosts. You also cannot trust they will act in the guest’s interests in any way. In a business where trusting with whom you will stay with is key, Airbnb is extremely exposed. I suspect one death or a serious problem will see the end of this company.

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