We were looking for an Airbnb in Portugal from July 22nd until July 30th for four persons and a dog. After a big search we found a farmhouse in Sao Bartolomeu de Messines. The pictures were looking good: nice bedrooms, a swimming pool, two bathrooms, wifi, a terrace with a mountain view, a clean house, and very comfortable.
We made the reservation, paid the amount of a little more than €1200 and prepared for our holiday there. We bought a bigger car (the dog had to come too), made a list of things we had to take from home, planned the route to drive, booked hotels to stay at night, etc. In the meanwhile our dog become sick so it was better for him to stay at home in a dog hotel.
The hotels to stay overnight while driving to the Algarve were already booked and plane tickets are highly priced in the season; we decided to drive the full 2400 km to the Algarve. When we arrived in Portugal after a three-day drive, we couldn’t find the house, even not with a description of the route by the host. We had to call her several times to explain to us how to drive there. Finally she picked us up at a local gas station.
We drove to the “farmhouse”. First of all, regarding the access road: with a big 4×4 you would easily manage this road, but with a fully loaded station wagon it was a real struggle. The road was so narrow that turning the car was a real test in survival. On one side there was a ditch and on the other side, after two meters a deep ravine. The first signs already made it seem like we were staring in an episode of National Lampoon’s Vacation.
The farmhouse had a kitchen with an oven, full with rust. Frogs were in the bathroom. Salamanders were everywhere in and near the house. Big spiders were everywhere. The swimming pool (a little bigger than a bathtub) was full of green algae. The nice wooden garden chairs we saw in the pictures were replaced by old dirty white plastic chairs and sun beds. The TV as seen on the pictures had suddenly disappeared. The wifi was bad, really bad. Mobile phones didn’t work (no contact from any transmission mast). There were spiderwebs and dirt everywhere.
We arrived there Sunday July 22nd. On Monday morning, July 23rd we were going to the beach and contacted Airbnb to complain and to ask our refund. After several contact moments with some “specialist” they approved refunding us the money we paid and agreed we would leave the farmhouse the same day. Of course we had already booked a hotel in Albufeira to continue our holiday.
Airbnb said they would pay the refund first within 2-3 working days, then it would be within 5-7 working days. This was taking too long. I wrote to Airbnb directly that Mastercard guarantees refunds within one, or a maximum of two working days. After two working days, we had the refund in our account.
That’s not all: we wrote a bad review with pictures that proved the bad shape and bad conditions of the farmhouse. Airbnb decided to not publish this bad review on their page. Questions from our side: why they didn’t do it? It would give the host a bad name. It would not be in anyone’s advantage. Unbelievable. Well, this was the first time for us with Airbnb and for sure the last time.