Avoid Bait-and-Switch Airbnb Hosts in Paris

The following is the story of the last 20 hours. On April 1st, I received an email that my Airbnb flat wasn’t accessible 10 minutes before arriving on site. Since I was travelling, I only noticed when I arrived.

I was offered a different flat in exchange which was 7 km from the original one (I had my reasons to choose the area and good luck travelling through Paris during rush hour). I took it and spent the night there.

The morning of April 2nd we had an appointment at the original flat at 9:30. I was there; nobody came. After 45 minutes in the rain, a delivery service delivered some badges and a key. I entered the building as described in the access instructions, but there was no door that matched the description or the key.

After another endless back-and-forth via mail there was no conclusion because I realized that the person who claimed to be the owner didn’t actually know the premises at all. I went to the gardienne of the residence and with her help we found that the studio was in a completely different location, obviously without a lift as described in the access instructions.

While going to the studio with the gardienne we stumbled upon the owner who claimed not to know anything about the rental, and that he delegated everything to an agency. This meant that the person I was talking to and who claimed to be the owner was not. He didn’t tell me his name, even after I asked. In any case, the “real” owner rejected any responsibility, which I found outrageous, considering he was the owner.

When entering the location, I found a tiny room without daylight, dirty cupboards as if just installed, and so small that opening the only sofa for sleeping meant not having space left to move anymore. I felt very uneasy because of this unprofessional treatment. I lost an entire day because of these people’s inability to get organized, a day that I had planned to meet people that were only available this day.

I came here for business and instead of taking care of my business I had to chase down access to a studio, because nobody at Airbnb even knew where it was. When I saw the dirt on the cupboard I had had enough and booked a hotel nearby.

Alas, I didn’t take photos and I’m bracing for a long email exchange with Airbnb. There was another commentator who mentioned it looked like a cash cow and they weren’t concerned with the guests. That’s exactly my impression with this host.

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