Bad Experience with Fake Studio in Hamburg

My husband and I wanted to spend some time in Hamburg, Germany. We booked four days in September 2017, during my husband’s birthday. I was looking forward to this event and we also booked tickets as a birthday present for the Elbe Philharmonic.

When we arrived at the Airbnb, our host wasn’t there at first. He showed up telling us that there was no electricity at the moment because of a short circuit and he wanted to get it fixed (which he successfully did). The moment we entered the apartment, my husband turned around and looked at me horrified: the stench of a dog was just unbearable. He wanted to leave immediately. I stopped him and thought that maybe ventilation would help. Despite the fact there were strict house rules concerning the guests like “no pets allowed ” (and this made me believe that there would be no cat or dog living there), at least one dog was sharing the apartment with this “host “and his two kids.

The apartment didn’t conform to the pictures in the listing; there was no table in the room, and no chairs in the kitchen. Instead of a bed, there was an old 120-cm sofa for the two of us, and setting up the bed was only possible by putting some support items below one part of the mattress. The apartment was raised off the ground floor with huge windows and no way to darken them – no curtains or other items – but the pictures showed something else.

We found the dog’s food bowl in the kitchen sink. Worst of all: the disgusting smell of the apartment wasn’t gone when we came back into the “studio” (the space offered on the website), just the opposite – the smell increased. We found out that the smell was worse because one of the pillows must have belonged to the dog.

Because my husband suffers from dog allergies he could not stay in there any longer and had to leave the place, spending the night in our car. Of course I couldn’t get any sleep but preferred to stay in the room, waiting for my husband to come back and take me somewhere else (it was his birthday that day – what a pity). Meanwhile I had already informed our host (who had left with his kids to stay somewhere) via WhatsApp that we couldn’t stay any longer, telling him exactly what was wrong with his apartment and that it doesn’t deserve the word “studio” (which he has changed now into “apartment”- and this is also flattering). The terrible smell wasn’t disappearing, despite the fact windows were cracked open all night long (with no way to darken the room – and the surrounding area was crowded, being next to the Reeperbahn).

We both had a very horrible night: he in the car and me all by myself in this room. The host answered my SMS, telling me that he agreed to a refund and that he had already informed Airbnb, letting them know that he agreed with our refund request. We had paid 91 € a day for four days and were assured by the host that we would get the overpaid sum back (273 €). All we had to do was send Airbnb a message telling them about the refund and that the host had agreed to it.

This was exactly what we did – and what happened? Airbnb told us that our “host” had already taken payment and we had to get along with him. Great idea! Of course I did never expect to get any money back from this guy, but I thought that this should be the duty of Airbnb – after all, they take money from their customers. Nothing had happened until now, no answers to my complaints. This is not the way a respectable organisation should act. It was our first experience with Airbnb and for sure our last one. Besides I will tell all my acquaintances to free their hands from this company; it is not to be commended.

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