Burned in Mexico: Airbnb Bait and Switch

This trip to Mexico was intended to be a fun get away for myself and two other girlfriends. One of my friends did all of the reservation making at least a month in advance. About three weeks before our trip, the owner of our Airbnb in El Pescadero wrote us saying that after his last renter he wasn’t going to rent the upstairs master bedroom and bathroom anymore. My friend just thought that since there were only three of us, we could make due.

The owner, however, never mentioned that all of the views were upstairs where we weren’t welcome. My friend also asked him specifically about the condition of the dirt road from the main road to the house. He said, “oh, it’ll be fine in a rental car!”

A couple days before the trip, he sent a text saying that the refrigerator had a problem but his neighbor went over and fixed it. A few days before the trip, our friend who made the reservations now couldn’t go since her husband was in the hospital with pneumonia. The two of us headed to Mexico alone for our vacation. We rented our car and drove an hour to the town. When we turned on to the dirt road it was a 20-minute drive on the most potted-pitted road from hell to the house. We had a hand drawn map that the host had sent but none of the landmarks he used existed. We had to drive 20 minutes back up to ask for help with finding the house. On our way down the RFH we kept seeing men weaving in and out of a pathway through bushes. That was a little unnerving, to say the least.

We finally found the house. We opened the door and the first thing we noticed was the place smelled bad. We looked around and saw it was dirty and grimy. The TV room had an old microfiber sofa that was lumpy and darkened, and the glass coffee table was disgustingly filmy and grimy. There was a blow-up mattress up against the wall, and the area rug was old and stained. We looked in the kitchen and the front of the fridge was gross. We opened the fridge to find it full of the host’s items with a small amount of room on two shelves for our eight-day stay. The worst part was the fridge stunk and was tepid in temperature. There was a spoiled, rancid odor.

The half bathroom was dirty with bugs in old candles and personal crap around. We were in a cell dead zone and neither of us could sign on to the wifi. We had no way of communicating with anyone. The ocean looked much closer on his website pictures. We felt stuck in some disgusting filthy house in a desolate part of Mexico with no way of asking for help if we needed it. We sent the host a text telling him his house wasn’t represented well and unacceptable. Therefore, we weren’t staying there. We then headed out to find a place to sleep. We were exhausted, frustrated, stressed and extremely disappointed.

We wound up spending a fortune to stay at a nice place and try to salvage our vacation. We have been denied a refund by Airbnb who sided with the host. This house was clearly a bait and switch. The host said we should have called so he could have had his neighbor come over and fix all of the problems. As a host, he should have had all of the problems fixed before we arrived. We are still trying to dispute the charges. $175.00 a night in that part of Mexico is really expensive, especially for a hovel like this property. I will never travel outside of the country and trust Airbnb. I see no integrity with the customer service agent assigned to our case. She won’t listen to reason or extenuating circumstances. 

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