Charged for Airbnb with Cockroaches with no Overnight Stay

On February 20th, I booked a stay in Fuerteventura, Costa Calma, for February 21st-28th for €360.50. Immediately after booking it, I changed the dates to the 24th-28th (for €206.47) on Airbnb and informed the host via Whatsapp (on the number listed in the Airbnb profile). Apparently this person is the housekeeper and Airbnb manager for this apartment. She told me it was absolutely no problem to change the dates. She told me she accepted it, but I could not see it reflected on my Airbnb page.

She told me that was not a problem – that sometimes it would take longer for Airbnb to accept it, but she assured me she would speak to them if necessary as she had agreed to the change. Additionally, she messaged me via Airbnb (and it shows publically on their profile as well) that they charge a €150 deposit and €70 cleaning fee (by cash, outside of Airbnb). I agreed to this.

She came to my hotel to hand me the key on the 23rd so that I could have the freedom to arrive when I wanted. I gave her the deposit and cleaning fee, and she gave me the key. We had a good talk. I only entered the apartment on Monday the 26th. She was informed about my plans and I had no problem to have it “reserved” since Saturday, should I want to arrive earlier. It took me an hour to find the exact house because she forgot to inform me of the right apartment number.

When I entered, I ran to the toilet and noticed that the bed was not made at all, and there was some linen in a bag… strange. I went back to the living room and to my disgust, I found four dead cockroaches. I was travelling with my dog, so I was afraid she would eat them; to me that looked like an infestation. If there were four dead ones in plain sight, how many more were around?

I left the place and immediately contacted Airbnb. They told me to book another place and not to worry. They did tell me that they are not responsible for any money given outside of their platform (even though I have proof I gave it to them – it openly states it on their profile and they requested it to me via Airbnb messenger). They told me that they had to contact the host directly, because none of the things that were agreed upon are actually viewed by Airbnb as enough proof, since I dealt with the housekeeper and Airbnb manager, instead of the real owner. The only number on that profile did not connect me to the owner.

The housekeeper and Airbnb manager agreed to deposit the €220 back to my account and to pay for me to send back the key to her. She also agreed to a refund by the owner. However, when I requested if the transfer could be made together via Airbnb, she then told me how unfair it was all, due to my changes and how she brought me the key, etc. How she would only make the deposit after Airbnb had resolved the case.

Airbnb has now told me that I’m only entitled to a €90 refund. Note that the owner has not yet agreed to the changes of my booking (a refund of €154.03) and Airbnb says she has to accept it, otherwise they can’t do anything about it. They also say they also can’t do anything about the bank transfer that the housekeeper and Airbnb manager said she was going to take.

According to Airbnb’s logic, I only had 24 hours to report any issues with the apartment. So because I didn’t arrive on Saturday and on Monday instead and found 50 roaches there, I am not entitled to a refund. Also, according to their logic, even if they have proof of everything, they can’t ask the owner to refund me the money for the initial changes. Nor they can ask them to proceed with the transfer back for the deposit and cleaning fee.

Airbnb wanted me to pay €360 (a full week’s rent) + €220 (deposit and cleaning fees for roaches and an unmade bed – €90 (refund for two nights) = €490.50 total for a place infested with cockroaches where I never stayed. I have all the proof necessary with them agreeing to the changes and refunds. Now Airbnb does not want to cooperate into helping me get anything.

I would like Airbnb to tell the owner to accept the initial changes so that I could at least get my initial refund of €154.03 (I have plenty of voice messages and screenshots from the housekeeper and Airbnb manager, saying these changes were accepted by the owner and that the apartment was fully managed by her). I would like Airbnb to cooperate and ensure that the transfer of €220 is made to my account with the deposit and “cleaning fee”. There is also enough proof from the housekeeper and the owner stating this money will be returned to me. Please help me fix this. I don’t want to go to the police or my lawyer.

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4 Comments

  1. All you people have nothing better to do than to make jokes about people’s problems? It might seem funny to you, but to me is not funny being scammed.
    @Sally: 5 star expectations means no cockroaches for you?! I hope not. No rental accommodation, of whatever price range, should have 4 dead cockroaches in it, at any point. That is just unsanitary and I hope you know that.
    @Prune: I come from a family of lawyers, so don’t worry about my knowledge about law. I just don’t want to go through legal proceedings. Specially when it’s in a different country, where I don’t reside.
    @Ronald: I can show the police everything (messages and voice messages in whatsapp of the money given to the housekeeper and also her agreement to pay me back). She is a single mother and apparently has a hard condition and is now in the hospital, so I’m trying to fix in other ways.

    Update: The Airbnb customer service agent wanted to close my case, but I refused and asked to speak to his supervisor. He understood my point and they will now help me recover my money. They will ask the owner to confirm the changes as it is now clear to them, that they did agree to them. For the deposit and cleaning, they can only politely ask to refund it, but just that is already help from Airbnb. If I don’t get the money, then I will take more serious action.

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