Classic Bait and Switch in Districts of Algiers

First time Airbnb user back in August 2019. l booked three bedrooms apartment in chic location of Algiers called Hydra. We were four people: myself, my husband and my two kids.

We were surprised as the first thing we did was to call the number listed with the apartment when we booked it; the phone number was not working. We went to find the address provided to us; the address doesn’t exist. We parked and tried to ask people there.

We were told that this address doesn’t exist and they had heard that there is a guy who meets people here as renting them the apartment but it turns out that he takes them somewhere else. Effectively that’s what happened to us, after a stressful afternoon trying to find the location and that phone number of the host was not working.

My husband checked his email and suddenly he found a message from the host providing a different number to call him. The host gave us a public location to meet us. We went there and met him. We were surprised right away that the host changed the apartment in Hydra, claiming that there was a water issue so he would take us to a different apartment that was nearby.

We were forced to accept this and follow him because our money was gone. We followed the host to the west side of Algiers which has new divisions far from downtown. We parked and went with him to see the apartment. We were surprised that the apartment was a very small one bedroom while I paid for three bedrooms. We told him to change it, that this was too small for us and we paid for a larger apartment.

The host then told us to stay that night in this apartment and he would try to find us another apartment next day. Just a note: while he was there I checked the dishwasher and found dirty dishes inside that had been there for days; just when I opened the door of the washer there was a fishy smell.

Anyway, in the morning we called him to check if he had something else. He told us to meet him in this apartment located in a popular neighborhood close to the airport (Bab Ezzouar). We went and met him there. The house was large and again supposed to be clean as he charged us $71 just for cleaning, $10 extra than what they charge in Algeria for cleaning.

Again checking the house I found the toilets had been used and never been cleaned. The apartment looked dusty. It had been closed for a long time and the fridge was messy with spills from other people who had used it before us. In addition, as we were forced to take this apartment I had to clean it myself and all the linen that was poorly taken care of.

That night we also found out that the wifi didn’t work. We called the host. He said he would come and check it. He came very late at night after we begged him and he said that it was not working but he would buy us a temporary modem. Guess what? We never heard from the host again and even we were tired of calling him every time.

The host called the evening of our check out to confirm that we were leaving. The day of check out we had until 12:00 PM to vacate the apartment. Suddenly around 8:00 AM I woke up to the door bell and found the housekeeper who came to “clean”. We told her that it was too early and that we have until noon. She was rude and started talking under her breath.

It’s not our fault that the host didn’t tell her or communicate with her. We called the host and informed him. He said to leave the apartment key with the housekeeper. I didn’t trust her; it looked like she was not a housekeeper in first place.

This was our bad experience with Airbnb. After I came back to the US, I called Airbnb to make a complaint. They said there was nothing they could do. We also wrote a long review but they never published it. They just included one sentence from a whole paragraph. I’m very disappointed and will never use Airbnb again. Guests are not protected and those listings are not verified. You never know what you will find.

Posted in Airbnb Guest Stories and tagged , , , , , .

3 Comments

  1. I don’t understand why they would hide your review; it’s an essential part of the workings. Is it possible it was a technical glitch? I’ve had that happen a few times with the platform.

  2. Didn’t you read the terms of service? You have to report issues within 24 hours. Not after you get back to the USA. I’m sorry this happened to you, but now, because you didn’t read and didn’t do what you should have done in the first place, more guests will get taken by this dishonest host.

    BTW, this issue is not unique to Airbnb.

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