Dirty, Dusty Apartment in London: No Refunds Given

So I went with my wife to London the week of November 1st because she had an interview on November 2nd. We rented this “clean” place from Airbnb. We got to the apartment at midnight (there were only late flights out of Milan) and as soon as we started to make ourselves comfortable, I realized that the place was dirty. Now I understand we, Brazilians, have different standards of cleanliness. But the place was full of dust, and a lot of spiderwebs and spiders (3-4 in the bedroom alone) were inside the apartment. Under the mattress there was a lot of dust. Dust makes me feel sick and I knew that if I slept there I would wake up feeling terrible the next morning. I can’t imagine how my wife would feel, having a job interview the next day.

So at 2:00 AM, I decided we would leave this place and I booked a hotel room through Booking.com. We walked outside on a 4-degree night to the new hotel, where we could use a shower not full of rust and dirt and have a proper night’s sleep on a nice and clean bed. Funnily enough, the next morning we canceled our reservation through Airbnb and filed for a refund. It took until today (15 days) to received confirmation from AirBNB. And their decision is that they won’t refund us. We stayed at that place for two hours. We left in the middle of a cold night, to walk to an hotel because I knew we would have woken up sick with all the dust. The host didn’t agree with our request for a refund (what a surprise), even though we stayed only two hours. I can expect that from someone who has a dirty place, but I would expect more from Airbnb. I won’t ever rent anything else from them and I urge you to use other methods for finding a place when needed. When the time comes, Airbnb won’t help you at all. In our case, I ended up spending twice what I had in mind: a full reservation on Airbnb that I canceled within ten hours of my arrival, after having stayed there only two hours, and the hotel reservations. I hate Airbnb.

P.S.: My wife can’t even post a bad review on the apartment because we canceled our reservation within ten hours. Funny how I can’t warn other travelers about how this apartment is a bad option (if you like clean and dust-free places), but Airbnb can charge me the full amount.

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  1. We had the same problem in Portsmouth (UK) last week. An awful experience! No refund! Had to find a hotel through booking.com. Never again airbnb!

    • I guess it is quite hard to document dust, as well as mould smell. I just had an experience with airbnb – I rented an apartment (for 10 nights) with an excellent reviews about cleanness etc, but upon arrival I discovered that that place is full of mould – old wooden floors, smell (oh, gosh, you can’t imagine that), and mould spores literally everywhere. House was so full of it, that even lightbulbs seemed hazy. And it is so unhealthy!!!
      First thought was – I will not be able to make pictures, haze in the air and a smell are something almost impossible to proof. I literally run away from there – and good for me that host, despite of having strict cancellation policy, offered me a refund (taking just one night as spent). Knowing that otherwise I could receive nothing, I was happy to agree. Now I have to wait till money come back to my account (which is 5 working days, as per airbnb refund confirmation email), but me, being on a short budget and not having any other of my funds handy, now stay overnight in some weird hostels. I feel really unhappy about such experience.
      I actually wonder – are all these people who leave such positive reviews to host’s place, completely blind? They do not see or feel this mould? It is impossible to miss that. It is so disgusting.

  2. You must get in touch with the host to discuss the problem. You must take pictures of the listings cleanliness issues. You must do these two things before contacting Airbnb. Airbnb is just a platform for hosts to rent their space and guests to rent, sort of like Craigslist.

    • That would be an apt comparison if Craigslist charged people for listings or earned a commission. It’s more like eBay. If you were an early user of eBay, most of the stories on this site are old hat. Item shipped not the item purchased, item was not represented correctly, buyer sends payment but never receives item, etc. Same problems, different website.

      eBay is a thriving business 20 years later. I’m not sure AirBNB will last that long.

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