My daughter booked an Airbnb in Auckland, New Zealand via the Airbnb site. Her plane landed at night. When her ride took her to the address, the building was totally dark. No one answered the door. She could not reach the alleged host by phone.
While she was wondering what was up, someone drove into a neighboring property and told her that building was not an Airbnb and that he’d had to tell many people that. My daughter did find another place (albeit expensive) to stay for the next two nights. She did reach Airbnb.
The alleged hostess had somehow gotten a clue she’d been twigged and ‘canceled’ my daughter’s reservation several hours after she stated the check-in time, so all that was refunded. Airbnb gave her an additional voucher for a significant fraction of the reservation amount as damages, which she applied to a valid Airbnb for the rest of her stay, and made her feel a lot better.
I did a google search on that address. An New Zealand realty site listed it as zoned commercial. I located a doctor, a dentist, and a travel company, all having that address. The exterior is a house, but at least that block, if not several or the whole street, is commercial now, and it’s been remodeled into offices.
Our major beef with Airbnb at this point is: why on earth did they not do at least this simple Google search on that address when it was first listed? If they did, why did the stuff I found so easily not raise huge red flags for them? The listing now seems to have been taken off Airbnb, and it ended reasonably well, but a lot of midnight stress could have been avoided. It’s certainly colored our whole family’s perception of New Zealand. The reason she went through Airbnb is she knows so many people for whom it’s worked well.