Fake Airbnb Listing: Cliffhanger in Alabama

So, I never used Airbnb before. I was encouraged by my friends to do so despite my misgivings about staying with total strangers or even being alone in someone’s home without them there as really, anyone could have keys. Imagine someone walking in on you as you never know who the owner gives keys to! I booked a place in Birmingham and had never been to Alabama, so I thought it was flat and swampy and that working class people like me live there: only things I had seen in the movies. I did not care as I am not a wealthy person. Mind you, the ad said “Birmingham” but this home is not in the city at all. Beware of people posting ads saying this as it can make all of the difference in your experience.

Well, the obviously fake glowing reviews of the place did not mention this man’s house is on a cliff! The house is IN THE APPALACHIAN MOUNTAINS and he referred to it as a “little hilly.” Literally all the houses in the neighborhood sit on the side of a mountain with million dollar mansions and his house is empty because he is selling it. He says he “travels” but he lives in another state when I actually got him on the phone. He even said we might go for a bike ride… as if he lived in Alabama! He said, “I travel for business,” “I live in Arkansas,” and “I live there full time” all in one day to me! Does this sound normal to you?

Well, imagine not knowing where you are and driving for hundreds of miles through farmland and then BAM! You are not in Birmingham but in a weird place called “Shelby” where for some odd reason millionaires live in the middle of abject poverty; everyone around them is poor as dirt! The entire area is out of place and the hotel in which I ended up had transients and “regulars” living there, as the working class people are poor. It was like a dystopian future in which the feudal lords live on a mountain overlooking the peasants!

Well, I called the police, not believing this man’s ludicrous story anymore for fear I would be breaking and entering into someone else’s home: a bait and switch. Even the local police thought it was odd he was only charging 45 dollars a night for a MILLION DOLLAR HOME IN A MILLIONAIRES CLUB ESTATE ON A SIDE OF THE APPALACHIAN MOUNTAINS! My truck would not charge my phone due to a small electrical problem as it is new and had a quirk, so I had to sit in a local restaurant to charge my phone and when the police came and I showed them the home and the ad he even thought it was fishy and recommended a hotel up the street for my safety.

Can you imagine if I actually went into this empty home IN THE DARK and someone arrested me or something? Beware of a “too good to be true” ad or people claiming to live somewhere they don’t. Unless you look up the owner, how do you know you are not breaking into someone’s home for whom they got a key made? The entire night cost me $175 dollars and I was so scared in the DARK, never having been to Alabama. A house on a cliff in the middle of a neighborhood of rich and powerful people with nobody living there is ridiculous. If you could see the location you would think an eagle lives there.

The final insult was when I called the man who placed the ad, and he asked me if I knew where local roads were and to “pop” up the hill when his home is in the MOUNTAINS and the back of them drop off hundreds of feet to your death! An empty house, non-resident owner, no proof the person actually owns the house, and omitting pertinent details such as HOUSE SITS ON A CLIFF OFF OF A MOUNTAIN equal no more Airbnb for me. BEWARE normal everyday people, because if you end up in a millionaire’s estate, you had best believe rich people can get you arrested or worse. With all the shootings going on too, who knows what could have happened to me? I had no way of verifying this man even owned this home, and when you look at a property, ASK IF IT SITS ON A CLIFF!

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


  1. I think you are over exaggerating a bit in your story…Million dollar mansion for $45 a night? I think you were better off staying in your “too good to be true” airbnb mansion than the transient ridden hotel you opted for instead.


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