Back in February 2017 I booked Dora’s Airbnb in East London close to an area where I would be meeting friends for a farewell meal and drinks, as I now live in South Korea. A friend and I had decided to stay at an Airbnb to avoid a long and draining journey home. However my friend, who has never used Airbnb, was a bit reluctant. I assured her that I had had several good experiences and it would be fine. After finding Dora’s room online and reading numerous good reviews, I booked one night with her.
She was very nice and explained that she would be able to rent the room. However, ‘a friend’ would be staying in her room so she would be on the sofa that evening. I said this should be fine and when the weekend came, I dropped my stuff at her apartment and proceeded with my farewell evening. Once my friend and I returned to the apartment we got ready for bed incredibly quietly and went to get a glass of water from the kitchen for the night. However, after politely knocking on the door before entering, we heard Dora approach the living room/kitchen door and shout ‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING I TOLD YOU I WAS ASLEEP!’
I said I had needed a glass of water as none had been provided in the room (which was advertised). I calmly and quietly got my glass and returned to my room. At this point I felt really uncomfortable having been shouted at like a naughty child for asking for water. My friend also felt uncomfortable and decided we should calmly speak to her before deciding whether to leave early. When we spoke to her, we explained this was an irrational way to act and asked for an apology as we no longer felt welcome. She insisted she did not need to apologise and said if we wanted we leave we should (at 1:00 in the morning).
Deciding to not be treated like this, we left and contacted Airbnb immediately who gave me a full apology and refund. They said they would speak to the host and she would not be able to leave a review as we did not stay the night. A few weeks later, having moved countries, I noticed a horrible review had been posted on my wall from the host, completely twisting the story around to make her look like the victim. I immediately got in contact with Airbnb as she had also said they had given her a full refund for the issue and asked for an explanation of how she had been able to leave a review against me and been able to contact me. They offered very little in the way of an explanation and merely took the review down. We subsequently found out that the ‘friend’ staying in her room that weekend was another guest; she had lied and double booked her home (the guest left a review on the website the day after).
I’m disgusted that hosts feel they have the right to bully people, treat them so badly after taking their money, and are allowed to get away with it. If you are looking for a place to stay in London for a night out I strongly recommend a hotel.