Bring your own pipe wrench and king-size sheets if you holiday with Airbnb. My recent vacation in Peru began with four chilly days in a flat in Cuzco with no central heat. Not to worry: on the 34-degree nights, there was a small space heater in each bedroom that you could carry to the kitchen, the living room, and the bathroom. Speaking of bathrooms, there was an unfortunate seepage from the bottom of one toilet (if you have a toilet leak, this is definitely not the end to have it come out of).
Then there was the shower. On a cold Cuzco morning, I’m sure there is nothing like a hot shower to get you going. I wouldn’t know. My shower emitted a stream of hot water for the first one and a half minutes. After that you had to brace for a blast so cold it puckered you at both ends. If you’re hearty enough to tough it out you get rewarded with one cycle of lukewarm water for rinsing your bits and then you are on your own. This was The Good Place.
Next stop was the “penthouse” in Miraflores. This deluxe apartment had seen better days and the master suite won the award. Upon arrival, I set up my toiletries in the bathroom and went to wash my hands. No running water. I flushed the toilet. The tank did not refill. The water to the entire bathroom had to be manually switched on because the vanity plumbing was broken and constantly ran. So every shower, hand wash and toilet flush involved a two-step process. Plumbing was definitely not the priority because nearly every faucet in the house was loose. There was also another toilet leak on the first floor. What’s up with me and the toilets on this trip? This flat was the gift that kept on giving.
Upon my return home, I was greeted with a complaint from the owner with pictures of blue-stained sheets and an accusation that I must have worn wet jeans and sat on the bed and transferred dye. Since nobody on this site knows me, I feel compelled to let you know that I am that guy who leaves a note when I back into a parked car. I am also the type of guy who makes sure that he wears dry blue jeans. It’s kind of a thing for me. I am also not a Smurf.
Needless to say, I vehemently denied her crazy accusations, and let her know that there is no logical way that I could have put a stain on her sheets. I suggested that she speak with her cleaning crew, recommended washing whites with whites, and pointed out that the running water issue might be one to prioritize. This made her mad. After a few more exchanges I rejected her demand of $60 for a sheet.
By rejecting her damage claim, I went into Airbnb’s kangaroo court. What happens is that you get an opportunity to send Airbnb a private message to explain your situation anytime you electronically reject a claim. I told them that this was either a scam or a laundry mishap that I was wrongly blamed for. I gave them my cellphone number for them to reach out and offered up my traveling companions as witnesses.
Their response: A form-letterish email stating that they had reviewed the case and were siding with the owner since she reported the incident with a photo before renting to another party. You mean to tell me that is the standard of proof? Seriously? What about the cleaners? What about the owner herself trying to make an extra buck with a blue sheet scam? Who knows if that photo is even of a sheet that was in the house I stayed in?
Apparently that didn’t matter because Airbnb had already billed my credit card for $60. They made it very clear that I had already agreed to this in the fine print as a security deposit. I guess it is back to the Marriott for me. Airbnb and its total disregard for the customer has given me the blues. Literally.