We have never used Airbnb and will definitely not use it again after we booked a villa advertised on their site. We were looking for a villa to sleep eight of us in Alcudia Palma Mallorca, Spain when we found this property called Villa Pretoria with stunning views. We thought it was beautiful and suited us so we went ahead and made a booking. However, when we tried to pay by the secure credit card payment on the site it was not going through. The host said Airbnb was having some issues with this and advised us to use a link he provided with his bank details to do a transfer. We did, and paid 2,700 Euros. We were all looking forward to our family holiday as our daughter is working in Alcudia and we had not seen her for a while.
A few days before our travel date we emailed Hector for details of how to pick up keys for our stay but he did not reply. The day before we were supposed to travel we went on the Airbnb site to check our booking and there was not one there; it was then we became suspicious. My son got in contact with Airbnb and they said it looked like we had been scammed. They were going to report this but then we got an email from Hector with his contact details, telling us to call him when we landed to arrange to meet to pick up the keys. We thought maybe this was not a scam so we all got on the plane and landed in Palma at 9:00 am on Friday, August 26th.
We got our baggage and our car and rang Hector. There was no answer so we left a voicemail. Still no reply. It was then reality sank in: it was a scam. There we were eight of us stranded at Palma airport with nowhere to stay. This was really embarrassing as one couple who were our friends had not been away with us before. We then sat in the airport and got on the website to look for accommodation and was lucky enough to find a villa in Pollensa that was available. We then had to pay another 2,100 Euros. We were only there for 5 days so it worked out to be a very expensive 5 days.
We went to the police station to report this but they were no help at all as no one could speak English. They said sometimes a translator comes in but they never know when. It would be a matter of waiting around all day to see if they came in or not and as we were only there for 5 days we did not feel we wanted to waste our time hanging around. We did ring Airbnb from Spain as well and they apologised and said they would look into this. It took a few weeks for them to come back to say there was nothing they could do as we paid outside of the secure payment system. What chance do you have as a guest? We tried to make a secure payment and were told Airbnb was having problems and we should make the payment directly to the host.
As we said we never used this site before and will not again. We always use travel agents and think this is what we will do in the future, sticking to legitimate companies. We are so angry and disappointed that no one will help us get our money back. If there is something you can do to assist us in finding this crook who scammed us it would be appreciated. He gave us his picture and phone, which obviously may not be him at all. I do not know how people can sleep at night stealing from hard working people that save up to have a holiday for it to be taken away just like that. I have attached the emails and a copy of the Airbnb site with the host’s details so you can hopefully find out who does own this villa to let them know they are being scammed as well. If there is a villa there, we didn’t find it.