Stay at Airbnb Once, Shame on You. Twice, Shame on Me.

I booked a room in London for myself and my boyfriend for one night because we were going to look at a gallery or museum and I also had an appointment. I paid online and turned up in Pimlico where we were meant to stay. I rang the host and then rang a few times after but there was no reply at all.

We walked a long way; my partner has a very painful knee and I had an injury. We walked to a block of flats and not only was it a long walk from the tube but also a long walk inside an estate that looked the same for hundreds of blocks. No map in sight. We walked and asked, asked and walked, and a woman we met who lived there was even a bit outraged on our behalf.

I tried to ring Airbnb many times but there was a wait and also in some parts of London there was no signal. Hours went by and it was very hot weather. We had to buy a cold drink and snack in a cafe and still had no room for the night.

Airbnb was very unhelpful and suggested I pay for another room. I protested that I did not have the funds for that but that also there was no signal at times for the phone (not the internet, which I have data for ). The very relaxed rep did not seem able to get any contact from the host I had paid.

After walking round the estate for a long time we realised we would have to find another room for the night and we had to stay due to an appointment I had. After many calls with Airbnb, in which I tried to get a refund, I managed to get them to agree to give me enough to get another room, but it was nearly evening by then.

We found a room that seemed nice online and went there. It looked okay, a bit scruffy for the price, but the bed looked clean enough. We went out for the evening nearby and slept there. The next morning there was no breakfast which had been advertised as part of the price nor was there any light in the bathroom then or the night before. This made things difficult of course.

The woman who owned the flat was okay but did not bother with us at all: really and clearly just wanted the money. Her boyfriend was not clothed in the sitting room where they were sleeping. I did not write a review of the awful experiences on Airbnb because I forgot. I wish I had.

The second host had the cheek to message me on the site and tell me I was lucky to have gotten a room and that I should be grateful. I was disgusted with the whole process but was given a voucher for a few pounds to put towards another room. I know some people have great experiences, e.g. my daughter abroad somewhere, but if this is the standard in London… what a rip off.

I am trying to book a room with my voucher now but have found out that guests need to verify their identity nowadays on the site by sending a copy of an official document such as passport or driving license to the host using a link that has not worked for me. Customer service has rung me back twice to try to help but the woman on the phone was laughing at what I told her.

It’s not inspiring but hopefully I can get somewhere better this time (if I can work out how to send the document and I need to send a ‘selfie’. A nice little – I mean big – earner for some hosts who just provide a bed or mattress and not much else sometimes it seems. Good luck out there.

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

3 Comments

  1. Like any city, London has good a d bad properties. Please don’t judge London as a whole by this experience.

  2. I have stayed in 30 or so Airbnb places on four continents, almost all of them have been great (I do research them thoroughly before booking). The exception was a stay in London, where our original booking was cancelled by the host on short notice and we were moved to a quite nasty apartment. We did receive a full refund from Airbnb in the end (even if we did stay in the apartment). Be calm, polite and firm in your contact with Airbnb.

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