I recently booked an Airbnb in Taipei. I advised the host in advance when I would be arriving. I asked how I would get the keys and was advised I would be greeted. I have learned the hard way that the address on a listing does not have to be the address of the Airbnb. I have also learned that a host is allowed to give instructions on how to locate the keys and if for any reason I can not understand the instructions or they do not work, the host does not have to assist me. Here is my story.
I proceeded to go to the address on the Airbnb listing and it was not a residential address. There was no one to greet me even though I was advised in advance there would be, so I called the contact number. The person who answered did not speak english so I found a stranger to call for me. The stranger advised me that the person who answered said they could not assist me.
I then messaged the phone number and received the following reply in English: “So are you coming tonight or tomorrow?” I told him I was here now. The host then sent me a list of outrageous instructions. I first had to view a video to find the mailbox, then go a few blocks to a mailbox, open the box, get another box, enter a code to open that box and take out a magnetic strip, walk a few more blocks to another location, use the magnetic strip to make the elevator work, then watch another video to get the code to open the unit. Well, I could not play the first video so I messaged the host that I could not play the video and he didn’t reply. There I was, stranded.
I was convinced this was a scam host because the address did not exist, there was no host to greet me, I could not communicate by phone, my final communication from the host asked what day I was arriving which I found frustrating as I had already communicated this, the instructions had a video that I could not play, and when I advised the host I could not view the video, he did not reply. Airbnb advised me I was at fault because I proceeded to cancel the reservation when in fact I should have called them first for their assistance.