What a disappointment to ever engage with Airbnb. We thought it be a good idea to try them as a hosting platform on advice from friends. Having already had a good response and very pleasant guests from another travel accommodation site, this was our first time experience with guests from Airbnb.
It started with all sorts of demands and requests prior to the confirmed booking of three guests that turned out to be five adults, four children, and a dog. I guess I should have been suspicious when this guy started sending me at least one Whatsapp a day (not using the Airbnb app) asking obvious questions about the house and its facilities. It got to the point where I thought he would ask if we provided toilet paper. One less ridiculous question was whether he could bring his dog – we do not accept pets, so I categorically declined.
After having the whole house booked out three times during the holiday season for between fourteen and fifteen people with hardly a minute of trouble or concern, I was surprised how many questions a single small family could come up with… including changing the booking from two nights to four and finally to six. The last question was a request of an earlier check-in, which was difficult as we had a full house just the night before, but we obliged nevertheless knowing that they only needed the rooms upstairs.
Upstairs is the original house with more than enough beds. There are two queen size bedrooms, one of which is an ensuite with a bath and shower and one room for their kids with four beds plus an additional bathroom with a shower. In addition, the full amenities of the house were available as advertised: full kitchen (stove, oven, microwave, dishwasher, refrigerator and eight place settings), an inside dining area and outside barbecue area that is protected with sliding doors for all weather conditions and has another large table.
Downstairs there is a washing machine in a stand-alone laundry area, and a lovely secure garden complete with a splash pool and deck. Double automatic garage, security system, the works. I think it is fair therefore that my house is advertised with a base rate for four people and additional guests need to pay extra for us to open the downstairs rooms and bathrooms.
Imagine my surprise when this guy arrives (with his additional guests) and not only expects us to accommodate the additional people free of charge, but demands that we open the rooms downstairs for them (despite there being more than enough room for them upstairs). I have to say though, his wife deserves an Oscar, maybe an Emmy award, for the performance she put on. The whole nine yards: she first started insulting me as I tried to negotiate with her husband to find a compromise and then when that didn’t work, she cried, yelled, and screamed at her husband to leave, “these people are greedy and selfish…”
By this time I was thinking, “Yes! Please leave!” I don’t know why I rented the place for three people. After having a full house literally the whole season, I thought, “Shame, they are a small family and trying to save money, so it went”. I’m a sucker; they clearly had a hidden agenda from the beginning. No sooner had they moved in after we had agreed (after a rather heated discussion and his insisting that his right was to have all the rooms – 15 beds – available to him for a three person booking), that they needed to pay for the extra adults, the second vehicle already arrived.
I took deep breaths as I walked back down to my house thinking we had an understanding, and maybe now they could just enjoy the house and leave us in peace… what was I thinking?
At 9:30 PM, one of the vehicles drove past our house hooting, one of the men shouting obscenities out the window at us (my family) sitting on our patio also trying to enjoy our holiday. At 10:08, the two women rang our doorbell in a clearly inebriated state and request salt, only to disappear by the time my wife took the salt to the door. Besides leaving me with nappies in the splash pool and window frames and furniture that were used as ashtrays, there was furniture moved from upstairs into the garage, just to name a few broken house rules aside from the dog that they brought anyway.
It all comes with a price. However, there has not been a cent from Airbnb up to now, 14 days after their arrival and after our fruitless attempts to get payment sorted via customer service and the helpline. I only charged them the minimum rate. I could have let the place out many times over for a great number of people and with secure payments, if I had never let Airbnb make this booking three months ago.
Airbnb does not respond to any of my SMS’s on their helpline anymore. The last message I got stated payment had been made, which is a lie. I want to remove my property from this terrible “service” provider but I guess if I do so, I will have absolutely no chance of receiving my payment. If you use Airbnb, be prepared to use the counting method to maintain your temper and sanity… at the very least it’s a good lesson on self control.