I booked a central location for myself and eight actors for the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe on October 13th, 2017. All was good until four days before the largest arts festival in the world, I got a message from Airbnb saying my reservation had been cancelled: no apology, no reason, and a mere £100 compensation to find somewhere else for nine people, four days before the festival.
I phoned the host who told me Airbnb hadn’t charged festival rates so I had to pay an extra £1,600 if I was to stay. I then phoned Airbnb who constantly read from a script, thus never giving me a clear answer. They constantly put me on hold and hung up on me on five occasions, only for me to go through the whole process again.
Three hours later, at 2:30 in the morning, I finally got a call from a case manager who told me not to worry and they would find me somewhere. They also told me to keep looking myself. Two days passed and I didn’t hear a peep from them. This was at a time when accommodation for so many at a festival for my cast number was constantly getting rarer and more expensive. I finally (and very luckily) found a place costing an extra £650 out of town, meaning I also had to pay for each cast members travel expenses.
I emailed the host saying how disgraceful they had acted and they replied immediately saying I could still have the room at the original price… too little too late. They informed me it was Airbnb who had made the cancellation with no explanation to them and to me. Throughout the Fringe Festival, on top of performing in two shows and producing and directing one, I emailed Airbnb on four occasions with no response.
After the festival I phoned once more to be told that the case manager wasn’t responding but my case is of urgency so they will find me a new case manager who will phone me in 24 to 48 hours. Still no response. I contacted Trading Standards who told me to email them saying they had clearly breached my consumer rights. I emailed Airbnb; two days later there was still no response. I phoned them and spoke to someone yesterday who said my case is ‘urgent priority’ and she will continue to pursue my case manager and let me know by the end of her eight-hour shift or today.
I still haven’t heard a thing. This spat between the host and Airbnb should not have affected me as I paid the said amount nine months in advance. They should have honoured this but instead have made me suffer both mentally and physically on top of all the other work I had going on at the festival. They ruined my experience as I could no longer afford to network and eat as I had planned due to my losses. They have also wasted a lot of my time.