My husband was working in France over the weekend of our anniversary so we decided that I would meet him in Toulouse, a city we previously had enjoyed. I picked <a href=” https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/15017680″>this Airbnb listing</a> because it looked comfortable, had a great location and most importantly, had favourable reviews.
To start: we never met our host. The meeting spot where I was going to pick up the keys from her was vague and I only figured it out the day before I left. I was having travel issues and let her know as it would affect our meeting time. Not only did she not respond to me but she did not call my husband to make sure everything worked out; he had to call her once she arrived. Her brother let my husband inside but gave him no warnings that would have been helpful like: the door is very difficult to lock and you need to jimmy it just so; only one of the windows opens; the plumbing is old and the toilet doesn’t work properly so even though I haven’t included toilet paper, you should probably not use it and not put anything inside of it because it’s due to fail at any moment.
After a weekend of the toilet making strange noises, it finally overflowed our last morning and went immediately into a hole in the floor and flooded the downstairs neighbour’s kitchen. We had a confrontation with her because it was not the first time this has happened. We cleaned up the mess and could see how to fix the toilet but as it is not our apartment (nor our responsibility), we chose not to fix it and let our host know instead. She said there had never been any problems and didn’t seem concerned that we didn’t have a toilet to use for six hours. This also didn’t factor in the importance of the Airbnb customer service team. Our host also didn’t meet us to take the keys back, stating that we should just leave them under the doormat.
A day later, we received a claim from her for 1048 euros to fix the toilet. She completely changed the machine that chews up matter from the toilet and then sends it down the tubes. She did not contact us at all, or make a claim for the security deposit. She immediately went to the Airbnb resolution center for the entire plumbing bill. My husband and I were completely baffled by this, even enraged when after all the information I gave them about her lack of empathy, how this machine works and why it fails (never from regular use), my happy cooperation was only to end in the resolution that we pay half of this bill.
We would understand if she wanted the security deposit as that is what it is for, even if we were not at fault. However, to include this as a part of the bill in any way was enough for me to cancel my account and never considering work with Airbnb again. They made no effort to act as an actual mediator, and did not send us paperwork and related material that would have helped us understand not only where the case stood but would have given us an opportunity to get more information and paperwork to strengthen our position. They feel resolved in their final decision and there is no compromise. We are going to keep fighting their lack of neutrality and pursue this as a civil case outside of Airbnb for recuperation of the cost and lawyer’s fees if need be. As someone who is skilled at mediation, I doubt the customer service agents at Airbnb have the ability to be objective in their cases; they seem to only create lazy and quick resolutions. I am furious. I will use the resources listed on this site and email the founders (as they can be found on the airbnb site and then through social media) if need be to complain.