What an Airbnb nightmare we had over Christmas 2019 in London. We go and spend Christmas every year with my sister and her family in London and have been doing this for the last twenty years. We usually stay with my sister, but, unfortunately, this year she had a full house and so we got my nephew to look for Airbnb places to stay at for seven nights.
He (poor guy is now feeling so bad) found this advert for a “pretty studio flat” about five minutes from where my sister lives. The picture looked great and it was within walking distance to my sister’s house. We jumped at it, even though it was a bit expensive and we didn’t have much time left to look for anywhere else.
I did read some reviews and the only thing I found which made me get in contact with the hosts was about a very uncomfortable mattress with springs sticking out. We thought, oh, with our backs (we are both pensioners), this would be a no go. I contacted the hosts via WhatsApp and asked them what they had done about the mattress. They assured us that the problem had been sorted and that the mattress was “very comfortable”. We were reassured and believed them.
We actually had WhatsApp communication about whether there was a coffee machine, etc. Of course, there was no coffee machine. We thought fine, no problem: this is the UK and not Italy. We also knew that the road the “pretty flat” was on was going to be a bit noisy and we didn’t mind this too much. This flat is in busy London and we know the area well.
The hosts were now addressing us with “hi darling”, etc. We thought they were friendly, honest people. How gullible we were….
Fortunately, for us we always pay with a Visa. There was no payment upfront, thank goodness. The hosts, of course, don’t live in this tiny flat. I don’t think they even know what the flat is like, as it turns out they didn’t even know the wifi password. They gave one which didn’t work. However, my husband decided to look at the router and it had a completely different Internet provider. We informed the hosts of this and they gave us some excuse for not knowing this.
In addition, we realized during the night that there was a very noisy boiler on the wall above the kitchen area which just droned on and on all night and of course all day. We were both very tired, but this noise just didn’t stop. We got in touch with the “hi darling” hosts and we were told to send them a recording of the noise to see whether it was working normally or not. We just wanted the noise to stop.
We also wrote about the terrible mattress with springs sticking into our backs all night. They ignored this point. We sent them a recorded noise from the boiler and we were told this was “normal”. We wanted to know if we could switch it off. Of course not, as this is a boiler needed to pump water onto the third floor (where the tiny flat is).
I could only spend two nights in the flat, what with the incessant noise and the mattress digging into me (and my husband). Actually, when my husband turned in the bed, I bounced up and down. I went to stay at my sister’s on the floor.
Unfortunately, my husband had to stay in this hellhole for seven nights. We could close the window (which was very stiff) to block out the noise from the street, but, we had to listen to the droning noise of the boiler all night long. My poor husband had had a heart operation last year and this was a terrible time for both of us. We pointed out that perhaps if the mattress was turned over, it might be better. A cleaner came and did it, but, it made no difference at all.
All seven nights were a nightmare. The noisy boiler was never mentioned. The hosts appear to have other flats in this building. It looks like the building has many tiny studio flats, etc. While going up three floors, we could hear children crying and we could smell stale cooking. I wonder what sort of condition these people are living under.
We went there in good faith determined to have a peaceful time. But, it turned out to be a total nightmare. Since leaving the flat, we have not had any response from the money-making scrooges to our complaints. We are withholding payment.
They are just making money (loads) from us poor unsuspecting travellers. How on earth does Airbnb let such dishonest people onto their books? Airbnb is nothing but a money-oriented organisation. This host certainly found a gold mine, robbing poor unsuspecting travellers. I hope the couple will soon find a conscience.