False and Totally Misleading Mexican Listings


Where to begin? Since I had 2, similar, experiences in Mexico recently, back to back, I’m combining them into one posting.

The first occurred in San Cristobal and the second in Mazunte. Here is the listing for the Mazunte Airbnb:

La Pajarera
Entire cabin, Sleeps 4

We had booked a two bedroom casita with kitchen and bathroom. Upon arrival there was only one bedroom apparently in use. The second one was up some dangerous steps and obviously not in use- no bedding on the bed, no closet, dresser or bedside table and a pile of broken tiles in the corner. My first clue should have been the fact that even tho 2 were listed, there were no pictures of the second. In addition, there was no shower stall, just a shower head in the ceiling of a very tiny bathroom. And the kitchen was dark and dreary. The pictures of this place had obviously been enhanced, making it look so much better than it was. And the amenities list had been embellished- to put it nicely!

The housekeeper greeted us and promptly called the host when we complained about the lack of a second bedroom and lack of amenities listed- especially a washer. I am on a 2 month trip and specifically look for a washer whenever possible.

When the host arrived she seemed shocked and embarrassed when I showed her the list of amenities. When it came to the second bedroom, she reasoned that since I had indicted there were 2 of us, we only needed one bedroom. WRONG! She offered to ‘make up’ the second bedroom or give us a full refund. We opted for the refund, since there was a perfectly acceptable, immaculately clean hotel right next door, where for about the same price, not only did we have our own bed, we had our own room with private bathroom. This turned out to be a god send when we later both came down with food poisoning, at the same time! The host even went with us and negotiated an even better rate then we could have accomplish on our own with our pigeon Spanish. She was willing to do whatever it took to make us happy.

At first AirBB refused to refund the service fee, but I pushed, didn’t ask, demanded and used terms like enhanced, false and misleading and they finally refunded the fee, also. So this one ended positively.

On to episode #2. The pictures tell the tale of this deplorable shack. I had booked for 14 days, once again based on enhanced photos and an even bigger list of lies, claiming to be the amenities. I actually didn’t believe there were the amenities listed, but hoped for a few. TV, washer, ac? give me a break- there wasn’t even a mirror on the wall! There was what looked like mold covering the shower drain, the sink was badly chipped and cracked, the beams were crumbling, the screens torn, and the kitchen dark, dreary and dirty and the cabinets indescribably gross. Once again my first clue should have been that there were no pictures of the kitchen.

I immediately changed my booking for 4 nights, instead of the 14 I had planned to stay at the beach. I should have left immediately and insisted on a refund. Yet, in my defense, I had just spent 10 hours getting there via taxi and overnight bus, I was still ill, and needed time to figure out something else for the 10 remaining days. We’re talking about the beach in January!

The host did replace the sink, the maid kind of cleaned the kitchen, and promised a mirror, but never delivered. I had booked this because it had a kitchen, but couldn’t even bring myself to go down there, let alone cook! New sink, but no water the following day! The maid did come and figure out how to get it working again. And, to his credit, the host was quick to respond and arranged for transportation from the bus to the shack, and to Puerto Escondido when I left.

I didn’t decide to insist on a full refund until I was leaving, feeling angry, traumatized and victimized. It is totally unacceptable for AirBB to be booking such decrepit shacks, passing them off with enhanced photos and lies! They need to be held responsible, and so does the host.

The host has refused my request, since I did stay there, so I have turned it over for mediation. Word so far is that it has been determined I am owed a partial refund. This was before I sent the photos! I’m insisting on a full refund, including the service fees. We will see……..

And as an aside- this is not my first rodeo. I have made 45 trips to Mexico during the past 30 years, so have a pretty good idea what I can expect for my pesos, when it comes to lodging. The shack was $40 a night and was worth about $10.

On a positive note- of the 5 properties I have stayed in on this trip, 2 were totally unacceptable, 1 ok and 2 were fantastic. I’ll just book with them directly in the future.

Airbnb guests find a filthy flat, and can’t leave a review!

It appears if you cancel a reservation, you cannot review the property on Air B n B. We just arrived in Amsterdam to what was originally advertised as a “beautiful canal flat” in the center of Amsterdam. It was described as 2 bedrooms and modern. The truth is, that it is a squalid, filthy apartment. The second bedroom was an alcove beside the living area with no door. The “modern” touch was obviously the disco ball above the bed. The modern furnishings appeared to be cast offs with electrical tape holding together the foot stool. The TV stand looked to be from the early 60’s (remember the hardware from captain’s bed’s). The wall’s were filthy and need a good washing and paint job. The carpet was not installed properly and was just cut and put on the floors. We cancelled immediately and Air B n B gave me $218 as a refund for $1034!!! I have to wait 10 days to start the resolution process!! The host was not in town and we were let in by the cleaning person. I contacted the host by phone and the host did suggest he would have the apartment recleaned, but I told him it was impossible because the walls needed to be painted the windows cleaned and a door installed on the “second” bedroom. My phone was out of power and could not take pictures, but in no way did the photos on Air B n B resemble the photos on the website. Amazing how the walls show perfectly white in the photos and in real life they are filthy…

Filthy and Overpriced

Rented a carriage house in Kerhonkson, NY. Upon arrival we knew we had made a mistake. The property was not close to ANYTHING and you couldn’t even get cell service for miles around the property. When we entered the carriage house, we saw that it was absolutely filthy. Dirt covered floors, dead and live insects everywhere and cob webs nearly everywhere you looked. We had no choice but to stay as there was a horse show in the area and every hotel was sold out. I felt like I had bugs crawling on my skin the entire time we were there. We told the owner that the unit had not been cleaned once we left because we could not get a signal beforehand and that we at least wanted the $100 cleaning fee refunded. She kept trying to drag it out saying she wanted to speak on the phone and not via text. We later found out that this was because she wanted enough time to pass so that we couldn’t get any money back from AirBNB. Now we are not getting any responses from her. Don’t rent from Mo in Kerhonkson NY or in Massachusetts. She’s a con artist.