Here’s our story: On January 15, 2016, I booked a condo on Singer Island (owner “Sherry”) in West Palm Beach, FL for my family’s spring break vacation. We were vacationing with a group of friends who were also staying on the island. My husband, daughter (12 years old) and I were set to check in on Saturday, March 19 staying through March 26. My daughter and I went a few days early to visit with family in the Orlando area.
On Wed, Mar 16, I received a text from the owner asking when we would be checking in on Saturday. I responded that we would be there about noon. The following afternoon (Thursday), I received a text from Airbnb that my reservation was cancelled. I then called and texted the owner and asked what was going on. She texted me back confirming she cancelled the reservation because she “had been sick with pneumonia” for a long time. Begs the question, then why did she wait to cancel 2 days before we were to check in, right? So here we are, already in Florida and trying to find a place to stay during the busiest time of the year. I can’t begin to describe my level of stress. While there are worse things, this was our nightmare for the next 10 hours while I called every hotel and vrbo ad trying to find a place for us to stay.
First I called Airbnb and they said they would find us a place. The representative I spoke with was extremely nice. So she sends me 9 listings. Great, right? Not so much. All of the listings she sent were booked for the time we were there. Now why would they send us listings that are not available? Unbelievable. I called back to let them know none of the listings were available so they refunded my money, gave me a $200 credit (that’s helpful when there’s no place to stay) and said “sorry we couldn’t find one for you, good luck.”
Finally after calling every resort and realtor in the area, I finally found a room at the Palm Beach Marriott on Singer Island – literally the last room available – in which I ended up paying an additional $2,000. And because the room was equipped with a “coffee kitchen,” we spent another small fortune eating out for lunch and dinner everyday and paying $30/day for parking.
This was our first time using Airbnb and, needless to say, is our last. When I posted my story on Facebook – the stories were endless about similar situations. More people should know about the risks of using Airbnb. Hope you’ll be writing another article soon.