Total Dump on Airbnb Leaves Guests with no Privacy

I booked accommodation in Johannesburg for me, my husband and my son. I asked if it was self catering and they confirmed; nowhere on the listing did it say that I would have to share a kitchen with other guests. When we arrived there, some of the staff and guests were smoking marijuana on the patio. The whole house was filled with smoke. The lady took us to our room through the kitchen, which was filthy, with burned pap on the stove. The room was not ready. There were two mattresses on the floor – no actual bed – with no linen. There were also three other mattresses in the room against the wall. The room was extremely dirty. Our bathroom was dirty. I asked where our kitchen was and the lady said we had to use the big kitchen. In the kitchen there was a lady who had just finished using the shared shower and walked through the kitchen with only her bottom covered; her top was exposed. I immediately phoned the owner and she said she would be there in ten minutes. After 45 minutes, I phoned, and I spoke to her husband. He said I must go and look for other accommodation – he would refund us. We travel every weekend and this was the worst accommodation I have ever seen in my life. I am not happy at all with the way they are sending me messages now and I feel like I want to send the police to that establishment, as I feel that they are taking us for a ride. The pictures on the website are not at all how that establishment looks like and I believe they just want to take people’s money. They refuse to refund us, even though they said they would provide one in full.

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  1. “The pictures on the website are not at all how that establishment looks like and I believe they just want to take people’s money. They refuse to refund us, even though they said they would provide one in full.” This is what 90 percent of airbnb listings are about. Sometimes you’ll get a place that is at least livable, but they’re still only letting you stay there for money. Yes I know, you’ll say “of course they’re only letting you stay there for money”, but you’re missing the point. For every person that sets up a place for ‘guests’ and the place is fair and ok, there are 4 or 5 that are setting up what you experienced in your description. If you travel to another country, where of course you have no realistic chance of going somewhere else to avoid the bad place, especially if you’ve already given all your funds to the ‘host’ of the bad place, you’re screwed. There are no laws to protect you, nobody will care, the ‘host’ will keep your money and airbnb will ignore you. People like ‘David Aaron’ will tell you you were a fool for failing to take notice of the ‘reviews’ (think: are there any bad reviews on airbnb?). The place you describe: what would you have done when you went out? If you’d left anything in your room the least that would have happened is that it would have been searched. Most likely your things would have disappeared entirely. airbnb (and the sites that have been set up to ride the same train, which after all contain the exact same ‘hosts’) is not a safe place to book places to stay. It’s the modern day equivalent of those nigerian scammers that 10 years ago used to phone people and ask them to send money to get money. Please people, do not use it. Especially to book places in another country, where you will be in a very bad position if the ‘host’ turns out to be a scammer. Use legit hotels instead. If you can’t afford them, stay at home. Do not believe the reviews on airbnb, not even in many cases the photos (especially in places like africa and india). Until sites like airbnb allow guests to post photos, and prevent ‘hosts’ leaving comments in reply to guest comments, all the reviews are useless. Think: you or I could set up a listing right now with photos we’ve downloaded from the internet, lie our heads off about the place, use our (real) id to ‘verify’ ourselves, then wait for someone to book. So what on earth prevents someone doing the exact same thing in Johannesburg? That’s what you got. You were scammed. You were lucky you weren’t harmed. airbnb is unsafe. Period.

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