Vacationers travel 200 miles to the Airbnb chalet to find duplicate
A couple say they were devastated after driving to an Airbnb, but their phone calls were ignored by the so-called ‘host’ before discovering another family was already inside.
When Nicola Valentino traveled from her home in Warwickshire to Kilkhampton near Bude, Cornwall, she thought she would have a fantastic holiday with her son Dexter and partner Oliver Jones.
After booking and paying for the trip through Airbnb six months earlier, the family traveled 200 miles to their destination, but had no idea how hellish it would become, reports CornwallLive.
After arriving a bit early at their destination on August 27, they notified the Airbnb host, in case he had a chance to pick up their keys earlier.
But what followed was the realization that they were masked and had no information on entering the two-bedroom chalet.
Calls and messages to the owner went unanswered, and Airbnb was unaware of what was going on.
Driving up to the property, the final blow was to discover that a family was already registered as the couple desperately tried to save their trip.
Airbnb then canceled and refunded the reservation and they were left with two choices – go home or look for other accommodation.
“Probably about six months ago we booked the chalet in Kilkhampton and we did it with Airbnb just to have that reassurance because obviously the host was pretty reputable,” said Nicola, 38.
“We didn’t hear anything then and sent a few messages which we found a little strange.”
The sales manager continued, “We messaged a couple of times when we got here to say we were early and we knew the check-in wasn’t until 3pm, but if it was ready. before, very good. “
She said by 2 p.m. the three of them were on the beach and were starting to panic about whether they would ever get an answer.
“We started to think, ‘is she ever going to answer? “And at this point, we don’t even know where to get the keys,” she said, but as time passed after checking in, the Airbnb host and owners’ phone still went straight to the house. Voicemail.
“We then went up to the chalet just to see if there was any instructions on it or a key box, we just weren’t sure,” Nicola said.
And they found not instructions, but another family in the cabin. They confronted them and found out that they had booked directly through the owner for the same dates.
“It wasn’t their fault,” Nicole said. “But we were absolutely clueless. We had been on the road since 5 am, and then we started looking for a place to stay, anything.”
At prices of around £ 1,700 per week they couldn’t afford most of the alternatives available, but luckily nearby Penstowe Holidays came to the rescue.
But in the end, vacations meant spending more money than expected and having to change accommodation before the last night of their trip due to availability.
“It was money that we just don’t have,” she said. “It ended up costing us dearly.”
Airbnb refunded the money from the reservation, but this was not resolved immediately and the couple appealed to Airbnb to better ‘control’ people before allowing them to use the platform, claiming they were devastated to have found themselves in this position.
“We later found out that another person had visited this chalet and a similar thing had happened,” she said. “The review on Airbnb stated that the owner had done the exact same thing before and that there had been no warning for us.
“I even contacted directly [the owner] on Facebook because I really wanted her to know the impact she had. It’s been a tough year for everyone and it was our only vacation but she didn’t respond.
“I then contacted Bude Notice Board (a Facebook community group) and the response was just amazing. I feel so angry with this woman, that she could do this to our family, but she didn’t even not reached out to say She read it and ignored me.
“We just don’t want someone else to have to go through this because it could have been so much worse.
“We were lucky to have people around us and to have a good time, but it was devastating, and Airbnb has to take responsibility.”
Airbnb told CornwallLive it was disappointed to learn of the guest’s experience and as a result the host was removed from the platform.
An Airbnb spokesperson said: “We were disappointed to learn of this experience and provided the customer with our support, including a full refund.
“The host has since been removed from the platform for not meeting our host reliability standards. With over 900 million customer arrivals on Airbnb to date, isolated issues are rare and our Community support team is available 24/7 to help you. “
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