An Airbnb customer recently took to TikTok in an attempt to get a refund for a bad rental.
TikToker Abi Grace (@@postcardsfromabi) uploaded her video two weeks into her dispute with the company. Viewed over 16,000 times as of publication, viewers flooded her comments with support and similar experiences with the company. This isn’t the first time Abi’s travels had hit a bump. She recently shared how her bag had been broken into while traveling on Turkish Airlines.
Abi’s bad experience occurred during her travels to the Amalfi Coast in Italy. She’d rented an Airbnb in a far off location that was best reached by boat that closed before she arrived. Forced to walk down rural roads in the dark she eventually caught a ride with a kind stranger who took her the rest of the way. For Abi, the rental was even worse than walking there.
“When I got to the Airbnb I felt like I was in a prison cave,” Abi said.
The room was humid and moisture had built up to the point where everything felt wet. She had zero cell service and the room lacked internet. Worst of all, the bathroom was outside, making the user visible to multiple other rooms, she said.
“So any guests on the shared terrace or up in their rooms could look out and see into the bathroom,” she said.
When Abi woke up she discovered the rental was attached to a ruinous old house. This was the final straw for her, so she walked twenty minutes away and contacted Airbnb.
“I had a horrible sleep that night between the cold, the moisture issues and probably mold that was triggering my asthma and made me feel really sick in the morning. I immediately called Airbnb telling them I didn’t feel safe there, it was dirty unclean and I wanted to check out…I thought they would help me with the cancellation process.”
However, the company did not help her. Instead they asked her for documentation of the issues, a picture of the router and proof of the moisture levels in the room. When she contacted the host they ended up getting into a large argument. She also claims that she tried to fight back by posting a review, but Airbnb took it down. According to the video, Abi’s still trying to get her refund.
Abi sums up her experience: “The complete lack of responsibility for the hosts they have on there, especially when it came to being a safety issue is absolutely embarrassing for Airbnb, and I will never be using them again.”
Some shared similar experiences.
“They are horrible. Had to fight with them for weeks after staying at place where I experienced mold, cockroaches and burglary,” user Sabina Beldelius (@sabinabeldelius) posted.
“I went through a similar process, either the host has to confirm your refund or it goes to Airbnb took probably two months for me to get my money back,” user @katiebaetie shared.
@postcardsfromabi @airbnb refuses to refund me for unsafe & dirty listing. The host started harassing me/making up lies and they won’t do anything to help. And on top of all that, they removed my review of her listing. I’ve called Airbnb 8 times and they keep transferring me to other workers and not helping. Absolutely unacceptable behavior from the host & Airbnb “support” #airbnb #airbnbexperience #boycott #boycottairbnb #badairbnbexperience #badairbnb #sorrentoairbnb #amalficoastairbnb #amalfiairbnb #positanoairbnb #dirtyairbnb #unsafeairbnb #badairbnbhost ♬ original sound – Abi Grace
Though there are benefits to renting from rental companies like Airbnb like a unique location and more space, there are downsides. Online rentals are less regulated so hosts can vary from fantastic to terrible, so can living conditions. Since each place is unique to the host, there’s a chance your rental may be filthy or have an infestation. Renters may also be saddled with additional chores to avoid extra fees.
Bad stays aside, booking accommodations through companies like Airbnb can give guests a more intimate experience during the vacations. And there are ways to ensure you get a great place to stay. Use search filters to guarantee your basic needs are met. Check a map tool to for the feel of the surrounding area, and inspect the photos on the site. Renters should also read the reviews carefully, and search for Superhosts when possible.
The Daily Dot reached out to Abi and Airbnb via email for further information.
According to a followup video posted by Abi on Oct. 7, Airbnb offered her a $270 “goodwill gesture” coupon due to the specific circumstances of her stay.