Warning! Disaster ahead! Warning! Disaster ahead!
Wouldn’t it be great if life gave you those?! Grab a cup of tea (or coffee, if you must) and dive into my Airbnb disaster.
A while back I wrote about choosing an Airbnb. The post was full of tips to help choose a great Airbnb every time!
Then we went to Playa del Carmen…
The Step I Left Out
To start, I followed all of my steps, as I do every time I book an Airbnb. (Curious about the steps, click here to check out the post.) Through this experience I realized that I left out one step in my previous post. Probably because it’s so simple that most don’t think to state it but it needs to be said.
Follow your gut! That’s it. That’s the step I left out.
In my search I kept coming back to this particular unit but something about it wasn’t sitting with me well. The unit looked nice and spacious, the hosts were responsive, and the reviews were great but there was something that wasn’t right. I booked it anyway because this was a spur of the moment trip. Time was running out!
It Started Out So Good
We arrived at the Airbnb and were greeted by the wife of the host couple. We didn’t arrive until around 9:30 at night so I was grateful for the personal welcome. The apartment was in a secure mini-complex. The unit looked like it’s pictures, it was spacious and seemed like it would work for our stay. She left us with the key to settle in.
On the evening of our 2nd day we arrived back at the Airbnb and chilled out. The AC unit was only in the master bedroom so my son and I camped out there together. Playa is too freaking hot to have AC only in one room! This should have keyed disaster for me because I didn’t recall this being pointed out in the listing or reviews. Anyway, I digress…
Disaster Creeps in Slowly
As we were chilling in the master bedroom I started to hear a rustling noise. It was similar to someone moving or playing with a plastic grocery bag. My son is very active and is constantly moving so I brushed the noise off as something he was doing. No biggie.
Later that evening, my son went to bed, still in the same room as me. Because the air, remember? Sigh. I was still hearing the rustling plastic bag. I sat straight up and stared at the boy, who was knocked out! He wasn’t moving AT ALL and the rustling was still going. Then it stopped. I relaxed. It started again and I sat straight up, again, staring at the boy. Oh man, this wasn’t good.
My Mind is Playing Tricks On Me
I’m that person who gets up and goes towards the noise. Yup, that’s me! All y’all who yell at the screen when they do that in movies, you’re yelling at me too! But come on, how the heck else are you supposed to find out what’s going on? If you have the answer let me know.
So, I got up and started moving towards where I thought the sound was coming from. It was coming from the wall in this weird hollow column that stretched the height of the townhouse. Then I creeped downstairs right next to the column and listened. Nothing. I thought, “Ok, am I tripping? I gotta be tripping, right?”
I strolled back upstairs and got into the bed. As soon as I was comfortable again, the rustling came back. Ugh! I tried to ignore it but it wouldn’t be ignored. It kept on. I finally called the owners who responded by sending the husband. It was 10 o’clock at night but I welcome all rodent inspections, no matter what time.
The Disaster of a Host Response
The man came, looked down the shoot where the noise was coming from and didn’t see anything. You know how when your car is messing up but it acts perfect when you take it to the shop? That’s what happened. Finally, the owner looked at me and said, and I quote, “I don’t know. Might be a little mouse.” shrugs and leaves.
Whaaaaa? Might be a little mouse and then gone. Hmm…I was paralyzed in confusion. Who says it may be a little mouse to someone who is paying you to stay there and then leave like it’s all good? This guy, apparently.
From Disaster to We Out!
We managed to make it through that night. I was so freaked out by the noise, though, that I left the AC and slept in the hot room. It was the only way and the boy was knocked out. The next night the same scenario started up around the same time. This time it was louder, it started knocking on pipes and we heard scratching noises. Instead of me sitting straight up and staring at my sleeping kid, we were both staring at each other. I couldn’t take it anymore!
Being a Travel Agent has it’s perks. I called Airbnb and realized quickly that they would be of no help! More on that in a bit. I hopped onto my vendor sites and found a cute hotel with amazing breakfast included for a very decent rate. It was full for that night but available the next day. I booked it and convinced myself I could make it to the next day. Back to the hot bed I went.
Changes at Airbnb and How They Left Us Hanging
When I contacted Airbnb about this disaster the customer service rep, Eva was very kind but what she was saying perplexed me. She advised that she had to contact the hosts to see if they would approve a refund for the days I was cancelling. So…because they have a rat or a bear in their walls I had to get their approval to get my money back on their insufficient unit. Hmm.
The hosts knew the deal since I had been contacting them through my stay about this issue and agreed to the refund. The woman who delivered this news, not Eva, told me this and was like, “bye, bye”. I responded and told her I was greatly inconvenienced; that I now had to get a hotel at the last minute, I had to now eat out when I planned to cook and “bye bye” was all she had for me. She responded that the hosts didn’t have to give me the refund and that I was lucky because they weren’t convinced that there was an animal in the unit. I sent back some lovely words. They really were lovely but advised her to check my record and history with Airbnb. Complaining and seeking a refund wasn’t my usual jam. I was appalled.
Eva to the Rescue
I heard that Airbnb always had amazing service and would help you find another unit in disaster situations and even refund your money. This was not my experience. Beyond that, they didn’t seem to care, whatsoever. I let it go, in order to enjoy the rest of the trip but I was going to address it upon leaving Playa.
That night, after returning to the hotel, I received a call and it was Eva! Eva saw my exchange with the other woman and stated that this was her case so she wanted to ensure that I had a good resolution. She offered to return 50% of the money for the nights we had already stayed in that Airbnb (in addition to what was already refunded). She knew we already moved to a new hotel so she didn’t bring up finding new accommodations. I appreciate Eva because she seemed to really care that we had a wretched experience. The other woman didn’t care at all.
What I Learned
So, I had my first disaster Airbnb and it really sucked. There were some great things that came from it though. I found a great hotel in the PDC area. I found out about 3 other people who had Airbnb disasters in the PDC area with similar stories that confirmed that Airbnb’s handling of the situation wasn’t isolated to me. We had a blast in PDC once we switched to the hotel. But the biggest thing came a few weeks later! Pay attention!
Airbnb has changed its Terms of Service and this explains why I had such an horrible experience. Their Terms of Service basically state that they are simply a transaction company. They state they are not responsible for the state of the property and are not responsible to help you sort out any disputes regarding the property. Whaaaaaa?! If you chose to stay at an Airbnb, going forward, you’re taking your chances. Plain and simple. If you get a kick out of legal-ease check out the full Terms of Service here.
I won’t advise to ax Airbnb as a whole but I will say be very diligent and very careful when booking Airbnbs, going forward. Definitely use the tips I provided in my last post and always trust your gut! My son and I recorded a video about the situation right after we checked into the hotel. My son is pretty hilarious when he explains what happened. If you want a peak check it out.
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