We are thinking of staying in London for a few days. Other Half wants to visit a friend and we both want to visit art galleries. I do not want to entertain the stratospheric prices of most London hotels which are in the £100+ a night bracket so I thought I’d have a go at Airbnb.
I chose a fairly unfashionable area of South London to get a better price for a five night stay. I found a place that asked £21 a night and the amount and quality of references seemed reasonable. I enclose the correspondence with a chap with a Spanish sounding name and from his writing limited knowledge of English. (Potential guests are allowed to correspond with the owner prior to booking).
Me: I don’t expect a cooked breakfast but is there a facility to make coffee in the room and also to have cold cereal? Which are the nearest stations?
Owner: Good to hear from you Brian. The breakfast you described is fine. Do you fruits and fruit juice as well? The stations are Thought Heath, West Croydon and East Croydon. I’d be happy to host you. Best wishes.
So far so good but then I had another question which started to annoy him for some reason.
Me: I know London very well and Thornton Heath is quite a long way from East and West Croydon station. I need to be on a bus route so can you tell me the name of the nearest street. I can then suggests some dates to you.
Owner: with respect Brian, ( my hackles go up at this point), Thornton Heath is within brisk walking distance of East Croydon and West Croydon, from where I live off Bensham Lane and a 5 to 10 min bus ride.
Me: with more respect – brisk walking is not so easy if you are 73 (I measured the distance for walking mode on Google Earth and it is 32 minutes from Bensham Lane to East Croydon Station). I will come back to you. Brian
Owner: (gives up and terminates any pretence of being polite at this point). I get a standard letter saying ” unfortunately this establishment is unavailable for the dates of your trip. We’re sorry this particular listing didn’t work out but there are other places nearby that you can book instantly without sending a request to the host. The owner then says in a PS ‘sounds like you are over fussy and argumentative’.
Me (to myself) … er I thought I was just trying to get some information. I then wrote a final note saying
This is from a review five days ago which was 22 December 2017
Over 7 days i tried to resolve this problem with air bnb and their customer service has been appalling. Including being promised a callback by 5 different air bnb agents – NONE EVER CALLED ME BACK. They would just message me and they i would not be able to call and speak with them again. Over 7 days, my situation was never fully resolved. Every time i called i either got hung up on, never got a call back, or the agent never left notes so i had to repeat the very long story of my experience over 4 times, and still 7 days later no resolve. Nobody has called me back, despite me repeatedly calling them and every time i call I HAVE TO START ALL OVER AGAIN. Horrendous. They dont even care that i was deceived and mislead by the host even when the picture comparisons are as clear as day.
and this is one from 20 December 2017
The only advice I can give is that you should only put down what you can afford to lose and do not have any expectations of professionalism or politeness.
Pity, such a good idea but like all ideas based in America they are just interested in the money. America first – indeed.