In what might be the worst nightmare of anyone who has booked an Airbnb for their dream trip, Ian and Denise Feltham, a couple from the United Kingdom, made vacation plans based on an Airbnb listing for a property that apparently doesn’t exist at all, according to CNN.
At $11,800 (£9,610) for a two week stay, the two-bedroom apartment wasn’t cheap but was described as having a super-king-size bed, a hot tub, a Turkish bath, a private elevator and that it was close to the marina and a white sandy beach. However, when the Felthams showed up for their much-anticipated vacation, they were turned away by reception at the Las Boas complex because the unit didn’t exist. Images for Airbnb listing, which was removed after reports of the disastrous holiday emerged, were apparently compiled from various condos for rent or sale on the building’s website.
Ian Feltham told CNN he was not happy with Airbnb’s handling of the incident, which had the couple scrambling to find a dog-friendly hotel (the Felthams were traveling with their two Yorkshire terriers, Ross and Honey).
Leading up to the trip, Lux Travel Collective, the original poster of the listing on Airbnb, had apparently gone silent (most Airbnb hosts will contact guests right before a trip with information about the location and a door code). Due to the lack of communication, the Felthams contacted Airbnb. Ian told CNN he was passed from one person to the next.
Airbnb communications manager Charlie Urbancic told Yahoo in a statement that they didn’t handle this one the right way.
“Our handling of this issue fell below our usual high standards and we have reached out to the guest to apologize and refund them in full. We have suspended the listing while we investigate, and are continuing to work with the guest to make things right.”
He also noted that the host and listing are under investigation and suspended at this time: “This host has completed multiple successful bookings on our platform, we are investigating what happened in this case and will take appropriate action on their account. The listing had no future bookings, and has been suspended from our platform while we investigate.”
He added, "There have been over half a billion guest arrivals on Airbnb to date and, with two million people checking into an Airbnb every single night, issues like this are incredibly rare.”
Airbnb also says that the couple have been reimbursed not only the money from the lost rental, but the additional expenses they incurred for the stay.
Yahoo Lifestyle has reached out to the Felthams and will update this story if we hear back.
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