Thursday 17 December 2015

Airbnb Nightmare!

Our apartment got cancelled! What make the matter worst is that our apartment got cancelled on the day when we are supposed to check in.

This whole incident happened 2 days ago and I'm still feeling exhausted from this whole incident while I'm trying to pen it down on my blog.

Can you imagine after a long hours flight with your heavy luggage to a foreign land that you are not familiar with and you have no place to stay? How frustrating and tire will it be when you need to find another place to stay at such a short notice?

Airbnb nightmare

What make the matter worst while we are trying to find another place to stay is that
1) Hard time finding long period stay at such short notice.
2) Apartments and hotels are mostly full or prices are rocket high when you book it last minute during peak period season.
3) It is even harder to find another similar or big apartment at such location, as for us we have booked a 3 bedrooms apartment at South Korea, Hongdae and we cannot find anything similar and nearby.

So what should we do when this happened to us after a long flight from Singapore to Korea, reaching our initial apartment at about 7pm Korea time where it is dark and us having our last meal in the morning while we are on the plane. Can you imagine how helpless and tire we are at?

What actually did happened that caused the cancellation was due to the condition of the apartment. We have booked this apartment 7 months ago from a reputable host who have many good reviews, over 400reviews.

Below is how the apartment look like when we booked 7 months ago.

Airbnb Nightmare

Airbnb Nightmare

Airbnb Nightmare

Airbnb Nightmare

Airbnb Nightmare

This is how it look like when we arrived.

Airbnb Nightmare
 Building without lights at its lobby
Airbnb Nightmare
The apartment main door is opened
Airbnb Nightmare
 Apartment door locked is not working and faulty
Airbnb Nightmare
 Bad smell when you enter the apartment where you can see unwanted waste lying around
Airbnb Nightmare
 Unwanted food waste
Airbnb Nightmare
Dirty bed sheets
Airbnb Nightmare
unwanted food waste and rubbish

Sent the pictures to the host and she was shocked by the pictures too. She apologised as she didn't have the time to check on her apartment before we came as she owns many properties where she didn't have the time and outsource it to a cleaning company. She didn't expect the cleaning company will do such a bad job and leave her apartment in the current state.

So she checked on her own apartments as well as her friends to see if there is any availability on their apartments but unfortunately after an hour, she can't find any availability. So she called airbnb so that we are able to get the refund back to use on other airbnb apartments available or hotels. This time she continued to search on other airbnb apartments and will try to top up the price difference if possible when they find a suitable apartments for us.

Its 8.30pm after 1 and a half hour feeling helplessly and hungry having no where to stay with the temperature below zero degree. Airbnb called me to confirm the situation that my host explained to them and proceed to make a full refund to us. But by just refunding us the money doesn't help at all. We need a place to stay immediate and to rest. So after explaining to airbnb about all that, they asked us to book a hotel ourselves tonight and get a reimbursement back from them while finding another apartment. Having a hard time find a hotel as we are not familiar with our surrounding and finally after an hour which is 9.30pm we managed to book a nearby hotel which is 3.5stars. But instead of booking 1night, we booked it for another 3nights which is non reimbursable from airbnb as we are just so exhausted from this hectic situation that happened to us and wanted to get a good rest while finding another apartment to stay for 2weeks! We are all so afraid to book another apartment as we are scare the same thing will happen all over again. So after checking airbnb listing, we are not able to find another similar apartment nearby and the prices are actually more than double of what we paid because of peak period! So after explaining to airbnb our situation, initially they provide a $150 discount coupon so I further explained the situation and they increased it to $200 but we still need to pay $2,000 more for a similar apartment with 3bedrooms which is not nearby and not so good reviews on top of our hotel stay cost.

So we have no choice but to continue to look for a place to stay for another 2 weeks. Although its already very late, the host still continue to check for available apartments and called me as and when to check on our situation. We also called one of our Korean friend Jin who was previously our airbnb host a year back on my Honeymoon to help us on our apartment. As its peak period, her apartments are also fully booked for this period. But she was helpful enough to give us all the individual dates from her different apartment and friends with at least 25% discount on the room rates for us but because it was too troublesome to move from one place to another and not all dates she will have available apartments, we decided not to go with it and continue searching for another apartment. So after searching and searching by the earlier host, our Korean friend and airbnb did provide some listing to me we compromised and managed to book a new loft/studio apartment listed on airbnb at 1am instead of a 3bedrooms apartments to squeeze all of us in so that we can match the amount we initially paid but not paying double the price for a similar apartments with not so good reviews. I'm hoping we will not face with the same situation for this apartment that we will be staying on this Saturday.

Although the whole thing is chaotic and frustrating. I do feel luckier than others as the earlier host and friend do help us in this foreign land. I do believe there are a lot of people who experience the same situation and feel helpless as they have no one to help them out.

Imagine if this there is no one to help and from what airbnb can do for you. I seriously cannot imagine if I'm in this situation as Airbnb will not help you to find and book another suitable apartment, the most they can only tell you what is available. I'm not sure who you should contact when you feel so helpless in a foreign land. Will the Country Tourism board help? Or Will Your Country Embassy help? Or who should you really contact?

Before this incident, I always prefer to stay in airbnb apartments instead of hotels as it help me to better experience and understand the local culture and experience from the local host which you cannot get when staying at hotel. But after this incident it really make me think twice when I book with airbnb. It just don't give me the peace of mind when I book an apartment with airbnb as I will need to anticipate apartment being cancelled and plan to pay more, find new place or where to stay next etc.

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