A BRITISH couple was left devastated after finding their £10,000-a-fortnight Spanish Airbnb “VIP penthouse” did not exist.
Ian and Denise Feltham were promised a hot tub, super-king-size bed, a Turkish bath and a private lift in the luxury Ibiza pad.
They were told the penthouse, in the Las Boas complex, had a marble-decked private terrace with an “extraordinary sense of space”.
But no such place existed.
‘NO SUCH THING’
Ian, a 75-year-old property developer from Chiswick, West London, told The Times of the moment they realised the £9,610 scam.
“When we turned up, the receptionist said, ‘There isn’t such a thing as the ‘VIP Penthouse in Las Boas’,” he said.
“A gentleman who lived in the building said they get tourists turning up all the time and that it’s a very big problem.”
Bizarrely, the imagined property had 37 reviews, with an average four out of five rating.
The couple, who were travelling with their two Yorkshire terriers, were forced to check into the nearest dog-friendly hotel, a 40-minute drive away, costing them an additional £200 a night.
Airbnb has not accepted responsibility for the dodgy listing, despite pocketing around £1,290 commission from the false apartment.
The Felthams were in touch with a host, Lux Travel Collective, who they said had seemed friendly and helpful during their first communications.
But the last message they received was sent on August 22, around three weeks before their planned trip.
I read simply: “I’ll make sure the property and the host is ready to receive you.”
Mr Feltham had become increasingly concerned by the lack of details. After asking a previous host to check out the apartment for him, they were told by a receptionist that no one knew about either the Lux Travel Collective or the penthouse.
Feltham then reported his findings and demanded a refund, The Times reports.
However, the website said it would consider a complaint only if the couple arrived at the property and weren’t able to get in.
Sure enough, when they arrived on September 16, they were turned away by the receptionist.
“What checks did Airbnb even do?” asked Feltham.
“I now realise the photos on the site could’ve been from any one of 30 apartments in the building.”
MOST READ NEWS
The property was still being advertised on the website until this newspaper contacted the company last week. At this point Airbnb contacted the Felthams, saying: “There is no question that we dropped the ball and I am so sorry for all the trouble.”
Airbnb has since said: “Our handling of this issue fell below our usual high standards and we have reached out to the guest to apologise 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.”
Airbnb finally refunded the couple a few days after being contacted by The Times, but has not offered any compensation for the holiday nightmare.
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