Family ‘stranded’ after shocking Airbnb discovery

5 mins read


Family members were left shocked when they turned up to their Airbnb in Byron Bay only to discover it was under construction.

Renee Menzies, from Ulladulla in NSW, took to TikTok to explain how her sister and 11 other relatives travelled to the popular coastal town for a wedding, but were left stranded “on the side of the road”.

In a series of viral posts, Renee said the vacant home was in the middle of a massive renovation, claiming they were not warned by the company.

“When they rang you for help you accused them of lying, wouldn’t help [them] find somewhere else to stay and wouldn’t provide them a refund,” she said about Airbnb.

“You left 12 people and three kids under three literally standing on the side of the road.”

In one clip she gave a tour of the rental property which looked nothing like what was advertised in photos.

Instead, it showed the property stripped bare undergoing a paint job and with no flooring.

It also showed the rental awaiting the installation of a new oven and refrigerator.

She said they had paid “good money” for “the shell of a home”, and would only be getting a refund of 30 per cent that would take 15 days to process.

“What a joke,” she said in the comments section.

The family was eventually offered a full refund and reimbursed for their alternate accommodation.
The family was eventually offered a full refund and reimbursed for their alternate accommodation.
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“We will never book through them again. We understand mistakes happen but their response has been AWFUL and lacking any compassion.”

She said while it is disappointing from the owners, “the lack of response” from Airbnb “made it much worse” claiming they didn’t assist the family in finding alternate accommodation.

“The landlord in this case is the one in the wrong. We just wanted Airbnb to respond fairly to refund and apologise,” she said.

“Shame for the owners who do the right thing that Airbnb is letting the platform down.”

However, in her latest TikTok, the mortgage broker revealed the family had now been granted a full refund – and reimbursed for having to book another property.

She shared a screenshot she received from a member of the company’s Escalations team.

“I have reviewed your case and firstly, I am sorry to hear about your recent experience at the listing and the frustration that was caused by this issue. I hope to make things right for you and provide a fair resolution,” it read.

“After careful consideration and given the circumstances, I will go ahead and process the remaining reimbursement for your alternative reservation …”

An Airbnb spokesperson told news.com.au action has been taken against the host and a refund has been provided to the family.

“We were disappointed to learn about this experience, and have fully refunded the guest and provided rebooking assistance,” they said.

“We have taken appropriate action on the host while we investigate further, and reached out to the guest to provide further support.

“In the rare event something isn’t as expected on arrival for a stay, our community support team is on hand 24/7 to help.”

However, Renee claimed the power of social media prompted the company to resolve the matter.

“It’s insane it takes social media for a company to do the bare minimum,” she wrote to a TikTok user.

News.com.au understands all Airbnb guests are protected by AirCover for free on every booking.

It spans four protections – booking protection guarantee, check-in guarantee, get-what-you-booked guarantee, and a 24-hour Safety Line.

Renee’s clips have collectively been viewed almost half a million times, attracting hundreds of comments from shocked viewers.

“This is appalling and one of many such posts I’ve seen lately!” one person wrote.

“That is crazy! Oh my gosh!” a second person said, while a third added: “Hotels all the way.”

Meanwhile, Renee thanked the real estate “who worked overtime” to get them into a vacant rental at a reduced rate.

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