The Joys of Travel

or “How to Receive an Airbnb Refund after the Host Rejected Your Initial Request.” [Edited from the version sent to the Airbnb host.]

Hello [Name redacted] — 

I find your accommodations dissatisfying and inaccurate to their initial online description. Your description of the room states “We guarantee the best independent space at a very affordable price, optimized for solo travel and business travel.”

Specifically, here is a list of ways that the room is not accurately described: 

  1. The hallway immediately outside the room smells like smoke, as does the bathroom (I was literally coughing in the shower from it 10 minutes ago). Smoke gives me a headache and I never stay in smoking establishments. I was promised a non-smoking room, and you messaged me upon booking saying that smoking was prohibited here. This is an inaccurate representation of the space. 
  2. There are loud parties immediately outside the window til 2am on weekday nights. This room was described as “optimized for business travel”. That is clearly not true. 
  3. The temperature vacillates widely — from unbearably cold on night one to unbearably hot on night two. I would be reticent to find any business traveler who would find this fitting. 
  4. There are bugs, both in the shower and in the room. I snapped a picture of one in my room. I am happy to share it with you if you would like. This is just disgusting. 
  5. The pictures do not demonstrate that the toilet and shower are a single space. I am familiar with this setup from traveling through Asia, and would have been fine with it had I expected it but the pictures implied differently. (And at the last, similarly priced and structured space I stayed in, they were separate, which suggests it was reasonable for me to believe they would be separate.) Also, you should be aware that one of the showers seems to flood under the door to the hallway. This is not strictly related to my points here; I’m just letting you know because tenants’ normal use will likely damage the floor over time if you do not fix it. 
  6. While you claim this room is optimized for business travel, other tenants will bang on my door at 1pm if I am having a videocall at normal volume. I cannot imagine how someone could conduct business here if I’m not able to have a normal phonecall. 
  7. The room is a 4th floor walkup — entirely stairs with no elevator. That’s something you should disclose in the description before someone books. I do not believe it is true anywhere in the world that “optimized for business travel” means “you must carry your heavy bags up 3 flights of stairs”. 
  8. The mattress is painfully hard, making it difficult to sleep. (This one I could concede as potentially a matter of taste. But it really is like lying on plywood.) 

If one were to compare this space to another “independent space at a very affordable price” — i.e. the other sharehouse that I stayed in in Seoul immediately before arriving here, the prices are approximately the same and the rooms are similar in size but this one is unquestionably not better (see above points, including about bugs — ew.). As you guarantee this will be the best independent space, I would like to make use of that guarantee. 

Should you and I not be able to come to an agreement that refunds me 6 nights (from 5 May to 11 May), I will be requesting that Airbnb refund me the total amount of the room from 2 May to 11 May, as you specifically guarantee the room and it has not been as described. I’m happy to be reasonable here, but if you are unwilling to be reasonable I will escalate to their judgment and seek the full refund, which seems fair and fitting for the above reasons. 

As I have additional business I need to complete, I would appreciate your response within the hour — if I don’t hear from you, I will simply escalate to Airbnb to enable me to complete my work. 



P.s. Your response to “What should I do in response to a loud party at 1:30am?” is that I should talk to the restaurant? Like literally get out of bed and walk the 3 flights downstairs to talk to the restaurant? That’s just ridiculous. 

Outcome: Yes, she did accept my alteration request and issue me a refund. And yes, I did have fun writing and fighting this.