A couple was left absolutely disgusted when entering their Airbnb in Birmingham and decided to leave after just 45 minutes as it was a “grimy and grubby little flat”.
Forbes Coleman and his girlfriend decided that they would book themselves in for three nights away and found a Stirchley apartment that they had seen on Airbnb, yet they were left horrified upon their arrival.
The couple had paid £145 for three nights in the apartment but couldn’t believe how filthy the place was. They discovered hairs on the bed and shower tray, grime covering the kitchen, a stain on the bedroom carpet, half a loaf of stale bread and out of date milk left in the fridge.
After just 45 minutes of being in the apartment, the couple realised they wouldn’t be able to have a pleasurable and relaxing stay, so decided to leave.
However, they were left frustrated when it took them two weeks of battling with Airbnb over getting a refund. They found they were only successful once BirminghamLive approached the company for comment.
Forbes, aged 36, a recording studio owner, and his 37-year-old psychotherapist girlfriend, live in Brighton but have been planning on moving to Birmingham.
In July, the couple had put an offer on a house in Cotteridge but the sale fell through and they were left with no choice but to book an emergency trip to the area last month as they needed to find another property before they lost the buyers for their home.
The one-bedroom flat in Stirchley was booked for three nights, from August 21 to 24 through the Airbnb site. The platform is known for operating worldwide and and allowing property owners to let out their homes for cheaper prices than hotels and guest houses.
Forbes told BirminghamLive: “We weren’t coming up for a holiday, we just wanted somewhere to stay for a couple of days while we looked at houses.
“We got to the flat, thought it was clean and simple, dumped our bags and headed out for our first viewing.
“It was only when we came back and sat down that we noticed the place was actually disgustingly filthy.
“When we pulled back the duvet in the bedroom there were a couple of hair and a chewing gum stain on the carpet.
“In the kitchen, there was grime on the hob and in the fridge, we found a half-eaten loaf of bread and an opened carton of milk that was out of date.
“We went in the bathroom and there were hairs in the shower tray, and there was damp and mould in places.
“It was just a grimy grubby little flat.”
Forbes said that they decided they couldn’t sleep there as it was filthy, so they decided to stay at a friend’s home which was conveniently based in the same area. Fortunately, the friends were away on holiday and said they could housesit.
Immediately, the couple contacted Airbnb and informed the company that the state of the apartment was unacceptable and they wanted a refund. Yet they were shocked at the response they received, which said that they were to blame for the mess.
He said: “They accused me of putting hairs in the bed – I’m bald! – and of planting out of date milk, but we’re vegan!
“Somehow they also claimed that the damp and mould in the property is my fault when it was a years-old problem that needs proper building work to fix.
“They refused to refund me and the host has convinced them that I made the mess in his disgusting flat despite 22 photos of evidence.
“We were reluctant to travel during a pandemic to a city which was on the watch list for a local lockdown. And then we turn up to a dangerously uncleaned apartment – we couldn’t believe it.”
Outraged, Forbes decided to raise a dispute against Airbnb and enlisted the help of his credit card company to try and claim back the payment.
Yet it wasn’t until BirminghamLive approached Airbnb that he was told he would receive his money back.
Forbes commented: “They have now issued a full refund, which I 100 per cent attribute to BirminghamLive’s contact with the press department.
“My partner went to university in Birmingham and was really keen to live in the Cotteridge and Stirchley area as she has fond memories from her time as a student there.
“We are sick of Brighton and were looking forward to a new start in Birmingham. We’ve managed to find a lovely house in Stirchley now, with a big enough garden for me to build a recording studio in, so hopefully will be moving up here very soon.”
An Airbnb spokesperson said that have now refunded Mr Coleman in full and have taken the “appropriate action” with the owner of the apartment.
A spokesperson said: “We were disappointed to learn about this experience, have reached out to the guest to help make things right and the listing has been suspended from the platform.
“With more than 750 million guest arrivals on Airbnb to date, isolated issues are rare and in the event, they do happen, we advise guests to contact the host and give them a chance to address the concern.
“Our global community support team is on hand 24/7. Our Guest Guarantee means that if a guest checks into a listing that does not meet our accuracy or quality standards, we will rebook them or offer 100 per cent of their money back.”