Two weeks ago I left Spain and planned to rent a room in Leipzig in East Germany. Now I’m renting a small apartment in Duisburg West Germany because my original AirBnB host lied about the room. AirBnB have been great about everything though and the problem has been sorted out. However, I’ve done a lot more travelling than I initially intended to do. In my last post, I mentioned how I can sometimes lose a day or more of work through travelling. This move really held me back as far as work goes. I lost a few days but nothing in life is perfect and every obstacle we overcome can be a learning experience that makes us stronger and wiser.
I originally arranged a room in the German City of Kassel, but the host was unresponsive and I did not want to risk arriving in a new city and find there was a problem with the accommodation. I’d booked the room through AirBnB, so I rang customer services and the AirBnB representative cancelled the reservation for me. Not only that, she gave me a €50 credit to put towards my next room.
I chose to book a room at Leipzig. I may have been born a country boy, but I’m a city-boy at heart and I like to live in big cities. When I look for a room it has to be in a big city. It must have a desk and good Wi-Fi as well. The room in Leipzig looked pretty basic, but it appeared to fit the bill. However, when I arrived, laden down with my heavy backpack, I was shocked at what I found. The room was in an old building in one of the less savoury parts of the city and I was able to walk straight off the street into the building. As an ex-security guard, I was not impressed by this, but things were to get worse because my AirBnB host had lied about the room.
The caretaker lives in a room on the ground floor. I knocked on the door and he showed me up to my room. There was little table and chair for me to work from, so that was good. The rest was very bad. It was not the same room that I’d seen in the AirBnB listing and the duvet looked like someone had just crawled out from beneath it. I asked the caretaker if the bedding had been changed and he assured me that it had. Bullshit! Worse still, the duvet and pillow were covered in dust and wood chippings. At this point, I may have still stayed, but I would have bought a nice, clean sleeping bag to sleep in. Then the caretaker showed me the kitchen. It had two filthy pans and no plates or knives and forks. I was told I would need to try and borrow things like this from other guests. There were several floors in the building and the kitchen and toilet on my floor had to be shared between the seven people living on the floor. There was only one small fridge for everyone to use. This was very bad. My AirBnB host had lied to me and I was looking at spending a month in a slum dwelling. If needs must I could have lived on peanuts and supermarket salads for a month and I was considering making the best out of a very bad situation. The kicker came when I discovered there was no Wi-Fi.
Wi-Fi was shown in the listing and the owner had assured me I would have an internet connection. However, if I wanted Wi-Fi I would need to share the Wi-Fi connection provided by a student who was living there and his internet was down. I left and spent the next two nights in a hostel in Leipzig.
The hostel was nice, but there was a problem with both my computers and neither one would connect to the internet. I managed to apply a fix in the end, but I had to create a mobile hot-spot to access the internet and find a way to get my computers working. I burned off all my data, had to pay for an extra top-up, and didn’t manage to get much work done.
I really like Leipzig, but I couldn’t find another room there without paying silly money, so I arranged my present accommodation in Duisburg instead. It’s very nice here and the lady who owns the building has a professional attitude and is very helpful. I wanted to live in Germany for a while and here I am, I’m just in a different city than I expected to be in, but that’s okay. There’s plenty of time to explore other cities.
So what have I learned from this experience? For one thing, I’ve learned that AirBnB, do their best for their clients. When I rang AirBnB and told them about the problems with the room, they said, “Don’t worry . We’ve got your back.” In the end everything was resolved satisfactorily and I got most my money back. I had to pay the host who had lied €10 for one night, but AirBnB had already given me a €50 token due to the problems with the host at Kassel. It would be easy to see this as a reason not to use AirBnB, but I’ve been using their services for years, have stayed with some fantastic hosts, and problems like this don’t happen often. Using AirBnB has also enabled me to save many thousands of euros in accommodation fees and given me the change to live like a local in a number of different countries. However, the other thing I’ve learned is it’s important to take pictures of the room if you arrive at a place and find your AirBnB host lied. I never did this and it was not a problem. However, it would have made things a lot easier for AirBnB if I could have uploaded some pictures of the room I was given. If I ever have an experience like this in the future that’s what I will do and I suggest other AirBnB users do the same.