There’s a lot of money to be made in Airbnb, even if not all of it’s legal. People will rent out just about any place, and while the company tries to make sure that everything’s on the up and up, it’s just too big a service for them to be on top of everything. So unless you read the reviews and see pictures of the place ahead of time, you pretty much have no idea what you’re in for.
That’s what happened to Ben Speller, who was planning a trip to Amsterdam and booked what he thought was legitimate housing. The listing said “Clean Home In Amsterdam with Private bathroom,” which sounds like an absolutely fine place to spend a night. It cost about £100.
What could go wrong?
Well, one slight problem was when Speller showed up to his “Clean Home” for the night and found out it was actually a shipping container plopped down at the middle of the road.
Speaking to a Dutch news site, Speller said, “We were in a taxi and we drove past [the place] three times, thinking ‘This can’t be the place, this can’t be it,’ but when we got out of the taxi we realized it was.”
“I looked again at the Airbnb listing and he had changed the listing to say ‘container home.’ We opened up the doors and we looked and we locked the doors again and walked away and we went and found a new hotel.”
I mean, I guess technically that is a private bathroom…but no.
The hotel Ben went to after deciding not to spend the night in the cramped metal box ended up costing him an additional £230.
The Dutch news site video shows a little bit more of the creepy container.
Interestingly, no one could track down the owner of the shipping container, which has since been removed.
A spokesperson for Airbnb said: “We have removed the host and listings from our platform. Misrepresented or fraudulent listings have no place on our platform, and our team works hard to constantly strengthen our defenses and stay ahead of bad actors.”
Speller posted pictures of the container on his Facebook along with an explanation of the situation. He wrote that he did get a refund from Airbnb, but’s not clear if he also got compensated for the hotel cost.
While it was a huge inconvenience, it makes for a hilarious story. People on Facebook couldn’t help but joke about it.
All’s well that ends well, but beware, people: if you’re picking out a place on Airbnb, always make sure there are pictures. Otherwise you could end up having a vacation in a glorified garbage can.