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How NOT to Use Airbnb
"The doorman has a gun and..."
“Don’t you dare go to the apartment you pervert! The doorman has a gun and he will shoot you!”
The irate female Airbnb host was screaming into the phone — when she had just cancelled my booking after falsely accusing me of…
This happened several years ago in the Colombian capital of Bogota.
I had already been there for a few weeks, when a friend of mine from Canada who had just been laid off from his job at the oil rigs asked if he could join me. He wanted to travel around the country for a few weeks.
Of course, I said yes.
After picking him up at the airport, we settled into my studio suite with two beds. We decided to book another apartment in a nicer part of the city for the following day.
I was in Chapinero, a sort of middle-class barrio — which was a bit too grimy for my gringo buddy who, at the time, was an unseasoned traveler in third-world shitholes.
We decided to book a comfortable looking two-bedroom place near the much nicer Zona T area of Bogota, which has a lot of really good nightlife and dining options.
Zona T is safer than Chapinero, and frequented by a more educated, upper-class crowd — so was a better fit for my newly arrived friend, who spoke zero Spanish.
I paid for the reservation through my Airbnb account, booking the apartment for a week at a cost of around $600.
Everything seemed to be going smoothly, as per usual during the years I’d been previously using the site.
The following morning as we prepared to check out of the apartment in Chapinero, I logged onto Airbnb to get the address of the new rental before we went ahead and called a taxi…
Then I noticed that the reservation had been cancelled, minus the deposit of around $60.
I was a bit confused as to why the reservation was cancelled and informed my friend — who also thought it was odd. But we weren’t overly concerned.
We figured that the host must’ve had some type of issue with the place and it suddenly wasn’t available.
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Banned For Life…
We thought that we would just have to book another apartment or perhaps stay another night in Chapinero — maybe look for a different hotel to stay at.
I was concerned about the loss of the security deposit and noticed that the host’s contact info was available on the website. So I decided to call her over Skype and see if I could get the deposit money back.
Her number was from a country in Europe, so she wasn’t in Bogota, likely a Colombian living overseas who had real estate back home that she was letting out to travelers.
An upper-class Colombiana.
I expected her to be friendly, as most Colombians are, and perhaps a bit more understanding of foreign travelers — since she was living abroad as well.
Boy was I ever wrong!
The call went something like this…
Me: “Hi, I’m Scotian the guy who booked your apartment in Bogota through Airbnb. I’m calling to ask why it was cancelled, so I can get my deposit back.”
Her: “Was that you who sent me those dirty pictures last night?”
Me: No, what are you talking about? I didn’t send you any pictures last night.
Her: “Well, you were probably drunk and on drugs, I recognize your hand from your Airbnb profile pic, it’s the same hand as in those dirty pictures that you sent me!”
Me: “Woah lady, I didn’t send you any pictures, I just wanted to stay in your apartment.”
Her: Don’t you dare go to the apartment you pervert, the doorman has a gun and he will shoot you!
Realizing that this lady was totally bonkers and that there was no reasoning with her, I politely ended the call.
My friend who overheard the conversation, asked me what the hell all that was about, so I explained to him that this crazy host thought I had sent her explicit pictures the previous night and cancelled our reservation.
We were both flabbergasted, we had gone out for a few drinks the night before but nothing too crazy.
Besides, I would never do something so stupid…
Who in their right mind would send dick pics to an Airbnb host?!
Thus, jeopardizing their membership on such a useful site for world travelers.
Now, this occurred a few years back, in early 2015 if I remember correctly, and up until that point, I had used Airbnb all over the world.
I had several positive reviews from hosts all over the word — including in Australia, the Philippines, Canada, Colombia, etc.
Back in those days, I was a hard partier and a bit of a poon-hound too, but sending unsolicited pics of my cock to any girl, never mind an Airbnb host would’ve been — and continues to be — so uncharacteristic of me that the whole episode left me dazed and confused.
After a few minutes of laughing at how bizarre the entire episode was, I then decided to contact Airbnb to inform them of what happened and to ask for my deposit back.
I contacted them by email through the Airbnb website and basically described the above scenario.
Fortunately, they refunded my deposit and then told me that they would review the incident and get back to me.
My friend and I found another place to stay and laughed the whole thing off, believing that Airbnb would surely take my side — as it was the host’s word against mine and she had no proof of the alleged dick pics.
Well, we were wrong.
A couple of days later, I was informed by Airbnb that not only had they taken the host’s side and believed her story…
But I was also banned for life from ever booking on Airbnb again and that there was nothing that I could do to reverse the decision.
I was and still am…
Banned from Airbnb for life.
Once again, I was shocked and totally caught off guard that the company would take her side given that she couldn’t possibly have provided them with any evidence — because the entire story of me sending pics of my penis was false.
Or was it?
My friend and I were at a loss as to how this could’ve happened, so we reached out to a few other people we knew who had experience with the website, including a few friends who worked in tech.
Obviously the first question was:
“Scotian, did you do it, bro?”
Obviously I denied it and still do, it simply didn’t happen.
A couple of other guys thought that maybe she got caught sexting by her husband and made this all up to cover her infidelity. I suppose that could’ve happened.
There were a couple of other scenarios tossed around that could’ve explained why this woman would’ve done this to me and the most likely one is pretty hilarious. Although, it pisses me off to think about it.
But even after all of these years, this one makes the most sense:
One of my friends who I told the story to asked me if I had an old cell phone number associated with my Airbnb account, which I did. I had moved to another city in Canada a few months previously. So I had a new cell number, but had forgotten to update my number on the website.
He figured that the host must’ve contacted that cell number on WhatsApp or a similar messaging app and reached another person, who was assigned my previous number by the Canadian mobile provider.
So instead of being a normal human being and informing the host that she had the wrong number, this jackass must’ve gone ahead and sent her a bunch of explicit dick pics.
Which would explain why she cancelled my reservation and freaked out at me the following day when I reached out to her.
So that’s it.
I think it’s the most likely scenario — that some other guy had my old Canadian number and decided to spam the host dick pics for shits and giggles.
I can laugh when I tell people the story, which I’ve had to a few times over the years when I need to explain why I was banned from Airbnb — the popular website that every traveler in the world uses.
It’s always an awkward conversation at first, but ends up being funny.
I’d like to give the guy who did this a swift kick in the nuts because not being able to use the website has been detrimental to my travel plans over the years.
I contacted Airbnb a few years later and they reviewed my case, but stuck by their decision.
For the past few years, I’ve been staying at hotels and apartments that I’ve found on Booking.com and VRBO — but neither site has nearly as many options as Airbnb does, which sucks for me.
Thanks for reading and if you have a rental apartment in Latin America that you’d like to rent to me, please reach out…
I promise that I won’t send you a pic of my dick!