April 19, 2024

Westside People

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Once on the street to the destination

Once on the street to the destination

A family from Montreal’s North Shore who found themselves homeless in Barbados lamented that Airbnb left them on their own without providing relocation support.

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” [Airbnb] You’ve abandoned us in a country we don’t know,” says Audrey Garneau of the short-term rental website.

On Dec. 31, Ms. Garneau landed at the airport in Bridgetown, the capital of this tiny Caribbean island, with her husband and two children, ages 6 and 8.

However, his Airbnb host, who was supposed to greet them at takeoff, never showed up. A Saint-Eustache resident contacted the site’s help desk.

An Airbnb employee later said they were trying to contact other hosts to relocate her. However, after a few minutes, he indicated that he was leaving the job without succeeding in helping them.

“He transferred everything to his colleague, who should contact us as soon as possible. A colleague who never called us back,” says the 32-year-old woman.

Notice of their stay.

Photo courtesy of Audray Garneau

Notice of their stay.

A race against time

At 7pm, everything like shops, hotels, restaurants are closed. This is till January 3 due to New Year celebrations.

“We were lucky to have local residents who kindly gave us their sofas to move in,” says Ms Garneau.

After hearing no response from Airbnb the next day, the family miraculously managed to reach an Airbnb host who was able to accommodate them. But the facilities are not true to the photos.

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“It was very dirty, infested with insects, we were an hour’s walk from the nearest store, and we couldn’t drink water,” lists Ms. Garneau, noting that she chose the location because it normally has water. Drinkable.

“We called Airbnb again to ask them to help us relocate and find something else,” the school employee explains.

Finally, Ms Garneau’s husband, Yannick Pilon, found a hotel room a little more suited to their needs towards the end of the trip.

No help at all

“We tried calling them, sending them messages for help, one contract for everyone, listing Ms. Garneau. They didn’t even ask us for a price difference, they wanted us to move to a place that made sense. »

Upon his return to Quebec, Mr. Pilon contacted Airbnb again to explain the situation to them and help them improve their customer service.

“This was our first Airbnb experience and I don’t think we’ll ever do business with them again,” says Audrey Garneau.

The apartment that Ms. Garneau rented is no longer on the Airbnb platform.

The rent was reimbursed by the site after questions from the Journal

After weeks of not receiving a firm response from Airbnb, the Pilon-Garneau family was contacted by the company. Newspaper About this stay, to find an arrangement.

The short-term lodging rental site reimbursed the additional amount a family would have paid to stay in a single lodging of more than $1,300.

The original Airbnb host also received a penalty for canceling their reservation at the last minute. Fines can be up to $1000.

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Rare, but harmful

“While host cancellations are rare, we recognize the impact they can have on guest plans, which is why we’ve implemented fees and penalties to prevent them,” Airbnb spokesman Matt McNama said.

“It’s still sad that we have to get some consideration from them,” qualified Audrey Garneau, however.

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