AirBnB fraud or my AirBnb rental from hell

Posted on January 26, 2016 by in AirBnB

Update: AirBnB has gone through my post and resolved the case with this statement:

I am writing to you in regards to your reservation with Roger. I did look into this case and read the blog that you posted. I see that your main concern was the neighborhood that Roger’s listing was located. Airbnb gives our guests the name of the neighborhood on the listing so they can research before booking. Unfortunately The Guest Refund Policy does not cover anything outside of your host’s control and outside of the listing. I do apologize for this experience. Here is a link to The Guest Refund Policy so you can look into it if you would like: https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/544/guest-refund-policy.

I have decided to issue you a coupon for $100 so you can put it towards any future reservation. I know this won’t make up for the experience, but I do hope it makes your day a little better.

For my stay in Fortaleza I had booked an AirBnB a few months ago. Why? The Brazilian Real has dropped and made things in the country much more affordable. Fortaleza does not have a lot of chain hotels and the city is ‘blessed’ with many (modern and some not so modern) high rise along the beach. This is where I wanted to stay along the beach in a modern high rise. I came around Rogers AirBnb which was available for $40 per night and had some decent reviews.

I actually arrived a day earlier than planned in Fortaleza and planned to discover the city a bit longer.

I was in different hotel yesterday and imagine my surprise when I looked at the area and building yesterday. I got to see the room only today and I can only describe it as a room from hell. In no way it resembles the description and reviews and I would not stay there even if I was paid for it!

Fortaleza is a medium crime city and while a bunch of neighborhoods are fine some are not and so is the area around the apartment I have rarely seen worse (including all my Africa trips). I visited twice for a few minutes only and saw police in attack gear, gangs of youngsters and several people completely naked (and yes they were 18+).

The area is the desolate end of an otherwise nice beach walk. It’s super dangerous during the day (I felt extremely unsafe) and I don’t want to even think about night time. I have been to a number of hairy places like Kampala, Nairobi and Johannesburg and consider myself somewhat well conversed with dangerous cities but this area is a no-go zone for Brazilians and even more so for ‘gringos’.

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Here is the immediate outside of the building – i.e. the two lots next to it.

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Those are the barricades of war:

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I walked up to the apartment today and the inside of the building and the apartment were even worse than the outside. It was like a non-US prison cell would look like. The room was supposed to be ‘ready’ for me and did not even had sheets on the mattress. It was a tiny room, dingy, dirty and stinky and likely worse than a prison cell.

Take a look at these pictures!

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This is the view you will enjoy!

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The door and the adjacent wall has so many scratches and it looks like someone has been breaking in on a regular basis.

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Now my host replied to my observation and request to cancel and refund with this:

Well Torsten, I think you are over reacting. Certainly it’s not the most dangerous part in Fortaleza. Actually is a very known point of recreation in the City and till know nothing bad occur with my guests and even to me when I spend some nights over there.

I’m not sure which kind of guests can make it out alive and in possession of their full property. I walked away today and I’m glad I did so!

I contacted AirBnB and I hope they finally come through for me as a guest (after flat out denying me a compensation for my burglary in the AirBnb last time). I think my adventures with AirBnb have come to an end forever.


About the author: Torsten is a serial entrepreneur who started almost a dozen ventures on four continents. Torsten's love for travel has brought him to 130+ countries and travel with most of the world's airlines. You can reach Torsten at [email protected]

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