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AirBNB in Paris: Changing of hosts and reviews; my red flags went up everywhere!

Hi everyone,

I'd just thought I'd share and wondering if anyone has ran into this problem...

I rented an apartment in Paris in the Latin Quarter for our trip in beginning of July. I emailed the host just to ask if everything was okay bc of the flooding. I then looked at the original confirmation I received when we rented the room. The original host was Salman, but I had emailed a man called Fahad. Confused, I then went to the page for the apartment and read some of the recent reviews (people had stayed there in April and May) and there were reviews saying the place was dirty - but what raised a red flag was a review from a woman saying that someone had entered the apartment (I'm assuming when they were gone, although she did not specify) and done laundry! When they asked the landlord about this, he acted as if it happens a lot and he was not concerned.

Me, becoming very concerned and all of sudden having bad tourist scenarios run through my head, I texted my friend and told her about this and told her that we should get another place to stay. I had a feeling that my friend didn't want to change apartments bc when we were looking for places, it was so time consuming (she's my best friend, so it's not someone that I don't know very well - she can get very lazy at times).

I also emailed the host, just so he had a chance to explain (even though I had already made up mind that we were getting a new place). He responded quickly and said that Salman was away on a job so he was taking over. And it was Salman who had entered the apartment to wash the sheets bc he wanted the guests to have clean sheets. But I was thinking, even if it was Salman, why not just say it was him and not act as if it was completely normal for someone to enter the apartment w/o letting the guests know? And if hosts were changing, why didn't anyone contact us?

I emailed his response to my friend and she says, "Sounds professional..." My reaction: Girl! You are crazy! We are changing apartments!

Suffice to say, we cancelled and got another apartment.

Not all bad things are bad (flooding in Paris). If it were not for the flooding, I wouldn't have contacted the host until the week before leaving and not even noticing that the hosts had changed and read the recent reviews.

Posted by
46 posts

Good for you. I would have done exactly the same. I have used AirBnB many times in Europe (twice in Paris) and have never had such happen. Plus, I always monitor reviews before and after I reserve a place.... up until the time for my trip. You always need to make certain that when you get ready to reserve, that their cancellation policy is not 'strict' as it would be difficult to get out of your 'contract' and receive a refund if something similar were to arise.
Again, I have always been very pleased with Europe, as well as the states.

Posted by
795 posts

That is a smart move on your part. We never use Airbnb. We use Paris Perfect and sometimes Homeaway. With Paris Perfect, you have professional management and they are available 24/7. No one comes into your place in Paris Perfect and it is never dirty.

Posted by
518 posts

Yes, I agree. Always, always play it safe and err on the side of caution, especially with something like Air BnB. You need to know what your recourse is if something goes bad and usually....there is NONE. The same logic can be applied to small mom-and-pop B-and-B's type operations.

Posted by
630 posts

Always go with your gut feeling. Have a wonderful time!

Posted by
80 posts

Judi: I will have to monitor guests' reviews next time! Thanks for the tip!

Terri Lynn: Yes, I think next time I will use another site! On AirBNB's site, they say they will refund the service fee if there's a matter of safety. So far, emails back and forth between their "help" department has not been fruitful. Just thinking of putting in a dispute to my credit card to get a refund of the service fee. Such a headache.

Thanks KC and Pilgrim for the encouragement!