So to begin, as mentioned in two posts ago, we had just arrived in Port Melbourne from the Spirit of Tasmania boat. We were driving out of Melbourne to my cousin’s house to stay. But this was not our original plan.
You see throughout our travels around Australia, we never had set plans on destinations or how long we would stay somewhere, unless we wanted to be there for longer than a few days. When we arrived back in Melbourne, after our three weeks in Tasmania it was Boxing Day, which meant it was during that week where everyone is on leave and holidaying. Which in turn meant we had booked somewhere to stay in Melbourne from Boxing Day until 2nd January months in advance. We thought since we are so close to Melbourne, why not have NYE there. And what made it better was a friend of Alex’s and mine would be flying from Holland to join us.
So we had booked an Airbnb, right in the city for one week. I had been in touch with the hosts on and off, confirming arrivals and the fact that someone was flying from overseas etc etc. So there had always been contact, in fact they had given us tips on where to spend NYE and party.
Which is where it got weird and uncool. A few days before we took the boat back from Tasmania, we were sitting at a café having breakfast when I got a message from our hosts. They said that unfortunately due to maintenance issues they could no longer host us, but also that they had attempted to “cancel” the booking on their end but it wouldn’t “work”, so they needed us to cancel it.
Part way through enjoying our breakfast this message appears and then everything looses flavour and I was so upset.
But then we thought, ok lets just contact them and find out what’s wrong, there must just be some issue, and surely we could solve it.
Well we never got a response, they didn’t answer any questions and after a few hours of panicking about where we would stay for a week and over NYE, we contacted Airbnb support.
Now Airbnb support are seriously helpful! They called us within a minute or requesting help, talked us through the whole process, contacted our hosts to see what the matter was exactly and how we could all proceed. So we left it with them for a day and in the interim looked for other places, all the while only slightly panicking a little as time dragged on without any response from our hosts.
The next day we spoke with support again. They had not been able to get through to our hosts whatsoever, not through messages, or calls and so we had to proceed with it as a complaint.
Support told us that our hosts were the only ones in this situation who could cancel the booking, because if there was a fault it had to be lodged in their system. This would in turn block the booking and any future bookings during that time to ensure we weren’t being screwed.
When support heard that our hosts had asked us to cancel the booking on our end, but that they were claiming it was a building fault, they automatically said that was not right on their behalf.
Anyways, in the end support on our hosts behalf cancelled our booking, issuing us with a full refund. Our hosts home was blocked for that week we had booked so no one else could book it, they were issued a warning, were put on a list for inspection and were removed from ever being able to achieve super host status.
When we heard all these penalties we felt bad, after all our hosts had never explained why they had done this. But in the end we thought no, how un-cool is it to cancel a booking a week before NYE in a major city without so much as a ‘good luck finding something else’, there words exactly.
Which in a long winded way brings me back to us driving an hour out of the city to my cousin’s house. After unsuccessfully finding anywhere to stay in Melbourne over that week, we had contacted my cousin and asked if there was any chance we could stay with them.
They had instantly said yes, offered there whole house to us as they were away, and were happy as they would have someone watching the house. We were so extremely grateful!
So our very stressful few days and this one off experience with Airbnb actually turned out really well and I guess for a reason. We were so thankful to have a beautiful massive house we could stay in and not too far out of the city. It was an hour by public transport and on NYE it was free!
We believe everything happens for a reason, it was shitty and we will never know why they wanted to cancel our booking after all that communication and then no response, but they suffered the consequences and we feel we were better off in the end. And in the end it was wonderful to have that connection with family, one we hope to give back when they and anyone comes to our next home.