New Brunswick

Newfoundland softball team left in the dark during Airbnb stay

Allison Laite was expecting to have a fun summer vacation with her 12 Newfoundland teammates at a six-day national softball tournament in Moncton. That's until they arrived at their Airbnb. 

'Nothing was resolved. We were getting apologies … but nothing was getting done'

This was the first year Newfoundland’s Diamond Dynasty Ladies softball team competed in the slo-pitch national championship. (Submitted by Allison Laite)

Allison Laite was expecting to have a fun summer vacation with her 12 other Newfoundland teammates at a six-day national softball tournament in Moncton.

That's until they arrived at their Airbnb. 

Laite and her teammates left central Newfoundland on Tuesday night, making a 24-hour trip to Moncton for their first chance to compete in the slo-pitch national championships. 

Newfoundland's Diamond Dynasty Ladies softball team was invited to the national tournament last year and started fundraising in February.

When they arrived at their four-bedroom Airbnb in Dieppe at 2:30 a.m. on Aug.1, there was no air conditioning or wifi, even though the listing on Airbnb had promised both. It was also undergoing renovations.

The group contacted Airbnb, which said the issues would be resolved. But Laite said the issues weren't resolved and their stay only became worse.

Lights out

On Aug. 2, a woman knocked on the door and asked Laite if she and the others were the new owners of the house. Laite and another teammate told the woman they were there because they booked it from Aug. 1-6 on Airbnb. 

"She just got back in the truck and drove off," Laite said.

Laite said it wasn't until the truck pulled out of the driveway that she saw the NB Power logo.

"We were like, 'Uh oh, what's going on?'"

The team left the Airbnb at 9 a.m. that day to play in the softball championship. When they returned to the house there was no power.

The Airbnb where Allison Laite and her softball teammates stayed was still undergoing renovations when they arrived. (Submitted by Allison Laite)

"Initially we thought maybe the power is off in the area, so we chatted to the neighbours, but they all had power." 

The group contacted Airbnb again. Airbnb told them to look for another listing. 

The teammates looked for a hotel in the area, but couldn't afford the prices They also searched for another Airbnb listing, but nothing was available in the area, Laite said.

"We kind of took matters into our own hands because we were here and we weren't able to cook," she said. 

"We had a week's worth of groceries in our fridge for the whole stay and no power, so we worried all that was going to spoil." 

The team was able to run a power cord to the house of a neighbour to keep their food from spoiling. The neighbour also gave them the contact information for the owner of the house, the owner's ex-wife and his brother. 

Laite said Airbnb had been trying to contact the owner, but was unsuccessful.

Allison Laite and her teammates arrived at their Airbnb in Dieppe, only to find it had no air conditioning or wifi and was undergoing renovations. (Submitted by Allison Laite)

"We were consistently in contact with Airbnb through messaging, through their system. We were never given a phone number. They would always call us when we asked.… It was a waiting game really to see what would happen from here on out." 

Laite said Airbnb offered on Aug. 2 to refund them for the remaining nights and for half day the power went off. She said they were handed over to about five different Airbnb case managers. 

"Nothing was resolved," Laite said. "We were getting apologies … but nothing was getting done." 

Time to leave

So on the night of Aug. 2, they packed everything they brought from Newfoundland into two cars and left the Airbnb, opting to stay with a family friend who lived in Sainte-Marie-de-Kent.

After the team left, the brother of the owner of the Airbnb sent them a message saying the power would be restored. 

By noon on Aug. 3, the power was back on. After one night at the family friend's house, they moved back into the Airbnb to be closer to the softball championship.

"We were all back and settled away and shortly after arriving, a knock came on the door and it was three men claiming that they had the place booked for the night." 

Laite said the men managed to find other accommodations for the night.

Refund offered

After CBC contacted Airbnb, the company offered the softball team a full refund. Laite said they've only been offered a refund for 4.5 of the six days.

She said the experience has left a bad taste in her mouth and she and her teammates will never book with Airbnb again.

In a statement to CBC News on Sunday, Airbnb said they're a company "built on trust" and "the authenticity of listing descriptions is an essential part of our community standards."

"We regret that this listing and experience did not live up to the guests' expectations and acknowledge that our original handling of this case fell below the high standards we set for ourselves," said Airbnb spokesperson Lindsey Scully in an email. 

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