Airbnb catfish: ‘cottage’ becomes shipping container at £100 a night

Before coming to Amsterdam to watch the Tottenham Hotspur vs. Ajax football match, British tourists Ben Speller and his friend booked an Airbnb listing advertised as a “cottage” and “clean home in Amsterdam with a private bathroom.” However, they were in for a real surprise as what they arrived to was a shipping container. Inside there were just three mattresses on the floor and a portable toilet, according to a The Independent article

Speller told Dutch site AT5: “we thought, ‘This can’t be it,'” after driving past it three times, “but when we got out it turned out that it was true.” The container, which AT5 reported had been plonked on the roadside without a permit, was located in Pauwenpad, southeast of the city centre. After seeing the state of the container, they immediately left and booked a hotel room, costing them another £230. When Speller checked the listing again to contact the owner, the title had since been changed to “container home” from “cottage.”

The owner of the property, named only as “Jacob” on the home sharing site, refused to give a refund to Speller and has not been found to contact further. Airbnb did reimburse him the full £330 and a spokesperson stated that “we have removed the host and listings from our platform. Misrepresented or fraudulent listings have no place on our platform, and our team works hard to constantly strengthen our defenses and stay ahead of bad actors,” to The Independent.

The container has since been towed away by city contractors.


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