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Tourist duped into booking roadside shipping container on Airbnb

Sky News logo Sky News 4 days ago

The £100-a-night lodging was found to be a shipping container at the side of the road © Other The £100-a-night lodging was found to be a shipping container at the side of the road

A British tourist in Amsterdam received a shock when he arrived at his Airbnb lodgings to discover he had booked a stay in a roadside shipping container.

Londoner Ben Speller paid £100 for a single night stay at the accommodation described in the Airbnb listing as a "clean room with private bathroom".

But what he actually discovered upon arrival was a cargo container on the side of the road close to Amsterdam's Amstel station.

"We booked a hotel once we set eyes on it," Mr Speller posted on Facebook.

"To be fair, I got my £100 quids worth in comedy value," he added.

Gallery: 15 wacky places you can rent on Airbnb (Reader's Digest)

Inside the roadside abode, Mr Speller found a mattress and blanket, with a portaloo attached to the "bedroom".

Speaking to the Sun Online Travel, Mr Speller said the host, Jacob, had warned him shortly before arrival that there was an issue with running water, before giving him an opportunity to cancel.

Mr Speller said he had no alternative options, so decided to stay with his original booking.

"When we arrived we drove past the container three times in the taxi because couldn't believe that could be it," Mr Speller told The Sun.

"I then checked the listing again and he'd changed it to container home."

a bedroom with a bed and a mirror: The host had reportedly listed two shipping containers in different parts of Amsterdam © Other The host had reportedly listed two shipping containers in different parts of Amsterdam Airbnb have since refunded the £100 from the listing, and a further £230 for the hotel that Mr Speller eventually stayed in.

The company has also removed the host's profile and his listings, which included a second container on the other side of the city.

In a statement, Airbnb said: "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.

"Over half a billion people have travelled on Airbnb and, with over 2 million guests checking into an Airbnb every single night, issue like this are incredibly rare."


a screenshot of a social media post: Ben Speller said he booked a hotel as soon has he set eyes on the container © Other Ben Speller said he booked a hotel as soon has he set eyes on the container

Jacob has so far not been traced, but at least one of his shipping containers has been towed away. According to Dutch news outlet AT5, local authorities found the container did not have a permit to be located where it was, which led to its eventual removal.

Such incidents of rogue Airbnb listings aren't unheard of.

An infamous case in 2016 saw one Londoner list a "private room in a public place" on the site, which turned out to be a mattress, rug and bedside table strategically placed outside some garages in Peckham.

Other strange cases include the numerous tents erected in hosts' back gardens that have also been rented out in previous years.

a crane truck on a city street: At least one of the shipping containers has been taken away after it was found that it didn't hold a permit © Other At least one of the shipping containers has been taken away after it was found that it didn't hold a permit
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