A British couple who booked an Auckland apartment on Airbnb say they arrived to find a "complete bombsite" and were refused a refund from the accommodation booking site.
Helen Hewitt, 38, and her partner Jay spent more than $1400 for a 12-night stay in a room in the flat after a listing showing it in pristine condition, the Sun reported.
However, on arrival the couple allegedly found it "dirty and cluttered", with wet laundry drying on the furniture and with luggage and clothing strewn across the bed.
Despite providing Airbnb with pictures showing the unacceptable condition of the apartment, Hewitt was told a refund was at the discretion of the host - and then closed the case.
The couple had saved for five years for their dream trip to New Zealand.
While the host initially promised the mess would be cleaned and the couple agreed to stay on, they said the next day more suitcases and laundry were dumped at the apartment.
"It was disaster. It looked like a complete bombsite," Hewitt, who comes from Worcestershire in the UK, told the Sun.
"It became quite apparent that the host didn't live there — she was obviously working for somebody because more suitcases came in the next day.
"She must have been looking after quite a few premises in the area because the next day all the laundry for the other properties was in the flat, thrown over the table and sofa."
Hewitt claimed the couple was also given a smaller bedroom to stay in, which was not the one advertised on Airbnb.
"There was clutter shoved in the cupboard with the boiler which is a fire hazard. [then] the balcony is pictured with [a] lovely table and chair and it just had that rotten old mouldy bench and all the suitcases. I've no idea who they belonged to."
After spending almost 30 hours in the apartment – and having trouble sleeping due to dirty sheets – Hewitt said they were forced to find another place to stay.
They ended up in a hotel room that cost only $195 more than the Airbnb rental, "with great big double room, sofa, TV and en suite."
But after she requested a refund from Airbnb, Hewitt was allegedly told it was up to the host to make that decision and that they would be in touch.
She then recevied another email stating that the host had refused the refund.
"I'm still out of pocket by £720 ($1407) and the host was allowed to advertise the room again and get somebody else in. How is that fair?
"The last message I have from Airbnb was that the case was closed."
An Airbnb spokesperson told the Sun: "Our original handling of this case did not meet the exceptionally high standards we set for ourselves and we are reaching out to the guest to help make things right."
Airbnb and Helen Hewitt have been contacted for further comment and the Herald is seeking the owners of the apartment.