Having splashed out on a luxury Spanish Airbnb this couple was left high and dry when they discovered their holiday let did not exist and their booking fee had disappeared with it.

Ian and Denise Feltham from the UK had been lured into an Airbnb scam by the promise of a Turkish bath, luxury lodgings and a private penthouse in Ibiza.

Most crucially the couple had been told their two Yorkshire terriers , Ross and Honey, were welcome to stay in the dog friendly apartment.

The apartment in the Las Boas complex promised an "extraordinary sense of space" reported The Times.

Advertisement

However this sense was all illusory as on arrival the Felthams discovered that no such place existed.

"When we turned up, the receptionist said, 'There isn't such a thing as the 'VIP Penthouse in Las Boas'," said the 75-year-old property developer from London. One of the residents in the apartment told the Felthams that is was not uncommon for duped tourists to turn up and expect a room, it was a big problem for Las Boas.

The Felthams: Ian, Denise and their two terriers were left in the lurch and $19000 worse off by the fake Airbnb. Photo / Supplied, Facebook
The Felthams: Ian, Denise and their two terriers were left in the lurch and $19000 worse off by the fake Airbnb. Photo / Supplied, Facebook

Ian, Denise and their two dogs were left in the lurch with no accommodation bookings. In the end they had to drive forty minutes to the nearest dog-friendly hotel which cost them $390 a night.

The couple estimates they lost around €10,833 or $18,800 on the non-existent AirBnb.
Initially Airbnb would take no responsibility for their loss or the phony listing, in spite of having profited from the scam taking place on their website.

Having paid for the accommodation in full, Airbnb's commission from the booking came out to around $2500.

The host, Lux Travel Collective, had initially been very communicative and had been verified by the letting site in 2017, adding the appearance of legitimacy.

The final message they received from the Lux Collective was on August 22, saying: "I'll make sure the property and the host is ready to receive you."

The company's Thai contact number would not ring through, and no one at Las Boas knew anything of the arrangement.

Advertisement

Having booted the fake listing off their website Airbnb got in touch with the Felthams to issue an apology: "There is no question that we dropped the ball and I am so sorry for all the trouble."

Las Boas residents told the couple that the scam is not uncommon. Photo / Supplied
Las Boas residents told the couple that the scam is not uncommon. Photo / Supplied

Since publishing the article in The Times, Airbnb has since got in touch to say "Our handling of this issue fell below our usual high standards and we have reached out to the guest to apologise and refund them in full. We have suspended the listing while we investigate and are continuing to work with the guest to make things right."

The Felthams were refunded for the cost of the scam booking, but not reimbursed for the costs of the failed holiday or compensation.

Listings for holiday lets the Las Boas, with its rainbow balconies, can still be found on other booking sites.

A top floor apartment in the colourful Las Boas is currently on sale for $3.1m.