Insult to injury: Airbnb renter says she was charged for damages after septic tank backed up
MONTREAL -- Airbnb has apologized to a Montreal woman who was handed the bill after her getaway to Mont Tremblant was ruined by flooding.
Melanie Kircoff said all appeared normal with her rental at first when she arrived two weeks ago.
“The house was fine, four bedrooms, every bedroom had its own bathroom,” she said.
But in the evening, the showers started flooding. Kircoff texted the owner, but said nobody showed up for eight hours.
“What happened is, the septic tank flooded, the whole house flooded,” she said. “We put towels down, we noticed there was a closet with a lot of extra towels... We spent eight hours trying to save these people's house from extreme water damage.”
When a property manager finally arrived, Kircoff said her group was told that what happened wasn't her fault.
“He was so apologetic, he went and opened the septic tank and said 'I'm so sorry, the septic tank is full. When I took over this property, we never checked this septic tank, which we should have. You guys have to leave, I'm so sorry.'”
Kircoff said she was told a refund would be sent.
“He called back and said 'I just got off the phone with the owners and they also want to offer you a free stay when this is all fixed and the insurance has come.”
However, when she got home, the owners contacted her, telling her they would not only not reimburse her, but were charging her $900 for damages.
When Kircoff contacted Airbnb, she said she was shocked to learn the company was siding with the owners, who told her to pay.
“All they tell you is 'Oh, I'm going to pass it on, someone is going to call you,' but nobody calls you.”
When CTV News contacted Airbnb for comment, a company spokesperson offered their apologies to Kircoff saying, “We hold ourselves to high standards when it comes to our community support... we originally fell short of those standards in this case.”
“We are working now to facilitate the rest of her full refund.”
Kircoff said that while she appreciates the apology, she's not sure if she'll use Airbnb for her next vacation.