‘HOW IS THIS LEGAL?’: Wild New York City Story Proves Why Airbnbs Are Always A Gamble

"This is the shade but I need to shut it off because I'm scared they'll see us."

Image Credit: Outpost Club

Airbnbs are always a gamble. You might be served all the prettiest pictures in the world, but until you get there, you don’t know how noisily the nearby train line is going to rattle, how late into the night the neighbours are going to argue or how rancid the sardine factory downstairs is going to smell…

All exaggeration aside, usually it’s not that bad. Usually, the worst that happens is after seeing the perfectly angled photos, you arrive with expectations of a slightly more spacious room than you really get, or you have to walk a bit further than you thought.

But sometimes Airbnbs are spectacularly different to what was advertised. Case in point: the following video. Posted by American TikTok user @desireerosebaker, it shows how an Airbnb can end up looking very different to its photos.

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Desiree’s video begins “these are the pictures from online, two beds, nice view, whatever, good location.”

Then she shows a close up of the window and “the view we thought we had.”

The only problem? There’s no view out onto the street, but rather straight into a restaurant, with a couple sitting having dinner mere metres away.

“I roll up the shades; there are no buildings. We’re in a restaurant. Let me show you.”

“I’m turning on the lights. This is the shade but I need to shut it off because I’m scared they’ll see us.”

“That’s a restaurant – that’s two people eating dinner.”

You then see a couple eating dinner in a restaurant just on the other side of the glass.

Commenters on TikTok made various suggestions like: “I would email Airbnb for a full refund. That was 100% falsely advertised” and “my toxic trait is I’d stand by the window and watch their entire dinner.”

For her part, Desiree captioned the clip: “HOW IS THIS LEGAL. You literally can not make this up. I can open the window and touch their table.”

She then shared, in another video, that the restaurant is in Times Square, and called Tempura, and that the hotel is called Cassa, situated “between West 39th and 38th on 9th avenue.”

Desiree then took to TikTok to give an update on whether she got a refund.

She explained that she reached out to the host when she found the restaurant and said the room’s advertising is completely inaccurate.

She says she didn’t hear back for 24 hours before receiving the following response.

“Hi Desiree, sorry for taking some time to [sic] replay you. Actually we were going to cancel your reservation as we had some room issues, however, we were able to manage to host you. I believe everything went and is going well during your stay and glad to know we were able to host you during this time of year. Best wishes.”

So no, she didn’t get a refund.

A person at the Cassa’s front desk told The New York Post, which first picked up the story, they “didn’t see how the story was newsworthy.”

When asked about the [TikTok] video, Cassa’s concierge allegedly responded in typical nonplussed New York fashion: “Did something bad happen?” they told The New York Post. “Was there a crime?”

Airbnb was more sympathetic, with The New York Post reporting that Airbnb employees promptly emailed Desiree to “apologize for the situation and offer her a voucher for free accommodation in the future.”

And just like that, it looks like it’s time for another gamble…

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