It was the day the South Korean police came barging into my Airbnb apartment. It was fair to say I was not too impressed at the whole situation, as it brought a little stress to the holidays and it caught me quite unawares.
Anyway here the story. First of all, this post is not a dig at Airbnb. I think it is a terrific organisation that I will use on numerous opportunities and a convenient system that does indeed work the majority of the time. In life, little problems can arise, and it did on this particular morning, hence this short episode I am about to share with you right now about an Airbnb experience I had in Seoul, South Korea.
In a recent trip toSouth Korea, we booked our accommodation through Airbnb, using their services for the first time.
On the Airbnb website, we were able to find a lovely lofted apartment that was perfect for a family of four and in an ideal location of Seoul. Everything went well, the booking, the owners were helpful upon checking in to the apartment, and more importantly, the apartment was clean.
So what went wrong with the Seoul Airbnb Apartment?
A few days into our stay, my wife, who is Korean, went out to catch up with friends. I was in the apartment with my two boys when there was a knock on the door, this should go well, I thought, full well knowing I couldn’t speak a word of Korean. Of course, I opened the door (I do love a challenge).
Upon opening the door, I could see that I would indeed face a challenge because standing in front of me were three policemen. Interesting indeed. They proceeded to ask me, with the only English speaking police officer present, “if the apartment was rented through Airbnb?”I answered yes, why not, I had no reason to lie or hesitate.
After an initial chat at the door, the South Korean police officers proceeded to enter the apartment and began to take photos, (okay, they didn’t precisely barge in). At this stage, I was a little panicked and all I could do at this time was to try and find my Korean speaking wife.
Next, they wanted me to write a statement, saying that I rented this apartment through Airbnb, where the officer proceeded to explain to me that this is an illegal apartment due to being unregistered. Well, I was furious, not at the police but at the owners who I paid perfect money to for the studio.
They proceeded to give me the paperwork for a statement; it was in Korean writing. I refused to write the report because it wasn’t in English, even though the officer offered to translate. That’s nice but no. Don’t ever fill out a statement you can’t understand, a golden rule in life.
The police told me that they would return when my wife got home. Before they left, I gave them the details to the owners through the booking report, and they left the apartment reassuring me that I was not in trouble and that our stay would continue.
All’s well, and end’s well.
The police never returned to the apartment as they said they would. And I wish I could give you a fitting conclusion, but what I do know, however, is that the owners were in the police department no more than two hours later.
Of course, I was not privy to all the information at what happened to the owners of the Airbnb apartment, but it is safe to say that the owners probably got a good old fine. A decent whack I suppose for not being honest.