Grandma gets Airbnb refund for pot-reeking Ottawa rental


Airbnb has apologized and issued a full refund to a grandmother who says her Canada 150 festivities were ruined when she stayed in an Ottawa rental that was overrun with revellers and stank of marijuana.

The company issued a $5,305 refund to 79-year-old Joan Gibbs — on top of the $750 it had already refunded — for the four nights she was meant to stay in her rental.

“We work hard to make sure every guest has a great experience on Airbnb and want to make it right when things don’t go as expected,” said spokeswoman Lindsey Scully.

Gibbs, who lives in West Vancouver, had travelled with her young grandchildren to Ottawa to ring in Canada’s 150th birthday.

Instead, Gibbs says she spent part of the trip rolling up towels under the door of her Airbnb to block the stench of marijuana and contending with 30 people on the lawn playing beer pong.

On the third day of her trip, she and her family fled to a hotel.


Joan Gibbs claims her plans to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday in Ottawa in a family friendly manner conflicted with plans of pot lovers to throw a very different kind of party. (Pawel Dwulit/Canadian Press)

Apology a ‘pile of crock’

Besides the refund, Airbnb sent Gibbs a personal apology note, she said, and a gift card for the service.

But Gibbs claims she had repeatedly contacted Airbnb after her booking, only to be ignored. Their apology, in the wake of a CBC report, was a “pile of crock,” she said.

“I’m not accepting it,” she said Sunday.

She still intends to pursue the lawsuit that she filed last week against Airbnb and the website’s co-founder, Brian Chesky.

Gibbs said she’s still $800 out of pocket for the two nights she was forced to stay at a hotel, plus the costs of filing the claim in court.

“I would have liked to charge them a few thousand for anxiety, but I didn’t,” she said.

“I’ve gotten no satisfaction whatsoever from them.”

Gibbs said the case will likely be heard in June. Airbnb declined to comment on the lawsuit.