'Airbnb is our wealthy man': A booking scam left a TikTok star stranded in Italy until Airbnb intervened to put her group up in a luxurious Mediterranean villa
- TikToker Alix Earle and her friends became stranded in Italy after booking scam.
- Her complaint video received over 6 million views in just days, and Airbnb stepped in to help.
When TikToker Alix Earle and her friends were left stranded after booking an Italian villa that turned out not to exist, she said Airbnb stepped in to save the day.
On Tuesday, Earle posted a video informing her over five million followers that she and her friends had fallen prey to a scam after booking a fake villa in Positano, Italy. One day and 5.5 million views later, the group of about 10 women are spending their European vacation in a villa overlooking the Mediterranean Sea thanks to Airbnb.
@alixearle THIS IS NOT REAL LIFE. Omg thank you @airbnb for coming to the rescue #positano #airbnb #italy #girlstrip ♬ original sound - alix earle
"babes we got you. our people are calling you now," the Airbnb TikTok account commented under Earle's video.
Despite the scam occurring on another booking platform — Booking.com, per Earle's Instagram story — Airbnb more than delivered on accommodations with a Positano villa decked out with a massage table, steam room, and a terrace overlooking vast blue waters.
The group of travelers were packed into a hotel room at the last minute after realizing that the villa they'd booked didn't actually exist. It's unclear how much the group spent on the fake rental, but Booking.com commented on one of Earle's videos apologizing for the mishap.
"Hi Alix, we're sorry to hear about your experience. Please reach out to us via Twitter, FB or Instagram, so our support team can look into this," the comment read.
A Booking.com representative told Insider the company's investigation into the matter determined the scam didn't occur on its site.
"Upon investigation, we can now confirm that this fake villa listing was not booked via Booking.com, but instead found on a fake copycat website," the statement read. "Since confirming this was not a legitimate Booking.com URL we have subsequently been successful in requesting the website to be taken down."
Airbnb didn't immediately respond to Insider's requests for comments. It's unclear how much the Positano rental is listed for on Airbnb, but a villa with similar amenities and views goes for just shy of $2,500 per night.
Social media users are praising Airbnb for the move as a "marketing" strategy of rescuing one of TikTok's most recognizable faces.
"Airbnb is our wealthy man," Earle captioned a video of her and fellow travelers wearing matching robes.
@alixearle Airbnb is our wealthy man #positano ♬ money money money abba - vitória
"Airbnb marketing for the year = complete," one commenter wrote under the video. Social media commentator Jack Appleby wrote in a tweet that the video of Earle thanking Airbnb garnered close to two million views in four hours.
Others, however, commented that they weren't as lucky when they were left stranded from an Airbnb scam.
"where was this attitude when my airbnb host canceled on me day of, for no apparent reason last year," one TikToker wrote in response to the company's offer to help.
"customer service shouldn't be determined by follower count," another said.
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