If you are thinking of going to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress next year I caution you to be extremely careful over which apartment you pick, especially if you are offered an apartment from Street Apartments via Booking.com.

After using the online web site Booking.com to book an apartment in Barcelona, via an operator who runs an operation called Street Apartments, I found first hand how shonky organisations can be.

Following at trip to IFA 2017, I decided to take a week off in Barcelona and after making full payment weeks in advance I arrived in Barcelona, only to be told that the apartment I had booked on Booking.com was suddenly not available, the excuse they gave me was that the apartment block had a plumbing problem.

There was no advance email warning me of the problem or the offer of another apartment prior to arriving.

Street Apartments is a booking agency who manage several apartments in and around Barcelona.

I subsequently found this not to be true when I visited the apartment some hours later.

This is the apartment that we booked and paid for in advance.

Online the apartment at Ferran, 24, Ciutat Vella, 08002 Barcelona, Spain looked ideal, smart, well laid out and an ideal place to stay.

The Company hires young kids as receptionists they appear to be well trained in spinning questionable stories, then tried to fob us off into another apartment that they described as “good as the one we booked”.

After being given a key to another apartment and after walking some 750 meters what we discovered was on offer was a dark box and nothing like the advertised apartment we booked and Booking.com confirmed.

We rejected this apartment as it was like a small room in a substandard two-star hotel.

Ironically, a search of the Booking.com web site revealed that the same apartment that I had booked was still being advertised online for the period that I was being told that it was not available.

Even 2 days later the apartment was still being advertised as being available. When I pointed this out some days later it very quickly became “unavailable”

What I now suspect is that their best apartments are advertised online and then when people arrive they are shuffled into substandard apartments compared to the advertised apartment.

When I first arrived to collect the keys to the apartment we came across several people complaining to management about the apartment they had booked not being available.

After rejecting one apartment because it was dingy, dark and not suitable for an eight day stay we were then forced to tramp across to La Rambla to an apartment where we were told bluntly “It’s this apartment or you can have your money back”.

Entrance to booked apartment

Entrance to apartment that The Street Apartment staff said was as good as the apartment we booked.

The so called stylish furniture in the apartment on La Rambla.

The cracked toilet system, the toilet seat was also broken.

Bathroom of the original apartment we booked.

Bathroom of the apartment they said was “As good as the original apartment we booked”.

We later discovered several problems with this apartment which resulted in maintenance staff having to be called to fix a sink tap that was falling off, a toilet seat that wobbled and globes having to be replaced.

We also had to walk up a flight of stairs that was covered in dust and plastering falling off the walls.

Unlike the original apartment there was no lift on the ground floor. In doing my research I had deliberately chosen an apartment with a ground floor lift because I have recently had a plate and eight pins removed from my knee after a skiing accident.

Keen to investigate the so called, water issue, I went to the apartment at Ferran, 24, Ciutat Vella I discovered an elegant entrance and an apartment that the occupier said was “okay”. They were not aware of any “pipes or water issue”.

When I put several questions to The Street Apartment Staff I was told that I had to deal with the Companies management. Mysteriously this management was not available.

Despite being told that the apartment we had booked would be out of action for a week we discovered the same apartments being advertised on Booking.com for the period we were in Barcelona, is this bait marketing?

This same management has also failed to respond to my emails and so has Booking.com.

Apart from appearing to double book apartment the so-called Street Apartments crowd appear to be using questionable marketing practices which in Australia would see the Company pulled up and fined by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The bookings were made in Australia and both Booking.com and The Street Apartments accepted a booking from Australia, so it will be interesting to see what happens when both organisations are sued in Australia under Australian laws.