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Victoria’s Secret Model’s Embellished AirBnb Listing Gets Her Sued

False advertising lands this renter in the courts

By Archana Aithal Rose September 12, 2016
Lyndsey Scott. Photo courtesy of Timothy A. Clary / AFP

Lyndsey Scott, a Victoria’s Secret model is being sued for distorting the truth about her AirBnb accommodation.

If you’re a Victoria Secret model, you’re just naturally wired to create a believable fantasy. Strutting Swarovski-crystal thongs, million dollar diamond bras and angel wings on the runway, these leggy goddesses make you believe that all you need to turn your life around, is to throw on a blinged-out bustier. A talent to embellish is high on their roster. But not all the world’s a fool and for one VS model, the suspension of disbelief is going to cost a hefty sum.

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Scott listed her Roosevelt Island apartment on AirBnb as a comfortable spacious retreat with rare river views and fashionable décor. Now, if you were a dude, you’d take a VS model seriously, right?  Apparently, Chris Pugaczewski, a West Hollywood attorney with the New York-based firm Shearman and Sterling did just that, when he rented the space from Scott, in June for $3075 a month. Except when Pugaczewski checked into the apartment, all he wanted to do was retreat. Calling the place a dump, he told New York Post, “I stayed there one night and left immediately. There was paint peeling, grime and dirt on the windowsill and on the air conditioner, a hole in the floor was covered by strategically-placed bar stools.”

Photo courtesy of imgur.com
Photo courtesy of imgur.com

A former New Yorker, Pugaczewski was familiar with Roosevelt Island and assumed from verified images on AirBnb that he was renting a one-bedroom apartment in a brand new building called Riverwalk. The actual apartment, however, turned out to be in a building that used to be low-income housing called Eastwood, now renamed Roosevelt Landings. Realizing that he had been conned, Pugaczewski immediately canceled the reservation, only to pay $20,000 for a last minute, Upper East Side replacement. To add to his plight, AirBnb wouldn’t refund him the amount he had paid, and refused to let him post a bad review. The lawyer was left with no choice but to sue Scott for misleading him with wrong images and information on the listing.

This isn’t the first example of hosts uploading misleading images on AirBnb. Las Vegas-based teacher, Alicen Baird dubs her Californian AirBnb rental, “a little house of horrors. There were no doorknobs on the inside of the house. The entrance and exit to the outdoors was a garage door which ironically broke right before we showed up, so you had to crawl under a very small crack to get in. Fortunately, when I complained to AirBnb, they refunded my money, but took down my negative review with the excuse that I hadn’t spend a single night in the house. If I hadn’t taken pictures of the dilapidated space and contested for weeks, I wouldn’t have a stood a chance to reclaim that money.”

When it comes to AirBnb, it’s not just the guests, who get duped, hosts too have suffered damages at the hands of careless guests. Scott eventually apologized to Pugaczewski, but he claims, AirBnb is yet to issue a statement claiming, it’s not their policy to comment on issues pending litigation.

Archana Aithal Rose

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Archana Aithal Rose

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Archana Aithal Rose

Archana Aithal Rose’s articles have appeared in The Times of India, CNNGo, Condé Nast Traveler and Vogue, covering such broad range of topics as fashion, art, travel, culture, celebrities, architecture and technology. In addition to writing, Archana's also known for her mad photography and cooking skills.

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