American tourists are accidentally melting electric kettles in luxury London homes listed on onefinestay, an upmarket alternative to Airbnb, by putting them on the hob, or stove.
Americans don’t use electric kettles — or at least it’s very rare. This is unlike Britain, where electric kettles are standard for boiling water.
Two former employees at London-based startup onefinestay told Business Insider that they received several calls from American guests who had just burnt an electric kettle, partly made out of plastic, by putting it over an open flame.
Several things can go wrong when people stay in other people’s properties using websites like Airbnb and onefinestay. “The classic one [at onefinestay], that would happen at least every other month, is an American guest putting an electric kettle on a hob,” a former onefinestay employee said. “That would obviously melt the plastic everywhere.”
They added: “The guests phone up onefinestay so then onefinestay has to go and sort it out. The kettle isn’t expensive but you’re paying someone to go out there.”
The former employee said they could recall three or four occasions when this happened, but another employee said it happened at least 10 to 15 times.
Whenever an electric kettle was melted, onefinestay would replace it with a new one. Sometimes the company would also have to “redo ceramic hobs,” according to the former employee that said they recalled 10 to 15 kettle incidents.
The property owners “were fine” about the melted kettles providing onefinestay “sorted it out,” said the source.
The news could raise safety concerns about staying in properties listed on so-called sharing economy websites, which allow people to let out their properties in exchange for money.
Properties on onefinestay cost upwards of £400 per night to stay in, with some of them worth upwards of £20 million.
“All of the onefinestay homes are amazing. When we were there we were very strict — only about 5% of people that applied got on,” said the former employee.
A spokeswoman for onefinestay admitted that guests have burnt “retro electric kettles” on the hob but she said it was some years ago and there were only a “couple” of occasions when this happened.
“It’s certainly not a regular occurrence,” she continued. “Safety of our guests and our homes is extremely important to us, and at onefinestay we personally welcome all our guests and help them settle in. This includes walking through all the fixtures and appliances in the home to ensure guests are comfortable operating them. Our team is also on-call 24/7 for our guests, should they have any questions.”