A tourist who flew all the way to New York to buy a dress for her wedding wound up getting jilted by a phony Airbnb listing — and was left unable to afford her dream gown.
“The one I really want I can’t get,” lamented bilked bride Malissa Blackman, 36.
Blackman traveled from her home in Barbados and expected to be staying in a swank rental at 400 Fifth Ave. in Midtown with her mom, two sisters and two bridesmaids.
But when she got there, the doorman broke the bad news to her that the digs she’d shelled out $2,000 to use for five nights didn’t exist — and that they weren’t the first people to turn up at the address.
“I’m on the street thinking, what the hell? Where are we going to go?” she said.
A concierge confirmed to The Post that at least two other groups had shown up looking for the bogus beds this year — including a family of six from Spain and Argentina.
“Those poor families come here and then they have nowhere to stay,” said Aguedo Avias.
“I tell them I can help them find a hotel, but that the building doesn’t allow Airbnb and no one in the building has a listing on Airbnb.”
Blackman then had to cough up another $2,600 for last-minute hotel rooms — exactly what she’d planned to blow on a wedding dress.
She saw a gorgeous dress from her favorite designer Hayley Page the next day that would have been perfect for her November nuptials with fiancee Heath.
It featured layers of tulle and a “lovely back with lots of straps on it” — but at $2,500, the frock was now out of her price range.
She spent the day in tears.
“Because of the money situation, we said we’d have to go with a cheaper one,” said Blackman, who is herself a wedding planner back in Barbados.
Blackman contacted Airbnb to report the scam and ask for a refund Wednesday, but the site told her she wasn’t eligible — the conman had tricked her into clicking on a fake Airbnb site, so all the fraud happened off its territory.
Blackman, a newbie to the room-rental service, said that after contacting the seller over the app, she then emailed the supposed apartment owner.
He responded with an “airbnb.com” link to click through for the booking. It took her to what appeared to be the real deal — but she didn’t notice it actually said “airbnb.com-listining-online31215.info.”
“For me, who’s never booked Airbnb before, I’d never have known I was not dealing with Airbnb,” she said.
An Airbnb spokesman responded that Blackman went against warnings on the site telling users not to email with hosts or transfer money off the platform, and provided screenshots that show her messaging with the fraudster right next to one such alert.
But he acknowledged the site’s software isn’t supposed to allow users to share direct email addresses in the first place, and the safeguard failed. He added the listing has been removed, and that it wouldn’t have been there if anyone else had reported it for fraud in the past.
“The moment a fake listing is reported, it’s removed. We are investigating the situation at this address and our team is working hard to constantly strengthen our defenses and stay ahead of fraudsters,” said Press Secretary Peter Schottenfels.
After The Post inquired about Blackman’s story Friday, Airbnb said it will refund her after all — contrary to its previous missives to the heartbroken bride.
But Blackman said it was the first she’d heard of it and by then it was too late, anyway — her trip was almost over and she had already made arrangements to buy a $975 dress.
Fortunately, she’s now falling in love with the strapless lace number and she’s looking forward to walking down the aisle in it later this year.
She’s just bummed that she wasn’t able to enjoy her Big Apple shopping spree her fellow wedding planner pals had planned out for her.
“I feel like from the minute we landed I was so excited and then it just went from one thing to the next … I was bursting out in tears instead,” she said.