Aibnb Guest Robbed -Had to Flee Town with Police Escort

Over the last couple of years I have been a satisfied user of Airbnb with an exceptional rating. On a recent trip to a supposedly sleepy fishing village I was robbed within 30 minutes of arriving at the the house by a window left open by the hosts cleaners. When the police arrived, they basically told us “Welcome to Paternoster”, I found this quite bizarre as it’s meant to be a very quaint town where South African’s can escape the crime ridden cities of which they live and work. After contacting the host he was completely disinterested and a refund was not possible as per his terms and conditions, this meant I was stuck in a house that was invaded by criminals. A few days later some more locals tried to rob us on the beach (with knives) and we defended ourselves, this resulted in calling the police to protect us while the house was surrounded by at least 30 locals (some of which where armed) throwing rocks at us. The police had to provide an armed escort to escape this town alive. After filing a report with the police, they informed me that this is an area notorious with robbing the tourists and even the landlords are sometimes involved. The police in the last year have given up all hope of resolving the crime in the area due to the increase of drugs and “maffia” presence. At first I didn’t believe it and thought I was the only one until I read such articles as listed below: http://goo.gl/AbrI68 http://goo.gl/EoLWtg https://goo.gl/eT6L43 http://goo.gl/vmwhVd After this ordeal I contacted Airbnb for two reasons, firstly to get the ad removed to protect future travelers from the dangers of this area and secondly to request some kind of insurance. Airbnb is refusing to assist unless I provide receipts for lost goods and told me that I should research the area. Maybe I’m naive or should Airbnb offer equal protection to their customers as they do to their hosts?

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3 Comments

  1. AIRBNB don’t want negative comments about hosts.
    However well founded and correct the comment is, those the comments will be removed. The reason is easy to explain.
    Airbnb would lose 15% commission from people NOT booking after reading a negative review. It’s a financially based decision.
    I learnt this the hard way, after staying in an apartment that had completely changed from the original booking.
    All the photos had been changed, the description had been changed and even the location changed. The original listing looked very pleasant. The place we actually stayed in was not far removed from a squat…..it was disgusting. When we complained the host became extremely aggressive and threatening and we really thought we were going to be attacked.
    Our review was removed and the listing is still there on Airbnb

  2. That’s horrifying–I’m so sorry it happened to you. I don’t think you were naive…I think if someone reports a bad and dangerous experience to AirBnB then they should put some kind of warning on the listing mentioning that users have complained. Were you at least able to comment on the rental to warn people?

    I think AirBnB is more than a platform–it is a community tool. Any site which depends on strangers trusting eachother (Uber for example) has to take complaints seriously to maintain trust and safety within the community.

  3. You are naive. Airbnb provides an online platform that connects hosts who have accommodations to rent with guests seeking to rent such accommodations. That’s it. An ONLINE PLATFORM.

    While crime is abhorrent in South Africa as s whole, how can you hold a booking platform responsible for criminal elements. I too live in a holiday town and residents are community together jointly with the police to tackle this scourge.

    But holding Airbnb responsible? I think not.

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