Airbnb’s Questionable Verification Process

I used to love Airbnb, the website that offers me access to nice accommodations for my summer travel. But now I am disappointed and angry at how Airbnb has been treating me.

I used Airbnb for two years and had success. I received 4-5 star ratings from the host families I stayed with. Now Airbnb is refusing me service. Airbnb wants me to send them a copy of my passport or driver’s license. I understand the rationale behind this step; it was designed to increase confidence in both hosts and guests. However, their process of verification made me instantly uneasy.

First, it made no sense to ask me to provide this information when I am already an established and repeat customer. Airbnb has all the necessary information: name, address, sex, birth date, phone number, email address, credit card, past hosts’ reviews and a profile picture. My history should have established me as a trustworthy customer. It appears that being an established customer means nothing to Airbnb.

Airbnb’s verification process is unreasonable. I travel extensively during my summer breaks (I teach) and I am familiar with hotels, motels, resorts, B&B’s, college dorms and other host families’ accommodations. Travelling usually involves reserving accommodation with a credit card. Upon arrival, the facilities perform a quick check of the passport or driver’s license.

The difference here is that I’m uploading sensitive information to Airbnb. These days anything on the Internet is vulnerable. The difference between entering my credit card information and my passport data online is that my credit card has some pretty serious guarantees and fraud detection in place. If someone gets a hold of my passport information and my identity is stolen, this can take years to fix.

Airbnb also asked that I provide them my social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google) connections. A business has no right to ask for social media information. After spending ample time reading reviews and blogs on Airbnb, it appears to me that Airbnb should sticking to established customs and use common sense in business practices. Online there are numerous articles on Airbnb infringement and overcollection of customers’ personal information. Many people are questioning their practices and tuning away from Airbnb.

Posted in Airbnb Guest Stories and tagged , , , , , .

11 Comments

  1. I’m very angry about this new policy. I used Airbnb within this past year, and knew nothing about this change. I have spent about 10 hours or more working on a reservation for a 3 month stay and was finally at the point of booking, and the system THEN told me that I needed to upload my government ID. Nothing doing. I think this should be an illegal requirement. I don’t care why they want it, or how ‘secure’ they keep my info. That’s the last thing in the world I want hackers to get their hands on.

    the host says it’s not her choice, it’s Airbnb.

  2. You are entering peoples homes, in most instances, would you not want solid identification methods if you were hosting? I take it you would also happy if hosts had lax id verification?

  3. This new verification process has nothing to do with protecting customers and hosts, it is just a poorly thought-out discriminatory process. I have been a customer for years and have had my latest booking cancelled because I cannot take a selfie within their App, although they have my passport and other details. 45 minutes trying to get an alternative and complain, got nowhere.

  4. If Airbnb already have them on file, they (airbnb) should be able to provide them to the host. After all, the reservation is thru Airbnb.

  5. One of the options for guest verification that a host can select is to have a government ID on file. We are allowing people in our homes. We have the right to know who is there.

    I rented a room at Hilton Doubletree hotel for work last night. They required credit card & to see/verify my driver’s license.

    If you don’t want to provide the ID, use a different booking platform.

    • Airbnb’s verification process is unreasonable. I travel extensively during my summer breaks (I teach) and I am familiar with hotels, motels, resorts, B&B’s, college dorms and other host families’ accommodations. Travelling usually involves reserving accommodation with a credit card. Upon arrival, the facilities perform a quick check of the passport or driver’s license.

      The difference here is that I’m uploading sensitive information to Airbnb. These days anything on the Internet is vulnerable. The difference between entering my credit card information and my passport data online is that my credit card has some pretty serious guarantees and fraud detection in place. If someone gets a hold of my passport information and my identity is stolen, this can take years to fix.

  6. Interesting. I am a super host in Dorset UK and had similar experience in May with a guest who tried to book a room with me. He had no profile picture or home town on profile. Yet passed Airbnb verification process to be a guest traveller. He was not happy with me asking for his name and town (not full address). He refused to tell me. I felt uncomfortable to accept his booking and declined. Maybe this was why Airbnb blocked my account as a host. Their automated statement, ‘account suspended for breach of terms of service’. Never received response from Airbnb if that was the case or other explanation. I agree, the verification process is questionable from validity to intrusion.

  7. It’s called Truat & Verification for a reason. Hosts are asking for this, not AirBnB. It’s an option more and more hosts want. We want to know who you are.

    • I know of 2 people who are hosting in Airbnb and they were not asked for a copy of their passport or driver’s license for varification. I also know someone who rented from Airbnb recently and they were not asked for documentation. The verification is a random selection.

      In my case Airbnb knows who I am. I used Airbnb for two years and had success. I received 4-5 star ratings from the host families I stayed with. Now Airbnb is refusing me service unless I send them a copy of my passport or driver’s license.

      First, it made no sense to ask me to provide this information when I am already an established and repeat customer. Airbnb has all the necessary information: name, address, sex, birth date, phone number, email address, credit card, past hosts’ reviews and a profile picture. My history should have established me as a trustworthy customer. It appears that being an established customer means nothing to Airbnb.

      J Hutch

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