Bogus Airbnb Listing: Scammed in Brighton

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Hi Natacha,

I’m Dan from Airbnb’s Trust and Safety team.

On our site we only have one confirmed reservation with a Host John. There are no other records of you enquiring or corresponding with others hosts.

At Airbnb, we work hard to keep our community trustworthy and safe, but in rare cases, attempts at fraud do happen. To help us look into this case, please reply to this email and include:

– Screenshots or copies of your emails with this person
– Details about how you came into contact with them
– The web address of their listing or Airbnb profile
– The method of payment this person requested
– Proof of any payments being made

Keep in mind that Airbnb will never ask you to pay off-site or through email. If you receive an email from anyone (including an automated@airbnb.com or any other username@airbnb.com email address) asking you to pay or accept payment off-site, don’t respond, and always report it to safety@airbnb.com immediately.

Anyone who contacts you through an external site claiming to be a trusted service for Airbnb who asks for payment via bank transfer, Western Union, MoneyGram etc. should also be considered fraudulent.

Thanks for your reply. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have other questions or concerns in the meantime.

Best,

Dan S
www.airbnb.com/help

 

Dear Airbnb,

Thank you for your response. Having read numerous articles on Airbnb since this happened to us, I am amazed at how often you allow this to happen as it seems it been happening regularly since you started the website. As travellers, we are forced to verify our accounts in order to be able to stay with a host but it would seem that anyone can advertise anything on your site with absolutely no security procedures or verification. Essentially, I could advertise a fictitious chateau in France (which I do not own) but under UK law, that would be fraud. How, therefore, are others allowed to offer a product through your website and use you as the contractual partner?

This incident hurts on so many levels but, in this case, it is not just about the money… my friend’s son is disabled. He has just finished school for the very last time. There is nothing at this stage to look forward to – not going back to school in September to see his friends with whom he has spent the last 16 years, not going back to the establishment where he has built relationships with a fantastic team of staff who dedicate their lives to children with a variety of disabilities, children who would not understand the horrible world in which we live, where large organisations allow hard-working people to be swindled. Therefore, as a special treat, his mum wanted to make the end of school a special occasion rather than flatly going into the school holidays. She booked a show in Brighton and found a lovely place for him to stay with his two respite carers (yes his disability is that severe that he needs two). She asked me to pay for it as I had an Airbnb account. Having used Airbnb only once before, I followed the same process and was sent an email from yourselves asking for payment. I duly paid the money and then heard nothing more. The first time I used Airbnb I paid via the website but not having been a member for long, I assumed that some hosts have different methods of payment and that AirBnB would have verified them, especially as the email came from yourselves.

When this young man goes away (which is rare), the preparation process is vital. His mum spent ages this week, printing off photos of the accommodation to put in a scrapbook for him to get used to his environment – an environment which we found never existed. The impact on this young man is phenomenal. Most of us can get on with things and contact the police, the bank and hit our heads against the barriers that Airbnb put up to facilitate contact. This young man cannot get past the fact that he has been let down. Whilst his naivety is refreshing, it does not help his mum manage the situation that the ensuing stress causes, such as fits. Despite having sent you the email I received from you via Twitter, you are now asking me for it again, so here are all the screen shots and the email.

We look forward to the refund of the money.

Kind regards,

Natacha

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

3 Comments

  1. I guess the previous commenters must work for AirBNB — either that or they are incredibly calloused. I certainly would not assume this is a scam website. And I am not sure how you went against any terms/conditions when the place you rented didn’t exist.

    I hope you will be able to undo some of the damage that has been done.

  2. You just got duped. If you did make the payment you are fully responsible since you broke the airbnb terms and conditions to which you agreed.
    I’m sorry about the kid but now you’re addressing your request to another scam website which is just an undercover publicity website for some of airbnb’s competitors.
    You’re looking more and more like a magnet for crooks and bad people.
    Use airbnb like it’s intended and life will be easier.

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