Good Enough for Secret Service, Not for Airbnb Verification

I signed up for Airbnb because I did not wish to stay in your average hotel; I wanted to rent a house. I guess you can say I am not your Average Joe, and have been quite blessed in my life and career. I am friends with former President George W. Bush, and even attended his daughter Jenna’s wedding in 2008. I was with Vice President Mike Pence on November 10th, 2016 in Indianapolis and then went on the air with Jason Fechner, news anchor of NBC Affiliate RTV6 in Indy, right after my meeting with the Vice President. The only reason I “name drop” is to prove a point. I am not overly wealthy, but am a well-respected businessman in my community and am a man of high morals and integrity.

I booked a home for the first part of our stay with no issue. The next day I attempted to book another home for the next half of the month, on a different island. This is when the hell started. I have never been through more hell trying to get “verified” in my life. The Secret Service never treated me like this, regardless of which President or Vice President I met with. After ten days of calls, poor customer service, and no emails, I received a notification informing me of my account cancellation and refund. It seems that Airbnb uses a flawed service to check “criminal records”. First off, I never gave them enough information to pull a proper background check, so they must deny someone if there is a close name match. If I can meet with leaders of America, why can’t I book a room through Airbnb? I own one of the largest computer-consulting firms in Texas and deal in top security issues on a daily basis. I pull background checks on my employees, and employees for my clients. Airbnb never acquired enough information from me to do a proper check. Do yourself a favor and do not waste your time with Airbnb. Use HomeAway or VRBO. I did and have two nice homes for our month in Hawaii.

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

3 Comments

  1. I wish I had read your post earlier. In regard to the airbnb security check (which I fully understand the need for), I did not have “enough activity” for the facebook and linkedin options. I then tried four times to create a video that would pass muster for the airbnb security team. The first time the video was not long enough. The guidelines are confusing because they state 5-10 second length, 15 second length, and 30 second length all on the same page. The first was rejected because it needs to be 30 seconds in length. The second and third times I did a 30 second video that was rejected. I still do not understand the reasons for rejection. I was told by phone that my request was on an “urgent” status and would resolved shortly. Nonetheless, I was rejected for the fourth time. I tried to talk to the property owner and was able to do an email exchange but phone numbers were blocked so we could never talk to see if we could get around this issue. My last effort was to try to talk to an airbnb manager to report this problem (I had already lost my interest in this particular reservation and airbnb by then). I was transferred to a location that had prompts in French. and after a20 minute hold time a person with a heavy French accent asked me about the problem. I said I did not want to record the video again and this person immediately hung up. I was not rude at all during this process but my frustration was obvious.

    I am sure many have had good experiences with airbnb. I had one previously myself. They definitely are not good at resolving problems, and their security check is flawed and asks for a very concerning set of information in terms of future identity theft. I was assured by the reasonable person who helped me through my second attempt to record the video that their system was foolproof. As a previous victim of identity theft, I have heard that one before.

  2. Agree with your comment on background checks, as no way they are able to do thorough checks. Whole business model is potentially very dangerous for neighborhood Residents, as never have any idea who is staying in a rented, and non owner occupied residence. How about Megan’s Law and Jessica’s Law guidelines? Residents have no way to check databas as people come and go. Residents are not in Commercial, hotel zones. Very concerning.

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