Government Authorities Should Take a Closer Look at Airbnb

Airbnb made a business decision to censor the photograph of any potential guest so that you cannot see who you are letting into your home. This is an extremely biased moved because the guest can see your picture and make a decision but a host cannot. I had a 30-year-old woman from Canada who came to the UK to study and who booked to stay two months with me after her studies had completed.

After staying two weeks, I subsequently found out that she failed all of her exams and she declared herself to be mentally ill. I live alone and became insecure and afraid because she woke up early one morning accusing me of looking through her bedroom window throughout the night. Then she freaked out saying that I was checking on her food. She spoke about having a breakdown a few years earlier where she just got on a plane from Canada to Paris and ended up sleeping with men in cars to get by.

She said that when things got really bad, she used her status as a vulnerable adult and presented herself to the French Embassy asking to be sent back to Canada. The more she talked, the louder she became. I called my sister and kept her on the phone while I tried my best to talk her down. Eventually she went off, ranting and raving. I locked myself in my bedroom and called Airbnb. I was put on hold and no one came back to me.

The next thing I knew, the woman had run through the door, so I decided to email Airbnb over and over again. I also called and got promises of a return call. The next thing I knew, my doorbell was ringing really loudly. When I answered it, there were three policemen standing at my door. This mentally ill woman accused me of throwing her out, so I had to defend myself to the police by showing them that, unbeknownst to me, she had cancelled the remaining six weeks and that this was a ploy for her to get a full refund from Airbnb.

The police were good that day and suggested getting her out as quickly as possible. The so-called mentally ill woman was good; she knew how to work the system by professing to be mentally ill. The police packed her things in their police car and took her away. Would you believe that this woman texted me afterwards, apologising and saying that it was the only way that she could get someone to move her things for free?

Furthermore, a liaison person arranged for her paid flight back to Canada and she boasted that she got a full refund from Airbnb who had initially told her that she would have to forfeit a 30-day cancellation fee. For 12 hours, Airbnb never got back to me nor supported me through this awful ordeal. When I called they refused to give me my full cancellation fee no matter how I argued. They give extremely poor service and lied nonstop.

Things could have really gotten out of hand. It could have been a physical altercation if I had not played it cool that day. It was an awful experience and Airbnb did nothing. The authorities need to look into this organisation. The way this organisation runs things, someone is going to get killed one day. You just don’t know who you are bringing into your home.

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

4 Comments

  1. In addition to everything already said here, I doubt your doorbell rings louder for some than others. You should have called the police sooner, and, you always have the option to cancel a guest you are uncomfortable with. Sounds as if YOU need to get a few more things straight.

  2. I doubt a photo is going to identify mental illness. You have two points you’re trying to make here and it needs to be more concise.

  3. I admit that it would be really nice to see who you are renting to but on the other hand how do you see if someone is crazy by looking at their photo?

  4. This is very unfortunate. The problem is, you can’t determine if someone is mentally ill in a photo…most of the time. I agree that its not fair the guest can see your photo but you cant see their profile until they book. Also, there are many cases where the guest doesn’t post a clear picture, posts a picture of someone else (I had a guest that posted a picture of his sister – imagine my surprise when the guest checked in and it was a man and not a woman). or posts a picture with their faces hidden or obscured. I don’t like this aspect of Airbnb hosting. Sometimes you never know what you’re going to get when the guest checks in. They need to do a better job of both vetting the guests and letting the hosts view the profile before accepting – especially when the host lives in the location as well (as is my case). The proceeds from my Airbnb rooms is helping me with my children’s college expenses – but sometimes, I feel its not worth the security risk.

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