My account was deactivated on August 5th with no reason cited. My work requires a thorough background check, so I figured the deactivation was some sort of glitch in the system. At the very least, I was phished due to some sort of security breach as I had deleted two expired credit cards and added a current card while making my reservation.
Airbnb customer service initially appeared to prove helpful, checking to ascertain my case had been placed in the review process. The Airbnb review proved to be an authoritarian process with no appeals process. Airbnb cited exercising discretion under their Terms of Service to disable my account. The company cited having no obligation to provide action taken on my account.
I did want to refer to all of this in a December 2018 YouTube video detailing a dispute process available at that date. Apparently, Airbnb utilizes SafeDecision API, a product offered by Inflection Risk Solutions, LLC, a firm which provided information to make the determination to deactivate the videographer’s account. The address and contact information will follow this post.
This third party details any criminal background that may have been used in the deactivation. As in the case of the videographer, he had no criminal background and went through a process to reinstate his account (which proved successful). Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, anyone has the right to access such a report and have a 60-day timeline to file a dispute against whatever might be inaccurately be indicated on the report or to determine if the report used was in fact, you at all.
My feeling is Airbnb is no longer citing reasons for deactivation because of inaccuracies reflected in reports used to deactivate accounts. Complaints researched via the Internet indicate accounts deactivated for minor offenses, including traffic offenses. Also, in one case of a married couple, the husband’s account was deactivated and following his wife’s attempt to book under her account, her account was deactivated. In my opinion, this is a severe overreach case of collateral damage on the part of Airbnb.
I’m not even certain it’s legal, but who knows, as no reason is given for deactivation. I was not told of the reason for the account deactivation and since the airing of the above YouTube video, no reasons are provided to guests or hosts for deactivation by Airbnb; however, I plan to move through the above process to see what I can find out and register mail all results to Aisling Hassell (Trust and Security Airbnb) and Brian Chesky (CEO Airbnb). I’ll post updates.
Keep in mind Airbnb did not provide me with the Inflection Risk Solutions, LLC information. I credit (and thank) the YouTube videographer regarding the Account Deactivation video for making this information public. Inflection Risk Solutions, LLC was most kind in providing my background report on the same day as my email request for a copy of my report.
Two emails were received directly from the company: the first indicating a copy of the report had been emailed to me and second, the actual report. A link is provided asking for my name, email and date of birth before accessing the report.
While on the site, in addition to reading the results of the “background check Airbnb ran” on me, a dispute for investigation can be filed regarding incorrect information on the report as well as getting help on any additional question. My report was clear in the all areas: National Criminal Records Search, Sex Offender List Search and Global Watch List Search. If the report documented an area of dispute, an “Upload Documents” page allows documents to be made accessible to the Inflection SafeDecision API Support Team.
These documents typically include files that support dispute and special consent forms. For those who believe the information in the results is inaccurate, a link is provided to file a dispute. I would add that the Inflection email cover letter accompanying my report indicated “as part of your membership with Airbnb, you provided written instructions for Airbnb to run a background check on you to determine your eligibility to use its platform.”
I can only imagine my written instructions were included within the Terms updated by Airbnb. I also obtained online a copy of my free credit report via the annualcreditreport.com website jointly operated by the three major U.S. credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You will have to provide the last 4 digits of your social security number, but not the entire number. This report reflected a good financial record.
With all this information, I contacted the case manager associated with the deactivation of my Airbnb account and attached the Inflection background check (I did not provide my credit report). As trust and security is not an issue, I requested my Airbnb account be reactivated. I also have a running message with customer service on the Airbnb Facebook page. I was able to attach the Inflection report to the message. At the very least, I know (and knew) the error was on Airbnb. Stay tuned.