Criminal Conviction Ten Years Ago and Still Being Punished

I’m going to try and make this short and detailed. Over 10 years ago I was convicted of a felony. I was sentenced and completed the sentence. Since then, I have become a productive member of society, and have started a family. My life today is a complete 180 from where it was 10 years ago.

I recently went on a business trip. My company usually uses Airbnb but we have to use our own account to get reimbursed. This is my first time traveling for this company so I have never used Airbnb before. I went on the app, searched for the perfect spot for three nights and then signed up and completed the reservation. After that I got an email asking for my photo ID, which I sent rather quickly. It seemed like everything was fine.

A day before I was scheduled to leave town and arrive at the host’s place, I got an email stating my account had been permanently deactivated and my reservation cancelled and refunded. Now I was in a bit of a predicament. Sure, my company knows about my criminal history but I still had to contact a supervisor and get approval to use a different OTA to book a hotel. I don’t know who within the company knows about my criminal history, but I know that the supervisor I had to contact did not. The revelation did not sit well with him, but that’s another story.

The embarrassment of having to tell someone (a coworker) I couldn’t use Airbnb was devastating. I find it ridiculous that they can do this. I completely understand that the “hosts” are sometimes renting out their own homes and there is a certain risk that comes with this. But if Airbnb actually did research when a questionable background check presented itself, they would see that they are punishing some people beyond what they should be.

Account Deactivated Over a Dismissed Felony Charge

I recently started an account with Airbnb for a reservation for my family and myself. I paid for it, got the email confirmation, and was so happy. Thirty minutes later I got an email saying that I did not pass the background check. The problem was they had a DUI from over seven years ago on there three times. The real kicker is, a felony theft charge that was dismissed is what ultimately got my account deactivated.

This is completely unacceptable. This is discrimination and they are treating me as if I was found guilty. United States law states you are innocent until proven guilty. I was proven to be innocent; the charges were dropped yet Airbnb is treating me as if I was found guilty. I’ve called Airbnb and gotten no help. I called the third-party background check vendor and of course they are getting the process started. It will probably take 60 days before the situation with my DUI is corrected. However what ultimately will count me out with Airbnb is a dismissed case.

This is completely prejudiced of Airbnb. I have never been treated or excluded from anything in my life due to that dismissal case, and I do hold a professional license in the medical field. Yet Airbnb does not care to rent to me. This blows my mind. Part of me absolutely wants to contact a lawyer.

Same Name, Same Crimes to Airbnb, Apparently

In short, I’m moving. My father got a new job in Texas and while the house is finishing we needed a place to stay. We use Airbnb. We made this reservation months ahead of time. In the middle of the night a few days before we moved, they cancelled. According to Airbnb, my father had a criminal record. Weird, because he doesn’t have one. They claim that he committed a violent crime in 1992 in a different city. Some brainlet at Airbnb probably uses Google with a name and state to check someone’s background. So some guy they Googled with the same name and state is now my father I guess. It doesn’t work like that. I’m now using Elon Musk’s naming scheme from now on so non-diligent companies won’t mistake me for someone else who committed murder in 1854. Absolute troglodytes over there.

Airbnb Destroys 10th Anniversary Celebration

At 11:55 AM on June 21st, I was enjoying an amazing time with my wife of ten years, driving up the coast without a care in the world. Little did I know that Airbnb had just decided to blow up our long planned anniversary trip. When I had first started planning, I was hesitant about using Airbnb because I worried about the potential for homeowners to make sudden changes. However, I was assured by friends that Airbnb had always worked out extremely well for them, so I decided to go for it.

On March 27th, nearly three months before our trip, we booked our stays and were extremely excited. We paid in full, paid off our credit card, and were so eager for our getaway. Fast forward to our actual trip, and once I got wifi access later in the evening, I discovered an email informing me that our bookings had been cancelled without explanation. We had no place to stay, on a weekend, in June.

Panic set in quickly. We called customer support but were only told that it was for a ‘technical reason.’ We were told it would be escalated, but who knows when we might get a response. It was only later that the explanation email arrived and we knew what ‘a technical reason’ meant, which was that somehow I’d been tagged as having failed a background check.

I’m a pragmatist. I understand that businesses must minimize risk. However, the onus must be on the business to minimize their risk in a way that does not harm their customers, that does not strand them 2000 miles from home. When I found out the real reason for my cancellation, I immediately filed a dispute. As expected, that dispute was resolved in my favor, because the information provided to Airbnb was in error. However, winning the dispute eight days later doesn’t fix the emotional turmoil that Airbnb caused on what was supposed to be an amazing trip. It doesn’t give me back those lost hours with my wife where we were both crying and agonizing.

Had Airbnb made this mistake in March, three months ago, it could have been easily corrected. I’d have disputed, and everything would have been fine. However, because Airbnb decided to do so the day before our stay, we had no recourse or remedy. Brainstorming, we tried to sign up my wife and have her book the stays, but she was also denied. She was told that because she was connected to me, she was blocked as well. My wife was devastated when she was told that, because she was married to me, she wasn’t allowed to have an Airbnb account, either.

The follow up email that Airbnb sent to her was brutal, and brought her to tears yet again. Not exactly the emotion one is going for on an anniversary. Airbnb did its absolute best to destroy our long planned, long saved for trip. It hurt us both financially and, more importantly, emotionally. This is the kind of story you only read about; you never think it will happen to you. Now that it has happened to me, I do think people should read about it. It seems like exactly the kind of publicity that Airbnb deserves. Wouldn’t you agree?