This is my sad Airbnb story. A group of friends and I planned a trip to Amsterdam and Ibiza. We found the house we wanted on Airbnb; the host was a registered user with good reviews from the apartment, so apparently everything was normal. We contacted the host through the site, who responded to our request via email where we exchanged information to confirm the reservation. We went back to the property page, to proceed with the booking, and once again everything seemed normal… or the site was a perfect copy of that on Airbnb. Maybe even an original, because everything was the same: logos, fonts, layout, etc.
I proceeded with the reservation and confirmed the same details, then I got an email from firstname.lastname@example.org (again, the same as that sent by Airbnb) to pay for the booking to a bank in the UK, HSBC BANK PLC. Unfortunately, once the payment was made, we received a new email confirming that the host had been transferred the money, and the reservation was ready and secured. The host confirmed by email that Airbnb was informed that he had been paid the booking, and told us that on the day of our arrival we should contact him to arrange delivery of the house keys.
With our start date approaching with no response from the host, we began to get suspicious that we were victims of fraud. We contacted Airbnb, who just informed us that there was no reservation for that number, and asked for our payment information and other documents; we sent everything to them. More than 48 hours have now passed and there has been no response from Airbnb, which forced me to make a complaint on their Facebook page. By a sheer miracle, this made them send me an email immediately, saying I had been defrauded. They apologized but said they can not do anything. It is amazing how a company the size of Airbnb does not help victims of these crimes, nor take responsibility for a scam that happened on their website with a registered user, using their platform to catch victims!
The first instance of fraud is accomplished on the real Airbnb website; they should take responsibility for it. I did not ask Airbnb to give me back the money I lost, but at least to improve their customer service and provide information on the host, including how he was able to defraud me. I believe it is an inside job from someone who works at Airbnb along with another person outside the company, because the initial contact is always done on the Airbnb site, where they “fish” their victims.