Why is Airbnb Refusing to Cooperate with the Authorities?

On March 25th 2015, the two-bedroom apartment I advertised on Airbnb was booked. The guest was to stay at the property for 21 days. I was notified by Airbnb that her booking was cancelled due to a payment problem. On entering the property, I was horrified to find that the property had been vandalized. I reported this to the police and contacted Airbnb. I provided Airbnb with the required documents including the details of the police officer working the case.

Between April and June 2015, I was in discussions with Airbnb to obtain compensation. More so, I had hoped that following Airbnb’s cooperation with the police, that I might be able to bring a direct claim against the guest.  The guest’s profile on Airbnb states that she provided Airbnb with an offline verification ID in the form of a passport, but Airbnb did not provide the law enforcement officer the information they indicated they had via their website. Instead, my claim was withdrawn and the case closed. Airbnb refused to communicate any further with regards to my dispute for reimbursement.

This claim was mishandled from the start, starting with Airbnb insisting I provide a crime report despite the fact that the UK authorities only give crime reference numbers, which Airbnb could then use to request the full crime report. Due to this, Airbnb excluded certain items from the claim and resorted to corporate bullying, demanding that I accept a claim I did not understand nor with which I was satisfied. Afterwards Airbnb ignored every communication on the matter until I began sending recorded delivery letters to the legal department in Eire.  But despite reopening the case they have not addressed the issue of the missing ID nor was the offer satisfactory given the delay and mishandling of the claim.

Failure to exercise proper care and attention

Airbnb makes it quite clear that we, the hosts, are not allowed to hold any copy of the guest’s ID.  The guest’s profile on Airbnb states that she provided Airbnb with an offline verification ID in the form of her passport. Unfortunately, despite several requests to provide the UK authorities with the passport of the guest responsible for the malicious damage and theft at the flat, Airbnb seemed unwilling or unable to provide that piece of information needed to get redress from the guest. I therefore find myself with no choice but to hold Airbnb responsible for the damages and inconvenience this has caused.

When Airbnb eventually responded to the issues of the missing ID in March 2016 , Airbnb claimed they did not provide the police officer with the passport information because he did not ask for it. Despite the fact that he requested all the information Airbnb had on the guest, he was only given the guest’s name and partial address. Considering the guest’s profile on Airbnb states that she provided her passport information, it is incomprehensible as to why Airbnb did not give all the information they had to the proper authorities.  Moreover, I repeatedly and personally asked Airbnb to cooperate with the police and specifically referred to the passport. Once again, Airbnb ignored the requests I sent via email, Facebook and Twitter between April 2015 and July 2015.

If Airbnb has indeed collected the offline ID as they claim to, why were they never able to produce this vital information, since we hosts are not allowed to keep a copy of the guest ID? How are the authorities supposed to investigate such incidents effectively? What is the point of using the offline and online verification as a selling point to the host? How is a host supposed to feel safe knowing that Airbnb has no intention of assisting when dealing with any form of criminal behaviour? Is the offline Verification a scam?