I am a three-year guest of Airbnb and have never had a problem until last week. I went to book a room. After getting to the confirmation page, I clicked on it and a page popped up saying I needed to verify my ID card. The cards do not scan. I have spent hours and hours on the phone and online. I received three different emails from Airbnb saying all three cards are confirmed. My government ID has a green check and verified next to it on my personal info page, and I still can’t not sign in. I was told an ambassador would contact me, along with a few other who never did contact me. Now the latest online support told me my account is going through through verification process, but they have no idea how long that will take. I’m not sure I even believe them anymore. I have been led around and lied to. The phones lines are not available now, and even the support team is not getting back to me. I have spent over $3,000 with Airbnb, and now I cannot book a room. There is no problem on my end; I even went to my banks and checked all my cards were clear. None of them have ever had a problem.
We’ve done business with Airbnb in the past and it was okay. This time around, our email address had changed, so we had to come in ‘new.’ That meant we had to go through the process of setting up a new Airbnb account, and boy, has that process changed.
First we were asked to give them a phone number so they could send us a code to proceed. I don’t like giving out my phone number, but okay. They called, I got the code, entered it, and continued. Next they wanted front and back photos of a government-issued ID with my photo, and specifically asked for a driver’s license of a passport.
Think about how much information about you is on either of those documents: they get your full name, date of birth, address, license or passport number, photo and your signature. A hacker’s dream. I instead entered pictures of two of my dogs (they later came back and said those were insufficient).
They let me continue at that point and now asked for a new picture of me using my computer camera (don’t have one) or an app they will send to my cell phone. At this point I quit and complained to their so-called ‘help’ site (never got an answer).
If this happens to you, no matter how good that rental looks, stop and think about all the personal information you’d be giving to Airbnb. No site is immune from hacking. Airbnb can claim they’ll protect your information, but that’s baloney. They don’t care about your private information or they wouldn’t ask for it. Asking for it also shows that Airbnb simply doesn’t trust you. They assume from square one that you’re trying to screw them somehow even though they will have your credit card to assure payment.
Other rental sites, like HomeAway, have rentals at comparable prices in the area you want to rent. I’ve been renting all over the world for forty years (well before Airbnb existed). These other companies don’t ask for the detail of information that Airbnb does. At least not yet.
I have been a Superhost for more than three years. I recently started to require all guests to provide a digital copy (picture via Airbnb message thread or text message) of their government-issued photo ID before check-in details are sent to them. This is for our security as hosts in case anything happens, and we need to file a small claim or lawsuit to recover for damages, fees, etc.
The requirement is disclosed in the house rules. We, as hosts, know Airbnb does not honor their one million dollar host guarantee. I called Airbnb to assist with reaching out to a particular guest who was having issues with sending their ID. The first Airbnb rep claimed that it is against their terms and conditions for guests to provide this information to the host. I told the Airbnb rep she was incorrect because I’ve done this for months and a prior Airbnb rep assisted me with this same situation for another reservation.
Long story short, I called a total of six times and four Airbnb reps says it was against their terms and conditions. Meanwhile, two said the request was alright if it was disclosed in the house rules. I requested to speak with an Airbnb case manager, and the four Airbnb reps who made the false claims about the terms and conditions would not transfer me to a case manager.
If it is true Airbnb does not allow hosts to obtain a government-issued photo ID from the guests, even when it is disclosed in the house rules, hosts have no security if anything serious arises. I would love to hear thoughts from other hosts and guests.
Hello, I am a 65 year old French citizen traveling extensively in Southeast Asia. I have been a user of Airbnb for three or four years, a guest about 20 times with 5 to 10 reviews from hosts, all positive. My ID has been checked (photos, passport copy, email address and phone numbers) many times. Airbnb still continues to ask me to send them photos and I could not book any new rentals for the last six months; they kept telling me :”It’s difficult to see you in the photo you took of yourself”; “to help us make sure it’s you, the photo of your face needs to match the photo that’s on your ID.”
I wish my face now would be the same as the one ten years ago. Passports are valid for up to ten years in France. I tried to change my profile photo (not sure which one they check anyway). I suspect their facial recognition is just automatic and crap, not done by humans. Anyway I quit. I write this because I would like hosts to know that because of Airbnb’s weak support (no way to reach them with a specific problem), they probably lose many opportunities.
As for me, either I use other providers now, or I contact hosts directly that I found on Airbnb (but now Airbnb does not get a commission anymore, which is fair enough given their weak customer experience). Only the selection is better on their site, but it is of no use as I cannot rent there anyway. Thank you for reading.
This was the last email I sent to Airbnb after significant frustration. It explains my story:
Dear Mr. Gebbia, dear Mr. Chesky, dear Mr. Blecharczyk, dear J. K., and dear Airbnb team,
I give up. I won’t write any more emails nor try to reach again any of your employees by phone. I stop thinking positive and being confident you people will clean the mess and offer me a solution. I give up on your intention of doing business properly and decently. I give up on the dream of a cool company offering cool places all around the world. I give up in trusting that you people know what you are doing. I give up on you.
What you do is purely unfair and fraudulent business: take the money and run, don’t look behind.
For the last two days my family and I have been living in a nightmare. We should have started today our holiday all together on a long drive from Spain to Austria. We had planned it months ago and had been finalizing the bookings until last Thursday. I had 3 previous experiences with Airbnb and I trusted the company. Everything would surely work well. Today we would stay in a super cosy place in Provence, tomorrow and for 3 nights we would discover Lago di Garda, we would end our trip on Saturday and Sunday visiting Venice and surroundings. Just perfect, don’t you think?
With all this great perspectives in mind I decided to book a holiday in London in October again via Airbnb. I tried to book it a few hours after completing my last booking in Italy. Suddenly it did not work as usual, I had to submit an official ID. Wow. Surprise. Not even hotels or traditional ways of booking ever required this from me. I contacted my Host in London and told her I did not agree with it and she was OK with my decision, she did not need my ID. We both contacted Airbnb asking for assistance. I only got contacted 2 days later. By that time I was already feeling not so good about the way Airbnb was handling troubles.
Your answer to my concerns was as you can see in your records: an explanation on what a trustful company Airbnb is, how much it takes care of its customers and what a wonderful world all this is. Still I did not agree to submit any ID or passport or driving licence because I don’t see the real reason for it. Airbnb has my phone number, my VISA number, my picture and my 3 successful bookings behind me, what on earth could identify me better for a potential host?
I communicated my decision not to book again with Airbnb and to stop being a customer in the future. I also requested a confirmation that my bookings for this week would not be affected since they were accepted before the new requirements came to place. You have an employee, J.K., who took the unilateral decision of deleting my account right away, without contacting me prior to this nor asking for my consent. Nevertheless he assured me “I have deleted your account, although the account is eliminated it will not affect your reservations”. In the same moment the cancellations for my 3 bookings entered my email folder. I just could not believe my eyes. J.K. had deleted my account, cancelled my bookings, made me lose a lot of money due to cancellation policies and lied in his email, or he just did not know what he was doing when he pressed the “delete” button??
So I started desperately trying to reach someone. J.K. never answered again and of course did not call to give an explanation. Between yesterday and today I spent a big amount of time and money waiting on your telephone line. I did manage to talk to 4 or 5 colleagues, in English and in German. They were all lovely, nice, young, enthusiastic, feeling so sorry about my situation, admitting the “mistake” that had been made by Airbnb, promising that my case was going to be handled with priority and I would get a call back. You know you never call back and I was not the exception: I never got a call back, although your employees tried hard to make me believe their promises (you apparently tape the conversations, so make sure to hear them). They are well trained in showing empathy for the miseries of the customers. By the way, were you aware that your managers are never in the office, never reachable, always in meetings or can not make decisions? gosh what a chaotic company I heard on the phone!
I even tried contacting you via Facebook, I thought you would maybe mind about bad news being spread in social media? Your answer was laconic. My last message was simply deleted. Censored. Great.
Here we are: my husband, my kids, my dog and myself. We could not begin our trip. Our holiday was ruined. We lost money. We have a big stress. We find no place to stay on the way. We had to extend our stay in Spain, look for new hotel. The extra costs are increasing each day. The damage is done.
I seriously expected professionals on your side. At least some decency. You don’t seem to care about the situation you put customers in and shockingly enough you don’t seem to have any intention to refund us the money you illicitly retained as cancellation policy.
I found out that there are thousands of other disappointed customers out there and I really wonder how can it be possible that this happens to so many people. What kind of company are you at all? A big shame, that is what you are. Was this the initial idea when you started this company? Cheat customers all around the world? Do you seriously think the internet is the no-law territory where you can get away with whatever you want to do?
I said at the beginning of my letter that I give up on you being professional enough to solve this mess. But I did not give up in justice being done. I give up in contacting you again. But I will contact my lawyer. The moment I manage to arrive back home I will initiate the legal measures to get a compensation for the damages caused.
Wish you a better future than the holidays you offered me.