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.

Driver’s License Photo Looks Different Than I Do Today

I only wanted to make some reservations for our first family vacation to Hawaii this coming June. I was so excited. I made the first reservation with no problem – a fabulous little condo in Maui for a week. We also needed some accommodations for the Big Island, so I proceeded. When I clicked to book them, I was told that I needed to submit a photo of my driver’s license and then a selfie to verify my identification. Sounded reasonable.

It’s not an exaggeration when I say that I must have submitted those photos 17 times – I lost count. My license photo was taken either years ago – I’m pushing 50 now and have aged… well, normally, but I’ve aged. I had a significantly different hair style and color back then, in addition to the age difference. No matter how many times I took that selfie using different lighting, taking my glasses off (even though it made it so that I couldn’t see the phone), putting my hair up, leaving it down, smiling, not smiling – oh my goodness. I could not get it to match my license.

My reservations were cancelled and my money was refunded. So, I found the customer service number (no small feat) and called. I spoke with a polite and helpful rep, but his ultimate answer to my concern was that I needed another driver’s license. Well, no kidding. It happens to be up for renewal this year and of course that will happen. Even if I could get to DMV today, there’s no way it will be in my hands for two to four weeks, and time is of the essence in making these reservations.

The rep told me that he couldn’t get a person to look at the difference between the two photos, that it was all done by algorithm. He is going to escalate the issue, but I don’t have a lot of confidence at this point. Keep in mind that I get through airport security with this identification. The photo doesn’t look dissimilar; it just may take a second glance. Honestly, what does a person have to do to give Airbnb money? I’ve already started looking at other sites, such as VRBO, but I was really happy with the selections that we made with Airbnb. I am so frustrated and discouraged.