I am writing to you to raise an issue about an Airbnb property rental on August 3rd, 2015. After using their service over many years, I only had positive references from hosts, though I did have some odd situations where I felt I was being stalked but nothing serious enough to have my accounts closed. After I began to get stalked when an incident on Twitter got out of hand, these online trolls began to target me on other websites. I still managed to find two great properties and some nice hosts. After being stalked in public unrelated to Airbnb, one host didn’t show up to meet me and his address was incorrect; I had to ask them to help me find a different place at the last minute. I found some lovely places where the hosts immediately offered me accommodation and they had secure references. Unfortunately because of the individuals stalking me, somebody contacted Airbnb and closed down my account, their excuse being because I asked them who exactly was behind messing with me. I was forced to return to the UK as I couldn’t find alternatives that weren’t Airbnbs or hostels.
I had reserved another place in advance through Airbnb. My account was reopened but after I asked them for clarification through a polite email if a third party had been behind what happened abroad, they canceled my reservation and closed my account permanently with no explanation. My solicitor tried to get them to provide a legal reason, and their response was: “We as Airbnb have the right to cancel anyone’s account without providing a valid explanation.” Since then, we haven’t had any further clarification. It’s been three years and I have been struggling to find another rental. My previous references from people I rented from were on Airbnb, so if I find a property they will ask me to provide a reference from a previous rental. I can’t do this since my account was closed down and I have no access to any of these hosts I rented from. They shouldn’t allow third party individuals or companies to manipulate their organization on whether I can or can’t use their service, or to spy on users. Support guests as much as hosts who are being troubled by online trolls or stalking problems that weren’t their fault.
The consequences of having my rentals closed had an extremely negative effect on my future travel plans in 2015. A guest’s personal possessions are not insured but of course, the host’s are. So if a friend of the host comes along and tries to steal your stuff, it’s gone. For a laugh, the corrupt company has even added a woman to their homepage that resembles me, as a piss take on me. This is how extremely arrogant they are; this wrecked three years of my life. Not only did they cause severe grievances that were a consequence of what happened thereafter, they have been arrogant to use a member as their “theme” on their site, instead of being professional and keeping quiet about what they participated in – discriminant and illegal. They are absolute hypocrites. They don’t seem to have any respect for users’ privacy so I most likely will never be able to use them again.
Somebody had told me a media production might have been stalking me through this rental service. I didn’t think that was possible until I noted recently they have even posted three film directors on their front page that have no relevance to renting. What are they doing? Hiding cameras in people’s bedrooms as part of a snuff film? They are the typical silicon valley “we’re nice hipsters but secretly we’re planing on using you, ruining your life and future plans, and closing all your rentals and accounts. We are millionaires and you’re an insignificant guest; we can do what we want.”
If you look at all the other rental providers, they have struggled to offer nice properties because Airbnb has been hogging all the best available short-term sublets. At least that’s what one rental company told me when I was struggling to find a place: they said they didn’t stand a chance in offering a lot of available places as Airbnb was taking all of them.
So if your account gets unfairly closed down, you need a flexible rental service that doesn’t ask for rental guarantors and other references, if you’re worried about your safety and are in need of finding a rental that shows exactly with whom you’re sharing and that they have been securely verified, there are very few platforms like Airbnb offering those. I tried Spareroom and Gumtree and got messed about by weirdos and trolling kids. I am desperate to find a nice home. The last time I tried to get in touch they refused to reply to my emails. Are there any other similar alternatives for rentals in the EU if not the USA, that show with whom you will be sharing the property, with profiles and verifications?