I just recently logged onto Airbnb to book a trip to Phoenix with my partner. As soon as I booked the trip and included him on the itinerary, I was locked out of my account. When I told him what happened, he noticed he was locked out of his account also. I kept trying to reset my password, but the screen never refreshed and I continued to stay locked out.
I called customer service three times. They kept giving me the runaround and said that someone would contact me in 2-24 hours. This did not happen. By the end of 24 hours, I had read many a forum response about numerous others who were banned permanently from Airbnb. I learned that the best way to get a response was via their social media, so I contacted them on Airbnb Help via Twitter.
Someone responded promptly to let me know that a Support Ambassador would reach out to me via email. Someone from the Trust Team later reached out to inform me that Airbnb could no longer support my account, and that I would not be able to create a new one. Meanwhile, my partner informed me that he received an email from Airbnb’s background check company Inflection that there was a criminal records’ match to his name and account. He was banned because of a conviction from 20 years ago… that he had already recently received a pardon for.
The crazy part is, we have traveled for many years on Airbnb with no problem. It was likely that going through the hard work of obtaining the pardon had triggered a change in his report, which ended up showing up on his Inflection report. I, therefore, was banned by association. I was banned because I booked a trip that included him.
We had not gone on the trip yet, I had simply paid for it and put his name and email down to receive the itinerary. I haven’t so much as missed one single day of school between Kindergarten and 12th grade (I kid you not) and I am now banned permanently from Airbnb.
As I stated before, we have traveled with Airbnb for years and have only received positive reviews on both of our accounts. We are Chicago children’s party entertainers (jugglers, face painters, and balloon twisters) who strive to bring positivity to the children, family, and world around us. Airbnb has allowed us to do this in an affordable fashion. We booked our first ever Airbnb for our first ever gig where my partner married two people as a nonspeaking mime.
It is incredibly disappointing that Airbnb would treat us or any people this way. I keep contacting them on Airbnb Help and have even gone so far as to email Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia personally. My partner has uploaded all of his pardon paperwork onto Inflection. We are both still banned. I am waiting to see if someone else responds about my appeal, but I don’t have high hopes considering all of the things I have read about other people who have been banned for outrageously smaller things.
I would like us all to come together to enact change. It might be easy to ignore a few small voices, but if we speak together as one full voice, perhaps we will be heard. No one should be punished for taking a positive action in their life, and it doesn’t feel right that a periphery person is punished also as collateral. This feels discriminatory.
If I cannot get some movement via this post, I would like to look into contacting the press to share my story. Please reach out to me if you have any contacts or ideas.