1) Company: Doesn't like dealing with problem users/clients.
2) Company institutes policy saying that they can do whatever they want with no explanation. This makes it more efficient to handle the problem users.
3) Sanctioned users are now more frustrated than before because they aren't even given any explanation of what happened.
4) Users who are tech savvy take to social media or use personal networks to get special dispensations (see: every time someone posts on HN about a problem with their Google account and gets special intervention).
5) Company: Is happy because there is still an informal workaround for dealing with sufficiently motivated users or weird cases.
6) Users: Are left more powerless and potentially frustrated than when they had more sane tech support channels, but the company doesn't have to care about this.
This seems really suboptimal and the OP's comments on power imbalances seem on target. [edit: formatting, wording.]
Arguably, that's already the case. The combined rights given in articles 15, 16 and 22 make it very difficult to legally justify a policy of banning people without explanation or appeal, especially if that process is automated. At the very least, you have the right to see any data used in that decision-making process and to have any inaccurate data corrected.
I'm kind of surprised that this is in the GDPR, I thought it had been part of consumer protection regulations for much longer. Maybe that was only in specific EU jurisdictions.
Sometime in the last century, this idea was implanted by big businesses in the media and therefore the thoughts of the citizenry that regulation is more than anything, just people who couldn't succeed in business bullying people who are, and that shit is so fucking dangerous that it makes me shake. Amazon, AirBNB, Google, Facebook, Apple, none of these companies give a FUCK about you any further than they are legally required to, not one iota further, and we constantly bemoan our politicians over having a "too regulated" business environment.
Unfortunately the US is very influential globally, in various ways. eg trade agreements, or just brutally implementing neo-liberal economics on weak countries they can coerce economically and/or militarily.
The US has also (having effectively no anti-trust for decades) has let many corporations based or founded there grow to unprecedented sizes and power.
Theres also other countries /areas (Jersey, Cayman Islands, etc.) that make a business of tailoring their laws to allow corporations to avoid paying taxes, pollute, hide data, censor journalists etc.
Regulation in the abstract is neither good nor bad, the particulars of the regulation are what is important.
You can be critical and suspicious of onerous government regulations while still appreciating that there are many reasonable uses for regulations.
That's fair. Should've been more specific about that, it's a very American thing.
Regulatory capture is a real thing too. Regulation isn't obviously positive just because there are reasons people trot out to justify it.
You're right, companies don't generally care about me. But neither does the Social Security Administration, the Department of Justice, my local police department, my local school board, or any post office in which I've ever found myself.
You, like most Americans tend to do, are failing to understand the democratic concept and the responsibilities it must entail.
A healthy democracy is very possible. It requires 2 basic things:
- An fair and flat electoral process with sufficient protections against financial and propagandistic inequalities.
- An engaged and educated populace, elections produce politicians who serve the electorate.
The second one is a catch-22. An educated populace requires quality education requires a healthy democracy. for that reason, when things go wrong, they are extremely hard to get right again. This is why public education and a focus on humanities has such a deep legacy in the history of building democracies. Without both, short-sighted and/or self-interested thinking like yours will doom the arrangement.
"You're right, companies don't generally care about me. But neither does the Social Security Administration, the Department of Justice, my local police department, my local school board, or any post office in which I've ever found myself."
I've found that those agencies tend to care more about me than random companies. The rep at any of those places might not be able to help, but I can usually get them to try.
I think that last sentence could only be honestly written by someone who's lived their whole life in a society protected by strong regulatory structures. The massive benefits of regulation are taken for granted and forgotten, but the problems of implementation that still exist are magnified out of proportion.
Government bureaucracy is certainly not perfect, but lets not kid ourselves that it's worse than the alternative.
And the answer to your question is: a functioning legislature that's accountable to its constituents, and competently exercises its oversight role.
> Regulatory capture is a real thing too.
But rather than a call for less regulation, it's really a call for better oversight of the regulators.
Certain parts of the social security administration (or equivalent) also care. They want to help people, that's what it's for. It depends on where you end up, if your case fits like a cog in the bureaucracy, that's what you'll get, it's efficient. But it's a social safety net for a reason, what else do the people do, whose jobs it is to guide people around and make sure they arrive at the right part of the bureaucracy, if not care?
There could be even more care, but when I see the homeless in other countries, how many are on the streets for no other reason than mental health, I think we're doing pretty good. I always judge a society by how they treat those who are the worst off. Lifting that very lowest rung, that is the only real progress in a society.
Oh you know another funny thing, your example about post offices? You probably remember those heart-warming stories of a grand-child addressing a drawing to "granpa" and the post office somehow figuring out where it should go (and similar stories). That kinda stopped when the postal service got privatised into multiple competing businesses. The delivery guy that belongs to the now-privatised previously-government postal service still has a pretty good idea who lives in the street, whether I have new neighbours, makes a (very short) chat. The delivery people of other delivery services, that have always been private, do not.
I'm sorry but in my experience everything points that government regulated services and the like inherently allow their clerks to care more than a private business.
I just imagined what it would be like if the local neighbourhood police got privatised. Brrr.
You and people like you talk as though the various regulatory bodies simply issue an edict and every corporation is obligated to oblige that very second, and it's ridiculous.
1. The regulations themselves are often based heavily upon opinions and trusted advice from people who actively are or who formerly were in the industry being regulated, not simply dreamed up and pulled from someone's ass
2. There is an entire months long process of discussion, meeting, decisions, appeals, revisions, etc. engaged in between experts on both sides, lawyers on both sides, etc. By the time a regulation becomes required law, it's likely been attended to by a few hundred if not thousand people from both private enterprise and Government over months if not YEARS of work.
3. Once a regulation becomes law, companies often have months of forewarning to get into compliance. In the event that a business is non-compliant with something, unless it's immediately life threatening, they are given warnings, written warnings, guidance, possible solutions, etc. Regulators are not some comic book villain trying to fuck over mom and pop stores. They are attempting to ensure the safety, efficiency, and long life of everyone involved in a business. They want you to be compliant, not to file paperwork and shut you down.
> As bad as this example is, have you never heard of the nightmares people fall into dealing with government bureaucracies?
Oh I have, and for years and years I took them at face value but ANECDOTE IS NOT EVIDENCE. Almost every time you hear about some person who ended up on the wrong end of a regulator's pen, if you start digging you'll find a long history of shady ass behavior from that person which is conveniently omitted from their account of the events, for I'm sure totally-not-lying reasons.
> Regulation isn't obviously positive just because there are reasons people trot out to justify it.
The vast majority of regulations are written in the blood of the people who had to die to show us that storing some chemical in a break room gave every 3rd employee cancer, or every person who ate fish from a polluted river who didn't know that the chemicals in it would destroy their bodies. The fact that you personally don't understand whatever is behind a given regulation, does not make it unimportant or frivolous.
> But neither does the Social Security Administration, the Department of Justice, my local police department, my local school board, or any post office in which I've ever found myself.
Except you can affect those if you get off your dead ass and vote.
The very same interests that subvert regulations then use that subversion to say regulations, "in general" are bad, without explicitly saying what the alternative would be. No regulations, or less corruption? What, exactly, are you arguing for?
It probably happened to you because of something to do with this thread, since the dead comments start just after that: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16236350
I don't think that view is natural in common citizens, but rather it's the result of effective, long-term propaganda (a.k.a. public relations ) campaigns by those who the regulations typically protect against (businesses and their owners, mostly) and who therefor have to comply with them.
You'd think this be common knowledge, right? But only yesterday I saw someone here arguing that Tesla is somehow an exception to this rule and really does and will care about us and the planet. I remember believing similar good things about Google in the very early 2000s (that did not last long for me).
EDIT: Downvote if you disagree.
From the article:
> ...have exercised our discretion under our Terms of Service to disable your account(s)
The language here implies that the account still exists in a suspended state, and is not deleted. If you're a european, under the GDPR they must give you all your data if you ask for it. Maybe this would include the reason they banned the account.
Otherwise, you can at least demand that they erase the data they're holding only to your disadvantage.
So complaints from user1 about user2 or customer service notes about user2 wouldn't be considered personal data of user2 and thus wouldn't fall under GDPR rules.
If this isn't the correct interpretation, I would appreciate a pointer to something in the GDPR that elaborates on this.
Why wouldn't it? If it's data about an identifiable individual then - by definition - it is personal data.
Furthermore, in the ICO's recent report into political parties' use of personal data, they expressed the following view:
"Our investigation found that political parties did not regard inferred data as personal information as it was not factual information. However, the ICO’s view is that as this information is based on assumptions about individuals’ interests and preferences and can be attributed to specific individuals, then it is personal information and the requirements of data protection law apply to it."
 https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-taken/2259369/democracy... p29
For example, consider a website that maintains a collection of birthdays for public figures derived from public sources (historical documents, news accounts, social media posts from the public figures themselves, etc.). In many jurisdictions the birth dates might even be available via public record searches.
Clearly the birth dates are "personal data" in the colloquial sense of the phrase, but I don't think that the data as held by the website operator would be subject to the GDPR provisions, right?
Personal data is _any_ information about an identified (or identifiable) natural person.
It absolutely, positively does require that disclosure. Article 15 states:
"The data subject shall have the right to obtain from the controller confirmation as to whether or not personal data concerning him or her are being processed, and, where that is the case, access to the personal data"
"Personal data" is defined in Article 4 as:
"any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (‘data subject’); an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person;".
If I have any information* that can be related to you by any identifier, directly or indirectly, it is personal data within the scope of GDPR. Server logs, invoices, customer service records, CCTV footage, emails between employees that mention your name or username, the whole kit and caboodle.
The definition of "processing" given in Article 4 includes storage.
The regulations would be a farce if I could hoover up data about you from third parties or through surveillance technology, but you had no rights over that data simply because you didn't provide it to me.
Does it refer only to facts about a person, or does it include opinions and business decisions made by the company about that person? If one employee tells another by email that they dislike a particular customer and asks to have them banned, is that the customer's personal information in itself?
1. Yes, when exercising your "right of access", companies would have to send you all the personal data they have on you, except when disclosing this information would harm others (ie: notes of your manager about your performance or the example you gave) The exception does not mean that they can blankly refuse to give you any data, only the "offensive" part must be refused. By definition, that is still considered personal data however. As M2Ys4U mentioned: inferred data is also personal data.
2. there is a case where you don't have to provide all information: the right of data portability only applies to data provided by the data subject.
3. Someone is referencing article 14 below. That is not the same as giving access to data. Article 14 specifies how a data subject must be informed about processing of his data when you've received the data from someone else. For example: you've received someone's info from a recruiter and you now want to process his data to see if this person is a valid prospect. The article works together with article 13 (how to inform a data subject on what you are doing with the data he gives to you directly). Together, these articles are the reason for 50% of the privacy notices of the last couple of months :-)
Article 14 explicitly talks about data not provided by the data subject, further clarifying that it is in scope.
* are my interview notes during the hiring process "personal data" subject to GDPR provisions (disclosure, destruction, etc).
* are my business meeting notes with a contractor subject to GDPR?
It might not unless the definition is really stretched. It's not data collected about you. Otherwise every email some employee sends discussing this situation would also need to be included.
It's quite obviously personal data within the definitions used in GDPR. It's information that can be related to a natural person; those two criteria are the only criteria that must be satisfied for data to be regulated under the GDPR.
>Otherwise every email some employee sends discussing this situation would also need to be included.
Yep. If the contents of those emails can be related to a natural living person by any identifier (name, username, email address, account number etc) then it's personal data.
Take Facebook as an example, when you request your personal data, they present what is linked in their database to you, which is of course not where anyone mentions your name. Who is to say that my name (Paul Smith) identifies me and not some other Paul?
That is what they mean with "indirect identification" in the link provided by jdietrich.
Github stole my 4-character username ("mind") to hand over to some machine learning startup-lookalike. Their official justification is it had been inactive for over two years (it had not), and a third party had reported it (to take, obviously). There was also no pre or even post notice, just the next time I logged in it showed up already changed. I could have easily and promptly responded to any notice - the lack of account activity was due to being occupied with the fallout from a significant death in the family.
I tried emailing customer service, but of course there's no need to consider facts when they've got policies.
I thought about trying to raise a social media stink when they were being acquired by Microsoft. But at the end of the day it's just not worth trying to craft a narrative to be received by the "web 2.0 class". I had enjoyed having the short name as Github is obviously a common center for bug reports etc, and I figured I'd eventually mirror repositories there. But at this point any illusion of cromulence they had is gone, and repos need to first be published on a real solution anyway. So whatever.
Wow ok, I'd just like to be crystal clear here.
1. Your github userid was 'mind', and you had used that ID.
2. With no notice, github changed which persons/entities had access to/owned that ID.
I assume repos and gists were moved to your new ID? May I ask what they changed it to?
Were you a member of any organizations?
My username was forcibly changed to "mind-zz". I found this out a mere 2 months after it happened, upon logging in.
Admittedly, my account did have little activity. I used it to make a bona fide Rust bug report, logged in at various other times to check said bug report or just look around, and then life happened.
So there weren't public URLs that were being relied on. Although according to the customer service response, they would have done the exact same thing even if it had copious early activity.
Presumably there's more of an invisible line based on how much your usage looks like you're dependent on them, and how much of a public disruption it would cause. But that's the point - the actual Rust repo isn't about to get yanked out from under all of us, and people that fit the mold of creating their new repos on Github are probably fine. But the less you're in the "community" the more you're at the mercy of their arbitrariness.
I'm pretty sure that if this practice was widely known, there would be some tangible ire directed toward github, at least in the hacker/dev community.
> Although according to the customer service response, they would have done the exact same thing even if it had copious early activity.
Are you comfortable pasting that response in here? Thanks!
> Thanks for reaching out and my apologies for any worry this change has caused you. First, let me assure you that there has been no unauthorized access to your account: your username was changed by GitHub staff.
> We were contacted last March by someone with interest in claiming@@mind@@ for their own use. Upon inspection, we found that your account had not been accessed in over two years and we believed it to be abandoned. We released the username so another user could register it, per our name squatting policy: https://help.github.com/articles/name-squatting-policy
(AsteriskAsterisk was changed to @@ due to HN formatting)
As I said above, my account definitely had been accessed within the past two years. And it had been created and immediately used. And given that I do email on my own domain, it was pretty easy to see that this wasn't part of some farm of accounts. (I responded with all these points, to no avail).
And now here I am again justifying my own position in terms of their deliberately wide-open policy, to make sure I stay on the right side of public consensus - really, if I was "name squatting", then so is anyone who takes a break from using a service.
My guess is that someone greased the rules behind the scenes for a friend's startup. Which is of course is illegible to "support", so they just end up running interference.
(This had completely slipped my mind - it's been a hell of a year).
The only reason I maintain a Twitter account is that it seem to be the only way to engage the "good" customer support at so many companies these days.
When I was having trouble with my U-verse TV box, AT&T sent me a new one and then scheduled a tech to come out a few days later to "install" it. I plugged it up and called AT&T to have them activate the box, but they refused to let me give them the relevant serial number from the box to activate it over the phone and were adamant they had to send a tech to do it. I complained into the void on Twitter and AT&T replied asking me to DM them the relevant information(account number, serial number, etc) and they got it turned on in five minutes. They still couldn't/wouldn't cancel the tech visit so he showed up and we told him he wasn't needed.
I've heard enough people say the same thing to assume it must be true. I also saw a lot of this type of complaining (usually expressed in hyperbolic, super-outraged language) when I used to use Twitter.
This seems very counter intuitive though. Why would a company want to encourage people to make complaints in the most public way possible? It makes the company look bad, and encourages opportunistic complaining (I'm sure there are people who feign outrage over some small issue in the hope of being sent some coupons or a discount code).
Surely they'd be better off investing in private complaints channels (email, chat etc), and making it clear that you'll get the fastest response by using those.
I wonder if it's because the customer service channels were often outsourced or off-shored years ago, and are hidden behind layers of process and management. Whereas the head of marketing has the company Twitter account on her phone.
It's a perverse result of treating customer service as a cost center. The department that you call when you have a problem has targets - average call duration, cost per resolution etc. On a micro level, that seems fairly rational. They want customer service representatives to deal with complaints as quickly and cheaply as possible. On a macro level it's largely irrational, especially in the age of social media. Those CSRs are incentivised to fob off customers, who are then incentivised to complain on social media.
The problem persists because of a division of responsibility - private complaints are resolved with resources from the customer support budget, but public complaints are resolved with resources from the marketing budget. For the customer service department, it's hard to argue that you should spend $200 to please a customer who is only worth $20 a year. For the marketing department, it's a no-brainer to spend $400 to prevent a social media shitstorm.
Fixing that problem requires either strong leadership from the very top of the org chart, or tremendous bravery from just below the top. Someone has to make the case for the company losing fairly large sums of money in customer support expenses to prevent the risk of people badmouthing them on Twitter. Loss aversion cuts both ways - you don't want to spend the money to prevent a hypothetical, but you'll spend the money in a heartbeat to fix a bad news story.
I think the topic here is that customer support only/mainly replies in a constructive and interested manner when the issue is brought to public, e.g. on Twitter, because now they are being publicly called out for their behavior. Appalling, but appears to be true.
On the other hand, when using private channels for customer support you'll get responses that range from being passed around by call center operators that are powerless (and thus useless) to solve your problem, to downright being lied to.
Private support channels, namely those operated by real people, are costly, making Support a constant target for budget cuts rather than actual, professional management (that "investment" you mentioned). Plus, these channels are known for their hostile/toxic environments and meager paychecks, so it seems unfair to expect high quality professional customer support from the "official" channels; but the bean counters made the budget work, hooray!
Because it's public, they act on it. I'm completely certain they'd prefer to be doing off-Twitter support, via the complex phone tree, emails that take 72 hours for a response, etc., but they don't have that option.
Sure, some people would still complain in public just to make a scene (because some people are like that) but presumably the number would go down.
Either way, it likely gets them out of a lot of expensive Twitter support, as people (should) go "nooooope" when asked by a random stranger for that info.
I can't imagine why Amazon could justify blocking the Kindle version, maybe (and this is a stretch) the scanned content may have triggered some security check?
I'm nobody and I get way too many solicitations as it is. I can't even imagine the volume received by the wealthiest man on Earth.
It's also worth noting that these customer service failures are only newsworthy when the platform has ubiquity. That is, getting banned only matters if it locks you out of a significant portion of a market.
As others point out there are some industries that have consumer protections. For example, Visa basically cannot single out individuals to be ineligible for Visa cards. It's worth considering whether these protections should be extended to any company controlling large market segments.
Maybe machine learning can (ironically) bring some humanity back to customer service. And I don't mean infuriating, worthless chatbots. I mean instead of having single-criteria lists of "offenses" that trigger bans have machine learning models that can look at customers holistically in a way that would be very difficult to manually program. This approach could be taken now using "dumb" scoring and weighting algorithms, but it would require a lot of manual work tweaking and analyzing.
It is sad that you have to do this, but it might be the most effective option. It might also help others in the same situation.
State Attorneys General can still do things, sometimes.
Sadly, there will be false positives. Legitimate users that get mistakenly banned need recourse. Traditionally, your recourse was through the law. But courts are so slow and inefficient that it takes months and thousands of dollars to get even the simplest thing decided, let alone some kind of he-said-she-said dispute like the case here.
If I were the OP, I'd just sign up again with a burner phone number.
- Company abuses contract (imo fraudulently but they can always say it's negligence)
- Company waits to see if user is motivated enought to take action against them
- As more and more company do this, less and less people are capable to keep up with the extra work (support calls, letters, judicial action) and less and less "honest" alternatives exist.
=> Today's world
It's kind of a capitalist darwin selection.
There is an easy solution: Tell all your friends that they should avoid companies that have such a policy in their terms of service and create a public blacklist of such companies including an explanation what policy in their terms of service justifies putting the company on this blacklist.
edit: Also, in my experience running businesses, the 10% of the customers cause 90% of the problems, so eliminating them results in much greater profits and cost savings. And if the problem customer is not high value, then there isn't much incentive in dealing with them.
As for the ISPs, this often isn't even about the customers being annoying, but simply their subscriber line being rotten or in an undocumented state which to sort out is too complicated for the tech-drones.
It is not an all-or-nothing, but an "avoid, except for these two exotic use cases, for which there currently exists no alternative (and as soon as there exists one, drop also these)".
Not to say I applaud Google's strategy - I think it is horrific.
I know I can have a bad experience with a traditional company but I also know they're not just gonna close my account and persona non grata me with no appeal. It's kinda sad that these sharing economy businesses are even more heartless than the incumbents in some ways.
What exactly is it that AirBnB provides that hotels don't? I like staying at AirBnBs, but there are lots of alternatives depending on exactly what components of the services they provide you require.
If you care about privacy, this is not a bug, but a feature.
After my recent bad experience with Airbnb and reading this story, I'm going to give them another look.
In countries without proper consumer protection laws and regulations, mind you.
This is the same reason I roll my eyes when a ride sharing app asks me to rate a driver - I assume anything less than 5 stars is going to kill their work so I just give 5 stars. The one time I had a bad experience (nice driver, liked to talk, but could not drive and talk and almost got us killed), I just skipped the review entirely.
I have this working theory that we (people privileged enough to spend lots of time per day on the Internet) are getting close to being able to spend our time in fictional spaces; one of the reasons for that is the fact we spend a lot of goddamn time lying about things in order to make systems work the way we want. Now let's you and I sit down and talk about what 4 stars in iTunes/ Spotify/ whatever means in your personal system . . .
> almost got us killed
This seems like a perfectly acceptable time to kill someone's ability to do a job, if they're bad enough at it that they can literally kill the people they're working with.
I’m all for the sharing economy and helping people out but I draw a line at safety. If you cannot drive you will get a bad rating. Sorry.
Um, maybe... maybe you should? I don't understand this hesitation to accurately rate people who are bad at their job, to a level where someone can be seriously injured.
What exactly does it take some of y'all to give someone less than 5 stars? "Hit a child in a crosswalk, 4 stars"
Response from the judiciary: The prosecutor won’t charge the guy, because the French courts are overwhelmed with same situations with multi-casualty accidents. I wonder how we got here.
Regarding you comment: I do it every time - I also indicate in the review what was wrong. If you can barely drive you should not drive anyone around. Sorry.
It was busy alright.
The owner was running around like a mad person furiously cleaning tables.
I enjoyed my meal, the service was great, but as we were leaving I was disgusted to see the owner (who was cleaning tables, mind you) cough into her hand and then use that same hand to wipe down a table.
I noticed her voice sounded a bit off as well.
Anyways sure enough, the next day, I got sick.
When I told my friends I was considering leaving a 1 star review for that restaurant as a result... they were dumfounded... how could I possibly... you pariah you!
I was flabbergasted.
This restaurant owner came into her own restaurant knowing she was sick, and was publicly cleaning tables with dirty hands that she was coughing into... and I was the one getting pushback for wanting to leave a 1 star review as a result.
I left the review, the owner apologized and essentially admitted that she had come into work sick.
But I still feel weird about the whole ordeal.
What's the point of a review system if you are pressured to always be positive? No matter the circumstances?
How many times it has happened that you at the same thing as other people and you were the only one sick? Plenty, I am sure.
This transpired a long time ago now.
However the fact that you got sick doesn't prove anything at all. It could have been one of hundreds of coincidences that we come across every day that we don't really pay attention to until it matters.
I once left a 2 star review because we had to wait 15 minutes in a restaurant before we could order so we stood up and went elsewhere. Last week I gave a Uber driver 4 stars because he took other road than the GPS suggested and we ended up in a traffic jam costing us about 10 minutes.
But even if it was their opening day... it is unacceptable to be cleaning tables if you are sick to the point that you're coughing everywhere.
Capitalism shouldn't trump common sense.
I do the same. I feel like Uber drivers are already living in a world that's way too close to that Black Mirror episode, and as someone who probably makes a lot more money than they do, I'm not really comfortable having that kind of power over them. I feel like rating them 5 stars is the least I can do for someone who's doing a difficult and low-paid job and doesn't really deserve to be under constant scrutiny.
Only when someone shows weakness does the hive mind pounce and pile on the negative reviews.
On this note, off-topic: I had a realization the other day that we are so close to being able to replace ourselves on a regular basis with our devices. Our devices are near-perfect proxies for our physical presence, especially with tech like video chat and interacting with our physical world via app or other digital medium. Especially for people like me, who physically carry their ID/debit card strapped to their device via wallet case.
I've been picturing ordering an Uber, and instead of getting in the car...I just throw my phone in the back! On some sort of video call. That driver knows where to take "me" - lets say my meeting. That driver can check who I "am" by checking the ID in my phone's wallet case, etc.
Obviously there are a lot of holes in this, what if the driver steals my cards, etc. What intrigues me though is the idea that our phones could be stand-in proxies for us. It gets even more interesting when you take drones into account...could I fly my device to a bank with my ID and debit card attached and request a withdrawal of cash via video chat?
Reminded me of the Black Mirror episode Nosedive. May be we are already there. On watching the episode I thought that would never happen. But things change so slowly that it feels completely normal later.
I can't ever issue a chargeback on an Amazon charge, as doing so would risk thousands of dollars of Kindle books as well as some fairly important stuff in AWS.
(And no, a separate AWS account doesn't help. If they can link them both to you, they'll take action against both.)
Their final advice was to initiate a chargeback on the Visa card with my bank (this wasn't an Amazon card) and they wouldn't challenge the chargeback. I confirmed 3 times with Amazon support whether this would be counted against me in any way. They assured me, no, it wouldn't. I don't believe them but did the chargeback anyway. So far, so good, but I'm super hesitant to do returns with Amazon anymore. These giants are really doing a good job training their customers to bend over.
My concern is more the "I got a counterfeit, going through support didn't work" sort of scenario, where Amazon tells me they've investigated and don't agree I deserve a refund.
I am probably the worst Amazon customer ever.
I have had packages left outside my door (and stolen), I have had packages sent empty (like not opened... empty), I have called Amazon to complain about a microphone (and then found out it was the sound card output that was fucked)
Every single time they have sided with me. I'm sure they bring the banhammer on people who do really fradulent stuff but I've never had an issue with chargebacks.
OT: this is exactly the reason why DRM/"licensed content" only harms legitimate users.
My inner cynic can't help but think this would be filled with the digital equivalent of vexatious litigants with the end result being yet another firm that will ban you at the drop of a hat.
"Thank you for calling the Parking Violations Bureau. To plead Not Guilty, press 1 now."
"Your plea has been [no pause] rejected."
We had a scary experience where Airbnb allowed a VERY aggressive host with a documented history of violence to continue. The listing is still active today.
I wrote them a long letter with facts which began:
> I am sending this to make clear in writing that this listing is extremely unsafe for travelers.
> We were harassed, feared for our safety, and left early as a result of drunk management on the property. We filed charges with the Maui Police Department for harassment, and we have since learned that the host John [redacted] is a convicted felon who has had the police out for harassment, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest before and has been ordered by the courts to "obtain and maintain mental health treatment or services, including anger management treatment or services, [or] domestic violence intervention".
> He has been in and out of court since at least 2004 and was most recently arrested on [redacted] 2014, barely a week before we arrived. I believe that the situation on this property is extremely unsafe and I cannot keep silent in good conscience, even though the host has threatened me and my family.
I detailed the event further for a page or so, and sent Airbnb all the prior police reports. The host was even using a fake wife alias to run the listing.
Airbnb's response was to refund us our money in full, but they never pulled the host, nor did they publish our negative review of the location. The only action seems to be that they required him to use his own profile instead of the fake wife's profile.
So it's much more than just prioritizing hosts over guests financially, Airbnb also prioritizes keeping a profitable host more than keeping guests safe.
Yes, except that at least with the Chinese social credit system you presumably know what your score is and what rules you are supposed to follow.
I expect that Airbnb, Facebook, Google et al will find it highly profitable to maintain and monetise lists of how credit-worthy / reliable / conscientious / conformist people are. Their neural nets' verdict on you will be both opaque and unchallengable.
> We’re becoming increasingly dependent on a handful of major tech giants to get through our basic daily routine. Imagine waking up one day and no longer being able to check your Gmail, buy things on Amazon, or book an Uber.
Quite. Do anything the new corporate oligarchies don't like, and you're an unperson.
It's not like "don't talk about what really happened at Tiananmen Square" (or an equivalent message) is explicitly taught.
If I want a professional hotel experience, I stay at a hotel. If I wanted a less predictable experience from people playing at running a hotel, I'd stay at one of these amateur hotels.
To be sure, there are excellent hotel-grade Airbnb places. But just like there are excellent Uber/Lyft drivers, there are others who are simply cosplaying taxi driver.
It's the nature of the "gig economy." And why I avoid it.
I really appreciate a nice hotel and often opt for that, however the ability to rent an entire freestanding home (or flat) is a game changer for families and groups traveling.
I find that there are some pretty simple heuristics you can employ to avoid these bad airbnb experiences ... the quality of the home/unit can instantly be assessed by looking at the bathroom and kitchen pictures. If you see shower curtains, you pass - if you see glass shower doors, you proceed. A high end surface and a nice range/stove in the kitchen pictures tell you everything you need to know about the unit.
As for the hosts, never, ever book with new hosts and always discuss things over the phone and get a sense as to whom you are dealing with.
The nicer and more expensive the unit, the better the experience you will have.
Ain't that a bit of a bootstrapping problem.
There will always be people willing to take a risk.
There's honestly not much that can go wrong with an Airbnb experience as a guest, unless you're doing some weird spa cycle arrangement like the person in this story did, are gambling on a first-time host, or have some bizarre fluke. If they lie about any of the amenities or anything else in the listing it's simple to bring it up with Airbnb.
I've reached the point where I can't find a single reason to actually stay in a hotel anymore, no matter where I'm traveling (internationally or in the US).
The main reasons (cost aside) are unresponsive hosts, late hosts, and incorrect details. I've never had any 'weird' arrangements either, just normal stays.
Hell, people's experiences like this person's are reason enough.
That's interesting. Every now and again I'll look at Airbnb, just to see if it's changed much; especially if I'm trying to stay in an area with few choices.
Often all I see are spare bedrooms or studio apartments that people are putting online for more than the nearby hotels charge. I even remember seeing listings for couches, not even entire rooms. But I don't remember if that was Airbnb, or another service.
But room service, for me, is often a requirement. I'll pay extra for room service because with the way my business trips are scheduled, it's a necessity. Bonus points if it's available 24 hours.
I use Airbnb a lot, but I actually agree with what you're saying. If you want a profession hotel experience, stay at a hotel. Sometimes it's preferable to have more space, maybe a kitchen, and more privacy, even if it means giving up daily maid service, a front desk, or other typical hotel amenities.
I completely disagree with this. 99% of Lyft drivers pass the very low bar of being able to drive somewhere without getting into an accident, which is all most people care about when they need a ride.
I like apartments, cabins, tiny "boutique" B&Bs and similar. I like not meeting any staff; I don't want room service or a spa or a gym or any other such services. I like not being in some obnoxious city center. I like to have a real kitchen with a dining table; I like having multiple rooms and maybe a balcony or private back yard. Those places are generally hard to find, are often marketed towards large groups (and priced accordingly) or rich people, and are often much more expensive than on AirBnB.
There's no technical reason why someone couldn't build a nice hotel like that, of course.
In the meantime imagine your electricity provider cutting your power because you gave a bad Yelp review to one of the people individually producing solar power and distributing it through the provider's grid. Or some other similar scenario.
The internet itself is still not even close to being regulated as a utility, decades after it became indispensable for our lives. So Google or Amazon? How would that even work?
This is a tough problem, and I don't think it's going to be solved so easily.
Electric, gas, water, sewage, trash, these all became utilities. The internet itself might also become one. Or some of the services relying on the internet like mail, shopping, accommodation, etc. I expect it will take a while though.
Disclaimer: I am an investor in an Airbnb compliance management startup
Like the internet is? Oh...
Also, the court decision was quite vague, tailored to a specific case and left future rulings open.
Citation? This is the first I've heard of this. Certainly, of course, there were multiple bakeries in the area, but I've never heard that the bakery was specifically chosen because they knew that it would reject the order, and they'd go to court over it. That's not described in any of the court filings or news articles I've seen.
According to the Denver Post, it was recommended to the couple by the person planning their reception: https://www.denverpost.com/2018/06/04/charlie-craig-david-mu...
“The only reason that we chose Masterpiece Cakeshop was it was in close proximity to our reception restaurant,” Craig said. “The person helping us plan that had used them in the past.”
As power becomes more concentrated, abuse of that power gets more likely.
We could've had a world where people can stay anywhere in the world for free. Instead we let a bunch of VC-funded bros convince us that adding a gatekeeper to the short term rental market was a good idea.
We all need to think carefully about the consequences of our actions online, from building such applications to using them. I refuse to use AirBnB after being stuck out in the middle of nowhere and basically told to go whistle. I'm not the only person where the bad experience has been a result of AirBnB's handling of the situation, but it was us as users that enabled AirBnB to get into it's partial monopoly situation by evangelising so much for it in the early days./
 - http://media.mako.cc/hill-whither_peer_production-libreplane...
Hosting on Couchsurfing is a way to meet other travelers and show them around your city, and most importantly, you don't get paid.
Hosting on AirBnb is a business. AirBnb is far closer to HomeAway and VRBO. These existed before too, but their usability was terrible and they were prone to scams.
But yeah, they aren't really the same thing. There is some overlap since it could be difficult to cover every day that you wanted to visit (and there isn't always enough hostel beds available, which are closer to the same idea), but for anyone who really preferred AirBnB it was better for everyone that they not be on couchsurfing.
That aside banning people for external reviews is nonsense. What’s next, banning someone for speaking (literally talking) about their negative experience?
I have the right to not engage you. You don't have the right to compel me to engage.
As much as Airbnb made this worse that it had to be, I think the flip-side is much worse. Imagine if by some authority one individual was compelled to buy a good from or perform a service for another individual.
So it seems like they didn’t agree to such nonsense. It actually seems that the host ought to be the one kicked off AirBnB for not providing the room being rented for the entirety of the agreed upon dates.
A vacate-type condition really ought to be against the TOS.
Price can't be cheap, because "cheap" already means "available at low price".
Turns out rules are kinda necessary.
Or are you just taking the opportunity to get on your soapbox to complain about AirBnB?
IRT the OP, it seemed as if they wanted him to leave the premises early. Forcefully removing a guest would (I assume) fall under eviction. This is legal in certain circumstances. From :
> Hotels may generally evict a guest and keep the room rental payment, despite the eviction, for the following reasons:
> disorderly conduct
The host's review attempts to call the guest disorderly. If we assume that the host's review was 100% accurate, I don't think that could be called disorderly. A hassle to the host? Certainly. Disorderly? Doubtful. Again - the host made an error with the time, and the host wanted the guest to leave early. It would seem that the guest would still have contractual rights to the premises for the full time.
In order to avoid having to deal with eviction regulations, hotels or motels in many states actually require hotel guests to leave the hotel every 29 nights or however long the regulations come into effect that bring in eviction procedures.
We can quibble about the word “banning”, but the fact remains that, for hotels, there is a body of laws “against [guest] injury, whether accidental or intentional“. For the tech giant that pretends it’s not even in the same industry, there’s just a patchwork of guidelines.
>another person screeches at him or her for having an opinion
>new commenter calmly rebuts the miscreant.
This is why I like HN.
One thing is different is there are multiple hotels, so you can go to a different hotel. But there is only one AirBnB.
As a hotel owner, I would love to get a system like AirBnB. Only rent rooms to those who give you good reviews and the hotel can write reviews about guest behavior. So that we can refuse service to those who are a pain in the butt.
Yelp reviews probably matter for local restaurants and small businesses, but probably not much for national brands which have their own inspections and quality assurance departments. I don't check the yelp review of Enterprise or Residence Inn, but I might for restaurant I've never heard of.
What does come up in hotels is people trying to get sneak extra people in, pets, claiming bugs, making too much noise and disturbing other guests, etc.
AirBnB is apparently avoiding these laws by putting forced arbitration into its terms of service.
A business is "wise" to keep its humanity and treat other people with respect.
The smallest breaches of protocol snowballed into her becoming a persona non grata all while trying to please a system that doesn't actually care.
The apartment I was in had a gas leak while I was gone, the door got kicked in by the fire department and the gas was shut off. The replacement cost $1300+ – and I was out of a room for two nights. I refused to pay the fee for the door – that seems like something insurance should cover. I was not in the room when the gas was on, but I guess there's an off chance I bumped the stove and flipped it on – seems like that should not be possible, but I don't know.
I haven't read any Kafka, but I'm probably a fan already.
1. Apartments are more expensive than Hotels. I've been to 20 cities and I have yet to find an apartment that is cheaper than an equivalent Booking.com.
2. This probably works, however, because it is cheaper to book the same apartment for 3-4 people instead of being a single traveler.
3. This makes the target customers of Airbnb problematic guests (imagine having 3-4 new guests to the apartment everyday). Probably why neighbors are complaining about Airbnb.
4. The prices displayed are way distorted. It is way worse than booking.com. The price on the search function is like half of what you'll actually pay.
5. Pretty much every property is 5 star rated. Pretty much every guest is a nice guest. Really? This cannot possibly be the truth and probably mean that the rating system means crap.
Why wouldn't they be? It's a different product. I like being able to prepare and eat my own food in a full kitchen. I like washing my own clothes and tidying my own bed. An apartment typically has much more space than the equivalent hotel room, with multiple rooms to stay in. I also don't need to interact with any staff, or see much of tourists (nor do I need to be in a crowded downtown area). For me, these are all benefits.
Coming from a guest perspective where I've had things go wrong during my stays, Airbnb has been absolutely horrible to deal with. It's literally gambling with your vacation, because if anything goes wrong you can count on Airbnb to take your money and run. Why do we give so much money to what is essentially a middleman that provides almost nothing of value?
- A new "marketplace" platform takes off with a idealistic free-market approach. It's different enough from previous companies in the space that it doesn't get regulated, and it denies having any social obligation or responsibility.
- As more and more customers and - primarily - vendors come to depend on it, its hands-off approach becomes one of arbitration, and its relationship with both groups becomes exploitative.
- We get to start over at square one, re-learning the difficult lessons about consumer and employee protection that we've spent the last century developing.
This is going to keep happening until the government gets more agile at regulating nebulous and category-breaking companies. Uber, YouTube, Facebook (with news companies as the vendors), Twitch, AirBnB, etc.
Companies that invent new business models and break with preconceptions aren't inherently bad - that's potentially a great thing - but it becomes bad when regulatory laws can't keep up.