"But he said the process would involve asking users whether the information in certain listings turned out to be accurate"
So when he says AirBNB is going to verify every listing, he doesn't actually mean they are paying people to do it...
You list amenities. Then the platform asks guests "does this listing have a stove, does it have a carbon monoxyde detector", etc. Then the platform query the host "guests have mentioned you have a stove, is it correct?". I just got such a confirmation request on our listing today.
> does this listing have a stove
Guest: Well yes but it doesn't work. Or, well yes but the flame shut off after 2 minutes
AirBnB: Sucks to be you but it has a stove so not a lie
> does this listing have wifi
Well yes but they say it's only got 1meg data so it will run out in probably 2 days and we booked the place for a month.
AirBnb: Sucks to be you but it has wifi so not a lie
> does this listing have 3 bedrooms
Well, it's got 3 rooms, a bedroom, a living room with a bed in it and a kitchen with a bed in it.
AirBnB: Bed in room = bedroom so yes it's got 3 bedrooms. Sucks to be you but not a lie
etc... The second 2 are actual AirBnB experiences.
Now courts are not stupid. In such cases 'bedroom' would take the meaning that is generally understood. A kitchen or living room with beds in them are not understood to be 'bedrooms' if you ask someone at random, and thus advertising "3 bedrooms" when in fact there is only one with beds in the kitchen and living room would most likely be deemed misleading and false advertising.
In continental Europe, where armoires are a thing, I actually can’t remember living in any home that had a closet in any room with a bed, so I can’t see closet being in the definition of bedroom.
On the contrary, you were discussing Europe specifically, and, you didn’t italicize you think, you wrote certainly:
>> ”In many places (e.g. in Europe) there is no standard definition of bedroom at all.”
> “I would be very surprised if that was the case. It's certainly not in the US or UK.”
You’re defending your second sentence, but the assertion I’m replying to is your reaction on Europe in the first one.
Remember AirBnB is worldwide and most of the world’s homes are the continental armoire model not US/UK closet model.
Here's some information on NY: https://www.hauseit.com/legal-bedroom-requirements-nyc/
> For a bedroom to be considered legal in NYC, it must satisfy the following requirements:
> Be a minimum of 80 square feet
> Have a minimum width of 8 feet in any dimension
> Have a minimum ceiling height of 8 feet
> At least one window measuring no less than twelve square feet
> There cannot be a need to pass through any other bedroom in order to access the bedroom
> Two means of egress, including a window and a door that can be opened from the inside
Though I did read in NY there is no storage requirements.
Likewise, stating that the property has a stove implies that it is in working order.
Now, I have no doubt that AirBnb might try to fob people off if they complain but that does not mean that they would be correct or even honest in doing so.
There may be a few rare localities that require it, but it's not normally required.
Rather the definition requires a certain size of the room.
> room can be considered a bedroom if it contains a closet, alcove, indentation or wing wall which creates an area greater than 12 inches in depth.
> is capable of being used for sleeping quarters that contains a closet, or to which a closet could be added, may also be considered a bedroom.
In Europe though, where armoires are a thing, and I actually can’t remember living in any home that had a closet in any room with a bed, I don’t see closet being in the definition.
I keep seeing rumors that there are localities that require a closet, but no one ever actually names them.
It may be a persistent rumor in your locality as well.
> Fittingly, property assessors will follow the same bedroom definition when determining the number of bedrooms in a given home—that is, it must have a door, a closet, and an egress window. It is in the interest of homeowners, sellers, and buyers to know the subtle bedroom definition differences between the safety/builder perspective and the real estate/home value perspective, and to know one’s state and local guidelines for determining what can and cannot be considered a bedroom.
But your choices are either:
1 - pick a fight at 10pm, probably fuck around with AirBnB's shit customer support, maybe if lucky get to sleep at an alternate place by 1 or 2 am, then feel like utter garbage for the next 3 days;
2 - deal (with the implied: no more airbnb on business trips...)
> Even some of the positive reviews of Becky and Andrew’s Chicago rentals seemed odd, especially those left by other pairs of hosts. Kelsey and Jean, for example, said Becky and Andrew were “awesome and communicative guests.” But they themselves were based in Chicago, where it seemed they had at least two properties of their own. Why would they need to rent from someone else there?
I can't tell if this is a thing people do or if they are somehow fake 5 star reviews.
During that time, I always just wrote expletives in the review box and gave everyone 1-star. I'm not going to be the unpaid QA person for AirBnB!
A location getting good ratings from other people in the same city that rent 2 other apartments is so odd it should be denied by default and require manual approval. The odds of collusion are quite high. Of course sellers would help each-other with good ratings! Even at the actual cost of paying for a night (in AirBnB fees) it might still be worth it if you want good ratings.
So, no, this is pretty strange.
Don't know where they went, but a cheaper AirBNB place nearby would be an obvious candidate.
When did this become the mantra of every tech company? Any time a job is created it's viewed as an unfortunate mistake or side effect? Who are we even building all this for?
Isn't it the other way around?
When listings cost hundreds to thousands of dollars and they skim a significant fee off every rental they need to take some significant steps to eliminate fraud on their platform.
Craigslist is a horrible example because they don’t profit from most sales, and they don’t process the money between buyer/ seller. If AirBnb worked like CL, you’d be pay your host cash when you show up and if your host tried to pull shit like this you could just walk.
Craigslist, Booking etc don't make any claim that all places are verified so they don't need employees to do that work. If Airbnb are going to make that claim then they will need people to do the verifying.
Unless they don't actually plan to verify listings, in which case they should just state they don't verify listings. Then they don't have to hire anyone extra.
They'll probably have algorithms to determine who are legit travelers and ask them to do the most verification and of the most risky stuff.
As a side note, when I travel and I actually want to interact with my host, I will rent a room in an occupied house and I always pick a newly listed space. since the host is not sick of hosting yet, they are much more friendly. If you go to a place that has been operating for years, they will not want to show you around or hang out. New hosts are much more likely to be social.
The big problem here is the vast difference between "We are going to verify..." and what they are actually planning. It's just dishonest.
guest => support: "the place was filthy, I want a refund"
support => host: "guest says it was filthy is that true"
host => support: "lol no"
host reviews guest: "terrible, all they did was complain, beware"
It would make sense for AirBNB to wait until the owner had left their initial review (or the review window timed out) before alerting them to the fact that they were going to get a bad one.
"After all, Airbnb uses a rating system in which both the host
and tenant can publicly provide feedback to one another, which
both parties then use to prove their credibility in the
Because of that, there is a built-in incentive to avoid
confrontation, which helps explain why Airbnb hosts
consistently receive higher ratings than hotels reviewed on
TripAdvisor, according to research out of Boston University and
the University of Southern California. If a customer has a
negative experience on Airbnb, they might be better off just
moving on instead of leaving a negative review."
Perhaps it's not retributive reviews so much as complaining during the stay. shrug
I am delighted to be free of that business.
Remains to be seen if this improves things in practice
AirBnB offered you money to change the text of your AirBnB listing? Why would they do that?
There are 6M listings. How much would it cost them to do the right thing and have them even cursorily inspected? Inspectors would of course have to pose as customers. Damn these sharing startups are tight fisted
Tech companies always expect us to swallow the "oh there's too much to possibly check manually!" (even when they are the richest companies in the world) but surely they could hire an inspector to do random spot checks? I used to have a friend who worked for Guinness who did that, dropped in on random bars to sample the quality of their stock. Quite the job.
Auditor signs up for a night in your house. Let's say your listing has fake pictures or fake amenities. Or you try to bait and switch the auditor by having them stay in some crappy other property because the main listing "is having plumbing problems".
Bam, audit failed, your account is frozen, your listings are removed, and you are banned from using AirBnB pending investigation.
verifying that a place is abiding by certain standards and has passed AirBnb's audit but still breaking local laws would probably anger lots of neighbors.
lots of illegal listings exist, and auditing would bring that to light even more.
paying a small team of auditors would probably do a ton more damage to the business in terms of losing listings than turning a blind eye or making other attempts for users to indirectly police the issue of misleading or fraudulent listings.
I recently had some issues with an Airbnb. It was not technically a scam, just an awful host making crazy demands that we cover for their illegal Airbnb.
It was extremely clear that the support wasn't interested at all in helping. I even asked if we could just cancel the reservation (the weirdness started before we arrived), the support agent pressed us to still go there.
In one reservation, Airbnb has moved from a company I liked to one that I will avoid as much as possible and only use if there aren't any hotels available.
I'm totally down for these audits, but expect the auditor to pay the fee like anyone else if he/she stays, or if he/she consumes the timeslot that I could have sold to someone else.
Even though AirBnB, like airlines has all the data, customers love leaving feedback on rentals.
Edit: it did not work on me
For example corporate auditors are paid by the company they're auditing and often actually make all their money providing other services to that same company. Guess how that works out (or read about Enron if you need a hint)
On the other hand I'd say something like the Paris MOU works. The inspectors (they're doing inspection not auditing, although the things they're inspecting are supposed to have already been inspected by the Flag State, so in another sense they're just checking that work) work for the Port State, so their interests aren't directly aligned with the ship owner and it makes sense to hold some vessels, but on the other hand, your ports aren't making money when they are full of ships being inspected or held for defects, so you don't want to go crazy.
One thing I particularly like about the Paris MOU is that it uses statistics to drive feedback. If inspections find that, say, South African flagged vessels (thus supposedly already inspected on behalf of South Africa) are often non-compliant, that flag goes on the Grey List or the Black List and there are MORE inspections of South African vessels. This has two effects, it drives up the cost of choosing the South African flag for your vessels, discouraging you from choosing a flag with bad inspection regime whether because it's cheaper or to save on vessel upkeep - and it enhances the ability to monitor other vessels that might fail too. On the other hand if say, South Africa is doing a great job, any time you inspect a South African flagged vessel it's like it just came out of the factory and every crew member is a world expert who is wide awake and handsomely paid, then South Africa goes on the white list and fewer of their vessels get inspected.
All those unfortunate things for you and me are risk mitigation/ cost savings for them.
At most AirBNB would have to prove damages, which would be difficult since they profit off dishonesty, or have proceedings that result in consequences for the hosts.
For example I’ve had multiple hosts that lie about the address of their tenancy because they’re renting and not allowed to sublet or short term rent the property as a term of their lease.
Verifying the listings, including deeds/leases would fix this.
The service AirBnB offers is rife with problems, as can be gleaned from reading the comments.
There's no way for them to prevent homeowners from installing (legal) hidden cameras, and when cameras are discovered, they defer responsibility (to preserve their brand image).
A hotel, by contrast, can't legally have hidden cameras and takes the full brunt of the bad PR if one is discovered.
Also, Airbnb asks you if there are any cameras in any place on your property and it is a violation to have cameras even on your front porch without acknowledging them.
I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but it is definitely not legal. It also happens in hotels on occasion and not always with the managements knowledge.
> has the intent to capture an image of a private area of an individual without their consent
This law is basically forbidding voyeur porn.
A host could install a "security" camera in a living room. For a studio apartment, that would also be a bedroom. That's completely legal. Perhaps the camera is installed, but it's "not turned on". All legal.
But once the landlord steps across the line by turning the camera on, publishing videos, etc., the law is broken, but it's already too late.
When you have a whole-home Airbnb, you may do private things in the living room or kitchen. For many people, a video of them watching a movie with a homosexual partner is dangerous because of the laws in their country.
It's not a question of if you "can" put up with that. It's if you "would" put up with that given a choice of having a stable, quiet neighbor, or a random neighbor every day that makes different sounds (and smells - smoking? vaping? MJ?). What about police arriving, ambulances? People bring a lot of crazy.
Seems like they've let this all slide for way too long and it's all catching up to them at the worst possible moment.
Next advancement would be to tax every stay and use it to an agency that would establish rules on “hosts” and regulations on room conditions.
After that, next advancement would be to realize this has existed for 200 years and is called government.
Yeah, sure. After I get the privilege to stay in a soulless, cookie cutter appartment where I have to tiptoe around the neighbors because the lease is illegal and pay essentially the same amount as for a hotel room, I also get threatened with a fine for not working for free for AirBnb?
And all that while possibly recorded by hidden cameras, which are not part of the description and for which AirBnb doesn't really give a fuck, unless there's some bad PR to counter?
I think I stick with hotel rooms.
I had to categorically refuse to pay these, Airbnb support was absolutely not helping.
Actually I would not be totally surprised if Airbnb asked me to pay that the next time I do a reservation with them. It might be in a very long while though, this experience has ended my honeymoon with this service.
When on a vacation, and we found our AirBnB had fewer beds than advertised, we complained, and then were told that the owner wanted us "out immediately." So now we're stranded in a new city. Great.
AirBnB offered to put us up anywhere cheaper than the original price we had booked. Of course, booking 2 months in advance is much cheaper than the same day, so everywhere they offered was >60 miles away. And this was an urban location, so no, we didn't have a car either.
So we gave up and stayed in a hotel. Two months later, after many rounds of negotiating over the phone, AirBnB finally reimbursed us the full amount. Being stranded in a new city sucked, and it's obvious that AirBnB's policies for fixing issues are purposefully bad, so AirBnB is now a last resort for us.
So I can recommend AirBnB as a great option if you're ok with a 10% chance of having nowhere to sleep that night!
the reason for the refund was completely different but i was very unhappy with a stay. i wrote a very lengthy description of my complaints and had pictures to back it up. a large part of the issue was they didn't clean the room. i ended up having to fight with airbnb for weeks to get the full refund (they initially refused to give back the "cleaning fee" when a large part of my complaint was the place wasn't clean).
i am not totally against staying at an airbnb, but i haven't booked one since and look primarily at hotels. that bad stay ruined my plans for the last night of my trip and i barely saved $50 from staying at a nice hotel.
Anecdotally, I once checked into an Airbnb with a leaky roof.
After spending a good 20 minutes trying to get to a human (a small eternity when you’re in an unfortunate situation), Airbnb asked that I spend hours negotiating with my non-responsive host on a solution, which is obviously nonsensical given the situation.
Being able to instantly talk to someone and feel like I am being taken care of would have made all the difference in the world.
Instead, I churned from their platform.
I lived next to short term rental for a long time (and might still do, not sure). It's a mixed bag. Since it's short term rental it's empty half the time, which is good because I don't hear the noise from them. However during check-in and check-out time it takes a long time to get an elevator.
The only thing I am afraid of is whether the landlord would increase the rent to cover the lost revenue from short term rental.
That being said, I am curious how much of the inspection cost they'd pass on to the lister -- it seems like getting a guy out to check each listing is gonna be $25-$100 an inspection depending on how many places you can lump together, so someone's gotta pay the costs there.
Maybe the end result will be an "AirBnB-verified" badge and increased search exposure (a la Amazon FBA/Prime listings have better ranking, or like one of those a pay-to-play Alibaba approved vendor kinda badge that creates financial downside for people who spuriously list lots of fake listings)? At which point I can see the choices for AirBnB hosts become "pay X to get verified" or basically don't get traffic.
Am also curious how this would play out more as plenty of under-the-table renters (barred from AirBnBing by their HOA) would end up getting enhanced visibility of their activities due to these verifications. The whole obfuscating address thing on AirBnB seemed to be a huge hack to get around HOA/landlord/legal rules so extra verification would seem to hurt some core, grey part of the business too.
I checked out yesterday from my Airbnb apartment. In addition to the normal host rating questionaire I was sent to a fairly detailed additional set of forms: as the last customer in the apartment I was asked to rate what apartment details I had found to be as advertised. The forms were optional.
Practically speaking, they're taking around 25% commission on bookings. It's more than enough to cover inspections and pictures.
For some reservations, they demand to have your Driver's License image, both sides (to include he various barcodes, etc.) and some other items.
For a friend who did not want the risk of having their full set of data floating around out there, I used some readily available & free tools to make some (self-consistent) edits to the documents to reduce personal identification risk in that DB of IDs.
Although quite bogus, the docs passed verification instantly. So, now, AirBnB and the host now erroneously think that they have a verified guest, when they have no such thing.
Their verification is not only an onerous process that crates a massive honeypot of personal-ID information just waiting to be hacked & stolen, it is also a farce insofar as filtering out even any mildly motivated person, whether intent on protecting their privacy, or on scamming.
Dubious that their host-side listing will be any more valid.
This is known as fraud and it is considered a crime in most developed regions in the world. It is an intentional false representation of fact intended to mislead. Deception in the case of short term accomodations (AirBnB, VRBO) can lead to legal injury. You are at risk of having a criminal record.
While this may seem fine because you're not intending to do anything malicious, situations outside of your control may arise during your stay and your fraud will be revealed. If nothing happens during your stay, you will likely get away with this kind of fraud. The problem is that you're risking having a criminal record just to avoid a third party having temporary possession of your drivers license. Guests at a hotel or motel always share their drivers license at the front desk. When you rent a car, a drivers license is required. The difference between these in-person experiences and one entirely digital is a false sense of anonymity online.
This aside, drivers license identification is never saved to a database, file or anywhere if it is done correctly. Read the terms and conditions to see for yourself. The hotels, however, save that information in a database and may not remove it. In other words, online verification is more secure than in person.
I'd like to see specifics though, how often do they plan to do these verifications?
What happens if someone puts up a listing just to get verified, then cleans it out and goes about business as usual?
What about hosts that let their place fall into disrepair over the years? etc
I found this site after being the victim of the now infamous "oh sorry something wrong with your flat" scam. What was supposed to be an "executive suite" turned out to be a cockroach ridden dump.
Not sure if Airbnb has improved since but they were utterly useless in refunding my money, let alone helping me find alternate accommodations.
I have used Airbnb since, but as a last resort and after way too much effort to separate what might be scams from (hopefully) legit listings.
I agree with the poster further on who says you need to be prepared (have a plan 'b') for the chance that the booking will fall through at the last minute.
Earlier this year I moved to Cape Town, with an Airbnb booked for the first month.
I was the first guest, and the place did not meet even the most basic standards of hygiene. What’s worse is that there was still evidence of the place being used as a crack house.
Needless to say, I refused to stay there and Airbnb gave a full refund.
All of this could have been avoided by a simple verification system.
Any new listing should, at the very least, be viewed and assessed against a list of basic standards before a paying guest arrives at the door.
I don't think that's good enough. You were relying on that accommodation. Now the worst for AirBNB is that they won't make money. So there's no incentive to do anything about it. Further, if you suddenly need to switch accommodations the last minute price will be much higher than usual.
AirBNB should fix the accommodation problem they caused. They must/should offer an alternative.
My guess this means they will extend/move more listings to the plus category over time.
(Disclaimer: used to work at Airbnb)
I want a house. I want a garden. I want a pool. I want some trees. I want a living room. I want it to be a literal home.
Surely you recognize the irony in stating this here, considering the pieces of shit who create these startups are responsible for making the world worse at a large scale, purely for their own gain, right?
It's obscene to me how you've written this. These startups ignore major laws, break numerous consumer protection laws as well, purposefully provide mechanisms intended to hurt anyone but themselves, erode societal trust, and even kill people, and yet you're blaming the people these vampires feed from?