We've created a marketplace built on trust, transparency and authenticity within our community, and we hold the safety of our community members as our highest priority. We will continue to work with our users to stamp out those who would put that community at risk in any way. The vast majority of our community members genuinely respect and protect each other, but we urge users to be careful and discerning with each other and to hold others accountable through reviews, flagging and our customer service channel. Our hearts go out to our host and we will continue to work with her and with the authorities to make this right.
A credit card number doesn't help much when you're dealing with anti-social elements (they'll just use a stolen one).
At the very least, it should be an option for property owners to purchase.
Even if you do have homeowners / renters insurance, I wouldn't be surprised if most policies have exclusions for operating your home as a rental.
If the value of the service is so low, and the risk so high, that it's essentially uninsurable, then perhaps that's a sign that it's a bad business model.
If you read the Airbnb TOS you'll see that they are well aware of this and are just hoping that naive customers don't read the whole thing.
I expect the original poster's losses will not be covered by home owner's insurance.
Given how rare this type of thing is, AirBNB could have a great extra source of income by offering optional insurance for an extra fee (similar to car rentals).
Not if this quote from the linked article is true, you haven't...
airbnb.com tightly controls the communication between host and traveler, disallowing the exchange of personal contact information until the point in which a reservation is already confirmed and paid for.
It's a trade-off: This process enhances trust since you know your host doesn't get your money until you've checked in and found everything to be in order - and the host knows that the money is held and that he won't have to deal with late or no payment.
I don't get this focus on the personal contact issue. What exactly could the victim gain from having exchanged personal contact information prior to the booking, that he was unable to do after he got the contact information? He admits he didn't even catch that the guest misspelled his own name?
You mean a name. Who says it's their name? The reason that we trust AirBNB and choose to host travelers is because if we do come home to find all of our things missing, AirBNB at least has a credit card on file, and can at least prove to the police that someone was staying at your place?
Might be stolen especially in the light of this case.
If anything, I blame myself. In retrospect, and as I read through my initial email exchanges with Dj, I recognize now that something was “off” in his manner of communication, that I trusted too easily, and probably did not do my due diligence to properly protect myself and my home.
There is nothing in the article that indicates that the situation would have turned out any different if he had access to "Dj"s contact information earlier.
IF they can catch this guy based on the information AirBnB collected when he signed up, then they're fine. If not they need to have a more strict membership sign up process so that if and when this does happen, the guilty can be made accountable.
- what's your side of the story on being unreachable 14 hours after the event?
- did you offer AirBnB credit or compensation to the victim to stay elsewhere during this?
I don't know the company's "side of the story", and would be surprised if it was ever really discussed in any way aside from steps taken to remedy this situation... But as this suggests, they apparently need, above their "urgent" number, a "Bat-Phone" for severe cases.
But the guy calling with a police report on his entire place being completely trashed? The calls for the support staff to have a Bat-Phone to someone at a very high level, if not the top.
"They have offered to help me recover emotionally and financially, and are working with SFPD to track down these criminals."
So they sold a fad product (cereal) at the right time to make a little bit of money. Just tells me they have no moral integrity (which explains the craigslist email spamming).
So they struggled to make rent in SF a while. Who told them to stay in an expensive city with no savings? That's bad financial planning, and they could've bootstrapped their startup in Austin.
Oh, and they made a startup that is illegal in many parts of US, and manage to dupe investors to give them hundreds of millions. Now they won't even give financial help to a girl whose life they help tear to shreds.
Sounds like upstanding company/fellows to me.
Regardless of their legal responsibility, I would think that it was in their best interest to pay up in this type of situation. For example, a guarantee of say $10,000 for any damages (which AirBnB can then try and recoup from the perpetrator) would go a long way to making people feel more secure about renting out their apartment. That, along with a warning to store personal documents off-site, would reduce this type of event to being more of a nuisance than absolutely destroying someone. I would even think that that $10k limit could be waived in exceptional cases like this one.
What can you say on the 24/7 "urgent" line, which sounds like an important feature even for cases less dramatic than this one?
Same here. Great model, glad it works for some people, but the only price I'd take to rent out my house - with my personal items in it - is the price of replacing my house and personal items.
Exactly. No insurance will cover this type of transaction if the informally renting out your place is illegal in your locale. On top of that, you have to worry about your own safety. 99.999% of the time you'll be fine, but taking that risk is a very personal choice.
So here's a suggestion: acknowledge publicly that this incident exposed ways in which the service could be improved and offer to make this one host whole as compensation for that value. Solves everybody's problems in one fell swoop without accepting blame for something that isn't Airbnb's fault (and more importantly without resorting to blaming the victim - not the host's fault either). I'll bet it would cost far less than the usual media blitz companies commonly use to repair their images after incidents such is this. Consider it a good investment in the company's future.