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I Got Banned for Life from Airbnb (2018) (jacksoncunningham.medium.com)
461 points by cargoray on Sept 8, 2022 | hide | past | favorite | 394 comments

I learned back in 2008 that you never, ever attach a review to your real name.

Any review, negative or neutral, runs the risk of damaging AirBnB, too many negative reviews might have the effect where AirBnB has to address the allegations, when it's much easier to just keep making money off of the bad host and ignoring negative experiences.

I feel less likely to rent an AirBnB because of this article, simply by the fact that there is more than one negative review placed off-site.

They don't want to deal with it; you are just a number, always have been. DO NOT post negative reviews with your real name

AirBnb seem to have a different policy now: they simply delete the bad reviews. In June I had my first bad experience. The owner was nice but the property was absolutely awful (yet it was a "superhost" with glowing reviews).

I left a bad review (my first). Two days later I received a convoluted message from support, telling me that my review was incorrect and wouldn't be published, because it pointed out "things the property owner couldn't change".

This is sinister, but funny at the same time. If the property is dirty it can be cleaned. But if, for example, it has walls so thin you can hear the neighbors breathing, or the slope of the bathroom is in the wrong direction and water flows into the bedroom every time one takes a shower, you can't say that in a review! Because it "can't be changed".

I learned from that experience that AirBnb reviews can't be trusted, and "superhost" doesn't mean anything (except the power to kill bad reviews).

I haven't been to an AirBnb since; the best properties are very often on Booking.com as well, and those which aren't, are questionable.

>I left a bad review (my first). Two days later I received a convoluted message from support, telling me that my review was incorrect and wouldn't be published, because it pointed out "things the property owner couldn't change".

I've been shouting that from the rooftops for a couple of years. I discovered that same thing happened to me, but without the support comment above. Then I discovered in the Airbnb subreddit, hosts telling each other that to remove a bad review it's easy, just show something in the review you can't change. Bingo.

You know what, F Airbnb. Anyway the cleaning and service fee add ons make it more expensive than a hotel, and with 0 flexibility to cancel or reschedule.

Yeah it makes sense that hosts would exploit this; but it doesn't make a lot of sense that "things that can't be changed" are the things that can't be talked about in reviews?

As a traveler, it's those things I want to know about. Not whether they did or didn't swipe the floor six months ago...

Noise, location are prime things that are 'outside of host control' and thus need to be censored. Speaking from experience. How about a ground floor apartment with several restaurants' courtyards and back areas adjacent to the windows?

As a customer you're reviewing the overall experience, not the host. Whether or not something can readily be changed by the host (and actually, there's very little a host genuinely can't change - if the location is terrible, they could sell that property and buy another one in a more suitable location!) is irrelevant to potential customers deciding whether a property is suitable for their accommodation. Do AirBnB also remove positive reviews that praise things the hosts can't change?

You're preaching to the choir. We're hammering home how corrupt and unethical the process is with regards to reviews. The logic Airbnb gives is weak, but then logic of profit is stronger: of course they will side with hosts, the moneymaker, and shit on us, the expendable piece of the equation.

You'd think that it is somewhat within the owner's control because they could disclose whatever this apparently immutable fact of the property is and then people could reasonably factor this in when deciding whether to stay or not.

But presumably this is not something which is policy because it would lower the price of relevant properties which presumably affects airbnb's revenue as well.

This kind of behaviour should somehow be regulated in a similar way to advertising - if they're intentionally hiding negative information while posing as a place to reliably inform you about your stay based on the experiences of others (which is what "review" implies) then they're misleading you for profit. What they're actually running is a mislabelled testimonials section. It distorts the market by actively preventing people from accurately assessing the property's utility to them.

It is regulated - it’s called zoning. There is a reason many municipalities are banning short term rentals. But AirBnb is not doing anything to make sure the hosts are in compliance and are actively hiding where the places are until after you book.

Can you imagine not being able to find out the exact location of a hotel until you book?

True, but this can actually be circumvented easily. The pointer on the map is at the exact location, all one needs to do is zoom in, and compare with a map that has street names.

It could probably be automated too.

My wife does this for every one we rent. Google street view can be a godsend.

Sure, I’ve done it many times. Sites like priceline.com offer huge discounts if you’re willing to commit to a small area on a map and a general description of the property without knowing the particular hotel until you pay.

As a pretty frequent traveler (business and personal) and even more soon, I’m very particular about the hotel I stay in, the loyalty points and status benefits (neither of which you can get when booking through a portal) add up.

What I was talking about is not really a specific zoning concern, it could potentially be applied to e.g. ecom websites with review sections as well if they're hiding negative reviews for whatever reason.

Customer review removed: “no bathroom only an outhouse” Host states: “disclosed; listing says ‘quaint period facilities provided’”

AirBNB will agree and remove the review.

It's such a shame how short-sighted profit motives ruin everything.

User reviews are such a wonderful thing -- until companies figured out it's more profitable to hide negative reviews and just sell people crappy products.

Booking.com is the worst in my experience, and it makes me sad to hear that Airbnb isjust as bad...

Since Airbnb couldn't verify my credit card due to technical reasons, I started using Booking a lot (with the same card - no problem whatsoever), and it was a pretty good experience. Why do you think this way about Booking?

What's your minimal rating when you book? I found out that anything lower than 8/10 is really bad on Booking, which was counterintuitive to me.

Sounds like video game reviews. Anything lower than an 7/10 is considered bad.

As an example, Aliens Colonial Marines[1] was literally unplayable, filled with bugs, and generally got a 48/100. To me that should be a middling game not literal unplayable garbage.

1. https://www.pcgamer.com/aliens-colonial-marines-review/

Reviews are not representative.

You want to look for new reviews (fake reviewers are active in waves, only for as long as they are paid), even if they are bad, read them and see what people dislike.

The only way to warn others without risking your account is by posting a reasonably high rating and a seemingly positive review that obscures how horrible the place is.

"Convenient if you drive a car, otherwise you'll want to rely on cabs since walking one way might take 30+ minutes. Lovely staff, make sure to ask about reception hours since they may not always be as advertised. Perfect bed if you like a hard mattress and aren't too tall (say less than 6 ft). Got a bit itchy in the morning, probably my skin allergies. Some roach sightings but they are everywhere in this price range right?"

This will stand out among all the paid 5 star reviews with two words and three grammatical errors.

48/100 is an F.

Yes! Does Booking give stars on a curve? Because there is some serious ratings inflation happening. I once stayed in a 6/10 “room” in Spain and it was just a walk-in closet with a cot. And calling it a walk-in closet is generous. It was really more like a walk-in closet sized shed or garage that had been tacked onto the side of the house. Picture the back door of a house that when you open the door that should lead outside you instead enter a generic Home Depot type shed that has had its doors removed and been nailed to the side of the house. It was only marginally better than sleeping in a cardboard box. No one in their right mind would ever rate this “room” more than 1/10 but somehow on booking.com it was a 6??

True, but so what? Just book rooms with a minimal review average of (i'd say) 7.5 and up.

The good thing about booking.com reviews is that you must have to have stayed at a property to leave a review.

Sure, that can also be gamed, but the risk is significantly lower that a review is outright dodgy.

I used to have access to a large set of hotel review data. The median score on Booking was 8.1 (if you filter for business travelers it's in the 7s, but I'm not sure if that's available in the UI). This is partly because the scale is actually from 2.5-10, not 1-10 or 0-10 as you might expect. The rest is probably just because people don't evenly distribute ratings and tend to favor the top and bottom of the scale.

Realistically, this is how every rating system I've ever come across works. On a 10 point scale, you avoid anything under a 7.5. this applies to even unfiltered public ratings, so I assume it's an attribute of how human apply numeric opinion scoring.

7/10 on Zomato is pretty good though, whereas a 3.5/5 Google review suggests "stay away unless desperate". But I agree there's no system where 5/10 means "average". I suspect it does relate to our time in educational institutions where a 50% mark is really the worst possible score you ever want to consider.

I had a situation with Booking a couple years ago where I booked a room that was double booked. It’s kind of the hosts fault, but Booking’s support was completely unhelpful in resolving the situation.

They ask you what was good about the hotel, and what was bad, and then they show only the good part of the review to others.

I always see both parts on the review

If you click through to the detailed reviews you can see both parts. But on some screens they show just the positive part.

I have at least one example of Airbnb ignoring a bad review. I had a pretty bad experience in Washington DC once and left a review to warn future guests. To my surprise such review never came online. I checked for several weeks after and saw new reviews popping up on the same property but my review was nowhere. I still use Airbnb but just lower my expectations by a huge amount because according to them everyone is having a fantastic experience. Just like Instagram... Thanks internet!

Like GP, had infinitely better experiences in Booking.com than in AirBnB. I'd just rather stay with professional hosts, except in few cases (eg, renting summer stays for larger groups)

Just being on booking.com doesn't guarantee a professional host, though. I booked a small B&B via booking.com and they cancelled an hour before arriving. Or rather, they told me that we couldn't come and instructed us to cancel ourselves. That felt weird and I said I wouldn't do that. What they then did, was to invalidate the creditcard payment.

Luckily I could book another hotel, even though it was holiday season.

They always want you to cancel because that doesn't hurt their metrics. Same with somehow invalidating the credit card payment.

Yeah, the whole thing didn’t sit right with me.

Did you take it up with booking.com?

I'd guess that they would be very unhappy about such behavior and eventually drop the property.

For what it's worth: I booked 100s of stays on booking.com (virtually always hotel rooms) and never ran into an issue.

Yup, called support and after our explanation, they asked whether the host offered us an alternative. I said no, and support would get back to us. Never heard from them again.

“It's such a shame how short-sighted profit motives ruin everything.”

Slightly off-topic, but this statement reminds me that it’s not just “profit motives”. I deal with third-party customer services (my clients work with third-party b2c who markets to customers, and my client fulfills the orders) a lot. Each company has a slightly different culture and structure. All have front line customer service for merchants, but it can take months to get through to higher levels of support—if at all.

Front line say yes yes yes but nothing is fixed or remedied. The only obvious recourse is to leave the platform.

Profit, yes. But also structure and roles of employees you are allowed to speak with who have no power for remedy, or incentive to be rational actors.

Reviews can have objective facts (the AC is broken), but there is a subjective quality to them that has to be calibrated to each person (shabby decor to one person is faded glory to another).

Maybe that’s a good use for AI. It could Calibrate itself to each persons “taste” and filter the world for them. Instead of making users rely on fake metrics like “stars” or hidden clues like the presence/absence of neon lights, or some quality in their logo to signal what type of establishment it is…this signalling/filtering could be done for them virtually.

Everyone these days does it.

Looks like the property count is not infinite, so many of them will accrue negative reviews with time.

So rental companies demonstrate to us they only care about their own livelihood and not about the quality of the product they provide.

Expedia/Hotels.com prevented me from publishing a negative review and made it impossible even to edit it (to supposedly meet their "review guidelines").

I also had terrible experience with Airbnb due to fake host review.

So yeah - just use Booking.com. Most apartments are there anyway.

It has been a while since I used Airbnb.. they deleted a bad review that I wrote. This is really strange.

At this point I have had enough of this. Trustpilot does this also and tries to conceal it with me not providing enough information.

I could be wrong about this but I think they only post guest reviews of the property once the host has also reviewed the guest. So if the guest leaves a review the host doesn't like then they simply won't post a review for the guest.

The only times I have not received a guest review from a host on AirBnB is when I have left a 4 star review (instead of 5.)

The net result of this is that more properties have more 5 star reviews and so do more guests.

Had a similar experience. Stayed at a 4.9 star superhost place, and the place was terrible. Very cheap and uncomfortable furniture (I had to buy my own pillows in order to sleep), and the place smelled of sewage most of the day for some reason (not due to bad cleaning).

I left a bad review. They just deleted it saying it was against their TOS.

I had a host write me a bad review. I challenged it with airbnb team with screenshots and proof, they agreed that review was incorrect but said couldn't do anything because it a policy to not change/delete reviews.

What do AirBnb do if you just give a host low ratings without actually writing anything in text? Might be a good way around malicious hosts pushing AirBnb to remove all bad reviews due to some technicalities.

I wonder if they allow positive reviews mentioning things the host can't change. Say the location is great, isn't that unfair to all of their hosts that are in less ideal places?

I wonder if their review system is just biased towards the user with more activity. When I first signed up for airbnb 2 years ago as a host, I didn't know what I was doing and accidentally allowed the default option of instant bookings, which means you just automatically accept what ever booking comes your way. So of course the next day someone booked the place at 3am in the morning, which wasn't going to work because we still had tenants there for another week. I had to cancel. And the person I cancelled on left a wonderfully concise review.

"Cancelled day-of booking"

I thought this was true, but disingenuous because I had also cancelled the day it was booked, but airbnb refused to intervene. I ended up creating a new account.

“Cancelled day-of booking” is an automated review left by Airbnb, that’s why they didn’t intervene.

Seems it is well past time for a 'Glassdoor for Online Lodging' to take it out-of-band for the online lodging apps.

It'd have to be properly moderated, and vetted for having actually stayed there (automate with Google/Apple timeline?), but it could be very valuable.

This is wise. Bad reviews only serve to make enemies, with nothing positive in return.

> Bad reviews only serve to make enemies, with nothing positive in return.

How about warning other customers?

Just don't use your real name.

Just copy paste a positive review from a bot. It's a win-win, the platform (Airbnb here) and service provider (owner) can't hate you because it's positive, won't harass you for not leaving a review and the other customers aren't fooled if they actually read it because it's obviously fake. Reviewing someone's work is not my job, I'm the customer here.

And by increasing the number of dishonest reviews, you are warning customers that you can't trust user reviews and there's no actual way of having actually verified reviews (e.g. Amazon brushing).

Be a bot. Become one with the dead internet. I don't even know if this comment was written by my hand or by GPT-3. Who am I?

Be passive-aggressive: Get on the most glowing reviews and just copy and paste. It will look absolutely shady and make people think twice before booking.

Meh, the 2 seconds of warm fuzzy feeling I get from helping others is nothing in comparison to the risks from making enemies with someone.

And using a fake name is not a great solution because there’s often enough circumstantial data to tie a person to a review, whether that be metadata or even just the content of the review itself.

Writing a review to warn others is like "i scratch your back, you'll scratch mine". There is no imminent benefit for you instantly when leaving negative review, but you benefit when others warn you later.

Quite. This is how systems break down, and is realistically a bit selfish.

Further, the more everyone does honestly review, the more outrage occurs if that process is interfered with. The less acceptable it becomes to maliciously go after an honest review.

The reason we help other people is not because it gives us warm fuzzy feelings. It is because it make the world a better place to live in, not only for the people you help, but also for yourself.

Airbnb should understand this. If no one dares to give bad reviews, there won't be any way to filter out bad hosts, which make people in general have much worse experiences (not to mention attracting more bad hosts), which make people use AirBnb less.

you're a wuss :D I do leave bad reviews if necessary and never got any problems.

Presumably they meant nothing positive in return to the reviewer.

You can always try do do the Kant thing for questions like these: Would it be good for you if everybody followed your advice? Compared to the chances of getting fucked for writing a bad review, aren't the chances bigger to get fucked by a bad actor in a world where nobody left bad reviews?

It is simple. If the answer to the question: "How would it be if everybody acted like me?" is "It would be worse", this means you are acting in a way that makes society worse for your own advantage.

A bit pedantic, but that's not really the Kant thing. Kant is a proponent of deontology, which is utterly unconcerned with consequences. His thing was more checking if it would still make logical sense.

That is, when he asks "What if everybody lied?", what he's getting at isn't that it'd suck if you couldn't even ask for the time and get the right answer, but that it'd destroy the concept of truth, and with that what does "lying" even mean?

Kant answered the specific scenario of "What if the Gestapo wants to know if you're hiding any Jews?" (his actual scenario was with a murderer looking for a victim, since Nazis weren't a thing yet), and said that yup, you do not lie, because to him the morality of an action is unrelated to its likely consequences.

This is where the limits of the categorical imperative become apparent.

If there were a fund (assume a spherical, frictionless, voluntary society) that was the only way to feed the hungry, everyone should donate to it. Unfortunately it's set up by an evil game master, and one in ten thousand donations is answered with a bullet to the spine.

Of course the categorical imperative says we should do it anyway. I wouldn't. You wouldn't. Rational defection on bad payoff matrices is correct behavior.

It's really unfortunate that this simple principle can't work in real life, just because people's idea of "what is worse" are so different. One has only to look at the very different outlooks people have politically to know the answers to the question "Will this make the world worse?" are going to be wildly different, and some of them downright nonsensical to most people.

Would it be good for you if everybody followed your advice?

Just to be abundantly clear, I offered no advice. I simply offered a clarification to the comment I replied to, with my assumption of what they meant.

Except a lot of people find helping others to be a positive thing for themselves.

If you get that feeling out of leaving negative reviews, by all means my comment doesn't intend to detract from that.

It actually takes a fairly high bar for me to leave a negative review of a product or service. But some sellers/providers are just so awful to their customers, you're dang right I enjoy helping other people avoid suffering from a business deal that is certain to be terrible.

I get a positive feeling when others have honestly reviewed a product/service, whether that be positive or negative feedback.

I most certainly do not get a positive feeling when watching someone recommend just keeping your mouth shut because "there's no point leaving a review"

Have Airbnb become the corporate mafia or something?

>recommend just keeping your mouth shut because "there's no point leaving a review"

Did anyone say that? I know I didn't.

The parent I was replying to (and simply to offer clarification on what they might have meant) said:

>This is wise.

In reply to the suggestion of using a fake name to leave a negative review.

>Have Airbnb become the corporate mafia or something?

I'm not sure how this follows from what I commented? I don't have a reply.

This is why there is such “grade inflation” in reviews. The way I read reviews is now: - look at the reviews with lowest ratings. They have the most signal (the walls were paper thin and the bathroom was dirty) as opposed to positive reviews (beautiful room in a great location). You can usually tell if the reviewer is being unreasonable. - search for specific negative keywords in the other reviews - “noisy”, “loud”, etc. Often people will leave a five star review but discreetly complain about something.

Be mindful of confirmation bias when searching reviews. Finding 10 reviews mentioning noise might be because it's noisy, or it might be that they have thousands of reviews and a small percentage experienced noise

This is an excellent point! I suppose I could normalize by the number of total reviews. It hasn’t been an issue so far as I am only filtering out cases when there are multiple reports of the same issue, and I care more about eliminating bad options than detecting all good options.

I rented an airbnb room where the host had forgot to update the pictures since there was now a wood workshop in the room behind a curtain. He was a nice guy, but it turned out to be a negative experience for my girlfriend. I mostly blame myself for not picking a more expensive place, but I still felt like other guests should know that they’re sharing the place with model ships and fishing equipment that aren’t in the pictures. Didn’t try to make enemies; gave five stars with a redeeming comment phrased positively. But clearly a flag for anyone who cares.

I doubt that the host "forgot" to update the pictures...

Right. That’s the polite way of saying it. :)

Though I didn't get banned, I had a similar experience with Airbnb recently.

Booked a hotel. When we got there, it was abandoned! Host unresponsive. Clearly a scam. Reported it to Airbnb, and after some back and forth we got our money back (pretty quickly tbf). We naturally left a bad review, warning others.

But then the host left us a bad review, despite never even meeting us or interacting with us in any way! We complained to Airbnb and of course, they "saw nothing that violates their review policy"... Diabolical.

I am sure that that listing is probably still up.

Eh, this thread is for people who are banned not who just had bad experiences ;)

My story: used AirBnb perhaps three or four times. Always got good reviews from hosts. Months pass without me using it at all. They're emailing me from their marketing lists, no signs of any issues, so I know I was active in their system despite not using it. A few months later I go to log in, discover I'm banned.

So I write to their support. Why am I banned? It can't be for bad behavior because I'm literally not interacting with their service at all. "We can't tell you that for policy reasons". That's the end of it. Cause of ban: literally nothing.

Presumably it was something like an IP address I used was also used by someone who got banned, or some script that ran amok. My GF got banned because she rather foolishly let a friend use her account and then that friend hosted a party in an apartment, but that's her, not me. Can't think of anything else that could have caused it beyond being clustered. The weird thing is, whilst that kind of screwup is understandable for something like a free webmail account where the users are all anonymous, AirBnb requires identity documents!

If all the other warning signs here in the comments are not enough - this one should be.

I only booked via AirBnB once, but I am quite convinced now that this will be the only time. I don't want to rely on a system that can just do what they want without transparency.

Reality is that a platform like AirBnB should care about both sides - sellers and buyers. Sure, sellers generate the revenue, but without buyers nothing is sold and the platform is not interesting.

Reality is these middlemen tech companies want to do away with quality control, and pocket the savings as profit.

As a customer and hotel guest, it never made sense for me to not pay for quality control. So I will continue to pay Hilton/IHG/Hyatt/Marriott/Choice/etc. Not that all those brands have amazing quality control at all times, but at least there is some effort to use human labor to do something.

Similar experience with VRBO, booked an apartment in Munich, on arrival, turns out it was completely different than advertised (even the photos were different). We only stayed a single night, because the room situation just wasn't suitable for two adults. VRBO and the owner refused to refund us. After pointing out the discrepancies, and providing proof that the owners were using the same listing for different properties, VRBO only refunded their fee to us, claiming the transaction was really between us and the owner...

Yet there's plenty of stories of buyers getting banned for trivial TOS infractions. But when a host is essentially scamming people, nothing happens.

If you can, threaten to sue them (or actually sue them) and post your review on every rating site out there.

Unfortunately, many companies only understand the language of threats and lawsuits.

This is really a typical example of corporate justice:

- We are jailing you

- The jail term is forever

- There's no defense

- There's no appeal

- We won't tell you what we think you did

That's pretty much the bullet point version of Kafka's The Trial, although Airbnb was kind enough to merely banish their protagonist instead of executing them.

Often Kafakaesque is used as hyperbole, but this description is pretty apt:

"What's Kafkaesque ... is when you enter a surreal world in which all your control patterns, all your plans, the whole way in which you have configured your own behavior, begins to fall to pieces, when you find yourself against a force that does not lend itself to the way you perceive the world." [1]

The Trial is an awesome book.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/1991/12/29/nyregion/the-essence-of-k...

This sounds like a job for consumer protection. I still feel all companies should have by law the availability of human representation within a reasonable timeframe, and any government should give their consumer protection ways to intervene with one sided arbitration.

"This is Bob, our human customer representative. His job is to agree with the robot while technically being a human."

I think there's a strong case for regulating automated decisions. But when there's a human in the loop, as there seems to have been here, I think you start to run up against the limits of what any reasonable regulation could do. Maybe you could write some kind of disclosure requirement, but we can't build a government Bureau of Were Your Tweets Really Bad Enough To Deserve A Ban.

This is more about general service, compliance with contract and reasonable assumption and assessment of arbitration. This should be a process any individual can start when the case warrants it (like when a company basically goes “because we say so”)

This is basically what Reddit did to me. They suspended all of my accounts (and new ones) because I got too loud about how moderators are treated. It's interesting how much "corporate justice" and autocracies have in common.

This happened to me as well.

They use a combination of browser fingerprinting and IP address for identification, but you can still create a new account and access it via VPN.

It's just not really worth it except in a few rare cases when you want to ask a specific sub a narrow question.

The main subs have lost all meaningful quality.... Even the larger tech subs like sysadmin are garbage now

Reddit has been circling the drain for a while content-wise. It wasn't until I tried to create my own subreddit (for my city) that one of the admins came reigning in on its purpose and tried to narrow down what I'm allowed to discuss. It was really eye opening as someone who jumped from digg to reddit in 2011 when media viewed reddit as the "wild west". I'm still reeling from the new level of censorship huge platforms like these are undergoing. It's disturbing, and unprecedented in its lack of transparency, considering how much power these companies have over society and influence.

I earned a ban for life on Facebook. A few years ago, I made an account with just my first name and two letters of last. Less than 24 hours later, I was banned, and they requested my ID. So I sent it to them. I was shocked when they got back to me with information that my last name isn’t the same as on the account, and they can’t verify it.

Now, if I want to register a new account with a new e-mail and phone number, I also need to show my ID and get banned immediately.

In 2012 my PayPal account was deleted after one of my clients reverted payment after getting source material. After contacting PayPal and telling them that I would go to court with that. After just seconds, I was signed out of an account, and it was gone. Nothing was associated with my e-mail address... :-)

In the end, most likely every company does something like that. Maybe not on such a scale, but...

A friend wanted to register at facebook and his last name is "couple" in our language. Facebook shows an error claiming, that couples are not allowed to share an account - they should open separate accounts. So far so good. However, Facebook continued to refuse opening his account, even when he sent his id card. Now his last name are the two first letters of his last name which seems to be no violation :)

> In 2012 my PayPal account was deleted after one of my clients reverted payment after getting source material. After contacting PayPal and telling them that I would go to court with that. After just seconds, I was signed out of an account, and it was gone.

You should never ever say that!

You either act, or you don't, but you don't "threaten".

If you act (court), and then they act (deletion), it becomes a retaliation, which in itself is illegal - and therefore will not happen so easily.

>If you act (court), and then they act (deletion), it becomes a retaliation, which in itself is illegal - and therefore will not happen so easily.

Retaliation is not illegal.

Iterestingly when I report obviousky fake accounts with obviously fake names related with Erdoğan supporters on Facebook they respond with "there is no violation, so we did nothing".

Get a fake ID with the two letter last name

Good one! :D

I really do wonder what happens when someone uploads a fake ID. Can they catch that (after all, the check is probably automatic in most instances since they don't have the personell), and if they do, would they try to take that person to court?

They can't do anything. I was not getting proper name in fb, so I changed my name in ID a bit using photoshop and they accepted without any issues.

Just block out the ID numbers and all and how will they identity?

Lycamobile Switzerland has an online ID verification where you are required to take a video with you and your ID and they give you instruction to move the ID card so that the holographic elements of the ID get verifiable.

These video ID verifications were just shown last month to be unsafe by the CCC. Public health insurances in Germany aren't allowed to use it anymore. Instructions how to fake your ID on these systems can be found in the net.

Wow. Why would anyone subject to that?

I think we're very near the point where a system can change letters and numbers on a moving ID in a video, if we're not there already. (And if one is patient enough, and the video is short enough, it's not impossible to do it by hand.)


I got somewhat blindsided and I needed the service, so I complied. The alternative would be to show up in the cell operator shop and show the employee your ID. I find it even somewhat nice that I was able to register online at all.

It's mandated by Swiss law. Cell service operators must identify their customers by ID. You know, south of Switzerland is Italy and sometimes the honorable crowd is trying to put up bases here or already did. It's also a fight against money laundering.

Re your suggestion to tamper with the video: be careful, it's illegal. You don't know whether the hologram or other features encode the identification number. If you get caught it can get expensive.

What companies like Airbnb are doing might also be illegal. For sure it is highly unethical.

I wonder how they would react if everyone would start trolling Airbnb and Facebook by submitting photoshopped IDs :D

Good point about the holograms. But since public companies are verifying them -- and not the gov't -- the information what is on them must be public as well. Heck, I'm even willing to bet someone in this crowd might be working for such a company and might know the answer. And if the info is out there it can be photoshopped (or tampered with via AI, stable diffusion ID generation, my next weekend project maybe haha ;)

Ok, returning to more serious matters (that before waa a joke BTW), the only ethical way of verifying an ID would be an eyes-only approach, where you only show your ID to an employee, no copies being taken (this requires Airbnb to habe offices everywhere, which is not feasible they would claim). Then you'd use your ID to generate a number that can't be tracked back to your ID, akin to how datasets are anonymized. That way all the company knows is that a certain string of numbers identifies a semi-unique person. I have heard the German postal office had implemented such a system once, so it could be done actually.

Another thought: This whole ID requirement reminds me of the prohibition: If you will make unreasonable demands, you will just push people to do it anyways, but illegally.

One can see this on a large spectrum: taking away abortion, not selling alcohol, and lately forcing people to ID themselves for a measly Facebook profile - people will just resort to the black market to get these things anyway. This cat and mouse game is as old as time.

If you block out the ID numbers they won't accept your ID. Was this a long time ago?

These days I guess you'd actually need to actively change the ID numbers.

Whats the worst that they can do ... not let you have a facebook account?

Not sure, they could take you to court for forging ID?

But this is definitely something they can't do at scale, since their whole operation is set up to work at scale by automation.

So with high probability I'd guess not having an account is the worst.

But I may be wrong, maybe someone more knowledgeable can chime in.

They cant take you to court without knowing who you are. What they can do is to refer your IP address to the FBI for "forging IDs", but even then the IP adress needs to be real and FBI must be overstaffed to deal with such matters.

Take them to court over what exactly? Where's the damages? FB would have to show that being misinformed about your name cost them anything whatsoever. They could try getting the DA to prosecute you under computer fraud and abuse (unauthorized access to a computer system under a false identity). Even that is a huge risk. Imagine the precedent set if the jury decides to nullify, and what sane jury wouldn't nullify over the charge of "set up a fb account under a fake name and ID"? And does the DA really want to risk gaining a reputation for being FB lapdog?

The truth is, FB demands an ID but they have no real right or basis for making this demand.

Your analysis about the practical consequences is correct, however your last statement is wrong. They do have the right to ask for an ID if you want to use their service. You have no right to use Facebook.

I'm surprised a human even read your mail. Perhaps there's a filter so that mails get forwarded tona human if the word "lawsuit" appears

That issue isn’t only with Airbnb. Many other tech companies have poor customer service and more than willing to just ban you rather than deal with issues. Had incident with Uber. Driver came 30 mins late, she accepted ride, forgot to turn off her location and went to coffee shop. When she arrived, I didn’t say anything. She was rude entire ride complaining about other customers, traffic. I remained quiet. She quickly found out, pretty easy to hear from my accent, that I’m an immigrant. She started to complain about immigrants, immigration system and other nonsense like they took our jobs and how the one, back than candidate, would fix it all.

I left her one star review and very small tip.

Next day I got message that my account suspended. It took me entire day but eventually I found out that she wrote complaint to company that my wife and I physically assaulted her during ride. And based on her word alone it was enough to permanently ban me

A bunch of confused Europeans here. In the US...

No tip says "I am an asshole"

Very small tip says "You are an asshole/incompetent"

It is a deliberate insult.

Exactly. I didn’t forget; I’m not unaware; I’m making a statement.

For the record, 95% (literally) of the world are not Americans. If someone isn't an American, that doesn't make us European ;).

Unless they tipped $0.01, I'm going to say it was too much, and even then. 5 stars and no tip is maybe unaware/forgetful. 0 or 1 star and no tip is a clear message.

And who cares if an asshole thinks you're an asshole? If someone is a complete asshole to you for no good reason, don't reward them. This is giving them way too much space to live inside your head. It smacks of a guilty conscience on the part of the victim when it should be the other way around. But in the absence of that, the least you can do is spend your money on people who will do better with it.

There are many shades between someone who is grumpy, having a bad day, in the weeds, maybe doesn't smile but still brings your food and gets the job done well (I've been this person), vs someone that directly insults you while bringing it cold after clearly ignoring you for a prolonged period (I've had this happen to me–guess what? No tip for you!).

I look at the converse situation the same way. I get pissed when places bend over backwards to accommodate customers who clearly are assholes and exploit the fact that corporates will hand out gift cards, regardless of the absurdity of the complaint or the inappropriateness of their behavior. Why would you invite someone like that back?

Signed, waiter in America for 7 years. I was stiffed twice in that time, once by an entire family that skipped the entire bill, the other by a rowdy table I had to cut off from alcohol who then threatened to shoot me after my shift. Once or twice I had some foreign tourists tip me like 4%. Even then, I averaged maybe 19% tips over the entire tenure. Everywhere from dives to white linen tables with 4 different glasses and forks; chains and indie. Never more than $2.13/hr salary.

I've never heard what parent poster said. But now that I have, I must say that I didn't think the foreign tourists thought I was an asshole or incompetent, as everything went swimmingly between us, and I also didn't think they were assholes. I worked with a ton of people who complained plenty about that kind of thing, profiled people, etc. I still wonder to this day whether the family that skipped had some sort of emergency to tend to. It sucked at the time, I wound up having to pay it out of pocket, but in the end I made bank overall. C'est la vie.

That's all to say, the world isn't so black and white, learn how to spot outliers on either side of the average, and reward the good and disincentivize the bad as best as you can. And don't get too caught up in what you think assholes' opinions of you might be.

> I left her one star review and very small tip.

I don't understand such (American?) tipping system

Canada has adopted this ridiculousness even though food servers now earn minimum wage in Ontario.

Almost all states in the US have minimum wage for tipped service workers, too.


Of course, very convenient to state that they don't, or that the "owner" doesn't pay them the mandated difference if their tips don't add up to minimum wage, etc.

In Canada the min wage is 15 for anyone, tips are extra on top.

A lot of the people operating on AirBnB are Uber are decent hard working people, but there are also some real chancers who ruin it for everyone. I’m personally back to hotels and taxis after having too many problems with the gig economy.

I don’t judge all drivers. Most, majority are nice and professional folks. I’m upset how customer support handled the situation.

I had a non-masked Uber driver report me for not wearing a mask (I was wearing one). It was very strange, my guess is they didn’t like me for some reason and used the feature in a petty way…?

This one happened to me too - except it was after the Uber asked me for my destination, and then didn't like it (I was going south from San Francisco, he wanted to stay in SF.)

Instead of just cancelling the ride, he reported me for being maskless in order to get a free cancellation that didn't hurt his driver profile. When I wrote Uber Support to explain I was wearing a mask (and had completed a mask-photo before I could request my next ride), they lectured me on mask-wearing and essentially accused me of lying. Note that I have a 4.9 star rating over 5,000+ Uber rides, so it's not like I'm an infrequent customer or repeat trouble maker.

I cannot even imagine wanting to continue using Uber, after this.

No need for a ban, I'm outta this hellhole.

The driver might have got you confused with someone else.

When I get frustrated by inexplicable behavior of strangers, Hanlon's Razor helps a little distancing myself and limit the pain brooding about it would cause...

Almost certainly the driver was using an Uber feature to their advantage. They use Uber every single day and talk to each other - they know how to act so that they get what they want.

"Non masked rider" is probably a way of getting a fee back or invalidating a bad review or something.

Yes it could be that they got a bad review from someone else and retaliated on the wrong person. Where is the fun in not getting peeved by these things though? ;)

You literally tipped a racist insulting you... why?

By leaving a small tip, he was sending a message to the driver that he was displeased with the service. Not leaving a tip at all would not send that message.

Exactly that ^

This comment provides a good reason: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=32763149

It's a social norm in the US. If you don't like it, there are other countries to eat at.

The "social norm" is more a convenient business norm to pay petty wages.

The more you question this norm, the higher the likelihood for change to more healthy business practice.

Some folks I know who wait tables earn in excess of $750/1k a week…for basically part-time work.

I am sure they would be all for a $15/hour minimum wage, as long as tips were still on the table. However, $15/hour and “we don’t accept tips” sign…you would get a big nope. I doubt you could convince them that it would be better for them to earn $300 for their 20 hours of work.

Of course tips should still be allowed.

In Europe we are still tipping, but the waiters do not depend on it. This is a much sweeter situation if you ask me, voluntary good service, vs. forced good service, when you have to worry about rent for the next month.

The outrage is that people are under the assumption that these wait staff in the US are NOT earning minimum wage. That is incorrect. Wait staff will earn the minimum wage for the time worked, because if tips+pre tip wage is less than the legal minimum, the employer makes up the difference. They have a real benefit over the other minimum wage earners because they can earn more…much much more in some places.

The question of should their employer pay them more per hour? Well, I think the market does a pretty good job of managing that, especially now that in many places in the country restaurants are having a hard time finding the help they need. If I need a server, and my offer is I’ll guarantee them at least $10/hour…that is going to attract workers to me over the restaurant next door offering only $7.5/ hour. If I am fully staffed with good servers, I can attract the customers who will pay my tip earners for me compared to the place next door with lousy service.

The parent is talking about Uber. You should not eat cars, even if it's a "social norm" where you live.

Isn't it also a social norm to not be racist and rude, especially in service jobs?

Not racially insulting others is a social norm, too

It is inconceivable (for someone reading from Europe), that you still left a tip, given the situation

When I visited America(coming from Europe) that was the biggest shock to me too - we went for a meal with coworkers, the service was absolutely terrible, food was bad, we felt unwelcome the entire time. So at the end of the service I say - well, it was an awful experience, that means we don't leave a tip, right? No no no - say our hosts - you have to leave a tip, otherwise you look like a jerk.

I was like.....but surely.....the whole idea of a tip is to reward good service, right? If the service was bad, then why would you tip?

I still think about it sometimes. It's like the whole idea of tipping "maybe" started with good intentions(rewarding good service) but now transformed into some kind of idiotic virtue signalling(because at the end of the day, what if we look like jerks for not tipping? literally none of us will ever enter this restaurant again, the only thing we achieved by tipping was rewarding bad service, nothing more nothing less).

> I was like.....but surely.....the whole idea of a tip is to reward good service, right? If the service was bad, then why would you tip?

Unfortunately, minimum wage laws in the US have exemptions for workers who are expected to make most of their money through tips, which means that most restaurants pay them well under the "minimum". The question I'd ask in this situation isn't whether the service was good, but whether it was so bad that I think the employees involved don't deserve to even get paid minimum wage. I've yet to ever come to the conclusion that no tip is deserved, and in practice I struggle to think of any circumstance in which the service could be bad enough to deserve that. I guess if I was actually physically harmed due to malicious intent or something then it would maybe warrant that, but I don't think I'd realistically stick around to even eat in that case.

> The question I'd ask in this situation isn't whether the service was good, but whether it was so bad that I think the employees involved don't deserve to even get paid minimum wage.

But ensuring the minimum wage is paid should be the responsibility of the employer, not some random customer. Everything is backwards here.

> Unfortunately, minimum wage laws in the US have exemptions for workers who are expected to make most of their money through tips, which means that most restaurants pay them well under the "minimum".

Minimum wage is still the floor. The restaurant has to pay the difference if they are under.

But they don't get paid minimum wage for just your meal, a person not tipping just ends up taking away from tips they earned from someone else that was over minimum wage. Not to mention not making tip minimums and asking for more wage from the restaurant will quickly get you fired.

In theory. In practice, asking the restaurant to actually follow that law is a good way to get fired.

>> minimum wage laws in the US have exemptions

No waiter would accept minimum wage in lieu of tips. This is all bogus talk.

Ask any dishwasher if they'd rather have tips or minimum wage (which is what I got as a dishwasher) and I assure you they'd pick tips. There's a lot of workers in the restaurant who aren't as fortunate as your server.

Not sure what the real point of this is but I wish people remembered that in the restaurant hierarchy servers are nowhere near the bottom.

That's untrue in some circumstances, and misleading in many others.

Some folks are making around minimum wage anyway, and some employers steal tips. At least a steady wage gets you something easier to fall back on.

It should be said that minimum wage is low enough that fast food often pays more. So yes, you are correct that minimum wage isn't competitive enough. You'd have to pay more.

Few might trade tips for minimum wage, but trading tips for a steady income? Sure. No more getting shafted. No more getting stuck with low-tipping shifts because someone else is more liked by the manager (folks get punished with low-tip-earning shifts). Customers won't be able to have so much leverage over you because they will no longer be directly responsible for your week's wages.

> Few might trade tips for minimum wage, but trading tips for a steady income

Not if the wait-person believes that their low pay + tips averages out to a good amount more than the steady income would.

Even if that's the case, is that an argument in favor of withholding tips? My point is that tips generally are the bulk of the compensation for restaurant staff, so if you don't tip, you're essentially enjoying a meal subsidized at their expense. It doesn't realistically matter all that much what my preferences about tipping versus higher wages for restaurant staff is as a consumer; my only choices when eating at a restaurant are to tip or not to tip, and personally I don't really see any way I could justify choosing the latter given the circumstances.

The federal minimum wage for servers and other tipped employees in the US is $2.13 per hour. I don't think it's increased in literally 40 years.

some restaurants have slow days, and the waitstaff doesn't have a choice. They get minimum wage because there are no tips, or there are so few customers as to make the tips meaningless vs the hours spent.

However, as noted previously, that sub-minimum wage is "before tips". If, over the course of a week (iirc), the waiter makes less than the actual minimum wage ($7.25 federally), then the employer must make up the difference. That being said, I would guess any wait staff that go this route on a regular basis don't wind up employed for long.

> No waiter would accept minimum wage in lieu of tips. This is all bogus talk.

Actually you just made it bogus, by bringing up a strawman argument. Who mandates that waiters should only be paid minimum wage? Or that they would have to yield tips in exchange for a fixed wage?

Sure, but then you change the equation and reasoning behind the need. By increasing the base amount it becomes no longer about the employee earning a minimum wage (who likely already is and many times over the minimum wage via their tips), but about intentionally punishing the employer.

How comes that a fair wage is "intentionally punishing the employer", but paying subminimum wage is not "intentionally punishing the employee"?

Because the employer is not paying a sub-minimum wage—they are guaranteeing the minimum wage and provide the employee to make more than minimum wage. If you force the employer to pay a higher rate as a base, you are forcing them to have a greater expense, which affects the bottom line

While I wouldnt have tipped this person, you still tip during regular 'bad service' (like slowness or burnt food or whatever), because even though things didnt meet your expectations doesn't mean you should take advantage of the fact that the state makes it legal to pay servers only $2 an hour. The prices of your shit meal were lower because of this, so you should at least make up the difference to a minimum livable wage, which is the cost it would've been if the state wasnt retrograde.

Unless of course you think people who are bad servers don't deserve to make minimum wage.

>>Unless of course you think people who are bad servers don't deserve to make minimum wage.

I think that it shouldn't be the customers responsibility to even know what the server is making, and logically it shouldn't be their responsibility to make sure they are paid X or Y. You come in, order food, pay for the food, leave. The business owner should be responsible to keep their employees compensated well enough that they don't want to leave.

But like I said in another comment - the situation in US is a result of literally decades of social conditioning, where the population has been told by business owners that it's their(customers) responsibility to make sure that service workers are compensated well enough to not be in poverty, and it's your personal responsibility to tip or the person will starve.

It's gotten to the point where people make this argument in absolute earnest, and truly believe what they say, like it's the most obvious thing in the world. It really is a marvel of social engineering, and a boon for American businesses I'm sure.

>>because even though things didnt meet your expectations doesn't mean you should take advantage of the fact that the state makes it legal to pay servers only $2 an hour

That actually furthers my point above - the side taking advantage of $2 minimum wage is the employer, not the customer.

>> Unless of course you think people who are bad servers don't deserve to make minimum wage.

> It's gotten to the point where people make this argument in absolute earnest

Because the way the pay works at the moment is the way the pay works at the moment, and we tip based on that. The fact that people believe the pay _shouldn't_ work that way is no excuse for not tipping your wait staff at all _today_.

> That actually furthers my point above - the side taking advantage of $2 minimum wage is the employer, not the customer.

Not really, at least not in most cases. If tips went away and the employer paid more, the prices of the meals would go up to compensate. The restaurant owners aren't making more money because of the current system; most of them aren't making a large profit. The owners aren't paying sub-minimum wage because they want to pocket the difference; they're doing it because to do otherwise would drive them out of business (because their competition is also doing it). You need to change the rules for everyone in order for almost anyone to do better.

Youre just bucking the responsibility thats put on you. It sucks the state makes it that way, but youre only hurting other people. If you disagree with tipping then dont go to a restaraunt in a state that requires it. Your self righteous arguments fall on deaf ears of people who work for tips and have to put up with jerks like you.

There are so many instances where the government allows people to be exploited here in America. If youre taking advantage of that and exploiting them -- you are a part of the problem -- it is that simple.

Why does the state make it that restaurants don't pay waiters enough? There is no obligation to only pay the minimum wage. Some countries in Europe don't even have a minimum wage at all and there's still no tipping culture like the USA. It really is just something that's considered normal in the US and bizarre everywhere else.

>> If youre taking advantage of that and exploiting them -- you are a part of the problem -- it is that simple.

The only side expliting anyone here is the employers exploiting their employees. It's that simple. But we don't have to agree on this.

>> If you disagree with tipping then dont go to a restaraunt in a state that requires it.

Like I said in my comment above, I was only visiting America - and I did tip while I was there, for your information.

>> Your self righteous arguments fall on deaf ears of people who work for tips and have to put up with jerks like you.

All I have done so far is made my arguments here on HN, not sure that deserves being called a jerk.

> Unless of course you think people who are bad servers don't deserve to make minimum wage.

Why should the responsibility of paying a bonus (a tip) to the server fall on the customer? Why shouldn't the business be held responsible for paying them the bonus? As someone from Europe, I find it difficult to wrap my head around the fact that it is somehow customer's responsibility to pay them a bonus/tip even if there has been a bad service. In my mind it should clearly be the responsibility of the business to pay them what they deserve.

Those are very solid arguments for not allowing businesses to pay less than minimum wage, or for (as an individual) not visiting places that allow businesses to pay less than minimum wage. They aren’t terribly relevant to the situation where you just ate somewhere that does pay less than minimum wage.

> They aren’t terribly relevant to the situation where you just ate somewhere that does pay less than minimum wage.

Sorry for being obstuse but I still don't understand. How as a customer I would know whether the place where I ate at is paying less than minimum wage or not?

As a general rule of thumb at almost any restaurant you're likely to visit, they're not. Now you know.

Depends how much effort you want to put in. Zero? Simply assume that it's true for any restaurant in the US.

As mentioned above though, as the company has to cover a lack of tips Uptoinimum wage, they won't be paid under minimum (at least that's what I'm taking from this).

Technically true, but nobody I know who has worked for a tipped minimum wage has ever seen this happen.

> The prices of your shit meal were lower because of this

Can one really claim that when, in the same breath, one also claims tips are near-mandatory?

What this situation actually means is that the business entices you in with a low price in the menu, but that price is only tangentially related to the amount I end up paying when it comes time to pay. The thing that is "lower" is not the amount of money that leaves my wallet at the end of the meal, and I am never told up front what that total will be. This is actually true of most transactions in the US, because taxes also work in a similar fashion.

Elsewhere, the norms are different. In some places, when, as a customer, you see a price for goods and services, that is exactly the amount of money you pay; it is the responsibility of whoever is setting the price to set it at an appropriate level so they can appropriately compensate whatever third parties they need to compensate. In other places, the norm might be to haggle; but even there you know what the agreed total will be before you receive the goods or services.

That said, the US approach is actually not entirely an unfamiliar experience to Europeans: budget airlines operate on the same principle of "quote low price up front then the customer pays way more at the end for things that are technically but not really optional" here - and we hate those just as much.

> doesn't mean you should take advantage of the fact that the state makes it legal to pay servers only $2 an hour.

Instead the state and the restaurant should take advantage of you and the employee?

If the waitstaff was payed more and tips were removed from the equation, the meal would cost more. It doesn't wind up costing you more to tip than is the system was changed; unless you tip very well (in which case, you might be one of those people that would tip even if the system was changed).

Isn't that good? When the prices directly include the cost of what it takes to create it?

You say this as a bad thing, as if basically every other country doesn't do this?

I just don't think that's true. Food in the UK(in restaurants) is just as cheap if not cheaper than in US and tipping is entirely optional, plus minimum wage and employee protections are a lot higher. So I don't think the low wage necessarily correlates to cheap meal prices

> Unless of course you think people who are bad servers don't deserve to make minimum wage.

No but I do think the establishment has the responsibility to list the actual price of services rendered

I'd be inclined to agree, if the the tips didn't factor into the minimum wage calculation - so that in the medium-term, higher average tips ddidn't just lead to lower pay from the employer.

Of course this is coming from an European, so the whole tipping culture is foreign to me.

Incredible amount of goods or services I consume pay $2/hour, if they are lucky. Bangladesh, India, take your pick. I certainly take advatage fo that. Why should I pay more?

It's not my job to fix laws and it's not my job to make sure a person has a good wage.

it's not really the point, but there's no reason to think your meal was cheaper because of the low wages. if you're the restaurant owner, if your labor costs suddenly went down, why would you lower your prices?

I have no doubt at all that, if owners suddenly had to pay waitstaff more, the prices of meals would go up. Because the owners need to make money too, and most of them have pretty thin margins.

You will not be surprised to learn that tipping in the US started with racial oppression after slavery was abolished. It created a way to employ people without paying them wages.


I wouldnt have tipped. That said, as a guest to the country and at a work gathering you may want to tip just to not leave a bad impression of yourself.

Well yes, obviously we tipped at the end, but I was just surprised that everyone in our group was unhappy with the entire service and food, yet we still had to top. There is a saying where I'm from "co kraj to obyczaj" - "every country has its customs". That custom just stood out for me.

hmm if it was a large party, generally you are obligated to tip and they already include it on the receipt. Be especially careful not to tip twice in these cases. Though I think that's insane, but I guess large groups have a reputation of stiffing wait staff.

As an American, I would not have tipped in that situation. I wouldn't have even considered it. I don't think that's far out of the norm for a situation involving extremely poor service and abusive behavior. I could be wrong but I don't think "Americanism" is the explanation for what happened here, though I agree that our approach to tipping is a bit bonkers overall.

The "small tip" is to let them know "I didn't forget to tip, I'm tipping you a tiny amount so you know I'm mad".

I guess that works in theory, but Americans don't generally "forget" to tip. Every time you sign a receipt there's an explicit line for a tip. Apps like Uber have a button you have to press to not leave a tip.

In America a "tip" should be understood as a compulsory wage supplement paid by the customer. It can often also include a traditional "tip" (i.e. for good service).

Once you use this definition, everything becomes much simpler.

I know this, but whose responsibility it is to clean up this legacy construct that comes from prohibition time, has no good reason to exist today, and causes misery on both sides?

Once you use this definition, everything becomes much simpler

Only if use a similar newspeak definition for "simpler".

In tipping countries, a tiny tip is often more insulting than no tip. Ludicrous to me as well coming from Europe, but hey, that's how they do it.

I wish people gave me their insults or bad feedback in the form of small tips

"you've done an extremely poor job this year, so we're only giving you a small payraise this year" - insanity.

Continental Europe used to be a tipping zone, but it seems like it suddenly stopped about 20 years ago.

Why do you think that happened? Honestly curious.

I really don’t know, I’m a Brit and found that one year I went on a business trip and suddenly it had just stopped.

I wouldn’t say the IK really has a tipping culture. We do it in restaurants occasionally, especially ones where drinking is a big part of it, but nobody will get annoyed if you don’t. My daughters work part time waitressing at a restaurant near us that’s pretty expensive and sells a lot of cocktails and such, and they sometimes come home with £30 in tips.

On the continent it used to be required. Waiters at cafes would get very upset if you didn’t tip, or didn’t tip enough. The guys that helped with luggage at hotels too. Then it just stopped. You still can and some do, but the passive aggressive pressure just went, everywhere as far as I can tell.

Summarising 27 countries with "the continent" might be painting with too broad of a brush, there are quite some differences between the different member states, though there is usually none where more than 10% tips is common, most have the tips embedded in a service fee.

Credit cards, maybe? Then, I don't know how it was back then. Was it really a thing?

My friends and I still leave tips when service is exceptionally good.

It's certainly true that "keep the change" was quite common, and well, you can't do that with digital money.

Even if they absolutely need it to eat or it is "normal" (as I was repeatedly informed in NA), I refuse to tip an asshole. It is not my problem that they go hungry, it is my problem that they made my day worse. Why reward that behaviour?

In the US you are shamed for not tipping people regardless of how poorly they performed. The argument is that, without tipping, hard working blue collar will fall into dire straits. Them having a bad day and mistreating you doesn't mean they should be condemned to poverty.

>>Them having a bad day and mistreating you doesn't mean they should be condemned to poverty.

Do Americans apply the same logic to other areas of life? If your plumber comes over and messes up the installation completely so you have water leaking every time you use a shower, do you still pay them full price for the service? After all maybe they just had a bad day, and that shouldn't condemn them to poverty?

Of course I'm reducing it to some absurdity, but to adress your argument in seriousness - it's incredible to me that American businesses managed to successfully shift the perception of responsibility to you(customers) rather than business owners. It's a result of decades of conditioning and being told that it's up to YOU, the customer, to make sure our employees are not "condemed to poverty". It's a feat of social engineering really.

>If your plumber comes over and messes up the installation completely so you have water leaking every time you use a shower, do you still pay them full price for the service? After all maybe they just had a bad day, and that shouldn't condemn them to poverty?

This is a wrong analogy. If the plumber came in pissed off and was swearing all the time but got the job done then yes I would pay. Would probably not call him again if I was that bothered.

If I got served uncooked food I would not pay, but if the waiter was rude and I had to wait long I'll still tip them - less then I would otherwise.

And context is a lot here as well - if I see the place is packed and there's like two people doing a shift I can understand they are stressed out and I'm waiting longer cause it's super busy.

Am European and honestly feel like tipping vs not tipping says more about you than it does about the service. When I see someone penny counting at the restaurant it usually makes me think less about them. I don't like socialising with miserly people (if I think you have the money to cover it, naturally). Depends on the setting too, if it's just grabbing lunch at the cafeteria then I just pay by card and usually don't tip, but when it's a social thing then yeah - it's a luxury thing you do and share with others.

Ok the contrary, to me the experience is a first class component of why I go out to eat. So I think the analogy with the leaky pipes applies.

Dining out simply isn’t just about being fed. The restaurant can’t just say “hey you consumed the calories, so MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!”

If I have a bad experience, I’m being stiffed by the establishment. I mean think what else is baked into the food’s sticker price: restaurant decor, music, ambiance, etc. Those are things you’re paying for. It’s why the price of food is higher than the grocery store.

There are fancy fine dining places where you have separate waiters serve you food while another is explaining the menu, sommelier offering wine pairings. If that's your thing that's where you pay for it.

On the other hand I don't go to normal restaurants to get entertained by waiters, and they have to be pretty terrible to cross the threshold where they are affecting my experience to the point where I'd leave (failing their purpose like the plumber example).

Well yes, like I said it was me reducing it to absurdity :-) But what you said makes sense(in the context of everything else I know about the American tipping system).

> Them having a bad day and mistreating you doesn't mean they should be condemned to poverty.

That's all good but why does this logic apply to the customers and not the business owners?

In the US restaurant owners are legally allowed to pay their staff less than minimum wage because waiters will make up the difference through tips.

Which is brilliant, because 1. they are able to show "discounted" food prices on the menu, with the expectation that the customer will end up paying an extra 20% in tip and x% in taxes on top of it 2. they can pay their staff less than they would have to otherwise.

The consumer gets screwed. The staff gets screwed. The business owner does ok, but the restaurant industry is pretty rough anyway, so it's unclear if they're laughing all the way to the bank anyway.

Not giving tip might be interpreted like you come from the culture where people do not tip. Giving very small tip is clearly an insult :)

I like to think he left 69 cents

I drove Uber for awhile and I believe this story falls short of being entirely factual

> Moving forward, I question whether these types of suspensions should be allowed from the tech giants without any oversight or regulation. At what point does a company become pervasive enough in everyday life that they owe users an explanation or warning before dropping the guillotine? Or is this all part of an ongoing trend, toward something like the Chinese Social Credit Score system, where the consequences of not maintaining a high rating are socially crippling?

I'm starting to feel very strongly about this. Not just about AirBnB but about every part where tech is pervasive that it becomes a monopoly (or close to it).

There has to be some balance between keeping malicious actors off the platform and the responsibility to not fuck peoples lives up (AirBnB is far from the worst offender).

Examples: Ebay & Etsy that people run microbusinesses on. Google locking people out of email with no ability to recover. Paypal freezing money indefinitely. The list goes on.

I live my life out of AirBnBs (and to a lesser extent booking.com -> aparthotels) and have had the complete gamut of hosts and properties. Losing access to AirBnB would be problematic to say the least.

While this is problematic, in my opinion it is far more problematic that we see so little competition.

The reason is not that these companies do something that other companies can't do. For example AirBnB is just a CRUD database with a website that connects demand and supply. Anybody could build it, I bet some HNers even in a weekend :)

So there must be anticompetitive practices going on. Or consumers are lazy and only visit the company that has the most offerings, thereby creating a vicious cycle.

AirBnB built their software pretty fast too. But then they had to literally fly around the country onboarding their first listings by hand: helping the property owners take good pictures, write enticing descriptions, etc.

Scaling a two-sided market app is hard. You have to carefully increase the number of sellers and buyers together. If it gets too lopsided in either direction, people get frustrated and give up.

AirBnB, like Uber, also benefited from a bunch of earned media because the idea seemed novel at the time. Reporters were interested in the concept. These days a competitor would need to spend like crazy on paid media to grow mindshare, or have some new twist that interests reporters.

> For example AirBnB is just a CRUD database with a website that connects demand and supply. Anybody could build it, I bet some HNers even in a weekend :)

The value is in the data, not the software. They have hundreds of thousands of properties on their platform ready to accept bookings - that takes a lot of legwork to produce. Same thing for Uber.

You could build it and start rolling it out locally in your town, but do you think a) you could convince a solid number of hosts to use your platform, and b) that people visiting your town would use your (unknown) platform rather than the "safe bets" of airbnb or vrbo? If you can solve those problems, go for it; once you conquer your first locale, hire some salespeople and expand to the next geography.

I would say the value is in the users, not necessarily the data. Win over the users, and you have the data as well. So basically network effects.

I was thinking more at the level of the economy. How can we fix this nasty bug in the free market so the best service wins, not the one with the most users?

I guess I could have said "the database". I think we're talking about the same thing. Without (some) users you won't get many listings; without enough listings you won't grow users organically. So, you need money to grow through GTM of some sort, and/or a really good organic growth strategy.

Let people have the experiences that OP did, and they will automatically start to rent from other sellers/middlemen.

There seems to be a lot of competition. VRBO, Priceline, Expedia, Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, choice, Wyndham, etc

Edit: VRBO should be removed from above list since Expedia owns it.

Those fall under Booking.com, for all that the consumer cares.

No, they do not. Priceline owns booking.com. And Priceline does not own any of the hotels or the hotel brands I listed. A ban by Priceline does not stop you from staying at any hotel.

I did get VRBO wrong though, they should have been omitted since they are owned by Expedia.

AirBnB and Booking.com are competitors at the platform level.

Thousands of hotels and AirBnB hosts etc. are one level below and compete in a different market.

I do not see the need to differentiate the markets in the internet era. Any seller who wants to rent temporary accommodations can throw up a website, and any renter can search it, via multiple search engines, maps, or accommodation listings.

Perhaps for casual sellers looking to earn rental income on a part time basis, their only two options of easily reaching many people are Airbnb and Priceline (booking.com), but I am not sure how much of society’s concern that should be.

> Any seller who wants to rent temporary accommodations can throw up a website, and any renter can search it, via multiple search engines, maps, or accommodation listings.

The problem is that for most people, airbnb.com is the search engine.

I've been banned from both Uber and AirBnB for reporting security vulnerabilities before they had a bug bounty program.

I'm now a Lifetime Diamond at Hilton Hotels, and use Lyft when I need to rideshare.

Their loss.

Link to writeup?

I’m also banned for life: I can’t login without my old phone number, and I can’t update my old phone number without logging in. Guess that makes me more of a hotel person now.

I'm also at least temporarily banned, because they try to verify my credit card with transactions that my card company say do not exist. I'm not going to change cards only for them, there are good enough alternatives.

I have the same issue. It's amazing that AirBnb refuses to offer any solution for this.

A friend had managed to register using the wrong email address and had set up as an Airbnb host and let out her property for 2 months or so. Them she needed to log in on a new device and couldn't.

At the time I didn't realise she had used the wrong email address, and frankly it didn't occur to me because usually sites need you to click a link in the email to verify.

She also couldn't remember her password so we were in a catch 22 situation. I couldn't reset the password because all password resets went to the wrong email and I couldn't change her email without knowing the password.

Incredibly Airbnb could not (not would not - it was impossible for them to) fix it.

After 3/4 days of panic (a guest was due to stay at her house and she couldn't communicate with the guest or even set up bank details) I managed to find a password she'd previously used and was able to login and change the associated email address.

I'm still amazed that Airbnb allows for user error and is unable to fix it at their end once they have established identity etc.

> A friend had managed to register using the wrong email address

How is that possible, since they send an email to your address before confirming your account?

> since they send an email to your address before confirming your account?

It wasn't always like that. They used to verify only your phone number.

Yes, that's what happened here, except her phone number was tied to another account, so when we logged in with her phone number it logged in to the OTHER account.

Just staggering.

They weren't unable, they were unwilling. They started out as a Rails shop, right? Probably have a very simple email field on their users table, any junior dev could easily change it. Probably any sufficiently privileged support user as well, since clearly they allow users to change their email themselves.

Create a new account?

AirBnB has created a prisoner's dilemma review process. If you have a fairly bad host, but don't leave a bad review and they do, you are penalized by not having any appeal.

I wonder if the dilemma is on both sides (I think it is), meaning hosts are actually incentivised to leave bad reviews on their patrons _if they are a bad host_ as a means of defense.

We had a similar experience to this article where the host left a fabricated negative review.

Interesting take. The disincentive for a host lying in a review is not compelling-enough. The AinBnb review becomes a record of sentiment, rather than of any use to a third party interested in being a guest. You’ll have to go to a different site to get away from that incentive.

Cunningham’s July 2018 Medium post about his experience went viral — and soon afterward, Airbnb responded to apologize and reinstate his account. “You were removed after we received a report alleging inappropriate behavior in an Airbnb listing. Upon further review, we determined that removal was not required based on this report. We hope you give us another try and again, we apologize for any inconvenience,” a representative said in an email seen by MarketWatch.


Which shows why bans with no reason given (as is popular with many tech companies, citing that they don't want to tell abusers how they got caught) are so problematic for both sides: It will lead to the banned person speculating, usually incorrectly, and often publicly because a shitstorm on social media is the only remaining form of appeal.

citing that they don't want to tell abusers how they got caught

Oh they cite it, but it's all about cost savings. Customer service costs. By refusing to interact, a platform like airbnb saves into 7, likely 8 figures easily.

Abusers/scammers always, always know why they are banned. It doesn't help a bit to not-disclose. A google search will turn up the why of it too.

The real gain here is fiscal.

I'm beginning to think that the only response here is legislative. Make it illegal to cancel accounts without a full rendition as to why, and evidence to validate the same. Essentially, statements of "you broke the ToS" turn into "here's how you broke our ToS".

And most importantly, the ability to challenge the evidence.

To make it easy on small corps, maybe there should be a corp-size requirement. Lots of stuff (fiscal duties, for example) change over a certain size.

Ahh, the ole' "go viral to get support" route.

Very good course of action, assuming you can go viral.

Gotta love the "we apologize for any inconvenience"... Hey AirBnB how about you apologize for being giant f*kwits?

> f*kwits

What is the purpose of half-heartedly censoring the word "fuckwits", when it is immediately obvious to everyone what you are saying?

- HN doesn't ban users, or stop comments from being posted if they contain the word fuck.

- If you have moral objections to saying/writing fuck, then why even use it in the first place? Why not say something else?

- You are not sparing anyone else from the word, because we are all filling in the blanks automatically even if we don't want to.

So please tell me why you did it. I cannot think of a reason.

If going viral is the only way someone can make him/herself heard, then it's high time for a regulator to step in ...

When it makes the news that a corporate titan unjustly banned someone, it really stinks the the response is almost always just a one-off fix for the person in question, and never properly fixing the banning system to protect all of the people who aren't lucky enough to go viral when they're unjustly banned.

According to the same article, the guy never went back. Good for him, and I hope he stands firmly by his principle.

" But Cunningham, who believes the company only acted “because the story got so much attention,” says he hasn’t used his account since its reactivation. He believes the company sees its customers as “data points” rather than individuals. “If somebody is showing in their policies that they really don’t care about the individual, I think it’s just a really dangerous thing,” he said.

“He was removed by mistake,” the Airbnb spokesman told MarketWatch when asked about Cunningham’s case. “We reinstated his account and apologized to him for the inconvenience.” "

A heartfelt apology with some conciliatory gesture would be the absolute minimum after such injust horror story. But no. All rbnb did judging from this, is damage control of the viral story, and they even failed at that.

The whole "naked while the host came in" comment seemed to be more important than the writer realized

To intrude in the privacy of unclothed people, then later spin the story in such a way, reveals a quite sinister mind.

Their refusal to tell him why he was banned or give him an appeal process means this 'apology' was bullshit from the get go.

I'd rather stay at a best western than an airbnb 99% of the time, and policies like the above are part of it.

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