|I don't have a blog where this story would be appropriate, but since I know airbnb founders/investors read HN, I figure my story might be valuable to them. This is how my first experience with airbnb is also going to be my last.|
I recently rented out my apartment for a 2 week stay. With my nearly $3,000 payment being held by airbnb, I received an email asking me to "send in a scanned copy of your government issued ID and a copy of a utility bill". No form to do so, just the vague "send". I'm not really comfortable sending as much personal info as my drivers license contains (height, weight, eye color, DL number, photo) especially over unencrypted email, and when this requirement wasn't mentioned before listing my space.
Here is where they lose me as a customer though- I snapped a photo of a utility bill and responded to their email. Two days go by, my payment is still 'pending' now several days after the guest has arrived. I send a second email inquiring if the photo was ok (I don't have a scanner handy) and why they still haven't paid me, and get no response. More days go by with airbnb holding my payment, and I try to use their live chat. Live chat fails silently in firefox (clicking the button does nothing). I try in chrome and it tells me everyone is busy. Try again later and it opens a window... then 30 seconds later tells me everyone is busy and to email my request.
Finally, now 9 days after my guest arrived, I receive another email from airbnb which ignores all my previous messages and tells me to once again "send" them scans of gov't id and utility bill. Apparently my only option to get them to release my funds is to send highly personal information over unencrypted email, a requirement which was never made clear when I made my listing.
Airbnb seems like a great idea with an ideal set of founders and backers, but unexpected requirements and terrible customer support have turned me off their site.