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Disturbing Air BnB Article
Old 10-31-2019, 01:21 PM   #1
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Disturbing Air BnB Article

I’m a big fan of AirBnB, but found this article rather unsettling. It seems that some well oiled scams have been set up to take advantage of AirBnB’s lax vetting and complaint follow up. Ironically, the fact that hosts rate guests keeps people from leaving a bad review even when they have been duped. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/4...scam-on-airbnb
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Old 10-31-2019, 01:35 PM   #2
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Thanks for sharing - I've sent this info to our millennials who use the service much more than I do.
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Old 10-31-2019, 02:09 PM   #3
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Thanks for the article. I came within minutes of booking my first Airbnb. I backed out because the process was suspicious. I know many people have had good experiences, but never felt comfortable paying a full month ahead. That was 6 months before we were to arrive. Sketchy refund policy and very unusual communication with the owner. Don't think I'll ever use them.
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Old 10-31-2019, 02:13 PM   #4
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I'm surprised that the company doesn't care, but I guess if they IPO and fill their management pockets it's all good for them.

I've only used the service twice, and it was in a city where I had an option if things went really bad.

That is why I've never used the service on other trips, I've always wondered, what would I do in a strange city, dropped off by a taxi with 3 suitcases, no phone service, and find the building is non-existent/already occupied/a drug flop house. ??

Much safer to book a real hotel.
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Old 10-31-2019, 02:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travelover View Post
I’m a big fan of AirBnB, but found this article rather unsettling. It seems that some well oiled scams have been set up to take advantage of AirBnB’s lax vetting and complaint follow up. Ironically, the fact that hosts rate guests keeps people from leaving a bad review even when they have been duped. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/4...scam-on-airbnb
Disturbing article for sure. But the bolded statement is only partially true. Neither side can see what the other wrote until they do their review. The host can reply to your review with an explanation, or attacking you, but it doesn't affect their own review of you. Now, a scammer might guess you're going to write a bad review and proactively write you a bad review to make you look distrustful, but that doesn't keep anyone from writing a bad review.
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Old 10-31-2019, 02:24 PM   #6
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I Ironically, the fact that hosts rate guests keeps people from leaving a bad review even when they have been duped.
My understanding is that neither AirBnB host or customer sees the other persons review until both have been filed with the parent company. This would seem to make a revenge review unlikely.

I have used AirBnb several times and not had what I consider a significant problem.

The main thing I have learned is that if an apartment in a particular area is renting for significantly less than most others, there is usually a good reason for it: noisy traffic just outside, too many slippery stairs, furniture badly worn, broken or missing necessities, a poor location, etc.

The big things for me are Location, Location and Location. I am with Rick Steves when he says he will pay extra to be in a good location. Vacation time is to precious to waste, even for retired guys and gals, IMHO. Why spend a small fortune to travel to a great area and then spend hours and energy every day on the last few miles so you can be where you really want to be?
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Old 10-31-2019, 02:27 PM   #7
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If I understood the article, once the guest agreed to an alternate accommodation they were hosed. So, in the future, if I’m told the place is not available immediately, then cancel for a refund.
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Old 10-31-2019, 02:55 PM   #8
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Well, no company is perfect and fast-growing companies with a lot of new staff are particularly likely to be imperfect.

I don't think we've rented 100 AirBNBs but its certainly a high two-digit number and spread across a number of countries. There have been rough edges from time to time but nothing that would make me avoid the company. Also, as they get themselves sorted out and deal with the constant attacks from entrenched competitors things will get better.

Re saving money that is never our objective. Our main objective is to avoid staying in the stacks of anonymous and boring boxes called "hotels." As it turns out we do usually save money, so that is good too.

We do read the reviews very carefully, study the pictures, read cancellation policies, and avoid properties that have not been reviewed yet.
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Old 10-31-2019, 02:58 PM   #9
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Never had a problem with Airbnb, and we've rented a few.
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Old 10-31-2019, 03:07 PM   #10
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We used two AirBnBs this year, our first ever. Both were fine, and we took the advice to only book with "Superhosts". My only comment is that both places were considerably more "worn" than pictured on the website. So I think the photos were not quite as current as I expected. Not a problem, and both were in great locations so that made up for a lot.
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Old 10-31-2019, 03:12 PM   #11
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We used two AirBnBs this year, our first ever. Both were fine, and we took the advice to only book with "Superhosts". My only comment is that both places were considerably more "worn" than pictured on the website. So I think the photos were not quite as current as I expected. Not a problem, and both were in great locations so that made up for a lot.
This was my experience as well. We've booked with HomeAway and VRBO as well but it's my opinion AirBNB has more host turnover.

The last place we stayed was "fine" but I would have liked it to be cared for a bit more. The grill didn't have a propane tank attached, and their was only 1 roll of Paper towels, with dismal selection of cooking utensils. It's again my opinion people rent homes for the luxuries of said home, like comfy beds and decent kitchens to work with. And the outdoor sitting area was overgrown with weeds, and just unkept.

I find myself not reviewing the places I wouldn't stay at again. I let me words speak with my wallet.
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Old 10-31-2019, 04:27 PM   #12
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... I find myself not reviewing the places I wouldn't stay at again. I let me words speak with my wallet.
Oh, please don't do that. Those of us who read and consider the reviews carefully really want to know what you think.

As an aside, I think the emergence of "professional" hosts who are really running tiny hotel chains has done a lot to reduce the overall quality of AirBnB lodgings. Not to the point, at least yet, where it will not be our first choice for lodgings but we are more wary than we used to be.
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Old 10-31-2019, 05:22 PM   #13
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I've stayed at several places booked through AirBnB and most were actually a nicer experience than expected (such as drinks and chocolate etc that were never mentioned in the description). Unfortunately, it doesn't take long for the dead beat scammers to find a way to exploit the system
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Old 10-31-2019, 06:07 PM   #14
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We've used AirBnB in several countries, dozens of times. We have only had a few rather trivial issues across many, many memorable stays.

We use AirBnB for unique properties in desirable locations (Thames waterfront London, etc). Our first default is super-host with many reviews. Next option is 5 stars with many reviews. If we can't find that, hello Hilton or Marriott.... YMMV
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Old 10-31-2019, 06:18 PM   #15
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We stayed for 3 successive Januarys at a set of 6 furnished cottages near the beach. A cleaning service (at the end of your stay) was included in the price, and we always found the place clean. But as you say, the kitchen utensils were ill-assorted, some always missing, no propane tank...The owner told us that her cleaning crew were in charge of checking the units between guests and letting her know if anything was missing. She did not check, herself, unless it was something big that required a repairman. She said that guests steal and/or swap kitchen things, causing an imbalance among the cottage kitchens; she couldn't keep up with the demand for grill propane, so she left it to guests to buy their own tanks.

After the first stay, we brought our favorite kitchen things with us in the car.
The location kept us coming back, until we didn't need to any more!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kgtest View Post
This was my experience as well. We've booked with HomeAway and VRBO as well but it's my opinion AirBNB has more host turnover.

The last place we stayed was "fine" but I would have liked it to be cared for a bit more. The grill didn't have a propane tank attached, and their was only 1 roll of Paper towels, with dismal selection of cooking utensils. It's again my opinion people rent homes for the luxuries of said home, like comfy beds and decent kitchens to work with. And the outdoor sitting area was overgrown with weeds, and just unkept.

I find myself not reviewing the places I wouldn't stay at again. I let me words speak with my wallet.
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Old 10-31-2019, 07:14 PM   #16
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I have used Airbnb in Europe more than 20 times, and never had something as egregious and outright fraudulent as the article describes. Could it be worse in the US than elsewhere?

When shopping, I tried to look for a place with more reviews. It may not be fair to a newer listing though, and a new host has to set a low price to lure people and to build a reputation.

For example, we stayed at a very nice and roomy apartment in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue in France. We were pleasantly surprised. The price was quite reasonable, and people left glowing reviews. Recently, I checked out of curiosity, and the price is now 50% higher.
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Old 10-31-2019, 08:31 PM   #17
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We travel frequently but have yet to do an airbnb. The past few articles that we have read, including this, are discouraging us somewhat from moving forward with a reservation at some point.
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Old 10-31-2019, 10:54 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by travelover View Post
I’m a big fan of AirBnB, but found this article rather unsettling. It seems that some well oiled scams have been set up to take advantage of AirBnB’s lax vetting and complaint follow up. Ironically, the fact that hosts rate guests keeps people from leaving a bad review even when they have been duped. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/4...scam-on-airbnb


Very interesting article, thank you for posting. We’ve used Air BnB in several international and domestic locations and never had a problem. One of my requirements is a property that has a lot of reviews. I also have questions before I book so I typically correspond a few times directly with the host. Still, it’s sobering to read how easily one could get scammed.
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Old 11-01-2019, 07:06 AM   #19
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Old 11-01-2019, 07:31 AM   #20
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That's some scary sh**. I have stayed in numerous Air B&Bs and always had good experiences but I have generally selected superhosts or whatever the carefully vetted hosts are called.
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