Airbnb has announced that it will now verify every single property on its platform and introduce a number of other safety improvements. The announcement has come following repeated instances of scams and forgery which were covered by a news website.
Earlier in October, news website Vice News found out and reported a handful of false or misleading property listings posted on the its rental website.
The part worth mentioning is, since Airbnb entered the marked in 2008, this is the first time they have promised to verify every property listed on its platform. The home rental giant has pledged that they would review all the listed properties by December 2020, and will refund all the customers who were trapped by inaccurate listings.
In course of investigation, Vice News spoke with many people who were scammed on the bookings they made on Airbnb. It was revealed that the guests were denied access to the property via a last minute phone call stating the property is not available, because of an unforeseen emergency or double booking.
The guests would then be shifted to a new property, mostly in an entirely different location, depriving them of the amenities which were earlier promised. In a number of incidences, the guests were left with no other choice than to take the new property, as they had were tired of a long journey or arrived late night at the destination.
Despite the evident deprivation of the guests, Airbnb declined to provide them with full refund for their bookings.
Airbnb chief executive Brian Chesky mentioned in his tweets;
“Airbnb is in the business of trust. We are making the most significant steps in designing trust on our platform since our original design in 2008.”
Chesky pledged that the platform will refund the guests with the entire cost if the booking does not meet their standards, or if the company is unable to avail them with a property which is not “just as nice.”
The company has also announced the launch of a phone line so that anyone can call them anytime round the globe to receive support from a real person.
In communication with BBC, Adam French, a consumer rights expert said;
“Holiday booking fraud is on the rise, with people losing millions every year to fraudsters tricking them out of their money with holiday lettings that do not actually exist. Steps from Airbnb to finally verify all of its listings are positive, but the industry must do more to ensure people are no longer being stripped of their money and having their holiday plans left in tatters.”
Following the Halloween Party shooting incident of California, which reported five deaths, Airbnb said it would ban “party houses” as well