Airbnb scam

Old Aug 10th, 2015, 05:01 AM
  #121  
 
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Believe me it's TRUE!! No, we have not heard back from airbnb. And, how is a person suppose to check out the property?? We have stayed at airbnb's many times, but this is our first bad experience. We also are airbnb hosts.
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Old Aug 10th, 2015, 11:08 AM
  #122  
 
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I'm very sorry you got stung! I am very surprised you did not hear back from Airbnb promptly, though. We had a bad experience with an Airbnb rental in Amsterdam shortly after Airbnb started, about five years ago. We could not contact Airbnb as it was a Friday night and the Airbnb "hotline" was shut down. Since then the hotline has been upgraded and is available 24/7, we have been told.

I hope you took some pictures of the place to show how unsuitable it was. Do you mind sharing the listing with us? I'd like to see how it has been reviewed.
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Old Aug 11th, 2015, 05:16 AM
  #123  
 
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F1racegirl - I don't find this story unbelievable. What else should they have done? Btw I checked your website and it's wonderful.
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Old Aug 11th, 2015, 05:33 AM
  #124  
 
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I don't think it is unbelievable either but F1 has a good point :

- always check a place via googlemap...

I also learnt it the hard way.
And Corindu, I think you did the right thing once there (I know we would have done the same). Maybe you can block the money via your credit card ?
Mvg.
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Old Aug 11th, 2015, 11:06 PM
  #125  
 
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Michelene-which website did you check out? The one I posted above was the Airbnb we we're suppose to stay at. We did check out the neighborhood in terms of location, safty etc, read the reviews and it seemed fine. However, what the police informed us is that with the recent Greece crisis, there are a lot of desperate people, in addition to the crisis, Greece is dealing with an influx of illegal immigrants from Syria, Africa and other war torn countries. Therefore, crime etc is up. We didn't even think of taking photos, we were quite sacred and just wanted to get out of there. There were no lights in the building hallway and the foyer in front of the apartment was littered with junk/flyer mail. It's was obvious that no one had been around looking after or cleaning the place. We have finally heard from Airbnb, six days later and hopefully they will deal with this. We also messaged the listing, but have not heard from them. We are very disappointed with Airbnb, and are losing faith and trust in the company. Five years ago, when it was small, they were able to keep up with stuff like this when it happened (probably not too often), however it's a very different company now. Most likely understaffed and really all about money. Airbnb should have an emergency number that travelers could call when abroad. The 1-800 number did not work nor did the number they have listed for Greece.
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Old Aug 12th, 2015, 03:05 AM
  #126  
 
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Several months ago, someone posted an AirBnB listing on another website that turned out to be a scam - interior photos were lifted from hotel ads, scenes of the Eiffel Tower viewed through the windows were lifted from magazine ads - luckily, they asked if anyone had stayed there, and someone recognized the photos.

There are a lot of scams, not just on AirBnB. People are desperate in Greece, but there are greedy people everywhere.

In the Spring, we stopped to help people with luggage who were trying to get into an obviously abandoned building in the Marais. There is no door, just plywood nailed over the opening. No keyhole, no entry code system, nada. They had already paid everything up front with PayPal and the phone number they showed us for the "owner" was invalid. The building is still vacant.

Over the last few years, several people have tried to access our own building because they have booked an apartment which has never existed here (vacation rentals are not permitted, per unanimous agreement of the residents). All of them have paid in full in advance, have the correct address but no keys, no door code, and don't know which of the 7 floors the apartment is on. They have instructions to sit in the doorway until someone comes to greet them - which never happens. According to the police, the "owner" lives near the coast in the North of England, and is apparently very good at what he does.

Now that there are so many vacation rentals on the market, it's easy for scammers to blend in and appear legitimate. And much more difficult for people to do in-depth research.
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Old Aug 12th, 2015, 03:14 AM
  #127  
 
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Sorry corindu I was referring to f1racegirl's website in her profile. I think you did everything you could. It will be interesting to hear how Airbnb deals with this. How frustrating that the 1-800 number did not work.
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Old Aug 12th, 2015, 07:13 AM
  #128  
 
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Thanks Micheline. I was just thinking that if the neighborhood was a bad as the OP describes then it might have been obvious on Google street view.
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Old Aug 12th, 2015, 03:19 PM
  #129  
 
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One word about the photos that appear on the Airbnb site that some might not be aware of; if you look at the upper right corner of the apartment's photos you will see a small Airbnb symbol. Looks like a triangle with a loop on the bottom. That means it is an Airbnb certified photo taken by an Airbnb photographer. I'm not saying that this could not be faked by some scam artist who is already lifting pictures out of magazines, but it something to take into consideration.

In most of the cities in which Airbnb listings are available the company pays a professional photographer to go out and take shots of the property. This is done free of charge for the host, and is done to give some legitimacy to the listing and to minimize scams. We had it done for our rental guest room in the tiny city in which we live north of Seattle, so I assume that service is available in a lot of locations.

All I am saying is that this could be another tool in doing your due diligence when you are looking for a rental.
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Old Aug 14th, 2015, 12:52 AM
  #130  
 
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There are far too many scams both on the host and travel side. A few months ago there was a host in Calgary, Canada who's property was damaged by legitimate travelers (who they met in person), upwards of $100,000. It made headlines in North America, not sure if internationally. It's so sad that there are bad apples, who ruin it for the rest of us! An update on my Airbnb situation. I now have a "case worker". I've had to fill,out a "resolution" form and send it to the hosts. They have three days to respond. Either with a refund or a "no". At which time I'm to contact the case worker and involve Airbnb. At this point (I'm only out $245), I don't really care about the money. However, this listing which is seriously wrong, needs to be investigated by Airbnb and sht-down. I hope they don't wash their hands of it.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2015, 06:36 AM
  #131  
 
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Update on my recent Airbnb situation: Finally, over two weeks later Airbnb has refunded all but $45. I had to fill out a Resolution form to the hosts however, they're was no response from them. Airbnb did put a limit of 72 hours for them to respond. I then filled out another Resolution form to involve Airbnb and within a couple of hours I got my refund. This listing is still active and I've strongly urged Airbnb to physically investigate, whether they do or not is a big question.
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Old Jan 8th, 2016, 02:40 PM
  #132  
 
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Me and my family, including elderly grandparents and 2 children, just went through this. We arranged a 3 city vacation including Prague, Vienna and Berlin, using airbnb for all. First 2 cities were hugely successful but Berlin's apartment never existed, as we discovered 2 days before our arrival. We were supposed to be there over the NY weekend so you can't imagine ho hard it was to find accommodation - we ended up booking 3 rooms in a very expensive Marriott. Airbnb, who only responded when we went on Twitter, gave us the same response, legal jargon and stone walling. This was our first time using airbnb and never again - we lost $1000.
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Old Jan 8th, 2016, 02:52 PM
  #133  
 
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Sorry to hear about your recent experience in Berlin. I'm just wondering, did you make any arrangements to pay the rental outside of air B&B's own guaranteed payment? If you paid through air B&B they should certainly refund that money.
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Old Jan 8th, 2016, 03:12 PM
  #134  
 
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I am thinking that you mean you lost $1000 because of the cost of the three rooms at the Marriot? Correct? Not because Airbnb kept your money for the apartment?
They are not supposed to pay for the apartment until after you check into it, so they could not legally keep that. I might be upset, but would not expect them to pay for the new hotel.

BTW, how did you discover that the apartment did not exist? Knowing that might help others avoid your situation.

So far, we have had good luck with Airbnb, but have had a lot of correspondence with the owner prior to arrival, and we never, ever make any payments outside of Airbnb.

Someone up thread did mention the risk both ways, and I do know one place we stayed, the previous guests had left the place a mess, garbage and trash all over. The owner was there cleaning when we arrived. Scams from pretend hosts and lousy renters make it difficult for everyone. Too bad because it can be such a great experience.
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Old Jan 8th, 2016, 03:47 PM
  #135  
 
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Ericmock -

The following is part of my confirmation email for a recent Airbnb booking:

Customer Support
If you need assistance with your reservation or for urgent situations, such as check-in trouble or arriving to something unexpected, we’re here to help!

Visit the Help Center

Contact Us

+1-415-800-5959
+1-855-424-7262 (toll-free)
+33 1 84 88 40 00


This part in particular and a local phone number to call: "urgent situations, such as check-in trouble or arriving to something unexpected, we’re here to help!"

This would have been on your booking confirmation when you made a reservation on Airbnb. This means they take responsibility for finding you a place to stay in a situation such as yours. My question is, did you call them? Before spending $1000.?
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Old Jan 9th, 2016, 01:57 AM
  #136  
 
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There are lots of cases of people showing up at a given address to discover that their listing was either "lifted" from another website and the money diverted to someone other than the owner, or that the address is a warehouse or parking lot, for example - not just with AirBnB, but with any property listed on the internet.

These listing websites are not secure and are literally gold mines for "phishers" (internet hackers who specialize in diverting funds) and other scam artists. If you do not do some extensive research before you send money, you will have only yourself to blame if something goes wrong.
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Old Jan 9th, 2016, 02:56 AM
  #137  
 
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I have never booked with Airbnb, but how would a scammer be able to money out of this? If the money is only paid to the host after the guests have checked-in, and the flat doesn't exist, the so-called host would never receive any money.
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Old Jan 9th, 2016, 03:51 AM
  #138  
 
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Some people report dealing directly with the owner on AirBnB, instead of through the system itself. That's where the scams come in - either the listing has been hacked in its entirety, or sometimes it's just the phone number, with an added message to "contact the owner". AirBnB is designed to protect the renter as much as possible, but if you don't use their system correctly, you risk dealing with scammers.
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Old Jan 9th, 2016, 05:27 AM
  #139  
 
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If they do that then it's not really the fault of the site, is it.
It's like emailing your cc number and then being surprised it's been hacked.
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Old Jan 9th, 2016, 07:05 AM
  #140  
 
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But it is still possible that you show up somewhere and the flat turns out not to exist - in which case Airbnb will refund your money. But will Airbnb then help you find alternative accommodation? On NYE in Berlin?
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