Airbnb horror story goes from bad to worse

Airbnb horror story goes from bad to worse

Summary: A few days ago, one Airbnb member's horror story of her home being ransacked went viral. Now she has spoken out again - and things aren't any better.


A few days ago, one Airbnb member's horror story of her home being ransacked went viral. Now she has spoken out again - and things aren't any better.

In case you're not familiar with the account, basically, a woman named "EJ" in San Francisco rented out her apartment while she was on vacation. When she returned, she found her home trashed and vandalized, with some of her most personal belongings as well as several documents related to her identity stolen.

Airbnb's CEO Brian Chesky responded publicly, albeit briefly at first, saying that they would pledge their support to help the victim.

So far, EJ claimed in a new entry on her personal travel blog that Airbnb hasn't done much at all. Along with correcting Chesky as to when Airbnb first learned of the incident (she claims it took them 14 hours to respond), EJ also asserted that Airbnb reps haven't been in touch with her and probably not with the San Francisco Police Department:

As of today, July 28, I have received no confirmation from either the San Francisco Police Department or the District Attorney that any culprit is in custody for my case. One month ago an individual was apprehended, however as far as I know, this person was transferred to a neighboring jurisdiction for prosecution of previous crimes, and no charges or arrest warrant has been issued for my case within San Francisco County. If this has changed and Chesky’s statement is in fact true, I have not been made aware by city officials.

Word of caution to my fellow Bay Area residents: I have reason to believe that there were multiple people involved in the burglary of my home, not just one culprit.

Although EJ acknowledged that she has been in loose contact with an Airbnb "co-founder" she failed to name (but it's not Chesky) over the last month, she hasn't heard from anyone else or met with anyone from the company yet.

On June 29 I posted my story, and June 30 thus marks the last day I heard from the customer service team regarding my situation. In fact, my appointed “liaison” from Airbnb stopped contacting me altogether just three days after I reported the crime, on June 25, for reasons that are unknown to me. I have heard nothing from her since.

At this point, there's a lot of back and forth on blogs between EJ and Airbnb, but it's questionable why they aren't speaking to each other directly more. For all we know they are.

The easiest lesson to be learned from this story? If you're going to rent out a property you own for short-term stays (like a few days for tourists), don't rent out your own home with plenty of personal belongings, including bank statements and any other kinds of bills that could so easily put you at risk for identity theft. Remember, even your PlayStation 3 isn't safe!


Topics: iOS, Apps, Banking, iPhone, Mobile OS, Security, Smartphones, Software, Wi-Fi

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Rachel, for those who do not know, you might want to consider giving at ...

    ... least brief explanation what is "Airbnb", why this woman has a claim against them if the culprit is obviously not that "Airbnb", and why this on a tech site.

    (Obviously, if readers would surf all the links and google everything, they will know, but then what it is the convenience about reading this on this blog, if it does not sum up situation in explanatory way?)
    • RE: Airbnb horror story goes from bad to worse

      What's ironic about this is I clicked on the story specifically to find out what airbnb was - well I'm still in the dark, lol.
    • RE: Airbnb horror story goes from bad to worse


      Apparently the bed and breakfast you get off the net from Airbnb differs from the bed and breakfast you get off the telephone, mail and yes the internet.

      Renters trash apartment - hardly man bites dog. Most parents with children have much the same problem if the leave them at home on vacation.

      A non-story.
  • RE: Airbnb horror story goes from bad to worse

    Me and my girlfriend actually used airbnb to rest out a nice apartment very close to downtown Montreal last summer. like anything that connects people you have to be careful, but it's a great service if you find a good deal, it beats paying for hotels, i mean we rented a whole apartment for a week at 55 dollars a night. if we did a week in a hotel we probably could only afford 3 nights maximum. i feel her pain but i don't think their is much airbnb can do, but whatever they can do, they should do it because this could ruin their reputation and the service that they ar providing.
  • Airbnb should have provided insurance to owners

    By now many of us following the latest boom in collaborative consumption have read about Airbnb's costly mistake. There are many saying the minimal verification levels that Airbnb had in place to verify it renters was lacking to say the least. The way I see it, the answer is, insurance. When renting your assets through peer to peer sites, insurance should be provided through the platform. Read more at:
    Shawn Gardner
  • Message has been deleted.

  • RE: Airbnb horror story goes from bad to worse

    what the heck is airbnb?
    none none
  • RE: Airbnb horror story goes from bad to worse

    When I first saw this come about, as I have often have asked, I also asked then, What will be the cost of this convenience? <b>EJ sure found out!!</b>
    The Rifleman
  • RE: Airbnb horror story goes from bad to worse

    This is tragic news for Airbnb and especially as the idea of collaborative consumption can bring so many good benefits for both individuals and the environment alike. But this is exactly why we did our homework before we launched our peer-to-peer service - - last year in the UK.

    Ecomodo enables people to take deposits for their items which we hold for the duration of the lend, choose an insurance option for lending household goods with a replacement value of over ?50 and our feedback rating system checks both parties are happy at the end of the lend - and if not we have a dispute resolution system in place to sort out the problem. On top of this, Ecomodo lenders can automatically restrict who can borrow their items with trusted lending circles (friends, neighbourhood, workplaces, schools, clubs etc) which also means feedback given may have very real-world implications.
  • RE: Airbnb horror story goes from bad to worse

    I did an exchange with trustworthy teachers from the UK many years ago. They went berserk when they got to the US: gave away my plants, books, records, left cooked food in pots and pans in the cupboards and generally trashed the place and allegedly threatened suicide. Apart from some sympathy, there was pretty much no redress.

    It's not safe, people. If you have a choice, don't exchange your house/apartment. If you don't have a choice, then empty it out of everything you care about and change the locks.
  • RE: Airbnb horror story goes from bad to worse

    This is an excellent article. The following publish supplies genuinely high quality info. My spouse and i?meters bound to check in it. Truly extremely helpful points are given listed here. Many thanks a great deal. Carry on favorable functions
  • Airbnb horror story goes from bad to worse

    It was a tragedy for Airbnb Clone..I think Airbnb gives its full support from theft...It is a good source for finding vacation place....Its worth going for Airbnb,compared to going for other source such as hotels....
    This is a good source..
  • airbnb

    Airbnb provides rental booking space to various tourists at affordable cost. Well this is a nice concept, but sometimes there are certain issues. Well airbnb and other rental booking websites can learn from this and tweak their policies. All airbnb can do is change their laws and provide the users address.