Airbnb horror story goes from bad to worse

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.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

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!


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