Airbnb launches new Guest Guarantee scheme following a series of scams on the platform

  • Airbnb has announced a new Guest Guarantee programme and 24/7 hotline after a series of scams and fraudulent listings were found on the platform.

    Founded in 2008 in the United States, Airbnb has since grown to become a global tech success and disrupt the hotel industry around the world, including Northern Ireland. The site allows anyone to list their properties or spare rooms for those looking for short stays, but it hasn't been plain sailing for everyone involved.

    One of the reasons people choose hotels is that they know what to expect and are dealing with a reputable organisation, but Airbnbs are unregulated in most countries and that leaves the system vulnerable to scams. Allie Conti over at Vice.com wrote about one poor experience with Airbnb recently that led to uncovering a massive fraud network spanning eight major US cities and over 100 properties.

    Airbnb as a company is estimated to be worth around £30 billion and is reportedly planning to go public, and lack of fraud prevention strategies on its platform could threaten to devalue the company. The problems it faces range from full-blown scams such as the one discovered by Vice to property listings containing misleading photos or descriptions that then don't live up to promises. In such cases, refunds rarely cover a significant portion of the cost a guest paid.

    This week Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky announced a new Airbnb Guest Guarantee programme that will offer replacement accomodation or 100% refunds if a property doesn't live up to expectations. "If a guest checks into a listing and it doesn’t meet our accuracy standards, we will rebook them into a listing that is just as nice, explained Brian Chesky, adding "and if we can’t, they will get 100% of their money back."

    The scheme kicks off on December 15th next month and will involve a 24/7 hotline that guests can call with problems. The company is also rolling out a new manual screening programme to root out fraudulent activity, with an initial rollout in the US followed by global rollout next year.

    Source: Vice.com, BBC News, Twitter

    About the author

    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

    Got a news-related tip you’d like to see covered on Sync NI? Email the editorial team for our consideration.

Share this story