Risks Of Using An Airbnb


Risks Of Using an Airbnb 

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Smartphones have made our life easy and everything accessible at our fingertips. Just a few years ago, planning a trip involved a lot of hustles. Today, planning a trip is convenient with the help of technology. Many online platforms help travelers to find and book accommodation that fulfills their criteria within budget. 

Airbnb is one of the most popular online platforms that provide renting services worldwide. However, booking via Airbnb may come with substantial risks that you haven’t considered and leave you with some unwanted problems. 

Here are some issues that guests can encounter with their booking with Airbnb:

1. Customer service problems

Many complaints have been registered by guests against the customer service of Airbnb. A bunch of consumers took social platforms like Twitter to highlight the issues they have faced with the company. However, Airbnb ensures 24x7 customer service, but a huge number of complaints registered were critical of customer service only. 

It is likely that when you are stuck in a troublesome situation and try to connect with customer services, the response you get from them is not at all what you have needed or expected. Customer service employees can be rude and unreachable in the hour of need. Also, for emergencies, support from their side can be limited. In some cases, they are unable to provide satisfactory answers to the guest, or at worst they hang up on a customer.

In case of cancellation, Airbnb can deny a refund or offer a partial refund only. Their policies can unfairly favor hosts, which leaves guests with no options. 

Airbnb also has the right to deactivate any guest account without their consent.

2. Scams

Using Airbnb exposes people to potential scams. Nowadays, scammers are using rental platforms to target unsuspecting victims. Since Airbnb is a renowned name in the travel industry, people put their trust in them and let their guard down. Sometimes guests can be lured into scams and appear to be left with little or no recourse. 

Multiple listing scam is by far the most common problem reported with Airbnb. Some properties can be found listed more than once with different rates. In such cases, if the host gets a new booking via a higher rate listing of the same property, they cancel the guest who booked at a lower rate, usually at the last minute. 

Another common scam is misleading pictures of the property posted on the Airbnb website. Guests can arrive at the property and find it to be drastically different from the photos and descriptions posted on the Airbnb platform. Sometimes there can be a few changes like some furniture or amenities that were shown in photos but no longer exist in reality. Or, sometimes, reality can be the complete opposite of pictures displayed online. 

There is no guaranteed account safety as well. Scammers can hack into Airbnb guests’ accounts and make reservations through the victim’s associated payment method. 

Fake reviews are an increasingly prolific problem with the home-sharing platform. They undermine the integrity of the review process and misguide the guests while looking for accommodation. 

3. Host cancel stay

Whether you are making a reservation via Airbnb, the host also has access to whether a guest can or can not stay at their property. Hosts can cancel guests’ bookings at any time. It leads to situations like last-minute cancellations, which are annoying and leave people with nowhere to stay at the last minute. Sometimes the reason for cancellation given by the host can be legitimate and reasonable enough for their action like a family emergency or some other issue that can impact your stay. But, in some cases, hosts can not justify the cancellation or don’t even bother to do so. Adding more to the guest's distress they won't even offer a full refund or can offer only a partial refund or some coupon.

4. Unsafe conditions

Airbnb listings can be deceptive. Many people have stay experiences where they felt unsafe in certain situations at their accommodation. 

Pest infestation or unsanitary conditions are one of the major issues faced by guests. There can be a mild problem of dirty bedding or trash in the living area regarding lack of general cleanliness to some serious issues like finding a rodent or cockroaches or bedbugs etc. on the property. Other than this, the most common threats people can come across are obnoxious hosts, unsafe neighborhoods, and unpleasant environments. 

Hidden cameras are a major privacy violation and a safety concern for people. Though the count of hidden cameras only accounts for a fraction of all complaints, it still poses a worrisome threat for guests.

Broken or missing amenities is another concern for people. There is no guarantee that the amenities that were promised on the Airbnb platform will be as good as they are shown online. They can be misleading and turn out to be unsafe or not working in reality.

5. Discrimination

While the cases of discrimination are fewer, they still exist. Discrimination can be of any kind to anyone. 

It is an issue for differently abled individuals to have access to safe and accessible accommodations. While hotels and established properties have accessibility standards to comply with, many private properties on Airbnb do not. 

Racial discrimination or LGBTQ+ discrimination can be very stressful for the victim. Nobody wants to arrive at their rentals only to find that the host is impertinent, denigratory, or otherwise aggressive to them because of their race or sexual choices. Sometimes, people don’t even get the booking because of various racial or LGBTQ+ factors. Which is horrible for anyone.

Another type of discrimination that one can encounter can be religious or pregnancy discrimination etc.

Final Thoughts:

Airbnb can be a great help to make a stay reservation for your next trip, but it is important to keep in mind that it also comes with its disadvantages. Always book your accommodation keeping everything in mind so that you don’t fall victim to any unpleasant situation that can cause you damage. 

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