Ray Quiroga and Marsha Warren, an adventurous couple seeking a memorable summer experience, were instead confronted with anger and disappointment as their Airbnb plans took an unexpected turn. Eager to embark on a series of stays in different Airbnb rentals after moving out of their apartment, they had envisioned a fun-filled summer of exploration. Little did they know they would become victims of an elaborate scam.
“We decided we were going to be at one Airbnb for one month; another one for one month… another one maybe on the beach… just float around for fun,” Warren shared, brimming with excitement at the prospect of their unique summer adventure.
After diligently searching for the perfect Airbnb, they stumbled upon a listing that seemed ideal—an attractive, well-maintained house available for $2,000 per month. Enthralled by the prospect, they eagerly applied for the property and, to their surprise, had their application accepted, with the funds immediately withdrawn from their bank account.
However, their enthusiasm soon turned into frustration when they received a phone call claiming that a pipe had burst at the property, rendering it uninhabitable. They were informed that their money would be returned due to the unforeseen circumstances.
Doubting the authenticity of the situation, Quiroga and Warren decided to investigate for themselves. To their dismay, they discovered no evidence of flooding or any signs of repair work being carried out at the property.
“There was no plumber, nothing,” they both expressed, their disbelief apparent.
Seeking answers, they reached out to the current residents of the house, who confirmed that they had never listed their property on Airbnb, only on other platforms. Determined to address the issue, Quiroga and Warren contacted Airbnb for assistance.
In response to their predicament, Airbnb assured them that their case was under investigation and offered the following statement: “We are very sorry that this guest encountered this situation. They were fully refunded for this experience, and our team is in contact with them to help find alternative accommodations. This listing has been taken down, and the host’s account has been suspended while we continue to investigate.”
While Quiroga and Warren await the arrival of their refunded funds, their overall experience has left them frustrated and disheartened. Airbnb did manage to find them an alternative location, albeit an hour away, adding to their disappointment.
“I didn’t work as a medic to give my money away like that and get ripped off like an idiot,” Quiroga lamented, echoing the couple’s profound sense of betrayal.
In light of this unfortunate incident, Airbnb shared some tips to help guests avoid falling victim to similar scams in the future. They emphasized that misclassified listings are strictly prohibited on their platform, and their AirCover protection is designed to assist guests in case the accommodation’s description or depiction is inaccurate. Guests are encouraged to contact Airbnb immediately if they encounter any discrepancies upon arrival.
Additionally, Airbnb implemented a payment withholding system that holds the host’s payment until 24 hours after the guest’s check-in time. This allows guests to ensure that everything meets their expectations or report any issues promptly, serving as a significant deterrent against scams.
As Airbnb continues its investigation into the Woodland Hills couple’s case, it remains a reminder for all Airbnb users to exercise caution and remain vigilant to protect themselves from potential scams and fraudulent listings. By staying informed and utilizing Airbnb’s support system, guests can enhance their travel experiences while minimizing the risks associated with online accommodation platforms.