Airbnb and other similar companies allow visitors or tourists to be put into contact with average people renting out flats or rooms in their own home. It is a fantastic business model which allows regular
Airbnb and other similar companies allow visitors or tourists to be put into contact with average people renting out flats or rooms in their own home. It is a fantastic business model which allows regular people who are renting out to have more exposure and more customers, all while saving the average traveller money in the process.
When travelling through a new country with the aim to explore, nobody needs an incredibly expensive hotel when you are just looking for a bed to sleep in.
Sometimes smaller places like those advertised on Airbnb allow travellers to not only save money but meet people and become more involved with local culture too. The only real problem with services like Airbnb is the increasing frequency of scammers on the platform.
It’s becoming more frequent that hosts try to bypass the Airbnb service by putting their direct contact information within the advert or in pictures. This will often be portrayed as cutting Airbnb out of the deal to give you better rates, but it is more often than not for nefarious reasons. As nice as some travellers may think it would be to cut out the middleman and save money, Airbnb is providing you will a layer of protection against scammers.
While the scammers can typically disappear with the money, part of the money you pay towards an Airbnb stay is towards having the assurance that you will get your money back if something of this nature were to happen. Always keep all Airbnb related payments on the platform.
Bait And Switch
Bait and switch situations are becoming more common ground on platforms like Airbnb, the process they use seems to be a loophole in Airbnb’s current agreements. The scammer in question will advertise a great property at an affordable price. Once you have booked said property, all will be well, and you will have confirmation about your stay.
Just before you book in, typically in the morning of your stay, the scammer will fake a plumbing issue which renders your lodging uninhabitable. Airbnb will not charge the host a cancellation fee, as it considered as an unforeseen circumstance. As you are new to the area and have nowhere else to go, this would be gracious scammer will often offer alternative accommodation for the same price range. This is the switch in the “bait and switch”, as the lovely villa you had booked out has just been replaced by a dingy flat.
What Can You Do?
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to decrease your chances of getting scammed.
- Reverse search images of any accommodation you want to book. If there are any replica photos, the images have been stolen and the accommodation is fake.
- Never pay outside of Airbnb platform, as the potential savings are just not worth the risk.
- Read into reviews. If all the reviews are similarly structured, there is a good chance they are faked.
Airbnb is a fantastic platform, but still has some loopholes that need work. Booking accommodation shouldn’t be a gamble – save that for fun games like the online Roulette offers. Instead, know what to look for and protect yourself and your stay.