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Tragic story; content makes Airbnb appear responsible


#1

I’m posting this in the event some one mentions this story to you. It is poorly written & appeared in my Apple News feed (which means it is widely distributed).

This is a tragic story about a woman murdered on vacation.

The article states:
“According to police, Martinez, from Nicaragua, was an immigrant to Costa Rica, and had been staying there since June. Authorities indicated that he was working at the Airbnb without proper documentation. The Airbnb management is said to be cooperating with law enforcement.”

The author chose to refer to the rental as an Airbnb thus implying Airbnb corporate management is involved instead of correctly referring to the property owner or manager as cooperating.

Sadly it seems the trend is to blame Airbnb for problems they didn’t create. Then people who don’t understand it leap to a negative conclusion and want to “Ban Airbnb in our Neighborhood”


#2

Oh yes, this is not the first time either. We have a lot of people not following local laws and rules here in Kyoto.
This leads to the unknowing Kyoto Government and other higher up in Japan thinking Airbnb is a bad thing and we got a lot of forces that are trying to stop renting out of apartments and houses.
Thank god tho we still got those who fight for it and trying to find a solution to make it safer instead.

Airbnb is not to blame for the host not following local laws…


#3

I’m going to go with the contrary and suggest Airbnb has to share in the blame. There is almost zero security from the minute you set up your listing. Anyone can list a fake address and a fake host ID. Contrast that with some other platform providers like homestay.com, where the host actually had to provide a real ID and a utility bill proving address. Airtasker took the security concept further and even made it possible for some taskers to upload police checks and working with children checks etc. Airbnb in my opinion is still very much the wild wild west, corporate responsibility is low towards both guest and host, and it is shockingly easy to game their system. They are constantly thinking on the revenue side, with very little thought going into security. For example , pushing hosts into instant booking through priority search placements, lax identity verifications, etc.

4 months of hosting I get more and more disgusted with Airbnb . I’ve actually got a good mind to join a lobby group to call for more effective regulations around sharing platforms.


#4

Yes, this story came up at my book club meeting Wednesday. I simply reply to all these stories by saying people get killed in cars every day but no one quits driving. People get killed in their homes every day and no one quits living in a home. I’m sure if she were staying at a hotel it would have said she was staying at hotel and no one would think hotels are bad. If she had gone to a bar and been followed home no would say bars are bad (well, just for that reason). I’m not hypersensitive to people questioning Airbnb. As a government teacher a major theme in my class was discussing what we want the government to protect us from and part of that was identifying what is most dangerous. People are quite confused about that.


#5

@K9KarmaCasa. Fair assessment. This story is more a cautionary tale about traveling alone. Her travel companion left and the poor deceased woman decided to stay an extra day. However, people (including me) will continue to travel alone.


#6

I don’t see it as a cautionary tale at all but you’re right. My sometime travel companion was sitting next to me and she said something about the travel alone part (“Who goes to Costa Rica by themselves?”) and then added, “but you travel alone all the time.”

It’s a tale about $*** happens and people die. No one is exempt so why not live life? Far more single women travellers make it home safely than are killed. Sometimes I think it’s just the system trying to discourage women from doing what men do all the time. Don’t get me started on that!


#7

In what way do you feel Airbnb shares the blame or could have safeguarded against an employee of a third party Airbnb management company who chose to employ someone without ensuring their employee had the appropriate paperwork?

Even if they had checked the employees immigration papers, that wouldn’t have stopped this from happening. Unless he had previous criminal records for violence and sexual assault that came up in immigration checks. In which case he likely wouldn’t have been let into the country.

I really don’t follow your logic in how you can find Airbnb in any way culpable here???

If you feel more comfortable working with other listing companies then you should choose to work with them rather than Airbnb.

All the security checks you mention are for hosts not airbnb management companies who support them.


#8

Well …here in the local news they refer to it as “hotel Le Mas de Provence” …so the other sites and especially booking.com probably breathed a sigh of relief that the reservation did not come over their platform …

I wonder if they would have mentioned the word “booking” as many times as they are mentioning the word “Airbnb”

With one entire house and 7 villas it is not such a small operation either …


#9

The fact that any management company can simply list an apartment on behalf of an owner is enough of a red flag. Shouldn’t there be some sort of due diligence conducted on a host, whether or not it’s a company or the actual owner? The platform allows just about anyone to put up a listing, pretty much like gumtree or Facebook marketplace, but it goes one further by pushing hosts to engage in more dangerous hosting practices, such as instant book and ranking penalties for hosts who dont. I know Airbnb has official tie-ups with management companies like Hometime which were chosen carefully after a series of checks and due diligence, which would probably have included the usual checks like regulatory compliance with local laws. Why can’t they do the same to all the management companies who are hosting on the platform? It’s not going to prevent every offender, but it should at least take all necessary steps to do whatever can be done.

That’s my opinion, of course. I know the more experienced hosts who have hosted without issues for many years may think differently, but for the short stay rental proposition to survive it is badly in need of more regulation.


#10

More dangerous practices? That’s a bit extreme. I do agree that Airbnb has promoted this fluffy idea of “sharing” and “community” and so some people have signed up without any clue whatsoever about what they’re getting in to. But that’s the name of the game isn’t it? If you buy a product because it was sold to you by a pretty person saying pretty words… your choice. Nobody forced you.


#11

The only person/entitity responsible is the murderer.


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