A family from New Zealand traveling to Ireland had quite the surprise when they arrived at their Airbnb in Cork. It appears the property owner had installed a hidden camera in the living room and was livestreaming the activities of guests.
Family member Andrew Barker, an IT security worker, scanned the rental property’s Wi-Fi shortly after arrival and made the shocking discovery. From the camera’s live feed, Barker was able to determine it had been hidden in a smoke or carbon monoxide detector in the living room.
Naturally, the family contacted Airbnb immediately, but the company’s response was not what the family — or anyone, for that matter — might expect in a situation of this magnitude.
Instead of taking the issue seriously, refunding the family’s money, and contacting the property owner promptly to investigate, the customer service representative told Andrew’s wife, Nealie, that if they wanted to cancel their stay, they wouldn’t receive a refund because the cancellation would be within 14 days of the reservation, falling under the nonrefundable window.
Don’t worry, I just rage-levitated as well.
Not ones to give up on something like this that easily, Andrew contacted and confronted the property owner, who assured the family the camera in the living room was the only one, though he refused to disclose whether the camera was recording audio as well.
Oh, ok. If there’s only ONE camera creepily streaming their every move, I guess that’s not a big deal then. 🙄
OBVIOUSLY, the family wasn’t down for that. They made a reservation at a nearby hotel and got the hell out of dodge, making a point to contact Airbnb again the next day because THE DUDE DOES NOT ABIDE VOYEURISM.
Airbnb stated they would investigate, and they disabled the property listing, only to reinstate it two weeks later. Nealie was not having it, so she took to social media to share her experience, and — shockingly — Airbnb suddenly changed their tune, banning the property owner permanently and issuing the following statement:
The safety and privacy of our community — both online and offline — is our priority. Airbnb policies strictly prohibit hidden cameras in listings and we take reports of any violations extremely seriously. We have permanently removed this bad actor from our platform.
They forgot to include that they take it seriously ONLY AFTER a whole bunch of people catch wind of it, but semantics.
All this has me thinking about my Airbnb stays and praying to God none of them have been recorded. ‘Cause when Mama’s on vacay, it’s 50 shades of anything goes, and I’ll just be over here replaying those moments and analyzing everything I might have said and done on an endless anxiety-fueled loop for the next 20 years. I’m sure everything’s fine probably.
In the meantime, I’m adding “learn how to scan Wi-Fi for hidden cameras livestreaming my every move” to my to-do list. If I figure it out, I’ll let you know.