Vacation rental site Airbnb apologized to its customers via their blog yesterday for the recent vandalism of a customer’s apartment in San Francisco.
The victim, identifying herself by the name EJ, blogged about the theft by a person who rented her home via Airbnb. The suspect allegedly took EJ’s passport, cash, credit card, jewellery, camera, iPod, laptop and an external hard drive drive. EJ is worried about identity theft because she suspects her birth certificate and social security card were photocopied.
In response, posted on Airbnb.com, CEO Brian Chesky said, “We felt paralyzed, and over the last four weeks, we have really screwed things up.”
As compensation, the company announced a new $50,000 Airbnb Guarantee program to protect hosts’ property. EJ will be eligible for the program, going into effect August 15. Aribnb has also hired an in-house task force devoted to the manual review of suspicious activity and doubled their customer service team. A 24-hour customer service line will be available next week and hosts now will be able to select “Trust Settings” for bookings to provide more user history online.