Airbnb suspends fraudulent Ukrainian hosts and refunds

Early last week, descriptions of Airbnb listings in Ukraine asked for help. One was titled “An apartment to raise funds for Ukrainians”. Now the original link to the ad is prohibited.

Over the past few weeks, Airbnb users have waged a grassroots campaign movement book stays in the country without going there to donate to Ukrainians. On Friday, approximately 434,000 nights were Reserve in the country, raising $15 million for the hosts. Airbnb also temporarily contributed waiver guest and host fees on in-country bookings.

But since the effort began, some people have questioned the legitimacy of the ads and whether the money sent through Airbnb reservations is actually going to those who need it. The company has since suspended “a handful” of host accounts “that did not support this effort in the spirit intended,” a spokesperson told Protocol. Airbnb refunded customers who had booked through a now-suspended account.

“We have systems in place to help ensure the integrity of activity on the platform, and we continue to actively review booking and registration activity in Ukraine,” the spokesperson said. The $15 million raised from Airbnb bookings in Ukraine does not include hosts whose accounts have been suspended, the spokesperson added.

Airbnb asks for people’s name, date of birth, or government ID to To verify a host. According to the company’s terms of service, Airbnb requires listings to contain “complete and accurate information” about host service, pricing and other charges. This too requires that the listing information, such as photos and calendar availability, is accurate.

An Airbnb user who supported this effort booked a night in a loft in Kyiv which was later canceled. Subsequently, the customer received a refund for the stay and an email stating that the reservation had been canceled because it had been booked with an announcement “who can no longer receive payments”, according to screenshots of the email obtained by Protocol.

In addition, aims to provide 100,000 people leaving Ukraine with free temporary accommodation. So far, nearly 30,000 hosts have signed up to support the effort through Airbnb’s nonprofit arm, and others who couldn’t afford their homes have chosen to donate.

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