Airbnb suspends host after guest falsely accuses him of spying
An Airbnb host said he felt like a ‘voyeur’ after a guest falsely claimed he spied on her with a ‘hidden camera’.
Property developer Robert Serr, 48, said the guest was retaliating for his one-star rating after leaving his Palm Beach, Florida property in a ‘dirty, disgusting mess’ that took five hours to clean up in December.
The guest had posted a lengthy review on the property rental app that Serr, from Leeds, West Yorkshire, was spying on him with a hidden camera – which was actually a carbon monoxide detector.
She wrote that Serr told her not to have a party at the property and visited her in person while she was there.
She claimed that Serr ordered her to leave his property “the same way I found it”, an exchange which she said made her feel uncomfortable.
The guest wrote: “I didn’t feel comfortable with her visit, especially after the host texted me confirming that I won’t be hosting a party.
“I just revealed to him that there (will not be) a party on his property, but we are celebrating my mother’s birthday.
“Also, I saw two smoke detectors in one of the rooms. What worries me is that there is a recording device hidden in one of the detectors.”
The guest accusation led Airbnb to suspend Serr’s account on January 8 while they investigated.
Serr said: “It’s the vilest accusation to make against someone, whether I’m some kind of sick voyeur or a voyeur. It’s very damaging to my reputation.
“It’s a cut below to say I’m basically a sex offender. To make that kind of an accusation, then have Airbnb accept their claim without proof and ban me, makes you feel disgusting…
“Airbnb needs to change its ways. You are guilty until proven guilty.”
Serr said he messaged the guest telling her that gatherings at the property were not allowed after she asked if there was a back garden, telling her that there was located in a “quiet” area.
However, he claimed neighbors called him twice during the guest’s stay to tell him a “big party” was taking place.
Serr said her housekeepers found her property after the guest left which looked ‘disgusting and dirty’ and claimed she wiped grease from the kitchen using sheets and towels. napkins.
He added: “Obviously the one star review I left prompted Airbnb to contact me. [with her] and because of that, I believe she made up lies and said my carbon monoxide detector was a camera.”
An Airbnb spokesperson confirmed that a “temporary suspension” was in place while they investigate the “security issue”, but that Serr’s account was now reinstated.
They said: “We were disappointed to learn of this experience and have resolved this issue…
We have contacted the host to reactivate the listing and have taken appropriate action regarding the guest who booked.”
However, Serr is now considering quitting the platform following his suspension.
He said: “Am I supposed to be grateful that they have now restored my account which should never have been suspended in the first place?
“No. All of this made me see how easy it is to shut down your entire business in the snap of a finger with little or no recourse.”