I was banned from Airbnb for a ‘minor crime’ I committed a DECADE ago – even though I’ve used the service for years
A WOMAN has been banned from Airbnb for LIFE after a background check flagged an offense she committed nearly a decade ago.
Bethany Hallam, 32, was stunned when she received the explosive email just three hours after booking a pad.
The sports fan had booked her “dream birthday trip” for five nights to catch some football matches in late October.
But on Tuesday she was told her £1,030 accommodation in Miami, Florida had been canceled and refunded.
Bethany from Pittsburgh, USA had been using the rental service for several years before they suddenly informed her that she was banned.
Airbnb informed her that they had found a “criminal record match” during an “assessment” of her account.
The company told Bethany the discovery meant she would face a lifetime ban – despite the breach taking place nine years ago.
The frustrated 32-year-old was horrified by the harsh ruling over an infringement in 2013.
She was jailed for five months for drug possession after being taken with suboxone, a drug to treat opioid addiction.
But her time behind bars inspired Bethany to turn her life around – seeing her become a councilman in Allegheny County.
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She told CoventryLive: “After I got out of prison, I put all the energy I used to into getting high in my community.
“I got out of jail, went to rehab, then got into politics.”
So she could hardly believe that Airbnb had dug up her old life and was apparently punishing her for it nearly a decade later.
All of the convictions on his record date from before 2015, when Airbnb introduced its criminal background check policy in the United States.
Bethany continued: “I know my record because I talk about it a lot.
“For them to ban me for that – it was confusing. What are the guidelines for who gets banned?”
But she was even more baffled because she had used the booking site for years without any problems.
“SHOCK AND FRUSTRATION”
The client shared a screenshot of the email exchange on social media which later went viral, prompting the platform to contact her.
In a dramatic turnaround, Airbnb then unblocked Bethany, allowing her to use their service again.
But the scorned adviser said: “I don’t care about my reinstatement, my reaction was more of shock and frustration.
“I’m more concerned about anyone who isn’t elected and doesn’t have a social media platform to help them get reinstated.
“So many people are discriminated against because of their past, reversing the ban doesn’t solve the problem, I see it as a publicity stunt.
“Airbnb may think I’m going to shut up and leave because I got reinstated, but I’m going to keep fighting them.”
She claims a series of disgruntled users contacted her complaining about similar scenarios following the incident.
Airbnb may think I’m going to shut up and leave because I got reinstated, but I’m going to keep fighting them.
According to their website, Airbnb performs background checks on hosts and guests in the United States and India.
It says, “We check certain state and county public criminal records databases as well as state and national sex offender registries.”
They explain that removal from their platform depends on the seriousness of the offense, which means that “less serious crimes like disorderly conduct or possession of marijuana” will not impact the account. a customer.
But they warn users convicted of burglary, theft, fraud, murder, terrorism, or rape that they may be subject to permanent deletion.
He adds: “Other crimes may result in further scrutiny, dismissal or ineligibility for some time after the offense if it happened within a certain time frame.”
Airbnb communications director Ben Breit said the company uses background checks to keep hosts and guests safe.
He said users could be banned if they had “certain convictions or multiple prior convictions”, adding that Bethany’s account had been reinstated based on their appeal process.
A company spokesperson said: “This has been resolved with the guest and we have fully reinstated their account.
“For the safety of our community, Airbnb conducts background checks in the United States only and may take action to deport individuals with certain beliefs or who have multiple prior convictions.
“We don’t do background checks in the UK.
“We understand that there can be a number of reasons why someone may have a criminal conviction on their record, so we have developed an evidence-based appeal process that takes into account the type of crime and the evidence of rehabilitation when considering reinstatement.”