Meth pipes. Attempted identity theft. Apartments fraudulently rented out from under the real owner. Fresh horror stories have emerged about Airbnb, hot on the heels of customer "EJ's" tale of ransacking last week.
Troy Dayton of Oakland told TechCrunch of an Airbnb experience remarkably like EJ's. Dayton said he rented his apartment through the vacation listings site two months ago, only to find out the tenants were meth addicts, who stole his valuables, including a computer, cash and his birth certificate; rifled his personal information; were so paranoid they took apart every electronic device containing a light; and were so high they put his sweater and in the freezer and mixed together everything in his refrigerator. They also kicked or axed his closet and bathroom doors and left behind pipes and a cat (!!), which was returned, in exchange for keys (which were also, apparently, stolen). And when Dayton reported the incident to Airbnb? "Haphazard communication," as with EJ, followed by an offer of compensation, which was then retracted. (At least Dayton's wasn't asked to hush up his attack, as EJ was—not yet, anyway.)
Meanwhile, over on Hacker News and Twitter, San Jose iPhone developer "bignoggins" reported he just rented an apartment in Berlin via Airbnb, only to get a knock on his door from the apartment's "real owner," who "had the paperwork to prove it. Fortunately he was nice enough to let us stay without compensation." Of course, bignoggins is out the rent he paid, the owner is out his rent (or use of the apartment), and somewhere a scammer has a nice pile of money. The renter claims to be a "friend" of a sometime tenant of the apartment, who has not paid rent for months and who is expressly forbidden from renting it out. Ugh.
There must be something attractive about Airbnb, though. The guy whose apartment was trashed by meth addicts is back to using Airbnb. Apparently the money is that good.