Some Airbnb Hosts Are Secretly Recording Guests

Some Airbnb Hosts Are Secretly Recording Guests
Photo Credit: PARIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 11: In this photo illustration, the Airbnb logo is displayed on the screen of an iPhone placed on a map of the city of Paris on February 11, 2019 in Paris, France. Paris is one of the most popular destinations for Airbnb, but city authorities do not agree with the private rental and booking company. The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, announced Sunday that the city would sue Airbnb for 14 million dollars, because of the alleged list of 1,000 illegal rentals. (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)

PUBLISHED: Apr 1, 2019 12:14 PM

Max Vest, a children’s camp director, booked an AirBnB in Miami in January through a host named Ralph. Although Ralph had gone by “Ray” in prior communication, the host had a good rating so Vest wasn’t too concerned.

But Vest told The Atlantic in an interview that he immediately noticed something was amiss upon returning back to the apartment. As he was getting ready for bed, he told The Atlantic that cameras were recording in his room.

“I didn’t know if I was being watched live,” Vest said.

After the incident, he was refunded and placed in a hotel for the night by Airbnb. He said he hired a lawyer and is considering a civil suit against Airbnb, which he called “a criminal act.”

“Ralph’s” listing was removed, but Vest said that the action doesn’t go far enough.

“When something like this happens, they need to really be serious about the consequences,” said Vest.

Vest is not the only Airbnb guest who said they were recorded and then not helped by Airbnb, according to the Atlantic report. Four Airbnb users told the Atlantic they had similar issues.

“If you find a truly hidden camera in your bedroom or bathroom, Airbnb will support you,” wrote Jeff Bigham in a blog post. “If you find an undisclosed camera in the private living room, Airbnb will not support you.”

Bigham’s post about discovering a camera in his Airbnb went viral in January. Bigham reached out to Airbnb who at first brushed off his complaint but later refunded him, he claims.

According to Airbnb’s rules, recording of bedrooms and bathrooms is prohibited. A host who has any type of surveillance in or around a listing must inform guests. Those rules must disclose if an active recording is taking place.