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Warning about Airbnb after being scammed in London

6 posts
1 review
Warning about Airbnb after being scammed in London

A friend and I were recently scammed after renting an apartment in London through Airbnb. Beware.

We were unable to contact the host that day, but we arrived at the apartment building at the time we had told the “host” during the most recent communication. We didn’t have a code for the building but another resident let us in. There was no one at the apartment to meet us. We stood in the hall with our suitcases for almost two hours without phone service or Wi-Fi. The resident in the adjoining apartment happened by and asked to help. He knew the owner , a man, not a woman posing as the host. He texted the owner who then spoke to us and explained that he had not rented the apartment nor given anyone permission to do so. We had been scammed! He had contacted Airbnb several weeks earlier and asked them to take down the listing. The last time I looked, the apartment was still being offered by the fake host.

We were lucky to find such nice Londoners to help us. Nonetheless we had wasted our whole day and found ourselves in London on a Friday evening without a place to stay. Thank goodness the ever-reliable Strand Hotel was able to accommodate us. We will never use Airbnb again.

Here’s some advice. Always have a customer service telephone number as back up. After we left the building and got phone service, it took us a long time to find an Airbnb number to call, then we experienced several dropped calls from Airbnb. The three customer service reps we spoke to were kind and assured a full refund would be made. (It was eventually.) Still, precious time was wasted while we waited, sorted the situation, and tried to find help via Airbnb.

As we are both experienced travelers, I do not know what else we could have done to prevent the situation. There were positive reviews about the apartment—apparently they were fake too. The fake host communicated with us several times via Airbnb. She assured us that she would give us all the codes and keys on the day of the rental. On that day she went off the grid.

Perhaps there is a back story that might explain or mitigate the scam, but I will never book through Airbnb again. The company does not do enough due diligence, and doesn’t remove listings that are identified as scams. I’m sure many folks have had positive experiences, but I am not willing to give them another chance after this

34 replies to this topic
Champlon, Belgium
Level Contributor
10,867 posts
5 reviews
4 helpful votes
1. Re: Warning about Airbnb after being scammed in London

Remember Airbnb are only interested in making money, and providing that they get their fees, they aren't in the least bit interested in any legal niceties.

Watford, United...
Destination Expert
for London
Level Contributor
45,173 posts
54 reviews
74 helpful votes
2. Re: Warning about Airbnb after being scammed in London

Could you please post the link to the "fake" listing. Thank you.

Destination Expert
for London, Devon
Level Contributor
26,023 posts
52 reviews
51 helpful votes
3. Re: Warning about Airbnb after being scammed in London

I trust you paid through airbnb secure payment platform and did not pay the "owner" direct.

London, United...
Level Contributor
833 posts
36 reviews
38 helpful votes
4. Re: Warning about Airbnb after being scammed in London

A link to the listing would defiantly be useful to others looking to book through airbnb (not every host is a scammer)

London, United...
Level Contributor
4,176 posts
280 reviews
107 helpful votes
5. Re: Warning about Airbnb after being scammed in London

You are supposed to get your code at least 3 days before your arrival date. That should have raised a red flag...

San Francisco, Ca
Level Contributor
24,037 posts
83 reviews
59 helpful votes
6. Re: Warning about Airbnb after being scammed in London

If you post the links to a flat before booking, the folks on this forum do a very good job of evaluating listings for some of the common scams. And I understand Airbnb does more to protect their guests than other vacation rental sites (you received a refund and the scammer presumably didn't get paid).

London, United...
Level Contributor
1,748 posts
151 reviews
41 helpful votes
7. Re: Warning about Airbnb after being scammed in London

Used Airbnb where new listing and hosts refused the booking when i there, claimed they had not approved it. Ended up in a hotel late at night.... thank you Holiday Inn.

Customer service reps got in touch next day, sorted a new place out and got it at their expense for 4 nights. Hosts were wonderful as well.

As was in area for couple of months I ended up in the Holiday Inn which looked after me that night. Think I cost the HInn money as they rewarded Reception staff who got mentioned in positive review chocolates and wine. Every reception staff got awarded at least twice in 3 months :) but they were well trained.

8. Re: Warning about Airbnb after being scammed in London

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Edited: 7:06 pm, April 18, 2019
New Mexico
Level Contributor
16,308 posts
113 reviews
204 helpful votes
9. Re: Warning about Airbnb after being scammed in London


“Given false information which leads to the loss of assets.”

I think this is advertising for the Strand.

How were you scammed? Inconvenienced perhaps but scammed is the wrong word in my opinion.


If this even happened. Strange for a first post.

Actually the OPs other post was just taken down as an advert.

6 posts
1 review
10. Re: Warning about Airbnb after being scammed in London

This was my first post and was intended to be helpful. It is in no way an advertisement. Take or leave it but do not report it as inappropriate or false.

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