Living and Dying on Airbnb

Old Nov 10, 2015, 4:38 pm
  #16  
 
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Tragic story but I don't think that Airbnb is completely at fault for the accident. I think we need to realize that in today's legal environment there are laws and regulations that are designed to apply to corporations and far fewer that apply to individuals when conducting business. However, today's economy increasingly has something in between: the uber drivers and airbnb hosts of the world. The regulations that full-service hotels and taxi companies must abide by often don't apply to them, but the courts still seem conflicted on how to handle cases like this.

It seems that in the coming years we will see court cases that better define what rules should apply to these small business owners, hopefully in a way that allows them to continue to offer services that both benefit and provide some protection to the consumer.
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Old Nov 11, 2015, 3:07 pm
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Originally Posted by gungadin
What you said. Many negative reviews of vacation rentals could be avoided if people read the reviews and asked questions of the owners. I get a little tired of reading that people did not know stuff that was clearly in the reviews.
I have to agree with this post - I use Airbnb, and it's become my preference whenever I travel.

That said, just like others have pointed out, you have to make sure that whoever you choose to rent from has multiple reviews. If you choose to stay somewhere with no (or very few) reviews, you're definitely taking a risk.
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Old Nov 11, 2015, 4:41 pm
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I prefer airBnB in some specific circumstances - e.g. I'm staying 1 week or longer and want an apartment instead of a hotel room. I usually don't bother for < 3-night stays. The article is sensationalism at its best. It sucks what happened to her and her father, but c'est la vie it could have happened anywhere else.
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Old Nov 11, 2015, 11:43 pm
  #19  
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I'm not a fan of Air bnb but this was a freak accident with the swing. Could have had happened in his own yard.
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Old Nov 12, 2015, 1:01 am
  #20  
 
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Relative newbie to Airbnb, but 2 stays in September converted me!

As has been said - read reviews, talk to owner and make your choice! No one is forcing anyone to book through Airbnb, and their fees are at least upfront.

As ever you do tend to get what you pay for, and using a service like this doesn't take away your own responsibility for your own (and travelling companions) safety. Yes the tree was rotten, but who is to say that the swing was probably fine to take the weight of a child - but not that of a full grown man. The extra weight probably was enough to bring down the branch but a child would not have had the same effect on the tree

Whatever - I'm sure that in view of the terrible accident the tree in question has now been felled and is no longer a danger to future guests

Last edited by CarolynUK; Nov 12, 2015 at 7:49 am
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Old Nov 12, 2015, 5:33 am
  #21  
 
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Originally Posted by Mauibaby2008
you read reviews of a hotel before you stay, right?

Read the reviews of the hosts before you stay, and you'll get a pretty good idea of what you're going to get.

(I'm a host with 75+ guest reviews)
You nailed it!
My wife and I are a host or a Super Host as airbnb likes to call many hosts, that meet/ exceed criteria set by AirBnB.
Please read my responses to some questions and unwanted comments here ...
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/25694694-post24.html

and here ...
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/25696972-post29.html

Many of us do take our responsibilities as host/s seriously ... and try and provide standards to Guest/s similar to or greater than what we would normally do when someone (relative or friend) visits and stays with us.
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Old Nov 22, 2015, 9:20 am
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I think several of you missed the point of the article. Sedubby summed it up pretty well.

Originally Posted by sedubby
Tragic story. Worth remembering that renting a place on Airbnb is no safer than renting a place on Craigslist. If your immediate inclination to anything on Craigslist is "is this a scam" like me, you should take the same precautions if you choose to rent on Airbnb.

This tale highlights a bit of a freak accident, but the central argument still holds and that is Airbnb takes zero responsibility in ensuring even a basic level of safety (fire alarms, mold inspection, bed bugs, sane hosts) for any of its guests.
It's sad how many of you are blaming the victim. I'm sure if the wood looked rotted he wouldn't have tried to swing. Whenever we walk into another person's home, we have no way of knowing what shape they keep it in. Will the floor collapse? Will the pipes burst? Is the electrical up to code? We have to trust that nothing will happen to us, but there's no guarantee. And reading reviews can only help you up to a point - if no one has tried the swing, then how can anyone know to avoid it? I've seen reviews online that have warned against certain things, but upon staying did not experience that problem - and vice versa, we've arrived at places to find the appliances are broken, when no review mentioned that. What if one of them started leaking CO2? I assume some of you would be saying I deserved that consequence too.

The article is pointing out that if something DOES happen, Airbnb washes its hands of all responsibility. It will gladly take money to list properties and blindly trust that the host is honest and accurate. I'm sure many hosts don't purchase any extra insurance and if something did happen their current insurance would probably refuse to pay due to the unauthorized usage of the home. Renting a private home is a gamble - period. There are many honest owners out there, but not all of them are. A company like Airbnb which profits off of the rentals should have some skin in the game, and not just be able to say "sorry, there's nothing we can do" when someone is injured or dies at one of their offered properties. If I get injured at a hotel, I can trust they have adequate insurance to help compensate me due to the many laws and local regulations they must operate under or else they are shut down. At a private residence, it's pretty unlikely I'll receive anything, since they are completely unregulated. Which is where the rental company should step in and accept liability - if they want to make money off of the properties, they should be liable for anything that happens in them.
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Old Nov 22, 2015, 9:45 am
  #23  
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Originally Posted by MaxBuck
I'm sure AirBnB is great for the people who like and use it.

I'm not one of them, and don't see that changing.
Originally Posted by undergrace
Whenever we walk into another person's home, we have no way of knowing what shape they keep it in. Will the floor collapse? Will the pipes burst? Is the electrical up to code? We have to trust that nothing will happen to us, but there's no guarantee. And reading reviews can only help you up to a point...

...if something DOES happen, Airbnb washes its hands of all responsibility. It will gladly take money to list properties and blindly trust that the host is honest and accurate.
Exactly. When something goes sideways, it is too easy to get into an Expedia-like situation where the middleman suddenly is not your ally, you are at the mercy of a non-professional "hospitality provider," and you are on the losing end of a game of he-said, she-said.

I think there will be a big day of reckoning coming for AirBnB and similar propositions as liability issues stack up and condo occupants begin to push back against the hotel-ization of their buildings.

I've never used AirBnb and never will. I don't want to invade another private individual / stranger's personal space, and I sure don't want them in mine.
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Old Nov 22, 2015, 11:02 am
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With AirBnB you gotta know that it's really just Craigslist with nicer photos. The photos add an illusion of professionalism and security of 'brand' that just isn't there. AirBnB wants to compete with hotels but they don't wanna pay the cost of being hotels.
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Old Nov 22, 2015, 3:24 pm
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Originally Posted by undergrace
I think several of you missed the point of the article. <snip>
I don't think the point was missed at all. It's a very sad story and my sympathies go out to the bereaved, but people have to take responsibility for themselves and their actions. It's not always someone else to blame, and not in this case.
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Old Nov 23, 2015, 12:53 pm
  #26  
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While I'll never use Airbnb because of their ID verification system, it's hard to blame *this* one on them. It could have happened at any kind of VRBO-type rental. (We use VRBO semi-often.)
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Old Nov 24, 2015, 1:14 am
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Exactly pinniped!

It's up to the renters to use common sense at all the properties whether rented through AirBNB, VRBO, Owners Abroad or any other rental website.

In this case, whilst the accident was indeed tragic - it seems that the gentleman did not test the rope swing before throwing his whole weight on it. A rotten tree would groan and creak before giving way (yes I've had a similar experience)- and let's face it - most of this type of thing is not meant for adults to use anyway. From what the article says, the renters were appalled and upset when they heard about it so what more does the lady expect them to do?

As adults, we do have to take responsibility for our own actions and not always look for a third party to blame. In a strange property, test appliances and facilities before using, ensure you know escape routes and behave like you would at home.
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Old Nov 28, 2016, 9:10 am
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Stay at a place that has 10+ reviews that are all positive, like anything else, do the homework.
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Old Feb 14, 2017, 9:10 am
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Originally Posted by CarolynUK
Exactly pinniped!

..

As adults, we do have to take responsibility for our own actions and not always look for a third party to blame. In a strange property, test appliances and facilities before using, ensure you know escape routes and behave like you would at home.
If you rented an apartment style hotel, e.g. Residence Inn, you test the appliances before you use them? I'd be curious to know how.
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Old Feb 14, 2017, 10:17 am
  #30  
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I have to admit, the overall behavior of Airbnb as a company has somewhat changed my opinions in the past 2 years. Their system of allowing properties to accept/reject guests based on race and other factors has led me to think they need to be regulated more like Marriott and less like Craigslist.

I don't have a great answer. I think my opinion still holds that the central booking platform isn't the *primary* one responsible for the faulty tree swing. This, like many things in the "sharing economy", probably needs a level of regulation between the wild west and the full set of requirements a large hotel development complies with.
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