Airbnb has said it will verify all properties on its website, after an investigation uncovered a series of scam listings.
Last month, Vice News revealed a string of false or misleading rental properties posted on the platform.
The tech company said it would review every property by December next year. It also said it would refund customers who had been scammed by dodgy listings.
This is the first instance of the 11-year-old company promising to verify each home advertised on its platform.
Over the course of its investigation, Vice spoke to people who had faced exactly that predicament. When they arrived for their holiday, they typically received a phone call from the landlord, warning them at the last minute that the property was no longer available. This was usually put down to an emergency or a double-booking.
Holidaymakers would then be transferred to a difference property – but this would often be in a completely different area, and would lack the amenities the original booking had promised.
Some guests felt they had no choice but to stay for at least one night, having arrived late in the day in a city far away from home. However, they claimed Airbnb then declined to give them a refund, despite the misleading bookings.
Airbnb chief executive Brian Chesky said: “Airbnb is in the business of trust. We are making the most significant steps in designing trust on our platform since our original design in 2008.”
He said that by December next year, “every home and every host on Airbnb will have been reviewed”.
“If a guest checks into a listing and it doesn’t meet our accuracy standards, we will rebook them into a listing that is just as nice,” he said, adding that if this was not possible they would get a full refund.
“We are launching a 24/7 neighbor hotline so anyone can call us anytime, anywhere in the world and reach a real person. This hotline will be led by our rapid response team.”