While Airbnb quickly gained popularity as a cheap hospitality service after the company debuted in 2008, today it's gaining another reputation — creepy — as people keep uncovering hidden cameras in their Airbnb rental homes.
On November 27, Jason Scott tweeted out a picture of a hidden camera his coworker found while staying at an Airbnb in an undisclosed location. The post has already been tweeted more than 23,000 times and has been liked more than 30,000 times.
— Jason Scott (@textfiles) November 28, 2017
Following this most recent incident, Airbnb released a statement stating that they "permanently banned" the homeowner and "supported [their] guests with a full refund and reimbursement for expenses incurred."
On Monday, a spokesperson for Airbnb tried to reassure customers, claiming that finding cameras in rental homes is "incredibly rare."
"Cameras are never allowed in bathrooms or bedrooms; any other cameras must be properly disclosed to guests ahead of time," the spokesperson said, the New York Post reported.
However, hidden cameras may not be as rare as Airbnb thinks.
Last month, a couple vacationing in Florida found hidden cameras in their rental unit. Derek Starnes and his wife were staying at a Longboat Key home belonging to Wayne Natt when they noticed a small hole on the bedroom's smoke detector. To their horror, it ended up being a camera with footage of them as well as others who had previously stayed in the rental.
"My wife and I are distressed by this situation. I hope more victims will come forward," Starnes said.
In 2015, a German woman discovered a hidden camera inside a California residence and subsequently sued the company for negligence.
One renter — Erin — said that her host reported her for damages after she unplugged what appeared to be a hidden camera in her Houston rental earlier this year.
"They [Airbnb] just treated it like I was trying to get out of paying," she said, explaining the company's reaction to the incident. "I was like, ‘Hello, he is saying he did what I was saying he did,' and the customer service rep told me that I should ‘respond professionally.'"
Airbnb eventually conducted a review of the incident and gave Erin a full refund, but only after she complained on Twitter.
"It was really scary because this dude knows where I live, my full name, my cell number," Erin said, the Daily Star reported. "But at the same time I know his full name and number, too, so I figured that kind of protects me."
"He texted me a lot while I was in Houston. It was kind of a lot looking back and I think he was kind of taking my temperature after he noticed the cameras were unplugged," she added.