Hotels

Bondi Airbnb busted for being a fake

Hannah Edensor

Hannah Edensor

This Airbnb was touted as the “perfect” Bondi Beach apartment; a “luxury villa” just minutes from the iconic Aussie beach, filled with natural light, sleek furniture and just $652 per night with space for 12 people.

But it was too good to be true, in fact it was worse.

The six-bedroom ‘Bondi Beach luxury villa’ is, according to Fairfax, not actually in Bondi, but in Florida. The address listed for the Airbnb advert is actually a backpackers hostel in Bondi Beach.

Per a Fairfax report, using Google image search on the images featured in the listing, it came up with a Florida property listed on US real estate site realtor.com.

The property’s listing started out with the following message:

“PLEASE do not book before you contact me! All the bookings made without prior contact will be canceled! [sic]”.

The Airbnb listing
The Airbnb listing

Fairfax’s SMH claimed a response to a further inquiry insisted that payment could not be made personal details such as a full name, address, ID and utility bill had been provided.

It comes after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) recorded close to 200 complaints of fake Airbnb listings last year, which led to the company providing $88,000 in consumer losses.

It’s also a controversial topic for the travel industry, who have love/hate relationships with it.

In November last year, a survey showed Aussie travellers preferred hotels over Airbnbs, however that didn’t stop Qantas jumping into bed with the home-sharing site, letting frequent flyers earn points when booking with Airbnb.

Airbnb launched its ‘Trips’ arm of the business late last year, and last week bought out luxury rental company, Luxury Retreats, to expand its offerings.

The actual property in Florida
The actual property in Florida

Per Fairfax, complaints in 2016 had tripled since 2015, and speaking to SMH, ACCC deputy chairwoman Delia Rickard said anything requesting payment outside of the Airbnb app should not be trusted.

“Anytime you are asked to pay via a wire transfer or gift card, anything that is difficult to trace, that should tell you it’s a scam,” she said.

“If you have been scammed you should report it to Airbnb and also to the ACCC’s ScamWatch service.”

Rickard added that the whole ‘reverse Google image search’ approach would be wise for Airbnb to stay on top of legit listings on the site.

“These image searches are one of the things we encourage dating sites to do on all profile pictures. We certainly encourage online booking sites to do something similar.”

The fake Airbnb property
The fake Airbnb property

An Airbnb spokesperson told SMH, “Airbnb will never ask you to pay the cost of a reservation off-site or through email. The bottom line is when you book a reservation through our secure platform, you receive the benefits of Airbnb’s global trust and safety team.

“More than 150 million guests have had safe, positive experiences on Airbnb and negative incidents are extremely rare. We proactively educate our new guests on the importance of keeping their bookings strictly on the Airbnb platform.”

Fairfax claims that after being contacted by them, Airbnb removed the ‘Bondi luxury villa’ from the site, and banned the host from the platform.

 

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Aviation

Qantas announces new routes, points offer and a supermoon scenic flight

The national carrier has been a busy bee of late, with new flights, a deal for ski bunnies and a very special lunar themed flight complete with cosmic cocktails.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

CATO calls for clear roadmap for reopening of Australia’s international border

After contemplating the Federal Budget for a couple of days, Brett Jardine and the team at CATO have suggested a few amendments.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Dream Cruises begins vaccination of more than 700 crew members

The cruise line is rolling out COVID-19 jabs for Taiwan-based staff, making it the first cruise company to implement a comprehensive vaccination program in Asia.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Aussie retreat crowned Most Romantic Hotel in the World by Tripadvisor

Whip out the rose petals and Möet, because the land Down Under is now home to the most romantic hotel in the world, according to Tripadvisor.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Virgin pushes back most short-haul international flights, as ScoMo refuses to guarantee quarantine-free travel in 2022

In what shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to you all, Virgin has followed Qantas in adjusting its international restart timeline.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Norwegian Cruise Line introduces first ship as part of new Prima Class

NCL has kicked off its first new class of ships in nearly 10 years with an absolute ripper of a vessel. Get a load of it right here.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

TTC to share its huge DMC portfolio with the wider industry

The Travel Corporation has made the bold move of opening its destination management company portfolio to the rest of the industry.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Ex-airline CEO cops fine for refusing to provide menstrual leave

by Ali Coulton

This former top dog of the commercial aviation world argued that employees failed to provide “proof” they had their period, which doesn’t sound ideal, if you ask us.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

REVEALED: The plan to transform Sydney’s Cockatoo Island

The plan would see the iconic island restored with added art, retail, dining and educational spaces. No word on whether the cockatoos would get a better choice of seeds and berries, however.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Allianz returns to the travel insurance fold

The insurance giant is back to service the travel sector. No word on its court case against ASIC, however.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas delays international restart, as Joyce issues “hermit state” warning

Thought Qantas’ October timeline for the restart of international flights was looking rather precarious before last night’s Federal Budget reveal? Be proven right here.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

CLIA creates new avenue for agents to lobby politicians on Australia’s cruise restart

Have your numerous attempts to highlight the plight of cruising to your local MP fallen on deaf ears? Help has arrived.

Share

CommentComments