A San Francisco couple were on their way to Burning Man when they received a shocking email from some friends who had just rented their apartment on Airbnb while they were away.
It was shocking because the couple had just left their apartment in the hands of a professional housesitter they found on TrustedHousesitters.com.
What they didn’t know was that the housesitter had rented their apartment on Airbnb himself in an attempt to make a few extra bucks, the Guardian first reported. The housesitter charged $2,000 for five days for the couple’s San Francisco apartment home.
“I feel violated, and pretty upset that somebody I thought I could trust has done this to me. He told our friends that there was a ‘misunderstanding’ between us, but there’s no way I told him he could go ahead and make $2,000 for himself.”
They first met the housesitter in May, when they checked his references and ran a police check. At the time, everything checked out, and the couple said the housesitter seemed like a nice guy.
The man’s TrustedHousesitter.com profile shows him sitting in a private jet and claims he worked for Google and GE.
The company removed his profile and banned him from using their site but said it was difficult to investigate the couple’s claim because they didn’t use the site’s messaging tool to set up their appointment, a spokesman told the Guardian.
“As a result this particular housesit was not registered on the site, so we did not hold the details of who the housesitter selected was.”
The police said they couldn’t do anything because the couple had willingly handed over their keys, so they decided to sue in civil court.
Airbnb, meanwhile, removed the listing from their website and issued an apology, but the couple says the short-term rental company was slow to act, which could have exposed other users to the same fraud, according to CNET.
“We have zero tolerance for this sort of fraudulent activity, and this host and this listing have been permanently removed from Airbnb.”
A recent study by San Francisco discovered short-term Airbnb rentals make up a quarter of the available housing units in the city.
A Mountain View Man even rented out a tent in his backyard via Airbnb for $46 a night.
With housing prices this crazy, some fraud is bound to leak in.
[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]