‘Wired’ uncovered a scam last year, including a network of fraudulent Airbnb accounts with more than 200 listings and 2,100 reviews, lots of them fake or misleading.
Many properties didn’t exist or were not owned by the host, other listings were in breach of a legal 90-day limit on short-term rentals in London.
When Wired reported this to Airbnb, the company immediately cancelled and refunded all listings managed by the suspended host, CB Platinum, which left guests who had already checked in receiving messages demanding they pay again, in many cases with threats of violence – some in person.
Guests who were away from their apartments were told their belongings would be removed and the locks changed unless they returned to the property and paid immediately.
Deeper investigation found that the company is turning whole buildings destined to be long-term rentals into de facto hotels advertised on Airbnb and Booking.com, many breaching London’s 90-day limit on short-term rentals. A Booking.com spokesperson has confirmed that all CB Platinum listings on its own platform remain suspended while it investigates.