Since my vacation home was vandalized by an Airbnb guest (see my blog of 4/25/15), trust online has been a huge interest of mine. So much so that I’m currently conducting an academic study on who trusts and when to trust with Airbnb users. (Let me know if you would like to participate!). Because of this research, I quickly notice when my trust is tested. This week an Airbnb experience has me questioning the trustworthiness of Airbnb users (again).
I was looking for a place close to home to spend a few days around the Thanksgiving vacation. I turned to Airbnb to find such a retreat. One popped up in South Carolina that looked rustic and remote enough with a sprinkling of homeyness that suited our needs. However, I had two questions, ‘was there an oven to cook a turkey?’ (an essential during Thanksgiving!) and ‘how many beds?’ since my nephew wanted to bring his girlfriend.
Instead of doing an instant booking, I posted the questions to the host. I also wanted to know a little more about the host since now I’m generally not a trusting person for obvious reasons. The host quickly responded but only answered one of the questions, so I asked again. She quickly answered the 2nd question and also reported ‘Oh, I’ve decided to raise the price because this is a popular weekend.’ So in the middle of the transaction, she raised the price by more than $100. Whoa! With my trust now annihilated, I decided to stay home for Thanksgiving.
I got to wondering is this a common occurrence where Airbnb hosts in the middle of a transaction change the price. Was this a ‘bait and switch’ where one price is advertised and another priced demanded? I guess that instant booking tries to reduce that problem. I keep trying with Airbnb, but my trust levels are running low with the service. I’m hoping that my research will help me to regain my trust in Airbnb, but so far my experiences aren’t helping. As always, practice safe SEX (sharing economy eXchanges) by using Vijilent's demo to get a DataPortrait before meeting strangers online.
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