Air BNB Massive Timewasters

I needed to book last minute accommodation for someone, I searched a few sites nothing was suitable. I found the perfect one at midnight last night on airBNB and contacted the host who luckily and thankfully got back to me very quickly and has been the nicest. we agreed I went to pay:

The problem is that no-where before wasteing my time and the hosts time did they tell me the excruciating id check they put you through after they take your credit card details. you would think your credit card and matching account details was enough and the host could check your id but only after this they want you to provide them several id checks, one being social media which account which this person doesn't have - so I set one up. and the other being a copy of the id. I don't have his license and he cant do it so I rang them. that was 10am. they said they would escalate it.

im still waiting, they don't answer the calls or emails. its frustrating because he is supposed to get there at 6am and I cant confirm the booking.

does anyone know how to get around their silly checks?

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  • Just offer the host to cancel the booking and pay by cash. It's not great practice for the host to accept this but given the circumstances they might allow it.

  • It's there because of the massive insurance they provide to hosts. Consider it a time based offset to the cost of a hotel

  • +11 votes

    Do you really want to give them an identity theft starter kit?

  • The problem is that no-where before wasteing my time and the hosts time did they tell me the excruciating id check they put you through after they take your credit card details.

    on that basis i'd just cancel.

    • yeah exactly, I wont be using them again. but its left no time to get something else, everything in the area is gone

  • update - they froze two reservation fees for the property even though they didn't hold it

    air BNB is bullshit

  • +32 votes

    Lol, I find it hilarious that you are furious with airbnb as you are trying to book a last second accomodation. If you did this well in advance, none of this would be happening at the moment.
    Will be checking into a level 53 sub penthouse tomorrow with no problems what so ever.

  • +33 votes

    The "problem" is you have to have your ID verified by Airbnb (not the host) when you create your profile so you have some sort of accountability. If you've browsed at the last minute, found a place, joined and requested to book - and forgot to verify your identity - that's your problem.

    Maybe you'd prefer no-one to have to verify their ID, hosts or guests? That'd be good for everyone's safety.

    • -17 votes

      no-one forgot to do anything. regardless if its last minute or last week or last month you still have to go through the same thing. They can verify the name on the account matches the credit card as a lot of places do. the host can verify the license of the person. wotif dont do it and no other accommodation site I have ever used has, they take your money and tell you nothing about it until they already have your money and refuse to further your booking. a lot of things that I have said seem to have gone straight over your head.

      • You are very wrong here.

        If you did it last week or last month, you wouldn't be stuck rushing this verification through. I have an airbnb place and I refuse to accept anyone without full ID verification. This is for my protection and it is a ONE TIME PROCESS - ie., once you have done it, you have done it forever.

        Airbnb is nothing more than a middle man and, if you like an escrow service for a private individual, so no one pays or accepts cash until the goods are confirmed.

        There is no way to circumvent this process. Many people are like your friend/acquaintance. They are booking for the first time. They have no reviews and no other information about themselves. The only way that are private person can accept a new user is with this identification.

        Anyone can enquire about the availability of my place, but no one can not book without full verification. As long as they have done this, I feel comfortable that the person coming to rent my place is known to the system. Should something go wrong, I have done the right thing and airbnb will back me up with their insurance.

        Airbnb suggests, and encourages, sending enquiries to people to check availability before committing to a booking payment. NO WHERE do they say you have to pay before sending a simple enquiry. Doing this was an error on your part.

        Also … when someone enquires about my place, the first thing I look at is if they are ID verified. If they are not, they I tell them they will NOT be able to proceed with the booking unless they go through the process.

        While you are saying that the host was ok, I suggest to you that they weren't because they didn't tell you that THEY required ID. At this moment in time (as far as I know) ID verification (driver's licence or passport) is NOT compulsory with Airbnb. It is something CHOSEN BY THE HOST as additional security. Airbnb tells me that they are moving towards it being compulsory.

  • Social media account? Holy crap! That's annoying AND pointless!

    • You choose which accounts to verify. Before they introduced the online ID verification they used to use social media accounts like fb and linked-in. I use fb to log in due to ease of use. While I have other social media, I never chose to use them. They also use email and phone number. The more ID checks you have in place, the better off you appear, me as a host included.

      Imagine turning up to a place on your holiday only to find that it's a hole in the wall and not at all as pictured. The process protects both sides of the transaction.

  • It's fairly clear from the start that you have to verify your id. That's the way the site operates, and you're far better doing it when you first sign up, not leaving it until you are desperate for accomodation.

    Incidentally, experience tells me you should NEVER leave it until the night before to try making a booking. It can take some property owners several days to get back to you and confirm the dates.

    • where is it clear before you book that you have to show them your license and create a facebook page?

      the owner was fine. air bnb never called back

  • +3 votes

    Airbnb has been excellent for me so far.
    Besdies Wotif and Lastminute that have already been suggested, you could also try

  • Try getaroom and hotels combined…

    OP you have to see where airBNB are coming from.

    From their

    Airbnb puts hosts and travellers at ease with features like Verified ID and public reviews. Having a Verified ID indicates that you've completed a specific set of verifications—offline ID, online ID, profile photo, email address, and phone number. Hosts and guests also build trust and cultivate their reputations by writing reviews about their experiences after each trip.

    does anyone know how to get around their silly checks?
    Silly checks?
    Quite normal…

    When you check into a hotel you need a drivers license or passport. Why would this be any different?

    With no places allowing early check in does this person need somewhere to actually go at 6am? Most hotels will hold his/her luggage and then they can do what ever they need to do until the normal time of 2pm for checkin.

      • What you are failing to consider is that without an id confirmation the organisation can't just send random people to someone's home.

        • @kwaker:
          Credit cards alone is not a sufficient form of ID. Stolen Credit card numbers and fraudulent chargebacks are easy to carry out by some crooks.

        • @kwaker:

          Seems like everyone is seeing the bigger picture here and all you can see is how this is creating an issue for you. Your circumstances has made an Airbnb booking unattainable.

      • Hi Kwaker,
        To be fair, I feel that you are the party who is rather argumentative

  • +18 votes

    Airbnb's checks are quite reasonable and I'd be concerned if there was any way to circumvent them.

    If you're booking accommodation for someone else at the last minute, clearly a hotel is the way to go and Airbnb isn't suitable.

    I stayed in Airbnbs in 4 different countries last month and have absolutely no complaints about their service.

  • The social media check is not mandatory. You upload a 15 second video of the person booking (matching the ID) and they approve your account in hours.

    So many half cocked rants on here that tell half the story.

    • yeah which is worse than setting up a facebook account.

    • True, social media account is not required for the ID check.
      I have used AIRBNB many times, and all I provide them are just:
      (1) An email address
      (2) Details of a credit card
      That's all required for validating an entity wanting to book accommodation.
      Also, it's common practice for accommodation booking sites (and hotels) to pre-draw money from our nominated credit card - in order to verify that the card is valid and having enough credits. However, they will cancel (or refund as required. With AIRBNB being a reputable organisation, we can feel relatively safe about transactions in our credit cards.

      • Airbnb has introduced ID (licence or passport) verification. It is (currently) entirely up to the host to require this or not.

        As a host, I am ID verified and will not accept a booking without it.

  • Why didn't you just set up an AirBNB account beforehand? Me and my friends have been using it and we never had problems.

    • I agree. But maybe he only just found it.

    • I really dont see why you are arguing I should've done it beforehand. the situation is not even possible that I could've done it before hand. its wasn't for me, I wasn't given notice before hand. I had to arrange it at last minute and that's what I had to work with. it would be good if you actually had a solution and not just an opinion.

      • +22 votes

        it would be good if you actually had a solution and not just an opinion

        No one here works for you by the way. This is no ones problem but yours.

        • so why are you here JLove? your not here to help so your just here to troll?

        • @kwaker:
          I believe this is an open forum, and this thread does not "belong" to any person in particular. So people join in the discussion fro 2 reasons:
          (1) To help you kwaker.
          (2) To share common knowledge with all members

      • Your opinions of AirBNB are unfairly conjugated. If you're into last minute bookings, then your only choice is really just rock up at hotels and pay the rack rate.

    • I have an account and I've never had to do any of this.

      I'm assuming I'll get a nice surprise when I go to actually book something.

      • Airbnb has introduced ID (licence or passport) verification. It is (currently) entirely up to the host to require this or not.

        As a host, I am ID verified and will not accept a booking without it.

  • sounds like you left it to the very last minute and THIS IS ALL AIR B N B'S FAULTTT!!!!!!

    • +13 votes

      One thing I learnt at school and is quite emphasised is not to leave things at the last minute, if you do, don't be surprised if problems arise and you don't have enough time to address it.

      • I am glad you were able to learn something at school. If I was able to plan in advance then I would have done so not that it would make one bit of difference in this situation.

  • +9 votes

    He is probably angry that AIRBNB did not make it clear that he needed to jump through so many hoops just to book a place to stay. I have not seen their website or user interface but to be fair, if AIRBNB did not mention this beforehand I don't see how anybody who has used this before could have predicted this requirement. This is pretty much news to me too.

    Of course last minute planning is bad and I try to avoid that because it is far too costly in the end. However, we have no idea what is going on in his shoes and when he books his accommodations is his prerogative. You can never really predict when you need to travel somewhere far for whatever reason.

    Maybe the tone of his posts are a bit too confrontational and too angry. Still, have we not felt something like this before when you need something urgently, are doing things lawfully and prepared to pay money but because of some stupid rule or administrative problem our entire plans were ruined.

    In my opinion perhaps the OP should have highlighted the problem instead of using the forum as an avenue for venting. On the other hand maybe some of the posters responding to this forum should try to understand his situation and inform him of possible solutions, why AIRBNB isn't so bad and why making last minute plans is. It may be more helpful for everybody if we weren't so punitive in our replies to the OP.

    It is not really the OP's fault that his host does not have social media (not sure how he would have verified with his previous guests).

    Without possessing the full information of the situation, I would chalk it up to experience with AIRBNB, murphy decides to come out and play at the worst times. They did provide you with several choices of identity verification, nobody's fault that none of them worked (assuming host and guests are completely legitimate =) ). AIRBNB could have provided better responses over the phone but it is also their prerogative and responsibility to ensure that the safety of both guests and hosts in this situation.

    Lastly, I have NEVER made a call to a customer hotline that was not a waste of time (discounting the few times where it was genuinely my fault). The fact that something happened that warrants the call being placed means that said something did not go according to plan. You get what you pay for most of the time too, if you want to get something done quick and fast, it does pay to spend a little more.

    • yeah exactly but i thought i did highlight the issue. a lot of people have clearly skipped past even the first line (as well as every other point)

      I needed to book last minute accommodation for someone

      and they aren't really trying to help just argue and blame me for things which I have no control over. money was not an issue in this case

      • You're not going to get any help with this. Although it seems you didn't realise it at the time, Air BNB was not an option for you or your friend that night. Because they are sending total strangers to people's homes, there ARE hoops to jump through, and it takes a number of days to go through the process.

        • no it doesn't they give you 11 hours to do it. not days,

          my whole point was that they didn't tell you about these hoops before taking your reservation fee. or did you miss the whole introduction at the top?

          The problem is that no-where before wasteing my time and the hosts time did they tell me the excruciating id check they put you through after they take your credit card details

        • @kwaker: Your host did not tell you about the Verified ID requirement. It is a choice made by the host to require this, not Airbnb.

          From there FAQ:
          "Under certain circumstances, you may be required to complete Verified ID before you can send a reservation request. Hosts who require their guests to have a Verified ID must also complete the process themselves."

          Your host has checked a box in their Reservation Requirements section that says: "Your guests will need to verify their ID before booking with you."

  • I don't know if this is helpful in anyway but I just used paypal for my payment and I didn't have to go through any credit checks, etc. The only verification I provided was my mobile number (they just sent a text with a code to my phone and I entered that code into their verification page).
    Edit: I wasn't hosting, I was renting (if that makes any difference?)

    • this is entirely up to the host. As a host, I am ID verified and will not accept a booking without it.

  • I just signed up to AirBNB today, verification took me two minutes (would take a few more if I didn't have a facebook profile). So I'm not sure what the big deal is frankly.

    • how did you do the verification?

      • I provided a photo of the front and back of my license, my Facebook account address, I verified a code for them by SMS and I provided them a photo for my profile.

  • Wow… when I signed up with AirBnB to book accommodation it was the easiest thing ever. I did it while super drunk and had no problems…. I did connect it with my facebook profile which prob made it easier but still - easy as pie even when drunk!

  • +12 votes

    Kwaker, there's no way of "getting around it". The checks are in place to ensure the safety of all participants involved. I'm sure if you thought about it for a second you can understand why the checks are in place. What would happen if you decided to trash the house you were staying at or if you decided to take all the furniture with you when you left?

    It has nothing to do with credit cards or with payment or whatever. At the same time, you should be glad they put the host through the same ID checks. What if the host decides to trap you and abduct you, perhaps not likely, but in the case of no IDs, I guess it'd be pretty damn hard to locate where you are.

    If you want a hassle-free easy experience, stay at a hotel or a motel. If you want to take a cheaper option, sometimes it means more work is involved, not that hard to understand.

    • they actually said on the phone they don't need to do it but didn't call back. I understand why identity is important but no other company does it and the name has to be correct on the credit card or it doesn't go through. no other company does this

      but its fine for me to book in my name? well that's just undermining everything you just said. its not me that's going to be there so regardless if they approve my id check and I book it for him and the same thing happens.

      it has nothing to do with cheap

      • +7 votes

        Sorry but I'm not sure if there are any other companies connecting private resident hosts with complete strangers who are private individuals. I think AIRBNB wants to avoid a potential lawsuit as a facilitator of abductions/rape/whatnotcrimes. Look at the shit UBER is facing and all the arguments its opponents are using in the name of "safety". How much of that is really safety and how much of that is knee jerk bullcrap.

        I can understand its not the issue of cheap as other normal priced accoms may be booked out already. However, if it is really important and nothing to do with cheap I'm sure you will be able to find a last minute place at a premium rate. Surely not even the hilton is booked out this week (not sure where that accoms will be based at so this is just an assumption and I may be wrong).

        How much you want to pay and when you book is entirely your right and your business. That said, I think I'm happy for everybody that AIRBNB makes identity verification such a pain. If it is so easy, it will be too attractive for ne'er-do-wells.

        • if location wasn't a problem sure he could find a Hilton several hours away. being a long weekend and events regardless of price, these are not available and he needs to book for 2 days to cover the time he needs and that means the hotel needs vacancies those 2 days and there simply was none. I checked I rang managers and there was nothing. your making an issue of price when there simply was none

          again this is straying from the actual issue

          The problem is that no-where before wasteing my time and the hosts time did they tell me the excruciating id check they put you through after they take your credit card details.

          then they were supposed to escalate it and call me back - never happened. wasting more time

      • Firstly, it doesn't matter whether others do it or not, if that's their policy and they're not breaking any rules by implementing it, then it's simply too bad if you don't like what they're doing. Feel free to take your business elsewhere.

        Secondly, you're wrong in saying others don't do it. When you go to a hotel, do they take your ID? Of course they do, they ask for your driver's license or passport. Maybe some don't, but lots of the ones I have stayed at do.

        And lastly, I'm not sure what is required, your ID or his ID? You aren't very clear in what you're saying and from your post, you're either just downright complaining or you're trying to pull a dodgy and get around their system. Whilst I understand it's not your fault, you sitting here complaining isn't going to get your problem solved, why don't you contact AirBNB or find an alternative provider instead?

        Isn't that the common sense thing to do?

        • exactly when you go there they verify id which is exactly what I said.

          I'm not sure what is required, your ID or his ID?

          actually I have said several times and it is clear you just didn't read it, just like you haven't read a lot of what I said and arguing things I never said.

          "I don't have his license and he cant do it so I rang them"

          and have said consistently that its not for me. so why would I need my id?

          I was asking for help, you came on here arguing and not helping. again another point you missed - I did ring them. what is the point of calling them now?

        • +12 votes

          @kwaker: You're still missing my point, which is that what they are doing is completely reasonable and understandable. I don't understand why you expect them to bend their rules simply because your friend can't get a picture of his ID.

          Seriously, how hard is it to take a picture of a driver's license with a phone and send it in? It takes like less than a minute. I'm not sure what all the fuss is. If you can't do something that simple, then just book elsewhere. Everyone else can do that just fine?

          At least they're not asking for certified copies or something like that. That would actually be a pain.

          Taking a picture of your own ID? Seriously, I don't see what the issue is.

    • +10 votes

      You keep accusing me of not reading your post, but I'm saying it's not hard for YOUR FRIEND to take a picture of his ID, I clearly said that.

      I don't understand why you expect them to bend their rules simply because your friend can't get a picture of his ID.

      Pretty clear isn't it?

      your still missing my point, the issue is that they never said anything about this before wasting my time and taking 3 lots of reservation fees


      Where did you say anything about 3 lots of registration fees? You misread me again, in this day and age, anyone can take a photo of their ID and send it in. Go tell your friend to.

      oh hang on you don't know the problem coz your too lazy to read it - you should go get a job with them, you would fit right in

      *because, *you're

      Is it really that hard to spell correctly?

      Secondly, I've read and addressed all your points, quit trying to complain and make a fuss over nothing. And no thanks, I'd rather not deal with people who can't get their friend to send in a picture of ID.

        • +10 votes

          I meant that as a general statement, that it's not hard to take a picture of one's ID.

          Also, what part of my argument has failed? Also, where are my grammar mistakes? Easy to say, where's the proof?

          Lastly, how am I causing trouble? I've merely pointed out that there is no issue at all and that what they're asking is completely reasonable. The person being unreasonable here is you, not them.

          Look buddy, the world doesn't revolve around your friend, if he can't find a place to stay, then that's just too bad. You can't sit here and complain and hope that AirBNB picks up their phone or replies to their email on a Sunday just so your friend has a place to stay. People usually book in advance, if he's not in a situation to, then you can't expect the world to stop and people to go to work on Sundays so they can fulfill his needs.

          Some people have a hard time accepting that.

  • OP is booking for A FRIEND, and AirBNB is a platform to book personally. Similar to most hotels and motels, if you are the third party in a transaction, something will go wrong, and you will bear all the headaches. I have recommended AirBNB to many friends, but never have I look for deals for them, let alone book for them. Even if the booking was smooth, the friend arrived not happy with acoomodation, spotlight is on you.

    For this and many other things in Australia, it is best to do it for yourself only because of rules, regulations, expectations. Imagine selling your friends car on his/her behalf without paper work prep beforehand. Wouldn't be too smooth, would it?

  • acersaurus 11 hours 29 min ago
    What is stopping him from MMSing or emailing you phone pics of the front and back of his license if you must verify his identity?

    kwaker 10 hours 51 min ago
    @acersaurus: none of your business. who do you think you are demanding that I justify his inabilities to you?

    Wow, paulsterio and acersaurus were clearly on the forum to empathise and help (like most of the time they do), and it just shows your poor judgement and character to dismiss them like that.
    Frankly, upon needlessly thinking about this issue for a little while… there is absolutely nothing you can do except to try and sort it out with the company when contact is established, and in future take it as a lesson that if you were to do this for yourself, or for a friend, that you should be more organised. IS that what you wanted from this forum?!

    I am quite happy that AirBNB uses a much more robust security system than I thought, and in fact, I will be looking to them in the future now.
    Next time, learn to read between the lines of other people's comments and try to understand why they would write that way, as opposed you accusing them of "not reading your post properly". I read all of this and noted, it was you that misunderstood basically every reply.
    you have an "everybody's an idiot-except me" mentality, It certainly isn't true in this case, and it just does not abide on the internet.

    1. When someone says "isn't it just easier to send an MMS/email of their photo ID".. it's simply saying 90% of the population can do that pretty easily.. we do not know your/friend specific details.. We don't need to know.. like we don't need to know why you have been burdened to get accommodation for said friend.. but in general, that was the best suggestion anyone can give to solve the problem.

    2. They take your money due to automatic systems, and maybe the company's lack of response is due to being a long weekend and not foreseeing a rather unique problem such as yours. It's unfortunate, but very foreseeable.

    3. Stop accusing the people in this forum of troublemaking, trolling, not-being-helpful. Settle down, have a drink, your friend can survive staying at the local HJs at the airport.. I personally don't believe that this person cannot get accommodation, but if that was the case, Ozbargain cannot do anything about it. Lastly, don't even reply to any more posts. You are truly troll-material.

    • no they are not here to help, the accommodation needed was well in the past.

      the only thing that they were doing was criticizing me. tell me one thing that they actually helped?

      1. When someone says "isn't it just easier to send an MMS/email of their photo ID".. it's simply saying 90% of the population can do that pretty easily.. we do not know your/friend specific details.. We don't need to know.. like we don't need to know why you have been burdened to get accommodation for said friend.. but in general, that was the best suggestion anyone can give to solve the problem.

      90% under 40 years old, 10% over 40 years old.

      • That's a bit of a dick response Sammy. Computers came to the fore in the early 90's. Early adapters of computers needed to be able to pull them apart and put them back together quite regularly because they were always breaking down and we had to upgrade everything ourselves. We were as old as you are now, we were the ones who went on to make excruciatingly good money out of IT before it was mainstream and we were the ones to train all of you … so add at least 25 years to your ridiculous 10%.

        • Where did I say how old I am? ;)
          I agree with you about pcs, now we have this throw away society.
          I was being sarcastic as everyone is generalising. Not everyone owns a smart phone, nor knows how to operate it even if they do own one. I think 90% is too high a guess.

        • @Sammy2000: Apologies, i seriously did not detect the sarcasm.

  • Maybe try Flipkey/Tripadvisor? I went to HK recently and found the same apartments listed on both sites. Decided to go and pay via Tripadvisor/Flipkey as they seemed to have a better payment/protection system. No lengthy verification process either.

  • +11 votes

    Am I the only one that thinks Kwaker is actually Keyur??

  • in b4 thread closed

  • Yep pretty clear he didn't get it solved…best check ur windows to see if two guys / girls are camping on the streets it's probably them and the OPs getting an earful from their friend.

  • I've been following this thread since its been up and OP has been truly insufferable.

    Who does he think we are demanding that OP justify his friends inabilities? Quite simply, we're ozbargainers. Those who are well versed with loops and tedious tasks in order to get a saving.

    If you thought this place was a good forum to voice your egocentric complaints, you thought wrong.

  • +26 votes

    I would be very wary of providing any help to op.


    kwaker on 05/09/2014 - 02:30
    I sign up for accounts all the time using fake numbers because they usually don't actually have a way to verify directly with the rta but the problem your encountering might be that the fake numbers actually have a pattern which you need to figure out, and it helps if you have someone elses number and just change the numbers keeping similar patterns.

    For example, if they want your card number its 10 numbers but there the pattern might be that:
    they only start with even (or odd) numbers
    they don't (or do) have duplicate numbers in it
    they don't (or do) have sequential numbers
    the 3rd number could be the last number of year of your birth.

    etc, but im not sure what the pattern is for that one.

    Whilst OP is seeking help to "get around their silly checks" for a "friend", there might be something less wholesome going on.

    • -13 votes

      You go through all my account history and try to take things out of context just to make you look good. I wonder how many private companies you give all your details too. Maybe I should start a company and do these verifications and then actually steal identities like you want to blame me for doing anyway. you know the first ones to sign up would be you

      • +12 votes

        In the context of it, if it was some shady company asking for your license number, then fair enough. However, the OP in that post was looking to open an E*TRADE account, which deals with money and probably requires ID in order to ensure there is no money laundering taking place. Giving them false details is fraud. It has nothing to do with ID theft here, you don't have to give your details away, feel free not to, but what you're doing is fraud.

  • +11 votes

    Reading all of Kwaker's replies over the course of this thread constantly had this running through my head.

  • I solely made an ozbargain account to up-vote. This thread has given me much enjoyment. Enjoy the votes. :)