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Airbnb Victim Speaks Again, Says Company Tried to Quiet Her
Posted By Dave Smith On July 29, 2011 @ 5:37 pm In Apps,Blogging and Social Media | 4 Comments
This week, we learned about the one major blemish on Airbnb’s otherwise-spotless record: On June 26, a woman named “EJ” returned to her San Francisco apartment to find it completely ransacked, burglarized, and vandalized by someone who had rented it via Airbnb for a week. Read the shocking details of the burglary here .
While this nightmarish incident is a terrible blow to the company’s reputation, Airbnb’s initial response was very reassuring. Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said the company offered “to assist financially, find new housing for the host, and anything else she can think of to make her life easier.” They promised to “go above and beyond” to make the situation right, and that the company had assisted authorities in apprehending the suspect and placing them in custody.
Even EJ seemed satisfied with Airbnb’s response. She wrote in her blog , “I would be remiss if I didn’t pause here to emphasize that the customer service team at airbnb.com has been wonderful, giving this crime their full attention. They have called often, expressing empathy, support, and genuine concern for my welfare.”
However, in a new blog post , EJ reports that in the month since her June 29 blog post, three days after she returned home, Airbnb has been significantly less friendly, and has almost stopped communicating with her entirely. She says, “I blogged my story, and all these kind and supportive people just… disappeared.”
EJ says she received personal calls from the Airbnb co-founders, but apparently, their communication only stifled and frustrated her.
“[One of the co-founders and I] had a lengthy conversation, in which he indicated having knowledge of the person who had been apprehended by the police, but that he could not discuss the details or these previous cases with me, as the investigation was ongoing. He then addressed his concerns about my blog post, and the potentially negative impact it could have on his company’s growth and current round of funding. During this call and in messages thereafter, he requested that I shut down the blog altogether or limit its access, and a few weeks later, suggested that I update the blog with a ‘twist’ of good news so as to ‘complete the story’.”
“The second co-founder did e-mail me for the first time around 2 a.m. yesterday, suggesting we meet for coffee as he ‘would enjoy meeting’ me. He made no inquiry into my current emotional state, my safety or my well being.”
Currently, EJ says she doesn’t know for sure if the police have anyone responsible in custody, and her life has continues to suffer in the aftermath of the burglary.
“I am still displaced, bouncing between friends’ homes, clutching my pillow and what’s left of my normalcy. I spend my mornings recalling nightmares and breathing through panic attacks, and my afternoons scouring the city’s pawn shops in the vain hope that I might recover some of my stolen treasures. I do not feel anything close to safe. I do not feel anything close to whole. Today I remain broken, but with the firm belief that in time, and with the support of friends, family, and a generally supportive public, this too shall pass and I will be made whole again.”
Here’s the end of EJ’s post, which really says it all.
“And for those who have so generously suggested a donation fund be set up to help me recover, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, and suggest that instead, you keep the money and use it to book yourself into a nice, safe hotel room the next time you travel. You’ll be glad you did.”
Just this week, Airbnb raised another funding round of $112 million, giving the company a $1 billion-plus valuation. Unless the company hires a crisis management expert or makes this situation right somehow, the press and social networks are going to have a field day with this one.
Read more from TechCrunch .
Article printed from Inc. Technology: http://technology.inc.com
URL to article: http://technology.inc.com/2011/07/29/airbnb-victim-speaks-again-says-company-tried-to-quiet-her/
URLs in this post:
 here: http://techcrunch.com/2011/07/27/the-moment-of-truth-for-airbnb-as-users-home-is-utterly-trashed/
 blog: http://ejroundtheworld.blogspot.com/
 new blog post: http://ejroundtheworld.blogspot.com/2011/07/airbnb-nightmare-no-end-in-sight.html
 TechCrunch: http://techcrunch.com/2011/07/29/airbnb-victim-speaks-again-homeless-scared-and-angry/
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