Today I logged into Airbnb and began exploring possible to places to go after I leave Belgrade. I eventually made a decision and attempted to book a room. The whole process was interrupted by a red-tape request out of the blue. Airbnb wanted a selfie verification.
I think it’s good that Airbnb is taking trying to make things more secure, but I still found this extra identity check a pain in the ass. I’ve been a member of the site for four years. Airbnb already has a copy of my passport or driving licence (I forget which one). Apparently, that’s not good enough. I had to take a selfie so they could compare it to the identification document AirBnB has on file.
It’s not as if I’m only an occasional user of the site. I spend my life living in accommodation I find via the Airbnb website. The company makes a regular income from me. It should be pretty obvious that it’s me booking the accommodation. I pay for everything using my own cards and, if a “Steve Calvert” were to turn up wearing the wrong face, I’m sure the Airbnb Hosts would notice.
When Airbnb wouldn’t let me book a room until I passed a selfie verification, it came as a surprise.
If the Airbnb big-wigs wanted a selfie for an identity check it would have been a better idea to have contacted me via email and asked for one. It would have allowed me to do things at a more convenient time. Instead, Airbnb made it impossible for me to proceed until I’d passed its identity spot-check.
Comparing accommodation options and finding the best way to travel between destinations always takes me a long time. There are many different things I take into account. It’s a busy time. The last thing I need is to have to stop what I’m doing because Airbnb suddenly decides it wants to check that I am me. To make matters worse, it was late in the evening and the lights in my present apartment are pretty poor. I would have rather taken the selfie during the day.
I did some checks of my own and discovered Airbnb introduced selfie verification in 2016. From that point onward, all new users had to pass the company’s selfie verification.
Airbnb is great. I love it. It’s just a pity it can’t be better organised when it’s throwing around its red tape. I am aware of a number of other sites similar to Airbnb. I’ve never used any of them yet, but maybe I should try building my reputation on some of the other sites as well. That way, if Airbnb starts making things difficult again at least I will have somewhere to go.
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