A San Francisco couple may be pursuing a civil lawsuit after their hired, professional housesitter put their home on Airbnb without their knowledge, while they were away at Burning Man. As the UK Guardian reports, they found the guy on TrustedHousesitters.com a site they learned about in the New York Times and it was only by luck that they learned of the guy's scam. The people he rented their apartment to turned out to be friends of theirs.
John and Ed received an email when they were en route to Black Rock City saying, "Thanks for letting us stay in your apartment this weekend!" And when he emailed back saying there must be a mistake, the friend wrote back, "No, it’s definitely your house - your car, your wedding photos, your cats. We found it on Airbnb." Turns out the professional housesitter, whom John and Ed had met with and already used twice before this year, had put the apartment on Airbnb for $2,000 for five days.
Also, he'd apparently rearranged some things in the home before offering it up to renters. As Ed (hilariously) explains to the Guardian, "And our cardboard cutout of Niall from One Direction had been moved someone had taken him out of the living room and put him in the garage."
According to the couple, Airbnb's response to their complaint was "lackadaisical" and slow, but Airbnb issued a statement saying they have "zero tolerance for this sort of fraudulent activity" and the host and listing had been permanently removed.
TrustedHousesitters.com says that though John and Ed may have met their housesitter through the site, the arrangement they made for this August stay was not made through the site's secure system. But the profile of the housesitter in question would be permanently removed.
The couple can not pursue a criminal complaint because they willingly handed their keys over to the individual, however they say they will seek a civil lawsuit. Luckily, they were able to have their friends change the locks while they were staying there feeding the cats.