There is a saying revenge is a dish best served cold and one Chinese couple’s desire for vengeance drove them to go over and above, leaving their Airbnb host with a huge utility bill.
According to the South China Morning Post, the pair allegedly left the tap, gas and lights on for 25 days in their Airbnb house in South Korea after their host refused to cancel their rental.
The Chinese couple angered by an Airbnb host’s refusal to cancel booking wasted water, electricity and gas while spending on other expenses, costing the host more than US$1,570
The couple apparently leased the stand-alone villa in Seoul for 25 days, paying in full without first confirming the location of the property in the city. When they realized it was in the outskirts, they thought it was too inconvenient and asked to cancel the reservation.
The host, however, refused their request because money had already been made and the appointment had already been confirmed, which the couple appeared to accept.
The couple then inquired with the host about the presence of surveillance cameras in the villa. They decide to turn on all the taps, lights, electrical appliances and gas after being assured there are none.
The couple then toured throughout the country, returning to the villa for no more than five minutes every three to four days. According to SCMP, they only visited the villa five times during the 25-day booking period.
The host was ignorant of the couple’s vindictive acts until the gas company contacted to inquire about the dramatic increase in gas consumption. He later discovered that the couple’s water consumption was five times more than usual throughout their visit.
“They used 120 tonnes of water in five days,” the host explained, referring to the fact that they had only visited the property on five of the 25 days they had reserved.
When the host attempted to contact Airbnb customer service, he was told that the problem was between him and the couple and that the firm bears no obligation.
The host was forced to pay the amount because the couple had left the country and were no longer reachable. According to SCMP, the couple’s actions has drawn significant condemnation after the topic was picked up by Korean media.
“120 tonnes of water?” one individual asked. What a colossal waste. How bad is this couple!?” wrote another. They should be held accountable in some way.”
Woman’s detective work foils Airbnb ‘Superhost’
A man in eastern China who installed a hidden camera in a bedroom he rented out on the home-sharing platform Airbnb was caught after she recognized the equipment.
Her knowledge enabled her to locate the camera and contact the police, who detained the man for 20 days. He was classified as a “Superhost” on the platform – an experienced host regarded as a shining example – but investigators discovered that he had been photographing his guests since March.
The woman, known online as Yunfei, told Beijing Youth Daily that she worked in internet and information security and that she constantly checked her hotel rooms. She claimed that when she arrived at the man’s flat in Qingdao, Shandong province, late Wednesday night, she noticed something out of the ordinary.
“I discovered a motion sensor monitor at the flat’s entrance and two in the two bedrooms, which is unusual given that the flat had not been renovated for smart-home automation,” she explained.
“I turned the sensors to face the wall and covered them with stickers.”
She next checked the smoke detectors and television, which are frequently used to conceal hidden cameras, and turned off the power to the television. When she picked up the router, which faced a bed, she noticed an unusual light and suspected it was a concealed camera.
“I examined it carefully and discovered that the line arrangement was different from the usual ones,” she explained.
She discovered the router had been tampered with by comparing it to an image of the product, before unscrewing it and discovering a digital memory card inside.
“I immediately called the police after finding the card,” she explained. “They came in and took away the equipment.”
She did not return to the flat, which had housed a large number of people and had cost her 1,700 yuan for a three-night stay. She claimed she had never met the host in person and had only interacted with him via email about checking in and the WiFi password.
Airbnb stated that the man’s flat had been removed from its marketplace. “We sincerely apologized to the client and removed the flat from the flat listings,” an Airbnb representative told Beijing Youth Daily.
According to the spokeswoman, the company was contacted when the woman called the police and reimbursed her money.
Staying in an Airbnb and feel like you’re being watched
There are many gadgets out there that assist make our lives easier in this more tech-savvy society, but some that might… complicate things.
A recent article of a couple who discovered a concealed camera in their Airbnb house has some of us asking what we can do to protect ourselves against such technological misappropriation.
In response to the event, Airbnb has made it very clear that hidden cameras are strictly prohibited in all Airbnbs worldwide.
“We take privacy extremely seriously and have a zero-tolerance policy for this behaviour,” said an Airbnb spokeswoman. We immediately removed the host from our community and offered our full assistance to the guest.”
However, because hidden cameras can be installed everywhere and by anybody nowadays, it may be beneficial to be aware of the stealthy recording equipment.
While we hope you never need these ideas, here are four methods for detecting concealed cameras:
1. Examine the Space
This may sound apparent, but one of the simplest ways to protect oneself is to physically check the place before entering it.
Examine your surroundings thoroughly for anything that appears weird or out of place, such as lampshades that don’t appear normal, suspicious flower arrangements, or photos on the wall that appear oddly positioned (maybe too high or low).
Look for little holes in the walls or other characteristics of the room the size of your phone’s camera. They should be on the side of the object that faces the rest of the room.
Small cameras can also be hidden beneath couch cushions, table tops, or shelves, according to WikiHow.
Check smoke detectors, lamp fixtures, speakers, flower pots, and anything else situated in a high or open spot with a good view of the entire room. If you come across any suspicious-looking holes, patch them up with tape or sticky bandages for piece of mind.
2. Search for lights
Some cameras and microphones feature lights that turn on when the power is turned on. If you have a careless creep on your hands, they may have failed to cover up or disable this feature during setup.
Techwalla recommends turning off all the lights in the room and searching for a little red or green LED light.
3. Observe reflections
Most cameras feature a lens that reflects light whether it is turned on or off.
You might catch faint glimmers of light reflected back at you if you turn out the lights and slowly shine a light source around the room (you can use a small torch or your phone’s light feature).
According to Techlicious, you should proceed gently and inspect questionable areas from various angles. If you notice glints of light in locations where there are no mirrors, glass, or other reflecting surfaces, you may have discovered an unwanted recording device.
4. Make use of an app
Finally, while not the most effective, you can use your phone to detect hidden cameras. They may be able to determine when you are in the presence of a hidden camera by using radiation detection. Finally, if all else fails, keep an eye out for anything unusual and be aware of your activities in the room.