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Litany Of Horror Stories Create New Doubts Over AirBnB

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Is the AirBnB and Uber inspired sharing economy actually a good deal? All signs point to nope, not really.
Jet setting urbanites might benefit from rent-a-home services like AirBnB, but there’s a growing body of evidence that no one else does.
Now, many women’s worst case scenario just came true, according to a disturbing new report from Germany. This December, a German traveler sued AirBnB and her host after making the horrifying discovery that the host had secretly recorded her on a hidden camera. The woman had stayed in the rental for a month while visiting California.
What’s worse? It’s not the only hidden camera horror story. New online content factory Fusion also reported on the case of a woman staying in Los Angeles, whose host covered up a webcam’s indicator with duct tape, the better to peep on her.
In addition, another report this winter found that AirBnB hosts are less likely to approve bookings requested by travelers with traditionally Black or ethnic sounding names. If that’s not enough, Attorney Generals around the country are desperately seeking ways to get these services to start paying taxes, like legitimate hotels are required to do.
In New Mexico this December, the Santa Fe city council is fighting to regain the “possibly millions of dollars of tax revenue” the city has lost because of the so-called sharing economy. When the Santa Fe hired a consultant to determine how much money the city has lost so far, the report said the number could be as high as $2.1 million.
But according to the Albuquerque Journal, “the city?s much more conservative estimates show that Santa Fe?s government coffers are missing out on $672,000 in lodgers taxes, $195,000 in license and permitting fees, and $797,000 in GRT revenue annually.”
Meanwhile, one bed and breakfast lodging owner is suing the company himself. According to the lawsuit he filed, the service “facilitates the illegal rental of residential properties in Santa Fe,” while avoiding taxes that other hotels are legally required to pay.
For their part, AirBnB says its users are a boon to the local tourist economies they visit. It’s a debate that’s followed similar sharing economy startups like Uber, which has been passionately opposed by the transportation industry and cities nationwide. Get more here. References.

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