ATLANTA — Imagine finding a camera in the bedroom of your short-term rental. Two women told Channel 2 Action News that happened to them while visiting Atlanta last Saturday.
The friends were in town for a concert and right before they were going to bed, one of them spotted the camera right next to the bed.
The owner of the property on Bill Kennedy Way was considered a "superhost" at the time of the booking. According to Airbnb, "superhosts are experienced hosts who provide a shining example for other hosts, and extraordinary experiences for their guests."Unfortunately, the women who stayed at the Airbnb rental detailed an experience far from extraordinary. They gave Channel 2's Matt Johnson pictures of a camera found in the home. One of the women, a 23-year-old, said she realized the camera could record audio.
Johnson spoke to the woman's mother who asked to only be identified by her first name, Jena.
"When she stood up on the bed, she looked down into the window frame and down in the window seal. There was a camera," Jena said.
Jena said her daughter saw the camera then reached out right away.
"She started whispering to her friend who was there and of course she started texting me saying, ‘Mom, what do I do?'" she said.
In the photos Johnson received, the camera in the bedroom appears to face the outside of the home, but Jena echoed her daughter's claim that the device features two-way audio.
"It had listening capabilities, a microphone on it, which meant she potentially could have been listened to the whole time," she said.
Jena said they reported the camera to Airbnb right away and was told an investigation was underway.
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Johnson called the company Wednesday morning, and by the afternoon, the listing was removed.
There is a zero-tolerance policy for cameras in bedrooms, and a statement Channel 2 Action News received reads in part:
"In this case, we've removed this host and listing from our community, and we are working hard to ensure our guest feels completely supported."
Jena said if her family stays in an Airbnb again, they will be checking for undisclosed cameras.
"You pretty much have to," she said.
Airbnb said they have refunded the stay and given a credit to the guest.
Another guest in April wrote about the listing to say she discovered the camera at the house and reported it to the host.
Company policy warns hosts that they can be removed for keeping a camera in a bedroom for any reason at all.
Cox Media Group