Why do Unverified Guest keep on Instant Booking when setting is set to Verified

Level 2
Toronto, Canada

Why do Unverified Guest keep on Instant Booking when setting is set to Verified

So this is becoming beyond annoying. 


I've set my listing to only Verified Guest that can instant book but non verified guest (no government IDs) are showing up as verified and instant booking my unit. 


Airbnb says its a glitch (if you believe their CSR). Anybody else getting this and any ideas on getting it to stop? 

19 Replies 19

@Andrew592    I had the same a while back and it was a nightmare, Airbnb even threatened to penalize me if I cancelled IBs with no verifications, not even an email.  I was actually told that Airbnb would have to check with the guest to see if they were agreeable to me canceling them!  Another CS told me that the guest's verifications were pending that's why they were allowed to book IB (that's quite some twist - must have to maybe has).  Another persistent problem was that all my settings were being unchecked every so often. To combat all these glitches I also checked must have good reviews (even though I often take verified guests with no reviews) as an extra layer of precaution.

Level 10
Brant, Canada

This is my reply to another recent post on this same topic.


I don't believe that this is an Airbnb system glitz. I have had Airbnb instant bookings where they do not even meet Airbnb requirements: having email and verified phone number. My host requirements are verified government ID, photo and recommendations and many instant bookings arrive without this information.


I called Airbnb and was advised some hosts are Ok with little guest information on instant bookings, and a host can cancel.


I now have a saved message to send guests advising them that Airbnb booked in error and to avoid a cancellation, they need to provide the specific information that is requested. To date, every guest has complied with the information r.


Airbnb is running a business and they want to maximize revenue and I have no problem with that. We are running a business, and while profit is good, we need to ensure that we verify guests' information, history and reason for the booking. If it's about personal safety and care and protection of your listing, it is non-negotiable.


If the information is not there or it is lacking or doesn't feel right listen to your gut feelings, and cancel.No booking is worth the grief of shutting down an unauthorized party or repairing damages

Here is the problem, AirBnB and other businesses like AirBnB do not scale for the following reasons:


These businesses are faced with a challenge of a double edge sword in nature.  That is, hosts are demanding verification using government ID, while technically-savvy guests like myself and others who understand the risk of providing sensitive information are fighting back against giving PII data.  For anyone who doesn't know what PII means, it stands for "Personal Identifiable Information"; this includes: full name, address, date of birth, phone number, social security number, or national ID numbers, in the case of other countries, etc.


While full name is an acceptable risk to provide because one can argue that it is public knowledge than can be found with little to no effort through Google search, Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, etc. other PII information such as Driver License, Social Security Number, National ID Number, etc. are considered extremely sensitive in nature and should only be shared with government agencies, financial institutions, and employers.


Anyone who follow the news about the risk of digital data knows that the issue we face globally is serious and is caused by businesses collecting unnecessary PII/PCI data that they don't need and their inability to provide bullet proof protection of such data.  The reality is, there is no bullet proof method to protect this data a 100% and even a reasonable level of protection is costly to businesses and thus they go out of their way to not protect such data no matter how many times they falsely claim that they have the best security.


People should rigidly and persistently decline to provide any business any PII data or any other type of data that is considered sensitive.  People should publicly shame companies who demand such data, including "date of birth".  No legitimate business, other than employer, financial institution you do business with (your bank/credit union), or gov't agency, have any legitimacy to request sensitive data.  Yes, your data of birth is sensitive and should not be given other businesses, including Facebook or other social media.  Many companies claim that Date of Birth is necessary to ensure the person is above 18 years of age.  This is none-sense because all they need is to ask: Are you 18 years of age or older? Companies claim that by doing so, one could lie and say Yes.  This is a stupid logic because someone could like about their date of birth anyway.   Please remember that once you sensitive data is on the internet or held by a business, it can never be taken back specially with the US having no privacy laws to protect people.


So what is the solution?  How do you protect hosts who, rightfully, wants a level of assurance that potential guests of their property are legitimate and responsible?  The answer is simple.  There are many other ways to verify the identity of someone and establish trust without requesting any sensitive information and without placing everyone's identity at risk.


Businesses can use services that provides what's called "public information" that generally only the individual being verified knows of such data.  For example.  AirBnB and other businesses can establish a first line of trust and verification by requesting minimal information such as first and last name and  home address, both are considered PII information, but are acceptable information to share.


Once the full name is mapped to a home address and verified through public information service that the name does in fact map to an address, AirBnB can ask a series of additional multiple-choice questions from public record services.  An example of such questions are:


Which address did you live in between 1998 and 2009:

a) <address 1>

b) <address 2>

c) <address 3>

d) none of the above


Between the year 2012 and 2016, you obtained a loan for which amount?

a) $10,000 - $20,000

b) $100,000 - $200,000

c) $70,000 - $110,000

d) none of the above


Which of the following employers have you worked for in the past

a) employer 1

b) employer 2

c) employer 3

d) none of the above


You catch my drift.  The full name and address helps the business establish an identity and verify that it's true based on public record by mapping the name to the address.  The additional series of questions provides further assurance that the person is who they claim to be.  The business must ensure that once a question is answered and submitted, it cannot be changed and no indication on whether the response was right or wrong should be provided back to prevent social and reverse engineering attacks.


This methods provides the same level of verification and assurance to the hosts all while protecting the identity and sensitive information of all AirBnB customers by not collecting such data to begin with thus relieving the business from the hassle of having to protect such data or the negative and financial impact of a compromise in the event the company was collecting sensitive data.

@Matthew1071     As far as I know "public information"  is only available as a product in the US, many countries have much stricter data protection and privacy laws so this kind of 'mapping' is not available to businesses, and neither is the much vaunted Airbnb background check available outside the US.  Personally I would prefer that no one is forced to upload private, sensitive information to gain access, it's not just theft that poses a risk,  it's companies  that use the collection of it to build their businesses, make billions by selling it, create product with it such as facial recognition software and all manner of algorithms (some incredibly negative and oppressive) that promise to predict behavior and foretell the future, a self-fulfilling prophecy.

What good does that do if airbnb only cares about booking with a credit or debit card?  They do not care who books as long as it gets paid.  They also do no care who shows up in your houses.  

Level 10


I know that one CS rep told you one story which seems to indicate that this is not a glitch, but quite frankly Cs reps say lots of things that are misguided, inaccurate, misleading. Sure a host can cancel - but very rarely penalty free. What the rep said to you makes no sense IMO, he sounds inexperienced and clueless. There are stories on these boards of hosts ringing CS 3 times in 30 mins about exactly the same issue and getting 3 completely different responses  depending on who they are talking to.  I don't KNOW but it sure sounds like a glitch to me.  I have government ID as a requirement and I have never had a guest without this slip through. In fact By contrast I had a guest, with a 7 year history on airbnb without government ID who wanted to book. I removed this criteria from my booking requirements so she could go ahead.  Even without that as a requirement she was blocked from booking by the platform and told she HAD to become government ID verified. Airbnb seem to be rolling out this as a requirement for even very established guests as part of their new increased security measures, which doesn't fit at all with the idea that they are letting just anyone book regardless of a hosts booking requirements  I'f far from vastly experienced but a sudden surge in hosts complaining about the same thing - in this instance booking requirements not being observed - usually points to a platform technical issue

I appreciate your response and @Rowena29 I certainly hope that you are correct.

Level 10
Orono, ME

@Andrew592 Checking to see if you have this box checked??:


Screen Shot 2020-02-12 at 7.31.37 AM.png




Level 10
Dublin, Ireland

Well, we could  believe that this is yet another "glitch" in the systems of this $38 billion TECH giant - albeit a glitch that puts the safety and security of hosts at risk, yet somehow remains unfixed (like all the other unfixed "glitches" that have been recurring for years) More cynical observers might be considering other possibilities though - particularly given the company's current financial woes.. 


"Channel-stuffing is a deceptive means of inflating a company’s revenues or sales immediately prior to a reporting period, such as the end of a fiscal quarter or the fiscal year.  It’s done to make it appear that the company’s financial performance is healthier than, in fact, it is.



What Is Channel Stuffing? 



Airbnb Reportedly Lost Millions Last Year As Costs Ballooned Ahead Of Its Planned Public Listing. 


Level 10


I'm  also very willing to believe that' they've just changed things up to suit themselves to make more money - but my episode with the long term guest not being able to book happened just a few weeks ago so it just doesn't seem to "gel" with the theory that booking requirements are deliberately being over ridden. I WANTED this guest without governemnt ID to be able to book and she couldn't. 


I know nothing at all about tech stuff, but it does appear that airbnb is stupendously incompetent in this regard. I mean things like cleaning fees disappearing, and offered amenities altering, number of bedrooms altering etc - that has to be technical, surely? I can't imagine a subversive reason why this would be to the companies benefit. Perhaps I'm just not sufficiently devious?

I'd be more inclined to believe that the sudden difficulties in paying hosts promptly could be related to channel stuffing

Overall though, It seems to me everyone is running around like headless chooks


I hear you, but from the very first day that Verified ID was introduced - April 30, 2013 - Airbnb has always required a random 25% of users to submit to the verification process, even when not required by the host (Whether or not this was as part of whatever deal the company had with Jumio, the third-party start-up to whom ID Verification is outsourced, (who also share backers in common with Airbnb), remains unclear.


For sure, there are some glitches that randomly pop up, such as the amenities screw-ups, the incorrect bed numbers etc. Invariably, these happen directly after a system update. 


However, there are many other glitches - long-term, known glitches - that constantly result in hosts receiving bookings that contravene their set parameters, and of course, lead to increased bookings for Airbnb (such as blocked dates randomly unblocking, IB's received against the requirements the host has set, minimum night settings being re-set to fewer nights, prices being mysteriously lowered by the system, etc etc), which have been occurring for years - yet still, after all this time, remain unfixed. Even the most trusting of souls, would have to question why that is. 


Do any of us really believe at this point, that an 11-year-old multi-billion dollar tech  company (that proves itself time and again to be so technologically inept and incompetent), can't afford to hire smart and talented people with the skills and know-how to rectify the many serious glitches in their system, that have been plaguing hosts for so many years? 


Bottom line - if Airbnb truly had any will to fix these issues, they could - and should - have fixed them a very long time ago. 


I think really we are agreeing.

I absolutely believe that airbnb COULD much more quickly and easily rectify the overall system and fix ongoing issues - but it would require more outlay - more people and more experienced people who cost more.  I think they're just not interested.  After all, all the money loss is being  sustained by the hosts - so they don't care. Their priorites are elsewhere. They're not transparent or accountable so there's no backlash - why bother?

I do think there's a high potential for the bubble to suddenly burst and for it to dramatically nosedive as a company.  A lot of  wheels are starting to fall off, but then again I very new in the scheme of things,  so I really wouldn't have a clue...


You may be (relatively) new, but you have your eyes wide open, and you're way more clued-up to the realities of what's going on in Airbnb-land, than many who have been around for years 🙂 


The irony is, they were boasting to the media (and to potential investors) last year that they'd be spending $100+ million on tech upgrades in 2019. Guess they didn't get too much bang for their buck there then!


I'd love to see them audited....