A luxury villa in Athens was banned from Airbnb and with a 9-month delay also from Booking.com after an Irish family found that the landlord had installed and hidden eight cameras were in “every room” including the bathroom.
An Irish family were shocked to discover eight hidden cameras at an Airbnb property in Greece. Paul and Harriet Conroy, along with their two sons Aaron and Paul Jnr and a friend, had rented the accommodation through Airbnb for a relative’s wedding last July.
They quickly became suspicious when Harriet was unable to find the keys, which were supposed to have been left in the letterbox, and subsequently called the owner.
“I called him on my mobile and he said ‘step forward into the garden’ and I thought to myself ‘it sounds like we’re being watched’,” she told Independent.ie.
The family were tired and went straight to bed that night, but the following morning, Aaron spotted some unusual devices around the property.
“He called me and said ‘have a look at that’. It was a camera,” said Harriet.
They started looking all over the house and found devices everywhere, including one in the bathroom that was angled to take in the toilet, shower and hot tub.
“There was a motion sensor camera in the corner watching everything, in the corners of the bedroom as well,” added Harriet.
They called a meeting at the pool area and decided to check out immediately.
“We just left as quickly as we could,” said Harriet.
Airbnb has since suspended the owner’s account and refunded the Conroys for their stay.
“We take privacy issues extremely seriously. As soon as we were made aware, we removed this host from our platform and fully refunded the guests,” a spokesman said.
“We have strict standards governing surveillance devices in listings and take reports of any violations very seriously.
“There have been more than half a billion guest arrivals on Airbnb to date and issues are incredibly rare.”
The family still had to shell out for five nights at a hotel, which, as a last-minute booking, cost more than they’d paid for their original accommodation.
The story comes just a week after a family from New Zealand reported finding cameras that were livestreaming them hidden in a Cork Airbnb property.
However, it has emerged that the villa, was still advertised on Booking.com and other sites nine months after concerns were raised about the surveillance equipment.
Following queries from the Herald on Wednesday, Booking.com suspended the account.
“We do not tolerate improper behaviour from our accommodation partners,” a spokesman said.