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Airbnb apologises after family finds camera hidden in smoke alarm in Cork home

The companysaid that its original handling of this incident did not meet its own standards.

The recording device was concealed inside a smoke alarm.
The recording device was concealed inside a smoke alarm.
Image: DPA/PA Images

AIRBNB HAS APOLOGISED to a New Zealand family who found a hidden camera in the Cork Airbnb they were staying in.

The company initially did not offer a refund or reprimand the host, according to the family, and only apologised after the family posted on social media about what had happened.  

Mother of five Nealie Barker took to Facebook to share their ordeal after her husband discovered a hidden camera while renting a house in Cork on 3 March.

The owner of the house refused to admit to the presence of a camera until confronted with proof by Barker:

“We just found a camera hidden in a smoke alarm case in the private living room of a listing. We were travelling with children,” she said.

“The host admitted to the concealed camera over the phone, only after presented with our irrefutable proof.”
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10156325018207239&set=a.440220892238&type=3&theater

After their discovery, Barker and her family left the residence to stay in a hotel in Cork city.

Speaking on Today with Sean O’Rourke on RTE Radio 1, Barker said that they were unsure if the recording was broadcast to viewers outside the home. 

“We asked him if it was recording and he refused to answer that question, we asked him if he was recording audio, could hear us and he refused to answer that question… we didn’t know if there were other cameras in the house.”

The owner of the home told the family that the camera was for security purposes only.

Originally Barker criticised Airbnb for not reprimanding the host of the property and failing to offer a refund.

Airbnb has since apologised to the family and removed the host from the site.

“Airbnb policies strictly prohibit hidden cameras in listings and we take reports of any violations extremely seriously. We have removed the host from our platform.”

“Our original handling of this incident did not meet the high standards we set for ourselves, and we have apologized to the family and fully refunded their stay. There have been over half a billion guest arrivals in Airbnb listings to date and negative incidents are incredibly rare.” 

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