One of my favorite startups is AirBnB, which enables people to rent out their apartments, homes or a spare bedroom. We’ve found a couple places to stay on our upcoming trip.
I’m not the only one who thinks they are great – they have a billion dollar valuation and the backing of some heavy-duty VC’s in Silicon Valley.
So what happens when a renter totally trashes a place, while sending flowery notes to the woman offering her apartment?
A small excerpt:
They smashed a hole through a locked closet door, and found the passport, cash, credit card and grandmother’s jewelry I had hidden inside. They took my camera, my iPod, an old laptop, and my external backup drive filled with photos, journals… my entire life. They found my birth certificate and social security card, which I believe they photocopied – using the printer/copier I kindly left out for my guests’ use. They rifled through all my drawers, wore my shoes and clothes, and left my clothing crumpled up in a pile of wet, mildewing towels on the closet floor. They found my coupons for Bed Bath & Beyond and used the discount, along with my Mastercard, to shop online.
It gets worse. Read the article – its a great lesson in damage control and reputation management.