I was banned from Airbnb for a “minor crime” committed DECADE ago – despite having been using the service for years

A WOMAN has been banned from Airbnb for life after a background check uncovered a crime she committed almost a decade ago.

Bethany Hallam, 32, was stunned when she received the explosive email just three hours after booking a block.

Bethany Hallam, 32, was banned for life from Airbnb following a conviction nine years ago

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Bethany Hallam, 32, was banned for life from Airbnb following a conviction nine years agoPhoto credit: SWNS
The rental platform told her that a criminal background check uncovered her previous offence

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The rental platform told her that a criminal background check uncovered her previous offencePhoto credit: Twitter

The sports fan had booked his “dream birthday trip” for five nights to catch some football games in late October.

But on Tuesday she was told her £1,030 accommodation in Miami, Florida, had been canceled and reimbursed.

Bethany, from Pittsburgh, USA, had been using the rental service for several years before being suddenly told she was banned.

Airbnb informed her that when they conducted an “assessment” of her account, they found a “criminal record match.”

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The company told Bethany the discovery meant she’d be given a lifetime ban – despite the fact that it’s been nine years since the offense.

The frustrated 32-year-old was appalled by the harsh verdict on a 2013 crime.

She was jailed for five months on drug possession charges after being caught using Suboxone, a drug used to treat opioid addiction.

But her time behind bars gave Bethany the impetus to turn her life around — seeing her become an Allegheny County councilman.

She told CoventryLive: “After getting out of prison I put all the energy I used to get high back into my community.

“I got out of prison, got into recovery, and then into politics.”

So she couldn’t believe that Airbnb dug up her old life and seemed to be punishing her for it almost a decade later.

All of the convictions on her record predate 2015 — when Airbnb introduced its criminal background check policy in the US.

Bethany continued, “I know my record because I talk about it a lot.

“The fact that they banned me for that was confusing. What is the policy for who gets banned?”

But she was even more amazed as she had been using the booking site for years with no problems.

“SHOCK AND Frustration”

The customer shared a screenshot of the email exchange on social media, which later went viral, prompting the platform to contact her.

In a dramatic about-face, Airbnb then unblocked Bethany and allowed her to use their service again.

But the despised councilor said: “I don’t care if I’m reinstated, my reaction has been more of shock and frustration.

“I’m more concerned for everyone else who isn’t an elected official and doesn’t have a social media platform to help them get reinstated.

“So many people are discriminated against because of their past, reversing the ban doesn’t solve the problem, I see it as a PR stunt.

“Airbnb may think I’ll just shut up and walk away because I got reinstated, but I’ll keep fighting them.”

She claims that a number of angry users contacted her and complained about similar scenarios after the incident.

Airbnb may think I’ll just shut up and walk away because I got rehired, but I’ll keep fighting them.

Bethany Hallam

Airbnb conducts background checks on hosts and guests in both the United States and India, according to their website.

It states, “We are reviewing certain databases of public state and local criminal records and state and national sex offender registries.”

They state that removal from their platform is based on the severity of the offense, meaning that “lesser offenses such as disorderly conduct or marijuana possession” will have no impact on a customer’s account.

However, they warn that users convicted of burglary, theft, fraud, murder, terrorism or rape may be permanently removed.

It adds: “Other offenses may result in further review, removal or ban for some time after the offense if they happened within a certain period of time.”

Airbnb communications director Ben Breit said the company uses background checks to ensure the safety of hosts and customers.

He said users could be banned if they “have certain convictions or multiple criminal records,” adding that Bethany’s account was restored based on her appeals process.

A company spokesman said: “This has been resolved with the guest and we have fully restored their account.

“For the safety of our community, Airbnb only conducts background checks in the United States and may take action to remove individuals with specific criminal records or individuals with multiple criminal records.

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“We don’t do background checks in the UK.

“We understand there can be a number of reasons why someone may have a criminal conviction on their record, so we have developed an evidence-based appeal process that takes into account the nature of the crime and evidence of rehabilitation when considering reinstatement. “

https://www.the-sun.com/news/6241921/banned-airbnb-minor-crime-committed-decade-ago/ I was banned from Airbnb for a “minor crime” committed DECADE ago – despite having been using the service for years

DevanCole

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