Videos can be deceptive without crossing the line into outright fraud. Shady hosts can easily frame their videos to leave out details that do not fit with the image of the host they are trying to sell.
Take this video from TikTokker, @aureliestory. It shows her walking around what appears to be a luxury apartment with a stunning view of the Pyramids. Consider renting the apartment after watching this video. The idea was spectacular, but the condo itself and the surrounding area were not as glamorous. Although the apartment is worth renting just for the view, the video was highly misleading.
It’s important to realize that this is not a trick. Instead, it results from being careful about the images you capture. This should make you cautious about any video of a house or apartment you’re considering renting.
Misleading listing descriptions
It can trick you into renting an Airbnb by stretching the truth in the listing description. Some examples of common lies include:
- It is not appropriate to call a breezeway or a walkway that opens up outside the building a patio or outdoor area. These hosts may even know precisely what you are picturing.
- Noting there’s laundry on-site but failing to mention it is a shared laundry area that costs money.
- List a kitchen when it is just a microwave or a dorm refrigerator.
- Describe the location as “close” without specifying precisely what “close” means.
It can be subtle. There’s a thin line between a creative and deceptive description. You’re paying for a service, so you should expect something similar to what’s described.
You can protect yourself from these scams by reading online reviews and doing detective work. Google Street View may provide a better picture of the surrounding area and give you an idea of how the property looks. Zillow, for example, may have older listings of the property with different photos and a more detailed description. Airbnb hell is a great way to get a general sense of what people experience when dealing with misleading listings. This won’t assist with your specific research but can give you a general idea of the issues that people encounter.