The listing has since been removed from the platform
Andrew and Nealie Barker made the horrifying discovery of a hidden camera that was live streaming from the living room of their Co Cork Airbnb during a visit to Ireland last month.
The Barkers, natives of New Zealand, are in the midst of a 14-month European trip and arrived at their Co Cork Airbnb with their four children and niece on March 3.
Andrew Barker, who works in IT security, did his standard check of the WiFi networks when they arrived at the Irish Airbnb, only to discover a concealed camera in the living room that was live streaming.
On April 1, Nealie wrote on the family’s travel blog: “In Cork we had a spectacular Airbnb fail when the resident security consultant (sporting his new beard) scanned the network and found a concealed CCTV camera in the lounge/dining/kitchen area of the house.”
“I’ll save you the details, but let’s just say after Andy hacked the live-feed and called the owner to ask what the fudge sticks was going on, it all blew up and we ended up leaving the house and having to find emergency accommodation.”
“We got our money back and the guy is currently under investigation with his Airbnb listing removed.”
Nealie later told CNN: "It was such a shock. It was just a really horrible feeling.”
Nealie said she called Airbnb to report the incident, but "They had no advice for us over the phone. The girl just said that if you cancel within 14 days, you won't get your money back."
Andrew then contacted the owner of the Airbnb, who reportedly hung up with confronted with the issue. The owner later rang back to say the camera in the living room was the only camera in the house, and that he was using it to “protect his asset.”
In a statement, Airbnb told CNN: "The safety and privacy of our community -- both online and offline -- is our priority. Airbnb policies strictly prohibit hidden cameras in listings and we take reports of any violations extremely seriously. We have permanently removed this bad actor 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."
On Facebook, Nealie has been sharing updates on the story:
*FINAL UPDATE: WE HAVE NOW BEEN CONTACTED BY NUMEROUS GUESTS OF THIS LISTING THAT AIRBNB ALLOWED TO STAY IN THE PROPERTY...Publiée par Nealie Barker sur Lundi 1 avril 2019
Andrew Barker has also shared a blog post where travelers can learn how to identify hidden cameras in rental homes.
Have you ever encountered a hidden camera during your travels? Let us know in the comments!