A Taiwanese student claims she was discriminated against after her Airbnb accommodation was cancelled at the last minute due to a host’s fears over coronavirus, according to Huffington Post.
Louise Hsin-Yuan Peng arrived in the UK earlier this month, ahead of a three-month research project, and communicated with the owners of her pre-booked accommodation to let them know she was on her way. Upon her arrival she received a message from her hosts telling her they had cancelled her booking with “deep regret”, as they had to “err on the side of caution” following World Health Organization (WHO) warnings about the spread of the deadly virus.
Louise who is a 31-year old Yale student, has been living in the USA and had not visited China, or anywhere near Hubei province but had only visited Taiwan very briefly to renew her US visa. Stranded and with nowhere else to go, no access to phone data, Louise was forced to try get in touch with friends who might be able to help. She then ended up sleeping on a friend’s floor for her first night in the country.
Airbnb was contacted and acknowledged racial discrimination and apologized. They have since agreed on a refund, and reimbursement for all the expenses incurred due to the cancellation, including an Uber, hotel and a second Airbnb reservation she had to make, in addition to a $500 coupon for future use.
An Airbnb spokesperson said: “We take cancellation issues seriously and rigorously enforce a non-discrimination policy. We investigate all reports of discrimination and take appropriate action when necessary, including up to removal of users from the platform. The company has since “educated” the host concerned on its “coronavirus extenuating circumstances cancellation policies”, which are being kept updated in line with health advice and are not based on national or ethnic identity, according to Huffington Post.
Media Source: Metro