Man finds webcam hidden in Airbnb sofa

‘Seems like a huge invasion of privacy to me!’ says guest

Helen Coffey
Sunday 26 November 2023 14:42 GMT
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Related video: Airbnb guests claim they found hidden cameras watching them as they changed

A man who found what appeared to be a webcam filming his Airbnb stay has called it a “huge invasion of privacy”.

Ian Timbrell, 41, found the camera tucked between two sofa cushions in the flat where he had booked a room.

Sharing the experience on Twitter/X, he posted a photo of himself pointing at the camera, alongside the caption: “OK, normal or weird? My Airbnb has a webcam watching the whole living room.

“Am I wrong to have unplugged it? Seems like a huge invasion of privacy to me!”

Mr Timbrell, who lives in Cardiff and provides LGBT+ inclusion training in schools, was staying in the Welsh seaside town of Aberystwyth for work when the incident occurred.

He had paid around £40 for a room in the private home, with one other guest also staying there.

And the issues didn’t end there; he then shared video of the property, detailing how the kitchen had been “infested with flies”.

“So, after finding the creepy webcam in my Airbnb it’s now been infested with flies.

“Look at them all on the floor, there are absolutely hundreds of them in this house. It is disgusting.”

He added: “So, at 8 o’clock at night, I’m going to have to find somewhere else to stay in a town I don’t know at all.”

Mr Timbrell posted one further video, saying he’d managed to find alternative accommodation: “Finally, found a place with no hidden cameras and no flies! Time for a nice glass of wine and pretend that that creepy place, that was like the beginning of a horror film, never existed.”

He said he had reported the incident to Airbnb.

“Lesson learned, hotel stays from now on,” he added.

Airbnb told The Independent: “The presence and location of the device was disclosed in the listing description before booking, However we appreciate that our guest did not have a positive experience. While the guest did not contact us about this, we have proactively reached out to offer support and the host has fully refunded them. We enforce strict rules on recording devices and take action on rare issues brought to our attention.”

The home sharing platform says it forbids recording devices that are “intentionally concealed” and states hosts are not allowed cameras “in or that observe private spaces like bedrooms, bathrooms, or sleeping areas”.

Cameras in communal spaces are permitted if property owners are up front about it with guests and let them know ahead of time.

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