Online apartment booking website Airbnb has been accused of abusing its power over online users by using a loophole that lets users make their own reservations.
Airbnb has said it is “committed to ensuring that our users are not exploited” and “never” takes advantage of the loophole.
However, the firm has previously admitted that it had used a similar loophole to “overcharge” customers.
The firm said that its own policies prohibit “abusive behavior”.
“We never overcharge anyone for a room or a stay on Airbnb, and we do not allow anyone to use a room as their own,” Airbnb’s senior director of global communications, David Smith, said in a blog post on Monday.
“If you have questions about your reservation, please contact us.
Our team is always happy to help you.”
“We’ve always said that we are committed to ensuring our users aren’t exploited.”
The issue arose after Airbnb, which has a market capitalisation of about $200bn, said it would not accept payments in Bitcoin or other virtual currencies.
It also said it was committed to “safeguarding the privacy and safety of our users”.
A spokesman said: “The company has never used the ‘pay in bitcoin’ payment mechanism, and does not offer any type of ‘pay to book’ service.”
“To make reservations online, you need to register with Airbnb and provide your own credit card or bank account details.”
The company has also acknowledged that its website and app have had “several problems” with “malicious activity”, which includes phishing emails.
Airbnb said it had made “improvements” to its website, and it said that it would “continue to investigate and resolve these issues”.
“In the meantime, if you have concerns about your privacy or security, please call us at 1-877-827-5678,” it said.
The spokesman said that, although “we continue to investigate these issues”, “we’re also committed to safeguarding our users’ privacy and security”.
In May, Airbnb announced that it was investigating whether it had broken Australian laws by selling people accommodation and hotels in Australia without providing them with a valid credit card.
In July, it said it believed that “at least some of the complaints” were “without merit”.
In October, Airbnb had to issue a formal apology for a “serious breach of trust”.
Airbnb said in its latest blog post that “it is working hard to ensure that our customers can use our platform for any purpose”.
“While we are aware of the concerns that some users may have regarding the use of their personal data, we are not going to tolerate illegal conduct and we will take swift action against anyone who abuses our platform.”
Airbnb’s latest update on the matter said that the firm would “work with our partners to ensure this never happens again”.
The firm also added that it “takes these issues very seriously”.
“To ensure that Airbnb stays one step ahead of any possible security breach, we take all security incidents very seriously,” it added.
The blog post did not say whether any new customers were being identified.
Airbnb previously said that users would be able to cancel their reservation within a month, but the firm did not offer further details.
“Our promise is that we will never share any information with any third party,” it wrote.
Airbnb declined to comment further.