For most travelers, finding cost-efficient accommodations is a crucial part of the vacation planning process.
Since hotels can be pricey, people have turned to Airbnb, an online marketplace and hospitality service that allows people to rent out their lodgings to people from out of town.
While these rooms, apartments, or houses can be either a hit or a miss, you expect the residence to offer the proper amenities, and have the homeowner respect your privacy.
Even though these rules seem easy to meet, one couple who booked an apartment in Toronto, Canada got the shock of their lives when they found a hidden camera in their booked apartment.
Dougie Hamilton, 34, was in the residence's bedroom, when he noticed a suspicious digital clock facing the bed.
Having recently watched a video on hidden spy cameras in unsuspecting places, he took apart the clock, and discovered that behind a camera lens behind the clock's face had been recording them.
"We were only in the place for 20 minutes when I noticed the clock. We’d had a busy day around the city and finally were able to get to the Airbnb and relax," Hamilton told the Daily Record about the September 6 incident.
"I just happened to be facing this clock and was staring at it for about 10 minutes. There was just something in my head that made me feel a bit uneasy," adding that it was connected to "a wire like a phone charger which wasn’t quite right."
"When I saw the clock, I thought, 'Do I want to be the crazy guy that checks a digital clock for cameras now?'"
"In my head, I felt a bit weird even thinking it and I kept telling myself not to be daft. But there was just something."
"I took the charger out of it and saw there was a lithium battery in the back. At this point, I slid the front facing off the clock and could see there actually was a camera."
Hamilton (and his girlfriend who wishes to be remain anonymous) from Glasgow immediately informed Toronto police, who said they're investigating the incident.
"We received a call last Thursday regarding what appeared to be a video camera in a clock in an apartment. The investigation is continuing," a spokesperson for the police department said in a statement.
When they filed a complaint against Airbnb, Hamilton said the company's security team are also looking into the situation, and that he was offered a full refund and alternative accommodation.
“Airbnb passed it on to their security team. They told us to pick one of three luxury hotels close by and said we could leave the Airbnb and get a full refund," Hamilton told the publication.
"They said they would be cancelling upcoming reservations for the owner’s properties."
In a statement, an Airbnb spokesperson said the company is taking this matter "extremely seriously."
"We take privacy issues extremely seriously and have a zero tolerance policy for this behavior. We have removed the host from the platform while we investigate and are providing the guest with our full support."
As for Hamilton, he said he's not opposed to staying in another Airbnb again, but will "be giving the room a quick scan when I check in."
Have you ever used Airbnb? Tell us your experience in the comments!