- Is Couchsurfing safe?
- How can I change my privacy settings?
- Why is my login time and location visible on my profile? Can I hide this information?
- Can I block specific people from viewing my profile or contacting me?
- I think my profile has been hacked. What should I do?
- Some of my other online accounts have been hacked. How can I protect my Couchsurfing profile?
Reporting an Issue
- How do I report a problem?
- If I write to Couchsurfing about a problem with another member, will my report be confidential?
- What happens when I use the Report Abuse button?
- I met a Couchsurfer and the experience was negative, what should I do?
- I heard of someone charging for their couch. Is that okay?
- I met or interacted with a Couchsurfer who I think should not be part of our community. Will you remove the profile?
- I am in a situation with another Couchsurfer where my immediate safety, or the safety of my possessions, is in danger.
- My family member is missing. They are traveling using Couchsurfing. Can you help?
- I am expecting a Couchsurfer, but they haven’t arrived, contacted me or logged in.
- What are references?
- Why can someone leave me a reference without having met me?
- Will you delete someone when they receive a negative reference?
- Can you remove a reference from my profile?
- You flagged my reference. I have updated it, but it still isn’t visible.
- Do I need to reply to every message?
- I received what I think is a spam message.
- I received an offensive message from another member.
- I’m having a dispute with another member. Can you verify this by checking my messages?
- What are groups?
- Does Couchsurfing ever delete group posts? If so, when and why?
- Someone is bothering me or trolling in the groups. Can you stop them?
- The moderator removed me from a group.
- Can I warn other members in a group post about a problem I’ve been having with another member?
Warnings and Content Removal
- I was sent a message warning me about my content.
- I was sent a message telling me my content was removed.
Is Couchsurfing safe?
How can I change my privacy settings?
Why is my login time and location visible on my profile? Can I hide this information?
Can I block specific people from viewing my profile or contacting me?
I think my profile has been hacked. What should I do?
First, contact our Trust and Safety Team and give us a direct link to your profile. Once you do this, we will shut down your profile immediately in order to prevent the hacker from accessing it. Please note: all of your data will be preserved. We’ll then work with you to help restore your profile.
Always have a unique, strong password and don’t share it with anyone. When checking your account from public computers, be sure to sign out before closing the page.
Some of my other online accounts have been hacked. How can I protect my Couchsurfing profile?
If your other online accounts have been hacked, please change your Couchsurfing password immediately if is the same password associated with one of your other accounts. Note: Your Couchsurfing password should always be different from your other passwords.
If the email address that you used to create your Couchsurfing profile has been hacked, you should also change the email that is associated with your account. If a hacker has access to your Couchsurfing-related email, they can use it to reset your password and gain access to your account.
Reporting an Issue
How do I report a problem?
If I write to Couchsurfing about a problem with another member, will my report be confidential?
Yes. All member concerns are confidential. We will not discuss your specific issue with anyone outside of the Trust and Safety Team unless we need to work with law enforcement or obtain legal advice. We will not tell a member that you reported them, but if we need to take action based on your report, the member may make the logical assumption that you have been in contact with us. For example, if we need to flag an inappropriate reference that a member has left for you, the person will be contacted to edit the reference.
We may choose to share anonymous information from a member report if it can help a group of members protect themselves from a specific risk. For example, on occasion we have notified members in certain regions when we have received evidence of scammers targeting those areas. In these circumstances, we never reveal the name of the person who contacted us or the incident that prompted the report.
What happens when I use the Report Abuse button?
I met a Couchsurfer and the experience was negative, what should I do?
First of all, if you are in any immediate risk, please get yourself to a safe place before anything else. Then, call the local authorities so that people who are trained in these situations can help you. When you are in a safe location, please report any safety related incidents to our Trust and Safety Team.
If you are having a dispute that does not affect your personal safety, then please read on. Negative experiences are rare, but they’re upsetting and stressful. If you would like help related to your experience, we encourage you to contact us.
To address the situation, we recommend these steps:
- Reflect. Before anything else, first consider the experience carefully. Did a difference in culture or personality contribute to the disagreement? Was there a breakdown in communication before or after that could have led to the dispute? What resolution do you hope to achieve?
- Communicate. Express your feelings clearly to the other person. For many reasons, including culture, personality and differences in lifestyle, they may not be aware of how you feel, or may not understand your feelings well, until you discuss the issue directly.
- Remove yourself from the situation. If the issue cannot be resolved after a discussion, and you are currently Hosting or Surfing with the other person, you should end the interaction. If you are the Host, it is your right to ask your Surfer to leave. If you are the guest, you can leave at any time (it is always important to have a back up plan just in case of a situation like this). If the member with whom you have a conflict is a member of your local community, you may have to agree to avoid one another.
- Leave a reference. Leaving a negative or neutral reference is not an act of revenge, and it’s not a statement that you think the other member is a “bad person.” It’s an act of support for the reputation system that keeps our community safer and helps prevent other people from having negative experiences. Please don’t avoid writing a negative reference out of fear of receiving one yourself, or offending the other person our community relies on members sharing information openly with one another.
I heard of someone charging for their couch. Is that okay?
No, hospitality on Couchsurfing is free. A host should never ask a guest to pay for their lodging, and a guest should not offer. We do recommend that a guest show their appreciation by cooking a meal, taking the host out, bringing a small gift or offering some other gesture. Hosts should only offer what they are able to offer freely, and say what those things are clearly in the Couch Information in their profile. If there are some things that can’t be offered unless the Couchsurfers agree to share the cost, this should be discussed between the host and surfer (and should never be a requirement for hosting).
Couchsurfers may use the website to look for roommates (what better way to find someone who won’t mind that you host?), and many of the city groups have special subgroups for apartment hunters. Postings from brokers or real estate agents are not allowed.
I met or interacted with a Couchsurfer who I think should not be part of our community. Will you remove the profile?
Couchsurfing is an all-inclusive community, and in the spirit of being a diverse worldwide community, we do not exclude people from membership for controversial views, political activity, personality, communication style, etc.
I am in a situation with another Couchsurfer where my immediate safety, or the safety of my possessions, is in danger.
Remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible and report the situation to the local authorities in your area. They can provide you with immediate help and document the situation. If you are hosting the person, ask them to leave.
When you are in a safe location, please also report the incident to our Trust and Safety Team. We will need you to provide us with a link to the profile of the other member involved, a description of what happened and any documentation you can provide (such as a police report) which can allow us to take action against the other member. Also, please leave a reference for the other member so that the community is immediately aware of what occurred. While we will process your report and take action as soon as possible, a reference is an instant warning that can prevent others from being victimized.
We can also speak with law enforcement directly; please encourage them to contact us if we can be of any help.
My family member is missing. They are traveling using Couchsurfing. Can you help?
I am expecting a Couchsurfer, but they haven’t arrived, contacted me or logged in.
What are references?
Why can someone leave me a reference without having met me?
Sometimes people, especially newer members, don’t understand the reference system. They may confuse references with messages or wall postings. If you receive a reference from someone who you have never interacted with, then we can remove it.
If a reference is from someone whom you’ve interacted with online, via message, Couchrequests or in the groups, then we still consider that to be information that can be relevant to the community. Although we discourage people from leaving references in this case, we do allow it. However, the message will be clearly marked as coming only from an online interaction.
Will you delete someone when they receive a negative reference?
No. Couchsurfing is a self-moderating community, and we believe that each member of our community has the ability and the responsibility to make decisions about who they would like to meet. References, even negative ones, share information with the community. A behavior that one person finds offensive may not bother others, which is why we believe our role is not to make judgments in the case of disputes but rather to encourage both parties to share information openly with the community.
Can you remove a reference from my profile?
We rarely remove references. We do not consider it appropriate for us to intervene in member descriptions of their experience. The most common instance in which we will completely remove a reference is if it is clearly from someone who you have never met or interacted with.
We will, however, flag a reference if it is outside of our guidelines. A flagged reference is hidden from view and will not be visible again until the member who left it has edited it to meet the guidelines.
If you are concerned about a negative or neutral reference on your profile that does not break our guidelines, please remember that anyone who reads it will also be able to read your response. In your reference for that person, clearly and calmly explain your side of the story. People who visit your profile will be able to read both references and decide for themselves what they think.
You flagged my reference. I have updated it, but it still isn’t visible.
Thank you for editing your reference. Before it can be displayed, you need to contact us so a member of the Trust and Safety team can review it to make sure it’s now within the reference guidelines. If it is, then we will unflag the reference. If it’s not, we’ll contact you and let you know what changes are necessary.
Keep in mind that every time you update your reference to a member, they will receive an automated message from the system with the text of the new reference, even when it is flagged. To avoid accidentally escalating the issue, we suggest you create a draft of what you’d like to write and send it to us before you add it to their profile.
Do I need to reply to every message?
I received what I think is a spam message.
I received an offensive message from another member.
I’m having a dispute with another member. Can you verify this by checking my messages?
In the case of disputes between members, we generally will not read messages. On very rare occasions we may check messages upon request, if we believe that doing so can prevent a crime or otherwise protect the safety of the community.
What are groups?
Does Couchsurfing ever delete group posts? If so, when and why?
Couchsurfing does not censor members, and we believe that people should stand behind the statements that they make on the website. If a person is being offensive or distasteful in a group, we think that removing the posts only allows them to behave badly without taking ownership for their words (and all of the people who will read them and form judgment on that person).
Someone is bothering me or trolling in the groups. Can you stop them?
If you are in a dispute with someone in a group, we recommend trying to resolve the issue privately or simply ignoring their posts. If they are starting arguments just for the sake of it, ignoring them is frequently the only way to get them to stop.
The moderator removed me from a group.
Groups on Couchsurfing often have guidelines, and moderators may remove you if you break them. Couchsurfing supports the right for group moderators, especially those in the locations groups, to enforce the group guidelines by removing members.
If you don’t know why you were removed from the group, you should contact the moderator directly (and politely) to ask.
Can I warn other members in a group post about a problem I’ve been having with another member?
Warnings and Content Removal
I was sent a message warning me about my content.
I was sent a message telling me my content was removed.