Airbnb Colludes with Guests to Provide Refunds

I had a guest from Seattle: Canadian, liar, Harvard Extension student. She traveled via Airbnb to deliberately find problems with hosts in order to find a cheap place to stay and free food.

You should have the full story. She had full access to the kitchen. The microwave was not in the kitchen (in my room) and was not included in the listing. She misled Airbnb to believe that I did not allow her to use the kitchen, when in fact I did.

She came into my room without my authorization several times to use the microwave. While I was not home, She came into my room and turned on the air conditioning (there is only one unit A/C in the unit, and it is in my room) while also using the microwave at the same time. Therefore she could have caused circuit damage. Air conditioning was not listed for use by guests on Airbnb. I notified her that I would ask maintenance to fix the circuit damage.

She lied about the laundry. I stated in my listing that there was a laundry card and showed her the laundry room downstairs when she checked in. It was not across the street and not coin operated as she fabricated. She’s unhappy and is playing the victim. However, I am also unhappy about the damage she caused because she did not respect my house rules by entering my room without permission, by using my A/C and microwave without permission, and by lying. She needs to pay for the damages. I am the victim of her lies.

The Airbnb representative asked how much I was willing to refund her. I was not willing to refund anything. I provided my service to the guest according to what was stipulated on the listing without compromise and without misrepresentation. She misled Airbnb about the microwave. She misled Airbnb about laundry being across the street. She might have misled them about other things as well. I went out of my way to drive the guest to buy groceries, and go shopping. I was attentive to the guest’s needs. I even allowed her to use my laundry card when she was short on cash. I allowed her to take some of my food. I stopped short of cooking for her, when she said she didn’t know how to cook.

I’m concerned she might have made similar complaints during other Airbnb stays and have received refunds for deliberately finding issues. If so, I don’t think Airbnb should want her as a customer, because that is really bad for hosts like myself who goes out of our way to make sure the stay is comfortable for their guests by adhering to the listing’s descriptions without compromise and without misrepresentation. Please don’t hesitate to let me know what other complaints requires evidence to clarify the fraudulent complaint.

Memorial Day Airbnb Disaster Could Have Been Avoided

We have used Airbnb for almost a year now. We’ve had several issues with prices randomly changing and people booking our home for holidays at an off-season daily rate. That is not what this story is about, though.

On Memorial Day Weekend 2017 we rented our house out to a party of ten. Our house rules are very clear: no smoking, no parties, and no more than ten guests. As many people do, we count heads with a ring doorbell. We noticed a party developing as group after group showed up.

Saturday morning, we called Airbnb to ask if we could evict the renter without issuing a refund. We intended to keep the deposit as well. We also did not want negative feedback. We spoke to an Airbnb representative who was absolutely clueless and seemed to want to make our call about himself. We were told, “they can leave feedback if they stay at your house. They can request to be refunded.”

Not wanting to lose over $2,500 or get a bad review, we left the guests alone. We were told that the Trust and Safety team would contact us as this was urgent. They continued to promise there were no more than ten people. Over the next two days we gathered videos of probably 100 people coming into our house. Still, we waited for Trust and Safety to contact us. They didn’t, so we called back. This time we spoke to a supervisor who told us the same thing as the first representative.

On Monday, I came to my house to find carpets ruined, furniture broken and stained, and the decks trashed; everything appeared as if there had been a wild party. We have videos of the partygoers, the drinking, puking in our bushes, and other deplorable acts.

We want to submit a claim, but how? Trust and Safety won’t tell us what to do. Why? Because after more calls than I can count, they have not reached out to us. We have 14 days to submit a request. We don’t know if that means a request to the house violator (guest) or through resolutions, or through the host guarantee. Airbnb told us to “submit your request for additional guests and cleaning first. That goes to one department. Then we have another case for your damage.”

I don’t have a case number to refer to. We have many thousands of dollars in damage and Airbnb just refuses to lift one finger to help us. They have many unqualified people to answer their phones, but all they can do is BS us about how important our call is. I will upload files after I have some resolution. However I am thinking if Airbnb does not want to involve themselves in this, maybe it’s time for an attorney and perhaps a class action suit.

Broken Door Claim at Airbnb in Las Vegas

I have a condo at the MGM Signature in Las Vegas that i just recently started listing on Airbnb. I had a guest stay on Mother’s Day weekend with her boyfriend. I got a message on Airbnb from the guest saying that she was locked in the room for two hours and that MGM employees had to break down the door to let her out. After following up with the employees I found out that the door was broken on arrival. It appeared that someone had kicked in the door at the lock, causing it to malfunction. The engineer had to take apart the lock to let her out. It cost $580 to repair the door. I have statements from the engineer stating the door was broken when he arrived yet Airbnb has refused to pay. Also, she was not locked in for “two hours”. The engineer had her out of the room 20 minutes after the call was placed. She says she waited two hours to call because she was trying to open the door herself. The manager stated that her boyfriend was clearly intoxicated when the incident happened. I am furious that Airbnb let her get away with it. There is no “host guarantee” – none at all. It’s false advertisement; a class action suit needs to be made against Airbnb.

Airbnb Hell: Guest Shoots a Music Video

I allowed someone to rent my home because they were getting engaged. We do not allow parties at all and that is stated in the house rules. They said that there were only going to be four guests. When I showed up to check on my property – as I always do – to make sure everything was okay, there were over twenty people in my house and over ten cars in my driveway. We gave him two options: tell the truth, or we were going to shut it down and he would have to leave. The guest lied. He was black and thought because we were white we would discriminate against him. He was shooting a music video in my home. I live in an affluent neighborhood where Airbnb is frowned upon. The police have been called plenty of times because of guest lying to us and throwing parties. So we decided to do this guy a favor and allowed him to shoot his video, being that my husband is in the music and television industry himself. We stuck around because we didn’t want our neighbors to call the police and to protect our property; the gentleman was aware of that.

Now here comes the second nightmare: the guest reached out to Airbnb to get his money back because we stuck around and he said he felt uncomfortable. As the owner, I was pissed. Airbnb has a terrible customer service and resolution center. They offered no support in trying to remedy the situation and I still have not been contacted by a case manager. Please be aware that Airbnb doesn’t offer any support to their hosts when taking a risk and listing their homes on the website. They always tell you to reach out to the guest and try to resolve the issue before contacting them. They need to do better to help and protect hosts. You would think that they would understand that the little service fee that they make off the booking is not worth the thousands or millions that they could lose if they don’t do better.

Ripped off by Guest and Airbnb’s Horrible Customer Service

The guests checked in at 3:00 PM. At 8:40 PM they sent me a text complaining about seeing a cockroach in a 70-year-old beach house in Hawaii. I did not see it until 10:00 PM, so I planned to respond in the morning. I woke up at 5:20 AM to find an email from Airbnb stating I had until 5:40 AM to respond. I wrote them back immediately and at 5:50 AM I received another email saying the guest had been refunded completely for their booking: $3,600.

I disputed it and contacted Airbnb immediately. After a day of them ‘investigating’ it and getting staged photos from the guests showing the house was not clean I was sent an email with a link to their refund policy. Nothing. These guests and Airbnb just ripped me off. I will never use them again. They do not look after the host of a property. Stay away from Airbnb.

Airbnb Cares about the Guests, but not the Hosts

I received an extremely bad, fabricated review in retaliation from a guest who I reported to Airbnb because she had additional people staying in my apartment for whom she did not register or pay. Although our email correspondence on the Airbnb website clearly showed that the woman had additional guests, Airbnb awarded me a minimal and unacceptable settlement. Their reason? The guest did not make herself available to them for verification of my claim, and the term of infringement was not clear to them. I made numerous complaints to no avail. Airbnb’s inflexible transparency policy has allowed this false review to remain on my page. Since it appeared, I’ve had 73 views of my page but not a single rental. Previously, my apartment was always being rented. That means not a month has gone by without guests until now. Airbnb is more concerned about the guests than they are about the hosts who make it possible for them to earn money. I intend to change to Vacation Home Rentals and hope my experience will be better there.

Airbnb Customer Service Trusts Guests over Hosts

An Airbnb guest booked my apartment for one person over a period of three weeks. I learned that she actually had two additional guests staying with her when I visited her at the apartment on her last week. I told her she would have to revise the request and pay for the additional guests. She refused to discuss the matter. Ascertaining from my neighbor that all three guests had lived there most of the time, I made a complaint to Airbnb. Of course, Airbnb advised me to request additional payment through their website, which I did. Those requests were refused by the guest. After I made numerous requests and complaints Airbnb awarded me additional payment for only two days because the guests wrote in her email that her friends “only stayed a couple of days.”

Although it was clear from our correspondence that the additional guests were there for at least three days, Airbnb did not honor my request for additional payment since the guest who made the booking would not communicate with them about the issue. This guest retaliated by leaving my apartment in a filthy condition (I sent pictures to Airbnb) with all windows and doors left open – an invitation to robbery. In addition, since her bogus and scathing review I have not received a single request. I have a 4.5-star, business-ready rating with 26 excellent reviews. Airbnb’s inflexible transparency policy has effectively prevented me from receiving other requests. They won’t remove this scathing review or put it at the bottom of my page where it is less likely to be read. Therefore, I would have to start from scratch with a new page which is completely unfair to me. I am going to close my account and use another vacation rental service if this matter is not handled favorably.

Smoke and Mirrors: Guest’s Performance Art Scam

The reservation was for two people. On Wednesday, March 8th, our guest arrived with her mother (who had a black eye), two dogs, and a cat. We expect people to tell us in advance that they are traveling with a pet. They just showed up this way. Who does that? Because of the black eye, I ignored the imposition of these pets and let them in. For a few days everything was just fine as far as I could tell. Then on Monday afternoon, March 13th , I got a text from the guest saying that the toilet was blocked and water was coming up in the shower. This must have just started, right? Wrong. An email from Airbnb was timestamped at 9:30 AM. It stated that we had exactly two hours to get in touch with Airbnb about the guest complaints that had apparently been mounting for days from the bowels of the quiet clean apartment. If we fail to act by this deadline they will automatically rule in favor of the guests. Well, that boat had already sailed. The plumbers damaged the sidewalk, but had the pipe dug out and replaced by early evening. It cost me $2500 to repair the blocked sewer line quickly so no one would have to go the night without toilets. The stoppage from that apartment had put all three units in the complex out of service.

The next day was exciting. I received a series of bizarre pictures from Airbnb that had been taken by the guest and submitted as proof of the unhealthy conditions that we allowed to go uncorrected here in our slum. Our place was, mind you, the cleanest apartment in the world, but not in those pictures. There were bugs and bits of debris in the narrow tight shots of various kitchen surfaces with rust (like the bottoms of pots) and in one of the pictures the living room sofa was sitting with the upholstery covers removed. The foam cushions were in their underpants and one such garment had been pulled apart at a corner to look warn and dilapidated. They included, of course, a picture of the sewage in the shower.

This makes me laugh because the plumbing had clogged (I was told) at around 2:00 AM. I was intentionally left out of the loop about this until 1:30 in the afternoon. They were painting me as negligent so they could ruminate about my failure to correct a disgusting condition and setting the groundwork for the timeline of hardship that would win them a refund. They hung out with a sewage pond for nearly twelve hours so that it would remain unresolved until after they were rewarded the damages they requested. Some things are just worth the extra inconvenience, don’t you agree?

Ultimately, Airbnb gave them half of their money back, which was entirely too much for me to refund on top of the $2500 it cost me in repairs. The whole ten-course tampering they served us was so weird that I felt like I funded a conceptual art project that was meant to be seen from many different angles and leave the onlooker with a residue of mystery and cultural significance. The person at Airbnb that made the misguided decision to refund this money did so because she was still operating under the belief that the photos of the dirty conditions are authentic. I am lost for an explanation as to how anyone with such a dazzling analytical mind could be allowed to operate in a position that requires rational processes to reach feasible conclusions. There is a problem with the way Airbnb gathers and fact checks the information it receives. It needs to do much better. It has failed to establish a stream of reliable data for its policy decisions.

Guests Book Airbnb for their Dirty Laundry, Full Refund

A woman and her spouse booked my room for a night. They came over and everything was cordial. I greeted them, gave them the tour and left them to it. The woman had asked if she could use the washer and dryer. I said yes, so they brought in loads of clothes. That was still okay with me. I left to go have dinner at a neighbor’s house. I received a text from the woman saying there was an emergency. I got up and walked back to my house, where they proceeded to spout lies. Then is when I knew they were only there to wash their dirty clothes. I asked them if they wanted to leave because the issue was they thought I didn’t wash their sheets; they said they sound a strand of hair on the sheets. Before they even arrived I washed the sheets and made the bed. They proceeded to say everything was fine, they would stay and leave at 6:00 AM. I agreed. 6:00 AM arrived, and they got their things together and leave. Now once they left they somehow cancelled the reservation and I didn’t get paid. They stayed the night and left my room a mess. I don’t know if I will continue to be a host after this experience.

Scammed by Guests, Airbnb Denies me Due Process

Hello fellow Airbnbers. I’m a superhost with more than 100 five-star reviews, and although I’m new to this forum, I’ve certainly had plenty of experience with Airbnb bookings. I just had the most obvious scam pulled by a guest on MLK weekend (I’ve experienced this sort of fraud only once before, and Airbnb mediated, agreed, and ruled in my favor) and amazingly, Airbnb refused to pay me out for the booking (about $950). Things have really changed in Airbnb customer service. I’m an attorney and pride myself on being reasonable, but they totally denied me the opportunity to inspect my property, respond in full, and go after the $300 damage deposit when the scammers left the place trashed.

To make a long story short: I had guests who wanted to stay only one night, when my minimum is two (and on holiday weekends it is a three-day minimum). I had several requests for two-day stays, which I turned down when this scammer changed her mind and agreed to the three-day stay. She asked tons of questions which were fully addressed in the house manual I had sent her in advance. I have an old stone lake house – very charming but quirky in terms of small details – so my house manual is very thorough. The scammer kept trying to book it for one person so I pressed her for an exact number (I charge for extra guests after four since it involves a lot more cleaning). She finally told me it was going to be four.

I approved her request for three days; she then asked if she could arrive early on Friday since they needed to get ready for an event (her son’s concert at West Point). I agreed to let them arrive early since the house was empty. I also told her that I was in Australia that weekend and on long flights, and reiterated many times that if she had any questions or problems she should try me first, and if she couldn’t reach me, she should contact my professional cleaner/Airbnb manager or my handyman. Take note: she knew I was overseas and on my way back to the US that weekend and would be hard to reach. She counted on this.

The scammer and her family arrived (yes, more than four people as confirmed by my CCTV system) and fully used the house: all four beds were slept in, every towel was used and soiled, the entire kitchen was used for cooking a big greasy meal, my cast iron cookware was burned black beyond salvage and hidden away in a different place, glasses were broken, and the toilet was clogged and overflowing. They obviously went to their event Friday night, enjoyed the house until Saturday morning (which was all they had originally wanted) and then called Airbnb just shy of the 24-hour mark required before the payment is released, and filed a 100% premeditated and fraudulent claim that the place was dirty. To be clear, I have a consistent 4.9-star cleanliness rating with more than 100 reviews, and the house is always professionally cleaned before every guest.

Airbnb stopped the payout and sent me an email asking me to contact them. They included some photos in huge files (so big I couldn’t open them on my smart phone at all) of a cobweb in the skylight and some dust in a corner behind a big speaker. They even pulled up an area rug and took a photo of dust in a nonworking heating vent and some 20-year old microscopic paint splatter under the rug. They included a photo of water splatter on the bathroom mirror which was obviously caused by them. She also threw in non-verifiable (non-photographable) complaints about no hot water and no wifi. Both the hot water tank and wifi were working perfectly when inspected by my cleaner/manager an hour after they departed. This email arrived at 1:00 AM Australia time, so I was asleep. A full warning came through at 4:00 AM (three hours later) telling me that I had one hour to respond, and luckily I was awake to see it and call Airbnb (long distance, from Australia) to see what was going on. Airbnb could see I was in Australia because I had booked all of my stays there through them so it was obvious I wasn’t anywhere near my home in the US.

I was so freaked out to hear that the guest had abandoned the house that I thought something awful must have happened (like my cleaner forgot to prepare the house). I couldn’t see the photos on my phone, and the representative I spoke to, “Colleen”, chastised me and said that spiders don’t spin webs overnight (actually, yes they do) so the house clearly was filthy enough to give her a refund. I asked why she didn’t just turn around and leave upon arrival the day before if the place was so filthy, and Colleen had no answer for me. Colleen was so adamantly pro-guest and anti-host that if you told me that the scammer was her mother, that would be the only explanation for her bias that would make sense. Mind you, the scammer never called me, texted, or emailed me, my cleaner (who lives nearby), or my handyman at any time. This is how you know she is a scammer; she had no legitimate complaint and she didn’t want to give anyone a chance to inspect or remedy anything that might be a genuine complaint.

The scammer simply got online with her huge photo files and just lodged her complaint with Airbnb knowing they would not be able to reach me, and then left after that since they were obviously done with their one-day stay. I had my cleaner run over to the house to see if she could be of help. She was freaked out, obviously – she had to rouse her sick son from bed and bring him with her to run there. We really thought something horrible had happened. There was nothing wrong at all except the mess they had made and the destruction they had caused. The cleaner was so upset she didn’t want to work for me anymore because she’s afraid she will be blamed when scammers succeed with their false cleaning complaints. By the time my plane landed, before I had a chance to even get home and inspect my house myself for any damage and investigate fully their complaints (again, I couldn’t open the photos until I got to a computer), Colleen had issued the scammer a full refund and removed the listing completely from my roster. Not canceled. It has fully disappeared from my Airbnb history.

This is infuriating because I don’t even know the amount that I was supposed to receive, I have no way of asking for verification information on the scammer, and I have no ability to file a counter-complaint for all the cleaning and damages left behind. It’s now been more than two weeks. I have called and left multiple messages for Colleen, or preferably a supervisor, to review the case and get back to me about their frustration of my contract and denial of my due process rights to go after a guest for the damage deposit. Each time I call, the “system is down” so they can only send Colleen a message. They reassure me she will get back to me. The new representative I get each time puts notes on my ticket, and that’s all they can do. Colleen never has called me back even though I’m told the “ticket is still open.” This is baffling and infuriating – every time I have dealt with the customer service team in the past they have been thoughtful, thorough, reasonable, and communicative; it’s all in my history. I’m the sort who always pays people partial refunds if they have even a minor complaint, and Airbnb knows that.

I have sent at least five detailed emails, including photos of the damage and filth left behind in my house. I have received no response. Their method is clear: they hope they will just wear me down by frustration and attrition, never responding to my very reasonable observations supporting my claim that my guest was a premeditated scammer. For what it is worth, last year I brought in more than $100K in Airbnb bookings, and Airbnb happily kept 15% of that ($15K) plus all the interest on the credit card pre-booking payments they sit on. I cannot believe they would treat a three-year proven superhost this way. They just refuse to respond. Isn’t it reasonable that they at least explain how they came to their decision, even if they refuse to modify it? On principle, I’m ready to go to arbitration because my only other choice if I’m able to sleep at night is to completely divest myself of my Airbnb listings and go to Homeaway. Obviously, I want to do this as a last resort, so I’ll take all the advice you other hosts can offer.