Airbnb – Are they burning down their house?

A little over a year ago I wandered into this vacation rental business, first signing with VRBO- then Airbnb. 2 very different platforms – 2 very different types of clientele.

We had our first booking within 20 minutes of going live on VRBO and within 24 hours had 2 more confirmed weeks by different families. (We only rent multi-day/weekly rentals). Now granted I was smack dab in the middle of my town’s ‘season’, but we continued to book up to capacity for the next 5 months. We spent the summer booking 2 of the 4 weeks of each month, allowing my family time to spend in our home.

The Airbnb platform was new to me and at first this was not a good fit. Being paid for my rental 24 hours after guests checked in was not conducive to renting an entire home ($500-$700) nightly rate. Nor was billing guests months in advance and sitting on thousands of dollars until check ins. On the other front – the cancellation policies that allowed guests to cancel just days before a scheduled check-in with little to no repercussion could cause the home to sit empty due to the initial turning away of previous guests also wishing to share that time period. When these detriments were discovered I had to respectfully decline doing business with Airbnb. At this time I was contacted numerous times and ‘courted’ for my business. I stood firm – the terms would simply not work. Airbnb relented giving me a 30 day prior pay out period and a strict cancellation policy to guests. Perhaps now we could do business.

My itinerary of guests throughout the year bounced back and forth between VRBO, Airbnb & my website. All my guests were kind, gracious and took extremely well care of my home and property.

Until lately ~ 2017 came in a like a LION

2 Airbnb groups back to back.

The first group were a WILD bunch.
Numerous complaints from the neighbors to the noise from the teenage boys.
I had to ask for them to keep things under control.
A broken pool due to the diving/jumping of rowdy teenage boys from the sides (pool coping broken off – skimmer broken – $400 repair bill)
Although this group partied like it was 1999 – they did pick up after themselves and left the rest of the home in good condition.
We did NOT ultimately turn this claim into Airbnb – as we had our hands full with the below folks and the husband said it was not worth the time & grief to have both cases going. Just get thru the big one and say goodbye to Airbnb.

Then comes group 2 – and Good Grief is all I can say to describe them.
I have been a landlord in my home state for 22 yrs. I have seen the ‘best’ of them come and go. What is TRULY frightening about this group is they only had possession of my home for FOUR days. And in those 4 days they turned it completely upside down.

I blame myself in the onset – the contact was very difficult to work with. After booking I sent documents for signatures and had to ask 5 times over a weekly period to have them returned. We require copies of driver license to accompany docs. It did not come – 5 more times over the next few days I reminded guest docs were not complete until the DL arrived. On the 4th day of asking I finally received. As the time for check in approached I contacted guest as to her arrival time so that the caretaker could meet up with her. This contact began on a Monday morning – for a Friday check in. No response and each day I asked again and again. I was finally awarded with an answer Thurs evening at 7pm. This inconsiderate action on her part waiting to get back with us caused my caretaker to keep his entire day open on Friday to receive them.

Upon arrival at the home on Friday at 4pm – the caretaker met with guests. He gave them their personal codes for the home. He showed them how to use the locks and then gave them a complete tour of the home answering any questions they might have. – For his services the guest gave him a score of a 3 on Airbnb’s review system. I do not know what MORE she could have expected from him – her dinner made and sitting at the table upon her arrival???

1 hour later after her settling in – I called to say “Hello and welcome to our home” and see that everything was in order or if there was anything that needed to be addressed. I was told that we had a beautiful home and they were very excited to be there and everything was just perfect!!

7pm my phone rings. “We have no power” – what happened? Is the neighborhood out? She could not answer either of these questions. I called a neighbor to confirm. The neighbor stated that while the rest of the street was in good condition – my home gave her no surprise that the power was out. She told me she was “surprised that planes were not landing on the lawn mistaking my home for the airport and runway. Everything was that lit up”. I knew then we had blown breakers. I called the guest back asking her if she knew how to flip breakers to which she replied she did. We walked thru the panel and found that there appeared to be no tripped breakers. I let her know I would call for backup and to hang tight.

Calling my caretaker to find that he was out of the area, I called upon another individual who helps with the maintenance of the property. He and is wife went over to the home and checked the breakers. They too could find no problem and at that point we called the electric co. The gentleman gave the ladies a box of emergency candles (reminding them to NOT set them on anything – to which they responded that they KNEW information like that already). As an inspection of the home was made at that time it was determined that EVERY electrical device that could be found was activated. Every switch in the home on (interior/exterior/floods), every appliance running, all their personal items plugged in- the home was completely over-loaded! He explained to them that even though there is an outlet/switch on every wall – there is no home that can support EVERYTHING in the home running full force along with every personal item that they brought at the same time. It is also at this time they he witnessed the home becoming in complete disarray with clothes, personal items strewn about, half-eaten food, dirty dishes, furniture moved and items just generally tossed about. (A stmt letter was supplied to Airbnb of his findings).

The power company gave us a 2 hour window to get to the home- putting them there no later than 9pm. However, we STILL did not know what the source of the problem was as the breakers were all in good condition. I imaged that I might have to bring an electrician in to check wiring if the power co was unable to restore power. While we were waiting for this to happen – I called the guest and explained to her that IF the power could not be restored I would put them up in a hotel (16 folks) and have an electrician work through the night to remedy. Or – they could stay in the home and ‘camp’ (while electricians worked) and I would refund their night. They elected to stay in the home. I told them then we would wait to see what happened at 9pm.

At 9:06 pm the power company restored the power to the home by flipping one of their main breakers outside the home. Yes, they had used SO much power that they blew it OUTSIDE. After the home was back up and running I was confronted by ANOTHER member of the party that I still owed them a FREE NIGHT as they were without power for 5+ hours. (They checked in at 4 – the power blew at 7 – it was restored at 9) – I reminded them of this. They argued about the inconvenience – I didn’t bother arguing back that THEY caused it. Out of the goodness of my heart I gave them a refund of 1/2 nts stay ($280) – they were without power 2 hours – they had 22 more hours to spend – that was ALL I was doing I told them. They accepted it. As they should have been more than ELATED to do so.

All was quiet through the night. In the morning I noticed that they still had on all the flood and exterior lights burning. I called and asked them to please turn off during the daytime. They said they would. They never did. And although repeated calls and texts were sent to them for the next 3 days – they never turned off any of the exterior lighting on the home or even acknowledged me. I gave up. (Fast forward to my electric bill: These guests used $110 of electricity for 4 days – avg over $27 a day in usage – comparing the graphs to other guests usage the highest we ever had was a wedding party of 22 folks at $17 a day) and the temps during these guests stay was in the low-mid 70’s – this was NOT A/C usage).

On the last night I called to wish the guests a safe trip home and to remind them about the checkout procedures list that they had agreed to and signed. They assured me no problem – we are taking care of it. I volunteered them to stay in the home til noon and they told me they had to leave at 9am to catch flights home. I wished them well – and that- I thought was the end of the story.

My alarm system tells me they exited the home at 3:39am the following morning. At 8:45am I called my caretaker to do his exit walk-thru. My caretaker arrived at the home to meet the pool cleaner in the driveway. They had a quick discussion as the pool cleaner described the ‘carnage’ around the pool area. He also told the caretaker that he was ‘screamed at’ by the guests for interfering with their vacation when he came the previous day to check on the status of a repair (that being the previous guest mentioned ‘coping broken’)

At 9:30am my caretaker entered the home – called me and said, “Oh.My.God.” as he walked thru the front door.(The caretakers letter was also submitted to Airbnb as evidence) He then proceeded to take me on a ‘virtual tour’ through the home describing to me his findings. – Including an empty left on coffee pot sitting burning on the counter.

I immediately called Airbnb – was treated rather RUDELY by a CS rep. At this point we had NO idea to the true extent of damages to the home. I was only ‘reporting’ that we had an issue. He told me that I would need to send in pictures, etc. After we had a telephone discussion he sent an email giving me a link to respond. The caretaker took many pictures, sent them to me and I forwarded to the email supplied by Airbnb.

I then called the owner of the housekeeping company. She sent a team over to access the carnage. I asked if I should come – she said, “No – it’s BEST if you stay away”. To which I took her advice. The housekeeping team returned the next day and they spent 12 hours over the next 2 days cleaning, re-organizing and putting the home back together again. For this I incurred a $600 cleaning bill. The guests were charged $280 at the booking.

Numerous more pictures were taken, statements recorded from the cleaning company owner, caretaker, maintenance man and they were all forwarded to Airbnb the next day.

2 days after that I get notice that the guest has written a review on me. Are you kidding me? She trashed my home and wrote a review? I didn’t really know how to respond just yet to this information. With Airbnb no party can see the others review until both are written or 14 days comes up if one party fails to write. I pondered LONG and hard on her review. I knew I needed to wait to write it until it could be written from a fact-based point of view instead of a emotional one. I was still very too RAW to comment on the issue.

On the 13th day I wrote a review. And I wrote a review that my MOTHER would have been proud of. It was short & to the point. I stated that due to the condition that my home and property was left in I would NOT recommend the party to other hosts. And that I had to contact the Resolution Ctr because of damages.
I was now privy to the guest review. It was short and sweet – ‘Big beautiful home for a very large guest party’. Then she proceeded to give me all 3 stars – for cleanliness, ease of checkin, working with her, location, amenities, etc…. In her notes to ME – she stated that my water smelled like SEWAGE and that she recommended that I get it checked out. And who KNOWS what she said to Airbnb behind the scenes.

I was LIVID with this review and her comments! 3 stars for a host, caretaker, maintenance man that BENT over BACKWARDS to help & accommodate her.
Then to trash my home – tell me that my water smelled like sewage- I believe the smell came from the garbage that was hauled from the home (7 trash bags full picked up just from AROUND the home and pool area). I have had NOTHING but 5 stars from EVERY guest that came through my door. I am hosting guests now that are coming time and time again. If I HAD a sewage problem I would have KNOWN about it by now.

I contacted Airbnb about this review and how it needed to come down as SHE trashed MY home and this review was unfair/unjust. And you know what they did??? They took MY review down. That’s right. They informed me that my review was in violation of their ‘terms/policies’ and that I mentioned that I had to contact the Resolution Ctr and that is NOT information that is given to other hosts. WHAT?????? That is EXACTLY what other hosts need to hear and know. WHY would I rent to someone that was not even cooperating with a host and the case had to be mediated? So now – this woman is out there in Airbnb land. No reviews – and maybe she has already done this to others, who knows. But now other Hosts are exposed to her and they have have no protection.
This is something that AIRBNB is really WRONG about – and this is one of the MANY reasons I will NEVER use Airbnb again. This is deception by Airbnb at it’s very best!

But backing up a bit before the review issue – I am still trying to get satisfaction on my case – and I am being put through one ringer after another.
Below is a timeline of what Airbnb had done to me so far:

DOCUMENTED Emails & calls relating to this case:
1/18 12:24pm – CALL – house trashed – was treated VERY poorly by MARK R.
1/18 12:46pm Mark R sent request to turn in info
1/18 1:46pm all info was returned to Mark R
1/19 10:10am more info to Mark R
1/23 8:00 am –CALL – WHY have I heard NOTHING
1/23 8:05am  STOCK canned response from response @airbnb – send us your info
1/23 8:30am -CALL – how do you NOT have my info?? rwestmoreland – send it to me personally
1/23 9:05 – 9:07am 1, 2 & 3 info emails sent AGAIN to @response
1/23 9:05 – 9:07am copies of emails of info to Rwestmoreland
1/27 9:20am CALL – WHY are you not doing anything???
1/27 9:26am Richard J – send us information about your case
1/27 9:30am  sent SAME info AGAIN + a Resolution form this time
1/28 2:15pm Another request for the SAME info AGAIN from Richard R
1/28 2:30pm CALL – are you people freaking crazy???
1/31 7:00pm Thank you for submitting your forms –  the team
2/2 10:17pm – Another discovered damage – email, pic sent to – the team
2/6  2:07pm Lizz – You are in violation of your review – it’s being removed
2/6 6:19am ME:  Unfortunate you are hiding review from other hosts -cancel my acct
2/6  7:17pm MEL:  We are not covering your cleaning – send your info again
2/6 9:04am Lizz:  We have final say about your review- cancel your acct & there will be repercussions
2/7 12:41pm ME:  Please clarify where damages are not covered
2/8 6:01pm – ME: still waiting for a response
2/9 12:45am   Give us your feedback – tell us how we are doing….. yeah – right!
2/9 7:06pm MEL– we are NOT covering your damages – you have 72 hrs to send us your info again
2/9 9:37pm  ME:  Have I died and gone to hell or something?

The day after the review issue I get another email from Mel; We do not cover cleaning costs. WHAT????? Why? It’s not part of the terms/policies. No cleaning is paid for if the property can be restored back to it’s original condition. Is that NOT what cleaning is??? Putting things back to their original condition? What is the DAMAGE Dep for then? Well, we don’t ACTUALLY collect any money from the guest. If you have a problem – you go to them and ask for your money – if they won’t give it to you – that’s when we get involved. This is a joke- right? WHY would a guest that trashed your home then willingly GIVE you money to clean it up simply because you asked? This is STRIKE 2 against Airbnb. The amount we are allowed to put on our listings for ‘damage’ deposit is a farce – it’s a feel-good, because there is NO damage money collected.

After that the communication just STOPS with Airbnb. And that is when I take it to Social Media. I have a personal Twitter Acct that was not tied to my vacation home. I started tweeting out photos – Airbnb got wind of it and had no idea who I was. They started sending messages to please contact them. I realized I had them over a barrel and I kept tweeting. And the requests kept coming. Finally I sent them a message so that they could contact me. They sent (what I would later discover is just another CANNED response they send to shut people up).
I waited for help, and I waited. And then I went back to Twitter and I started beating the heck out of them. My follower count started climbing like crazy (I already had 67,000+ followers) – in one week I gained another 2000 followers. To make matters worse for Airbnb I started re-tweeting everything coming over their help timeline. Folks were eating it up and we were letting them have it.

I have tweeted to various media outlets, wrote a BBB complaint, wrote a letter to my Senator (I understand there has been a special committee formed to investigate the practice of Airbnb and the consumer complaints) – and generally have been a pain in the neck for Airbnb on social media, And I will NOT let up.

Last night I get another email from them. We want to work with you. (I bet you do) – let us know what it is you want – replaced items or repairs and we want to let you know that we have received authorization to get ALL your items repaired and we can talk about those that can’t. That’s beautiful. It really is. However, they are forgetting about the 12 hours that we had to have the place cleaned up. They are forgetting about the utilities that the group blew through, or the time and expense I have with having main. man come try to fix a problem guest caused and the $280 I gave BACK to guest. Or the extra time caretaker was paid to document, inventory & take photos. They are forgetting about all the grief and time I have spent chasing this case when I should not have had to.

I have yet to respond to their email. I am ‘thinking’ on it – but I promise they WILL be made accountable for their actions and in-actions. As I am NOT finished with them yet – not by far….

Even Airbnb SUPERHOSTS are treated like tools!

Over the past 2 years of hosting. We’ve had our share of horror stories. Each time, Airbnb ONLY cares about their service fees. As long as they can keep that, they let the guests do whatever they want and will even cancel a guest with a full refund when the guest had no proof that anything was wrong. We hosted over 500 people in our units and are Superhosts, but Airbnb will take the word of guests with no reviews over ours. If there are any damages, good luck getting your deposit back! Oh, and your commitment rate goes down when THEY cancel a guest for no good reason, so you have to call and email them over the next few weeks to get them to fix it and hopefully keep your Superhost stats.

This is only 1 example of how they treat you as just a money-making tool, they have no regard for honesty or integrity: Recently, the guests asked for a refund AFTER their stay, claiming that they had only stayed there for a portion of the time, since their plans changed. They have no way of proving this and the situation really is not our responsibility. We told them no, and afterwards they apparently called Airbnb and they received a 50% refund just like that. We don’t know what they told Airbnb, but Airbnb didn’t even bother to contact us before making a decision. Oh, and the guest was still allowed to write a review after this ordeal! Because we denied the refund in the first place, they decided to get back at us and slander us with a bunch of false claims in the review. I called Airbnb and told them that there clearly was no indication of our unit being in bad condition and that it was apparent the only time things got ugly was after we denied the refund. Airbnb said they value people’s opinions and that the great thing about this community is that the reviews are not censored. I just really wanted to spill all kinds of profanities when I heard that. The thing is, I had called them before responding to the guests asking for Airbnb’s advice. I said that I was worried about bad reviews so I feel pressured to give in to demands. The rep ASSURED me that Airbnb will not allow unfair reviews. That if there is reason to believe the bad review was only because we denied the refund and if the message thread had no indication of any problems stated in the review, they would remove it. Low and behold, now that the guest actually went out to write a false review, they did NOTHING. I would understand if the guest wrote they were angry because they wanted a discount, but they wrote things like the place was dirty and in a bad location and did not look like the photos and gave 1 star reviews! How can this be true when we have over 500 reviews and 5 stars on all units?! Also, the guest had told us they were having a great time all throughout the stay!! Still Airbnb did not help.

Similar situations have happened more than a handful of times now. Where Airbnb would give us lip service when we asked for advice and assure we will get reviews removed if ____ and ___ happened or we will get our deposit back if _____ and ____ happened. When shit actually goes down, they do absolutely NOTHING for us. What is the point of us paying these service fees when no services are provided when we need them! I understand if they claim this is just an advertising fee for us to expose our units, however, then why do they CONTROL all the payments and deposits. Those people who actually got their host guarantee/damage deposits on social media or the news are just their publicity ploys! They will only help when they know that it could damage their reputation, I’ve never heard of any fellow host friends who was able to get any compensation. Many have similar stories to mine. In sum: THEY ARE ALL TALK AND NO WALK. THEY ONLY CARE ABOUT GETTING THEIR SERVICE FEES. THEY OUTRIGHT LIE TO THEIR HOSTS. THEY HIDE BEHIND THE PRETENSE OF A SHARING ECONOMY WHEN THEY ARE NO BETTER THAN BLOOD SUCKING CORPORATIONS WHO EXPLOIT OTHERS FOR PROFIT. When will something better come along so that we honest hosts, who are just trying to make some side money, can actually choose to host for a company that actually provides the services that they advertise?!

CANCELED TO AVOID PSYCHO RENTER – AIRBNB TAKES $100!

We accepted a booking from a young college student. Our rates are based upon number of occupants. Upon restating our occupancy rules in our acceptance email, the renter became rude. She wanted to know if we had cameras in the rooms or how else would we verify occupancy? She then stated in her next email that we were rude and had bad customer service skills. Well, that did it for me. If she was going to be that rude, pushy and obnoxious there was no way I would let someone like that into one of my properties. I sent her an email stating that we were not comfortable renting to her now and that she needed to cancel her reservation. She went ballistic after that. Airbnb penalizes the renter if they want to cancel and they penalize the owners $100 if they want to cancel. So, you see, no one wants to cancel their reservation. Even after I told her that I would refund her entire amount the lady refused to cancel. I told airbnb the situation and told them I WAS UNCOMFORTABLE WITH THE GUEST they charged me $100 and said it was my fault for wanting to cancel!!! Airbnb has you by the balls. They control the money. They control the payouts. They control the security deposit. They control the contact information. You have all of the risk and they make all of the money. What a scam!!!! I never go thru this with VRBO because I am in control.

Guests Trash Host’s Townhome – No Support from AirBNB!

I rented my lovely Whistler townhome to someone who claimed to be a 27 year old coming up with his partner and another couple for a weekend to explore Whistler and the surrounding area. They were actually a group of at least 7 guys, probably younger than 27, who threw a big party at our quiet complex. There was evidence of cocaine, pot, cigarettes on top of the hundreds of beer cans and liquor bottles left behind – not to mention all the dirty underwear and various personal belongings they forgot. There was vomit on the curtains, cigarette butts and vomit on the balcony. Neighbors reported a loud party with a disco ball, loud music and women that appeared to be strippers/prostitutes. My cleaning lady told me she has never seen such a horrific mess in her 8 years of working in Whistler! My cleaning lady took 12.5 hours to clean my home, which normally takes 3 hours. Of course this came out of my pocket. Despite having photos of the mess and an invoice from my cleaning lady, Airbnb offered me no support and gave the guests’ damage deposit back! I have a strict no-smoking policy listed in my house rules on their website, and despite photos of cigarette packages and butts, they wouldn’t even support me for that! I am shocked and appalled by their lack of customer support and promptly delisted my property. I also have my home on VRBO who are much more supportive of their hosts. I will stick with them!

airbnb scam, airbnb hosting

MAJOR AIRBNB FLAW EVERY HOST SHOULD KNOW ABOUT

I’ve been an Airbnb Host for over a year without significant problems, but this experience showed me that I’ve really just been lucky not having a nightmare hosting experience before now!

Long story short, I had a guest book one of my rooms for a 3 months stay, just like I’ve done many times before.  I received my first payment from Airbnb as usual… but then when the second monthly payment was due, I received a crazy email message from Airbnb saying that they couldn’t process the payment from the guest!  What’s even crazier, they didn’t cancel the reservation until 7 days AFTER the last date had passed that the guest had actually paid for, meaning that I was going to lose at least a full 7 days of rental income and presumably I no longer had any form of security deposit to protect me… ALL WHILE THE NON-PAYING GUEST WAS STILL LIVING IN MY HOUSE!!!

What sort of idiotic policy is that?  Airbnb waited until the last minute to charge the guest, then waited an additional 7 days before cancelling the reservation with a message (attached) that basically said “sorry, but we’re not going to pay you anything else, beginning 7 days ago.  Good luck getting rid of this leech of a guest!”  Why wouldn’t Airbnb charge the guest sooner, so if there was a problem I could cancel the reservation and kick out the guest before their paid time expired?

I wrote back to Airbnb asking them to clarify the situation… but they never responded!  I emailed them asking if they could use the $400 Security Deposit (my standard deposit) that they should have previously collected to at least pay me for the 7 days the guest had already stayed without paying before the reservation was finally cancelled… no response from airbnb after several days.

What a total scam airbnb has become!  I thought it was a brilliant concept, and it is, but the execution abysmal and the policies lack any sense of foresight or basic protection of their CORE value, their HOSTS, it’s truly shocking to me that no competitor has destroyed them by now!  It’s like comparing Facebook to Myspace.  Myspace was “great” until Facebook came along and showed everyone just how horrible Myspace actually was!  Who will be the new “facebook” of home rentals and put Airbnb out of business?

PLEASE share this story with any current Airbnb Hosts you know so perhaps they can save themselves from this type of horrible situation dealing with such a stupid and irrational company.

 

airbnb scam, airbnb hosting

How to scam airbnb! Guest doesn’t pay, and airbnb waits 7 days before cancelling reservation. Host is left holding the bag and takes a total loss!

 

airbnb ran away and hid behind it's horrible policy

No response from airbnb! Host lost money because guest didn’t pay, even though EVERYTHING was handled through the Airbnb system!

AIRBNB CANCELED GUEST’S STAY AND GIVE HOST ONLY 50 PERCENT

A guest claimed that my villa with a swimming pool for 10 people was not good enough for them, even though it is always rented in summer times.  The guests claimed that the wifi was not working , that TV was satellite instead of cable , and that glasses were not good, and as guests did not know how to use AC, they blamed me. AIRBNB canceled the stay and gave me 100 Euro per day for 10 people (half price of what was agreed) , which is very small. I finally was able to get an extra cleaning cost . I did not find it fair to receive half of the price . It seems that AIRBNB relocated the guests much more expensively. It was simply a trick from the guest who was claiming from me a half price refund to stay the two weeks. I like AIRBNB, but this time I was very frustrated.

An Airbnb Guest from HELL

Oh well,here is goes! A few month ago, I rented my GUEST house which was originally built for my parents to a male nurse from Michigan,his name Robert. He was my 1st Airbnb Guest! The booking and all the communication between me and him BEFORE he moved in was good! I thought that’s a really nice guy! When he asked me IF he can cool the house down to 68 F, I did not think much about it! I just wanted an additional 40$ for the 18 days of stay,and I thought that would basically cover it! (WRONG!) He agreed! So he and his future fiance arrived at my house. They moved in and the next day he told me that the drain is clogged in the bathroom.No problem, I thought! I entered the house and its freezing! All AC’s were going at full throttle! The girl was covered in a blanket! Again, I thought, oh well…but I checked the consumption of electricity and in 1 day he used more then 10 $ worth! So 18 days,that’s almost 200$ in electricity!! So I talked to him and he agreed to pay more! Great, right!? Well, when the guy and the girl moved out, I checked the house for “obvious damages” the ones YOU immediately can see, and did NOT start cleaning until a few days before the next guest arrived! And since this was my 1st Airbnb guest, I did not know about the 2 day CHECK for damages policy!! So almost 3 weeks later I started cleaning! We don’t have any professional cleaning in our city! Well, the WHOLE ENTIRE house was covered in a sort of redisch or brownisch film! So anywere you wipe or try to clean,the cleaning cloth is REDISCH! I mean EVERY WERE!!! The bath, the kitchen, EVERY WERE!!!!!!!! It took me and my wife close to 10 hours to clean! WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT???? The only explanation was some kind of “TANNING SPRAY”!!! The guy when he arrived had a “weird” unnatural TAN! Then I discovered that the bathroom door was damaged! I did not see that before,since you have to go inside the bath and actually try to close it! So I had to basically replace the whole door! Another door were the handle is was also damaged,but that one I could fix! I contacted Robert, he DENIED all. Did not know what I was talking about! I contacted airbnb, but like always,first the tried to get the money from Robert, I was asking an additional 170$, but he refused! Then it was the usual from airbnb: After 2 days there is nothing we can do!!! What a bunch of BULL!! They dont want to get involved!! But IF it comes to their commissions, that they DO COLLECT an the day the guest books!! So they are NOT liable and ALWAYS get their commission!! Oh almost forgot! For WEEKS the house smelled like rotten or dead meat!! Maybe it was Robert…that rotten stinking son of a bi…!!! WHAT kind of people are these??? And HOW does AIRBNB let them get away with these things!! We the HOSTS, who are their INCOME source are just the suckers when problems occur! Well I did learn from that!! I copy an ID from ALL Guests! And I check the house every so often..Trip Adviser gives Hosts, 7 days to claim damages!

We’re not guests; we’re a cash grab.

You know, my first experience with Airbnb was a delight. I was taken in by a young couple. Welcomed to their humble abode. As hosts, they made every effort to make my stay a pleasant one. My first time exposure to this new shared economy that’s been said describes Airbnb was starting off pretty good. It was my second Airbnb, however, showed me a side of greed I don’t care to see again. Certainly, there would be who would take advantage to this fledging industry. Taking on the BnB and hotel industry with an alternative for consumers by listing their home on an Airbnb website and playing host to a number of guests each and every night all in the sole purpose to make money. It’s just too bad I had to witness this on my second trip. I found this one couple who were to be my hosts, while they do play, it was not at being hosts. We as guests were an afterthought to them frankly. Once booked, they’ve had gotten our money. They didn’t even care if we now stay the night or not at that point. I arrived in mid-afternoon, and keyed in the combination on the door lock given to me via Airbnb. I came in to what appeared to be an empty house when a young woman came walking down the stairs. She introduced herself, and was told she had come from Europe with her daughter and both she and her young one was attending school here. She immediately played the role of host. She offered me refreshments and showed me around. Since no one else was home at the time, I got the whole tour of the house. I would discover that she, in fact, was a guest herself, and had made arrangements with the hosts to stay at the residence long term. It was a slow night, and I was the only new arrival that day. There were two others who had booked rooms, but they were out. They had their rooms upstairs. I had booked the couch in the basement. The house was a family of four. A man and women with two boys. It must be said, at the time of my stay, the mother was actually out sailing in the middle of the ocean somewhere, and so she wasn’t available to serve as host. Trouble is, I would discover there wasn’t really a host there at all. The father came home that evening around 7:00pm. By then, the other resident guests had returned from their outings and had quickly ventured off to their rooms. His was quick on introductions. He made the attempt at the conventional niceties inquiring as to the reason of my visit, and if I was taken care of. However, after announcing some instructions to the young mother standing off on the other side of the room, he promptly went up to his master bedroom and started making business calls loud enough for all to hear. I would take to my room later that evening which was really just a couch up against a wall in the basement. A basement I shared with the son whose room was in the back. There was an unfinished bathroom down there as well, and would eventually be used by all the guests as the one upstairs leaked when one showered. The basement was also filled with the toys and mementoes collected over the years by your typically two-parent, two-child family. In the morning, those family members marched around upstairs making the usual noises when gathering breakfast and starting the day. After all, and I could appreciate this fact, we were staying in a working family home. The children went to school, and the parents went to work. However, it was the callous way they went about it that got to me that very first day. That morning, all could hear the father again in his room apparently conducting an interview over the phone. You see, he had just ordered a Hydranet main sail for his boat. It was ordered in from Sarnia, and it was for a Friday afternoon boat race he was to attend in Chicago. It would seem he was recruiting for a crew. As the day went on, it became clear the young mother I first met was indeed assigned the hosting and janitorial duties. Frankly, I’m thinking some labour laws were being broken here because the woman had conveyed to me she wasn’t get paid for this and, in fact, was still paying for staying there for going on some ten months now. They had come up with some arrangement, but as my stay was a number of nights, I soon began to see that this young mother did not feel it was a fair deal. All the responsibility of hosting was delegated to this guest. Our hosts were smart to post snapshots of only the newly renovated part of the house. It gave an air of style and sophistication. One that did not carry on to the rest of the house however. The bed rooms offered upstairs were small and in need of a fresh coat of paint. Indeed, the rest of the house was in sharp contrast to the immaculate living room and kitchen presented in the Airbnb Ad. All by design no doubt. One evening I was up working on my laptop. I was sitting on the living room couch designed more for show than function, when I heard the door lock being typed on. A young woman came in through the foray with luggage in hand and quickly stared at me. The father had long since gone to bed, and she had obviously been given the name of the young mother turned housemaid, and asked me where she was. It was apparent in this woman’s mind, as it would, that if you’re hosting a BnB, you should maybe wait up and well…host. Not here. There was no one to direct her to her room, and she eventually ventured slowly upstairs by herself. It was about 40 minutes later, when she was back down and out the door. I was later told, guests had done the same in the past soon after looking at those small little rooms. The next day, I mentioned in passing to the father that they had lost a guest the night before. He shrugged it off stating, “we already have her money”, and then, as was his routine, quickly walked past other guests, collected a bit of breakfast and was out the door. It was apparent to me what this was to him. It was a cash cow. One where they can make a nice bit of money with little effort on their part. They even hired an “Air Manager” to keep their ad in high standings on Airbnb. An offshoot of Airbnb, this “Air Managing” has become a separate industry in of itself. They hired the owner of the local coffee shop and laundry mat to review the guests, put in reviews and adjust the price from day to day. The price would change depending on upcoming events, depending on the season or even depending on the days of the week. Their ad would be listed $42 per night on a Sunday, and then $60 the following Friday. Apparently, this person not only handled this Airbnb but a number of Airbnb’s in the area. They’ve got the house, all you got to do is show up! And even that! They cancelling policy, of course, was strict. The 17 year old son still living in the house was consciously oblivious to the guests. He wanted nothing to do them. I was told the family use to host international students for years and years before enrolling in Airbnb and so this could possibly explain their cavalier behaviour towards their guests. The next night, two new guests far from home are waiting in the kitchen to be attended to by some young mother so they were told. Unknowingly to them, of course, this young mother was a fellow guest, and by this time, had taken to hiding from new arrivals. Man! What a racket! The father again comes home and gets on his phone upstairs and talks just loud enough for the house to hear. This guy’s making from $40 to $60 on each guest each night. He’s clearing about $300 per night, and he revels in ordering the young mother around like she were staff. If it weren’t for the blatant arrogance, I would have let this go, but these people aren’t even trying to hide it. They take separate vacations with the mother out in the mid-Atlantic somewhere. They’ve got a house keeper coming in two times a week, and I overheard the son one day telling a visiting classmate that the last time he had orange juice was in Greece. That same son attends the Rosedale Heights School of the Arts while the other son, god bless, is special needs and now lives away at a home. Of course, I’ll let that last point go, but I looked up this Rosedale Heights School of the Arts. It claims to provide an enriched environment both stimulating and supportive for students interested in the arts, no audition or portfolio required, and a tuition fee of $20,000! The indulgence! And, of course, the father drives around in a black BMW. We are not their guests, we’re a cash grab, and they make little effort to conceal that fact. Shame! Months from now, I imagine one will still be able to get into door with the lock combination they provided me on Airbnb. They wouldn’t think to change it. You know, for the safety of their guests! I would have wonderful experiences at other Airbnb’s since then, but that one had left a bad taste in my mouth. However, this social aspect of Airbnb where they try to convince you we’re all part of this community, we’re all peers sharing in this experience, doesn’t make it easily conducive to regulation and fair play. You many have had a wonderful time and left what you felt was a reasonable if not glowing review to the host. But heaven help you if the host doesn’t like your review. Right now, the host can get back to you. They can confront you with your comments and now make it a hassle. Look! We’re not your fellow ‘Beaner’, we’re not part of this wonderful community. We’re guests; we’re customers. Customers don’t get hassled! Period. Not when there’s money changing hands! I’ve met people who are living way beyond their means on other people’s backs. To hell with that! It’s a business, and as it such needs a watchdog, it needs regulation. Some would say, well you get what you paid for, and that’s a valid point. I will then make one little suggestion. I’m thinking Airbnb could make one subtle change to how things work in their little community of theirs. Once a guest has checked out, the host can’t get back to them. Ever. If that guest becomes a host one day (as Airbnb is constantly encouraging they do) past hosts can then themselves contact them as guests. They then may have their chance for well…retribution. There will be times where the experience is just great! The host and guest may even become fast friends. That’s all good. They’re free to exchange their personal emails in that case. However, once checked out, the host cannot again communicate with the guest via Airbnb. If the host has issue with the guest, there’s already procedures in place to pursue that with Airbnb as mediator. With this one little change, now you’ll get your honest and free reviews! However, since we’re all apparently part of this wonderful community, there’s good old fashion peer pressure in place right now to encourage otherwise. Social norms can be a powerful means of control, and Airbnb no doubt knows it. Doing this one change doesn’t stop the guest from booking again with that host good or bad. The host could always decline (though, of course, Airbnb could punish them for that) or accept them. Look at that! Repeated business! That host was an outrage! I would like to see somebody going to jail. But, of course, that’s just me saying that right now with my dander up. At the very least, they should be reported. But this Airbnb phenomena is new ground. Who do you report to? The police? The Better Business Bureau? Immigration Services? Who? There isn’t the regulation in place for this new industry, and there should be. A third body not affiliated with Airbnb or its thousands of ever growing number of hosts.

AN AIRBNB HOSTS HORROR STORY

I have been a Real Estate investor/landlord/agent for 40 yrs. I was contacted by Airbnb who found me on Craigslist 6 yrs. ago when they were just a few guys in S.F. renting out their couches, asking if they could list my rentals on their new website. I agreed. I was a loyal airbnb host for 6 yrs. I took total strangers from all over the world into my private Los Angeles estate guest houses, our Las Vegas vacation rental, and my famous W. Hlwd. Jim Morrison bldg. I accepted 1st time guests from all over the world who had no host reviews. I took their pets. I did this because Airbnb offered me a false sense of security, by holding guests security deposits and offering a host guarantee insurance policy which is currently $1,000,000.00. Yes, a million dollars! Lets talk about the “Bad” guests. They ranged from irresponsible nuisances to shrewd con artists. There were the ones who broke or stole a few minor items, the ones who violated our common sense/common courtesy rules, or the ones who required “special services” but didn’t want to pay for them after. The worst guests included necessary police intervention or major theft caught on CCTV cameras. There was the group of “squatters.” They were wolves in sheep’s clothing who came to me as short term vacation rental guests. Visualize “The Beverly Hillbillies” in a pickup truck with their dogs. They came off sweet as pie (landlord 101: beware of overly nice prospective tenants. No one is that nice! They are usually desperate people with bad credit, no job, who can’t get anyone else to rent to them!) He even took on the job as handyman around the apt. bldg. They were able to drag out their stay, doling out breadcrumbs by paying a few days at a time. When it came time for them to check out, these predators who apparently support themselves by “working the system” refused to vacate the premises screaming “permanent tenant rights” in the grand scheme of things to con me out of $13,500 in re-location fees and to be able to extend their stay for one more year under the cities rent control laws!!! As if this wasn’t bad enough, I also got sued by the city who extorted me for nearly $16,000 in perceived TOT fees, which ended up costing me nearly $5000 in attys fees (who took my money and resigned from the case after doing nothing) before I ended up having to pay the city nearly $10,000 in fines. THIS IS WHAT BEING AN AIRBNB HOST COST ME. And what support did I get from airbnb? Now lets talk about airbnb. They come off syrupy sweet, calling you an “awesome Superhost.” They act like airbnb is all about “sharing space” and “making friends.” If I were looking for friendship, I’d join a social club. Lets get one thing straight. It’s renting out space. Real estate. Real estate is a business. Bottom line, you are in business to make money. AIrbnb is in business to make money. They take it from both ends- their hosts and their guests. They block out parts of hosts and guests email correspondence if they suspect it includes sharing contact information. Don’t let them kid you. They expect hosts and guests to trust them with total stranger connections, lodging, and finances, but they do not trust their own hosts or guests to be able to communicate with one another in fear they will get cut out of the deal. As airbnb & their # of hosts grew during the past few years (as did their negative reviews which began popping up all over on various websites) due to their mass marketing campaign, they appeared to care less and less about their hosts and guests. The 1st big scandal I read about was the host in California whose home was totally trashed by airbnb guests. That’s when airbnb came up with their “$50,000.00 host guarantee policy” to provide panicked hosts a false sense of security. Most recently was the home in Canada that was totally trashed by airbnb guests. Airbnb upped the ante to $1,000,000.00. To be eligible for that type of host coverage, I suspect the entire family would need to be brutally murdered. I am a professional, honest, trustworthy, “to the book” type host. I never once went behind Airbnb’s back to try to cut them out of their original booking commission because I believe in karma and I believe everyone is entitled to their fair share of what they contributed. Also, never once did one of my guests ever make a theft claim while staying in our rental units. That speaks volumes for my honesty and integrity. Many guests don’t realize that when they book through airbnb, all payment is handled directly by airbnb. They never allow the host to be in possession of the security deposit. So when a guest commits damage, theft, violations of rules or requires special services, I exercised my host rights and filed a claim with airbnb under the guest’s security deposit. To avoid having to process claims, airbnb will attempt to discourage hosts by running you through the hoops. Think boot camp! 1st you have to go through the “Resolution request” (asking your guest to pay you.) This link is nearly impossible to find on their site. Once you have found it, filled out the form, and sent it to your guest, the guest will usually deny the damage/theft, etc., get angry that you “accused them,” refuse to pay, then leave you a false negative retaliatory review. If you don’t hear back from the guest or they deny the claim, you have to mark your calendar to remember to contact airbnb to “get involved.” (if you forget, you are out of luck on the claim as the deadline has expired.) In order to involve airbnb, they will require photos, witnesses, original receipts, and/or comps. As a real estate investor with multiple fully furnished properties in 3 locations in 3 states, I would have hire someone to pull dead files out of storage and spend days going through thousands of receipts through the years to find one for a towel, mug, pillow or whatever for the damaged or missing item(s) in question! Once you have completed the form & provided the “evidence” (they do not trust their hosts word, despite the fact the host trusted them to have these strangers in their home who broke/stole their personal property items!) you wait to hear back from airbnb. None of my claims were what I would consider “substantial” amounts of money. Some claims were processed, but as time went on they were either denied, reduced, or ignored. When a guest flooded my unit, I filed a claim for $2,500.00 for my out of pocket costs. This was my and only claim that came under the $1,000,000.00 Host guarantee policy. After I went through airbnb’s claim “boot camp” process, they said they were only willing to pay $500 firm (20% of my claim,) Final decision, no appeal. Shortly thereafter, with no warning they deleted all of my listings and cancelled all of my bookings for the rest of the year. They told my future guests that it was I who had cancelled their bookings, so I had angry guests contacting me not realizing the truth, that airbnb had lied to them and that I was as much an airbnb victim as they were! I still have approx. 1/2 dozen minimal claims airbnb ignored and never paid over the past year, along with the one and only claim I filed in 6 yrs. under the $1,000,000.00 Host guarantee claim for $2,500.00 that I was never compensated for. If you are an airbnb host who incurred damage, theft, or unpaid claims and you would like to be paid, please contact me. Email: cheriwoods1@yahoo.com Responsible guests are always welcome! See my websites below.

Airbnb failed to pay over $4000 in cleaning fees

Hi, I have been a host since the first year of airbnb. It has been a positive experience.. until this discovery.The original info sheet from airbnb is not translatable(,so I suspect many have not discovered this.) My friend, a fellow host created a spread sheet for me on last years payouts. Both my friend and I discovered numerous bookings where airbnb failed to collect cleaning fee.. for me a total of $4000. My friend had only a fee, much rarer hosting, and she settled w/ airbnb for half of them as airbnb was so difficult to deal with. I am not willing to do that. I have been trying to find someone at airbnb who is in charge of payouts. I want someone higher up. does anyone know who that would be? Thanks, Joyce Garrity host of the orange house, the down home, urban cottage, seattle