Account Cancelled After Guest Makes False Claims

I have been an Airbnb Host for about five years. My reviews were mostly five stars. Even when they were less they were always good to outstanding reviews. I made Superhost twice. About two months ago I was warned that my listing was not conforming to discrimination rules. I was not permitted to limit single women to a maximum of three nights (or lose my girlfriend). I was not permitted to limit people who were heavily medicated or using drugs. I was not permitted to state that my place was not a good fit for handicapped people. I fixed all that and then they reactivated my listing. I was also warned that if I had one more violation that I would be barred from using Airbnb and never be able to reactivate or list again. I booked several guest and had five-star reviews from all in the next two months.

Then I booked three guests, two of which I had booked at an earlier date for three or four nights and had given them a very good review, stating they were trustworthy and clean. The three guests were booked for four nights. They did smoke (often in their car). They tried to hook up the living room TV with the HDMI for a PlayStation. Before I went out for the evening I noted that they left the TV on with unknown source. I turned it off for them and went out for the evening. The next morning the TV was in internet mode. The guest had tried to pull the TV off the wall which is not possible because of the custom mounting. The cables for the sound bar and TV were in wrong places. Of course the TV and sound bar would not work. I could not find the controllers and so pulled the power plug to turn it off until I could get help to remove the TV, check it out, and cable it properly and then do the required setups. After two hours it was working fine.

The guests violated house rules by not closing their window and turning off their intake fan in the daytime. They could have been violating the no-smoking house rule. On the third day I was out and about most of the day and returned to find the house unlocked. A short while later, the guest returned and parked in my neighbor’s parking space. I called them to move the car. I was then confronted with one of the guests. He said that my place was full of rodents and insects. I said that was impossible unless they brought them.

He then screamed racial slurs at me. I asked them to leave and he stated that they were on the way out. I called the police who arrived shortly after they left. The officer and I checked the room for rodents. There was something on the sink and a few leaves and sticky spots on the floor. Nothing had been stolen. I noticed that a computer desk caster was broken and called the next day to make a claim.

Airbnb told me that the guest had submitted images of rodents and insects everywhere. I wanted to see the pictures since I said they had to be planted by the guests. I lived here since 2004 and my sister was here ten years before that. There was never a single mouse. Insects were not welcome and well under control. I noted that several extra washcloths were used. Probably to catch all the mice and remove them from the house. They were all gone.

I purchased glue traps and other traps to make sure since I had a guest coming in two days. That guest was an Airbnb host. I told her about the three guests and the rodent pictures. She had never placed a claim with Airbnb. I tried to place a claim and had pictures taken of the broken desk; they kept up a non-response procedure.

They refunded one day’s stay to the guest. I questioned that and then the fee was restored since the first Airbnb person had not consulted with me. A second Airbnb person had overruled the first since they had not followed Airbnb procedures. Then the broken desk claim still needed to be processed. That became impossible, since about five days after the guest left, my account was cancelled.

I was able to book one guest on another site. He emailed me to say his stay had been cancelled. I had not recorded the contact information of the other guests – my mistake. At one time in the past Airbnb had cancelled one of my guest for some issue. When he showed up, he wanted his money back and called his friend for help. The friend burst out laughing.

However, if I had not been home, that guest who had the keypad code could have been in my house. Then what? My general feeling with Airbnb over the years is that they tend to keep changing their rules. Sometimes, I feel that they tend to be very nasty. I have listed my place on VBRO and had my first booking within five days. It seems like most of the places are higher priced. Not so with Airbnb.

Generally, hosts should not expect too much from Airbnb if you ever have to file a claim. Airbnb prevents you from writing a bad review for a guest when your account is cancelled. The fraudulent guest at my place had three okay reviews and one was from me. Any guest can do the same fraud or similar schemes. They do it against many companies. It’s a lot to consider if you host. I think the best thing is to raise your prices high enough for any strangers that you are willing to host. Don’t expect Airbnb, who got too big too fast, to really care about losing you as a host.

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One Comment

  1. Indeed, do your place up, add some extra frills, then move your property to VRBO or Ownersdirect – and ask a wee bit more to sift out professional cheapskates:)

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