Airbnb Claims Hosts are its Partners but Shows Differently

I feel that Airbnb has taken a drastic downward spiral and supporting its “partners,” as they eloquently call its hosts. It’s just plain bad business and I find it condescending in light of its behavior. I’m sure I’m not the only Superhost that has been treated so poorly. The platform seems to have taken a paradigm shift of supporting guests who feel entitled in today’s trying times and punishing hosts. They do not stand by us like they want did.

I had a guest who stayed at one of the listings that I manage. I left him a bad review. He waited two weeks to see if he was going to get $100 out of me because the host had actually gone in and changed out his toilet paper. It was a new host and he just wanted everything to be perfect. When the man got back to his room he said he didn’t request to have new toilet paper. He claimed that he didn’t know that I was the manager and that there was someone else who was the owner living in the attached property. The listing makes repeated mentions of the owner, his name, and that he lives in the attached property for the convenience of the guests.

I cut and pasted all of the sections for him and sent them to him. He thanked me for the clarification and seemed fine. Then he revisited it and said he never asked for these items, yet again. I told him the host would not be entering his listing again and asked if there were any other concerns that I could alleviate. He wanted to know that the owner was vaccinated. I reassured him that the owner indeed was vaccinated, that he wears a mask and gloves when entering the property and that he is the person that cleaned the property moments before the man arrived. He thanked me again and said he understood but just wanted me to understand how he felt.

I told him just as a good gesture we would offer him $100 credit towards a future stay in hopes that he would have a much more pleasant experience. This was not required, and quite frankly nor was it deserved…. but it was offered. Immediately the man replied back he would like to have that hundred dollars applied towards his current stay. Once there was a time when if you bent over backwards to put extra accommodations and amenities like a better quality toilet paper, people would’ve said “well, what a nice gesture.” Now they just steal the supplies if there is an abundance and complain about the extra gestures as though they were invasive.

What reason did he give for wanting $100 applied towards his current stay? He lived out of town and he “might” be moving out of state. Weird fact. Practically all of our guests live out of town, thus the reason for lodging. I told him I would sit down with our team and figure out whether or not this would be justifiable under the circumstances. He was so helpful that he immediately sent me a link on Airbnb as to how to refund his money. I never said I didn’t know how to refund the money. I said I needed to figure out with our team if it was justifiable. That’s a huge difference.

Needless to say, we reached the conclusion that the host should not be punished for trying to do a good deed that was misunderstood. We left him a review right away. Naturally it was negative. He waited the full 14 days and got a hold of us again and said are you gonna give me the refund you “offered“? We never offered him a refund on his current stay. Further when he saw his review and realized he was waiting to see if he could get money before giving a review, he called to Airbnb to complain.

The thing that troubled me about Airbnb is that I called them immediately when the situation occurred during the individual’s stay. Airbnb seemed to stand by me and thanked me for calling them. They said it appeared as though this guy was used to doing this considering he sent the link right away. The customer service rep even laughed about it, suggesting the gall of this person, as outrageous to think such a thing.

This is why it confuses me that two weeks later and right after the man’s review appeared, he called and complained about the situation. His complaint was retaliatory because he did not get the refund he was looking for. Ironically without even asking me about the situation or referring back to our original call with Airbnb, they paused my listing. There was no notification, no email, and no explanation.

When I called them, I reached one of their reps that works from home and was reassured they would call me at 9:00 the next morning. Needless to say, I am writing this story after 10:00 the very same morning and still have not received a call from Airbnb. I think it is one of the worst business practices to suggest that we are partners and treat us like we are a dog that gets slapped in the nose with a newspaper whether what we’ve done is wrong or just because they’ve decided to take the side of a guest without even hearing the side of the host.

It’s unfortunate because we have been with Airbnb since 2012, only four years after they even started business. We are part of the house that built their platform and made them so successful and they treat us like trash at this point. I have tagged the review I wrote about this unscrupulous guest, but then Airbnb has become that way so I can see why it would attract that type of individual. They endorse and condone Machiavellian behavior.

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7 Comments

  1. I can see the way airbnb treated host worsen over the years resulting increasing trend in guests claiming partially or full refund just for a small dirt in the house.
    I have a guest arrived early, demanding extra towels and extra bed for extra guests arrived. We have tried our best to fulfill the guests demand in a short notice. Then this guest call airbnb to complain about the flat has old mark on the window, the dishes has marked, not deeply clean. Airbnb took all this complaints from guests and refund guests 50% of the stay and 100% of cleaning fee in our expense. They still have their service fee from both guests and hosts. At the end of the day, hosts are always the person took the financial hit. And
    and I am sure even with all of that refund, I will still have 1 star review from this ridiculous lied guests

  2. I have been on Airbnb for two years and from the beginning have been a Superhost. I have found some very distrubing behaviors with Airbnb. We don’t have a child safe place so don’t allow children. For rental insurance to be child safe you have to store chemicals out of reach of children, safety latches on all cabinets (I really hate those things and think guests without children would also), guards on electrical outlets, etc. So, I decided not to allow children. But guests will book anyway and right before they arrive inform me they are bringing children. To which I point them out to the house rules that children are not allowed. Now it is too late for them to cancel and they want to do so without a cancellation fee. A couple of times I knew someone wanted to book in their place so I called Superhost support and asked to let the guest cancel without charge. They inform me that if cancel a guests reservation that I could have my Superhost status removed. Duh, I knew that and why I’m calling support to do it. Each time they did it, I get this nasty email from Airbnb about cancelling reservations. WTF, I was trying to help out the guest.

    Additionally, you will find that Airbnb does not support hosts at all when a guest breaks one of the house rules. For instance, when you have a guest bring a hundred pound pitbull and you have a no pet rule. Or they are smoking in your rental when it is no smoking. Airbnb will tell you they will support hosts in the event of damages. A guest in our rental also happened to be a host. A guest had a large party by her pool adjacent to the rental and damaged a bunch of the patio furniture. It got so out of hand she had to call the police. She got nothing from Airbnb. Insult to injury, the guest gave her a bad review and Airbnb would not remove it. For our rental a guest damaged several appliances by improper use, costing us hundreds of dollars. So, far not a dime help from Airbnb. We are seniors on a fixed income so it was a big hit for us. So, much for caring liberals. If you do short term leases you can access damage/security deposits to help lessen the cost in the event of damage. Can’t do that with Airbnb. We have had our last Airbnb guest and will be moving to another platform. I think the future is going to be dimming for Airbnb. Already, several counties in my state have either banned vacation rentals or severely limited them or made it hugely burdensome for the hosts so they don’t even want to try. Therefore, Airbnb is losing hosts on many fronts.

    From the beginning support was not all that great. Now it is completely useless. All in all, definitely a spiral into the abyss for Airbnb

  3. The bad news is this: Its possible that you will be permanently deactivated from listing on airbnb. So you might want to take the time now to prepare yourself for this by listing on other sites like vrbo, homeaway.etc.. The issue is that the co host entered the space where the guest was staying without the permission of the guest and the guest then turned around and reported it to airbnb. It might seem silly but airbnb takes these reports very serious.

    I know other people who had their accounts deactivated permanently and listings removed for doing that. Even when they had good reason to go into the room. (Guest was using drugs) For whatever reason, Airbnb frowns on host entering guest space without permission.

    If for some reason ;you do get your listings reactivated you may want to let the cohost know that he/she cant do that for future reference. If they do they should make sure to get permission from the guest first preferably in writing in the airbnb app. Also I would still set up listings on multiple websites just so you can have a backup.

  4. I also joined Airbnb in 2012 as a host, and was as you say, part of the foundation. The building blocks of the company as it had its second relaunch in 2012.
    Initially, the company was great. There were some long holds on customer service but that was remedied in the 1st year and for the most part, I had very good guests. They were polite, acted humbly in your home and kept good communication for their arrival etc. A lot of Europeans (who are used to this type of accommodation) and a some Americans who were doing their best to acclimate and understand the concept.
    When Airbnb opened up to China, the cultural differences were so stark that I felt that they needed some training on how to adapt themselves to western living and hospitality.
    The bathroom (toilet and shower) was one huge issue amongst many.
    This isn’t to say that I didn’t have good experiences as well but this is when the issues became abundant. It is also at the height of its popularity where even European and American folks started to behave badly. No contact after landing from wherever was a big one. 2:00 a.m. arrivals etc.
    The point is that, as a host, your boundaries have to be firm or you will be run into the ground by working 24hrs a day.
    My experience taught me that doing it occasionally is fine if you need to, doing it full time requires staff beyond housekeeping. You need security and an engineer to deal with all the issues and unsafe situations that occur on their platform. Not one person that you host is vetted for criminal history or drug activity. The hosts themselves are not vetted and have zero experience in the hospitality business. They are just people with a smartphone and a space.

    It’s not safe. I no longer recommend anyone to use the platform for any reason.

    • It’s all just very unfortunate. It was blatantly clear to me when I spoke to the case manager that she was holding up my listings for one reason and one reason only.… Because she could. I tried to remain polite with her, but firm. I spoke to her in a reasonable fashion and she didn’t like it. I’ve learned she cannot reason with an unreasonable person. She said she had all the information that she needed. The guest was taken aback as much as I was. He was so incredibly sorry that it had come to this and had no idea that they would do this to me. It is the craziest thing. Most recently today my husband tried to use them as a traveler to book because we were not just super hosts with over 450 reviews, We were frequent travelers as well with almost 30 positive reviews all over the world. He was unable to book a ski trip to visit our son in college through Airbnb. Even though they said Our traveling abilities would not be hindered, We were unable to utilize the traveling platform as well. Fortunately for me I have my listings with other sites, but the numerous clients I have who had nothing to do with this listing have been impacted. Some of them are very high-end and some of them are very difficult clients to manage. I have to find a diplomatic way to transfer their listings over to another vacation site because I do not see this being handled anytime soon. I have been told it will be put with another ambassador. I have been told no decision has been made, but quite frankly no decision is a decision because it holds up the ability for these listings to book. She not only impacts their income, she impacts income coming into Airbnb. It surprises me that they wouldn’t do a further investigation of the people that they’ve hired at this level And look at the tremendous amount of money that they are losing because the case manager may have had a bad day or you might have put them in short pants by sounding reasonable when they didn’t. It has become a logic free zone for sure.

  5. I wasn’t sure how to post an update so I am adding it here. The guest contacted me and not only apologized but said he only contacted Airbnb because he had hoped they would remove his negative review in light of the fact that this was just a big misunderstanding. I thanked the guest for his call and informed him that Airbnb shit all 29 listings I managed, both active and inactive. He was shocked and surprised. He contacted them immediately and said he wanted both tickets closed and wanted any restrictions on me as a host removed. Their reply was that they would close it out and reinstate my listings. They then sent him a message that they were going to continue looking into it snd have continued to hold up my listings. These listings are completely independent of one another with completely different snd unrelated homeowners. Yes, they really shit down my entire business because one homeowner decided to refresh the guests toilet paper. I have all the correspondence snd have screen shot it in case they try to remove it. I spoke with a “safety case manager” named Greta snd called her out on her hypocrisy snd lied asking leading questions… do you have all the information needed to indispensably my listings… answer: yes… is there a reason you have not unsuspended them… answer: we have guidelines… can you explain those guidelines… answer: no, they are internal. So you are telling me that there are internal guidelines affecting my listings and you will not inform me what they are? Answer: no… I would like to be connected to your supervisor. Answer: I cannot connect you to that person. So you are acting as the gatekeeper to your supervisor? Answer: I’m the highest person you can speak to. Well you certainly are indeed… no answer. It appears as though you have all the information you need to deactivate my listings snd have made a personal decision from a business platform to deny this request that has not only come from me but also the guest. Answer: I have to review the guidelines… really??? I have guidelines in my business snd I know what they are. Are you suggesting that you are not familiar with your own guidelines??? Answer: yes I’m very familiar with them but we need to review them. Who is “we”? Answer: Well the Guidrlines. … I’m sorry, but guidelines are not a person so who is/are the person or persons responsible that need to review the guidelines you claim to be so familiar with? Answer: well, me. .. so when you said we, you actually only meant you, correct? Answer: yes. Then you “are” making a personal decision to keep my listings in suspended status. And you said you are very familiar with the guidelines AND you have all the information to reach the proper conclusion but you are holding up the necessary action to activate my listings… answer: the guidelines… it went on like this for 30 minutes before I could barely hear myself think over the pet bird she had in the background to which I finally said clearly you are unable yo focus with your pet bird in the backdrop —- she also let me know she will not be back for two days and would revisit it then. Airbnb not only impacts decade long super hosts when they permit people like this “Greta” continue unprofessionally representing their interests, but also they lose money from these listings not booking. People will pop over to other sites to book some of these very same properties or others. This is the shift they have taken in becoming a faceless corporation.

    • Airbnb throws Superhosts under bus & takes their status by printing lies. They just printed a review again, after previously removing it, from a guest they knew was lying. Abb backed this Guest with 11 strange complaints during 3 day stay, ie. house on a road (who doesn’t live on road, guess I need to helicopter guests in now), can see neighbors house (now required to buy & tear down neighborhood) & 2 broken appliances that were never broken, swarms of bees (not 1 bee even 1 month later), leather sofa that smelled (like a leather sofa), and can see head lights in 2nd floor windows (cars fly). Lies in message thread during stay so abb knew she was a liar. Not a he said she said. In addition, they have not paid me for an RA claim since Feb that was 100% correctly submitted. Are they still broke? The really funny thing is that they sent me Abb love, a little tote bag for going so far above & beyond for them. But, they won’t just do their job or pay what they owe me. ABB HAS LOST ITS MORAL COMPASS trying to keep it’s market share and cheat hosts. This is legally actionable behavior. They could drive us to a heart attack as well. They are now gone from my twp due to their abuse. I was the last one and I am leaving. Cruel behavior from guests who are just unhappy or want money bk is a new trend, it’s fraud! Everyone feels powerless in their lives. These nasty reviews are a way to regain a bit of power over others. Abb is actually encouraging this by publishing crap that has zero to do with their actual stay. So glad you wrote this article. So timely. So glad my life was not the only one ruined.

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