On my first morning, I refused room service because I was sleeping and the host contacted me later on the same day to give me a hard time. I decided to leave the room early, but I could have done that regardless as the cancellation policy was flexible. I left the room by following the official Airbnb process and wrote a negative review. My review was hidden because it “violated the terms of service by including social commentary” – even though that’s nowhere on the policy – and I didn’t receive any notification, nor did I have the chance to edit it. It simply got blocked, secretively. However, the same review was visible to the host, who retaliated with a negative review even though I was an exemplary guest. The host’s review – untrue, biased and vindictive – was posted on my profile immediately. After some back and forth with customer service debating the issue this is what I received: “As of now, your review has been removed from Cristina’s profile. This will be regarded as our final decision in this case.”
This seem to be a rigged system designed to protect hosts and curb negative reviews to create an illusory five-star marketplace where hosts and guests can only scratch each other’s back. I’m not the only one to think that. This system may seem pragmatic and effective at first but it’s not sustainable. By turning your back on the guests and censoring their reviews, eventually they will stop using this site, one by one, even though they have only five-star hosts. A straight and honest review system built Uber and the lack of it will shut Airbnb down.