Canceled our Upcoming Reservation and Closed our Account

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Today, I would like to tell you my story to you. If someone can help, please contact me. We have done everything we could… even contacting Airbnb directors:

I am addressing this to all of you because I do not know who I can talk to about a really problematic situation with Airbnb support. We were Superhosts and proud of it. We have built a super relationship with more than 300 Airbnb guests around the world and many of them are still in contact with us.

Last Friday, we managed to address a false allegation that a guest had made against us. Subsequently, the security department has taken a dislike to us, cancelling our upcoming reservation (without informing us) and closed our accounts. We were Superhosts for several years. We have hosted more than 100 families around the world in our family house and private house. We were selected as one of the five families to make a promotional video for Airbnb in October 2019 and now, our account is closed. No reply, no callback… nothing.

A guest invited additional people without paying, unplugged the security cameras for the hidden extra guest, stole product, and made a defamatory review about us. If someone has already managed to reactivate his account. contact me. The guest review was deleted and a few hours after that they closed our account.

I’d like to point out that in July 2019 we had a similar issue with another guest. It escalated to the resolution center again and was resolved in our favor. The agent also pointed out that we should add a substantial penalty for guests who would tamper with the camera to act as a deterrent to hide or unplug the cameras. I’d also like to mention that the listing clearly indicates that we have cameras outside and inside. You can also see them in the profile pictures.

The camera outside focuses on the backyard and films the patio door and side door. The second camera is located in the kitchen and points at the side door as well and observes the activity in the kitchen. The third camera is installed in the living room and focuses on the living room to look at the front door. Basically, they are there to watch the ins and outs in the house and, as an added bonus, we feel a little secure to know that the stove won’t be left on by accident or water running in the sink.

To access the bathroom, you need to go in the corridor and then turn left to the bathroom. The cameras have no way to see into the bathroom and I’d like to add that they are not able to film in the bedrooms. You could strip naked out of the bathroom and walk to the master bedroom (located in the same corridor) without the crossing any cameras.

For sure, if a guest would have waltzed naked in the kitchen or living room, the camera would register it. This does not necessarily mean we would watch the footage, since we don’t have enough time in a day to observe 24 hours multiplied by three (three cameras recording 24 hours a day). The cameras are only accessed if damage happen, there’s a door alert, or whenever my neighbor reports that there are more guests than reported.

Now for this guest’s group we have three claims. The first is the easiest one: the $2 for a chocolate bar. In a discussion with the guest, we’ve mentioned and sent the price list for a little pilot project we have started: a mini convenience store in one of the kitchen cabinets. The goal was to sell snacks, dried pasta or canned goods to prevent a trip back to the supermarket. Some guests do not have a car or simply don’t feel like going out.

The markup on these items is about 25%… enough to cover stolen/damaged/expired merchandise. We see it as a service and not revenue. The guest’s daughter took a chocolate bar, as he admitted in communications. We simply want the $2 for the goods as it was explained when they arrived. It was never complimentary, and they knew it. Also, we couldn’t care less if Air Canada gives them away. Try that lame excuse at the supermarket to see if they’ll give them away since you’ve purchase $100 worth of meat… you’ll see.

The second claim is for the extra guest. We live near the house, but not next to it. My neighbors, ones I’ve known for 34 years and the second for 30+ years, kept an eye on the property for me. One has the key and helps with the garbage, pool and all. One of them reported to me that the guest’s group was six people. Their reservation was for five though.

The guest also proved this himself in writing by agreeing they lied to us, tried to cheat the Airbnb system, and did in fact invite an extra guest. We don’t care that they are trying to get away with only one night of extra guests instead of two (at that point, I would have been surprised he didn’t). So far, the guest proved that he was willing to lie to steal money from us, whether it was for the chocolate bar or the extra guest. My neighbor hasn’t lie to me in 30+ years… the guest did twice in a weekend. So this is why we are claiming an extra $40 (2 x $20).

The third claim is for the camera unplugging. $250 is the fee to tamper and/or unplug a camera as mentioned on the profile and added following an Airbnb agent’s suggestion. Again, something they proved they did in writing. This one is pretty obvious to me. They did it. They are guilty. The will pay the penalty fee. I want to point also that my husband had to realign the cameras after their stay since they had directed the camera “off track” as well.

After what was demonstrated above, it’s now striking why they did so. The camera clearly was an obstacle in getting the extra guest in, combined with the chocolate bar petty theft. Note that the penalty isn’t per day or per minute… it’s per offense. Since they have unhooked two cameras, we could have counted two offenses resulting in a $500 claim, but we found that $250 would be enough of a penalty.

I think this explains the reason we made these claims and clearly demonstrated that they are justified. If anything was left out, feel free to reach out to us. Thank you everybody for your support and help.

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6 Comments

  1. I just had a awful Problem with Airbnb customer service as well. Who can I make a claim to or talk with about that? Anyone know??

  2. I agree with Derek. Remember it is really not so personal, but just an automated system with a few airheads as backup! You really have no rights online when you sign them away during “terms acceptance”.

    The new policies for 2019 are:
    1.)No inside cams or cams for private areas. (parking cams acceptable but even questioned)
    AIrheads are all about protecting themselves from litigation … but NOT the hosts property.
    2.)No help from airheads for what they define as “arbitrary fees”. This means additional services, sales and even fees for damages. You can “claim for damages” with full proof of replaced/repaired items with receipts and typically get about 50-75% of claims.
    I started to include fees for guests that do not follow rules, causing extra cleanup and other damages. This works good to “scare people into behaving”, but Airbnb will not enforce or collect on items in your rental contact and listing. It is optional to pay any costs other than the original booking cost. As more “bad player guests” learn this optional rule they are abusing it more and more.

    Here are the main issues this causes:
    Over occupancy, health and safety issues and fires. Since airheads refuse to even enforce the rental contracts on its listings for the agreed number of guests they are many times promoting parties and over occupancy of buildings. This causes bad situations where the only solution is to evict a guest to prevent over occupancy or loses of fees for additional guests. We have also had people who smoke on our property located in a high danger wildfire area and get no help from airheads to charge fees for breaking this rule, putting the whole community at danger of a fire.

    Here is my current strategy:
    I always question guests that book less than 4 and let them know they need to correct the request. Guests pay additional fees for #5 and #6 guest on my rental. I also have a question that is given for each booking that requests description of all guests and basic travel plans.
    I also disclose that a security cam watches the parking lot and that I live nearby.
    When a group asks for “certain nights of occupancy” they are required to pay up front and then I give them a refund for less guests on certain nights. Half of them tend to be all nights and get no refund!

    I am at the point where I will NOT check in groups that show up with extra guests. That is a default of contract to have extra guests on the property at any time! Before 2019 airheads would charge for additional guests with proof and not make it an optional payment. Airheads now avoid this issue by ignoring it and promoting “lock box rentals”. It has only happened a few times out of hundreds of rentals, so it is not so bad to lose some bookings. Who knows if I will get removed from the platform for following UBC occupancy requirements for health and safety, not to mention loss of additional guest fees. I am currently punished for being a responsible host, not using lock box type check in, and having a security cam in the parking areas. I have been at the lowest ranking for searches for about 2 years when airheads started discriminating against responsible hosts. Airheads want to promote profit at your cost on your property with no confirmation to laws or safety as part of that profit equation! I fortunately live in a high demand global tourist destination, and still stay 50% booked. You can only imagine why so many communities are down on airbnb and its airheads. I hope to sell my property soon and get out of this mess!

  3. Hi Sophie, totally concur with Derek. Have been a super host for over 4 years now with 130 visits (my own property). Firstly, cameras inside a property is an absolute no, no! I would never personally book a property that utilises this, it smacks of distrust at best to voyeurism at worst, and could lead to you being accused of all sorts. Like yourself I have had guests abuse/break and it is always a balancing act as to whether it is worth risking the loss of your super host status over small amounts. The charge for reconnecting the cameras is excessive. re-list, take the cameras out, stop selling bits and bobs and build a great reputation on hosting. All the best and good luck x

  4. Hi Sophie, here is my advice as a host with multiple listings. First off, the camera inside is 90% likely what did it. Even if you disclose you have a camera inside, it can still get you into trouble. Even if you have a camera outside, you still should disclose it but in the future, DO NOT put any cameras inside.

    So for the solution, here it is. Airbnb will not reactivate your old account. They won’t no matter who you contact or even if you sue them, it is just a waste of money and stress because you probably don’t have a strong case.

    So the solution is, get a new bank account, change the ip address in your home, you can perhaps install nordvpn or just get a new internet provider, change your cell phone number and create a new account under a diferent name. This is the ONLY way you can get your account up and running again. Yes, you will lose your reviews and superhost status but you will get it back eventually. Just be cautious and change the pictures so it does not look obvious that it is the same listing. Also at the end of the day, it is possible that a different owner bought the home and is hosting now and based on the pictures looking similar to your previous listing, they probably won’t shut down your account because it looks like it is a completely different host.

    You will be fine just think with your head and creatively. Don’t keep wasting your time to convince them to reactivate your account. It won’t work. Just read up on the several comments from hosts on the airbnb community forum and you will see it is not worth your time doing this. Just start fresh and DON’T put any cameras inside and let the little things like $2 chocolates go. Sometimes when you try to get $2 from a guest, you end up losing thousands because that guest is just evil and will report you for things.

    Take my advice, trust me on that.

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