Virtually no Verification of Airbnb Guests

I recently hosted a group of overseas teens, who managed to make my home in London a complete mess. I evicted them, and refunded the unused portion of their payment, in conjunction with Airbnb. Now I am trying to be more selective with my guests, but have found out that Airbnb’s way of verifying a guest’s veracity can be as little as getting a phone number.

In the past, there used to be items such as “Government ID verification” which must have had some value. I do not think a phone number counts in any way to establishing identity, as anyone can get one within minutes. The same applies to email addresses.

When I challenged Airbnb on this, they stated that this was their policy, and if I don’t like it I can always cancel a booking. This I did, and received an email stating that my listing may be suspended. Arrogant outfit. As soon as I can get myself off this platform, I will.

Property Listed on Airbnb without Knowledge of Owner

I recently found out, as the owner of a building, that the first floor (two bedrooms with bathroom) and the second floor (condominium with two bedrooms) in Cebu City are being listed for rent by a certain Airbnb host.

I have informed Airbnb about it and asked them:

1. To remove my property from the website

2. To cancel all reservations

3. To provide the total amount already paid out in order to be able to claim it back

4. To have the exact name and coordinates of this so-called host

I know someone is squatting in the house and there is already a case in court in order to recuperate my building and personal belongings. After one week, the support service decided to pass my case on to a special service; they closed the file and said all communication would now be done by email. I received an email that I had to send a scanned letter with my complaints and location, and that they would pass it on to the host.

Three days later, after not seeing any reaction, they replied to my email stating that I had to contact the host myself. I answered that this was impossible as I did not have the location of the host.

These are my complaints now:

1. Even there is proof that she cannot put those rooms up for rent as she is not the owner, Airbnb still has them on their website.

2. There is no location listed for this host

3. Nobody contacted my lawyers even though this is a case in court and they should be willing to provide any information

4. Airbnb support refuses to give me the name of the person who is in charge of my complaint and gives no real answers.

5. There has been no reaction at all to the fact that it is against the rules that a property is being rented without the authorization of the landlord.

The only thing I can say that it would be better to have no support staff than having one that is not even capable of giving answers. At least you could expect that they should take immediate action against violation of the rules. Regards and I hope somebody with authorization at Airbnb is looking into my complaint.

Airbnb puts Owners on Timeout due to Guest Scam

I have been using Airbnb as an owner for the past year or so. All of my reviews have been excellent except for two. One complained about the furniture, comparing it to a college dorm after she left, but never to me during her stay. Then I had another two guests after her who loved the place and wanted to use it again in the future.

Then a scammer reserved my home for four nights. He asked me to let him check in earlier than 3:00 PM. I told him 12:00 PM would be ok. Then I did not hear from him again. At 7:00 AM, the day after his check in, I got a message he had sent me at 4:00 AM saying that he just got there and found a roach. Therefore, he could not stay there and wanted his money back.

This was a scam because the previous guest never saw a roach and I use a professional bug company to spray the home inside and out. Airbnb had two different staff members ask me to tell them what happened. I did. They asked me if I was willing to refund the money. I said no, because it was a lie. I personally went to the home the day I received the message and did not find any bugs. The Airbnb person said okay, and closed the ticket.

A week later, another guest checked in and had no issues. I also got a guest request for a two-month reservation. After I pre-approved the guest, Airbnb sent me an email stating that they had suspended my listing for one week.

I immediately called them up to find out the reason why. The agent said she could not help me but would refer me to a supervisor who will call me at some point in the future. She had no idea when. I asked her what will happen with the prea-pproval and the guest trying to book my home for two months. She said I will not be able to communicate with her until Airbnb decides to relist my house.

Really? I did nothing wrong. I want to see what kind of hosting business will Airbnb have without any hosts! Please do not use this company to list your properties. Go to VRBO.

When your Condo gets Trashed by Spring Breakers

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My condo located in Destin, Florida sleeps six. I booked it to a seemingly sweet couple, but in reality, it turned out to be twenty spring breakers who trashed my place. My housekeeping company charged three times the departure cleaning fee and rightfully so. All of my bed and bath linens were destroyed along with many other things.

I filed my claim with Airbnb and sent my housekeepers’ images. The response I got back from Airbnb was that the guest had already paid a cleaning fee. My reply was the cleaning required to perform a necessary departure clean of one hour is far less than the real cost of four additional hours to clean up after 20 spring breakers partying like rockstars for a week. Airbnb indicated that the images didn’t look that bad.

It appears that Airbnb is now setting the cleaning rates nationwide. My housekeeper has taken great care of my unit over the years. Airbnb charges whatever they want for their services and now seems to be deciding the fees on other businesses also. If 60 images of a trashed home are not enough for Airbnb, what is?

It’s crucial for owners who become hosts to know that Airbnb is not going to cover the cost of your vacation rental getting trashed by the guest. They surely did not mention that to me when I was signing up. Now the fault and loss of cleaning up after a lousy guest are dumped on me and the local cleaners and housekeepers. Without my housekeeper, I do not have a vacation rental.

If you are a guest through Airbnb go ahead and trash that unit. The cost to clean it up is on the backs of the cleaning companies now who are being forced by Airbnb to clean it up for free. If I don’t pay my housekeeper, I will receive a lien on my property.

When an Airbnb Host is not an Airbnb Host

About two weeks ago we were paid a visit by a gentleman knocking on our door asking for “Richard”. My wife answered and told him there was no “Richard at this address”. The man seemed confused. He was sure he had the correct address and rechecked his Airbnb app. His intentions were to stay at our home for three nights.

“Sorry, we don’t know what you’re talking about.”

He then showed us photos of our house. Surprise, surprise… we had all been scammed. Whoever had set up the fictitious Airbnb account had swiped photos of our home off of VRBO and populated them into the made-up account. Fortunately, the potential lodger had a daughter in town and was going to flop on her couch.

He did call “Richard” on the supplied phone number but the person on the other line hung up abruptly. We obviously encouraged him to call Airbnb to straighten things out. We also notified Airbnb. Unfortunately, it fell on deaf ears.

We thankfully got some of the information from the poor guy who was left stranded: his confirmation number, etc. We decided to research the information we saw online. The host’s photo had been swiped off a site for cochlear implants, and the cell number belonged to a guy in upstate Wisconsin.

We blocked our caller ID and spoke with him. He said he had been getting calls for the last couple of days and stopped answering the phone. I was sort of surprised that he picked up our call. My wife still thinks he may have been the perpetrator but he sounded somewhat surprised.

Meanwhile, the associates at Airbnb kept telling us someone would call us back… crickets, nada, zip. We called again the next day and the next day after that. No returned calls. All we ever heard was that they would mark our ticket as “URGENT” and call us back… yeah, right.

We also tried contacting Airbnb via their website. There was some back and forth which ended up as a short thread that was eventually moved to email. Once it got moved, the Airbnb contact names would change with every explanation.

A couple of days went by and lo and behold what do you think happened? That’s right, we got another visitor, a couple actually. They too had been bamboozled by this scam but did they get a call from Airbnb with a heads-up? Apparently not.

We continued our calls for the next several days. I also CC’d two Airbnb executives in my emails along with the various associates they assigned to us. Still, no courtesy call or explanation. They’re up for an IPO I hear. I wish them luck. With this type of non-customer service, I will not be indulging in any of their stock. I also canceled my Airbnb account. Has this happened to any other poor souls out there?

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Guest Who Didn’t Even Stay Posts Review

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A woman reserved my house in Austin for the MotoGP weekend and and never actually stayed at my house. Her fiancé and guy friends trashed my house and stole bottles of liquor (had a sign up requesting payment of cost for any liquor taken). I asked for the $125 (which is actually less than the cost).

Airbnb refused to answer anything for six days and refused to actually call me after four calls being told it would be handled. The woman who booked never complained once while the guys were partying and staying at my house. I called her out for her fiancé’s group leaving bags of trash everywhere and food out and she denied everything.

I sent pictures to Airbnb and they refused to do anything to help. Just patronizing messages from someone who hides their name and refuses to actually talk. I don’t think anyone who didn’t actually step into one of my rentals should be able to post a review. I based my acceptance of her reservation request on her five stars but she never stayed at my house. Her review is probably full of more lies and I have six days to get it taken down. I realize I can respond to get bogus review but it will ruin this beautiful blew listing.

I have eight Airbnb properties and have never been treated so unprofessionally. This policy must be changed. If an instant booking is based on a person’s reviews and likability then they should be staying at the listed house. This woman from California is just lying her way through the Airbnb system. I need corporate’s involvement. I can’t get through to anyone higher up to help after so many calls.

How Airbnb Punishes Hosts for Cancellations and Otherwise

Hello hosts, has anyone else noticed how your ranking (listing rank on searches) dumps when you or Airbnb make any kind of cancellation Declining inquiries seem to be second on the list of items affecting ranking.

I was told by Airbnb reps (4-5) that there would be no “punishment for cancellations” if I called Airbnb customer service and they made the cancellation due to a guest that was not a fit for my cabin. These included smokers, pets, oversized groups, guests wanting events, guests wanting to film movies on the property, etc.

Has anyone also noticed a severe decrease in customer support (now called customer experience) on Airbnb since 2019? Do you get the “I am sick or leaving the office for two days and will call you back then” line over and over? Then they send a message a week or two later asking to close the case… with no efforts to help on the issue… or any kind of acknowledgement of the questions or exact issue you asked? Please let me know. I need to know it is not just me feeling more negative about Airbnb.

Three Bookings in, Airbnb will not Pay its Hosts

We have had three reservations with Airbnb that we just started a couple months ago and it has been a nightmare. We hosted a family on March 27th. In the past they usually posted the deposits to our accounts on a certain date, but as of today, we still have not received payment.

I have called numerous times with no resolutions being made. The first lady from Airbnb customer service (on April 2nd) said they had a “glitch” in their system and said it would be a few days. On April 13th, a gentleman could not figure it out still and agreed it was “ridiculous”. I just called and they won’t even talk to me because they now know that I record all my calls… kind of hypocritical that they can record but I can’t. They know they are in the wrong and don’t want to admit to it over the phone anymore.

Don’t use Airbnb as a host or guest. They should not collect money and refuse to pay the hosts. These are our five-star customer reviews:

A truly relaxing, inviting, and notable experience.

The only other review before this one is:

Quaint Midwest home with a perfect overlook of Broken Bow. Wonderfully remodeled with never ending stories throughout the entire home. The hostess was incredible and super kind to our children. Large spaces for evening get-togethers and great kitchen area for shared meals. For anyone looking for a memorable experience during their Custer County stay, this is the place for you.

We have multiple listing with VRBO and never had problems. We had three with Airbnb that we just started a couple months ago and it has been a nightmare.

Guests Damage Stove and Leave Place Filthy

I hosted a couple last summer. I almost canceled because I had a bad feeling but then decided to host them because they assured me it was just a vacation to see a concert and they were quiet and respectful. Well, that was a complete lie. It was evident upon my arrival when the guests checked out very early and ignored my messages when I asked them what time they would be checking out so I could meet them for my keys.

I decided to go over myself to see what was going on. They had checked out early clearly to evade me. I could not believe the mess and disgusting smells they left behind. They damaged my stove, which is a vintage gas stove. I messaged them confronting the violations of my rules. There was no answer; all I could do was warn others and leave a bad review.

I contacted Airbnb with a lot of photos they said I need to provide more information and invoices. I told them I cannot afford to fix my stove. I tried to get a quote but it was very difficult finding a vintage stove repair company and expensive. I kept up with Airbnb but they decided to ignore me. I told them I contacted the guest directly and they kept ignoring me.

Of course Airbnb did nothing to help. Airbnb needs to toughen up on guests violating house rules and damaging property. This is, after all, our home. We choose to share it with others.

Bad Guest + Damages = Bad Airbnb Policy

This ended fairly well, but not without a huge fight with Airbnb about their catch-22 policy. Here’s how we dealt with it:

We rented our entire million-dollar waterfront home to a family of four and relatives. It turned out it was one family that sublet the rest of the rooms to other “families”. They felt they did not have to supervise anyone for four days.

Literally 350 lbs of garbage was taken out of the house to the dump. There was $3000+ in damages, including from children peeing in beds and leaving it without stripping the sheets off. There was broken furniture from when they moved it all to create a huge playpen in the recreation room for all their children, so they could leave them unattended, resulting in sh*t on the carpet, crayon on the walls, and the pool table used as a baby diaper changing station.

In talking to the guest about payment for the extra damages, they posted a dead mouse photo and complained about how upset they were to have to find this. The photo was of a dead mouse up against a wall that does not exist in my home. I just found out on this site that it is a common tactic to get an instant rebate from Airbnb.

We felt we should review the guest so that other hosts would be wary. They reviewed us very badly and complained about how rude we were, how terrible our property was, and that they had done no damage at all. It would be funny but Airbnb refused to remove the obviously fake review: “We don’t make judgments on the validity of reviews. We let the public forum decide who to believe.”

Now we’re were going to be stuck with the last review as the first thing renters would see the next season. This had to go.

How to get your claim paid fast: we collected all the evidence of damages, got estimates on repairs, and had some receipts for replacement items. We submitted our claim to Airbnb.

If you have a claim be sure to wrap it up in a bow. Take one page for each item – don’t lump it all on one page – shoot and include photos, or screenshots from websites showing replacement items and the cost. Itemize each page and include a spreadsheet showing items and totals with a grand total on a cover page. There are insurance people who have to do this so if you do their job for them they will rubber stamp it, take a percentage off for “depreciation”, and cut you a cheque right away. It worked for us.

Remember the depreciation so be sure to get good estimates or online shop for the best replacement without cheaping out on the price. You could replace it at Walmart, but why not Best Buy instead? PDF that document and email it to them.

I had to argue this one up four levels of customer service to finally get a resolution. Remember that the first customer service person has no power to solve your problem. They seem to be trained to simply spit out the policy, even if that policy makes no sense. In our case, I needed the bad review expunged because it was a lie.

My catch-22 argument was that while “[Airbnb] make[s] no judgement on truthfulness of reviews,” they had made a judgement because their resolutions department had decided that I was telling the truth and the guest had damaged our place so they paid me. They couldn’t pay my claim and say they couldn’t make a judgement on truth. Do not stop complaining. Do not believe that the person you are talking to is the ultimate authority. These people all have a boss – demand to speak to their supervisor.

It took me almost two months to get high enough and I had a very good logical argument for the removal. They finally took it off saying, “upon review we have determined that the review was malicious in defense of damage they had caused”.

I consider myself a very good Superhost and have also been to many wonderful Airbnb rentals without incident for the last two years. I’m pretty certain that, as a host, justice was not done. I’m sure that Airbnb did not chase after the guest for the damages money they paid out, nor did they take advantage of the $2000 damage “deposit” I have in my listing (which if you’ve ever been a guest you know it never gets posted to your credit card).

The guest probably got a refund for the fake mouse photo. So this guest has never been punished for their bad behaviour and will probably do this to another host. How is that protecting your business, Airbnb? Hell, I’m even worried that they will try to rent again under a different name or person in the group, e.g. “Hey, Bob, it’s your turn to book”. They had such a fabulous unsupervised stay the last time, why not do it again?