Our property used as basis for multi-national scam

My husband and I have a lovely studio apartment in Montenegro, on our own property with our house next to it. It is our only letting property.

Last night we were first puzzled and then amazed and then horrified to get bookings come in for properties in the centre of London, Paris, Amsterdam, Dublin, Barcelona – cities where to have properties in the areas advertised would cost millions. I phoned the Airbnb desk in London (+44 203 318 111 from our Airbnb page) and spoke to a helpful chap who said that he would de-list the properties and pass on the complaint to a higher level. I assume he has done something as some of those properties are in fact de-listed.

However, we are still getting automatic reminders to deal with the 100-odd bookings which have come in since last night. At least the number I phoned seems to be genuine, a worry I had after ending the call. We have still to be contacted by the Airbnb legal team or whoever deals with scams, but I thought a post on this site might help to warn other hosts – and guests – that your site may well be a target for scammers able to bypass Airbnb’s automatic systems.

Airbnb Guest Using my Address to Get Mail

Last year I had a guest in my Airbnb and we had an issue. I then Googled his name and found he got his jollies from committing credit card fraud. Six months pass and it was totally out of my mind. Today I just came from the police precinct and am sitting here with mail that is arriving at my house with his name on it. Not only am I pissed because I never gave this person permission to use my address for anything of the sort, I’m pissed because Airbnb said there is nothing they could do, except look for when he pops up again using a different account and hope they can continue blocking him. I’d rather work three jobs to pay my rent after this. I have had serious issues with Airbnb and see that when things go wrong, they go to a dimension of space that is unfit for the Klingons.

Airbnb Giving False Tax Advice to Hosts

The matter first began when Airbnb froze payment on my account. I opened a simple ticket to inquire why. First Airbnb said I had to fill out a US tax account form. This was false, as I am in Canada. I spent time and money trying to resolve the matter based on this false tax advice.

Next Airbnb said I needed to become a business and provide my business details. Again, I investigated; this was also false.

Lastly it was a simple matter unrelated to what Airbnb support told me. I then asked to escalate this horrible matter when I was given blatantly false information and to be given a chance to provide feedback on the specific conversation. After wasting my time telling me they’re working on it behind the scenes but can’t talk to me about my own ticket, they had the audacity to tell me I was making a bigger deal out of it than it really is.

Because of how poorly this has been handled I feel very unsafe hosting on Airbnb. Moreover, I have not received any confirmation from Airbnb on what they did wrong. They are sending me cookie cutter generic responses that don’t relate to my issue.

I have an outstanding case with Airbnb. They refuse to give me a ticket number so I can reference our conversation. They have been most unprofessional and unhelpful and keep trying to close the ticket without resolving anything.

Illegal Sublet of my Property on Airbnb

I own a $3 million dollar home in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles. I recently moved out of state and signed a three-year lease with a tenant. My lease specifies that subletting is illegal and specially calls out sites like Airbnb for subletting purposes.

In December of 2018, I discovered that my tenant moved out of my property and started subletting the home on Airbnb (my neighborhood watch found the Airbnb ad and informed me). The police have been called multiple times to my property due to large parties and neighborhood disturbances.

I have reported the listing of my property to Airbnb as an illegal sublet and also have flagged the host. I received an email from Airbnb stating that there is nothing that they can do as the host agreed to the terms and conditions of having full authority/ownership to rent out the property.

What? Nothing you can do, Airbnb? They’re certainly making a boat load of money off an illegal sublet. I’m sure that’s why they won’t shut this ad/person down. I now am represented by a very large legal firm in Los Angeles, we are going through the eviction process with this tenant. The ad is still up and my “soon to be ex-tenant” still continues to rent the house.

This is a huge liability to me if someone gets hurt, my insurance will not cover accidents that occur while subletting. I would like to start a class action lawsuit against Airbnb for not vetting out hosts for ownership or authorization that they can rent out properties on the website. This is completely unacceptable and the only thing I can do is hire a very expensive attorney to remedy this situation. Who’s with me?

Airbnb Already Ruined Christmas, Waiting for Payout

I spent a lot of money redecorating a room in my home to have a new listing. A guest rented my place under false pretenses. I had to ask Airbnb to move them. When I did, I had the right to kick them out and keep the money but I did not.

I told Airbnb the woman could keep her next two future payments for the month of December and part of January. So, the agreement was that she would move out on November 30th and we would be done with each other. The last payment I received was on October 29th for the month of November. After all of this was arranged and decided in early November, I moved on.

December rolled around and two charges totaling nearly 1400 were removed from my payout. It said they were for “adjustments”. This happened late in the evening of the 23rd/early morning of the 24th/Christmas Eve. I had three guests at the time but for some reason the payment was late and not in full. I only received $136 for three guests?

I still had presents to pick up and had to travel out of state. I was depending on those funds to get me through the end of the month. I contacted Airbnb and they said the removal of funds was for the woman who moved out on November 30th.

I spent my Christmas Eve contacting family to help me financially to get to my destination and pick up the rest of my gifts – humiliating to say the least. I spend hours on the phone with Airbnb, and twice was told I would get called back immediately because they agreed with me, but only a supervisor could return the funds. Each time I did not get called back.

On Christmas Day I was contacted by Airbnb. A guest in my home had complaints and wanted to cancel and leave. He also wanted to talk to me in person. I then had to travel back home to NYC on Christmas Day to handle it.

Dealing with this literally ruined my holiday. I spent hours on the phone being put on hold and transferred instead of spending times with the kids. I had to leave the festivities and go home, only to have the guest tell me he was leaving because there was now room in his friend’s hotel. This is after him requesting the three most expensive nights of the year in NYC at a discount and after demanding I return home from out of state, to tell me he is leaving because he doesn’t want to pay.

The Airbnb supervisor told me they would fix the situation and call me in a few days. They were clearly working on Christmas, but made no attempt to fix the situation. A few days later they did not call during our scheduled time. I then spent over an hour on hold and then an hour and a half on the phone with people getting redirected.

I got another guy on the phone who agreed I should not have had the 1400 removed because I never received money for December and January from the woman. I have contacted Airbnb through Facebook and sent them all of my information twice. I have phoned people every other day. I have written within their app to customer service. Every single time they say they are still investigating. It is now 21 days later and they have admitted several times I am right but they claim to be investigating further and have not paid me out.

This is not the first time Airbnb has made “adjustments” and removed money from a listing for a previous one. I have also had guests come and ruin furniture, linens, and property only to receive nothing for damages in return. I provided photographic proof of a guest who wrote in sharpie on my walls, furniture and bed spreads. The same guest also caused a flood and damage to the basement apartment that are yet to be fixed.

I filed two complaints with Airbnb, provided proof, and they did not bother to contact me. Because of all this, I am constantly earning hand to mouth with Airbnb. At this rate, I am not really making a profit because I have not made back the money from fixing up the room and I have not made back the money from all the damage a guest caused in the other. Airbnb takes security deposits but what do they do with them?

Mismatched Expectations Between Hosts and Guests

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“In my experience communication with the host tends to be limited”

What do other hosts think about this? Would you allow someone into your house who doesn’t communicate? Even Airbnb encourages hosts to prepare a set of questions for guests, asking about their arrival time, reason for visiting, number of guests, luggage, house rules, etc. I literally copied and pasted the questions from Airbnb, but the guest used it against me, leaving one star for communication.

I moved to the freshly renovated luxury apartment a month before the guest’s arrival and asked him to take care of it like his own home. I mentioned I had a guest who painted her hair black in my brand new white bathroom – leaving black stains – and told the guest I’m not into drama which means if he doesn’t feel comfortable with my cleanliness he’s free to book other accommodations. I spend too much money on this apartment and couldn’t afford further damages in my first month. I’d rather him cancel and be open about it. I was sure I was  polite and professional with my communication; therefore I didn’t understand the guest’s aggression towards me and it really upset me.

“Upon arrival in the city, I reached out to the host to arrange a meet (something I’ve never had to do with any other host)”

Let me specify ‘the meet’ in the apartment. The correct word would be: meet and greet. What do you think, hosts? Is it bad thing to meet your guest in person? Even Airbnb commercials shows the meeting of the host and guest. Again, I didn’t understand what was my mistake.

“She provided me with a different address to the apartment”

My building has two entrances: the north and south side. You are allowed to put only one address on the listing. Therefore I always ask guests which side they’re coming from to give them a better address. I even send the map to the Airbnb team showing it was the same place. This was ignored.

“I think she could tell by my facial expression, I knew something was not accurate.”

Well, what a politically correct way to cover the fact he looked at me with disgust, assuming I’m Russian upon first meeting face to face. I felt horrible and very uncomfortable, but couldn’t name the feeling. I was thinking the guest thought I was from a third-world country and he was concern about the cleanliness. I reassured him everything was clean and showed multiple cleaning products and detergents. I encouraged him to feel free to use them during his stay whenever he wants.

He attacked me again, saying I asked him to clean. The apartment was sparkling clean; I put a lot of effort and heart in my new home. I’d never expect someone would want to clean it. Therefore I admit I left only one (thick) roll of paper towels alongside several different types of clothes, but I didn’t expect a guest would want to clean the entire apartment. I felt like he wanted to clean after me… clean out my presence. If he had asked about paper towels I’d simply have bought them, but he didn’t.

Finally, he complained about the “sparsely” furnished apartment. Before I moved in, I checked approximately 30 luxury apartments with a real estate agent. I took pictures of furnished model apartments, and I was collecting catalogs with recent home decor trends. My style would have been named ‘urban minimalistic’ by an agent, but not the guest, who used it as another occasion to attack me – suggesting I’m poor minded, maybe even retarded (as he mentioned in further conversation due to my origins) and couldn’t afford furniture. Obviously he didn’t expect I would know any trends; he prejudged me and my place. It was a disgusting experience, but that was just the beginning.

Can Misogynist Feedback Be Deleted?

I am an Italian host. You might wonder why I an not reaching out the Italian Airbnb website. I tried but I wasn’t very lucky. I am reaching to the US Airbnb site for two reasons: I have lived for some time in the US and there I got to know the US culture better. And so (second reason) I know people there take discrimination and bias seriously. Honestly after the #metoo movement and all its consequences I would expect some awareness here in Italy too, but unfortunately this doesn’t seem to be the case.

I had a problem with a guest who came to my place for New Year’s Eve. Since I was away for those days I thought it would have been nice to let someone get the chance to stay in my place and, at the same time, get a little extra money. Unfortunately it didn’t turn out as expected. I was unlucky to host a guest who had never used Airbnb before, expected my house to be a hotel, and expected me to be the hotel manager.

When he booked I asked him an approximate check in time. He didn’t answer for ten days and the night before check in he told me that since he already paid for the whole sojourn, he would expect me to be at his complete disposal. As I said, it was New Year’s Eve so I had plans with some friends. I told him that if he would have answered before I would have time to arrange a proper check in.

Anyway I did my best and told him my mum’s address to get the key. He did the check in alone. I left some post-its with important stuff and told him that for any questions he could Whatsapp me. Usually when I check someone in I give more details about where some helpful stuff is but I thought that since he would be staying just a few days we could just communicate via phone.

I checked on him a few times and he always said that everything was okay. He even asked me for the wifi password which is written in the house rules, proving that he had no idea how Airbnb works: he never even read my house rules.

After check out I got a surprise: some misogynist private feedback and a terrible public review. For example, he complained that there wasn’t enough toilet paper and no Schuko adapter but both were in the house. Why hadn’t he asked me for supplies? Just so he could write there weren’t any.

On the one hand I believe some people should just keep booking hotels and, as you can imagine, it is frustrating to deal with people that are not informed to be in the Airbnb community. If things would have been like this I could have let it go, but I am deeply concerned about the direction this world is going. Since I do not like it, I have sworn to myself to always try my best to make this world a better place.

This implies that I cannot let any sort of sexist comment go that attacks based on gender. In the private feedback, this guest insulted me because on my fridge I have a little plate saying “rompicoglioni della vagina!” which was given to me during a theater show of the vagina monologues (a very important show that started off Broadway and initialized the v-day movement).

He complained about the fact that I had my vagina ring (closed in its box of course) in the fridge: the vagina ring is medicinal for me and has to be in the fridge (between 2 to 6 Celsius degree) to be effective. I was told to put it in there by a gynecologist.

Last but not least, I had two used pads in the rubbish bin and of course he complained, claiming my house was dirty. In Reggio Emilia, both the recycling and generic waste (where the pads where) are collected door to door once a week; I really had no other options.

In conclusion, I feel like I am paying with my reputation, the fact that I am a feminist woman. This is wrong and should be stopped by whoever has the power to set a good example, Airbnb. Moreover, I wonder if there are any grounds to sue. Any help would be appreciated.

AirbnBS: Customers Want the Cheapest Option

I had several listings in central Sydney. The idea was to ‘test’ Airbnb at a few different market levels ranging through cheap, mid-market and high end. My experience has been that the only successful listings are the cheap ones. The reason for this is because Airbnb guests are inherent cheapskates.

Listings at the cheapest end of the market (a share room, backpacker style dorm) show a constant demand and high occupancy and as long as the photos and description are accurate and specific, the guests do not have any grounds for high expectations and, equally, any sustainable grounds for complaint. Alternatively, the opposite is true of mid-market and high end listings.

To attract bookings you have to be highly competitive and provide a full range of amenities, all of which are grounds for some kind of complaint by an asshole cheapskate trying for a free nights accommodation. My advice is keep it cheap and keep it simple and decline any guest who asks any question to which the answer is detailed in the listing preview. The enemy of profitability is time – don’t waste it. Stack ’em high, sell ’em cheap and don’t take any shit from guests or management.