Fraud Committed by Airbnb Host in Los Angeles


After using the Airbnb platform twice without issue, I decided to book two nights in a loft in downtown LA for a recent business trip. After confirming the booking, the host requested I send him a copy of my driver’s license outside the platform, which I was hesitant to do. I could tell this frustrated the host so I sent him another picture ID and said I could provide him with my license upon arrival.

Upon arriving I was greeted by a young lady who was not the man I was messaging with on the platform. I also couldn’t help but notice that she seemed nervous. I provided her with my driver’s license and she showed me to the loft.

My stay was uneventful. The place was marginal at best but I was there for business and only needed the bed, bathroom, TV, and fridge. I couldn’t get the shower to produce warm water and the lamp next to the bed was so flimsy I actually spent 20 minutes trying to get it screwed together in a way that gave it some more structural integrity.

Upon checking out I was prompted to provide a review. I gave four stars and left the typed feedback field blank as I’m not the type of person that complains about little things and wasn’t looking to write a bad review.

This is where the hell started. Upon submitting my feedback, I received the host’s review of me and was shocked. The guy had written multiple paragraphs stating that I left the place a mess and damaged the countertops with a knife. The guy even submitted photos of horrible scratch marks. There was no background so it could have been any countertop. I also found it hard to believe that the guy would go as far as damaging his own countertop.

I declined the payment request and a case was opened. I clearly explained the situation to the assigned “Trust & Safety Specialist”. After all, this was about as straight-forward of a fraudulent claim as one could imagine. I never used the kitchen, never mind any knives.

Airbnb told me they had requested additional paperwork from the host and after several days I received a message from Airbnb at 2:00 AM introducing me to a whole new Trust & Safety Specialist and saying that if they didn’t hear back, they would move forward processing the host’s claim. When I called Airbnb the lady tried to get me to admit that I incurred the damage saying, “well you were just doing your thing” to which I responded: “Absolutely not, I didn’t even use the kitchen. I can’t believe you would say that!”

Flash forward to today. I received a message from Airbnb saying I owed $1250 for the damages. I’ve come to realize that Airbnb is unable to maintain the integrity of its platform. This host knew it and took advantage of it. Now here I am left with a completely inaccurate review and a bill for over a grand.

I have never experienced anything like this before. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated as I refuse to pay a fraudulent claim on principle. I blocked Airbnb from charging my card but have no idea what will happen next other than my making everyone I can aware of this horrible experience and never using Airbnb again. This is literally criminal.

Posted in Airbnb Guest Stories and tagged , , , , , .


  1. I don’t know, Brian. I’ve called a lot of BS on here but how do you make something like this up? I have friends who rented properties and they tell similar stories.

  2. This is crazy; as a host I agree with Lily. I had a guest come and bring 7 friends who all smoked, did drugs, took the toilets and tables apart (drugs?) spilled a huge bottle of something black all over the carpeting (they said it was balsamic vinegar) and left knife marks all over the countertops … having moved the cutting board and chopping block that live there to protect them. I submitted photos, repair estimates, RING doorbell videos of the people clearly drunk, smoking (in our no-smoking, high fire danger California old growth canyon) and throwing lit butts into the trees, with people in and out all night until 4am. Photos of used drug paraphernalia and food all over the carpeting in the living room. Copies of messages from the guest during her stay apologizing after I confronted her about the extra people and the smoking. Six weeks of going back and forth and I’m told I need to submit pictures (I DID!) and receipts (I DID!) and then the case was closed until I could provide better documentation. I said outside of me coming into the office with a power point presentation I wasn’t sure what else I could do. I got some money for the extra cleaning charges (another AirBnB rep in ‘trust and safety’) but nothing for the damages. Even a $9 IKEA frame that the guest apologized for smashing … I took a picture of the smashed frame, sent a receipt for the $9 replacement frame, had the guest admitting she broke it …and yet somehow I can’t collect $9. My overall damages were (conservatively) $990 (the plumbing bill alone to get the toilets put back together was stupid, and yes I sent pictures of the dismantled toilets and the guest saying she couldn’t figure out how to put them back together and sorry … and the paid invoice from the plumbing company) and none of it was covered by AirBnB. I wonder if AirBnB collects and then stiffs the hosts. Sure seems like it .. they make the process so difficult that it’s not worth the money to continue pressing for compensation.

  3. Wow, that’s awful. In my experience as a host, when guests really do damage something, they make it next to impossible to collect

  4. The same thing happened to us but we had authorized a damage deposit, so Airbnb just took that. Things were broken, close to breaking or left about precariously. The scam was actually to get people to give money before leaving and was likely often successful because young people depend on Airbnb and don’t want to have bad reviews. The company basically doesn’t give a damn about it’s customers.

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