Libelous Guest Feedback Forces Hosts to Reconsider Airbnb

I recently rented my two properties for a major event that usually attracts motor enthusiasts. I have never had any issue renting the properties until the last recent booking. As opposed to the usual group of guys booking, it was a young couple with a young child. I did feel this was unusual for the event; however, I accepted the booking.

I did everything as per usual prior to arrival to ensure the house was in pristine condition. I also employed a new cleaning company to assist in the final cleaning and preparation. I actually witnessed the cleaners thoroughly clean the properties. We normally do not provide full linens at the property as in summer we receive many back-to-back bookings which makes it problematic to change the linens when there is sometimes only a 3-4 hour turnaround between bookings. However, as the guests were travelling we made an exception and provided the full linens free. We also sent the guests a welcome pack via email before arrival which detailed the operations of the house, local attractions, maps, and advice on how to maximise their stay.

There was some communication prior to the guests’ arrival but nothing during or after the stay, despite providing my phone number in the event of any issue. After their stay I sent a few messages to which they did not respond – until finally the guest replied. At that time as I lived two hours from the property, I had not yet inspected the house. The guest made some very odd references to the lack of cleaning – which was just not accurate – as the property had been thoroughly cleaned – by us and the cleaners – up until the day prior to their arrival.

She made particular references to a bathroom – toilet and shower recess – which we knew was incorrect and a complete fabrication. She also suggested she would send photos – which never transpired, leaving us to believe that this was some kind of veiled threat to in some way gain a refund. When I inspected the property, I found that she had dumped all of the towels we provided on the wet floor of a second shower recess – for what purpose, I have no idea, as we provide a laundry basket and by the time I inspected the property some of the new towels were ruined.

I reported this to Airbnb and sent a photo of what I found. Over a period of a few days, my case appeared to be handed from one operator to another. This was prior to any feedback being posted form the guest. Essentially I smelt a rat and felt the guest had fabricated issues regarding the cleanliness of the house to negate her own disgusting behaviour of dumping wet towels on the floor of a shower recess. I could predict what was to come and suggested to Airbnb that they review the feedback. We anticipated fabricated references to cleaning.

However, Airbnb would not do anything. The feedback was posted. We received two stars for cleanliness, which dropped our rating from a 5 to 4. Her comments were also quite distressing. We are now considering removing our house from Airbnb as there appears to be no recourse when a guest posts negative feedback which is untrue yet damages a hosts rating and reputation. I have sent additional messages to Airbnb since the feedback, but have not received any reply. We have supporting testimonial from our cleaners who are also really angry by the comments made after they had cleaned what they believed was already a fairly clean and well maintained house beforehand. Does anyone have any advice how I can address this situation?

Disgusting Conditions. How Can Airbnb Stay in Business?

To date, I’ve had only four Airbnb experiences. One of them was excellent, the other was okay, one was bad enough with the smell of mold and everything filthy that I was forced to check into a Holiday Inn Express, and now the one at which I’m currently staying seems to be okay for four nights. I will not be using Airbnb again any time soon. You don’t get anything of value for paying up to $62/night. If you are going to spend more than that, go to a hotel. Do not believe the photos. Photos do not capture mold and smells. Photos do not capture what you will walk into when you arrive. Photos do not capture the area where you will reside. Never book anything longer than four nights. Also, be careful of reviews. Most of them may not be up to your standards. Again, what is great for someone may not be good for you. Airbnb’s business is dicey at best.

Airbnb needs to hire an independent company that can travel on their behalf and inspect these places in advance. There is not any other solution. Photos lie. Taking things at face value is a farce. It simply doesn’t work. Why not? Because everyone has her or his own idea of cleanliness and standards. What may be filthy to one person is okay to another, especially people who have poor personal hygiene. Airbnb is not a hotel. This is where people like me make huge blunders. Airbnb is an alternative to a hotel.

People, please remember this: Airbnb is not a hotel. You can’t complain, change rooms, get a refund, or get an upgrade. Think long and hard before you use Airbnb. The company has no standards. They tell you flat out, “That’s not what we do.” Therefore, whatever you get, you must take. Booking with Airbnb is like the lottery: if you are on a budget, you could lose your entire trip, and anything could be ruined, e.g. dirty shower, smelly toilet area, dirty sheets and pillow cases, dirty mattress, dingy curtains, old used towels, some with stains… terrible.

This happened to me. Airbnb doesn’t care. All they cares about is getting paid, sticking it to the traveler with outrageous fees and taxes. Some people charging as much as $165 for a cleaning fee. You walk into a new place and there is a dog on the bed, tracking dirt and dog hair on the pillows.