Last month, I was part of a group of seven people who were visiting New Orleans for a wedding. We we very careful to take good care of the house. Everything went seemingly smoothly with our check-out, until we were notified of a lengthy list of bogus damages that amounted to $178 out of our security deposit. There was no evidence that demonstrated we had caused any damage (because we didn’t), only a few very low-quality photos with no context for when or where they were taken in the house or what damage they were supposedly showing. Furthermore, I feel that the evidence that we submitted in support of our innocence was pretty solid. It was the text message exchange from when we all found out about the damage claims. It clearly demonstrated our bafflement at the bogus claims. After being contacted about this claim, we of course formally disagreed, leaving it to Airbnb to determine how to resolve the dispute. Despite our strong denial of causing any damage and despite the lack of evidence to the contrary, Airbnb blindly sided with the host, and now we are left with almost $200 stolen from our security deposit. This is an unacceptable experience, and we will contest this whatever way we can. Users of Airbnb should be warned that even if you respect your rental house and follow all of the rules laid out by the host, you are not protected from being held liable from bogus damages.
A few months ago I rented a large property on Airbnb in Cape Town, South Africa. During our stay we accidentally caused minor scratch damage to one of the interior walls whilst moving our belongings up a stairwell. I notified the host via email of the damage to his wall (including attaching a photo of the wall) and offered to immediately arrange for repair work to be done (i.e. a refill/replaster of the scratch and repaint of the affected wall in the existing wall colour).
After no response from the host, I decided to go ahead and call a local contractor to do the repairs on our last day at the property and then sent a picture to the host of the repaired wall and asked him to confirm if he was satisfied. A couple of weeks later, the host sent me an email demanding to be paid R4000 (USD 300) for the cost of repair of the wall damage and the replacement cost for a couple of broken wine glasses. I naturally queried this, as the wall had already been repaired by a professional for half this cost claimed by the host, and at my own expense. I therefore asked the host to provide photos of any additional repairs he had allegedly done and invoices for those expenses.
He refused but instead sent a formal complaint and damages claim to Airbnb more than a month after my stay at his property (which according to Airbnb policy is not permitted beyond two weeks following a stay). I then sent several emails to the relevant Airbnb consultant, disputing this claim. Airbnb never responded to any of my emails. Several calls to their call center/”help centre” also proved fruitless. A month or so later, without warning, Airbnb summarily deducted USD 400 from my credit card account (claiming those funds would then be transferred to the host for damages.
The host has yet to provide a single shred of evidence that any such expenses were ever incurred and why his damages claim suddenly jumped by a further USD 100 from the initial USD 300 the host had first claimed to me directly. Should you ever find yourself in such an unresolved dispute , I recommend you cancel or block your credit card before Airbnb can make such fraudulent deductions on your card.
I hosted a mother and daughter at my apartment in Sydney February 17th-20th, 2017 for the entire home. I returned to the apartment upon check out and went to change the bed as is my usual practice after guests. I noticed my sheets were missing. After twenty minutes of searching I found them scrunched up at the bottom of my laundry basket under my washing. I pulled them out to find them splattered with blood. I also found my quilt underlay had been turned over by the guests and it also had blood on it. I opened a Host Guarantee claim for the damage. The guest admitted via Airbnb messages that the damage was done by the mother and they didn’t think they had to clean it, something I still find remarkable. I told Airbnb I refused to clean it because I am not touching someone’s blood as it’s unhygienic and unsafe. They refused to compensate me for the damage as they told me I had to attempt to clean it to show that it had been permanently damaged. Unbelievable!
My roommate and I had a guest staying at our apartment for December break, since we were home visiting our parents. One guest in particular stayed on the 27th of December and decided to host a party. When I say party, I mean that the police were called multiple times, and we reached home two weeks later to find an eviction notice slapped to our front door due to multiple noise complaints. Since the maid service who had cleaned our apartment in between guests had only told us about damages in the apartment and the mess that it was left in, we were shocked to say the least. We went to the building manager to sort things out, and we were met with another surprise. The party that the guest had was not only loud and noisy, but her attendees were throwing things off the balcony, had broken the entry door as not all of them had the access key, and – here’s the kicker – pooped on the stairwell outside our apartment.
Airbnb had been contacted after the guests’ stay as the maid service had informed us about extra cleaning charges, and so we emailed them again telling them the new information. They gave us a two-day extension to provide us with an invoice for the damages. For those of you who have never had to live in an apartment building with a highly bureaucratic administration, you’re so lucky. For us, any little thing that has to be fixed or replaced has to be reported to management, who then has to file a maintenance order for it, report it to their office who will then call a company to take a look at the damage or assess repairs, and then they will call another company to do the actual repairs. The delay between each of these communications is at least two days.
Added to this chain, there is a legal team who is currently handling our file, as they are trying to review what has to be paid for and if we should pay for it. This team is not reachable by our building office or by us; communication has to go through the manager who will then ask them. This adds another few days. I explained this to Airbnb and they gave me another extension of another two days. This went on for a week. Finally, they emailed me saying I have 48 hours and no more extensions. I have repeatedly gone to the office and explained to them that I need the invoice asap, but my urgency was probably not conveyed to the legal team. When I emailed the case manager and told him this he replied saying that this is their protocol and he cannot change it. He refused to connect me to a manager and said that there is no customer care helpline I can connect with (I checked, there is).
Airbnb knows that we are helpless and is using that to get out of paying for the damages caused by that guest. The manager told me that including the cleanup and everything, the damages would amount to approximately $800, maybe more. We cannot pay for this ourselves. We’re students; we were just trying to make up a portion of our rent for the month that were away. Most of it went towards a maid service who cleaned the apartment between visits. Airbnb has turned a blind eye to us, and emails to the CEO have gone unanswered. We cannot pay the amount in damages, and we are at our wits end, missing classes to go talk to the building manager, and staying up looking for other channels of communication since our case manager has shut the door in our face. We cannot afford to start off a term like this, just as we cannot afford to pay an insane amount for absurd damages. Airbnb said that they would commit to better service after their 2011 situation. But everything they had promised isn’t being held up by their representatives, and I don’t know what to do.
Friday evening my guests texted me with photo evidence that they broke our keys in the door lock. We are in Milan. I knew from experience that it would cost at least 500-600 euro to fix the issue. Forgetting about our evening plans, my husband and I rushed to the place with some tools, hoping we could fix it ourselves. There was no chance; the guests used the wrong key (even though we had explained during check-in which key was used for which lock) and they forced it in a way that the metal key had broken, leaving part of it deep inside the door lock.
The guests were a nice couple from Slovakia. They were terrified and felt guilty as there were five of us (together with the neighbour, who couldn’t get in as the door they broke was actually the common one) witnessing that it was their fault. It was as obvious as 2+2=4. Everybody agreed; there was no discussion there. We called a 24-hour locksmith. They said they would arrive in half an hour and make a determination as to whether the lock needed to be changed completely. It would cost 400 euro without a receipt and around 600 euro with a receipt. The guests were shocked and almost crying. The neighbour needed to be let in; he had already waited outside of his home for an hour. The locksmiths were pushing us, saying that they had a 94-year-old lady waiting for them and that we needed to make up our minds.
We called Airbnb and explained the issue. They suggested we pay and then claim the money back from the guest through the problem solving center. If the guests refused, they would get involved. Everything is protected under the one million dollar warranty. So, we went for the official option and my husband paid the 600 euro. I wasn’t nervous about reimbursement as it was very obvious whose fault it was. We finally got back home at 2:00 AM, but our Friday evening was ruined. The next morning I started the process according to the rules of Airbnb. After a few weeks I received an answer: “We’ve carefully reviewed the claim you submitted and unfortunately, we’re unable to fulfill your request because we do not believe that the guest can be held wholly responsible for the damages caused.”
After a series of messages from my side, they answer was that we could not get a cent back for what we have paid for another person’s mistake hoping for the support of intermediate. Not even the deposit of 80 euro. Nothing. No explanation why, no references to the Terms and Conditions. They simply did not believe me. This was the final decision and end of the conversation. I am really disappointed. Does anyone have any ideas about what can we do in this situation? What lessons can I learn from this? Thank you to everyone who has read this until the end and for your comments.