Airbnb Guest Sublets Our Property to Film a Commercial

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We are a Superhost family who has been using Airbnb since September 2019. This was the second time around the Airbnb had sabotaged our listings. We recently had a nightmare guest, who had horrible reviews on Airbnb. We tried to give them another chance and decided to host them.

She was a nightmare. She sublet our house to a group of filmmakers and videographers to shoot a commercial for Adidas, while she was away. We saw in the surveillance cameras that a large group of filmmakers came to our house. They were taking all the furniture outside. When I called her, she didn’t answer. After this incident, she lied to Airbnb, saying that her friends who were staying at a different house came to visit her.

After she checked out, she left a defamatory nasty review, full of insults and attacks, lying about safety, etc. Her reviews were thankfully removed for violating Airbnb policy, but the Trust and Safety department — which I do not trust one bit — emailed to go over her booking. The last person I was speaking to twisted the story around and 30 minutes later she suspended all our listings. She claimed she was doing an investigation, based on the guest’s lies. We asked to speak to another one of the untrustworthy “Trust and Safety” personnel. So far there has been no luck since last Friday.

We’re planning to send a demand letter by tomorrow, and if this doesn’t work, sue Airbnb for unlawfully framing us for wrongdoing that we haven’t done. Any suggestions?

Airbnb Claims Hosts are its Partners but Shows Differently

I feel that Airbnb has taken a drastic downward spiral and supporting its “partners,” as they eloquently call its hosts. It’s just plain bad business and I find it condescending in light of its behavior. I’m sure I’m not the only Superhost that has been treated so poorly. The platform seems to have taken a paradigm shift of supporting guests who feel entitled in today’s trying times and punishing hosts. They do not stand by us like they want did.

I had a guest who stayed at one of the listings that I manage. I left him a bad review. He waited two weeks to see if he was going to get $100 out of me because the host had actually gone in and changed out his toilet paper. It was a new host and he just wanted everything to be perfect. When the man got back to his room he said he didn’t request to have new toilet paper. He claimed that he didn’t know that I was the manager and that there was someone else who was the owner living in the attached property. The listing makes repeated mentions of the owner, his name, and that he lives in the attached property for the convenience of the guests.

I cut and pasted all of the sections for him and sent them to him. He thanked me for the clarification and seemed fine. Then he revisited it and said he never asked for these items, yet again. I told him the host would not be entering his listing again and asked if there were any other concerns that I could alleviate. He wanted to know that the owner was vaccinated. I reassured him that the owner indeed was vaccinated, that he wears a mask and gloves when entering the property and that he is the person that cleaned the property moments before the man arrived. He thanked me again and said he understood but just wanted me to understand how he felt.

I told him just as a good gesture we would offer him $100 credit towards a future stay in hopes that he would have a much more pleasant experience. This was not required, and quite frankly nor was it deserved…. but it was offered. Immediately the man replied back he would like to have that hundred dollars applied towards his current stay. Once there was a time when if you bent over backwards to put extra accommodations and amenities like a better quality toilet paper, people would’ve said “well, what a nice gesture.” Now they just steal the supplies if there is an abundance and complain about the extra gestures as though they were invasive.

What reason did he give for wanting $100 applied towards his current stay? He lived out of town and he “might” be moving out of state. Weird fact. Practically all of our guests live out of town, thus the reason for lodging. I told him I would sit down with our team and figure out whether or not this would be justifiable under the circumstances. He was so helpful that he immediately sent me a link on Airbnb as to how to refund his money. I never said I didn’t know how to refund the money. I said I needed to figure out with our team if it was justifiable. That’s a huge difference.

Needless to say, we reached the conclusion that the host should not be punished for trying to do a good deed that was misunderstood. We left him a review right away. Naturally it was negative. He waited the full 14 days and got a hold of us again and said are you gonna give me the refund you “offered“? We never offered him a refund on his current stay. Further when he saw his review and realized he was waiting to see if he could get money before giving a review, he called to Airbnb to complain.

The thing that troubled me about Airbnb is that I called them immediately when the situation occurred during the individual’s stay. Airbnb seemed to stand by me and thanked me for calling them. They said it appeared as though this guy was used to doing this considering he sent the link right away. The customer service rep even laughed about it, suggesting the gall of this person, as outrageous to think such a thing.

This is why it confuses me that two weeks later and right after the man’s review appeared, he called and complained about the situation. His complaint was retaliatory because he did not get the refund he was looking for. Ironically without even asking me about the situation or referring back to our original call with Airbnb, they paused my listing. There was no notification, no email, and no explanation.

When I called them, I reached one of their reps that works from home and was reassured they would call me at 9:00 the next morning. Needless to say, I am writing this story after 10:00 the very same morning and still have not received a call from Airbnb. I think it is one of the worst business practices to suggest that we are partners and treat us like we are a dog that gets slapped in the nose with a newspaper whether what we’ve done is wrong or just because they’ve decided to take the side of a guest without even hearing the side of the host.

It’s unfortunate because we have been with Airbnb since 2012, only four years after they even started business. We are part of the house that built their platform and made them so successful and they treat us like trash at this point. I have tagged the review I wrote about this unscrupulous guest, but then Airbnb has become that way so I can see why it would attract that type of individual. They endorse and condone Machiavellian behavior.

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Has Airbnb Gotten Too Big to Care?

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This is a recent story of how Airbnb has gotten too big to care. We have been hosts and guests since 2010 with 213 five-star reviews. We recently had a guest who booked our home through Airbnb for three adults. He never showed up, but 15 other people did. We found out through his secretary that he regularly books Airbnb’s for his crews who are working on homes in our area damaged by Hurricane Sally in September 2020.

I went to the house and found our entire carport was filled with construction materials. Trucks, trailers, generators, and vans were parked around the house and when I went to the back of the house to see what was going on, all but one of the persons ran into the house and shut the door. The other stayed on the deck smoking (prohibited by our rules) and drinking.

Our house was a wreck when we finally got them to leave. They had trashed the house, stolen many items, knocked holes in the walls, broken glasses, clogged the plumbing and literally destroyed our kitchen. I immediately called Airbnb and was told to document all vehicles and construction materials by photo. I did this and sent it directly to Airbnb.

From that point, Airbnb began to ignore my messages and calls. The only way they corresponded was to message and ask for more documentation. I kept being pushed off to yet another ambassador/supervisor all to no avail because no one could (or would) help. Although I did everything Airbnb asked me to do and provided all documentation requested, they called today to let me know they were not going to ask the guest to pay for the additional guests because he didn’t want to pay it.

Okay, so now we get to go to the department store with the intent of buying three items, end up purchasing 15 but then saying we will only pay for three because that’s how many we wanted in the first place? How many customer service persons would let me out of the store with 15 items when I only paid for 3? None. Yet Airbnb has told the guest he only has to pay for the three guests he reserved, even though 15 stayed.

I have been a loyal client of Airbnb since 2010 and this guest just joined during 2020 so he could send his work crews to stay near the hurricane disaster sites without having to pay for hotel fees. His secretary was foolish enough to share this information with me via telephone. Unbelievable. I have filed a complaint with the BBB, sent emails to the CEO, CFO and CSO of Airbnb, and am sending this information on the “real” Airbnb through all the social media resources available to me.

Under Investigation for False Privacy Claim from Guest

We are currently under investigation from Airbnb after a guest who stayed at our place for the last 40 days (into their 100-day stay) decided to make a false claim against my husband and I for “violating their privacy.” After the guest’s initial inquiry about staying at our cottage in northern Ontario, we told them that we were currently there doing renovations to the lower level to make it a duplex.

Our listing does state that they are renting the entire cottage, but we had called Airbnb and asked for guidance on what to do since we were doing renovations. They simply told us that as long as we had approval from the inquiring guests that we would be there, everything should be fine. We have all the documentation and emails and written consent from the inquiring guests that they were okay with us being there doing the renovations in the lower level. We kept up communications to make sure we weren’t bothering them with any excess noise and tried to only be there during the day when they were at work.

Their check in date was Jan. 11, and they were medium-term rentals staying until April 30/ All throughout the time from Jan. 11 until Feb. 9 everything was fine as far as we knew. We have text proving that they were fine and anytime we needed to enter their space to do something and we have written documentation of asking their permission.

We did expect the renovation to be complete as of mid-January, until the stay at home order that was in place on Jan. 14 obviously delayed our renovations by a couple of weeks. This is something that was completely out of our control.

On Feb. 9, the guest called my husband and said that they were feeling a little bit frustrated with how long this was going. We packed up that day and went home to avoid any conflict and prevent making our guest feel uncomfortable. My husband went back up on Valentine’s Day weekend to clean up his tools while they were not there because they didn’t stay there on the weekends. As of then, everything was fine: we hadn’t heard any other complaints and everything was communicated to the guests.

We then got a notification through Airbnb that the guests would like to change their check out date from April 30 to Feb. 25, which we declined because there was no reason for them to check out early. The renovation was now completed and no one would be in the lower level for the remainder of their stay (why they waited to complain until we were finally done is beyond me).

The next day we got an email from Airbnb stating that there has been a privacy claim against us and that our account will be suspended until the investigation was complete. We got a call on Feb. 20 asking for our side of the story. The claim was that my husband was there during their stay and that was a violation of their privacy.

We used completely separate entrances; we never even saw the guests more than maybe three times the entire five weeks we were there. We never once entered their space without permission and only three separate times: once to replace our modem for the Internet; once to replenish the soap and a broken spoon that the cleaner had told us was broken; and once for the plumber to check something on the washer. All visits were agreed upon and never were an issue when those things happened.

The Airbnb investigator was completely rude and interrupted us multiple times while we were trying to explain our side of the story. We have been Superhosts since the second month of hosting and I’ve had nothing but great reviews with the exception of one who was annoyed that the Internet wasn’t as fast as that in Toronto. I can’t believe that Airbnb is allowing one guest among 17 positive reviews to tarnish our entire reputation as hosts and potentially shut us down.

I guess my question is has anyone experienced something similar to this and what was the outcome? Our worry is that they are going to refund the guest for the time that they stayed there if they deem that we did indeed “violate their privacy“ even though we have proof that they knew the whole time we were there. If Airbnb does decide to cancel their reservation, is there a chance that we will need to refund them for the days that they have already stayed there and if so how is that legal?

Airbnb Guest Review Lies that Damage Hosts’ Reputation

Recently we had a very strong summer of bookings at our coastal house. All of our reviews were very positive — even those who had minor issues provided positive feedback — until the last booking. The guest stated our property was not worth the price and that we charged $100 a night higher than what she paid. She also suggested we didn’t provide wifi which we are very transparent about in our listing, given it is a remote coastal property.

In trying to address this with Airbnb, where we believe a guest has breached their review guidelines, they simply dismissed our concerns of a review that presented misleading and incorrect information that damages our ability to book the house. I can only assume that a guest can make up whatever lies they want with no accountability from their position. I have requested my concern be escalated beyond the community helpers or whoever actually works for Airbnb and sent higher where it will be considered beyond the sugarcoated script quoting inaction that accompanies Airbnb’s generally response. If anyone here has had any success in having a review taken down which was just blatant lies, please let me know how.

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Scammer Stayed 24 Nights but only Paid for One

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A guest booked a 30-day stay and claimed to Airbnb that he moved out after one night but actually ended up staying 24 nights. Airbnb mishandled the situation and now refuse to correct their mistake.

We are in one of the ten largest cities in the US. The place is very economic ($400/month, average monthly rent for a 1-bedroom-apartment here is $1350). It’s a shared room (3-4 people per bedroom, 10 people in the apartment) and he complained about cleanliness issues within 24 hours.

I do month-to-month rentals and usually have 100 guests at the same time across several location. Over 1000 guests in the last five years. 80% of our ratings are five stars, 90% are four or five stars. Nobody else in the apartment complained about the cleanliness issue. The guest didn’t have a single review.

Airbnb didn’t reach out to me until 14 days after move-in. I pointed out to Airbnb that the guest still lives there. 20 days after move-in they made the decision to refund him all the money besides the first night, because he told them that he moved out, even though he didn’t move out.

I have been chasing them ever since, telling them that he still lives there but they didn’t do anything about it. Everyone saw him and other Airbnb guests also confirmed to Airbnb that he lives there. They slow-walked the case and never asked me for any photo or video evidence that he still lives there.

After he moved out (after 24 days when an Airbnb rep called him and urged him to move out) they suddenly asked me to provide photo evidence that he actually lived there. Now they won’t issue his payout because they say that without video or photo evidence they cannot issue it.

Airbnb made a wrong decision regarding the cleanliness issue given that there were 20 other Airbnb guests living at this location (spread across multiple units) on the same day as the guest but none of them had any complaints. Furthermore, when they first reached out I told them that the guest still lives there and it took them almost a week to come to a decision. When they made their decision, they forgot that he actually still lives there. Now they don’t acknowledge that mistake.

I have attached the four pictures that were presented as evidence by the guest that there was a cleanliness issue. Those are the only pictures that Airbnb showed him. I would like to take them to arbitration and I am seeking an experienced attorney to represent me. Here is a detailed complaint that I sent to Airbnb.

I am challenging the decision that there was a cleanliness issue. This decision by Airbnb was wrong and is the reason there is a dispute in the first place. There was no cleanliness issue. Here is a list of all the Airbnb guests that stayed at this location on March 9 (the day of move-in); none of these people reported an issue. That’s 20 happy Airbnb guests vs. this guy, who doesn’t have a single Airbnb review.

I included the booking code so you can look up the address. The pictures you sent don’t show any cleanliness issues:

1st picture: burned stove counter. There are ten people living in the apartment and most are cooking. Sometimes they will burn a stove top burner and sometimes they don’t clean up right away. Once a week our cleaners come to make sure everything is spotless. It cannot be 100% clean in a shared room environment. You can expect that at a entire place at move-in but not in a shared space.

2nd picture: dirty toilet seat. There are three bathrooms in each apartment. Ten people use those bathrooms and so they get dirty. Once a week they are cleaned spotless but during the week one toilet can be a bit more dirty. There are two other ones where it’s not like that. Again, this is normal in a place where ten people live together and cleaners come once a week.

3rd picture: a kitchen table that’s not 100% clean when ten people live in an apartment to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner there. This is normal,

4th picture: a vegetable outside the fridge. There are ten people living there and they are cooking. When you cook sometimes a vegetable falls on the floor. That’s how every kitchen everywhere looks. I am sure that vegetable was picked up minutes after the picture was taken.

We have been around for over five years and have a great system to make sure people that share a space can live in a clean and healthy environment. We encourage all our guests to clean after themselves and have professional cleaners coming once a week to do the heavy lifting. There is absolutely no cleanliness issue and it was a wrong decision by Airbnb.

Whatever case manager made this decision didn’t look at the satisfaction of other guests staying there nor the fact that this is a shared environment. We are proud of the cleanliness we provide and there was absolutely nothing wrong with it. Neither Airbnb, nor Brian Chesky, nor the guest would be able to provide a cleaner environment in an affordable shared room setting like this one.

The guest moved in on March 9 and it wasn’t until March 22 that I received a message from Airbnb. That’s 14 days after move-in. I wrote back immediately that I didn’t agree to a refund and that as of March 19 he was living in the unit. Airbnb did not ask for video evidence then.

On March 24, Airbnb sent photos (16 days since move-in, no question about video or photo evidence. On March 25, Airbnb said they would follow up the next day (17 days since move-in, no question about video or photo evidence). On March 26, Airbnb said they would follow up the next day (18 days since move-in, no question about video or photo evidence). On March 27, Airbnb said they would follow up the next day (19 days since move-in, no question about video or photo evidence).

On March 28, Airbnb made the decision to refund the guest and there was no word about the fact that he still lives there. No question about video evidence or camera. Airbnb also said that they would not get back to me for three days. It seems that Airbnb just gave the refund at the last minute before the work week was over without double checking if the guest still lives there or not. This is negligence on Airbnb’s part and the reason there is a dispute now.

On March 30 (22 days since he moved-in), I pointed out that the guest still lives there. On April 3, there were no questions asked about video or photo evidence. Someone from the safety team contacted me and then called the guest. Only then did he move out. At no point was video or photo evidence requested.

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Guest Dispute Turns Host off Airbnb for Good

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After holding a room for a month, Airbnb guests arrived far after the check in time. They insisted that they did not want to unload anything for one night. The lady sat on the floor talking to my husband, playing with the dog. Unbeknownst to her, we had a guest.

Ten minutes after my husband left, she and her husband ran in and out of the house. Later I got a text saying it wasn’t a good fit. Airbnb said they would review and handle. Crickets. I left the room as occupied. Then another month was deposited in my account. I had strict cancellation policies and long term cancellation policies. It didn’t matter.

The guests sent a picture of a dog hair in the bed, a rat turd in a chair, a snowman in one of the two master closets and a shower that had fresh, hostess-supplied amenities. None of this was mentioned to my husband during the talk. I objected strongly to the dog hair and rat turd.

My guests staying upstairs verified the room. They left sheets and towels on the floor. The drugs she said she had shipped to our house to arrive the day they arrived mysteriously never came.

I have wonderful reviews and, as I said, witnesses. Airbnb gave me 24 hours to respond. One minute after I submitted a partial response, I got a phone call saying they reviewed my response and were siding with the guests and need the money back. I blocked them from my bank account, my phone and email. They can rot.

Airbnb Illogically Refunded the Cancellation Fees

I had a booking from a couple of guests from China back in mid-January. On January 30, they decided to cancel the booking saying: “Sorry, my friend wants to stay at another place. We shall meet next time!” Hence a partial refund was returned.

Then a few weeks later, Airbnb took that partial refund away saying the guest couldn’t travel and qualifies for the full refund because of extenuating circumstances. I do understand that it is unfortunate that the two couldn’t make the trip. However, the point is that the guests cancelled the booking because they chose to stay in another place.

Had they decide to stay in my place and cancel, I would fully respect that. Logically, I should get to keep the cancellation fees.

Am I being irrational? I had months of long messages with Airbnb support and their supervisor, who then abruptly said the decision is final and closed the case without allowing me to ask for the reasoning for their decision. The responses were expectedly slow because of the situation.

What’s interesting is that in the conversation, I asked for the contact for someone beyond the support supervisor level and the supervisor said that there is no one above him/her and closed my case. I went on Twitter about it. They asked me to DM my case.

Within five minutes, I got a response saying that he “thoroughly reviewed” my case and that the decision is final. How can you thoroughly review a case in five minutes including coming up with a response? At this point, I am tempted to just send the CEO a tweet since he stresses that he love feedback.