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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No One Paid for the Damage to My Furniture

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My Sept. 11 reservation was a nightmare. The person lied about coming with her boyfriend. On the day, she showed up alone, inspected my place, and asked many personal questions. That night, four people came to my place and made noise until 1:30 AM. As a single woman, I was terrified after hearing many male voices.

Later at night, one person left and I found my house key in the mailbox outside the next day. The three men checked out at 11:00 AM on Sept. 12 and I found that they broke my chair. I took a picture at 11:04 AM. I wrote to Airbnb support at 11:16 AM. Since I have a security deposit and it is written that I have 14 days to claim damages (attached), I decided to wait for Airbnb’s response, while getting the apartment ready for the next guest.

I needed to move back the furniture that they moved. The apartment needed deep cleaning, especially when the extra beds were used without linens when I only prepared the main bed for the “couple”. Frustrated by the silence from Airbnb support, I wrote an angry review of the guest and told the sad story. At 4:53 PM, Airbnb sent an email saying that I could report a problem (attached). I was directed to ask for money from the guest. The guest paid the extra guest fee, but lied about the chair being broken when he arrived.

After being cornered by evidence, he began to swear at me. That’s when I turned to the resolution sector. An agent contacted me on Sept. 16 at 6:13 PM. The person technically made up excuses to prevent me from getting any compensation. He said that I need to submit a claim before my next guest checked in, which is not what it says under the “security deposit” information on my listing (attached).

After I explained that the very reason that I couldn’t study the submission process was that I had a guest coming, he said that “you can notify Airbnb either by opening a claim in the Resolution Center or by contacting customer support directly”. I sent a screenshot to show that I contacted support right away, but I never got a response. Then he said “after a thorough review, we have decided to uphold our original decision. We determined that a payout could not be processed in this instance.” I demanded a valid reason, but he closed my ticket without any further response.

It is not a fancy chair, even though the market price is about $267. What strikes me most is the lies about insurance and guarantee from Airbnb. I am not a fan of having strangers in my house. The earnings from Airbnb are inconsistent and I can do better with long-term rentals. I chose Airbnb because of the guarantee. If Airbnb allows stranger to get away with damaging my property and lies about protecting hosts, why should I open my doors to make Airbnb rich?

We just need to remind Airbnb that without guests, they can still run your company even with a reduced profit. Without hosts, they are done, nothing, zero. How dare they use hosts like this and treat us like fools.

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Horrible Guest Requested a Full Refund over a Lie

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On August 17, guests had to leave early due to their car breaking down, but they wanted a full refund. They took pictures of the tiled ceiling and plastic-steel windows frame. There was some black color, old sealer and dust. They said it was black mold and threatened me using rude words. I explained to him that I would like to deep clean it, but guest did not listen to me and left the next day. Then they sent me a request for a full refund.

I reported this to an Airbnb representative right away. She told me I didn’t have to give a refund due to the guest choosing a non-refundable method to take advantage of an extra 10% off. After I got the email from the Airbnb resolution center about this guest’s request, I called an Airbnb case manager and she confirmed it was my right to choose whether to give a refund or not.

A month later, I got another case manager getting in touch by email. He totally stood with the horrible guest and charged me $940 from my account. He did not listen to me and did not have any professional proof. It was unbelievable. Airbnb blocked my property for 10 days, and caused me to lose $940 in revenue. I have to suffer horrible guests bullying me and no one can protect innocent hosts.

Such a nightmare with Airbnb. Who can I reach out to fight against the second case manager’s decision? Thank you in advance.

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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.