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Scammer Stayed 24 Nights but only Paid for One

VRBO

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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.

VRBO

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Guest Dispute Turns Host off Airbnb for Good

VRBO

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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.

VRBO

Airbnb Illogically Refunded the Cancellation Fees

VRBO

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.

VRBO

Solution to Airbnb Guests Damaging Properties

To hosts or those who are thinking of opening their own Airbnb. I have been hosting for over three years with 67 properties, and had over 50,000 guests stay with me. I met many other hosts and the biggest issues they all run into are with negligent guests. In my units alone I have had over 10% (5,000) of my guests violate my house rules.

Airbnb is based on trust. A guest, AKA a stranger, is entering your home and you have no idea who they are or their intentions. When violations occur, you must be able to prove them, and Airbnb always sides with guests. How do you prove smell over the phone? It’s rare, but few times, I was able to prove that a guest violated my house rules, threw a party, and thanks for my live notification system – AKA neighbors – I was able to keep the $250 damage deposit, remove the guest, and reopen my calendar for new bookings. I realized that I just made $600 of a violation.

Three major common and costly issues I face on daily basis along with other hosts:

Indoor cigarette and marijuana smoking – causes smoke to get into the walls and ventilation making it hard to remove. This cost me cancellations or horrible guest reviews.

Theft – There is new scam going around. Airbnb guests used fake IDs to book my unit for three days, and while you are gone they list all your valuables on Craigslist, etc., and basically have a garage sale in your unit without you being aware. By the time my cleaners got to the room, the only thing that was left was the lock and forks. It cost me about $5K to replace everything and a $500 cancellation. Airbnb ignored the claim.

Parties – Some of our properties are in Florida, AKA party towns. We have guests who threw parties, smoked, drank, caused major damages to the furniture and walls, and destroyed neighbors’ pools… the list is long. Which again, cost me time and money and many police reports.

I figured out a way to fix these issues, using technology, by building it myself. I want to protect all 680,000 hosts, and that’s why I have built and developed a patented, smart smoke detector designed to protect and prove violations. It is federally illegal to tamper with, and has a built-in tamper-proof sensor. But it does so much more: it has a real-time notification system that monitors your guests for violations, from the moment the guest enters to the moment they leave.

It’s able to detect and notify live:

• Indoor Smoking (Cigarette and Marijuana Detection)

• Fire and Carbon Monoxide

• Unauthorized Guests

• Break Ins

• Theft

• Excessive noise levels

• Humidity level (Mold Detection)

• Air Quality

• Bluetooth and Z-Wave Compatible with Smart Locks and Security Systems

• Guest Check-In Notification

As as bonus, it also comes with a built-in Property Management System that syncs with Airbnb, VRBO, Expedia, Booking.com, TripAdvisor and many others. This system is non invasive, has no cameras, and even mandatory in some cities. It’s plug and play, all you have to do is swap it with your existing smoke detector. I would love to hear your comments and questions.

Just Another Airbnb Nightmare Experience

Below is the letter I sent to all the Airbnb contact emails I found online. There has been no response.

To whom it may concern, I have been an Airbnb client and host for years. This is the first time that I have encountered the problem that is far beyond your regular support team can solve it fairly. I hope that this email would be received by someone who cares, really listens, and reads every detail professionally.

We rented a room in Bangkok and the client wanted to leave earlier. Your team shortened the booking dates and refunded him without our permission. Our payment is now -‪19946.95‬ Baht plus the unit being empty for weeks during high season.

All of a sudden, the guest reported on the second week of stay that he felt insecure as there was an Airbnb prohibition sign in the lift. We explained and provided legal evidence to the guest to confirm that his one-month rental period was legal as it was long-term.

The support team did not care about our opinion on this, refunded the guest, and never answered us again. We have been ignored several times by your support team staff and we are reaching for help now with great hope for justice. We hope you will listen to us. If not, we have no choice but to reach for help outside Airbnb; somewhere justice is still in practice. Thanks in advance.

Here is the review I left to the client:

I am sacrificing my time to write this long review to remind all hosts to be very careful in accepting [this guest’s] booking. It’s difficult to explain everything in print as it tortured us mentally, physically and financially.

Case (1): [The guest] booked the room for one guest and refused to adjust the booking for two guests. Finally, we gave him an approximately 60% discount to end the lengthy discussion and hoped to let him keep his travel plans smooth and trouble-free. Anyhow, we only received less than half of what had previously been agreed upon.

He rejected the idea of paying more. Two guests stayed at our place since day one. He said it wasn’t his business and we should talk to Airbnb ourselves. I spent days attempting to reach Airbnb and no one was there to answer. I was abroad and I had to use international calling. I couldn’t enjoy my New Year’s trip but spent the whole time talking to him and constantly messaging the service team.

Airbnb finally paid for him as the missing amount was the service fee which I also previously told him to make sure the amount we should receive is after the service fee. He didn’t care. Anyhow, the first issue was resolved. Now, the second one went far beyond what we could stand.

Case (2): Things went well for a week or so. Then, [the guest] mentioned about getting checked by local police late at night on the street on his tuk-tuk Bangkok tour. He wanted to travel somewhere else besides Bangkok but his tailor-made suit could only be finished on January 7th. Please remember this date well.

After almost a two-week stay, he got me by surprise by telling Airbnb that he just saw an Airbnb prohibition sign in the lift and felt insecure. He wanted a full refund for his “uncomfortable nights”. Yes, this happened a day after January 7th.

Even though the sign against Airbnb has been there since his arrival. Even though we sent him the government confirmation documents stating that 30-day rentals are legal in Thailand (he wanted the official one so it’s in Thai) and told him where he could get a quick translation service around the corner. He succeeded in persuading Airbnb to refund all of his uncomfortable nights and left our place (with the AC on) with no notice.

We tried to reach Airbnb and they only said that it was their final decision on the case. There was no further reply and no attention to our messages. This made our room empty for weeks during high season and if you are a host you may know what that means. Airbnb agreed to refund [the guest] and repeatedly ignored our messages, simply because the support team agreed that this application was illegal in Thailand.

We still feel very much disappointed in being treated unfairly when we have tried our best to provide all guests with maximum comfort and joy in our home country. Along the way, Airbnb did contact us once. That was when [the guest] asked the service team to talk with us about the missing money from case (1) but never again.

This made us realize that we are not welcome here. After this post I will terminate my account with Airbnb. It was more than disappointing to receive his booking. If I could go back in time, I would rather keep my room vacant.

Airbnb Invades Privacy and Preys on the Poor

When you keep your nightly rate going up and down, you’re trying to desperately get more guests in, so you can pay your rent – and the algorithm knows that. Of course, the more desperate for cash you are, the more likely you are to be booked by indecent guests. So it happened with me.

This guest was an influencer (of course), rated low on cleaning and observing house rules. I had to give it a go; I couldn’t miss my rent payment. Furthermore, if hosts cancel they will be penalised.

I entered 48 hours of hell, between this couple having sex in common areas, taking my bath towels and leaving them on the floor, while simultaneously trashing the whole place like a frat house, with a sense of entitlement and superiority: “I hate Germans, they dress bad and are annoying,” she said. I’m not German, and it doesn’t take Martin Luther King to forbid that kind of language into my home.

I reported her to Airbnb. Airbnb disclosed my report to her – violating my privacy, EU/US privacy laws and putting me in a dangerous position. I got a bad, fake review (of course) where she clearly states “I filed a report on her.”

This violates Airbnb content policy, but Airbnb won’t remove it. After numerous email exchanges they finally provided me with their legal department address (of course, in order to make things more difficult, they only gave me a postal address), and closed the case, saying “this is our final decision.”

This is the message for Airbnb hosts: If you experience a prejudiced incident and you decide to report it, be prepared for a violation of your privacy rights, a lower booking rate and therefore less money to cover your rent. Disgusting.

Airbnb is running a poverty-line, slave-powered system. It will be replaced one day; the very nature of business capitalism finds a way. Whatever they do to me will be done to them.

False Review and Guest’s Lies Lead to Listings Removed

I have been the owner and host for two Airbnb properties for the past two years, garnering positive reviews and mostly problem-free until now. On October 17th, a young male guest (24-25) with positive reviews arrived. His booking was for three days. During this time he left messages about how much he liked everything about the property and extended his stay by one day.

Meanwhile, my maintenance man encountered him and after a brief interaction texted me with concern that he appeared to be on drugs or intoxicated: he acted “amped up” and paranoid. A day or two later he saw and talked with him again and confirmed the same behavior.

After the guest vacated the property my co-host entered to clean it. She found that one bedroom lampshade had been crushed, as if someone fell on it. She brought this to my and the guest’s attention and said that she would contact the Resolution Center to handle it, the standard procedure. Little did I know that my life was going to explode in all directions thanks to this $10 lampshade.

These Airbnb messages between my co-host and guest reveal why:

“I noticed that one of the lamp shades in the bedroom was broken. I talked to the owner of the property and she advised me to file a claim with Airbnb to be reimbursed for the cost of the matching lamp shades.”

“Feel free to. I’m actually filing a complaint for the peep hole I found in the shower. I’m sorry you feel that way. I discovered the peep hole on my last night of the stay. I did however report the suspicious behavior on the premises prior to that. Facts are facts. I was not intoxicated. All my reviews pre and post my stay here are stellar. You are running a dirty scam, invading others privacy. How dare you. You will not be receiving any money from me. In fact, I have taken this matter straight to Airbnb Corporate with evidence of your intrusive misuse of hosting this home. My hope is that they resolve this matter accordingly, stripping your right to host any more illegal activity, reimburse me for this invasion of my privacy, and follow through with the apology I deserve. Shame on you.”

“Peep hole, illegal activity and dirty scam” were then red flagged by the Airbnb computers. What a surprise to learn that I’m accused of this at age 71. No such things or activities are associated with me or on my properties as established by the positive comments he made after staying there four days. What I also didn’t know at that time is that my Airbnb listings had been immediately shut down so I would not have any future bookings, depriving me of these income sources.

Meanwhile an Airbnb investigator was assigned to me. In the eyes of her and Airbnb I was guilty until proven innocent. She lectured that I had broken the “trust” of Airbnb with my actions. She then gave me 72 hours to provide evidence that I didn’t have a peephole and that people were not walking around on the roof at night (the guest stated that he had heard noises like this, confirming my maintenance man’s assessment).

The roof is totally covered with solar panels; water lines and swamp coolers = dangerous tripping hazards at night. Yes, photographs were submitted as evidence. Also in question is why the guest waited two weeks before submitting a scathing and accusatory review on November 5th. I have also asked Airbnb what evidence the guest provided to support his accusations and told that this information could not be divulged to me. I doubt that he took photos of the peephole before he vacated.

The maintenance man videotaped and narrated a “tour of the bathroom walls” to prove there was no shower peephole. I then sent the videotape to Airbnb after confirming their email, Airbnb.com/help. The email was rejected with “incomplete address” every time. I was now calling Airbnb every day to speak someone who could give me additional support or updates.

I reached someone who was shocked to learn how this case had been mistreated for so many weeks (she had access to my original “ticket” and opened up another to better defend me). She commented that it was blatantly obvious that the guest was lying and fabricating stories and that I was being vilified unfairly. When asked why the video was rejected she said that videos are unacceptable because they may have a virus. Then the original agent said all forms of media are acceptable but I couldn’t send her the video. This had become a Kafka nightmare.

Every professional, honorable company provides standard protocols and procedures to follow for every type of action that may occur. Airbnb does not. At no time did Airbnb send a notification to alert and explain an impending investigation. This is a simple, professional courtesy. Airbnb never provided me with information as to what steps I would need to protect my rights during this investigation. Airbnb never provided information as to collecting specific evidence (recordings, videos, photos) or a timeline to furnish them. The investigators failed to provide this.

Airbnb never informed me that my Airbnb listings were removed and when. Airbnb has yet to inform me how I will recoup my lost booking income since my listings remain inactive. Will Airbnb ever apologize to me for all my lost current and future booking money while my investigation was underway? Will Airbnb ban this guest for eternity? All the evidence supports that I was intentionally maligned.