Has anyone had this happen to them? If so, what options did you consider to rectify a fraudulent claim by a guest? To be kicked off of a hosting platform for nondisclosure of non-surveillance equipment may even be a bit comical, if it were not so sad.
We did not violate the Airbnb rules that were sent to us. Airbnb sided with a guest who not only broke Airbnb policies while staying in our house but fraudulently impeded our ability to make money in the future on this platform. To us, this is not only defamation of our character but was a whirlwind of events that left us unhappy and totally confused. We are still scratching our heads and wonder “what just happened?”
We have had our vacation rental for years without any complaints from guests, many of whom have come back to our rental. Now for the highlights. We received a call at night from someone claiming to be from Airbnb. They claimed that one of our past guests reported our house to them for having surveillance equipment, which of course was not true and considered by myself to be quite preposterous.
I immediately thought this was an attempt to defraud me via the phone. Since we had not had any disgruntled guests I asked the person for proof they were, in fact, working with Airbnb by requesting they send me a message in our Airbnb inbox. The person refused and said they could not do that. Since I have talked to customer service via messages in our inbox before, I was convinced this was a fraudulent call, a scammer, with the intent to perpetrate fraud. I gave them a piece of my mind and hung up on them.
Later I called Airbnb to report this call and was told by customer service that no one had called us. I mentioned an email that I found in my email box after the call and was first told it was not sent by Airbnb. I pushed the agent to further investigate, asked to be transferred to a supervisor and finally talked to someone who verified that the email was from an Airbnb agent.
I then answered the email and stated that I had talked with Airbnb customer service and they verified that they were an agent, the email was valid and that it was safe to open the email link they had asked me to click. I told the agent the accusation was false and that I was ready to talk to them.
After a few more calls to Airbnb, I received an email where we were told by this agent that they had all they needed to investigate. Again, not true because they never discussed this claim with me. I was never shown any evidence that we could review and they had none of our rebuttal information at that time.
We called our current guest, who had been with us over a week already, made them aware of the situation and invited them to look for said equipment by us. They did and found none. Eventually, Airbnb decided without talking with us that we did have non-disclosed surveillance equipment in the house, suspended our account forever and forced our current guest out of the house.
They called them and told them they had to get out. Our guest did not want to leave and told Airbnb they were happy with us, we had been excellent hosts, they loved the home, that there was no surveillance equipment in the house, and they didn’t want to leave. Airbnb told them they were forcefully canceling their reservation and they had to leave.
Since there was a current Airbnb guest in our house this proved to be a real eye-opening experience for them as well. They saw firsthand how unfairly we were being treated.
I failed to mention that we have in writing from the guest how wonderful their experience was so we were floored to find out who filed the claim. We have no idea why they would do such a thing but theorize that they were not happy we caught them violating our rules and Airbnb rules while they were in our house. We decided to let the infractions go and mark it up as lessons learned. We did nothing to them via Airbnb or any other way. In hindsight, perhaps we should have. We’d love to hear your similar stories and suggestions.