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.

How Can an Airbnb Host Control Mother Nature?

Being relatively new to hosting, I am very proud of my five-star rating. Then on my last guest for the year, everything went wrong. The guest texted me that the internet was down. With this being the day before Thanksgiving, a repairman was not happening. Neither the guest nor Airbnb could understand. I was told it was my responsibility that all amenities should work on check-in; therefore, I was breaking a policy.

I pleaded, “How can I control Mother Nature?”

I went to the newspapers and found proof of the storm. 3700 peoples’ electricity was still down smack in the middle of where my house was. In the meantime, the security system which also controls the furnace and door adjacent kept sending me messages that the thermostat was at 80 degrees, and multiple doors were open. I again asked Airbnb for support and there was nothing.

After I could get into the home for inspection, I found tremendous damage. The router had been unplugged and affected the security system so the outside security cameras were off. I found locked areas broken into and rummaged through: two broken door handles, a door that was sealed shut, broken open. I had cabinets zip-tied that were off limits. They removed all the ties and used all the dishes. My fresh painted walls were scuffed so much, I have to repaint. Canned goods gotten into that were locked up.

I call this vandalism. I cannot get Airbnb to help me with making the guest responsible for their actions. I came to find out the router was unplugged. These people were looking for a free ride. Perks were already handed out like one free night as a gift at a lowered rate.

Close your bank account to stop con artist guests

I hosted an Airbnb guest that booked my beach condo for over two months. On the first day, the guest said that the center support of one of the beds had broken off; I then had a handyman come by and fix it. The bed also has three wood support beams going across it at the bottom. Those were all intact and the bed could still be slept in. It was fine and didn’t need the center leg. The guest tried to say they couldn’t sleep in the bed.

Then they threw dirt around my condo, took pictures of it, and told Airbnb that my condo was not clean. I had previous reviews that said my condo was very clean and was cleaned spotlessly before they arrived. The guest then got Airbnb to give them a 50-percent discount for the 20 days they were in my condo and also let them cancel their reservations without my consent.

This guest got a beach condo for $45 per night on the California Coast of San Clemente in which Motel 6 charges at least $150-200 a night. The people were con artists. After they left, my sink and the bathtub were filthy. They ruined my expensive toaster with grease. Airbnb took their side and wouldn’t even listen to a word I had to say. I got paid for 30 days and will not reimburse Airbnb for the money they refunded.

I put a stop payment on my bank account so they cannot take money out of it. I am going to close my account now. I am done with this sham of a company; they should be shut down.

Very Unfair Airbnb Situation on Palawan

I just want to share my disappointment about the decision made by an Airbnb case manager. The decision was made without informing me. He promised us that yesterday morning he would inform us first. However, when we checked our account in the transaction history, the guest already had been given a full refund. Let me tell you what happened, so you can see the whole picture.

A guest checked in on November 15 at 5:15 PM. They called me on my phone at 5:23 PM saying that there was no electricity. We then explained them that the whole city was in total blackout (even our own house and our other listing on Airbnb had been affected). I explained to them that usually when it happens it does not last long. We were consistent in updating them. We also explained to them that they could use the emergency lights while waiting.

At 5:37 PM, they messaged me on my phone, saying that they wanted to cancel their reservation with a full refund. At 6:00 PM after contacting the electric company, I gave them an explanation: three electrical poles had fallen due to a car accident. We also assured her that the electric company was going to restore electricity. We also told them that there was no place to stay in Puerto Princesa with electricity except a hotel with a generator.

She messaged me around 7:00 PM saying they had found a place in Rizal (on the other side of the city) that had electricity. We thought it was their way of saying she didn’t believe us. Then I answered that if they have electricity, that hotel is probably equipped with a generator. After that I didn’t get any messages from the guest.

We messaged them around 10:00 PM to let them know that the electricity came back (after calling the security guards of the subdivision). They never responded to that, so we thought everything was settled. The guest never let us know that they left our place. We sent a message on their check-out day to remind them of the check-out time.

We got a surprise when a case manager contacted us more than 72 hours after the guest checked in. It was for the guest who wanted to cancel their reservation, right away. Why did they wait so long to cancel their reservation?

As an Airbnb traveler myself, we already encountered difficulties in some listings, and we called Airbnb right away. Airbnb called the host, and found an immediate and fair solution. In this situation, it took more than three days before we had been contacted by an Airbnb case manager, and it took four days, which was the last day of the stay before it was finally cancelled, giving them a full refund without our consent.

I don’t have any documentation that the guest really left our place that night. They had full access to the house during those four days; they had the keysafe code. The problem with the electricity was temporary and it came back that night since we had no power outage.

I’m reaching out to anyone here who can help us and give us a fair decision. We’ve been hosting here for years and we keep a good reputation as a Superhost. This is the first time in years that I was stuck in a very unjust circumstance here on Airbnb. I felt very upset. My husband and I are really affected. We felt hopeless. We as hosts strive to do our best for guests every time and this is what we’ve got in spite of all the hard work.

Beware Hosting on Airbnb: One Negative Review

To potential Airbnb hosts: beware of Airbnb. I’ve had it. The rating system is a complete joke. I’ve had a number of great reviews from people that love my two units, but I just had someone give me a one-star review because the dishwasher wasn’t working (took one minute to unclog) and a light bulb in the hall was out.

Clearly the man was in distress as he was visiting Philly to get his wife medical treatment, and he said he had never stayed at an Airbnb before. When he was clearly unhappy, I offered him a full refund, including cleaning fees. He took the refund and blasted my apartment, lying through his teeth about the apartment, and the neighborhood, stuff that is just total nonsense, and easily disproved.

This cost me almost $400 for the stay, but then my listing was put on hold for five days because it dropped below 4.2 stars. In his review, this guy said the “neighborhood is dirty”, which honestly, I’m not even sure what that means. The property is exactly one mile from UPenn on a main drag, in University City in West Philly. If he wanted an apartment in Center City, he would have paid double what I charge for mine.

Anyway, I contacted Airbnb to see if they would consider removing the review, knowing that the robots that work for them would stick to the script. Honestly, somebody should tell the management that the people who answer the phone are not helpful at all, ever. I really think they are automatons. They follow a formula/script whenever you call in, taking calls from a call center somewhere outside of the US, and they never stray from the set procedures for their precious review system.

If someone doesn’t post something universally offensive, no matter how preposterous, they will not change a guest review. Airbnb pretty much always sides with the guest. It’s a very lopsided review system. Again, this guy had never stayed at an Airbnb before. He may never again. I’ve invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into this property and have given Airbnb so much, and they don’t care about me.

Well, I’ve had it. I’m going to try out the competition, and I hear good things about them. I could bring so many more properties online with this company, but will I? Airbnb now offers me $700 now to refer hosts, but they don’t seem to value me as a host.

Airbnb Hosts Aren’t Allowed to be Offline

I put my house on Airbnb a few months ago. I’ve stated in my rules that the house is a self check in house and I have stated the codes to enter the house, as well as, of course, the name of the street and also the number of the door. I’ve called my house “Beach&bike”, because I have two bikes and the house is near the beach. My house is located in a small plaza with eight other houses. It sits on top of a hill and it has a bike nailed to the upper floor.

My first guest was unable to find the house, and canceled the reservation, with Airbnb’s permission, and no refund. As if I’m obliged to be the guests GPS. I could go on for hours criticizing Airbnb for trying to enslave hosts. For instance: you’ve missed a text message at 4:00 AM? You’ll get rated as a person of “slow responses” because you, as a host, are not allowed to sleep.

However, it was what happened next that I found surprising. Airbnb allowed a guest that was never in my house to comment on it. And so, the guest give me one-star ratings for everything. The guest rated the house as very dirty – without ever being inside. The guest commented the house was a “scam”, thus implying that I – the host – am a dishonest person.

I’ve contacted Airbnb several times, explaining that a lie is a lie and that if the guest admittedly was never inside the house then the guest could not comment, at least not on that subject. I’ve told them time and again the house was no scam – as proven by dozens of happy guests. Airbnb cares as much about the truth as Trump.

It’s a rule Airbnb has: a person can rate the cleaning of a place without entering it. It’s an Airbnb rule that a person can rate an area as terrible where he was sitting for an hour, and knows nothing about it. It is an Airbnb rule that a person who was not ever your guest and doesn’t know you can commit libel and lie about you, imply that you are dishonest, and leave these comments forever on the Airbnb site for everyone to see.

Why? Airbnb cares only about one thing: earning money. If that includes lying, cheating, and having no respect for morality, so be it. They call themselves a “community”. Don’t be fooled. They are just like Uber, another money-seeking giant trying to squeeze you.

Government Authorities Should Take a Closer Look at Airbnb

Airbnb made a business decision to censor the photograph of any potential guest so that you cannot see who you are letting into your home. This is an extremely biased moved because the guest can see your picture and make a decision but a host cannot. I had a 30-year-old woman from Canada who came to the UK to study and who booked to stay two months with me after her studies had completed.

After staying two weeks, I subsequently found out that she failed all of her exams and she declared herself to be mentally ill. I live alone and became insecure and afraid because she woke up early one morning accusing me of looking through her bedroom window throughout the night. Then she freaked out saying that I was checking on her food. She spoke about having a breakdown a few years earlier where she just got on a plane from Canada to Paris and ended up sleeping with men in cars to get by.

She said that when things got really bad, she used her status as a vulnerable adult and presented herself to the French Embassy asking to be sent back to Canada. The more she talked, the louder she became. I called my sister and kept her on the phone while I tried my best to talk her down. Eventually she went off, ranting and raving. I locked myself in my bedroom and called Airbnb. I was put on hold and no one came back to me.

The next thing I knew, the woman had run through the door, so I decided to email Airbnb over and over again. I also called and got promises of a return call. The next thing I knew, my doorbell was ringing really loudly. When I answered it, there were three policemen standing at my door. This mentally ill woman accused me of throwing her out, so I had to defend myself to the police by showing them that, unbeknownst to me, she had cancelled the remaining six weeks and that this was a ploy for her to get a full refund from Airbnb.

The police were good that day and suggested getting her out as quickly as possible. The so-called mentally ill woman was good; she knew how to work the system by professing to be mentally ill. The police packed her things in their police car and took her away. Would you believe that this woman texted me afterwards, apologising and saying that it was the only way that she could get someone to move her things for free?

Furthermore, a liaison person arranged for her paid flight back to Canada and she boasted that she got a full refund from Airbnb who had initially told her that she would have to forfeit a 30-day cancellation fee. For 12 hours, Airbnb never got back to me nor supported me through this awful ordeal. When I called they refused to give me my full cancellation fee no matter how I argued. They give extremely poor service and lied nonstop.

Things could have really gotten out of hand. It could have been a physical altercation if I had not played it cool that day. It was an awful experience and Airbnb did nothing. The authorities need to look into this organisation. The way this organisation runs things, someone is going to get killed one day. You just don’t know who you are bringing into your home.

Guest Who Didn’t Even Stay Posts Review

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A woman reserved my house in Austin for the MotoGP weekend and and never actually stayed at my house. Her fiancé and guy friends trashed my house and stole bottles of liquor (had a sign up requesting payment of cost for any liquor taken). I asked for the $125 (which is actually less than the cost).

Airbnb refused to answer anything for six days and refused to actually call me after four calls being told it would be handled. The woman who booked never complained once while the guys were partying and staying at my house. I called her out for her fiancé’s group leaving bags of trash everywhere and food out and she denied everything.

I sent pictures to Airbnb and they refused to do anything to help. Just patronizing messages from someone who hides their name and refuses to actually talk. I don’t think anyone who didn’t actually step into one of my rentals should be able to post a review. I based my acceptance of her reservation request on her five stars but she never stayed at my house. Her review is probably full of more lies and I have six days to get it taken down. I realize I can respond to get bogus review but it will ruin this beautiful blew listing.

I have eight Airbnb properties and have never been treated so unprofessionally. This policy must be changed. If an instant booking is based on a person’s reviews and likability then they should be staying at the listed house. This woman from California is just lying her way through the Airbnb system. I need corporate’s involvement. I can’t get through to anyone higher up to help after so many calls.