Bad Guest + Damages = Bad Airbnb Policy

This ended fairly well, but not without a huge fight with Airbnb about their catch-22 policy. Here’s how we dealt with it:

We rented our entire million-dollar waterfront home to a family of four and relatives. It turned out it was one family that sublet the rest of the rooms to other “families”. They felt they did not have to supervise anyone for four days.

Literally 350 lbs of garbage was taken out of the house to the dump. There was $3000+ in damages, including from children peeing in beds and leaving it without stripping the sheets off. There was broken furniture from when they moved it all to create a huge playpen in the recreation room for all their children, so they could leave them unattended, resulting in sh*t on the carpet, crayon on the walls, and the pool table used as a baby diaper changing station.

In talking to the guest about payment for the extra damages, they posted a dead mouse photo and complained about how upset they were to have to find this. The photo was of a dead mouse up against a wall that does not exist in my home. I just found out on this site that it is a common tactic to get an instant rebate from Airbnb.

We felt we should review the guest so that other hosts would be wary. They reviewed us very badly and complained about how rude we were, how terrible our property was, and that they had done no damage at all. It would be funny but Airbnb refused to remove the obviously fake review: “We don’t make judgments on the validity of reviews. We let the public forum decide who to believe.”

Now we’re were going to be stuck with the last review as the first thing renters would see the next season. This had to go.

How to get your claim paid fast: we collected all the evidence of damages, got estimates on repairs, and had some receipts for replacement items. We submitted our claim to Airbnb.

If you have a claim be sure to wrap it up in a bow. Take one page for each item – don’t lump it all on one page – shoot and include photos, or screenshots from websites showing replacement items and the cost. Itemize each page and include a spreadsheet showing items and totals with a grand total on a cover page. There are insurance people who have to do this so if you do their job for them they will rubber stamp it, take a percentage off for “depreciation”, and cut you a cheque right away. It worked for us.

Remember the depreciation so be sure to get good estimates or online shop for the best replacement without cheaping out on the price. You could replace it at Walmart, but why not Best Buy instead? PDF that document and email it to them.

I had to argue this one up four levels of customer service to finally get a resolution. Remember that the first customer service person has no power to solve your problem. They seem to be trained to simply spit out the policy, even if that policy makes no sense. In our case, I needed the bad review expunged because it was a lie.

My catch-22 argument was that while “[Airbnb] make[s] no judgement on truthfulness of reviews,” they had made a judgement because their resolutions department had decided that I was telling the truth and the guest had damaged our place so they paid me. They couldn’t pay my claim and say they couldn’t make a judgement on truth. Do not stop complaining. Do not believe that the person you are talking to is the ultimate authority. These people all have a boss – demand to speak to their supervisor.

It took me almost two months to get high enough and I had a very good logical argument for the removal. They finally took it off saying, “upon review we have determined that the review was malicious in defense of damage they had caused”.

I consider myself a very good Superhost and have also been to many wonderful Airbnb rentals without incident for the last two years. I’m pretty certain that, as a host, justice was not done. I’m sure that Airbnb did not chase after the guest for the damages money they paid out, nor did they take advantage of the $2000 damage “deposit” I have in my listing (which if you’ve ever been a guest you know it never gets posted to your credit card).

The guest probably got a refund for the fake mouse photo. So this guest has never been punished for their bad behaviour and will probably do this to another host. How is that protecting your business, Airbnb? Hell, I’m even worried that they will try to rent again under a different name or person in the group, e.g. “Hey, Bob, it’s your turn to book”. They had such a fabulous unsupervised stay the last time, why not do it again?

Airbnb Hell for the Poor Person Renting Property

I had a few nice tenants to begin with. I thought they would all be nice, but then I had one lot who complained about everything: “the sheets were smelly, the room smelt, and the dishes weren’t washed.” They left.

Meanwhile I was left with a big cleaning bill, a steam cleaning bill for carpets, and with a person who lied about my place on Airbnb. Now how does that sit with a person who has, with her cleaner, spent six hours cleaning and preparing a nice place, buying extras to make them feel at home while the guests prance off and leave another cleaning bill for me after one night?

“Okay,” I thought to myself, “What happens now?” Are her lies going to be plastered on Airbnb without finding out first what the real deal was? I bet your bottom dollar that is how it went over. I am now out of money and tired. Now my head is thinking – what will happen when the next lot of people arrive? Will they read the liar’s story and perform the same ritual?

I was so right in my thinking. They said exactly the same things that the previous liars said and now I will be out more money.

Thinking of being an Airbnb host? These last lot brought their cat… need I say more? I am very tired and very heartsick that a big company such as Airbnb allows renters to tell lies, believes them without asking any questions, and takes money from us poor suckers. Am I alone in this horror story? Obviously not! Will I continue to be a host? You be the judge.

Can I ring Airbnb or even email them with my side of the story? I have tried both; I emailed at midnight and I was told to wait 1-2 minutes. Meanwhile, hours later, I fell asleep only to wake up and find that they had closed me down and didn’t wish to continue with my case.

Airbnb Rents to Those Who Lie About their Age

We are realtors and property managers of prestigious properties in Palm Beach County, Florida. On February 24th, 2019, a guest booked one of our luxury homes. Our team tried to contact the guest 17 times in order to find out how many people/ages/etc. were booked. There was no reply from the guest until one hour before check in.

You may ask why we didn’t cancel the booking? Of course any cancellation by a host is penalized by Airbnb. We were suspicious and contacted Airbnb to explain our concerns, i.e. we smelt a rat. The naive Airbnb person, who could hardly speak English, said the standard phrase “I fully understand your situation and I will reach out to the renter.”

As we had no confidence in the Airbnb telephone assistant, we met the guest at a neutral location (Panera Bread). He is a 22 year old, with eight friends under the age of 21, a couple of whom were 17 years old. He admitted he did not return our attempts to contact him because he knew we did not accept groups of under 25s.

This is the wording of the contract he signed to obtain the booking:

Rental properties are for family vacations only: [the host] gladly rents to families or responsible adults over the age of 25 years old. [The host] has a “No-Group” Policy, which includes but is not limited to the following: SCHOOL, SPRING BREAK, PROM, GRADUATION, SORORITIES, FRATERNITIES, OR WEDDING RECEPTIONS.

[The host] may approve at the time of reservation and at our discretion to rent to groups, but you must disclose at the time of reservation 1) that you are a non-family group and, 2) the majority of the group members must be at least 25 years of age. [The host] will not enter into a Rental Agreement with anyone under the age of 25. Be honest!

The best way to avoid problems during your stay is to be up front when making the reservation. Any such misrepresentation, overcrowding, exceeding parking capacity, or sub-letting of Rental Property will result in both the forfeiture of all monies paid (including all fees) and immediate, expedited eviction.

In addition, if [the host] discovers any undeclared parties, prom groups, graduation groups, or underage groups, before during or after stay then [the host] will bill the guest credit card a minimum fee of 1 night`s rent and any damages or additional housekeeping charges. In addition, [the host] reserves the right to bill $150 per incident for neighborhood complaint calls made to the police or complaint calls to [the host] after hours emergency number, or any other neighborhood complaint regarding Guest noise, nuisance, and parties.

[THE HOST] HAS A ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY FOR ROWDY GROUPS-PLEASE BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR!”

Obviously, we were unable to allow him to stay in this multi-million dollar home with his eight friends. Airbnb then made a ruling, after having all of the above information, to fully refund the renter. Our client has now lost almost $5000 and the property cannot be rented at this late stage.

Here is Airbnb’s reasoning: “It is Airbnb’s policy not to discriminate on age against anyone renting a property over the age of 18”. This means the contracts you upload onto Airbnb are, apparently, trumped by the Airbnb policy of no discrimination against anyone over 18 years old, even if they are spring breakers looking to party in quiet neighborhoods. It is exactly this policy that gives Airbnb and local property managers a bad name, in quiet respected neighborhoods.

Would you really like this guest and his buddies next to your mother and father for a week? Airbnb: you are a disgrace and no wonder Palm Beach County is taking legal action against you. There is a real need and a responsibility to protect neighborhoods from Airbnb’s naive policies.

Airbnb’s Fake Policies Include Not Paying Hosts

I’m currently dealing with a broken air conditioner that cost over $5000. Case closed, no reimbursement from Airbnb. I sent in over 15 minutes of video taken as soon as I walked into the home finding all the destruction.

After 11 days, they finally responded to me. They gave me time to send in the evidence – pictures – to find replacements, and send in the receipts. Fine, but I needed more time for the AC since the repairman came and got here by the deadline.

This is what I learned: if they had offered me anything, any amount of money for reimbursement – maybe two dollars? – I would take it and run. Airbnb does nothing to protect properties whatsoever. I also had six people cancel at the last minute who were not entitled to any refund under my strict cancellation policy. Every single one of them made up some story and received a 100% refund.

One girl didn’t receive a refund because I refuse to “authorize“ it. She didn’t deserve it and it would be filing my cancellation policy I protested. The next day Airbnb cancelled the guest whom I had been looking forward to meeting and had a $1001 payout. They cancelled her reservation and told her I canceled it. She got a new place to stay and I completely screwed.

I’m only posting this summer, have received rave reviews from every single guest that stayed here, and I’m currently out over $6000. I counted I bought new towels, sheets, a portable air conditioner, fans, counting on $7000 and payouts that were anticipated due to bookings when I started. I received less than $3000 payout and now, I’ll be lucky if I get $3500.

Airbnb restricted my account weeks ago, because a guest falsely claimed I had a security camera in order to get his refund equal to 100% of the original payment. Ridiculous.

I wish I never did business with Airbnb; they are crooks, and they lie. I’m moving to VRBO.

Hosts: Beware of Airbnb’s fake policies. They will not do what is your best interest even if it goes against their policies. Airbnb caters to the guests, which in my case cost me over $6000.

There are too many Airbnb Reviews, Period

Here’s my beef: the reviews. Every time a guest checks out, I review the guest, and I’m asked, “What could the guest do better?”

Now, the guest is my customer and a customer of Airbnb, so Airbnb asks that I criticize this person who has just come to stay the night and doesn’t want any trouble. Likewise, the guests review me and must be asked a similar question because every single review I get, there is an area for personal comments and the guest always leaves a little nastygram, telling me what I can do better.

Whereas an occasional host might take that question seriously, and the guest gets some feedback – Like what? “You shouldn’t leave your snot in the shower drain” – all guests take it seriously, and put themselves in the position of Reviewer of the Year.

There are many things I provide to be nice. These are things I don’t have to stock. I get complaints if the bar of soap is small. I was providing one Fiji water per guest (in their private little fridge) and they were complaining there was not enough free water.

I’ve received complaints about the snacks: about some of the plates arcing in the microwave, not having a hand towel, having to stir their coffee with a knife. Someone found a hair on one of the towels. Someone complained the ceiling was dirty. The window sill was dirty. There was a suggestion to wipe out the shower (make sure it’s dry for guests). The shower drips for a while after it is turned off.

A bug was found under the couch. A cricket came in under the door. There are tiny spiders in the corners of the ceilings. There’s a musty smell. I’m too noisy upstairs (it’s just me and I tiptoe). Buy a Keurig (there’s already a coffee maker, and free coffee and tea). Buy new nightstands. Buy a coffee table. Put in a TV. Make it lighter, use LED lights from now on. Keep the computer turned on or make it easier to turn on or take it out altogether.

Change the electrical wiring. Get new pillows. Get a luggage rack. Provide a place to hang clothes. Give more heat. Give more parking space. Love my emotional support pet. Did you slam the toilet seat or was that the heater?

Two naturally-oriented guests left the double doors open during a rain storm and put the couch in front of the open space to look out. When they were done, they didn’t close one side completely and for a while, worms were coming in to die, seeking the cool tile floor. Complaints from the next four guests because I couldn’t figure out why they started coming in so much.

I internalize and act on the comments. After being fully booked for a year, all those complaints I listed? They’re all fixed. I’ve made the place better and better. There are new floors, a new TV with all the channels you can get, a dehumidifier, a new heater (which two guests say is too loud and one even suggested buying a second new heater), new nightstands, the luggage rack, the LED light bulbs, plenty of plastic silverware, unoffensive everlasting snacks, lots of water (no longer Fiji), new paint on the walls and ceilings, and even a strictly regimented cleaning process, which I would happily attach if it would make dear reader happy.

My suggestion is, if they have a complaint, let them leave a complaint. But don’t encourage them. Hosts get worn out by constant suggestions and complaints. A guest might get one suggestion in a year. I have received more than one hundred. And that – on top of cleaning the place 120 times (they don’t all leave reviews) and having strangers in my basement.

I know it’s helpful. I should unpack and cherish every complaint like the little gift (of crap) it’s meant to be. But it hurts my heart. I am caring about these people and making the place super nice (it’s five stars, I’m a Superhost, and it’s a three-room suite in my very nice basement area for $45/night in a touristy area) and yet the complaints keep pouring in with every review. It’s not public (although some guests can’t help themselves) but it still undermines my joy in the experience, considerably.

Could Airbnb maybe only ask half of them to tell me what I could do better? Let the other half think for themselves whether they want to tell me what I can do better. I have many other tangents I can run down regarding Airbnb, Heaven or Hell, Depending on the day, but I will save that for another time. Until then, enjoy the host experience…

Airbnb Guest Brings 34 People to a House Meant for 6

I would like to share my story with everyone. I recently published a listing on Airbnb that can accommodate six people. I had many guests who sent me inquiries asking if my place was available and many more questions.

After evaluating all the guests, I finally accepted one reservation as she had good reviews from other hosts. I immediately told her that my place can only accommodate six people and that she needed to pay an extra $30 for each guest she brings after the six confirmed guests. She agreed and promised me that only six people would be in my place.

Since I go to work every day, I was not there when she checked in but my caretaker welcomed them. Four hours after they checked in, my caretaker called me saying that there were 34 people in my place and that the guest told him not to tell me as she would be charged for such a big amount.

I called her right away when this was told to me and she admitted that there were 34 people in my place. I requested money from her via Airbnb but she refused to pay me and deleted her account. I called Airbnb and asked them to collect the money but they never helped me. They even gave me a deadline of 24 hours to send documents confirming that there were extra 28 people in my place when the guest already admitted it and even contacted Airbnb saying that she did not know what to do and how to pay me since she didn’t have enough money.

The case manager from Airbnb told me that they will not help me unless documents are sent when I told them a million times that I won’t be able to send documents as I live in a different place and that I had a business flight that day. Indeed the worse experience and customer service on earth.

Little Consideration by Airbnb for Homeowner’s Asset

I just had a guest who requested an early check-in on Friday and my house manager accommodated him by letting him drop off his bags at 10:00 AM. While there the guest noticed the house manager was doing some very minor touch-up on a leather couch with some leather polish. Later that day at 3:30 PM (30 minutes early), my house manager called the guest to let him know the house was ready. The guest returned with eight people vs. the five they said they’d have in their party.

On Sunday, they complained to Airbnb that we were doing some major renovation and wanted a full refund for their three-night stay. They were scheduled to depart the next morning. My house manager and I instantly recognized the guest was a rat and trying to take advantage of the situation. So, we demanded Airbnb kick them out.

After about five hours on the phone with Airbnb and threats to call the police the guest finally left. Fortunately, there wasn’t any damage. However, Airbnb refunded the guest’s third night which I think is out of line. The guest cancelled their reservation by their trying to cheat me, my house manager and Airbnb.