Airbnb Hosts Given no Recourse for Guest Damages

Airbnb has been making money off of my property for four years now, and I’ve had quite a few problems with them. I had a guest cause permanent damage to a $1200 Italian wood coffee table: scratches and deep liquid/heat cup stains that of course she didn’t inform me of when she left, and I discovered afterwards. Airbnb had the gall to call it “standard wear and tear” (even though every other guest for four years had managed to use the coasters there on the table) and gave me none of the $200 deposit I required with each booking, nor any other way to seek recompense or repair. This stuff cannot be repaired, as it turns out.

Recently, a guest’s cat damaged a leather chair, destroyed two new bath towels and two throw pillow. She told me she wanted to “make things right”, very convincingly. I trusted that she would. I lowballed the cost of replacing the towels and throws, and didn’t include the cost of my time, not even knowing if repairing the chair was within my abilities. I posted a very good review for her because I believed her, her only review so far. Now that I know she was lying, and has disappeared without sending the agreed upon check, I wish to change my good review, or at the very least, remove it. Airbnb’s call center (who claims to have no way for me to contact the actual Airbnb company except through the general “feedback” box on the website – no phone, no email address, not even a mailing address), told me they “had no way to edit it” and it was protected as “free speech”. I said, “Yes, my free speech! Which is no longer accurate!”

They said I should’ve waited until long after the guest left to post a review (even though we are prompted to leave one starting the same day guests depart), after she failed to mail the check she promised. All I want to do is prevent other hosts from reading my review and opening their homes to a guest who will damage their property and abuse their trust. It’s not only in the best interests of fellow hosts, but of Airbnb as a company, when those other hosts get snowed. The so-called customer service contact talked in these positively insanity-creating circles. She said nothing could be done because I hadn’t filed a claim through their claim resolution within 14 days and that no one was able to remove my positive review, as if there were bots who’d overthrown management and hijacked their website. She could not refer me to anyone who is empowered to correct or take down the review. We hosts are nothing more than cash cows for Airbnb as they pull at the udders of our property, allowing flagrant abuse of our trust, and of our homes, to their great profit.

Ripped off by Guest and Airbnb’s Horrible Customer Service

The guests checked in at 3:00 PM. At 8:40 PM they sent me a text complaining about seeing a cockroach in a 70-year-old beach house in Hawaii. I did not see it until 10:00 PM, so I planned to respond in the morning. I woke up at 5:20 AM to find an email from Airbnb stating I had until 5:40 AM to respond. I wrote them back immediately and at 5:50 AM I received another email saying the guest had been refunded completely for their booking: $3,600.

I disputed it and contacted Airbnb immediately. After a day of them ‘investigating’ it and getting staged photos from the guests showing the house was not clean I was sent an email with a link to their refund policy. Nothing. These guests and Airbnb just ripped me off. I will never use them again. They do not look after the host of a property. Stay away from Airbnb.

Airbnb Cares about the Guests, but not the Hosts

I received an extremely bad, fabricated review in retaliation from a guest who I reported to Airbnb because she had additional people staying in my apartment for whom she did not register or pay. Although our email correspondence on the Airbnb website clearly showed that the woman had additional guests, Airbnb awarded me a minimal and unacceptable settlement. Their reason? The guest did not make herself available to them for verification of my claim, and the term of infringement was not clear to them. I made numerous complaints to no avail. Airbnb’s inflexible transparency policy has allowed this false review to remain on my page. Since it appeared, I’ve had 73 views of my page but not a single rental. Previously, my apartment was always being rented. That means not a month has gone by without guests until now. Airbnb is more concerned about the guests than they are about the hosts who make it possible for them to earn money. I intend to change to Vacation Home Rentals and hope my experience will be better there.

Airbnb Customer Service Trusts Guests over Hosts

An Airbnb guest booked my apartment for one person over a period of three weeks. I learned that she actually had two additional guests staying with her when I visited her at the apartment on her last week. I told her she would have to revise the request and pay for the additional guests. She refused to discuss the matter. Ascertaining from my neighbor that all three guests had lived there most of the time, I made a complaint to Airbnb. Of course, Airbnb advised me to request additional payment through their website, which I did. Those requests were refused by the guest. After I made numerous requests and complaints Airbnb awarded me additional payment for only two days because the guests wrote in her email that her friends “only stayed a couple of days.”

Although it was clear from our correspondence that the additional guests were there for at least three days, Airbnb did not honor my request for additional payment since the guest who made the booking would not communicate with them about the issue. This guest retaliated by leaving my apartment in a filthy condition (I sent pictures to Airbnb) with all windows and doors left open – an invitation to robbery. In addition, since her bogus and scathing review I have not received a single request. I have a 4.5-star, business-ready rating with 26 excellent reviews. Airbnb’s inflexible transparency policy has effectively prevented me from receiving other requests. They won’t remove this scathing review or put it at the bottom of my page where it is less likely to be read. Therefore, I would have to start from scratch with a new page which is completely unfair to me. I am going to close my account and use another vacation rental service if this matter is not handled favorably.

Smoke and Mirrors: Guest’s Performance Art Scam

The reservation was for two people. On Wednesday, March 8th, our guest arrived with her mother (who had a black eye), two dogs, and a cat. We expect people to tell us in advance that they are traveling with a pet. They just showed up this way. Who does that? Because of the black eye, I ignored the imposition of these pets and let them in. For a few days everything was just fine as far as I could tell. Then on Monday afternoon, March 13th , I got a text from the guest saying that the toilet was blocked and water was coming up in the shower. This must have just started, right? Wrong. An email from Airbnb was timestamped at 9:30 AM. It stated that we had exactly two hours to get in touch with Airbnb about the guest complaints that had apparently been mounting for days from the bowels of the quiet clean apartment. If we fail to act by this deadline they will automatically rule in favor of the guests. Well, that boat had already sailed. The plumbers damaged the sidewalk, but had the pipe dug out and replaced by early evening. It cost me $2500 to repair the blocked sewer line quickly so no one would have to go the night without toilets. The stoppage from that apartment had put all three units in the complex out of service.

The next day was exciting. I received a series of bizarre pictures from Airbnb that had been taken by the guest and submitted as proof of the unhealthy conditions that we allowed to go uncorrected here in our slum. Our place was, mind you, the cleanest apartment in the world, but not in those pictures. There were bugs and bits of debris in the narrow tight shots of various kitchen surfaces with rust (like the bottoms of pots) and in one of the pictures the living room sofa was sitting with the upholstery covers removed. The foam cushions were in their underpants and one such garment had been pulled apart at a corner to look warn and dilapidated. They included, of course, a picture of the sewage in the shower.

This makes me laugh because the plumbing had clogged (I was told) at around 2:00 AM. I was intentionally left out of the loop about this until 1:30 in the afternoon. They were painting me as negligent so they could ruminate about my failure to correct a disgusting condition and setting the groundwork for the timeline of hardship that would win them a refund. They hung out with a sewage pond for nearly twelve hours so that it would remain unresolved until after they were rewarded the damages they requested. Some things are just worth the extra inconvenience, don’t you agree?

Ultimately, Airbnb gave them half of their money back, which was entirely too much for me to refund on top of the $2500 it cost me in repairs. The whole ten-course tampering they served us was so weird that I felt like I funded a conceptual art project that was meant to be seen from many different angles and leave the onlooker with a residue of mystery and cultural significance. The person at Airbnb that made the misguided decision to refund this money did so because she was still operating under the belief that the photos of the dirty conditions are authentic. I am lost for an explanation as to how anyone with such a dazzling analytical mind could be allowed to operate in a position that requires rational processes to reach feasible conclusions. There is a problem with the way Airbnb gathers and fact checks the information it receives. It needs to do much better. It has failed to establish a stream of reliable data for its policy decisions.

Guests Book Airbnb for their Dirty Laundry, Full Refund

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A woman and her spouse booked my room for a night. They came over and everything was cordial. I greeted them, gave them the tour and left them to it. The woman had asked if she could use the washer and dryer. I said yes, so they brought in loads of clothes. That was still okay with me. I left to go have dinner at a neighbor’s house. I received a text from the woman saying there was an emergency. I got up and walked back to my house, where they proceeded to spout lies. Then is when I knew they were only there to wash their dirty clothes. I asked them if they wanted to leave because the issue was they thought I didn’t wash their sheets; they said they sound a strand of hair on the sheets. Before they even arrived I washed the sheets and made the bed. They proceeded to say everything was fine, they would stay and leave at 6:00 AM. I agreed. 6:00 AM arrived, and they got their things together and leave. Now once they left they somehow cancelled the reservation and I didn’t get paid. They stayed the night and left my room a mess. I don’t know if I will continue to be a host after this experience.

Uninvited Airbnb Guest Vindictive and Petty

I’m an Airbnb superhost. I’ve generally loved my hosting experience and only ever had a few minor issues but nothing to ever make me feel how I am feeling right now. I am sitting here in tears, shaking in fear that my guest and his “mom” are going to come back. I’m home alone, my husband out of town, but I still decided to approve a request. I had a guest, “Daniel”, reserve two nights for one guest (himself). After a previous bad experience with a couple having disgustingly loud sex, I restricted my listing to single guests only. He was good with communication but never mentioned he’d be bringing anyone. His check-in time was 6:00 PM. He arrived at 1:00 AM with an older woman who immediately exclaimed: “I’m his mom, not a cougar.” She had no luggage so I assumed she was going to see the room, say goodbye, and that would be that. About 15 minutes went by, when I walked by the room and noticed the light was out. I sent Daniel a message asking when his mom might be leaving so I could lock up the house, but got no reply. I knocked on the door. I could hear them whispering but they refused to answer even after several loud knocks. I finally pounded on the door and called out: “Excuse me!”

“What?!” finally came the reply. I asked Daniel when his mom would be leaving, and she chimed in saying she was going to stay. I informed them the booking was for one person and she’d have to leave. She said “what, do you want more money?” I replied I needed her to leave for legal reasons. I could hear her become very angry and begin packing things. Over a period of about ten minutes I could hear them packing and talking about various ways to get revenge. I overheard something about stealing the sheets, stealing a candle, and at one point I overheard the mom exclaim “nice one! that’ll show her!” I think Daniel may have done something gross or stolen something. There are two empty spaces on my shelf but for the life of me I can’t remember what was there; I’ll probably never be able to claim the theft within the 24-hour Airbnb reporting window. They came out of the room and the mom immediately began berating me. I was terrified, sitting on the couch paralyzed with fear. Thankfully, they both left and I immediately called Airbnb. However, Airbnb didn’t really offer any resolution. They didn’t cancel the reservation. They told me it was over and to calm down, and that the guests probably didn’t do or steal anything so not to worry. I’m scared this guy could show up tomorrow for his second night because Airbnb didn’t even offer to cancel the reservation. If you’re a woman home alone, don’t be an Airbnb host!

Another Airbnb Debacle: What do Mediators even do?

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I called Airbnb to let them know that I had a signed contract with my guest, Ms. Ponga, which superseded theirs and any dispute was to be handled with the American Arbitration Association. I have never called to notify them of this before, but I knew this guest was trouble. My big mistake was caring that I would lose my Superhost status if I cancelled. Anyway, customer service ignored this fact as well. I also doubt that they looked to see if this guest has done to other hosts what she did to me. I am sure she has. I am the kind of host who provides luxury robes. Ms. Ponga vandalized my apartment. I have had so many bad, horrible things happen using Airbnb because of the incompetence and unconscionable behavior of the mediators and case managers. The other problem is the “Guest Refund Policy” which attracts con-artists, criminals, and extortionists. Airbnb just attracts thieves and criminals in general. I have never had a problem with guests from any other site.

The biggest problem is that the people who work at Airbnb do not know what the “Guest Refund Policy” says. They do not seem to have been trained. I am starting to doubt that they even graduated from high school. One guy on the phone gave me the impression that either he or some of the people that work there are high school dropouts. Anyway, this story is a rerun of so many I’ve seen on Airbnb Hell. Actually, there are so many incompetent people in this story that I am going to submit a separate complaint for each person. I am also going to go back through all the unconscionable things they have done and submit separate complaints for all of those things too. There are actually some people with common sense who answer the phone who can understand what happened was wrong, but when it gets to the next level, the supervisors say their subordinates promised something they can’t deliver. They always use the excuse that the case is closed, as if I closed it.

Patricia Ponga was my guest; she has now changed her name to Ruth. I suppose this is because of my review which has been taken down, put back up, and taken down again. Maybe when Ruth realizes the review is down she will change her name back to Patricia. First, she told me that she would be staying seven or eight days but her friend would only be staying three of those days. She asked if I could I give her a discount, which I did. It turned out that story was a lie. I have some terms. I made the mistake of pre-approving her and saying if she agreed to my terms to accept my invitation to book, if not she could decline. So she booked the property. She also said she agreed, but she did not follow through with her actions. In my experience, if people do not agree with the terms, they do not book, and if they do agree, they comply with my terms right away to show good faith. Not this lady. She wanted to change everything up and renegotiate after agreeing.

One of my terms was that instead of getting a deposit, I would have them buy a $59 Property Damage Protection Plan for insurance. She and her friend tried to tell me that they have been using Airbnb and this other site for a long time and I couldn’t ask them to do that. However, this other site told me as long as I am listed on their site and I have the listing number, people who booked rentals on other sites can buy insurance. Somewhere along the line, someone on the phone at Airbnb told me that I was not allowed to ask guests to purchase insurance, so I purchased it on their behalf. Later, I learned that Ms. Ponga told Airbnb that I forced her to buy insurance. This was a lie, and I can prove it with my credit card statement.

Ms. Ponga wanted to check in late, so I told her I would leave the keys at the 24/7 deli. She said this was perfect, but later complained about it. There was one mistake because the deli guy gave her the keys to my apartment and not her apartment. Luckily, my place is steps away. She knew she had the wrong keys but she used them to open my door and walk in. Later, I gave her the correct keys. She was clearly aggressive. She clearly acted like a person who is not afraid of anything. Next I got a call from her saying that the apartment was not habitable because there was no heat. I told her there was; she just needed to push the heat button on the central air and heat. Then she complained that there was a window she could not shut. I told her once she got the heat turned on she would be boiling and dying for the window to remain open, but she insisted that I come there right then. I said I would, and had to reiterate, right now. So, I arrived in about three minutes. She had not turned on the heat and told me that she knew how to circumvent my strict cancellation policy; if I did not get the window closed she could get me thrown off Airbnb, as she is friends with Brian Chesky.

The window was a bit hard to close, but I did it and I told her the window guy was coming on Monday. She complained that he never came on Monday, but she was never there on any Monday, so clearly that was a lie on her part. Then I did not hear from the guests for about four days. On the fourth day, I received a message on the thread saying everything was fine and they just needed more towels. Never mind that I had already given them four sets of brand new towels, and there were two sets in the bathroom. I said there were more towels in the cabinet next to the bathroom. I did not hear anything and it seemed all was well. In the middle of the night, when I was in bed with a migraine, she called me and demanded I bring clean towels from my apartment. I said there were clean towels there. She said they were not clean because she got an ear infection. Ear infections in adults are caused by flying, seasonal allergies, and smoke.

I tried to explain to her that the towels in my apartment are laundered by the same company, and were in the same load as the towels that were over there. I even had the new towels washed because I wanted them to have the smell of whatever the laundry uses on them; it’s so wonderful. In addition, who knows who has been touching them? Anyway, she would not listen to reason, and she told me the TV is also broken. The TV was not broken. It was a pretext to get me out of bed. You have to use both remotes, and if you do not get it, you can read the house manual. I gave them the phone number to call for customer service. The bottom line is that I am such a nice host that if I had not had a migraine, I would have gotten up to help them. It is my nature, but I couldn’t do it. I offered to have them come get towels from my apartment, but the towels there were better.

Now enters the Airbnb mediator, who does not know the meaning of the word mediation. He ignored my strict cancellation policy with no proof, no photos, without talking to me and released them from the reservation. When I called Airbnb they said it was because of the dirty towels and a broken TV. I sent Airbnb a photo of the cabinet full of clean towels and the working TV. Then he told me that I forced them to buy insurance. Also, not true. I sent him the credit card summary showing that I paid for it. The next excuse was that it was because I told them if any neighbor asks, to say they were my friends. Apparently, the mediator took that to mean that I was not allowed to sublease my condo. Also, wrong! A lot of people in my neighborhood work in the hotel industry. If they get fired or something, I do not want them to think it is my fault. However, since he doesn’t know the meaning of the word mediator or mediation, he doesn’t know that he should have talked to me.

According to the “Guest Refund Policy” I am supposed to be given a chance to remedy any real or imagined problem. This mediator did exactly what other incompetent mediators have done. When his initial reasons for ending the reservation turned out to be wrong, he made up new reasons. Airbnb owes me $900. Mediators: don’t assume. Talk to both parties. Read your company’s policies; get a dictionary. They took down my review of Patricia Ponga AKA Ruth, put it back up, and took it down again. I suppose someone decided to do the right thing and then the next person up the chain said no. That has always been my experience with Airbnb. Maybe Ms. Ponga called her friend Brian Chesky and he had them take it down.

 

Guest from Hell’s Complaints Neverending

I accepted an instant book for six nights starting in a few days time. I have hosted on Airbnb for nearly two years with great reviews (even from other hosts). My mobile home is based in Florida and is offered for sole use. Recently a guest brought in some bugs not native to the US and we had the unit treated several time to kill them. The guest that arrived started complaining the moment they walked in the door: “It’s dirty, the locks didn’t work, there were hairs on the sheets, the light bulbs weren’t working, the sink was blocked.” The list went on and on. However, as soon as we “corrected” an issue, even if there wasn’t one, suddenly there was another. We then got an email from Airbnb saying the guest wanted a refund! That’s when the resolution center came into the picture. I requested the guest leave, with Airbnb’s permission (she said). It took two days to get her out. I still have not been paid and now I have to deal with a case manager who has no supervisor to whom I can speak. I am so disappointed that Airbnb is so bad at customer service. I am thinking of cancelling all future bookings, telling the guests why, and getting them to contact Airbnb.

Possible Prostitution from Airbnb Guest

I received a guest’s reservation for one person from 12/10-12/29. After the reservation was confirmed, Airbnb sent me an email saying he did not finish sending payment and the reservation was not confirmed. The next day, Airbnb sent an email saying the payment had been confirmed and the reservation was confirmed. Before arriving, the guest texted me around 6:00 AM Saturday morning saying “we arrived early in Boston” and asking if they could check in early. Seeing him use “we” seemed to indicate the reservation for one person may be wrong. I asked how many people were coming, and he said three. I asked them to update the reservation through Airbnb as three people. He agreed. I replied it was okay to check in at 10:30 AM.

When they arrived, I saw the guest and three young girls (in their 20s, claiming to be college students). His profile on Airbnb indicates he is married with his wife and son in the picture. Some hosts reported negative experiences with him. I chose to trust him and accepted his reservation. During check-in, I asked what they were here for as they are spending Dec 10th-29th with me, which included Christmas. The girl hesitated for about five seconds and looked at my guest, as if she didn’t know what they were here for. Then she said they were here for work. Then he started to explain: he lives in Boston and has a food packaging business with a warehouse near Acton. The three girls were his employees and were staying at the Airbnb; he would not be staying as he lives in Boston.

It all seemed very sketchy, so I asked for his ID. He showed me his driver’s license, on which a California address was printed. I could not verify what he said was true and if his driver’s license was authentic. He said he could not change the reservation to three people so I did. He accepted the change. However, right after the acceptance notification, Airbnb sent me an email saying he had not paid for the new change and will email me if they confirm payment. I would not receive payment until it had been confirmed he paid. Fast forwarding to that first night: the guest never left. They were very loud and noisy. I texted them asking them to keep their volume down and also follow through with their payment. No response was received. I did not force them to check out as it was late and I didn’t want to interrupt three girls living downstairs even though I heard the guest and knew he was staying with them downstairs.

The next day at 1:52 PM, Airbnb notified me that the reservation had been canceled. I won’t be receiving payment as they did not receive my guest’s payment confirmation. Note that Airbnb did send an email confirming payment had been received for the initial reservation before it had been changed. That is how the initial reservation had been confirmed. I saw no record of the reservation and I was not even able to comment on this negative experience with this guest to warn other Airbnb hosts about this incident.

More facts: the guest cancelled his reservation without paying anything (as far as I know from Airbnb emails). He complained my place was cold and not safe while there was central heating; I told him upon arrival that it was set to 68 degrees. Other previous guests felt it was warm and comfortable but he thought differently. They broke a vase and left something red dripping on the floor and the carpet (partially wiped off on the concrete floor side but I can still see the red color; red bloody dots on the carpet are clear and visible). It is hard to tell if it was a red drink or blood but it’s certainly disgusting.

That night was loud and noisy. I am not sure if Airbnb can and will send any payment to cover the one night plus the cost of the broken vase, but I am not hoping for much. I removed my listings. I had another experience with a German guest, who broke the bathroom handle. The German guest paid $50 in damage fees but it turned out to be an $800 cost to change out the complete bathroom set. Of course I complained to Airbnb afterwards with nothing being done.

Conclusion: Airbnb is not doing what they are responsible for, keeping hosts safe and protected. Hosts are left vulnerable by any illegal actions committed by the guest and may become responsible or punished for other people’s wrongdoings. Guests who should not belong to Airbnb community cannot be checked and verified properly through the website.