Are Some Host Reviews an Invasion of Privacy?

We spent a few nights in Kelowna in an Airbnb accommodation. We are a couple with some dietary restrictions, so we were specifically looking for a unit with a kitchen.

Our tw0-day stay at this unit was okay. We didn’t have any problem except that we had to deal with cheap dollar store pans, pots and utensils, which we kind of ignored because we were there for just two nights. Upon finishing the trip, we were unpleasantly surprised to see the host posted a review that among other things said “the guests spent whole two nights cooking in the unit kitchen provided.”

I personally took it as invasion of privacy as it is none of the host’s business to see what we were doing. I found it creepy as it also raised questions on whether the host was keeping an eye on what we were doing. I reached out to Airbnb with this concern and they brought the review down first. Upon pushing further, they assigned someone to this case who claimed that they had spoken to the host and that the hosts had assured them that they were not spying on us and checking out what we were doing.

To my utter anguish Airbnb decided to bring back the review and publish it again for some reason best known to them. Upon following up, they said that the review had been taken down due to some error earlier. This all begets the question — how seriously does Airbnb take privacy-related complaints?

In my case, I still do not know why someone would care what guests were doing in their basement unit, proudly boast about it in their reviews, and Airbnb would still not take it down. Any host could tell the whole world what you have been doing during your stay and Airbnb doesn’t think it’s inappropriate to post such personal stuff. No issues with breach of privacy.

Beautiful Airbnb in Thailand Infested with Rats

We rented a beautiful two bedroom house with a pool about five minutes from Ao Nang in Thailand for six nights. Within the first day I thought I was seeing rats but just brushed it off. Well, over the rest of our stay I saw them everyday. I emailed our host and let him know about the rats and to see if he had someone that was doing pest control. He said he had never seen any rats and was surprised about it. He had security cameras everywhere on the outside of the house for the guests’ protection and probably for any theft that might occur when the property was empty, but apparently never saw the rats running around on the property. I’m writing this here because Airbnb doesn’t allow for changes in reviews and it seems that a lot of them are very generic. My wife did our review without my input and kept it very basic. The host’s review of my wife mentioned we should not be traveling to Thailand because of geckos and other things common in Thailand. Funny enough, I just don’t like rats. I have now been to Thailand three times and have stayed at many places that did not have rats, including a relative’s house in Hua Hin that borders lots of vegetation. However, they do animal control in their area. I’m not saying we never saw rats – we did – but not anywhere we had stayed until now.

Lying Airbnb Host in Monument Valley

I manage Airbnb properties in Edinburgh but have never stayed in an Airbnb property myself until I went to the States recently and stayed in a trailer in Monument Valley, which just happens to be on the Navajo reservation. In fact, the trailer was owned and run by a Navajo indian and his wife, who was a white American. Now a bit about myself: I have travelled extensively all over the world and love experiencing different cultures, and don’t for one minute consider myself superior to cultures that are not westernised, but obviously this host thought differently.

The trailer we were staying in had no water; we were told that on the listing, so it wasn’t a problem. We also knew the toilet facilities were not in the trailer. Again, no problem; we were were expecting relatively basic conditions. The problems began with the directions. They were more than useless, a fact a few of the guests had noted before. We got lost then lost again. Eventually, the host’s wife came out to meet us as it got dark.

The trailer itself was very basic, with no lock on the door, rusty cutlery and thin torn plastic acting as windows which would flap violently in the wind. There were one pan, broken cupboard doors, and bare electric wire hanging down from the lamps. The water was kept in a large plastic water container which was fine for us. There was a shower a few metres away but we were told that it may be difficult to get going and to go to the husband’s relatives in the trailer next door and ask if we could use their shower if we couldn’t get this one to work. Needless to say I had no intention of doing that.

It was not what we were expecting and we were very disappointed. We sat late into the night humming and arguing whether we should go or stay. The next morning we left but not before I tried the shower – which of course wouldn’t work – so I washed my hair outside the trailer as my friend poured water over my head. I then used one of two hand towels to dry my hair. We left and sent a text voicing our disappointment and suggesting ways of improving a guest’s experience… well, what I got back was nothing short of insulting. The host’s wife said that not only was I a habitual complainer (I met her for ten minutes and never stayed in an Airbnb property before), I was culturally insensitive and what’s more I had lied about having a shower.

To cut a long story short, I was determined that my review was factually both positive and negative (there were positive points, such as location), but the review written by the host that appeared on the site was appalling: it was nothing but a rant insulting me (bearing in mind I had never spoken to nor seen the host). He basically wrote what she had put in the texts to me but doubled the insulting bits and telling other hosts never to have me stay. At no point did I ask for a refund. In fact, initially, the host’s wife suggested she would give me a refund, but it wasn’t about money. Not only did he call me a liar, saying the towel was wet therefore I had taken a shower, but to personally attack me was appalling. I asked for the review either to be edited or taken down as it wasn’t a review but a personal attack on someone he had never met, and some of it totally irrelevant to the actual review.

Airbnb of course did nothing and basically said just forget about it and move on. Dare I say this, but they don’t want to upset their indigenous host by taking it down and be accused of favouring the white person. In the meantime, it is there for all my clients both old and new to see, which doesn’t do my business any favours. I am now debating to take it further and put in a complaint to the top guy. Maybe if we all did that something would change.

What gets me are the reviews; on the whole they are all five star although sometimes there is a thread of discontent. But what is it with people? Were they so glad to be staying in Monument valley for cheap it didn’t matter where they lived? Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn’t an Airbnb property have to meet certain criteria: a lockable door, clean (which it wasn’t), safe. Bare wires aren’t safe and suitable for accommodation. We weren’t expecting the Hilton but we did expect a clean safe place with serviceable cutlery and more than one pan and a door to lock that would protect our belongings.


Airbnb charges owners who cancel a reservation $100 for each cancellation even when it is airbnb’s fault. We have four rental units and advertise on several sites. Airbnb is supposed to sync each calendar. We have accepted reservations and then checked our master calendar and the unit is booked. When we tried to resolve the issue we were charged each time when it was clearly the fault of airbnb. DO NOT USE INSTANT BOOKING or accept a reservation without checking your own calendar. DO NOT RELY ON THE AIRBNB CALENDAR. DO NOT US AIRBNB. Not only are they making 10-15% from the renters they are making a killing ripping owners off!!! We are very happy with VRBO and only fill in our calendar with airbnb. Also, airbnb clientele are not as good as VRBO clientele. They are price shoppers and budget travelers. We have found that the people that pay more are more respectful of your property.

Automated termination of service

Automated termination of service with no details or response to inquiries.
I have been a host for Airbnb for six months, all with
positive reviews. I have received no feedback that there was a problem of any kind. My account with Airbnb was terminated for no
apparent reason and with an automated email that explained only that I had “violated the terms of service.” The company
cancelled all reservations and informed the guests that the company would find them alternative arrangements. Several guests
complained to me directly and wanted to keep the reservations, which they eventually did. Several guests simply abandoned their
reservations. When I called to inquire as to what had occurred, the customer service representative stated that she didn’t know what the problem was and said, and I quote, “… I don’t know what the problem is and I would not tell you if I did know.” She refused to transfer me to a department that could provide me with an answer and stated that she would email them and they would contact me. A few days later I received the same automated email stating that I had violated the terms of service and my account has been deactivated. This one was signed Marcia B.
Again, I wrote back requesting information and asking for a way to resolve the problem and offered to pay any fees, fines or costs that the company had incurred, once I understood the problem. I received the same automated message and the company has not responded to my repeated requests to provide a specific response to my inquiry.
I view this as almost hostile; the company seems to cancel one’s ability to use the site on a whim; and then simply is non-responsive.
I’d be interested in others’ views on this subject.