Airbnb Charged Me $700 for My Wifi Not Working

I had a last minute request for booking from a guest in my villa in Jamaica. The guest had suffered a last-minute cancellation from another host and booked via automatic booking. The guest was treated to my message and warned that there was a public phone line outage in the locality of the villa. The guest understood and asked if purchasing a wifi portable dongle would work and which carrier I would recommend.

The guest and seven other people arrived at the property, did the check in, and was greeted by the villa staff. I double checked on the guest and she told me all was well. We kept calling the utility company in question for updates on repairs and we also paid a local contractor to speed up the repairs outside the grounds of our villa on the main road. We advised the guest that the issue was resolved and apologised for the inconvenience politely, even if she knew it was outside our control and all other properties in the village were disconnected.

I did a review for this guest, polite and positive. The property in question is a large villa with four bedrooms, five terraces, a 2,400-square meter garden, garage, infinity pool overlooking the Caribbean Sea, its own beach, gazebos, and an outdoor dining and living room. The property was already heavily discounted due to COVID-19 and all the staff trained for these circumstances with face masks.

Almost a month later, I received a message from an Airbnb agent saying that I had 24 hours to explain why my property was not providing all the facilities in the description. This guest had complained and was heavily inconvenienced by the lack of wifi. Obviously I reply showing all the guest messages that there was a public outage and it was totally outside my control. The guest was promptly advised of this issue and she purchased a wifi dongle as alternative.

I am a Superhost and have never received any negative feedback. The Airbnb agent replied that they had reviewed this case and they had awarded 50% of the rental as a refund to be fair to the guest. The guest stayed three nights, booked at the last minute, and used four bedrooms with air conditioning and the pool.

I naively spent additional money to speed up the repair and ended up with this cost. I have tried to escalate this issue without success so far. I am now considering cancelling my membership both as host and guest and cancel all future reservations but I do not want to punish people that have already purchased their flights.

I believe the guest in question did this on purpose and knew very well how to rig the system and probably had done this to other hosts. Beware: do not have automatic booking on. Beware of trouble makers that book at the last minute.

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Airbnb’s Policy on Holding Payment is Dangerous

I applied to stay at an Airbnb property in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The host completely ignored my request, and did not respond in any way. Fair enough… although this behaviour is very disrespectful and rude in my opinion. Anyway, that’s not really my issue with Airbnb. I did not realise that even though the host ignores your request and you don’t actually fully book, the funds are restricted and frozen for whatever the amount is. In other words, even with no contact from the host after requesting to book their space, your money is being frozen until it is deemed suitable for release. This affects my ability to live whilst alone abroad… even though the money appears to be in my account. In other words, if a host decides to be inhospitable, or covertly racist they could ignore your request merely based on what you look like. What other reason could there be if the space is showing availability and your reviews are totally positive? It’s not rocket science. Be very careful not to request any booking unless you have more than sufficient funds in your account. This aspect needs to be revised ASAP.

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