Airbnb Guests are not Protected from Bogus Damage Claims

Last month, I was part of a group of seven people who were visiting New Orleans for a wedding. We we very careful to take good care of the house. Everything went seemingly smoothly with our check-out, until we were notified of a lengthy list of bogus damages that amounted to $178 out of our security deposit. There was no evidence that demonstrated we had caused any damage (because we didn’t), only a few very low-quality photos with no context for when or where they were taken in the house or what damage they were supposedly showing. Furthermore, I feel that the evidence that we submitted in support of our innocence was pretty solid. It was the text message exchange from when we all found out about the damage claims. It clearly demonstrated our bafflement at the bogus claims. After being contacted about this claim, we of course formally disagreed, leaving it to Airbnb to determine how to resolve the dispute. Despite our strong denial of causing any damage and despite the lack of evidence to the contrary, Airbnb blindly sided with the host, and now we are left with almost $200 stolen from our security deposit. This is an unacceptable experience, and we will contest this whatever way we can. Users of Airbnb should be warned that even if you respect your rental house and follow all of the rules laid out by the host, you are not protected from being held liable from bogus damages.

Scammed by the Host and the Resolution Centre

My partner and I decided to go for a quiet week away in the south of France. While at an Airbnb there, the apartment was okay, but there were a few issues such as a horrible smell coming from the downstairs bathroom whenever you used the upstairs shower room, the garden not being looked after, and no glasses to drink out of. Whilst on our stay we were approached by two men trying to push us into buying drugs. Our real problems started when we arrived home. Our host demanded €250 (more that what we’d paid for our stay) for a long list of things we’d supposedly broken. We were accused of burning tiles in the bathroom (not sure how we could possibly do this) and burning holes in the sofa with cigarette butts (neither of us smoke). The pictures the host provided literally showed no damage to anything she was claiming for. We took the issue to the resolution centre where they decided to get rid of all her other accusations apart from one for a broken sofa leg. They wanted £65. Not only did we not break this, when I asked for evidence of it being broken and for a receipt to prove the cost, they told me they couldn’t due to “privacy reasons”. Airbnb expected me to trust them yet now I am being charged for something that I not only didn’t break but for which they can’t even provide evidence. They have now taken this money out of my account without due cause and I will be taking this matter further.

House Completely Destroyed by Airbnb Guests

I rented my villa in Marbella, Spain to a guest from Ireland. He informed me his family were arriving the following day. Subsequently I found out that six or more young guys turned up and in the week they were in my house, they destroyed it. Airbnb has been ‘looking into this’ for five weeks now. They blocked two toilets with whole rolls of toilet paper, ripped a door off the hinges, broke my washing machine, made cigarette burns on my brand new couches, vomited on the bed and walls and around the toilet, made marks all over the walls, and somehow got them wet. I had to employ three cleaning ladies for eight hours each, fix the toilets and door, and purchase new linen, towels, and glasses for what wasn’t broken or thrown out. I’m not sure how many people were sleeping on the bed but the supporting boards were also broken and this was a €3000 bed. The damage and costs equate to around €10,000. At check out, when we were supposed to meet, they vacated the premises and locked me out of the house without meeting me or giving me the keys back. I had to employ a locksmith on a Sunday to change my locks. It has caused me a lot of stress and my house is ruined.

Crooked Host Holds Deposit After Long Stay

We arrived in Utah on June 20th, 2017 as a result of a military move from Arizona. This was our nineth move in 18 years, so my family and I were used to it. Utah was exceptionally difficult to find accommodations while we were waiting for base housing to become available. Air conditioning at the temporary lodging facility on base was broken and hotels were booked in the surrounding 30-mile area from the base.

I decided to give Airbnb a try. I found a property listing in Ogden. I messaged the host and asked if he would be willing to negotiate a deal on the property since I needed a place to stay for a month. He agreed and stated that there would be a $500 dollar deposit for the property that would be returned once his property manager determined there was no damage when we moved out. We agreed to the terms and paid for the stay in full.

Our stay was great with the exception of the condition of the mattress in one of the bedrooms and the downstairs sink that was cracked. The landscape outside was a mess: dirt and open irrigation holes were everywhere. The lampposts outside were on the ground and wires were exposed. We were assured that the landscaping would be completed soon. In the month we stayed, hardly any progress was made with the numerous half-completed projects. We never complained and just figured it was a money issue. We left the property on July 20th and moved into our house on base.

This is when the problems began with the host. We inquired when we could expect the $500 deposit to be returned. I was then contacted by the property manager asking about a shampoo bottle ring on the master bathroom shower shelf. I said it may have been caused by my wife’s color stay shampoo and we were glad to come clean it and see the stain for ourselves. We were assured we would have the opportunity to clean the bathroom and see the stain. We inquired several times over the next few weeks without any response due to the fact the invoice stated that the deposit would be returned in three days.

When the host finally responded, he said we would have to wait to clean the unit due to another guest staying there. We waited several weeks to hear from either the host or property manager but they never responded. I contacted the property manager six weeks after we moved out and asked about the stain and when we could expect the deposit back. I never received a reply. The next day my wife received a text from the owner asking for my email stating that his lawyer would contact me for to settle for damages. We are honest people so we gave it to him.

I received an email on September 11th from a bus stop bench lawyer located out of Orem stating that his client was not going to return the deposit and was in fact wishing to seek an additional $1575 for replacement of the entire upper vinyl shower piece. On the estimate, there wasn’t a itemized list of parts or labor, only a dollar amount and the name of a repair company. The estimate didn’t even have a business address. The lawyer also stated there were additional damages such as a scratch on “high end” furniture and stains on towels. The lawyer stated that I have received pictures of the damages; however, I have not. I have text messages from the property manager saying there were attached photos but I never received them and I said so in a response back to her. The unit was also supposedly occupied immediately after we vacated the property, which also calls the damages into question.

Be aware of staying in Ogden with this host. I strongly caution anyone to stay elsewhere. You will be opening yourself up to a money grubbing host looking to make a profit at your expense based on false claims of damages.

Extortion Review, Airbnb Won’t Take it Down Even With Proof

This guest used Instant Book for a month in advance for a weekend for 15 members of her family including herself. Note that she is a new member. From then on, there was no communication. She just wasn’t answering. A couple days before check-in, I finally got a hold of her and she informed me of some changes. I send her a price alteration, but time passed and she wouldn’t accept it. She kept ignoring me again. The day before check-in, I let her know since she was planning to break the house rules, I would cancel her reservation with Airbnb without a refund. Then she started responding. We finally got everything sorted out just before bedtime. One hour before checking in, she told me they were stuck in traffic and needed to push the time. Then again… and again. They finally arrived three hours late. We did strongly believe there were more than 15 people.

The first night, I got a noise complain from my neighbor. The entire group was outside, around the spa and had been screaming and very loud since their arrival. It was very late and dark, and my neighbor just couldn’t take it anymore. I tried to contact the guests, but my calls kept going to voicemail. I passed a message through Airbnb to warn her. I waited, and received no answer. I wrote to her again and made myself sound more serious. I got a response and from what my neighbor said, it took an additional 15 minutes, but the noise finally stopped. He still made it clear other neighbors wouldn’t have been as patient as him.

I arrived to check them out and found the upstairs hot faucet had been removed. How could this have happened? It was super noisy too. How could they have missed it? I continued my tour and a guest had decided to rip the lock off one of the closet to the point it ripped the door into two pieces. They forced open two other locked drawers too. They broke a large window frame probably by sitting on it or having a kid walk on it. They broke two parts of our spa and made a small tear in our spa cover. They were warned not to download anything because we didn’t have unlimited internet and they still used more than 85 BG in 40 hours. We have some decorative towels we asked the guests specifically not to touch because they already had a large number of perfectly usable towels at their disposal. Well, they decided not to listen and to only use our decorative ones. The BBQ was left in a horrific state; it was completely disgusting. This guest didn’t follow the house rules; she was truly disrespectful to me as well as the house.

I waited for her to reach out to me to apology about all the damages (my calls are still going straight to her voicemail each time) but she never did. She did text a week later inquiring about her security deposit where I finally was able to speak to her over the phone. She says she was unaware of everything. She didn’t do a tour of the house and wasn’t the last one to leave. She was not okay with everything I observed and was certainly not okay having any damaged charged to her. She said I better not charge her or she would give me a bad review. At the same time, I saw she just posted a review (a very bad one from what she said over the phone). I have some text messages exchanged that proves she indeed threatened me.

I called Airbnb and let them know immediately that she was violating their Terms of Service. They told me even if I had ”proof” and my story checked out, they couldn’t remove the review because in the text messages, she did not clearly say “don’t charge me or I will put you a bad review,” only “do not pursue or I will be obligated to take action.”

Because her review appeared at the same time, as she threatened me over the phone, customer service won’t budge. The facts speak for themselves. Airbnb guidelines strictly forbid reviews with content that is fraudulent, false and misleading, which is the case here. She had an amazing time and didn’t complain about anything. The review does not represent her personal experience. It is an attempt to use the review to force me to do something I’m not obligated to do (not charge her). They are not supposed to allow it, but they do. Thank you untrustworthy customer service at Airbnb.

Airbnb Guests Throw Party And Damage Our Home

I am sharing my story because I feel all hosts need to know how important it is to protect your home from unruly guests. We recently had our first guest in our vacation home on the Columbia River by the Gorge Ampitheatre. Sadly, our first experience did not go very well. We met the group coming in (a party of eight), went over the house rules, walked them around our home, and felt like we connected with them. Our home is a special place in the world, and we really were hoping to attract people that would enjoy it.

Unfortunately, our guests decided to host a party there and had over 50 people in our home. Our floors subsequently were damaged (over $14,000). We contacted Airbnb. We were directed to message the guests to see if they would pay for the damages. After three days of no resolve, we were allowed to escalate this to a case manager and seek coverage under the “Host Guarantee”. Our case manager asked us to get a bid from a contractor as well as furnish them with the original cost of the flooring (not the easiest thing to find, but we did). They had us send pictures of the damage to them as well as provide a professional statement from the contractor. We did all of this (keeping in mind we live over two hours away from our vacation home), and in the end, Airbnb emailed this to us (our home is 800 square feet):

Thank you for your patience throughout this process. After careful review of all related documentation and communication, we have issued a $50 security deposit payout for the reported damage. You can view this payout in your Transaction History. While the documentation you provided far exceeds this amount, Airbnb is only able to reimburse for fair market value of the damaged areas in question. The average laminate flooring costs from $2.40-$4 per square foot and since you have higher grade flooring, we’ve issued the payout based on $5 per square foot for the 10 feet of estimated damage. It’s been a pleasure to assist you. Please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns regarding this case.

$50 on damages over $14,000 (we have a $1500 security deposit on our rental… who knows where that went) and no further explanation as to how they came up with $50. We have emailed, called, and have gotten no support or help. I am shocked as a frequent Airbnb traveler as I have always had good experiences. As a host, this can’t be the way business is conducted. We are devastated. Does anyone have any thoughts or ideas as to where to take this issue?

How Long Do I Have to Wait for My Refund, Airbnb?

My last Airbnb guest left red spots on my two antique pillows. He left and didn’t tell me that he had spoiled my linen. I filed a complaint and he said he didn’t tell me because I was not talking to him. I don’t know how words we exchanged, sentences, and conversing is not considered talking. My pillows were antique: one of a kind that were spoiled and cannot be replaced. I requested $200 for damages. The guest sent me $65 and I said, “No go, son.”

He replied by saying, “they weren’t that special.”

How does a snotty nose brat know how special something is to me? Airbnb took a $1000 deposit. They were supposed to resolve the case in 72 hours; it has been almost two weeks. Is Airbnb more concerned about making more money that it is about treating its hosts with respect? I have called too many times and sent too many emails. A supervisor was supposed to call me at 3:00 PM today. It is now 9:00 PM tonight. Which day was he talking about? A million years from now?

Incredibly Rude Host, Perhaps Because I’m a Senior?

I needed a room in Seattle for one night, while I picked up my 30-year-old daughter who lives there but doesn’t have an extra bed. I found a room near her, but the Airbnb post asked for a $1500 security deposit on a $90 basic room. I had the following exchange with the host:

Me: I’m interested in staying for one night while I visit my daughter, who lives in Seward Park. I read that you want a $1500 security deposit. I’ve never been asked such a thing before. I’m a 65+ year old woman, visiting a 30-year old daughter, and not about to trash your home! Promise. Do you really need that much up front?

Host: You may be interested in learning that the minimum wage in Seattle is now $15/hour

(She then declined me, saying the room was booked, but it remains posted as free.)

Me: I think that’s great that you have a $15 minimum wage. But did you decline me because I questioned the security deposit?

Host: Yes, in part. I’m not looking to get into any arguments with fussy guests. I’m sure plenty of hosts would be delighted to host you, I’m just not one of them.

Me: I wasn’t arguing. I was asking. Respectfully.

Host: You’re asking why I have a high security deposit? Why do you think? Anyway, I am not going to book you. I suggest writing or calling Airbnb or doing research on Airbnb Hell for further questions on the topic.

Me: Wow! This just feels rude, and no, there aren’t a lot of choices for one night near my daughter, who is in southeast Seattle. Her fiance unexpectedly returned from a trip abroad, or I wouldn’t be looking at the last minute. And I assumed you wanted $1500 because most of your guests are young, stay for longer, and are potentially unreliable. But I have excellent reviews, and think of myself as quite low risk. So this all feels rather harsh as a response to a reasonable query. But you are definitely wrong about there being a multitude of choices near her. And you’re losing a very easy guest.

I found her response to be unbelievably rude, and I wonder if this is actually age discrimination, because I did tell her I’m over 65. I can find no other host who asks for $1500 security on a one-night stay in a $90 room. I am really annoyed at her treatment of me. She runs these two properties.

Kicked Out of Airbnb Over Security Deposit

Upon arrival, this host asked us to pay an extra $90 for a security deposit that she hadn’t posted on Airbnb. It was strange because she didn’t care when she got it; she just wanted it to keep it. We told her that she hadn’t posted it on her Airbnb and we didn’t have enough money with us. In response, she threatened to kick us out right then and there. She then told us we had to go with her to the tourist agency and we told her we were already registered. She then told us we weren’t and told us that we can’t leave the country without a “white cardboard”. We had been in Montenegro using Airbnb for some time and no one else had ever asked us to register. All her messages seemed very threatening towards us. The apartment was unsafe because none of the doors locked. The wifi did not connect. We were very disappointed in this host and believe she should not have been able to host. She was very misleading and seemed like a scammer. Now we are out $154 because she told us if we didn’t give her more money we would have to leave. It does not seem fair to us that we could either leave or be kicked out and still be out of the money. We are young traveling college students who had really loved using Airbnb. I hope to still use it. I’m not sure if any money could be refunded; if it could, that would be wonderful. If not, she should not be hosting in the future. She tried to scam us and threatened us. Overall, we love Airbnb but please take this into consideration.

No Toilet, No Concern, Old Plumbing… Our Fault?

My husband was working in France over the weekend of our anniversary so we decided that I would meet him in Toulouse, a city we previously had enjoyed. I picked <a href=” https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/15017680″>this Airbnb listing</a> because it looked comfortable, had a great location and most importantly, had favourable reviews.

To start: we never met our host. The meeting spot where I was going to pick up the keys from her was vague and I only figured it out the day before I left. I was having travel issues and let her know as it would affect our meeting time. Not only did she not respond to me but she did not call my husband to make sure everything worked out; he had to call her once she arrived. Her brother let my husband inside but gave him no warnings that would have been helpful like: the door is very difficult to lock and you need to jimmy it just so; only one of the windows opens; the plumbing is old and the toilet doesn’t work properly so even though I haven’t included toilet paper, you should probably not use it and not put anything inside of it because it’s due to fail at any moment.

After a weekend of the toilet making strange noises, it finally overflowed our last morning and went immediately into a hole in the floor and flooded the downstairs neighbour’s kitchen. We had a confrontation with her because it was not the first time this has happened. We cleaned up the mess and could see how to fix the toilet but as it is not our apartment (nor our responsibility), we chose not to fix it and let our host know instead. She said there had never been any problems and didn’t seem concerned that we didn’t have a toilet to use for six hours. This also didn’t factor in the importance of the Airbnb customer service team. Our host also didn’t meet us to take the keys back, stating that we should just leave them under the doormat.

A day later, we received a claim from her for 1048 euros to fix the toilet. She completely changed the machine that chews up matter from the toilet and then sends it down the tubes. She did not contact us at all, or make a claim for the security deposit. She immediately went to the Airbnb resolution center for the entire plumbing bill. My husband and I were completely baffled by this, even enraged when after all the information I gave them about her lack of empathy, how this machine works and why it fails (never from regular use), my happy cooperation was only to end in the resolution that we pay half of this bill.

We would understand if she wanted the security deposit as that is what it is for, even if we were not at fault. However, to include this as a part of the bill in any way was enough for me to cancel my account and never considering work with Airbnb again. They made no effort to act as an actual mediator, and did not send us paperwork and related material that would have helped us understand not only where the case stood but would have given us an opportunity to get more information and paperwork to strengthen our position. They feel resolved in their final decision and there is no compromise. We are going to keep fighting their lack of neutrality and pursue this as a civil case outside of Airbnb for recuperation of the cost and lawyer’s fees if need be. As someone who is skilled at mediation, I doubt the customer service agents at Airbnb have the ability to be objective in their cases; they seem to only create lazy and quick resolutions. I am furious. I will use the resources listed on this site and email the founders (as they can be found on the airbnb site and then through social media) if need be to complain.