We booked through airbnb on the beginning of February in a small country house in Bolu, Turkey. We had an okay vacation; other than the lack of heat due to the broken electrical heatings and missing firewood. As we started our journey back, the host started to harass us via phone; claiming we damaged the heating devices, some tiles in a bathroom and burned her couches and carpet. She also told us that we did not clean up after ourselves. We informed her that those damages were present before we arrived, and we did not clean up after ourselves because the house was not clean to begin with and we paid a cleaning fee for that sole purpose only. She told us that the tile was broken, but was glued, and the glue came off. And asked us if we would leave our aunts house like this!? Our aunt doesn’t charge us 1200 for 3 nights we answered. THEN the nightmare began.
The host accused us of damaging the house, and demanded a payment of 1600 Turkish Liras (approximately $500 American dollars). Both parties left negative reviews on each others profiles, and the case was escalated to airbnb for resolution. We say we did not do the damage in question, and since the house was a village house with broken and burnt places everywhere, we did not feel the responsibility to take pictures of every broken or burnt thing in the house. And that there is no proof we did the damages in question. She on the other hand, presented pictures of the damages (and some ridiculous things like forgotten underwear – which she keeps bringing up; are we to pay for her lost innocence as a maiden? But this is Turkey I guess), and continued to leave bad reviews everywhere. Added some references (her friends I am guessing?) in her profile.
Today Airbnb sent us an email informing us that our negative review is to be removed because extortion! Arguing that we threatened the host to write a bad review. 1) That’s what the host says, and there is no proof of that since we did not exhort her in anyway. 2) Airbnb is probably taking her side. And they have a right to charge our credit cards( apparently with no limits) and they can do that at any time. I really believe in the responsibility of the accuser to prove the accusation; and since there is no proof that the damages were undertaken on our stay there; I still hope that the airbnb team will not force us to pay for her house renovation, but I am getting less hopeful each day.
But the immediate problem is that; OUR REVIEW WAS DELETED! If airbnb removes negative reviews on hosts, how can people make sure that the house they are staying is any good? What happens when the next guest is accused of false damage claims by this host. They will not see my review! So airbnb continues to make money, and everyone is happy? No. I will not be using airbnb from now on, whatever the solution to this damage claim. I refuse to give the right to fine me to a company. That right belongs to the judicial authorities, and they take action based on real proof; not hearsay. In this case the money is not as important as the accusations to our character; which the host’s review contains and remains in our page until this is over and we close our account for good.