Host H.N Hotel Stays is witholding R3600 security deposit as I was 'noisy' streaming series online

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Host H.N Hotel Stays is witholding R3600 security deposit as I was 'noisy' streaming series online

Help please. I booked a stay with H.N Hotel Stays in Sandton 12-13 June which was R700 and they required a R3600 (more than x5 times the room rate) security deposit to be paid by EFT prior to checkin. I had overnight for a work trip and was staying by myself and no guests visited, no loud music was playing or parties. I didn't receive any verbal or written complaints about noise violations from the host or complaints from the neighbors during or after my stay. Two weeks later the host sends me a Roomonitor (screenshot) device showing 'high noise' alerts during my stay and they would be keeping my entire deposit of ZAR3600. I find this absurd for a few reasons:

  • The bedrooms and bathrooms were all upstairs and considerably far away from the living areas downstairs. I retired to my bedroom around 7pm, if the host was picking up any sound, this means they have noise detection devices in the bedroom and bathroom which is a gross invasion of my privacy.
  • I was streaming series on Showmax that night using my Macbook at a moderate volume and no external speakers. There's no way that this could be considered disruptive, or that this sound could have carried to the Roomonitor devices if they were in fact placed downstairs in the living areas. Also does the host expect guests to be dead silent and not have any devices on after 9pm, if so this expectation should have been stated.
  • The host made no contact with me to flag a noise violation during my stay or shortly after. The date on the Roomonitor screenshot from them shows 2 July, which means they only logged in and noticed the alleged 'noise' after I enquired about my deposit. If the noise violation was an issue, why did they not address this with me during or after, two weeks passed and they failed to mention this. Also is streaming using a laptop worthy of a R3600 penalty for noise obstructions?

What would be the best way to get my deposit back in full?

1 Best Answer
Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom

@Tharusha0 

 

Sorry this happened to you. I would strongly suggest contacting Airbnb about this as something seems rather odd about this host's reviews. Did you check these before you booked?

 

Of the host's 34 reviews, 20 of them are from Mrs M. (whose profile says she joined Airbnb in 2022 and has no profile description but does have a photo and verifications). The first of her reviews is from March and the other 19 are all from June. They are all positive but very short. If you check out the reviews that she has received, she already has 34 and 31 of those are from June, mostly from H.N. Hotel Stays, and the others mostly from similarly named hosts, e.g. N.N. Hotel Apartments. Again, all very short and very similar. With the exception of one (T.T N), which joined in 2021, all of these hosts joined in 2022. Rather odd, don't you think?

 

Now, this could all be totally innocent. Mrs M could be booking for multiple different people on business trips, which is allowed ONLY if she is a registered business booker with Airbnb. However, it looks highly possible to me that these are FAKE reviews and Mrs M is connected to the host. Funny how the host left reviews for all of her stays but didn't leave one for you.

 

Perhaps I am being paranoid. I would like to hear what other hosts think, but I suspect this is a scam. Apart from Mrs M, the host has some previous reviews from what look like genuine guests. However, guests and hosts have only two weeks to submit their review. The fact that the host waited two weeks to tell you they  were keeping the deposit and never mentioned any issues prior to that is telling. The other guests may have had similar issues but had already left positive reviews before the host brought it up.

 

Yep, personally I would report this host. It doesn't mean you will get your deposit back because that is really out of Airbnb's hands since you paid that outside of the Airbnb system. However, if this host is a scammer, they need to be removed from the platform asap.

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5 Replies 5
Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom

@Tharusha0 

 

Sorry this happened to you. I would strongly suggest contacting Airbnb about this as something seems rather odd about this host's reviews. Did you check these before you booked?

 

Of the host's 34 reviews, 20 of them are from Mrs M. (whose profile says she joined Airbnb in 2022 and has no profile description but does have a photo and verifications). The first of her reviews is from March and the other 19 are all from June. They are all positive but very short. If you check out the reviews that she has received, she already has 34 and 31 of those are from June, mostly from H.N. Hotel Stays, and the others mostly from similarly named hosts, e.g. N.N. Hotel Apartments. Again, all very short and very similar. With the exception of one (T.T N), which joined in 2021, all of these hosts joined in 2022. Rather odd, don't you think?

 

Now, this could all be totally innocent. Mrs M could be booking for multiple different people on business trips, which is allowed ONLY if she is a registered business booker with Airbnb. However, it looks highly possible to me that these are FAKE reviews and Mrs M is connected to the host. Funny how the host left reviews for all of her stays but didn't leave one for you.

 

Perhaps I am being paranoid. I would like to hear what other hosts think, but I suspect this is a scam. Apart from Mrs M, the host has some previous reviews from what look like genuine guests. However, guests and hosts have only two weeks to submit their review. The fact that the host waited two weeks to tell you they  were keeping the deposit and never mentioned any issues prior to that is telling. The other guests may have had similar issues but had already left positive reviews before the host brought it up.

 

Yep, personally I would report this host. It doesn't mean you will get your deposit back because that is really out of Airbnb's hands since you paid that outside of the Airbnb system. However, if this host is a scammer, they need to be removed from the platform asap.

Hi this is an excellent point, I only booked with this listing because the host was listed as a 'Superhost' and did see a lot of the reviews from Mrs M. I have logged a case with Airbnb's Safety team, and will add this to the information submitted.

Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom

@Tharusha0 

 

I'm really not sure why this host is a Superhost. It doesn't make sense to me.

 

One of the criteria is that you have to have hosted at least 10 stays OR 100 nights over at least 3 stays in the previous year. The last assessment would have covered the period ending 31st March, yet this host only has one review for this whole period, i.e. one in March from Mrs M. That's weird.

 

Sure, there could have been nine other guests who stayed or enough long term stays to meet the criteria, but how come none of these guests, only Mrs M, left a review? Even if a host deletes a listing, the reviews will still appear on their profile. One logical explanation is that Mrs M booked enough stays to make up the numbers but only left one review.

 

Anyway, for whatever reason, the host gets awarded Superhost at the beginning of April. There are then a number of reviews from different guests. They are all nice reviews, but a few mention some issues, especially the location not being as described. Now, should a few of these guests leave 4* instead of 5*, that would very soon drop the host below the 4.8* required for Superhost. Then comes along Mrs M, who booked at least 19 times after those other guests had stayed, conveniently all in June, right before the next assessment, which covers the period to 30th June.

 

Again, I am just speculating, but this looks extremely fishy to me.

 

It's a shame really as the apartments themselves look nice and the guests seem to like them overall. If the host just accurately described the location and didn't  try to con people out of deposits, he/she would probably do very well.

Agreed, Mrs M looks like a personal connection and not an actual guest. I've added these details to my ongoing case with Airbnb.

Gillian166
Level 10
Hay Valley, Australia

your payment didn't go through Airbnb, so there's nothing that can be done from this side. you can report the host to airbnb  but i'm not sure if that will help. You made an external financial arrangement with this host. 

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