Airbnb Refusing to Pay Claims for Extra Guests, Parties, and Other Clearly Stated Violation Fees

in
Dallas, TX
Level 2
652 Views

Hi all,

 

I'm writing because I'm trying to figure out how many other hosts this has happened to.  I have a 1 bedroom townhome in Dallas, and I have shared walls on both sides of my home.  As a result, I have very strict rules against parties.  Currently, I list $2,000 for just the party fee, over $200 for each guest beyond 4 who is there after 10 pm, $250 for smoking, $300 for a noise violation, among others.  I alert the guests I have cameras on every entrance of the home and noise monitors in the home.  These are mentioned in my listing rules, in a pre-booking message, and again in my intro message with my door code to the home, so I know it is read.  Despite this, and even during a pandemic, I occasionally get guests who throw parties.  

 

My main issue is not necessarily the guests, because I expect somebody who acts that way towards my home despite the clear rules to refuse responsibility.  What has surprised me is Airbnb will make up fraudulent excuses over and over to avoid charging the guest.  

 

Airbnb customer support, after I send the video, admits a party has occurred and throws the guest out, cancelling the reservation on the guest's end for rules violation.  Then when I try to charge the guest for it in the resolution center, I involve airbnb and send them the videos, sound readings, and photos, and even texts from the maid about how bad the place is when they get there.  I still never receive these fees.  I only get the physical damage covered, and they bounce me around different departments that they claim handle the fees and close the cases without notification hoping I'll give up.

 

Recently, I had a guest who asked if he could have a couple people over when he checked in during the afternoon.  He had booked for 3 people.  I allow 4 in the home.  I explained to him that the rules are there but in his case a couple was fine so long as they kept the noise down.  I got noise monitor alerts that night and checked my video to find 29 people at the listing.  I called airbnb and they cancelled the reservation after getting my evidence and threw them out.  I got to resolution center, then customer support, and submitted my videos and the other evidence.  I then got a ruling from customer support that surprised me.  He claimed that because I had allowed a "couple" people over, that I had consented to the party and they would not charge for any of the fees, and that the issue was that the guest was mistaken when he only said a "couple" people.  I responded that if the guest was mistaken in what he wrote how could I have consented to anything, and sent them the dictionary definition of a "couple". 

 

I raised hell and got another person assigned to my case.  That person looked over the evidence and sent me a message saying he agreed with me and the evidence was clear in what I submitted and asked how much I was wanting charged.  I sent a full list of the fees and damages.

 

3 days after sending me the message stating expressly that the evidence clearly supported my statements, he sent me another message saying I had allowed a couple guests so he couldn't charge for them and to send additional evidence conclusively showing a party occurred.  I told him if he wanted to remove just those 2 it was fine but that nevertheless I had never agreed to have those "couple" partying late at night at the home.  I also mentioned I'd send the evidence I had but that I had already sent video of 29 people entering the home between 11 pm and 2 am, sound decibel readings of nearly 90 dbs during quiet hours, and photos of pot and crates of liquor at the home with the home trashed and every glass in the place in the sink from the guests.  If that isn't a party, what is?  If that isn't conclusive proof, what is?

 

Anyways, less than 10 minutes later he then stated allowing a couple consented to the party and that I had not provided conclusive proof of a party and that the case was closed.

 

I had another guest a few months ago throw a party, then admit to the party to airbnb but said the fees were too high for the extra guests even though she knew she had agreed to pay them and that they were there.  I have filed repeated claims on this one and airbnb closes it without explanation REPEATEDLY.

 

I'm an attorney.  I'm considering a lawsuit.  Has anybody else experienced anything remotely like this?

 

This happens EVERY TIME I deal with a guest who threw a party and Airbnb, and end up losing thousands of dollars whenever a guest does this from damage, paying fines, etc.  More than that, I have now had to turn down reservations because guests will ask me if they can have even 1 person (like a family member) over during their stay for a couple hours and I'm having to say no because based on Airbnb support that would apparently allow them to throw a frat party at the home that I "consented" to.

11 Replies

Re: Airbnb Refusing to Pay Claims for Extra Guests, Parties, and Other Clearly Stated Violation Fees

in
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level 10

Sorry can’t help with your situation but I wonder what you can do to tighten up your vetting procedures as you are attracting these problem guests? 

How do you vet your guests on booking? What minimum stay do you have? Did you get guests to confirm in writing that they acknowledge your charges for rule breaking?

 

If guests want to meet local family and friends they can meet them out or at their location. 

Re: Airbnb Refusing to Pay Claims for Extra Guests, Parties, and Other Clearly Stated Violation Fees

in
Dallas, TX
Level 2

@Helen3 They acknowledge the rules.  There is a severe warning in the pre-booking message regarding all of these fees, the fact that airbnb often requires a police report with these items, and that it has never cost less than a few thousand and that there are multiple security cameras to catch this behavior, and that I will cancel the listing immediately and do all of these things.  I also have the check box that they acknowledge my rules before booking.  Then, after booking, I send a recap of the rules before providing the code to get into the home.  The guest is always fully aware of the rules.  They will even occasionally admit  to violating them to airbnb but claim they are too high, and then airbnb will STILL not charge them.

 

So, a guest can apparently book my listing knowing the rules and penalty fees, openly violate the rules triggering the penalty fee, admit this to airbnb, and then not be charged at all with no explanation from Airbnb because a "couple" really meant 20+ and the guest was simply mistaken when he asked for a couple of people to stop by.  That is a literal statement from airbnb customer experience team.

Re: Airbnb Refusing to Pay Claims for Extra Guests, Parties, and Other Clearly Stated Violation Fees

in
Kraków, Poland
Level 10

@Aj92 

 

Bet you don't feel like your running your own business now, like Airbnb like to pretend.

 

Before you agree to guests having guests repeat the mantra "If you stay you pay" hotels do not allow guests have guests.

 

 

Re: Airbnb Refusing to Pay Claims for Extra Guests, Parties, and Other Clearly Stated Violation Fees

in
Dallas, TX
Level 2

@Cormac0 I've had to resort to this but while I did sign off on 2 people with the example above, I usually say no and go with this.  Despite that, no guest has ever paid and airbnb has never forced them to.  I have had guests who admit they knew the extra guest fee was there, knew they had extra guests over, but thought the fee was too high so didn't want to pay it (an airbnb rep told me that was the response from one of my guests this past May).  Airbnb has reused to charge this guest and continuously closes the case without explanation.  I have had to re-open it 14 times.  Yes, 14 times.

Re: Airbnb Refusing to Pay Claims for Extra Guests, Parties, and Other Clearly Stated Violation Fees

in
Berlin, Germany
Level 10

@Aj92   You can write any penalty fee in your listing that you want, but it doesn't mean Airbnb is going to enforce it on your behalf. "$10,000 is you forget to take your shoes off, $500,000 if you don't sort the recycling." Good luck with that.

 

Do let us know if you have any luck with your lawsuit, but that would be pretty exceptional. What I wonder, though, is why do you keep losing control of your property like this? Wouldn't you rather remove the guests from the home as soon as your cameras pick up excess visitors, rather than let it escalate into a big party and deal with the fallout afterward?

Re: Airbnb Refusing to Pay Claims for Extra Guests, Parties, and Other Clearly Stated Violation Fees

in
Dallas, TX
Level 2

@Andrew0 Hi Andrew, I do throw them out ASAP.  Usually within an hour or so.  I have found that Airbnb won't do any more than MAYBE calling them to tell them it's cancelled.  Often the guest won't respond, or even more troubling as a host, Airbnb will simply decide it's too late at night to call the guest so they won't.  I threaten to call the police and throw them out.  I give them 15 minutes then trigger the security alarm. 

 

That said, I still can get fined by my HOA or have to compensate my neighbors, so even when the physical damage isn't high, I often am out a lot of money.  I thus lose a ton on these guests and Airbnb will go to extreme lengths to protect the guests.  It's been shocking for me.  They will tell me they reviewed the video and it's undeniable that I am owed these fees (in writing) and then the same rep 3 days later will tell me that it's somehow not indisputable evidence of a party (what more evidence could somebody have beyond video, photos, and sound meters) and that if I allow even 1 person over even just to drop off an item, I can't charge any extra guest fees if they then invite 30 people over. 

Re: Airbnb Refusing to Pay Claims for Extra Guests, Parties, and Other Clearly Stated Violation Fees

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Aj92  You say you don't want or allow parties, yet the wording of your listing description belies that. You make it sound like a great place to party, even going so far as to say the guests will have "a blast".

Nor do you market to any particular demographic, which is helpful for a host in getting the kinds of guests they want.

 

And while in the house rules, when clicking on "read more", you say you and your family live in the house sometimes, as a reason not to accept "some" pets, there is nothing in the listing description which makes the place sound like your personal home.

 

Nowhere do you state that extra guests or visitors aren't allowed.

 

And what I really find confusing is that you list the place for 4 guests, yet have one bedroom listed with one queen size bed, and don't describe the sleeping arrangements for the other 2 guests.

Re: Airbnb Refusing to Pay Claims for Extra Guests, Parties, and Other Clearly Stated Violation Fees

in
Dallas, TX
Level 2

@Sarah977 Hi Sarah.  Not sure why having a blast would be considered having a party.  I have a blast watching TV or playing video games or in the game room.  And 1 bedroom.  I have a pre-booking message that says this:

 

Thanks for considering booking. Due to a number of violations, I want to restate the house rules. There are no parties allowed whatsoever. There are 0 exceptions to this rule. There is a party fine of $2,000 and the reservation will be cancelled and you will be forced to leave the listing, and other fines $200 per extra guest, $250 for noise violations, $250 for smoking indoors, will be added to that total.

 

I have an intro message that includes that I must file a police report, have cameras on every door, and that all guests have to be cleared ahead of time, and warns that often the amounts require a felony charge.

 

No guest has ever booked the place confused about the rules.

 

I also do explain the sleeping arrangement (sofa and adult bean bag which is basically a 4 foot air mattress in the listing details), though I have no idea what that has to do with the issue I'm asking about in this thread.  I'm trying to figure out if other hosts are having issues with Airbnb refusing to charge the guest for parties and extra guests even after the guest admits they threw a party or had extra people over.

Re: Airbnb Refusing to Pay Claims for Extra Guests, Parties, and Other Clearly Stated Violation Fees

in
Philadelphia, PA
Level 2

Yes .... similar situations! I’m still trying to resolve an issue with “claims” Dept and gotten the run around from Airbnb ... after they investigated and confirmed damages they closed the communications thread. It’s been five months now and still waiting...it’s not the first time it’s happened but now they fail to resolve by asking me for the same info submitted multiple times and then agreeing with me as to the abhorrent service and NO follow up by Airbnb .... I’ll have to call customer service again for an hour or so and create another ticket as is the process. Ridiculous . 

Re: Airbnb Refusing to Pay Claims for Extra Guests, Parties, and Other Clearly Stated Violation Fees

in
Humble, TX
Level 2

Sorry about your "all too familiar" problem. Anyone who offers an entire home is going to deal with this, because people lie, break rules, feel entitled and don't mind breaking the law. They don't want to pay the price of a venue, so they are looking for a deal. Most have their own house nearby, but definitely do not want to trash it or make trouble with their neighbors. 

Guests keep "lying and trying" no matter what you do, but now when my cameras see the first non booked guest, we call and hope they answer. We let them know the police are on their way to arrest everyone not named on the listing for trespassing. (A felony I believe). Then they have to leave without refund because they broke house rules.

Some instantly abort the plan, but if more people come anyway, we make good on our threat. We have had 6 patrol cars pull up, and immediately ask for everyone's ID. They all scattered, and the dirty sticky smoky house is all that happens. Any more time and theft and damage is guaranteed. The screeching alarm located up high that you set off from your phone is also effective.

It's a real problem for hosts, and it would be great if Airbnb had some "Party Patrol Bouncers". They would save the company a fortune. You have our compassion.

Best wishes 

Re: Airbnb Refusing to Pay Claims for Extra Guests, Parties, and Other Clearly Stated Violation Fees

in
Berlin, Germany
Level 10

@Aj92 One definition of insanity (often misattributed to Einstein) is doing the same thing repeatedly but expecting different results.

 

How many times do you have to lose control of your own property before you figure out that Airbnb is just a listing service that profits from your use of their software, and not your Dad?

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