In the past 3 weeks I have had 2 extremely bad experiences hosting guests and I wonder if anyone else has suffered the same, I am located in Southeast England. Three weeks ago a guest contacted me on checkin day as the were lost due to them not having the address, they also had no checkin information, this set alarm bells ringing for me but I gave them directions and met them at the gate to let them in as they had no codes. From the outset the female guest was aggressive. I gave them access to the apartment and left them to it. 3 hours later she contacts me, not via airbnb, she had sent me her phone number earlier, not the one registered to her profile, when she was lost i had called her back. She said the apartment was freezing and the heating wasn't working, I asked her to look at the thermostat and tell me what it read as I knew the apartment was not cold, she refused, I offered to go down a nd take a look. The thermostat read 23 degrees! I explained that the heating wouldn't come on whilst the apartment was already hot. She demanded a full refund and was extremely aggressive accusing me of being rude and sarcastic and claiming I had said things I hadn't. I explained that I did not have their money and that they needed to contact Airbnb and that I would also be contacting airbnb about them. She then sent me threatening messages saying if I didn't give them a full refund she would leave me bad reviews, report me to Airbnb and Financial Ombudsman. I told her it was with Airbnb. She made up ridiculous and easily disputable lies when she contacted Airbnb, they investigated and because I had photographic proof and timed messages that proved they had stayed far longer than the hour she claimed, Airbnb supported me. She did of course leave a terrible review, but after further dialogue with Airbnb it has been removed as it was lies and slander. 2 days later I accept another booking, I should have known better, like the previous guest they had no reviews and no email address connected to the profile, they checked in on Sunday some time after 4PM, by 4.30 they had cancelled with no contact to either Airbnb or myself. They left all the lights on so I knew they had entered the apartment, I messaged them to ask if everything was ok, they responded that apartment was noisy and not as depicted on Airbnb, I have over 200 reviews from happy guests! At 11pm I receive a message from her demanding a full refund and saying she will report me to Airbnb, they have made no refund request via Airbnb. I texted back explaining that I refuted their claim at that my previous reviews support this. She has now left me a review, I have not reviewed her yet, but clearly it won't be a good one, at no point has she contacted Airbnb. These guests have both attempted to blackmail me, demanding payouts directly from me. the first only went via Airbnb after she was well aware I had.
My suspicion is that they are using stolen cards to book and then demanding payouts direct from hosts under threat of bad reviews etc. I believe it's a criminal gang, there are too many similarities for this to be a coincidence, I have never experienced anything like this in my 4 years of hosting. I wonder if anyone else has been a victim of this scam?
@Carole489 Sad and sorry this has happened to you, I was wondering if you feel that this a scam can it be reported to the police even though they say they have booked through Airbnb. This event makes you think it is reason for an up todate photo for hosts to verify the guests booking in.
It wants to make you to ask for extra identification on arrival eg. Divers licence, identy card.
@Carole489 I wonder, would it be possible to refund after the 14 day refund period? Because when that’s possible you can turn the hole thing around. For example: i will refund after 14 days, when you leave a bad review i will not refund. I don’t know if this is even possible, but looks to me as calling their bluff.