How to request Res 2 support “escalations”

in
Hallandale Beach, FL
Level 2
908 Views

good afternoon, this is my first time posting so bear with me guys and any help is very much appreciated.

I have a reservation where a guest complained about a few things and went directly to Airbnb to cancel their reservation after 4 days of already being checked in and well, Airbnb failed to notify me of their decision and basically refunded 90% of the guests reservation without consulting with me. I rather just post the email

chain below as it’s too much to type but basically, what can I do to dispute Airbnb’s decision and how do I file a formal complaint against an associate? 

**[Private conversation removed in line with Community Center Guidelines]

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Re: How to request Res 2 support “escalations”

in
Savannah, GA
Level 10

Thank you for posting the screen shots. You’re right that they shouldn’t have refunded those amounts without waiting to hear from you. I’ve had success once with saying “you weren’t supposed to refund this much without my permission I need to speak to your supervisor”. It took about a week but the supervisor did call me and reverse the Majority of the other agents refund. You need to assert yourself and use the favored buzz words like that you expect better communication and you are not feeling supported as a host. I am gathering that you do have a smoke detector and whether or not it was really working is a question, not proven, and your point of saying you didn’t even check it off as an amenity so how can it’s functionality being questioned cost you 90%...is being missed by others. I see your point clearly. This situation is not ok. Situations like this are unfolding all over the world, with people staying for many days and then saying it wasn’t worth paying for, sending complaints after using the home for days. It’s unacceptable and hosts have to say no to this behavior from Airbnb. 

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21 Replies

Re: How to request Res 2 support “escalations”

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Jimmy225 

 

I'm really confused. I have read your reviews and they are great, so I can't understand why you are not a Superhost. Did you cancel anyone in the past year, as I can only see that you cancelled a couple of stays back in 2015? Or, did the suspension of your listing mean you lost Superhost status?

 

As to your current guest, as far as I am aware, technically, the guest is supposed to first contact the host to remedy any problems in the listing and then give them a chance to address it. If they are going to report to Airbnb, they are supposed to do that within 24 hours of checking in. However, I know from many posts on this forum that this is not how it necessarily works in practice, with Airbnb reps issuing refunds that fall well outside of these circumstances.

 

It seems to me that the thing they are most concerned about is a lack of smoke alarms. Now, you say you never listed this as an amenity, nor do the host standards require it, but I wonder, does anyone know if this is actually a REQUIREMENT by Airbnb? Perhaps others can shed some light.

 

I think the other problem is that the guest is complaining about several things, some of which you can't refute, e.g. the WiFi, the arcade game (even though you say that wasn't listed as an amenity either) and some issues you do refute, such as cleanliness and something to do with the condition of the walls. It sounds like it is easier for them to just refund her to make her go away!

 

Whatever the outcome, I think it is worth thinking about how you could avoid some of these issues in future (maybe you tried some of these already):

 

- Do you do self check in or check the guests in personally/have someone do it for you? Personally, I prefer to check in guests myself so I can make sure they are happy and also that they are not giving off weird vibes, but I understand this is not always possible.

- Do you follow up with guests to make sure they are happy with the stay/ask if there is anything else they need? I normally do this the day after check in, but if it was self check in, I would do it sooner. I wouldn't rely on a guest to always inform you of problems, so if there are problems, this helps to identify them earlier. Also, you then have it in writing from them on the Airbnb system that everything is A-OK.

- If something in the listing is broken (whether it is mentioned in the listing or not and even if a previous guest broke it), make sure you inform the guest about this before their stay, e.g. "I'm so sorry, but the cable is currently missing from the arcade game as the previous guest has taken it and I have not had enough time to replace it." I find that most guests are very understanding of these things, but hate surprises being sprung on them.

- You say the unit was cleaned on the day of check in, but who is keeping on top of the cleaners and are you sure they are doing a good job, as there was also mention of a lack of toilet paper? I am sure it is fine, as none of your reviews mention issues with cleanliness, but just checking...

- WiFi is important to a lot of people. Of course you don't have total control of it and it can drop occasionally, but you do need to make sure it's as reliable as it can be in your area and do something about it if it's not. Otherwise, state clearly on the listing that the WiFi is limited.

- Consider installing smoke detectors (a sensible thing to do anyway if you are renting out a property and required legally where I live, so check your local regulations) as it's easy and inexpensive. I don't know if they are still doing it, but Airbnb were sending out smoke/carbon monoxide detectors for free a while back.

 

I am not criticising you. This guest sounds quite difficult. Who knows why she didn't inform you of any problems and went straight to Airbnb, but some people are non-confrontational and don't feel comfortable taking up issues with the host (another reason why it's good to double check they are happy with everything).

Re: How to request Res 2 support “escalations”

in
Hallandale Beach, FL
Level 2

Thank you so much @Huma0  for taking the time to read my post and give honest feedback!

I am not sure myself why I’m not a super host as I was in the past and have not cancelled on anyone as you mentioned but that is something I will have to take up with Airbnb.

I offer self checkin because I know most people prefer to have little interaction with Hosts (at least I do lol). But you’re not the first person to recommend checking people in physically so I may start practicing that.

i always communicate with my guests and frequently check in on them especially ones that stay for extended periods of time and I make it very easy for them to contact me but that wasn’t the case for this particular guest. 
I agree I should have communicated a little bit better and notified them the arcade wasn’t working but then again, if I’m a guest and something as simple as an arcade is not working (do to a missing power cable) if it was that much of a concern to me I would follow up with the host but again that wasn’t the case unfortunately. Toilet paper and toiletries were provided in fact they had more than enough toilet paper for their reservation but they were complaining because one of my housekeepers stacked the extra toilet papers on top of a toilet plunger (which I agree is not appropriate and was addressed). As far as the smoke detector, I inspect my house between all my reservations and can assure you it works but again, I don’t read anywhere that it is required.

Re: How to request Res 2 support “escalations”

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Jimmy225 

 

Thanks for clarifying. So, from what you say, this guest is clearly a massive complainer or a scammer. Complaining to the host about toilet paper stacked on the plunger seems pretty petty to me. Complaining about it directly to Airbnb seems totally bizarre.

 

What is of most interest here though is that if you have the smoke detector and it has been inspected and works, then the guest has NO case. If I were you, I would stop focussing on the fact that that amenity was not listed and tell Airbnb that it does and the guest is not telling the truth.

 

Sounding more and more like a scammer to me...

Re: How to request Res 2 support “escalations”

in
Hallandale Beach, FL
Level 2

No problem thanks for following up. As I mentioned in another post,  I try to give my guest the benefit of the doubt but I agree with you. This to me seems like a scam or “reach” at the very least. I didn’t mention this but my smoke detector does in fact work. However, when I returned to my home to inspect after they checked out, I found that the smoke alarm batteries were removed and the modem, router, and WiFi setup was also unplugged and tampered with. They left my house a complete mess with trash everywhere, TVs and lights on, and furniture moved and misplaced everywhere. Not to mention the batteries removed from the smoke alarm that they complained about. But of course, who can prove that right? It’s a he said vs she said ordeal. I just find it funny that Airbnb was quick to side with a brand new traveler that had zero reviews. I’m disputing all of this and have created multiple tickets. Still waiting for a response from a case manager hopefully my evidence will hold some weight. 

Re: How to request Res 2 support “escalations”

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Jimmy225 

 

True, it's hard to prove stuff and the he said, she said ordeal can seem too much to have to deal with. Nonetheless, in this situation, I would take photos of everything you found, including tampered with equipment, just in case you end up needing it.

 

I have taken photos of the copious amounts of cr*p some guests have left at my listing as well as small damages and examples of filthy behaviour. Why? Because these kinds of disrespectful guests may well be more likely to also be the ones who then also try to scam me. Maybe not, but you never know. Better to cover yourself by taking as much evidence as you can.

Re: How to request Res 2 support “escalations”

in
Hallandale Beach, FL
Level 2

Absolutely. From here on end I’m covering my butt 

Re: How to request Res 2 support “escalations”

in
Jersey City, NJ
Level 10

@Jimmy225  it looks like the guest just kept on complaining until they hit something that airbnb would react to, their own policies say that the guest FIRST has to contact the host to see if something can be remediated, and your guest did not do that, so technically should not be getting a refund, especially of days already stayed, it seems like once they hit on the smoke detector it became a 'safety issue' and that is why airbnb has given the refund. 

 

I'm not sure about the smoke detector, but in most states those are mandatory in any kind of rental unit, so you should save yourself some grief and put one in.

 

You can try and sue the guest in small claims court.  As far as airbnb, I would closely read the terms of service and see where you can find an out, where you can see that airbnb did not follow their own rules and keep pressing them about this.

Re: How to request Res 2 support “escalations”

in
Hallandale Beach, FL
Level 2

I like to give my guests the benefit of the doubt but I agree. They never consulted with me about anything and they seemed to just be “reaching” for a refund. As far as the smoke detector goes, it does in fact work (although I was surprised that it is a requirement as I was never made aware of that) but when I got to my home after they checked out, I found that the batteries from the smoke detector were pulled out! My furniture was moved and they seemed to have been tampering with my WiFi set up as well. Again I give the benefit of the doubt to my guests but it seemed very clear that they tampered with the smoke detector and WiFi to justify their dispute. I have evidence but at this point it’s a he said vs she said ordeal so I’m curious to see how Airbnb handles this situation. 

Re: How to request Res 2 support “escalations”

in
Gros Islet, Saint Lucia
Level 10

@Jimmy225@Huma0@Mark116,

 

In the amenities list, Airbnb instructs the hosts to refer to their local laws.  I do remember when I set up my listings that I didn't select carbon monoxide alarms, and there was either a check box or text field for me to state that my space didn't have gas appliances.

 

Debra300_0-1595717098153.png

 

As @Mark116 stated, most cities and states in the US require that at least one smoke detector installed within a certain amount of distance of each room where a person sleeps.  

 

Re: How to request Res 2 support “escalations”

in
Hallandale Beach, FL
Level 2

Right, I see that now I wasn’t aware thank you for pointing this out! 
For the record my smoke alarm does work and I check it quarterly (although I’m going to have my housekeeper check it in between guests now) I just wasn’t sure if it was a requirement or not. 
when I came to inspect my home after these guests checked out, I found that the batteries of the smoke alarm were completely removed so of course it would work.. 

Re: How to request Res 2 support “escalations”

in
Savannah, GA
Level 10

Thank you for posting the screen shots. You’re right that they shouldn’t have refunded those amounts without waiting to hear from you. I’ve had success once with saying “you weren’t supposed to refund this much without my permission I need to speak to your supervisor”. It took about a week but the supervisor did call me and reverse the Majority of the other agents refund. You need to assert yourself and use the favored buzz words like that you expect better communication and you are not feeling supported as a host. I am gathering that you do have a smoke detector and whether or not it was really working is a question, not proven, and your point of saying you didn’t even check it off as an amenity so how can it’s functionality being questioned cost you 90%...is being missed by others. I see your point clearly. This situation is not ok. Situations like this are unfolding all over the world, with people staying for many days and then saying it wasn’t worth paying for, sending complaints after using the home for days. It’s unacceptable and hosts have to say no to this behavior from Airbnb. 

Re: How to request Res 2 support “escalations”

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Mary419 

 

You are right in that Airbnb say they recommend hosts have the detectors, but the wording seems a bit strange to me, i.e. "we don't require confirmation that they've been installed," rather than, "we don't require that they've been installed." Why word it like that?

 

However, I think most people would conclude that a rental without working smoke detectors is not safe and possibly illegal, so would the rep be within their rights to make a judgement call on this or not?

 

Either way, I do think it is worth fighting as neither the guest nor Airbnb followed the proper complaints procedure and the refund amount seems way out of proportion. I would certainly fight it if I was in @Jimmy225 's situation, but what I'm saying is to avoid future problems, he really should have functioning smoke detectors. What if this is a legal requirement where he lives and the guest reports him to the authorities? The result could be much worse than a refunded guest...

Re: How to request Res 2 support “escalations”

in
Hallandale Beach, FL
Level 2

Thanks for taking the time to review the screenshots I really do appreciate it! I agree I don’t agree with the refund and feel the agents handled the situation very poorly. I’ll be sure to assert myself like you said. My detector does in fact works but when I returned to my

home after they checked out, I found that the guests had removed the batteries from the smoke alarm. Of course there is no proof whether they did or I but it will end being their word against mine. I was more concerned because the first agent didn’t even mention an issue with the alarm, they mentioned WiFi issues, mini arcade, and ants (none of which justify a full refund). So for the second agent to come and blindside me with the alarm and make a final judgement like that was very upsetting to me. I will be sure to fight rest assured.
If it’s worth anything, this is the guests very first stay at my house so I’m very surprised to see Airbnb side with a guest and not even give me an opportunity to represent myself. Shows where their loyalty resides..

Re: How to request Res 2 support “escalations”

in
Hallandale Beach, FL
Level 2

Good morning everyone!

 

Just wanted to let everyone know that I was able to get in contact with a "Res 2" supervisor and I wanted to share my experience with you guys. Basically I explained my case to the supervisor and referenced the email chain that you guys see attached to this post.

At first the supervisor was quick to "throw the book at me" and say that the refund was appropriate due to "safety issues" but I countered that  response (thanks to you guys) and said that Airbnb is not allowed to make a final judgement without consulting with me first and of course the fact I was not given the opportunity to rectify the smoke alarm issue.

I also explained that if the smoke alarm was in fact a safety issue, why was it reported 4 days into the reservation and not immediately upon checking in? I also mentioned that if the smoke alarm was such a concern why wouldn't the guest contact me directly to replace the batteries as that would be a simple solution?

 

All in all, the supervisor said he was going to send another payout adjustment to his escalations team and thankfully the adjustment was approved and I will get paid appropriately.

I only requested to be paid out for the nights that this guest stayed plus the cleaning fee but I could have exercised my cancellation policy if I wanted to (although I did not because I believe in Karma).

Thank you guys so much for sharing your knowledge and helping me out!

Honestly, if I didn't reference your guys suggestions I probably would have been overlooked. @Mary419 @Huma0 @Mark116 @Debra300 

 

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