Revenge Reviews

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 5
1,714 Views

AirBnB needs to create a new policy for how to handle REVENGE REVIEWS. My only 2 bad reviews have come from guests who retaliated after I have filed a claim for damages. I did post a reply to the revenge reviews, but that does not make up for the reviews dropping my rating from 4.89 to 4.73 and causing me to lose super host status! I have finally recovered my rating to 4.8 and just yesterday had a guest that left with nearly $3k in damages. Since I know AirBnB won't protect me from a revenge review, I'm now forced with the decision between submitting the claim immediately and risking my rating and future super host status or taking my property offline for 14 days and waiting until after the rating period to submit my claim. Being forced to take my listing offline for 2 weeks in order to submit a claim is a loss of revenue for myself AND for AirBnB. There needs to be a policy that offers protections for hosts against retaliation reviews! How do we get AirBnB to do something about this issue? There are dozens of post threads on this topic. How do we get their attention?

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions

Betreff: Revenge Reviews

in
Stuttgart, Germany
Host Advisory Board Member

 

@Allie179  Your guest mentions in her review, that Airbnb (support) has been involved. And she is insulting you personally.

 

Both is a no-go, and against the rules. 

 

To keep reviews relevant, we recommend avoiding the following:

  • […]
  • Profanity, name calling, and assumptions about a person’s character or personality

https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/2673/airbnbs-review-policy

 

Try this https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/548/airbnbs-dispute-moderation-for-reviews

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33 Replies

Betreff: Revenge Reviews

in
Stuttgart, Germany
Host Advisory Board Member

 

@Allie179  Your guest mentions in her review, that Airbnb (support) has been involved. And she is insulting you personally.

 

Both is a no-go, and against the rules. 

 

To keep reviews relevant, we recommend avoiding the following:

  • […]
  • Profanity, name calling, and assumptions about a person’s character or personality

https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/2673/airbnbs-review-policy

 

Try this https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/548/airbnbs-dispute-moderation-for-reviews

View solution in original post

Betreff: Revenge Reviews

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 5

Thanks, Till-and-Jutta! AirBnB support determined that Sheika wasn't in violation, but it might be worth rasiing the issue again, now armed with the links you've provided. At this point I'm less worried about the past review (Sheika) and more concerned about the drafted damage claim that I have NOT yet submitted for my guest Natosha that departed yesterday, leaving $3k in damages. I have drafted the claim and uploaded all of the photos and receipts, but I haven't hit submit yet b/c I don't want Natosha to sabotage my rating like Sheika did back in February.

Betreff: Revenge Reviews

in
Orono, ME
Level 10

@Allie179 Why don't you submit your review before you submit the damage claim? Then hope that your guest will immediately write a review of you. Keep in mind that you must submit your claim before the next guest checks in to keep it valid. 

Betreff: Revenge Reviews

in
Alberta, Canada
Level 10

“..support determined that Sheika wasn't in violation, but it might be worth rasiing the issue again, now armed with the links you've provided.”

 

@Allie179 the best way to contact Airbnb “support” is via chat, for easier communication and for the purposes of providing links to relevant policy and pasting text from said. Airbnb outsources it’s  CS to call center workers who are ill trained and rarely familiar with policy. 

Betreff: Revenge Reviews

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 5

I raised the concern again and this time I explained why certain statements from the guest were racially inappropriate. This time they found in my favor and they have removed the post.

Betreff: Revenge Reviews

in
Swansea, United Kingdom
Level 10

Hooray @Allie179

Thats great news. Thanks for letting us know! 

Betreff: Revenge Reviews

in
Los Angeles, CA
Level 2

Airbnb doesn't evaluate or value truth.  Facebook does.  Twitter does.  This is why they allow reviews that are false.

Betreff: Revenge Reviews

in
Hong Kong
Level 10

@Allie179 We also had an incident recently that I talked about in the hosting community. This guest showed up with two elderly relatives who decided that they would rather stay in a hotel, and so he fabricated this elaborate story about an 'attack' on our villa by some alleged late-night perpetrator throwing rocks who, he claimed, had miraculously managed to penetrate the walls and windows with one of these rocks and break a vase inside the villa.

 

Basically, the guest wanted a full refund and promised that he would write us a good review if we could get him one. However, we had never gone through anything like this (and were also having doubts about his story), and so when we contacted Airbnb, they told us that he could only get a full refund if he could produce "written evidence" of the supposed attack. But when we relayed this message to the guest, he became very angry, and so we put him in touch with Airbnb support. Then, when they gave him this message, he turned his anger on us and vowed to write us a bad review--which he eventually did.

 

Allie, there was so much wrong with this story that we couldn't believe Airbnb would allow the review to stand. In addition to everything that I told you above, we found out that the guest had called the police to try to add credence to his story but that the police refused to write a report because "no crime had been committed," and that none of the neighbours in the resort had heard anything resembling an attack that night. We also asked the resort security to check in on the guest, and when they found no rocks outside the window or evidence of a rock attack, the guest changed his story to say this alleged person had been "banging on the grill" outside the window and that this is what broke the vase inside!

 

On top of all that, the guest wrote in his review that our villa is unsafe because we don't have security cameras when our listing states that we do not, and that we did not provide him with emergency contact information when I had written to him days before his arrival, on Airbnb messaging, telling him where to find the emergency contact information. He also changed his story yet again in the review to say that it was they (the guests) who had thrown the vase on the floor.

 

Anyway, we sent all the screenshots of these messages and photographic evidence to Airbnb along with the contact information of our neighbours and the local police--and Airbnb just ignored it all and said that the review would be allowed to stand. We kind of expected that, however, because the other hosts had warned us that Airbnb ALWAYS sides with the (paying) guests. It was just sad to see it happen when the proof that this was a total fabrication was so blatant.

 

Oh, and then, to add insult to injury, Airbnb wrote to us about a week afterwards to tell us that we would be losing our Superhost status. We had continually been Superhosts almost from the time that we had first started renting on Airbnb, and then, with one review written by an extortionist liar, our status was gone. But as some of the other hosts have rightly noted, we are not going to make that status the centre of our renting Earth, and you shouldn't, either. Just keep doing what you're doing and the good reviews will come again. 

 

Anyway, we're really sorry to hear that you had to go through this, and we wish you good luck in your battle.

Betreff: Revenge Reviews

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 5

@Rich-and-Yan0 I'm not sure when this happened to you, but the new policy from late last year explicitly says they will remove all extortion reviews. You should submit another request to remove and quote the policy (link to policy is in another message on this post). I was able to get my bad review taken down. Good luck!

Betreff: Revenge Reviews

in
Hong Kong
Level 10

@Allie179 Thanks for the response. FYI, this only happened recently to us. As I mentioned before, we laid out all the evidence to Airbnb, including the messages where he promised to write us a good review if we got them a refund and then vowed to write a bad one after Airbnb (not us) had told him that he could not get a full refund without "written evidence." @Andrew0 , who is on this thread, was one of the hosts who kindly pointed the extortion policy to us, and we were sure to mention that in our message to Airbnb.

 

However, as many hosts have attested and has also been our own experience as well, when dealing with Airbnb support, it often seems to be a "luck of the draw" thing regarding who you get to look over your case. The person who contacted us, whom I won't name, first sent us something that looked like a form letter, which was more or less like this:

 

Dear Rich & Yan,

 

After examining the case in question, we have concluded that the guest's review cannot be taken down.

 

Here is a link to our review policy: (link provided)

 

We thank you for contacting us and want you to know that we are always here for you and our other hosts.

 

 

Honestly, Allie, that is basically what we got for a response. After us having sent them something like 20 screenshots and photos and having laid out all the points chronologically, this agent didn't even mention even one single detail about our case.

 

Well, we wrote back to protest that response, and in about 200 words, we laid out why we thought that decision was wrong. And that same support rep wrote again to tell us that if we did not agree with Airbnb's review policy, then we could send feedback to Airbnb letting them know what was wrong with it--though he added that there was "no guarantee" that it would be read or considered.

 

So that's that. We did go ahead and send that final feedback to Airbnb, but we're not optimistic at all. As I said above, the support agent you end up often seems to be random. We've had some very good ones in our nearly two years on Airbnb, including the two ladies who first dealt with this guest, who rightly seemed to recognise that he was trying to scam both us and Airbnb and told him that he MUST produce actual evidence of this supposed 'attack' in order to obtain a full refund. (One of them even said that his behaviour in the messaging to us had been "inappropriate," and I sent that screenshot, too.) But we've also dealt with indifferent support people as well--and unfortunately, that's what we seem to have run into in this case.

 

Anyway, thanks again for the response. If anything comes of this, we'll be sure to let you know.

Betreff: Revenge Reviews

in
New York, United States
Level 2

@Allie179 Allie, we just recently had this exact experience. Unfortunately it was on a newer property with only 3 prior reviews, so the zero stars review resulted in dropping from 5 stars to 4 stars. Also, the renter seemed to be experienced at doing this and left a compliant, but not complimentary nor true, review. We offered that AirBnB could leave the review but we didn't feel the stars should impact us. Despite repeated efforts with the AirBnB CS (and significant delays), they just kept saying the renter didn't violate the terms of reviews. It's ridiculous as the renter only submitted the review in retaliation for us submitting a claim for damaging our stove and for violating each and every house rule.

Re: Revenge Reviews

in
Berlin, Germany
Level 10

@Allie179  They're well aware of how hosts feel about this issue, but your post illustrates why they want to keep it that way. If the fear of a retaliatory review deters hosts from filling claims, it ultimately saves them money. Why would they want to change that?

 

However much you're emotionally invested in your Superhost badge, you have to ask yourself if it's worth absorbing a $3000 loss for. And besides, trying to prevent a bad review from a bad guest is about as futile as trying to change the weather. The only time when you really have the power to do this is when you're screening guests before accepting a booking.

Re: Revenge Reviews

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 5

Thanks, Andrew. It's not so much that I'm emotional or precious about the badge, but rather I understand the search algorithm and the guest trust in superhost badges increases the booking power of properties with the badge. It's hard to quantify if the loss of revenue from not having the badge compared to the $3k in damages.

Re: Revenge Reviews

in
Berlin, Germany
Level 10

@Allie179   The Superhost badge is a behavior modification tool, so of course that's how Airbnb want us to believe about it. In reality, the benefits are drastically overstated. Of the hundreds of guests I've hosted, and the many people I know who have stayed at Airbnbs (by now, almost everyone between 20 and 50), I can count on one hand the number who have ever noticed the "superhost" thing and zero who admit to being influenced by it. Personally, mine never had any impact on my occupancy rate - the only benefit I've ever experienced from it is that one coupon per year, which is less than what you make in your cleaning fee alone.

 

You have a gorgeous, very spacious home in a popular and central location, and excellent value for the price. When travel recovers from the pandemic slump, this kind of listing tends will be in high demand regardless of stars and badges. So don't forget - you're the boss here, Airbnb is just your listing service. Keep earning great reviews of course, but don't let your listing service manipulate you into acting against your own interests out of fear for the bad ones.

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