Security Deposit and Host Guarantee are falsehoods

in
New Orleans, LA
Level 3
1,799 Views

After just having submitted my second claim in six years, I have discovered that the security deposit and host guarantee are simply not true, provide false sense of security.

 

Hosts, it is simply not worth putting your home at risk to theft and damages without any gaurantee.

Airbnb case managers are not properly trained, do not have sufficient review, do not gather evidence in any sort of scientific fashion, do not treat cases seriously, make superficial judgments on the fly, do not speak with both parties to conduct an investigation, thoroughly, with hard evidence, and with critical thinking.

 

This is upsetting because I like using Airbnb, but cannot use it if it means placing my home at risk to guests who might steal from, valdalize, or otherwise destroy my home. 

 

What is equally disturbing is that there is no way to complain when a case manager handles a case inappropriately. There isn't any review process. Try to google "make a formal complaint to a supervisor" on Airbnb's website. No such process exists. The public is completely shut out from Airbnb management. Not a good sign. 

13 Comments
in
San Marcos, TX
Level 10

I'm hearing this more and more. It's not encouraging. Meanwhile, the NY Times just ran a long piece about how AirBnb is alienating its hosts with rules and standards that impost hotel-style standards and requirements on what once was a home share business.

 

But as the Times article pointed out, Airbnb hosts are left at a disadvantage because unlike hotels whose rooms are wrecked or have property stolen, Airbnb hosts simply can't charge the credit card on record for losses as a hotel would do.

 

This really needs to be fixed. It needs to be fixed yesterday.

 

Note to Airbnb: You may be in danger of growing your business to death. Stop worrying about selling experiences and God knows whatever's next, and focus on fixing what's broken in the business that's paying your bills. Once you work that out, go back to expanding into new business lines.

in
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level 2

Sadly, I am in the middle of a claim and couldn't agree more. After taking two weeks and a great deal of prompting to respond to my claim, they are now rejecting every estimate I have provided as not being acceptable. They have also given me seven days to provide the paperwork, and I am having real problems finding a plumber to 

a) answer my phone calls

b) be willing to undertake the work

c) provide a written estimate.

 

The 'case manager' is polite to irrittion, and keeps repeating the same phrases. 

 

I feel that trade descriptions are definitely being breached -

'Relax. You're covered by our £600000 Host Guarantee. Every booking, every time'.

 

What a pile of crock.

in
San Diego, CA
Level 2
I recently filed a claim for damage to my home and the experience was absolutely horrible. I thought the security deposit and Host Guarantee would protect me and my home. What a f**king joke!!! 
 
I had a group of guests break all the house rules, party until the morning hours, check out late and leave the home with both the front door and property gate unlocked and wide open for anyone to just come in. As disrespectful as these actions were, it was the mess in the home and damage to my property that cause me to file a claim. 
 
The guests not only trashed the home but they left inches off water and rubbing alcohol across the entire bathroom floor. So much water in fact, that it caused permanent damage to the bathroom baseboards. I have no idea what these guests did in the bathroom, but it all seemed very intentional to me. 
 
To make matters worse, I had guests arriving 3.5 hours later. Therefore I promptly took pictures of the damage and then proceeded to assist the house cleaner as I was concerned she would not be able to get the house cleaned by herself in the allowed time. The women who cleans the Airbnb unit is typically able to complete the task in 2 hours. However, due to the mess left behind by this group and the major water issue in the bathroom, it took the two of us 4 hours to clean the home. 
 
I requested money from the guest through the Airbnb Resolution Center. She of course did not respond to the request. I was not surprised by this as she ignored every message that I had sent her prior to and during her stay. In the request for funds, I provided numerous pictures of the damage and stated that I was asking for the $100 deposit to cover damages to the baseboards (cost of replacement) and additional cleaning fees.  
 
After a few days, without response from the guest, I was able to ask Airbnb to get involved. Here's where it all went downhill. In addition to the pictures of the damage that I previously provided, Airbnb requested proof of repairs and additional cleaning fees. They wanted receipts. 
 
I informed the claims rep that I don't use a cleaning company as the cost is quite high. That I have a house cleaner that I pay per visits but that she doesn't work for a company. Initially they were adamant that I submit a bill from a cleaning company. I'm sorry but since when are hosts required to use a professional cleaning company? As host, we all get to pick our "cleaning rate". We all get have the choice to pay and outside company or do it ourselves. These guests caused such a mess that it took two individuals, myself and the house cleaner, to clean up their mess and get the house ready for the next group. I realize this is my word against the guests however, I had not only taken pictures of the mess and damage, I had also been messaging with the next group as I was concerned I would have to push their check in time back due to the mess. I had hoped Airbnb would take the messages and pictures into account, and give me the benefit of the doubt. Yet, they did not. 
 
I cannot give Airbnb what they want. I was upfront with the rep and said I didn't use a cleaning company, but did pay a private person. Eventually I received an email saying I could provide an estimate for the cleaning cost, from a local professional company. I then got an estimate from a cleaning company called Homeaglow, who I had previously used. I submitted the estimate to Airbnb, which was over $100 for 4 hours of cleaning. Yet, they refused to accept it. 
 
The bathroom was completely remodeled 2 months prior to this guests stay. I blocked a week to do a full remodel with new shower, sink and vanity, new tile floors and of course, new baseboards. The baseboards were less than 2 months old and still in excellent condition. Unfortunately, I have not had time to repair the damaged baseboards. Why you ask? Because my home has been booked almost every day since, with back to back reservations and only 4 hour gaps for cleaning and to turn over for the next group. Clearly water/alcohol damaged baseboards don't negatively impact my ability to continue to host, nor are an emergency repair. If I were to cancel any of the existing reservation for such a trivial reason, I would not only lose money, but be negatively impacted by fines from Airbnb. The company is able to see my calendar, therefore they can see that I have not had a gap large enough in my calendar to complete the work. However, my inability to quickly make the repairs does not lessen the fact that my home was damaged by a guest nor lessen the fact that I should be entitled to financial compensation. 
 
Since I cannot provide receipts for repairs (since it has not been done), the rep said I could provide an estimate for repairs. Again, I did just this. I contacted a local contractor through Thumbtack who gave me an estimate of $125 to remove the old baseboards, cut and install the new ones, as well as paint and seal. This estimate did not include the cost of materials. I submitted this estimate to Airbnb, yet they refused to accept it.  
 
Airbnb eventually denied my claim stating "We do our best to fairy and reasonably mediate these cases. In our efforts to be objective, keeping in mind we were not present during the reservation, we must consider all available documentation and communication when coming to a decision which aligns with our policies and procedures. Airbnb reserves the right to make the final determination with regard to these disputes, which is outlined in our Terms of Service. After careful review of the documentation and communication from both parties, we are unfortunately unable to process your security deposit for this reservation. As we mentioned in previous emails, we are unable to reimburse the damage without documentation per our policy." 
 
The rep said I could provide estimates, yet they later refused to accept them. In addition, Airbnb clearly overlooked the numerous pictures I submitted and the pdf with messages to the next group regarding to the state of the home and the possibility that the check in time would be pushed back due to the mess. So now I'm out over $200 dollars in cleaning fees and repair costs for one of the worst guests I have had in the past year. Honestly, I can step back and say $200 is not life shattering. My anger and sheer disappointment in Aibnb and their lack of assistance comes from the fact that I have been a host for the past year, with over 60 completed trips, have been a Super Host for the last 3 quarters, and have never once received a negative review. Their lack of willingness to assist me, or to take into account my history as a host and the documentation I presented speaks highly of the organizations general lack of concern for their hosts. My home was damaged by an Airbnb approved guest, yet no Host Guarantee or financial compensation has been given to return the property to its previous state. 
 
If anything, take this as warning. Airbnb's Host Guarantee, is a joke. It is nothing more than a false sense of security to entice individuals to be hosts. 
in
Newburgh, IN
Level 10

Amen, @CarlandDiane0 and @Jamie122!

in
England, United Kingdom
Level 1

I agree with all the comments in this thread and have had similar experiences.  The last one was particularly worrying as I had theft of items from my home by an airbnb guest and, despite a police report, all compensation for the theft has been 100% rejected.
This was cited as the reason under the Host Guarantee, being an "excluded loss":
4. vii. mysterious disappearance, loss, or shortage disclosed on taking inventory, or any unexplained loss of inventory;
I also had a substantial security deposit on the listing.
In short, any theft is not covered, either by the Host Guarantee or a Security Deposit.
This same guest also used a considerable amount of my own food and laundry products, and I was told "that when it comes to consumables it is the host's responsibility to remove them from the listings if they do not wish their guest's use them."  Therefore, guests may use any food, toiletries, laundry products - anything airbnb deems "consumables" - in your home.
Finally, in addition to guests having a free reign, and theft not being covered - which clearly holds hosts wide open to massive abuse in this regard once 'word gets out' - my review of this guest, which I took great care to ensure was 100% factual and objective - was removed by airbnb as I stated I had needed to file a claim in the Resolution Centre.  The reason?  I was referring to "details of an investigation" and this violated the conditions.  No response has been received when I asked why I wasn't given the opportunity to remove these words, or post a revised review.  And I had taken an hour and a half having a discussion with airbnb beforehand about how best to leave an honest and fair review!
So no future hosts are going to be any the wiser about the actions of this guest....
I'm speechless.

Level 2

 I will be a new Airbnb host the end of Jan 2018.  Your comments on this site are very helpful although I’m a little freaked out on the security aspect and hearing about  damages done to your home. I did send a copy of the host guarantee to my insurance company. Basically she said, damages done to my home are not covered in this.  The true coverage is to the guest if they are hurt on your premise and your insurance doesn’t cover it. 

Now  I will make a point of extensive interviewing of guest. I would rather have no booking at times then a guest that trashes my home. 

 I will also take a look at the security deposit Policy and how it is release. 

 

Level 5

Jamie,

    My experience was so similar to yours that it scares me..... You do not exaggerate one bit...

 

    And a friend who also has an Airbnb listing, had guests use paper towels for toilet paper. A major repair was needed and a local jack-of-all-trades did a super job. This repair person gave a price and it was paid, gladly and very reasonably. He was asked to submit a written invoice, not his forte... He did so, it was submitted.  Airbnb called my friend, in assence, a liar because this was not a standard pre-printed invoice by a nationallyknown firm...... This is a bit of proof that the geniuses who investigate these claims have never lived in the real world. What a shame....and a black mark for Airbnb.

in
United Kingdom
Level 3

Airbnb Host Guarantee denies valid claim following airbnb guest floods and significantly damages a luxury bathroom! Airbnb requests immediate repair during the christmas holidays and furthermore requests an immediate invoice. Upon receipt of the invoice of the repair, they deem it invalid as it doesn't carry a logo of the company - the company doesn't have a logo, it's not legal requirement! The invoice is issued by the largest invoicing and accounting system in Denmark used by most Danish companies and most companies do not carry a logo! Airbnb on numerous occasions state that they cannot verify the building company company, which again is a lie, is this simply to avoid paying out the insurance claim albeit they easily verify using one of a number of free online company registries! Airbnb then mistakenly states that two completely difference companies with complete different names, addresses and ownership, one being a cleaning company (with a logo!!!) and the building company are exactly the same company but with difference addresses - again, they will not see reality in front of them, - again is this just an excuse to play incompetent to avoid paying the claim? Airbnb furthermore demands numerous of times that a new invoice for the already carried out repair is to be issued by any completely other company - which is obviously against the law and impossible!!! Airbnb also receives a claim from the airbnb guest that checked in the same day following the damages, the guest even requests a refund due to the inconvenience of the damages. Airbnb denies this claim too. Then as the final straw, Airbnb makes their final decision to close the case and no longer communicate with the host on the matter, even though there are numerous of outstanding questions as to how they can be so mistaken and deny the valid claim verified by their own guests, on the same day as they heavy begin to advertise to all hosts that they are protected by their host guarantee - really? 

in
Moelfre, GB
Level 2

Totally agree that the situation on the Airbnb website with regards to hosts in misleading. They DON'T collect a security deposit, they rely on the guest actually payinng for damage after they've had their holiday leaving you exposted to having to fight to get it back and themselves open to the following:

1. You put up your prices to cover the risk (not great for them or the customer as you'll be cheaper on your own site or other host sites).

2. You'll attempt to collect the security deposit outside of Airbnb something that they discourage but frankly why should you put your property at risk?

After 9 years of running my own letting busines I've only had 4 instances of keeping the security deposit which I collect up front, I get no complaints about collecting it but if someone leaves their dog unattended in my house and it eats it way through a door then it's a reasonable assumption that I'm not going to refund it - imagine the fight to get that back from a business that actually doesn't collect it up front - what if the guest simply refuses - they just block them from Airbnb - what do they do - they just go and book with another site, what if the guest's card has expired or they cancel the payment - nothing they can do. Really Airbnb - look logically at this - you're out of step with other sites which I'm sure you'll block the names but both Trip Advisor and Owners Direct collect it then refund it - you need to keep your hosts happy as well as your guests. You should also be upfront about how this is handled - it's not clear at all as a host that you weren't collecting this up front.

in
Vail, CO
Level 2

I couldn’t agree more!  What do we as hosts (Superhost for three years here) need to do to get their attention?  My guest admitted to staining a comforter and rug with a red liquid, but stated he felt the cleaning fee should cover that!  Cleaners normally take 4 hours and needed 8 to clean up.  Sliding glass door lock was broken, smoke alarms all removed from the wall, etc.

 

Has his happened to enough of us for a class action suit?  Do we just go to the media and make sure everyone knows how to cover their butts, since Airbnb obviously doesn’t care?

 

Also, watch your listing when they do updates.  I’ve had my security deposit amount “disappear” after an update.  Unfortunately, I didn’t keep checking it and now they’re saying that’s my fault.