I find it crazy that Airbnb would take the word of a single guest with 1 review, over a host and 27 guest reviews, and hosted 40 different people. I've virtually only had positive reviews and literally just had 4 different guests leave satisfied and leave only good reviews.
Yet last night I had a guest who felt the sheets were not fresh. They were. I changed them anyway. She wanted a new duvet cover and I told her it was clean, but I could provide her another one the next day. My willingness to provide another duvet cover and to help is the proof Airbnb calims proves I violated the terms and conditions. Excuse me for not calling her a liar or insane and getting into a fight. Airbnb made their decision without even hearing my side or calling me. I asked to speak to a supervisor, and no one has called me back.
She also complained that there were a pair of headphones on a desk, and that there was a cobweb in the ceiling of the corner. But to suggest this is violating the terms and conditions is just insane. Keep in mind the room was overwhelmingly clean, and completely free of all clutter. Other than the furniture, there is basically nothing left in the room. I forgot to retrive a single pair of headphones from a corner desk. How on Earth is that violating the terms and conditions?
So why would Airbnb take her word over mine? I have hosted around 40 guests, she has a single review. Who is lying? Me and all those guests or this one person? If she is unhappy, I cannot stop her from reflecting this in her review. But to suggest I violated the terms and conditions because she incorrectly claims the duvet is not fresh, is just insane. Honestly, the place was actually very clean. The issues she brought up were tiny, and its insane Airbnb canceled my cancelation policy over this. What is the point of having a cancelation policy if Airbnb will not enforce it?
It's pretty clear the most important thing is being the first to complain and to reply to airbnb support immediately. I was at work, I could not immediately respon. It's very disappointing that Airbnb have decided that one person wrongly complaining about cleanliness means I have violated the terms and conditions, even when their own proof of other guest reviews proves her incorrect.
Whats the point of having a strict cancelation policy if airbnb will not enforce it, and will bend to anyone who complains? It really seems like Airbnb has gone to the dogs.
OMG! Look at how dirty that room is!
In that first picture, that corner drawer, as a pair of headphones on it. That is legit part of what airbnb claims qualifies for rescinding my cancelation policy. Some of these airbnb support people are just ridiculous.
I can't stop this perons from leaving a negative review, but I fail to see how on earth this is possibly a vilation of terms and conditions? That's just insanity.
I've always had good experiences with Airbnb. But I'm quite put off the whole thing right now. If they could give a clear rationale reason other than, "headphones left on a table". And my willingness to provide another duvet the next day as proof it was not fresh.
The pictures and reality shows its fresh and clean. My willigness to make sure this guest is happy is not confirmation that I admit I violated the terms and conditions. That is just insane. This person was funny to begin with, upon enterting the house. There is no proof the duvet was not fresh. It was. It always is. This is why my guests are happy.
Truth is Airbnb is convinient way to rent the room out for short periods of time, but after dealing with some genuinely incompetent support staff, it certainly opens my eyes to the whole thing more. The most galling thing about this, they looked at my nice messages to her, offering to provie yet more clean sheets as an admission of guilt. That's just flat out stupid.
Headphones on a desk and a dispute over a duvet cover do seem like small reasons to accuse you of violating terms and conditions. However, I think there is something more going on here.
You say that Airbnb took one guest's word over yours and all of your other guests, but I doubt that is true. I have had a look at your listing and reviews and your lowest star rating is for cleanliness. I think it's 3.5 which is actually rather low. You should be aiming for as close to 5 as possible and Airbnb will treat anything less than 4 as failing to meet their standards.
While a few of your guests mention your place is clean in their reviews, just as many bring up cleanliness as an issue and, judging by the star rating, there may be others who haven't mentioned it publically but have down rated you in that category.
Thus, it's quite likely that Airbnb based their decision on all of these factors.
The room looks fairly clean in your photos, but it's difficult to tell if there is dust or if the carpet has been vacuumed, which another guest complained about. However, I can see that the window needs cleaning. Not sure if there are marks on the walls or these are just shadows. By headphones, I think you mean earphones, and I would also be grossed out if a pair of used earphones was left in my room.
RE the bedding, the duvet covers may well have been freshly washed, but are you sure there were no marks on them from previous uses that hadn't washed out? Sometimes bedding can just look dirty because the colour is not pristine anymore, e.g. if you have been washing whites with coloureds. Also, have you finished making up the bed in these photos as there don't appear to be any pillowcases?
Sorry, I am not out to criticse you and perhaps you feel your levels of cleanliness are sufficient given the price you are charging. However, I think guests still expect cleanliness in any price range and, unlike location, this is one category you DO have control over.
I always clean the rooms thoroughly between each guest regardless of if they were cleaned thoroughly two days before and on first sight still look spotless. They get dusted, polished, vacuumed and mopped again anyway (including light fittings, window frames, under the bed and the other furniture). Otherwise, it's easy to miss something, e.g. a used cotton bud left under the bed, which could be off putting to a guest. Plus, it only takes a day for dust to settle. I also have cats (three of them) so need to make sure every stray bit of fur is vacuumed up. This is why all three listings have 5 stars for cleanliness.
I would suggest that you take on board the feedback from guests as several mentioned that the cleanliness could be improved and they can't all be wrong.
the poster should be so lucky that you have gone to length and depth to explain the real problem. You are spot on and I wish you could vett my listing!
The issue actually was only the ones I mentioned. Sure, I always take on feedback. And have. But that is completely different from a violation of terms and conditions. And its that feedback that made me be cleaner than ever. In any case, this is still not a violation of terms and conditions.
I have hard wood floors, and yeah, they get dusty immediately. Within a day. This has not been an issue for a while now. But that was not even an issue or a compaint this time around. None of that was the reason for this violation of the terms and conditions. It was pretty much spic and span. It really was.
The issue was, she claims the duvet is not fresh, a pair of headphones left on the drawer, and like the most insanely small cobweb in a corner of the ceiling.
The duvet cover is only a couple of months old, and is only used by airbnb guests. It's a white duvet cover. It's mostly perfect no stains, but I think it does seem like parts of it are a bit brighter and whiter than other areas. I think its just how the water evaporated when it was drying. I had washed it the day before she arrived.
I always take on board feedback. But that is completely different from saying I have violated the terms and conditions therefore the cancelation policy is not in effect. I cannot stop someone from leaving a disatisfied review. But I am still at a loss for how this means this is a violation of terms and conditions. And everyone is free to read the reviews before booking. No one is being forced into this with their eyes closed.
The point is, Airbnb should follow their own guidelines, of terms and conditions. And they did not this time around. I cannot stop anyone from posting a negative review, but that is completely different from demanding I give her a refund, which is just insane.
Yes, saying you violated the terms and conditions seems very strong. However, I think what they might mean by this that you are not meeting the Basic Requirements, which would be a reason why a guest is refunded (or a listing removed).
and, more specifically, the information in the section about Cleanliness, where it says, "If you consistently receive low cleanliness ratings, you may be subject to penalties." You can see if you have consistently received low ratings (and by low I mean less than 5 stars) by looking under your Progress tab.
Even though, during the review process, Airbnb tells guests that 4 stars = good and 3 stars = okay, that is simply not true. If a number of guests have rated you less than 5 in this category, Airbnb are going to see this as just not good enough.
The section that lists What's Expected includes:
So, used earphones left over from another guest could count here as would the duvet cover, even if the guest was wrong about it not being clean, that's what she's complained about.
Sure, Airbnb should also listen to your side of the story as you know you washed the duvet cover. However, if other guests have rated you low for Cleanliness, they are more likely to believe this guest.
Anyway, I can understand your frustration and confusion about the 'violation of terms and conditions' language Airbnb used in your case, and my theory might be wrong, but I hope it offers a possible explanation for what they mean. You could always ask them to clarify in case it's something else.
I did get lax for a whilein my hosting, which is why since doing it more sparingly and with minimun number of nights things have been diferent. It was not realistic for me to have guests so frequently. With a full time job and all the rest there just wasn't enough time for me to me to stay as consistent.
In the last year I have a 4.8 rating. And the very few issues I had were quite a while ago. I won't deny it hasn't been spic and span everytime, when I was constantly hosting. But the price and reviews reflect that.
And the pattern doesn't fit. The duvet cover is the main factor, what you quoted also plays into that. Well I've never had a complaint over linens, I think. You're probably right, about my previous feedback being a factor. I think another big factor is I couldn't get back to them immediately. Eventually I got a 2 hr window to reply. It was close to noon.
Oh its fine. I'm quite over it at this point. I always refund people for nights they are not here anyway. It's obviously about the duvet. Like I said in the OP, they said my willlingness to wash it the next day was proof there was an issue. I mean what am I supposed to just say, nah, its clean, go f yourself? She also gassed them up with other exagerations like a pair of headphones on the drawer. And a tiny cob web no one else could notice. But I should have a spare duvet cover on standby, but no one has ever complained about it before. She seemed agitated before I even opend the door. She was kinda just perched far away, not really at the entrace.
@Nabil "I won't deny it hasn't been spic and span everytime, when I was constantly hosting. But the price and reviews reflect that."
Are you under the impression that if you aren't charging a lot, that cleanliness really shouldn't be expected? Like it's okay if a cheap place isn't very clean, a medium-priced one should be a little cleaner, and and only an expensive place needs to be really clean?
@Sarah: it costs me $40/hr to get cleaning services in Chicago. I imagine it's a bit pricier in London.
On a recent stay to Prague, I stayed in a $60/night room near the Old Synagogue, a door over from a favorite restaurant-- which literally had 1/2 inch of dust & bunnies under the bed. It was a good deal for what I wanted, the architecture I wanted, and the location I wanted.
I gave the guys who owned it a 4 on cleanliness and dropped them a note that they needed to improve that in specific.
If you want certain things, they have an economic cost. You can't want perfection, whatever perfection is, when that perfection costs more than you're willing to pay.
ABB's systems should reflect these basic realities.
@Kenneth I charge $28/night for a private bedroom with private ensuite bathroom and full use of kitchen facilities. I clean the guest quarters myself and I can assure you it is squeaky clean for each and every guest.
Of course there's not a lot of frills provided in an economical listing. But cleanliness has nothing to do with "perfection".
IMO, if a host can't afford cleaning services, they either have to clean it themselves or don't bother hosting.
Hmm. That's an interesting opinion, given that you live in a state where the vast majority of the population lives on less than $5,000/year and the cost of basic labour is well under $2/hr. (I believe less than 1/2 of 1 percent of the population of neighboring Jalisco makes $11KUSD/yr, despite supposed economic revival).
If people were paying me the local equivalent of $28/night in your location, which is about $300/night here (sadly), I'd be glad to throw in an hour of cleaning a day.
That said, having stayed in over 50 ABBs or so in Mexico, I might comment that your position is not the position of the average lower-middle-class Mexican ABB host, and if I applied white-Anglo standards to most of my hosts, I would have needed to rate them 1 or 2.
Clean (close to squeaky or something) is possible between stays, but I seem to get the occassional guest, usually an undergrad, who expects daily cleaning. It's also impossible to maintain a shared bathroom daily at competitive rates (though, mind you, if I'm in town, I wipe down the bathroom sink and toilet surfaces a few times a day).
Otherwise, we're back to basic economics. If you want to pay me $50/night to be next to the University of Chicago, and I have to put $25 of labour cost into that... you get what you paid for. And as many here have said, sometimes "as described" should be a 5.
@Kenneth I'm not sure what your point is. Minimum daily wage in Mexico is nothing like what the average maid or gardener gets in heavily ex-pat and touristy areas, and my town is one of the most expensive here in Mexico. You can't get a maid or gardener here for $2/hr, I can assure you. More like 3-4 times that much. I realize that's still really cheap compared to the US- I clean the guest quarters myself to assure that they are up to my standards.
Nor do most of the the local Mexicans around here live on $5000/year. Many are driving brand new 4x4s, have satellite dishes on their roofs and live quite well. The vast majority of my guests are American, Canadian and European. I've had 2 Mexican guests in almost 2 years of hosting and they were upper middle class.
I have also stayed at lower middle-class Mexican homes that were squeaky-clean, so the cleanliness standard has nothing to do with socio-economic status of the hosts.
I'm not sure what parts of Mexico you have visited, Mexico is a huge country. And I'm sure there are listings run by lower middle class Mexicans that aren't so super clean- this is a reflection of the standards of those particular people, not a valid reason as to why an inexpensive listing (you seem to think my place @ $28 is expensive by Mexican standards- it isn't here- a shared hostel room with 4 other people, with shared bathroom and meager, if any cooking facilities, goes for $25/night) should be less than clean.