I received a booking request for preapproval on Thursday, I preapproved this but the user was unable to accept. They received an error message which I have screenshot. I tried sending over a special offer and they were still unable to accept.
I reached out to air bob and they said they were not able to allow the booking as the user didn’t pass their criteria to do so and were flagged. The reasons being they were under 25, lived in the local area and did not have 3 reviews.
The next day the user managed to send a booking which could be accepted. I messaged Air bnb to check this as it had been flagged the day before. I expressed my concern and air bnb assured me there was no way the user could trick the booking and fake an age due to their checks. I was also told the user must have had 3 reviews which I confirmed wasn’t the case as they had zero. Air bnb told me it was safe to take this booking so I accepted it.
On Saturday my neighbour contacted me to confirm there were a number of people going in and out of my property with alcohol, all people looked underage. I then messaged the user and asked about this, they denied it. I messaged Air BNB and asked where I stood. They told me I should take ID when checking in (this has never been the case nor ever advised to do so) They also asked if I met them to check in (this again is encouraged to have lock boxes and contactless check ins with covid). Both of these things are standard for air bnb, users have to verify themselves before booking and there is no requirement for me to visit the property and ask for ID. Regardless of this Air BNB had already assured me my booking was safe to take.
Then then told me gatherings of over 16 were prohibited, despite already telling me in a message than any parties were banned and to be aware of local lockdown rules. All of this is in writing which I have screenshot.
My neighbour then messaged me again to say more people had arrived. I messaged the user again and they still denied this. At this point my parents drove down to the property and parked outside and then we called the police. Air BNB advised me to go to the property myself which is extremely dangerous. At this point Air BNB stopped responding to me and every time I asked a question they told me they didn’t have the information. This is absolutely shocking that they have no information as whats the point in customer service if they don’t know the answers. They also told me completely conflicting information I their messages so I copied and pasted over what they had said which they said wasn’t the case.
I was then passed to a number of people and then they completely stopped responding.
The police had to enter the property, get everyone out and shut the party down. My parents had to go its the property and check for damage. They should never have been put into this position from a covid standpoint and put themselves in danger and at risk to the virus.
The police also confirmed the account had a fake name and the user was 17! After air BNB confirmed there is no way to trick the booking I asked how the hell this was possible.
I emailed air BNB again to let them know if they don’t respond within 24 hours I will be taking further action. I have still had nothing back from Saturday evening. They are now ignoring all my messages. I asked them to log a formal complaint and again I’ve had no response.
I logged on today to see that my message thread had gone missing. So I took a screenshot of that message. Luckily I screenshot everything that had been said in previous messages knowing they were likely to pretend it didn’t happen.
I would like this fully investigated. The whole concept of air BNB is that your property and yourself is safe and they’ve put myself, family in direct danger with no care at all to my property. They are simply washing their hands of this and ignoring it.
This is a ridiculous story.
But it raises also some questions:
" received a booking request for preapproval on Thursday, I preapproved this but the user was unable to accept. They received an error message which I have screenshot. I tried sending over a special offer and they were still unable to accept."
You received an Enquiry (not a booking request) and wanted to pre-approv.e Was there any communication with the guest before you pre-approved (or even wanted to sent a special offer) ?
"The next day the user managed to send a booking which could be accepted"
How did the guest manage this ? Was in Instant Book ?
I would still not have accepted (or ask for cancellation at Airbnb) the booking, regarding the history of person being flagged.
IMO Airbnb should never had confirmed this guest suddenly being safe to make a booking, while flagged in a previous attempt.
@Emiel1 “IMO Airbnb should never had confirmed this guest suddenly being safe to make a booking, while flagged in a previous attempt.”
Correct. However, @Rebecca1342 , you need to know that the platform is rife with glitches and you cannot trust the system, or Airbnb. YOU need to take the wheel completely. Lisa723 summed it up perfectly.
Hey, so the first one that came through was a pre-approval to which I accepted as the person messaged me and said why they were booking like all the people booking, I approved it and when they went to book they received a message from air bnb so I messaged air bnb to find out what this was.
The next day a booking request came through so I messaged air bnb first to find out why this had come through and they said the day before must have been a mistake and the user had now passed all the necessary checks. I messaged the user with a few more questions and based on that I was satisfied that this was OK to accept. In hindsight now I wish I had just rejected this but I stupidly believed air bnb after they told me there was no way a booking could be tricked or verification faked so I just thought it must have been a system error somewhere 😞
I know better now and have definitely learnt to stick with my gut feeling,
@Rebecca1342 this is a public forum of users; you're unlikely to get a response from Airbnb here. So sorry you had this experience; you are now among the legion of hosts who have learned the hard way that this: "The whole concept of air BNB is that your property and yourself is safe" is completely untrue. Airbnb cannot keep you safe; as the owner of an STR property you have to keep the property and yourself safe.
Hey! Thank you for responding, I popped air bnb an email and direct message about this but they are no longer responding, I just wanted to post publicly for people who aren't experienced hosts to know this can happen. I'm not experienced in this at all so I've learnt from this now. You're absolutely right!
@Rebecca1342 It was and continues to be a terrible experience.
However, it's interesting, because most hosts complain that Airbnb does nothing to vet guests, yet here we have an example of Airbnb attempting to vet a guest. When the guest slipped past their vetting net, the host enabled the guest's reservation, even after being told the guest had been flagged.
Like @Emiel1 I wouldn't have taken the guest after being told of the flagging.
I also don't understand why, at the first report from neighbors of trouble, you wasted time with Airbnb about the problem. Get the problem sorted first and get the guest out of your house. Airbnb is a booking platform, not a policing service.
It's always tempting to take every booking that comes along, but every single time I've turned someone away, a better booking has come to take the place of the problematic one. Don't be too eager to be "fully booked." I have long stopped "pre-approving" anyone. It too often doesn't go anywhere, and more to the point, it displays a pathetic eagerness to get a booking under any conditions, which puts too much power in the hands of the guest.
Hey, thanks for responding!
When the first booking was flagged and the second allowed I reached out to Air bnb and they assured me it was a mistake and that it was "safe to take the booking". I asked the person booking a bunch of questions and it all sounded legit!
I contacted air bnb first of all as I wanted to know what my rights were with regards to removing the person from the property if it did turn out to be a party. When the neighbour messaged me initially they said they were worried it was a party so I messaged air bnb whilst she was watching out about this. When I first spoke to them they said there was nothing I could do unless there was over 16 people there. When I found out this had escalated and it was a party I called the police. I was under the impressed based on what they told me I wouldn't be able to do anything. I haven't ever had an issue like this before from what they told me I wasn't able to act on it unless it was over the 16 people, even with local restrictions. It's hard to get all the details into a full thread and the full message from them without attaching the whole thread here. From what they had said I didn't have a right to get them out.
Sadly I've learnt from this and will be much fore careful in the future! x
@Rebecca1342 Another thing you may not know about Airbnb CS is that they are ill trained and notoriously ill equipped to handle any situation presented to them. They often don't even know Airbnb policy, for crying out loud. You occasionally will get a competent one, but those are a rare bird.
if you have the misfortune to have this happen again.
1. Insist Airbnb cancel
2. If your neighbours tell you a party is going on get down there and tell the guests to leave / immediately
Some info about the role of Airbnb:
(click in topmenu "hosting" and "community standards")
@Rebecca1342 Everything the agent told you was both factually incorrect and antithetical to Airbnb's actual policies -
1. Airbnb can not guarantee that any guest is "safe." There's no vetting or background checks, no guarantee that the guest accurately represents themselves, nothing Airbnb can do to protect you or your property if the guest behaves unsafely. They can verify whether the payment was successfully transferred, but they're in no position to assure you that it's safe to give access to your home to a random stranger off the internet.
2. It's ludicrous to suggest that you're not allowed to enforce the rules that are stated on your listing. Your House Rules say "no parties," presumably there are Covid-related limits to household gatherings, and your occupancy limit is 5; of course you can remove the guests for breaking the rules and the local law. Besides, it's YOUR HOUSE, not Airbnb's - you don't need their permission to terminate a booking, though you might be obliged to forfeit the payment for unused nights.
I do recommend bolstering your rules with stricter language forbidding all unregistered guests from entering the property, having a system in place such as external cameras to monitor it, and a local co-host on hand who is prepared to have your back if you're too far away to deal with guests yourself.
When you confuse terms it's hard for other posters to advise properly in general.
"I received a booking request for preapproval". Preapprove isn't a choice for a booking request. Pre-approve appears on Inquiries. "Accept" is the option on Booking Requests.
The distinction is important because an Inquiry and a Booking Request are handled differently from the host end, as well as the guest end.