Yesterday I had an experience, where Airbnb customer service chose to punish the host (me) for playing by the book and rewarded the guest for lying to Airbnb and to me. While I'm used to Airbnb throwing the host under the bus in a different circumstance (https://community.withairbnb.com/t5/Help/Guest-damages-apartment-customer-service-refuses-to-grant/m-p/721157#M162527), I was shocked how readily Airbnb disregarded their own policies snug up to a deceitful guest.
A guest made a reservation over two months ago for 5 guests —let's call her Eve. As Eve was going to check in within a few days, I messeged her to see when she was planning to arrive at the location, so I can meet her. She didn't respond to my Airbnb messages and it appears she disconnected the phone number she had listed on Airbnb. Three days later, I still hadn't heard from Eve and she was about to check in within two days, so I involved Airbnb. When she saw Airbnb's message she immediately called me on a different phone number. When I asked her when would she and her friends would be at the apartment, she craftily slipped it in that all SEVEN of them would be arriving at 2:00 PM.
The building management has policies for the maximum number of guests we are allowed to have. I explained to Eve that they had made their reservation for 5 guests and I would not be able to accomodate 7 guests, even if I had agreed to it. Eve said should want to cancel, then, and hung up.
An hour later I received this threatening message from Airbnb customer support:
My name is Tahji and I am a case manager from Airbnb Trip Experience. I am reaching out to you about your reservation with Cijie with the utmost of urgency. This is an urgent time sensitive case and I must hear back from you by 24 hours. As a reminder, if I do not hear back from you, I will need to take the appropriate actions by canceling the reservation and providing a full refund to this guest; host penalties will be applied in addition to this.
Please write back or give us a call at +1-415-800-5959 to discuss this further.
Eve had called Airbnb and told the agent that I had full knowledge that there would be 7 guests total from the beginning. She apparently said that we had a phone conversation, in which I had confirmed to her that they can bring 7 guests. Of course, I denied this baseless claim and pointed out that I wouldn't confirm their booking for 5 guests, if this was true.
It is prime time peak season where my listing is located. This booking had been active for over two months. Tahji decided to cancel Eve's booking with no fees or penalties, because she wasn't able to "Neither confirm, nor deny that [I] had spoken with [Eve] on the phone and said that they could bring 7 guests." I received no reimbursement.
Good luck, fellow hosts. I hope you never have to deal with Airbnb customer service.
TL;DR: The guest disobeyed Airbnb policies by intending to bring more guests than declared on the booking. Airbnb disregarded their own cancellation policy, based on the groundless claim of a guest, who had already lied about number of guests, that I had told them over the phone that it would be ok.
I had homeless people that weaseled their way into my home and destroyed it. I had to get the police involved to get them out. I just had someone else book and I did a background check on them. Because of my past experience and the background check showing a crimininal past, I was able to get Airbnb to cancel them. But I had to send them proof!! I run background checks on everyone. I wish we had first and last names before we even accept the reservations. But this is my second line of defense.
Good luck fellow renters!
I've had some fellow airbnbers ask which background sites I use. I use two. whitepages.com and beenverified.com I cross check between the two. And you can write these off! Stay safe!
How were you able to do that? Does it cost you? Who do you contact for that service?
You did background check AFTER they have reserved? Then when you don't like you can cancel them with no penalty?
There was a time they showed first and last name and a profile photo. You could check on them to make sure they are who they are and what they plan to do at your home. Now they hide all that so you have to blindly accept people you know nothing about. They could be homeless. I get lots of strange requests from people who live in the area. I try to avoid them and only accept people traveling for work.
Unfortunately, you can't run the background checks until they have booked but if something comes up after, I contact Airbnb and tell them what I've found and that I don't feel safe and send them the copies.
Hi Yvonna here(cohost). Wow! Every time I read another story like this I wonder what we are even doing by being listed with Airbnb. Approximately 25% of our bookings have brought extra people. One of them was a host themselves. It got to the point that we have had to put verbage in our listing explaining what equals 5 persons and yes we count infants which except for maybe 2 of them were all well over 4ish years old. We have 5 included in price and now a $100 fee for over 5 per day to curb the games. When my son recently rented a vacation place I told him he better declare everyone that’s going to be there or else! The level of disrespect I’ve put up with last year when we were new will not be happening again this year. We live on site and the apartment is above our heads. We had someone show up a few months back on a same day booking we had to approve for “1” who realized when we met him at the back door and showed him up that 1. He hadn’t just booked our 4000 sq ft historic mansion for $75 and 2. We lived here and we’re going to notice the 3 other people he left in the car across the street. We told him to either add the others which would have cost him $20 or cancel. He brought in his significant other and she deemed the 1000 sq ft apartment too small. Shortly there after we received a request from Airbnb for cancellations based on our place being too small (for 1) and that we had undisclosed pets. I believe she had seen a feral cat outside. We approved the request because we worried about a bad review. I come here and read the stories most every day and seriously I’m wondering what we are doing to ourselves aligning with such a bad company???
Hi Yvonna @Thomas1033 ,
You are not alone. After my first experience with Airbnb customer support I started following the Community page. Stories like yours and mine are shared everyday. There is an frightening resemblence between Airbnb hosts and 19th century textile mill workers. We are here to endure all the abuse and rule-bending Airbnb chooses throw at us. There is no right to appeal, no right to a fair judgement, no rights at all, actually. Our rules and rights seem to be disposable at a case manager's whim.
The only thing we have is our choice to leave. Just like a 19th century textile mill worker couldn't simply quit the mill in their area, we can't just quit Airbnb —and they're well aware of it. Airbnb dominated the daily rental industry by aggressively marketing their platform and now they're reaping the rewards of being a monopoly. They even coined the term "Airbnb" for daily rentals. Airbnb is aware that the guest has the option of choosing between hotels, Airbnb, and even other daily rental platforms. A host loses access to the majority of the market if they don't list on Airbnb. We are expendable currency for Airbnb, just like textile workers were to textile mill owners.
So, here we are, stuck with Airbnb's "take it or leave it" approach.
Try vrbo. They are all over and true competitors to Airbnb. This will be an additional platform for us. Not our main one.
Thanks @Maggie287, I actually started listing on VRBO a few months back, after I had my first experience with CS as a host (https://community.withairbnb.com/t5/Help/Guest-damages-apartment-customer-service-refuses-to-grant/m...). VRBO has an insurance system that the host and the guest can choose to opt to. I've had only good experiences under that system —a stark difference with my only damage claim with Airbnb.
Hey @Gulay1 ,
I heard the new Airbnb mantra taught to hosts is: 'You are free to do as we tell you!!'
Certainly here in Australia, other platforms are working hard to develop/increase market share. The host pays a higher percentage but that might be worth it for less headache.
I’ve had bad experiences with two case managers also . I always use email thru AIRBNB and have very little conversation with guest. After I confirm I get first and last names of the guest. We are king of like a hotel except we are sometimes not treated properly by case manager.
It seems to me, @Ron274 , that you're definitely not alone. I hope you never have to deal with a case manager again. It seems those go badly for the host. We are king in the respect that Damocles' sword may swing down on us at any time at a case manager's whim. The most disturbing thing to me here is that the 'inproper treatment' by case managers are communicated down from higher management. All of our stories are so similar that case manager behavior must be based on the same instructions.
AirBnb need to apply their own discrimination policy in dealing with hosts. They need to see and treat us as equal human beings.