My listings are not suitable for guests who use wheelchairs as there are steps inside the apartment. This is clearly stipulated on the listing’s description. On 28 December 2018, at 8 am, I received an email from Christopher J to the effect that all my listings were suspended. I’ve searched the portal immediately and none of my listing were active.
Please see below of the actual email:
“My name is Christopher and I work here at Airbnb.
I’m writing to let you know that we’ve received a report of a statement made to your guest, which may have violated our nondiscrimination policy. The report that we received alleges that you made a statement that suggested you were unable to accommodate her group because someone traveling with her required the use of a mobility device.
We wanted to reach out because a statement like this does go against our nondiscrimination policy as Airbnb hosts may not prohibit or limit the use of mobility devices..
Airbnb exists to create a world where everyone can belong. You can read more about our nondiscrimination policy here: www.airbnb.com/help/nondiscrimination.
At this time, your account access has been limited, and you will be unable to accept any new reservations. Please confirm that you have read and understood this policy, and that you agree to our commitment to inclusion.
Let me know if I can answer any questions about the standards you’ve agreed to as an Airbnb user. I look forward to your response.
I responded to advise Christopher that:
There was no further communication with the group, they did not check in and I received the payment as per the conditions of booking.
I received the email from Christopher J, 15 days after the event.
Then a second email arrived:
Christopher J., Dec 27, 14:19 PST:
Thank you for your response on this matter.
Please note that Airbnb hosts may not:
Decline a guest based on any actual or perceived disability.
Impose any different terms or conditions based on the fact that the guest has a disability.
Substitute their own judgment about whether a unit meets the needs of a guest with a disability for that of the prospective guest.
Prohibit or limit the use of mobility devices.
Post any listing or make any statement that discourages or indicates a preference for or against any guest on account of the fact that the guest has a disability.
Refuse to provide reasonable accommodations, including flexibility when guests with disabilities request modest changes in your house rules, such as bringing an assistance animal that is necessary because of the disability, or using an available parking space near the unit. When a guest requests such an accommodation, the host and the guest should engage in a dialogue to explore mutually agreeable ways to ensure the unit meets the guest’s needs.
Airbnb hosts may:
Provide factually accurate information about the unit’s accessibility features (or lack of them), allowing for guests with disabilities to assess for themselves whether the unit is appropriate to their individual needs.
That said, since you've confirmed that you did not allow the guest to stay because a member in her group required a mobility device, we've decided to cancel this reservation and issue a full refund.
We will still require that you respond to our request to confirm your understanding and adherence to our Nondiscrimination Policy in order to reinstate your account.
The sentence in the above email “That said, since you've confirmed that you did not allow the guest to stay because a member in her group required a mobility device,” is a complete fabrication as I did not do that.
Then Christopher continued: “we've decided to cancel this reservation and issue a full refund.”
Again, this was done 15 days after the event, and my account was suspended, based on a fabrication by Christopher J.
It took me 24 hours to try to reason with AirBnb that I did not do anything wrong and to convince them to restore my listings. This has caused me a significant loss, not only for the refund but for the time my listings were not available for booking. Further, the communication with the AirBnb call centre cased further distress – they told me that Christopher suspended my listing and has gone home at the end of his shift and no one else has the authority to reverse the suspension.
Has anyone else had a similar experience with Christopher J and what would be your advice please to deal with this.
Also, has anyone else had a similar experience with SJW activists. They do all they can to harm anyone who dares to not adhere to their social demands, they often scour listings to find those which they don’t like and try to harm or “punish” those individuals.
@Julie, what the f*@!% is going on??? Since when did Airbnb hosts become commercial hotels that had to cater to the needs of every single person? This is outrageous! We are not commercial hotel operators, we are just people with homes. What, are we supposed to now alter our homes to accommodate people with disabilities? I am literally shaking my head in disbelief right now...
Thank you Kath - to be honest, I was in such a distrees, I did not believe it was happening at first - this is my only income and what CJ did was cruel - still don't understand how can he go home at the end of his shift, knowing he cut all my income a day after Christmas.
@Julie, the point here is that you did not discriminate against these people based on their disability, because you didn't even know there was someone with a disability. I suppose that people can book what they want then it is their problem if the listing is not suitable for them. The real issue here is that the people did not communicate with you about the disability or ask you if it was possible to have a wheelchair delivered. If they had bothered to have this conversation with you, all this hassle could have been avoided for both parties. I wonder where Airbnb's policy is that prohibits guests from using a host's address to have something delivered without permission? There have been many issues about this, where guests have used host's addresses to receive illegal items (drugs, weapons, etc.) or to register as a fake Google address. Hosts are continually expected to bend over backwards for their guests while guests can get away with whatever they want.
@Julie This is truly outrageous and you have my utmost sympathy. If I were you, I would no longer deal with Christopher J and contact Airbnb through twitter, which is reported to get the fastest and in some cases, more appropriate responses. If you still hit a stone wall, tell them you're going to take this to the press, and do. Aside from everything else, guests are not allowed to have things sent or delivered to an Airbnb without the owner's express permission.
A couple of things that might have made this go down differently- you should not have called the guest about this- you should have kept the communication on the Airbnb messaging system- that way Airbnb could have seen the guest apologizing for the "craziness". (I do understand that check-in was imminent, so maybe that's why you phoned instead)
And while your listing is obviously not suitable for a wheelchair, and the guests obviously paid no attention to your listing information, it does seem to be Airbnb's policy (ridiculous as that may be) that a host doesn't have the discretion to decide whether a handicapped guest can stay. Perhaps the rest of her group are accustommed to carrying her up and downstairs, to the bathroom, etc. and don't consider it to be a reason to not book a non-wheelchair accessible listing. I have a friend who has been in a wheelchair since the age of 5- at one point she and her then boyfriend lived way out in the bush- they couldn't even drive all the way to the cabin and the wheelchair couldn't be pushed down the rocky dirt road. He packed her in and out on his back, through rain and snow.
Thank you Sarah - i really hit a stone wall - tryed all channels but no resolution. The last email I received is:
Christopher J., Dec 30, 15:21 PST:
As previously mentioned our final decision will be respectfully upheld, and we will be disengaging from further discussion on this matter.
About communicating with the guest - I did copy all my communication with them in the messaging system on the AirBnb portal and this contributed to my disbelief as all the evidence is there in writing. Contacting the media is what I am still considering but was hoping to hear from the fellow hosts if CJ has abused his power with someone else and what legal option do I have. Once you contact the media legal resolution is unlikely, I think.
@Julie I'd be surprised if any of these CS personnnel are using their real name (even if it is just a first name and initial) and I wouldn't even be surprised if they changed their handle from time to time, so Christopher J might have been Jason C last month (that's the cynic in me). Tons of these CS staff are in the Phillipines, yet they all seem to have American-sounding names.
What's outrageous is that there's nowhere to report a bad employee nor are they obliged to identify themselves with anything more than a first name. Even though many businesses are hard to deal with these days, I've never encountered one where the employee refused to give you their full name if asked.
I just love the "respectfully upheld". WTF is that supposed to mean? As another very upset host on this forum refers to it- "virtue signaling". We're not going to be at all supportive to you and are summarily dismissing you, but we're going to be very polite, patronizing and placating in the process.
Yes, you are spot on, Sarah - this person may be CJ just on this occasion. I called their call centre many times on the day - asked where is the geographic location of CJ and how to contact him directly. They said to the effect: " We are not allowed to disclose the location of that DEPARTMENT, the headquarter of AirBnb is in California"??!! The problem is AirBnb is not a listed company and corporate governance, auditing and complaints framework do not apply to them. This is one of the reasons they act as judge and jury without fear of concequence. I will keep you posted re my quest for justice.
@Julie That just beggars belief but following my interactions with CS in the last 24 hours it doesn’t surprise me that these individuals think they can unilaterally make a decision that negatively impacts host and not give a **bleep** about the stress or hardship they cause.
It really isn’t possible to discriminate against someone directly or indirectly because you happen to have stairs. We will likely run into the same issue because we have steps and whilst we indicate in the listing and guests must acknowledge they have to climb stairs. Legally we are not required to make a property disability friendly and most guests with a mobility issue will be upfront about their mobility and check if the place is accessible.
We had a guest play the disability card recently when they were demanding a discount. I almost replied that if they have a disability our place won’t be suitable as we are simply not disability friendly due to access and egress on site as well as the topography of the location. Glad I didn’t state this or I could have ended up in the bin beside you.
I am surprised that they didn’t say it was the guest’s perception as this is the line they used on me earlier today when they told me it was a guests perception that our place was great for a wedding party despite them clearly admitting they had broken our no party rule. Despite this it is Airbnb’s perception that the guest didn’t breach house rules and that we are not allowed to challenge that. I am finding their CS staff to be increasingly obnoxious to us as hosts.
Thanks Kelly - which other platform is a credible option? After so much stress dealing with AirBnb's for more than 3 years now and considering they claim to be the largest plathform, I fear the rest would be even worst. Am I wrong?