DEALING WITH BAD GUESTS – Don’t Hold Your Breath.

John320
Level 4
Thousand Oaks, CA

DEALING WITH BAD GUESTS – Don’t Hold Your Breath.

DEALING WITH BAD GUESTS – Don’t Hold Your Breath.

 

The Airbnb system does not filter guests perfectly and troubled people may fall through the cracks. When we open our home to strangers we are gaining new experience, making a little extra money; but exposing our family to danger as well. If the Airbnb team does not offer us timely and caring help, we will be under risks and sustain damages while defending ourselves right in our home territory. I am sharing a true story in hope to stimulate host exchanges for meaningful ideas that may help Airbnb make changes in the prompt resolution of unfortunate situations.

 

I have maintained my super host status since the beginning, took my job seriously, and cared about all my guests. I enjoyed many pleasant experiences but encountered two exceptions, so far. The first bad experience was a drug addict who smoked pots in my home, opened and searched all the drawers; but refused to leave when the contract was expired. In the second case, there was no indicator from the website enabling me to second guess a family from China. Within one week of serving them, we knew we were in deep water and the scary feeling may last a long time.

 

  • My house rule states clearly that guests should not enter our family room and kitchen area unless invited by us. It is our place to sleep and rest. However, they repeatedly entering this area with Zimo (the husband) violated it when my wife and I were not fully dressed. We finally bought a room divider that blocked their entrance. They simply do not respect rules and reminders mean nothing to them.

 

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  • They lacked common sense by using a Chinese hot water pot (200 volts) and inserted into our electrical outlet (100 volts) while running multiple appliances. They overloaded the electrical circuit, burnt the fuse, offered no apology; but blamed our US electrical circuits not up to par. We connected electric lines from other rooms so they could have full electricity and maintained the same level of comfort. However, they not just refused to pay the repair fee; but demanded monetary compensation of two times the daily rent.
  • Our contract does not provide kitchen. They wished to cook Chinese food and agreed to infrequent preparation of mild food. Out of kindness, my wife turned her laundry room into a small kitchen for Wendy (the wife) to cook, free of charge. She made a big mess of the room by splashing food and cooking oil all over the floor. She also prepared smelly food (using onions, garlic and spice...) from 6:30 AM to 10 PM. I am allergic to strong smells as such food caused me running nose and coughs. When we explained to them on food odor and cleanliness, they yelled, turned unfriendly and escalated into full confrontations; backed with threats.
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  • Our 2nd bedroom is normally NOT for rent. As a friendly gesture, we allowed them to sleep in the 2nd room. They used it as their extra bedroom, dining room, utility room and made a big mess of it. They carried food from down stair to up stair and stained our carpets.  
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  • We received two letters indicating that Zimo and Wendy applied two bank accounts with Bank of America using our home address without prior agreement. This was unacceptable and rather peculiar.
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  • They said they are Chinese policemen with military background. Regular policemen receive a salary of about US $10 - $20 daily. Chinese government is clamping down the Yuan flooding out of China and has strict rules that limit its withdrawal to 100,000 Yuan (US$15733) per annual using UnionPay bank card. This family can hardly speak English, bought a large BMW SUV X5 immediately after they moved in (The auto dealer, Ivan, using the VIN number confirmed that they paid about $45000). They have no US credits per se and must use cash. They sent their daughter, Emma, to our local private school at an annual fee of $30,000. They were looking for an apartment to stay for half a year while shopping around daily for a million dollar house. The estimated rent, food and necessities may cost another $25,000. Somehow, they managed to transfer over a million US dollars from China to US in just a few days while the Chinese government prohibits such practices. We naturally were alerted by their extraordinary behavior. We concerned about our own safety, reported to Airbnb, and wished the guests could leave our home ASAP. For three days, I spoke to about ten Airbnb operators (855-424-7262) and begged for their help into mid-nights. They played shuffle balls with me, offered little help, and referred my case to the Trust and Safety team. Said team then turned me over to the Travel Experience team. Only after I wrote an urgent letter suggesting police protection that one case manager kindly stepped forward and negotiated with the guests. She offered monetary refund, relocation options, and set a firm date to vacate at 11AM. I followed with an “Alteration Request” for an earlier departure date; but the guests must concur. When the guests did not agree with the Alteration, my case manager disappeared and never returned again.Upon further questioning, one staff advised me to directly choose the “Cancelation Request” which will cancel the contract by imposing a monetary penalty on me and having my calendar blocked. I refused to take such action since it subjected me into an unfair settlement. Then another staff said if my safety was in danger, I should do whatever is the best for me that included having a police to intervene; but without support from Airbnb. On the very last day at 11AM, I gave Airbnb my final notice prior to police intervention. All of a sudden, a new case manager was assigned who offered “real help” in re-negotiating with the guests and effectively closing the case. It seemed to me Airbnb could provide me with a responsible case manager from day one, promptly settled the situation; but this was not my experience. All hosts in our global community may eventually face similar episodes so this topic should not be sneered at.
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In conclusion, the two case managers were helpful and they were my heroes. But I cannot vouch for most of the staffs, the Trust and Safety team, and the overall tactics practiced by them. It seemed to me, even if guests break rules of the contract and present threats to hosts, the positions of Airbnb are: Have the hosts to tackle the problems first and at their own costs. If this is not working, then advice hosts to seek either Alteration (refunding via our account; but minimizing monetary impact on Airbnb) or Cancellation (hosts will be penalized). Airbnb is not willing to assign a case manger who works with a host from day one until the problem is solved. Only at the last moment, Airbnb may assign a responsible case manager who may step forward and settle the problem.

 

In my view, it is important that Airbnb works with the hosts as a well-coordinated TEAM. The right attitude is: Airbnb be the TEAM LEADER in proactively solving problems, particularly when bad people enter our home and our safety was jeopardized.

 

 

 

 

37 Replies 37
Marlene78
Level 2
Niagara Falls, Canada

I am having a safety problem right this moment. I have a guest who signed onto air bnb with only 2 initials. My home was booked. This individual has hardly spent any time away from my house today and I am very uncomfortable with his presence. When he left my house earlier this week he did not lock the door. My house was open for at least 4 hours.  Then a pitcher of water that is kept in the foyer for all guests went missing.  Then the other jug went missing.  There was no consideration for other guests. Tonight I asked what time he was departing the house (checkout) and he wanted to extend his stay. I suggested that he modify his booking. He offered me $20 in cash. I repeated said that he was already getting a discounted rate of $45 but he refused aND ofeed me $20 cash. I suggested he could stay in an alternate place tomorrow night or a hotel.  I said goodnight. At around 11 pm I could hear very loud talking on the phone. I could hear him from downstairs. My designated quiet times are between 11 pm and 7 am. At midnight he was still on the phone and was very loud. I asked him to keep quiet at midnight as I wanted to sleep. I went downstairs and he continued to speak on his phone.  I went upstairs at 12.20 am. This time I asked him to shut off his phone and go to bed. And indicated that if he doesn't I would ask him to leave. After 5 minutes he hung up his phone. In fact my next step would be to call police. All I can call this is blatant disrespect for the host. I live alone and for the past two nights I have been alone in the house with him. I am not comfortable with him being here.  I have a bad feeling about tomorrow morning and don't feel comfortable about attending an appt away from the house. I want to ensure to lock the door and change the code after he is gone. I just don't trust this person. 

Women in this industry are sitting ducks when air bnb allows initials to be used instead of a name. It is not aceptable. It is a security problem. I took the number of his passport when he arrived, as well as his full address and email. 

This individual also has been smoking on my property and I have a no smoking rule everywhere on the grounds. 

I did call air bnb and lodged a complaint. They offered to cancel the reservation. I said I would call police if this noise continues.  

He hung up the phone at nearly 1 am. My evening has been ruined and now I will not be able to sleep.  Believe me, 98% of guests are pretty good...mind you only 20% of guests arrive when they say they will....but I rarely have issues. It is the other 2% who are the nightmares and Air BNB is not helping the situation by trying to protect nationalities from discrimination. There is good and bad in every nation. I pride myself in being a multi cultural host. I have guests from all over the world. But it seems if there is a problem with a lack of respeCT towards women. I have asked guests to leave before they have even checked in. Why have I had 3 serious issues with guests and they were consistently from the same ethnicity? 

 

John320
Level 4
Thousand Oaks, CA

It is not unusual that guests from the same ethnicity cause similar serious issues. They were brought up from the same culture that enhances a certain kind of unacceptable behavior.  I will never accept Instant Booking  although ABB exerts pressure for us to accept it so they can create more business. Instant Booking creates instant risk.  I will use messages and make certain the guests do not create safety issues before I accept any inquiry.  Naturally, I will ask their full names and their ethnicity should that become my concerns. Kindly read my letter dated 2-21-2018 for how to get rid of undesired guests. Hope this will help.   Best.   John

Jennifer976
Level 8
Calgary, Canada

I had a bad guest and contacted Airbnb about what I could do because I felt unsafe and uncomfortable and they were very quick to respond and offered to contact him and find him a new place to stay.  I was very happy with how they responded.  I have since altered the rules in my house and do not allow men in my home anymore.  I've actually found that I'm getting more bookings as single women feel better about being in a place where they will not have to share a space with men.

Having  bad guest is totally nightmare . We are working really hard as well as a host (was a super host for more than 1 year )but since one mistake of agree the wrong person in will totally destroy everything . Mostly I think my guest are really nice and friendly.but I also think Airbnb need work more on guest . Mostly with my experience the guest has problem is come with the false introduction they gave. Some of the guest I had mostly is come to travel or I don’t know what they are doing .but lying to me said they are students or internship students ...but after few days we notice is not true . And then always we will have a bad review from them,because they will have enough time to still at home(24hours ) to discover the fault ! As now I have a guest for two months stay ,she gave me all false information ,before she arrives, she told me she is a researcher to the university nearby and she is from USA ....but later she arrive at ending of February which is going to be spring in Barcelona ,two days later she complained she is feeling too cold ( the average degree is 15-20in the day,with sunny) .she wants a heater . Which after the winter cold weather we had remove the heaters in the house because is really not necessary at all ( as my husband is original from Africa and he don’t even feel is cold ) . Which is not in the list before she booked ,when we ask her and explain her the reason and now tell me she is actually from Colombia and her city the lowest temperature is 20 ,she needs a heater if the temperature is below 20 .and she is at home during the day all time and she feels cold!!!’ Then I got a big shock !!! As a host for two years I have experience with guest ,always i will check the guest details and information they provide to manage the room, I checked where she provide me the information that she is from a City is very cold , and she said she is coming to research which she will be busy all day .but turns out now she told me she is coming for visiting as a tourist she is going to stay at home always . Which is not exactly what we are looking for and in my list I explained what is our host preference ,and the rules of house . And she just fooled us .because she thinks hotel is too expensive she want a cheaper stay but she need a hotel standard as she told me she paid !!! She still have a long time to stay and she informed us that she will need a heater during all her stay even until April ( in Barcelona ) !  She wants to wear short and shirt in the house and we need make the flat be warm as her home country !!!! We totally lost and sometimes when we are away we are kind of worry what is going on in the flat !!! With small time we know her we discover she is really a big liar everything is lie and she just fooled us! In this case I think there is something Airbnb should do to ensure the guest qualification . Imagine we are sharing our home where we eat sleep with a stranger who we don’t even know what she is doing ..and with complains in my home everyday . Anyway most of my guest are perfect and well behave .but sometimes some rat will take the opportunity and come in . So maybe airbnb  should  work on this part . The last thing a host want is a complain guest at home 24/7 ,and waste all the resource and disobey they house rule . We don’t feel even comfortable in our own home !!! 

 

John320
Level 4
Thousand Oaks, CA

I was the person who started this conversation. Your problem came to my attention.

 

In your case, ABB should have validated the background of this lady prior to sending her to you. So they have certain responsibility to help you. In addition she ignored your rules and the contract.

I would suggest the same strategy I stated in the past. Contact ABB first alerting them the urgency of your situation.  Have ONE case manager assign on your case and ask her to negotiate with your guest by: (1) finding the guest another place to stay, and (2) refunding the money back to your guest for the remaining days. Tell the case manager what had happened. Your safety and well being are jeopardized. It is very possible that ABB will take care of your problem under pressure. Hopefully, this will resolve your headache.

Should ABB not take appropriate action, then by all means lock her out (let ABB know before you take such action) and refund the rent, thus protecting your own safety and wellbeing.  It is your home and you have the right to protect yourself. The guest will call ABB and this puts ABB back into a position that they must act and resolve. In most likelihood they will solve your problem.

The key is to have ABB take responsibility in settling the problem; but not to have you cancelling the contract, paying penalty and getting calendar blocked.

I had taken such action in the past, called the police and evicted the first bad guest from my home. While doing it ABB was notified as well.  There was no penalty given me from ABB. This was how I handled my situation. Naturally, the final decision is yours. I hope I helped.

Best wishes.

John

 

The using of your mailing address -- well thats the address they have and not unique to Chinese.  I can understand they want a bank account and I had guests apply for insurance, driver license, social security, etc at my home and it causes problems as if you need insurance or benefits then the public record systems go crazy and they ask about all these guests listed on your home.

 

Airbnb needs to identify rules for mailing addresses to guests when they book.

John320
Level 4
Thousand Oaks, CA

Yes, I agree.

Firstly, you shouldn't be upset about the guest being from China.  Chinese guests come from a different culture, they are more demanding (in part due to culture of service in Asia), but they do have more money to spend.  

 

If you are having a troubled guest, you need to get on the phone with Airbnb and be firm.  Simply state you fear for the safety of you and your wife since they keep coming in your room and are damanging the electrical system which could cause a fire and demand that the guest is out tomorrow.  You are not cancelling the booking, the guests are not following the basic safety rules!

 

Any damages need extensive photographs, receipts, weblinks, and probably a super long unreasonable checklist of items from Airbnb to claim it back.

John320
Level 4
Thousand Oaks, CA

You may be surpriesed that I am a Chinese as well. I have done everything you said... and I successfully evicted two bad guests in the past.

Hello. I too am a SuperHost and have had nothing but 5 star reviews and over 67 guests. I take it very seriously. This my primary and only home and I truly shocked and horrified by AirBnBs lack of customer service and support for long time hosts. I have a strict no pet policy as my oldest child has severe asthma to dogs and cats. I had guests from an Art Gallery stay in my home. They brought a dog that defecated all over my personal items, wool rug, antique waldorf crib and baby blanket I've had for 44 years. AirBnB didn't even pay for the cleaning bill. I have sent over 40 emails to them and have requested a discussion with Trust & Safety but they refuse. I hontesly don't know what the point is of a security deposit if guests can break house rules and the hosts have no proection. AirBnB is corrupt. Not only did they not pay for cleaning they lowered my position of visibility. I honestly don't even know what to say. I wish there was alternative. 

Lauran0
Level 3
Miami, FL

So what is a security deposit for? Haven’t Airbnb violated their terms of service with you?

John320
Level 4
Thousand Oaks, CA

Yes, they did. Thanks.

Victoria110
Level 5
Oakland, CA

Wow.. terrible story. 

 

I have had pretty good service from Airbnb as a superhost so I'm surprised.

You've had absolutley no response from them? Or if you have, what was their reasoning for not helping you out?

 

Tori

John320
Level 4
Thousand Oaks, CA

As I stated in my story. ABB offered no reason and they just didn't help me until I exerted pressure. 

John320
Level 4
Thousand Oaks, CA

I sympathize with your situation. I believe your story and agree with your
statement regarding Airbnb that they do not have good policy in helping
hosts under difficult conditions. They are a business to make money only.
There are real risks joining Airbnb and welcoming strangers into our home
no matter how hard we try. It is up to us to protect ourselves in such
occasions. Please never rent your home to outsiders with pets as this is
asking for troubles. I wish you the best.

John

Diana15
Level 1
Panama, Panama

Hello...I hope I can reach out to someone as I tried to contact airbnb directly and cant find a number or email for them. Airbnb does not filter guests properly and I received two bad reviews so far. I realise now that I will just to tell bad guests or the ones that complain too much to leave as Airbnb decided to pause my listing because they said my rating was below 4. I am wiser now and able to sense bad guests from the time they enter my place. My listing is very detailed and I stick to my rules. I have stopped going out of my way for guests because I realised they feel and rather know that they have better protection as guests than the hosts. For example the last guests I had came with very high expectations for the cheap price I offer. They just booked the reservation because it was cheap but didnt read the accomodation properly. I want to know whose fault it is if the guests misunderstands something in your announcement? It seems like its the host fault that the guests misunderstood your announcement.

I tried to make the two persons comfortable and they left my place without saying a word and didnt pay for some extra services I offered like to wash and dry and press their clothing. They made claims that the apartment wasnt clean and I clearly told them that I dont offer maid services and I am not a maid. I will assist with cleaning but you need to clean my place when you dirty it. Then they wrote a bad review so I reached out to them and said why write a bad review? Why didnt you cancel your reservation and go somewhere else? The guy said he found somewhere cheaper but didnt want to pay airbnb penalty. So I responded by saying why use the service if you dont agree to the rules?

I found out 12 hours after my listing has been suspended....I am comtemp[lating now to just delete my account from airbnb....

Lauran0
Level 3
Miami, FL

Is it even legal that Airbnb suspend your account if you’re merely protecting yourself?

John320
Level 4
Thousand Oaks, CA

Hi, Diana:

 

I am so sorry to hear the bad experience you encountered. I am certain that many other hosts have shared similar difficulties.

 

To be fair, I believe Airbnb tries to filter bad people and is a reasonable place to do home-renting business. Unfortunately they do not do a good job in eliminating bad candidates and protecting the hosts. Their Trust and Safety team is, per my past experience, unreliable and not responsible. Sooner or later, bad guests may leak through the system. We must individually take precautions in picking good guests and protecting our own interest and safety. Good guests will give us good reviews while bad ones will give us bad reviews. So the secret in this business is picking good guests. If we keep getting bad guests, it is probably best to get out of ABB business so our safety and well-being would not be jeopardized.

 

The advice I have is do not rent out to a new guest (unless you are certain this person is fine) or those who do not have at least several good reviews. Never take in any guest if we smell trouble. The bottom line is opening our home to strangers help us make a few extra bucks; but subject our family under risks as well.

 

Airbnb is in a money making business and their business model is to protect their own interest first; not the hosts. So don't hold our breath if we want Airbnb to help us promptly and efficiently when we are in trouble. Report to Airbnb and seek their help first (855-424-7262); but consider police protection since it is our own safety (not Airbnb) that is on the line.

 

My suggested method for your consideration is: Contact ABB first alerting the urgency of the situation and let them aware that we will lock out the bad guests if ABB is non-response. We then take action accordingly by locking them out. The guests may call ABB and this puts ABB back into a position to act. The key is have ABB take responsibility in settling the problem; but not to have us cancelling the contract, paying penalty and getting our calendar blocked. At the same time please consider involving policemen, if needed.

 

Above is my 2 cents view. If within ABB community, someone may offere better ideas, please contribute as this is an important subject.

 

Take care and best wishes.

 

John

 

Lauran0
Level 3
Miami, FL

Again - if you lock out a guest, and I’m sure it would be for a very good reason, wouldn’t Airbnb penalize you?

if you were booking to tourists via ....booking.com, you would know your only help is the police actually as booking.com stresses they are just mediating between hotels and tourists. But read on, I did get help from booking.com in a way i did not expect it, it was so pro-host that I could not believe it. I didn' thave to discuss it, i just said the guest to have soon (before the guests arrival) sounds rude and disrespectful in his messaging, booking.com immediately cancelled the booking for me:/

 

With airbnb.com I have to pay a penalty and black out my dates when I refuse hosting a weird-talking guest. They always blame the host for not being 'commited'.


Having said this, airbnb.com does a lot more checks on guests than booking.com. 

 

And you could always set it so that only ppl with proven civic ID and confirmed positives reviews stay with you, minimizing the exposure to danger?

 

Was this family you mention coming to you with positive recommedations from prevoius hosts?

 

 

 

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