It's taken me a few weeks to figure out just why I am still so upset about a recent issue with a guest. I accepted a booking from someone who had 5 star reviews. He told me he was going to stay with his girlfriend so that they could attend a wedding taking place nearby. At check in, we were unhappy to find that the person who checked in wasn't the booking guest but a videographer who had been hired by our guest. He stated that he was there to film. He did not have any credentials, business name, agreement, business cards - nothing purporting to be a true business. Then our guest arrived and he was carrying lots of clothing that looked a lot like bedroom material. While we were trying to talk to him and understand what was happening, a girl showed up who was in a pretty shocking state of "undress". At this point, we told the guest and his guests that they needed to leave, he had lied about his purpose (and he said he would lie again so that he can book more Airbnb's to "conduct business and film"). They left willingly when I said I would refund all his money. I knew I could have kept the money because of my policies but decided I wanted a peaceful and fast resolution and they did leave quickly.
I then called Airbnb and explained that the guest had lied, it was obvious that the guest were going to shoot a film that seemed to be pornographic in nature and I would never allow such a thing. Airbnb support said I did the right thing and thanked me for refunding the guest in full. Then the support person said the most shocking thing to me -- he said he was going to contact the guest and extend a gift certificate so that he could find accommodations somewhere else that night. I was floored! I reiterated that he had lied and wasn't in need of a place to stay - he wanted to film in someone's home! The support person said that he understood that but it was policy for him to do so.
Does anyone else have a problem with this? I think that this guy should be blacklisted from Airbnb as he fully acknowledged that he lied, was going to use my home to film commercially and not just that, it was morally objectionable to me and most hosts, I believe. This so-called policy is not exactly supportive of Airbnb's hosts and their privacy and safety. Filming commercially without permission, agreement, a written contract and permits, and insurance is strictly prohibited by municipalities. Why is this ok? Further, how fair is this to future unsuspecting hosts as this guest told me that he will do it again?
When I received the message from Airbnb stating that they were happy to help and this case is closed - I again asked how this resolution is fair and good to their hosts? To this date, I have not received any response.
Please let me know if anyone else has had this issue and/or if you have any thoughts regarding this.
I didn't think it was possible for Airbnb to become even MORE 'guest-centric' than they already have shown themselves to be this past year or so, but your experience has proven me wrong. I would be feeling upset (still) also. At this point I can only scratch my head and wonder, "What the hell is going on over there at Airbnb?" And, keep my historically very successuly Airbnb listing 'unlisted' until I see that they actually care about the welfare of their home-sharing, 'traditional' hosts.
I may have a very long wait.
You've unlisted your home? May I ask what happened?
I seem to be of the same mind as you as I used to feel confident that Airbnb would really protect me from frauds and dishonest guests. Now I am feeling more than a little untethered or vulnerable. It gave me some sense of security to see a photo and complete profile for a guest, well, that's no longer until they actually book. Now we can't even know their entire name - only "John" or "Sarah". Oh - this recent bad guest's name was "Harold".
I also just recently saw that a lot of protections are only if we allow "instant book" - which has caused me a lot of headaches so I do not qualify for these "perks".
@Liz343 In January 2018 I wrote a post here entitled something like 'Are Traditional Hosts No Longer Valued By Airbnb?' - Which, looking back, was quite prescient.
Specifically: Based on my observances at that time, it seemed to me that Airbnb was seeking to 1) Entice commercial enterprises to list on their platform and 2) Force traditional home-sharing hosts into behaving like they were commercial enterprises - without the protections that are available to such commercial operations. This deeply concerned me.
My listing was successful beyond my wildest dreams - Sold out year round (I live in a vacation destination area); however, I became increasingly concerned about the changes I was seeing on the Airbnb platform that slowly but surely infringed upon my rights as a home-owner; and as someone who was sharing their primary residence. I therefore decided to develop other income streams and de-listed from Airbnb. I am not saying I will not ever re-activate my listing; however, I have many more things to consider before I do - such as, am I comfortable renting to people I know little to nothing about; who may or may not have read my house rules; who do not need to sign a rental contract with me before confirming the booking; am I okay with the fact that a guest might be fully refunded without my knowledge or permission; am I okay with the fact that via Airbnb's 'Big Brother' tactics I may be a 5 star Super Host with an impeccable record but might suddenly be 'banned' from the platform without any explanation whatsoever, much less recourse to address the 'wrongful' banning that wipes out my bookings and expected future income in the blink of an eye; am I okay accepting guests whose profiles are hidden until the booking is complete (and then I am dependent on Airbnb support to cancel the guest without being penalized if I am not comfortable for some reason); am I comfortable having to use Instant Book *always* if I want the 'perks' of being able to see a guest profile; am I comfortable being forced to accept emotional support animals even though no local, state, or federal law deems I must (as I am sharing my primary residence) - etc, etc, etc.
That's a lot to think about. In the meantime, because my listing is private with it's own entrances, etc, I am able to list on other platforms and also book direct. Also, I have my own business so I am not dependent at all on Airbnb now - which was my goal from the start. Because once you get dependent on any platform for income and surviving financially, you are forced to bend to their will - Which is unacceptable to me both personally and professionally.
We've also recently had some bad experiences with the cs with our last two reservations, first added additional guests then had a party (which we don't allow), the second reservation booked for 1 and wanted 5 additional guests to stay at no charge. Because of lack of help from cs I'm currently looking at other platforms to use for booking. Are there any you are having particular success with or would recommend?
Wow... this is shocking. C'mon Airbnb! Protect your hosts!
So sorry to hear this! You're absolutely right they should have treated the situation differently!
@Liz343 It's standard that Airbnb offers a credit to the guest worth a small percentage of their booking total (maybe 10% ?) when their booking is terminated or cancelled by the host. Seems like they're just trying to incentivize the guest spending their money on Airbnb instead of going to a competitor.
The rep you spoke to was pretty boneheaded to tell you what Airbnb was giving the guest out of pocket, since neither party is entitled to information about how they resolve customer-service issues with the other. If you voluntarily waived your cancellation policy, and the guest departed your property, it should be case-closed. Much better customer service would be if they offered you as the host a travel credit or some other compensation for your loss due to the guest being fraudulent.
I agree that the guest was absolutely in the wrong to misrepresent the number of people in the group as well as how they intended to use your property; of course you were right to refuse them access. At times the matter of "filming" can blur the line between commercial usage of the host's property (which is against the ToS) and personal creative use. Just about every day someone out there is renting Airbnb's to shoot amateur porn films, and I've heard from some hosts who have stumbled upon the finished product online. Needless to say, one can only hope that the "guests" cleaned up after themselves.
Thanks for your reply. And - yes! Thank you for noticing that I was out the income because I gave him back money that was rightfully mine! Customer service didn't even express understanding of this. And yes, I do think it is really wrong to reward a bad guest who has lied and basically broken his contract with the host. How is this taking care of their hosts?
I am still very upset about Airbnb's lack of concern. What if something really bad happens in the next host's home? I know he's done this repeatedly as he openly admitted it to me and also promised that he would keep doing it. This is far from "creative personal use".
This had honestly never occurred to me. I am clearly too naive for this gig. the more I read on this forum the more I'm glad I'm only doing it short term.
Do we all have to write "No shooting porn films" in our house rules now? (Or "No parties, events, nor illegal/immoral activities"??)
- We don't want to insult or offend the vast majority of guests who wouldn't dream of doing these things.
Right after after I chucked out my second "porn photographer" I added "No photo shoots" to my house rules. Not that it really matters as I later had to chuck out a guy who invited 4 friends over to party at 5am in violation of the house rules and Airbnb told me they couldn't stop him leaving me a bad review even though I had video evidence and an admission that they had violated the rules. Luckily he didn't leave me one but it goes to show how guest friendly the platform is. When you witness someone breaking the rules, you have to decide whether to chuck them out and risk a bad review or just deal with it. Even the agent admitted this was terrible. Maybe they'll get better when they go public.
I stipulate only single occupancy, no visitors and no excessive noise. I guess if they film themselves on their phone I can't stop them. If I was shooting a porn film I wouldn't choose a location where the owner was in residence. But then I realise there are weird people out there.
@Liz343 First of all, your listing is stunning! And I would imagine very photogenic :P What the guest did wrong was to be untruthful with you. There are hosts that do not object to the specific filming activity. I understand why you gave a total refund in order de-escalate the situation, but you really deserved the payout. However, I do not think that Air BNB acted incorrectly when dealing with a guest issue. The guest acted incorrectly but did not cause damage. He broke rules and rightly so you objected. Now you need to be sure that you post an honest review.
Hmmmm..... your reply is interesting in that it brings up another issue. I had one other guest that I definitely had to give a less than stellar review and she knew she was wrong and probably anticipated a bad review. And so - then she gave me 1 star, made up lies about a dirty kitchen and our being nosy, bad hosts. I did write a reply and am grateful that Airbnb allows that - but that review made a huge difference in our otherwise 5 star rating as a superhost. I started getting emails and notices from Airbnb about my superhost status and that I might lose it, advice on how to be "better", etc. I called Airbnb and told them I felt it was unfair to allow this 1 star review to stand as it is so obvious it was retaliatory and my request fell on deaf ears - "not possible" "not our policy" and was told it was enough that I was able to write a reply to the bad review. To remain a superhost you need a 4.8 star rating --- 1 star really takes a toll! So - I really think twice before giving a bad review and given this guy's blatant admission to lying - don't you think he would lie in a review about me as a host? Hmmm - not convinced that is a good thing for me to do. An additional thought is - is it solely my responsibility to protect other hosts? Don't you think that Airbnb should have a bit of this responsibility?
@Linda108 It's more than just being untruthful. What about RESPECT for hosts, & common consideration? Surely no one should use Airbnbs for this purpose without clearing it with the host? Even whole house rentals are someone's precious private property, & hosts should expect guests to act with RESPECT.