07-14-2017 11:58 AM
My wife and I have been hosting for over three years and just recently went against our longstanding rule and allowed someone with zero reviews to stay at our house. I had a suspicious feeling from the getgo. Their emails to us were full of typos and were incoherent. I tried not to let that bother me and politely answered each of their requests. I waived our cleaning fee, did not charge extra for the dog, and made no stink when their party size increased. Their stay over 7/4 was largely uneventful, except bizarre IMs about our A/C not working in basement (it was plugged into a surge protector that did not work - they had not bothered to plug it into wall directly, as I pointed out in my reply), and then an IM about what to do upon departure, which indicated to me they had never read the house rules I sent them. We got home to our house having a funny smell, towels left hanging and not put in laundry, our child safety gates had been removed and tampered with, etc. Then a few days after they left, they sent a money request, asking for $800, claiming property was "unclean." This is crazy, as we had cleaners come in beforehand, despite waiving their cleaning fee. After we declined, they then asked $500. We declined again. Have any other hosts been subject to scam artists like this? Is there a mechanism for flagging such people, short of leaving them a bad review? Thank you!
Lionel & Julie
07-14-2017 12:05 PM
hello @Lionel i get that sometimes , i guess people end up acting like this because they feel they can get money without any risk.. all they have to do is click a few buttons, no phone conversations, nothing complicated, it feels like "let 's try we got nothing to loose.."
07-14-2017 12:06 PM
@Lionel sorry to hear about what happened. Please read my recent post here > https://community.withairbnb.com/t5/Hosting/Do-Not-Break-Your-Own-Rules/m-p/448901#M101617
It is pretty much like your situation. You broke your own rules/terms and it made you not honoring it. These people get away with so many things per your permission, so my guess is they want to try to get more and see what else they can get away with.
At this point, the damage has been done. What I can suggest is for you to be proactive and reach out to airbnb to make sure they have your side of the story. If the place is not clean, why did they stay the whole time? Why did not they talk to you or airbnb about this? They stayed the whole time and now want some cash, they definitely trying to take advantage of you or the situation (the fact that they already got away with so many things).
07-14-2017 12:46 PM
Unfortunately bad guests have discovered the loop holes in Airbnb. So hosts are forced to think like lawyers.
For this reason you might also wish to consider using a tactic I recently read in a thread on this forum, namely after giving the guests the check-in tour (or do you simply let them check in?) to send them a message through Airbnb (so that it's officiallly on record for Airbnb) saying something like you're glad they appeared happy to find the listing as described, and that they please inform you right away about any problem, so that you have the chance to take care of it right away.
This is off the cuff, you'll think of a better wording :)
Anyway, this gets on record that they didn't complain right away. Any refund request later would have Airbnb looking into the conversation to see what had gone on. Another reason to keep everything onsite and reiterate important off-site communications there.
07-14-2017 12:47 PM
In your case they were very smart to communicate all negative things off-site. Next time reply through Airbnb saying you like to keep all convo in one place per guest for easier reference.
If they're scammers, they'll get the message.
07-14-2017 03:16 PM
Lionel so sorry for your experience. As for accepting a guest with no reviews I have done that too but walk them through a longer dialogue string that says something like. I see you have not been reviewed and/or are new to Airbnb. Most guests give me an explaination and if it sounds plausible we move ahead. An FYI I do is to ask potential guests to confirm how many is in their party before doing a final acceptance. I let them know that I will move ahead with the process after I hear back from them. (I live in a tourist/college town where guests might take the liberty of squeezing in a "ghost" guest).I had this happen recently and I responded back in their review "that I would have supplied extra towels had I known the number of guests", which was a clue to the guests deceit). I agree with Farah to keep all coorespondence on the Airbnb thread, its easy documentation that you and Airbnb can review if needed. I have found that they (Airbnb) DO review the communication thread if there is an issue. For what its worth, when I have ignored my instinct about a guest, I have regreted it. We all learn and our hosting develops over time.
07-16-2017 05:48 PM
07-16-2017 06:03 PM
@Lionel I can't tell you how many posts from experienced hosts like yourself start with "had a bad feeling but accepted the booking anyway":P I suppose you don't need any other feedback from hosts at this point about how not to get into this type of situation. In addition to the thumbs down review, should the profile be flagged?
07-17-2017 11:07 AM - edited 07-17-2017 11:08 AM
Haven't had this scam yet, but I have had guest want to contact me outside of Airbnb. I always steer them back to Airbnb and this usually makes them disappear if they are not legitimate guests. I would think in your case, it is very unusual for a guest to leave and then ask for money back and I have to think Airbnb can figure that out especially if you have consistently been getting good reviews. I typically pay attention to the red flags and would rather forgo a booking than have regret but this is not a business without some risk. Hope it works out for you and I doubt the will escalate to Airbnb. My guess is they just want the easy money if they can get it.