Advice Needed - Think i'm being scammed!

Simon4153
Level 2
London, United Kingdom

Advice Needed - Think i'm being scammed!

Hi

 

Hoping I can get some advice as i'm feeling pretty stressed about this issue. 

 

We had guests stay for 5 nights last week. On the 2nd day they emailed to say that they 'wouldn't go public' but that we had carpet bugs both upstairs and downstairs in our apartment and without treatment the bugs could damage our carpets. This came as a huge surprise to us as we stay at the apartment most weeks and have never seen anything, it's also always spotless. Our cleaner had visited the day before they arrived and done a thorough clean when I checked with her as to whether she had seen any evidence of bugs she said she hadn't. Our guest sent us a picture of the bug on a white piece of fabric - there was nothing that placed the bug in the apartment from the picture. We took the feedback from the guest very seriously and did our research on carpet beetles. We learnt that they do not bit or cause harm to humans and can fly into houses or come in with flowers etc. There are lots of ways to remove them with over the counter products. We arranged for the cleaner to go back to the apartment where she again hovered the property from top to bottom and treated the carpet with a spray. She saw no evidence of any type of bugs. We also asked her to change all of the bedding and check the mattresses which were bug free.  Her only observation was that our property was quite messy. The next day we get another text to say there are still bugs and received a different picture which was very blurred - a brown ball on a white piece of fabric, again nothing that placed the picture being taken in the property. The day the party checked out we got another text thanking us for the stay at our lovely flat but that they thought they should get compensation as they were going to need to dry clean all of their clothes because of the carpet bugs and one of the guests was covered in bites on her back.  We didnt respond but called pest control to survey the property. They went in the day after the guests checked out and confirmed that there were no bugs of any type in the property and no damage that could suggest there has been bugs and specifically called out no carpet beetles and no bed bugs. We sought guidance from Airbnb who said to see what happens next, at this point the guest had not involved Airbnb at all. Today they chased for compensation again and were a bit threatening really saying we are insulting them by saying there are no bugs in the property and they were reconsidering going public. We said would  not offer compensation since we have already paid for an additional clean and treatment and the pest control survey and had confirmation that the property is bug free. We suggested they reach out to airbnb. They have just requested compensation via Airbnb attaching the two pictures and claiming they have a video (they told me that too but haven't shared anything). Anyway any advice would be great because I feel like we are about to lose out whatever happens. I feel like if I give them compensation to make the matter go away someone else might have the same happen to them but anything else is going to result in an unfair and untrue review. 

Thanks in advance 

 

7 Replies 7

@Simon4153 

This is clear pattern of scam. I had a guest who did this and got her reservation altered and refunded, and then tons of damages found after she departed. 

 

better to end the reservation asap and kindly asked them to leave asap. 

They requested the compensation after they had stayed the 5 nights that they booked.

If I had checked into a place full of carpet bugs I would have moved out straight away. 

Mike-And-Jane0
Level 10
England, United Kingdom

@Simon4153 It feels like a scam to me. Sadly there is nothing you can do except perhaps send the pet control survey to the guest. You will likely be hit by a bad review and potentially the Airbnb safety team will launch an investigation (during which they will suspend you). Lets hope it doesnt come to this.

One thing we did when a guest left early was that we planned not to review them until 14 days had passed so that their review wouldn't be at the top of the listing if it was bad. Sadly the review was bad and due to a medical issue we actually forgot to review them (although in truth their stay was fine it was just their review that was false!)

Hi

 

thanks for the  reply. In this instance the guest stayed for the full amount of time of the booking and only asked for compensation once they had left.  Would you pay compensation? 

@Simon4153 There is a very real chance that even if you compensate them then they will leave a bad review anyway. So no I would not compensate them.

Helen3
Level 10
Bristol, United Kingdom

Clearly a scam @Simon4153 Just tell the guest you had a pest control company come in following their complaints who found no pest infestation at the property including carpet bugs.

 

that the photos they have provided are clearly not of your listing 

 

and that even had their being carpet bugs - which their weren't they would not need to dry clean their clothes, nor would they have been bitten as carpet beetles don't bite people. 

In your situation I would say that as they made false allegations resulting in you having to pay for your cleaner to return and paying for pest control to come out on inspection you are looking to pass these costs onto them. 

I agree with the other respondents; it is clearly a scam. It seems to be quite an unsophisticated attempt to take money from you. Personally, I would not give money to someone trying to steal from me. In such a situation I would telephone Superhost support. I've only contacted them twice, but found them very helpful. 

 

I appreciate there may be a reluctance to contact Airbnb due to the fear that it may result in a suspension of your listing. In my experience, such a concern is unfounded. I'd have a chat with them and explain the situation. I hope that they will take a dim view of scammers, and enact measures to prevent any further contact from them. The scammers will likely give up once they know that you are unwilling to be blackmailed.