Airbnb Refunded Guest £468.78 and suspended my listings

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Tamsin26
Level 3
England, United Kingdom

Airbnb Refunded Guest £468.78 and suspended my listings

I have 7 years experience hosting with Airbnb.

 

I am a Superhost and Guest Favourite with have over 150 overwhelmingly positive reviews and a 4.98 rating.

 

Occasionally a problem arises with a guest and I always take advice from the helpline before I respond to the guest.

 

Both my properties have now been suspended by Airbnb and a refund of £468.78. after my guest made false accusations to Airbnb and checked out 4 days early. My cancellation policy does not allow refund if a guest chooses to check out early from their stay.

 

Airbnb suspended my account on my guest word only, even though he has only 2 reviews with Airbnb and I have 150.

 

Airbnb made no attempt to contact me about the veracity of his statements, they just suspended my account without informing me!

 

I keep phoning the helpline to get my properties reinstated, but it is now 24 hours and I'm unable to speak to the person who is responsible for looking into the case. I waited in all day for a return phone call but nothing.

 

On this occasion when the guest first checked in to my property  they " loved it "... this is a common reaction, I really work hard to make it a beautiful space..leaving gifts and fresh flowers.

The place has been our family seasid's e retreat for 75 years - it's in a stunning location a stone's throw from a beautiful sandy surfing beach.

 

Late at night the guest asked for heating at over and above what is advertised in my listing. Since energy prices escalated I chose to keep my prices low but provide gas central heating within certain limits up to 22 degrees - heating comes on in the mornings, and again in the early evening goes off at 10 pm - Guests are free to boost the heating at any time up to 22 degrees on my Nest Thermostat to the next time period.

 

In addition to the gas central heating, I provide:

Underfloor heating and a fan heater in the bathroom,

Unlimited access to the gas fire in the living room,

A heated towel rail in the bathroom that is permanently on.

Also for winter guests I bought a heated over-blanket with 9 heat settings.

Plus I recently spent £259 on a top of the range dehumidifier - being coastal it sometimes gets damp and then feels cold even with heating turned up. 

 

....In other words I go above and beyond to keep my guests comfortable and happy.

 

It is now British Summer time, people wearing shorts on the beach, my own heating is turned off, so I didn't envisage any problems with my guest who arrived last Saturday.

 

This guest contacted me late at night and asked for extra heating at night. It usually switches off at 10 pm, the Nest thermostat allows him to keep the heating on at night, but I asked him to use the heated blanket as he said his wife had a medical condition and she needed the mattress to be warm.

 

He demanded extra heating over and above that advertised in my listing, so I immediately contacted Airbnb for support who told me in this circumstance I could advise him an extra charge might be made for gas.

I messaged my guest and told him he could set the heating at 22 during the night which he wanted, asked him to check the gas cylinder after a few days and advised I might charge for an extra cylinder if this was needed at my cost of £100 a cylinder.

 

The guest didn't like this, he didn't see why they should pay extra for supplementary heating, even though Airbnb helpline for hosts had told me this was reasonable.

 

My guest complained that his wife had a special medical condition, so they couldn't even stay in a hotel because she needed extra heating.

 

He'd made no mention of this at all on booking, and if it was so important to him surely he should have read the details of heating schedule on my listing.

 

My smart Thermostat showed me the heating was turned on continuously for the next 8 hours of his stay.

 

Next day, I got a call from Airbnb to say the guest wanted to cancel their booking because there was " no heating"

 

I was able to show the Airbnb that the guest was lying - I shared screen shots showing the external and internal temperatures of my property, and the excessive energy use since my guest had checked in.

 

The next day I received another call from Airbnb saying the guest wanted to leave the property, have a full refund on their stay and cancel an upcoming reservation they had made, without penalty under my cancellation policy because they didn't feel "safe"

 

The representative told me that the guest had reported two men had entered the garden and threatened them (this didn't seem at all likely as it's a very peaceful area - has been our seaside retreat for 70 years and my elderly mother lived there on he own the last 40 years of her life - nothing like this has ever happened to before)

I immediately contacted my local police and chased up the " Crime Reference Number" that they'd supposedly reported to the police. The  police told me there was no incident that they needed to attend.

When I went to check the security entrance camera footage from the entrance to my property - I found that my guest has stuck her tongue out at it and stuck something over it disabling the camera.

 

There is no evidence of two men ever coming into the garden and threatening them.

 

Despite keeping my temperature set at 22.5 degrees for the duration of his stay, my guest contacted me to request a cancellation of his upcoming stay in August ( high season) because of my Strict Cancellation Policy at time of booking he was not due a full refund. I had reserved the property for him. Although I was under no obligation, I promised him if I got a replacement booking I would refund him more than he was owed.

 

He didn't like this he said he wanted a "full refund or he would take the matter further" This is NOT my cancellation policy.

 

Late last night I received a message from Airbnb Airbnb Safety Team Andie that he'd given my guest a refund of £468.78, and cancelled his upcoming stay without penalty.

 

It says " we received a report there was an issue related to a security camera or recording device during reservation" We take reports like this seriously as I'm sure you understand.. you can review our policy here ...your account is limited" .. you may be able to appeal the listings removal from Airbnb..." We don't take these decisions lightly..."

 

Well I do understand, the policy, and need for guest privacy.

This is an external door bell at the entrance, it is clearly positioned next to the front door so it is easily visible when guests arrive at the property. 

I had talked to Airbnb before installing the Doorbell.

I installed it as a means of communication so arriving guests could contact me as there is no mobile phone signal.

I also wanted the extra security for my property and my guests and to manage deliveries.

Airbnb policy allow external doorbell cameras and it is mentioned in my listing.

 

I have therefore not breached Airbnb policy.

 

Airbnb should at least have contacted me as a super host to check before suspending my listing, rather than just taking the word of a guest who has only got two reviews.

Airbnb continually state they value you for being a "superhost"

Right now I don't feel valued.

 

I've been trying for the past 24 hours to speak to someone ar Airbnb about reinstating my listing and returning the £468.78 they have refunded my guest. Although all the Airbnb reps I have spoken to seem very helpful and understanding, and said they have escalted my case to the team dealing with it,  no one has yet called me back.

 

Will Airbnb compensate me for lost bookings while they've removed my listings? Why did they remove all my listings and not just the one where my guest stayed? While Airbnb have blocked my listings it means they can't be booked on other linked platforms I use as the Airbnb blocks these platforms as well.

 

Can anyone please help ?

 

What should I do now to get my listings reinstated and the money  that has been wrongly deducted returned?

 

I am worried my guest will also try and leave a retaliatory review that spoils my rating. How can I stop this?

 

1 Best Answer
Tamsin26
Level 3
England, United Kingdom

I am still unable to contact the team who have suspended my listings.

It has now been several days.

I have made numerous attempts to call the Superhost Helpline and been told each time  it has been "escalated" to the team who suspended my account,  but I have heard nothing.

I have wasted hours and hours on the phone and it has been all very stressful.

 

Meanwhile with my accounts remaining suspended without notice, I am unable to take any bookings on Airbnb ( who have also blocked me taking any bookings on Vrbo and Booking.com)

 

I am a superhost/ guest favourite of 7 years with Airbnb. I have a score of 4.98 with 150 reviews. I generate £1,000's income each year for Airbnb.

 

Airbnb always state they value their superhosts, but right now I don't feel valued.

 

I consulted Airbnb before I installed the doorbell, it is clearly visible at the entrance door when guests arrive,  I have declared it in my listing. So I have applied all Airbnb host rules.

My security doorbell is external to the property which is allowable. It monitors only the few square feet at the entrance door.

 

I am not a "peeping tom" with a camera hidden in a bedroom or bathroom !!!!!! And if I had been the complaining guest would not have noticed the camera.

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19 Replies 19
Lorina14
Level 10
Bellevue, WA

@Tamsin26,

I’m so sorry to hear about your situation, that’s frustrating especially since no one is responding to your calls. Unfortunately what I have discovered from these community boards and from speaking with other hosts is that when a safety issue is brought up Airbnb will automatically suspend your listings until the investigation is complete. This investigation is quite long, sometimes weeks and the host is not compensated for revenue lost. It also appears that for some reason they take a while to get the host’s side of the story and hosts/superhosts calling in daily speaking to different reps get the same response saying that they need to wait to be contacted by the safety team. If you read some messages on the board, the safety team does not appear to reach out with a phone call but rather via email. 

I would personally keep documentation of everything and try to contact them daily. Other hosts in this situation have created other listings on different platforms to mitigate the waiting time. I don’t know how Airbnb was able to block your listings on the other sites unless you somehow linked them? 


I also understand that you have strict policies for cancellation but in this case I would have made an exception to cancel without penalty to avoid this from escalating more. Some people are not worth holding them to what is right. Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy. It would have been best to help the guest complete their stay with as little collateral damage as possible (even if it was an early cancellation, refund of their nights they didn’t stay and cancelling their next reservation with you.) I’m so sorry for the headache.


@Paula @Bhumika @Rebecca could you assist this superhost to give her traction with her issue? She hasn’t been contacted to provide her side of the story.

Tamsin26
Level 3
England, United Kingdom

Thank you so much, it is very alarming that it could take weeks.

 

As you suggested I have been calling the host helpline daily, sometimes twice a day and each time they tell me they've escalated my case.

 

But still no-one has got back and been more each time Airbnb helpline say within 72 hours ( but it's now 5 days and I can't take bookings)

 

I started Airbnb due to a viral illness which meant I could no longer work full time as my illness fluctuates and I have periods each day when I just couldn't do my previous job.

To provide an income I divided my home to run an airbnb, which I felt I could manage.

As a disabled person this is my only income, which is why I feel so desperate that Airbnb are taking so long to reinstate my listings.

 

I was trying to do my best to be reasonable with guest offering him money back over and above my policy if I got a replacement booking. I took Airbnb advice at every turn. I never imagined this could have happened.

 

I guess I'll have to disconnect my calenders from Airbnb on Vrbo to free it up for booking.

Airbnb shouldn't block my calenders on other sites.

 

 

@Tamsin26 

 

Sorry to hear about your illness and how it’s impacted your life. 

Please disconnect your VRBO calendar from your Airbnb calendar and perhaps that will open up your calendar on VRBO.

 

That’s a first step… when safety issues are reported it does take weeks and sometimes even months (I don’t want to sound discouraging but I’ve read some stories where even superhosts have gotten no traction from this issue).

 

The last suggestion that was shared on other threads here is perhaps a social media call out to Airbnb with a mention to the director of hosting or community relations about the situation and unfairness in how they are addressing the issue (or even responding to your inquiries) would help bring this to light faster. I’ve heard that does sometimes get a faster response from them. 

Tamsin26
Level 3
England, United Kingdom

Thanks Lorina, 

It's true what you say that:

"Airbnb take a while to get the host’s side of the story and hosts/superhosts calling in daily speaking to different reps get the same response saying that they need to wait to be contacted by the safety team"

 

Airbnb did eventually reinstate my listing.

But due to the down time I was not able to rebook the cottage for time guests had left so I consequently lost £468. I also will have lost other bookings for my property which was also suspended and nothing to do with this one.

 

All because I had a difficult guest determined to get a free stay! 

The guest claimed having a Ring Doorbell at the front door that monitors the 5 foot radius in front of the entrance door was a privacy issue! (Even though he'd subsequently disabled it by sticking a plaster over it.)

Very frustrating as I try to do everything right and I'd taken advice from the host helpline before I fitted it.

What Airbnb helpline agent had forgotten to tell me I needed to disclose this on my listing.

It actually takes some time to find the right tab where you disclose this information ( it's not at all obvious) and then if you enter the information and forget to press save it doesn't save and the information you've inputted get's lost!

@Tamsin26,

Sorry to hear about this. They will suspend all listings if a safety issue is reported. This is their protocol. So hosts have had to seek out other platforms to be visible while the safety team takes as long as they do to address the issue - which can be weeks. 

I put the info in my listing description that we have security cameras monitoring the driveway, entryway and walkway to the suite. There is also another place to put this and I don’t know recall where it is at the moment. You cannot have an indoor camera (even in common spaces like a kitchen or living room) as it’s a privacy issue. Security cameras allow hosts to monitor if there is a break in, a party, a violation of number of guests, or something else. By law it must be disclosed where the outside cameras are viewing.

 

I’m glad you have an active listing again and hope the Airbnb support could in the future let us know quicker what the “security issue” is so it can be corrected.