Hi has anyone had this issue. Am I over-reacting? Would you cancel this booking for tomorrow? Sorry so long...
I had a guest enquire Tuesday night for Friday. I was dealing with the grocery order that finally turned up after it took a two day tour of Britain and was conscious of the eminent lockdown so maybe my judgement was flawed? He has been a member since 2019 and doesn't have any reviews. I accepted, because his situation didn't sound any different to any of the other people with no reviews in urgent need of temporary accommodation who have contacted me, but he actually sounded more reasonable and less pushy... Due to COVID I have had 6 other guests enquire about long term stay just this month - a huge number for me. Most don't have any reviews, and all have had a ton of questions and requirements as if they are buying the place - as well as having had other irregularities like they have animals and want to stop by first to 'discuss things' (ie they want a discount on the already bargain long-stay price). As he seemed less demanding, and the lockdown was about to start, I agreed.
SO: The booking comes through and all it has is two initials for the name! Has anyone had this and thought it was okay? The full name is never anywhere except on the paid booking confirmation in all my bookings so far, so I wasn't worried that his original message just had an first initial. (He also signed off with a first name in the inox correspondence.) Up to him if he wants to remain discreet with his public profile. I honestly didn't think this was possible to carry through a booking with just initials.
I text him in a nice way putting it down to a glitch in the system and asking him to "help me out" by asking Airbnb to fix the booking with his full name. No response. I contacted Airbnb Customer Service for the second time again this morning. I get the usual friendly, canned assurances: 'rest assured Airbnb is here to help and takes your security with utmost seriousness' etc. But I still don't have a full name on the booking. How can they take our security seriously if they haven't matched a name on his profile to the government ID they checked? I am not even sure if they have a copy of the ID at this point.
Am I just being pedantic?
The first agent I spoke to yesterday phoned me back to say he couldn't give me the guests name for privacy reasons!! And something to the effect: that he couldn't just call the guest out of the blue and ask him to change his profile to include his name. What??!
After the second customer service agent got involved and phoned the guest, the guest finally responded and messaged me their name and the other guest's name. However, this name still does not match with the name on the booking confirmation, which just has two initials. I messaged Airbnb back again asking them to at least confirm that the name the guest gave me matches what is on the supposed government ID they verified. I got the same polite response that I should rest assured that they take my security seriously. However they did not confirm that the name matched. I assume this is down to more data protection!
Like many hosts I well know that I could have their full real name (and even a copy of their passport) and they could still be a terrible or dangerous guest. I just feel like if they either aren't willing to (or cannot be bothered to) give such basic information as their full name (and have to be asked and then phoned by customer service over two days) it is worrying. It is also worrying that Airbnb verified and allowed someone to book with only giving initials.
I don't need this. I work fulltime +overtime and it is a madhouse over here with the latest lockdown. I just had a guest who stayed 3 months leave, so (although they were a nice guest) there is a large amount of cleaning to do. Brand new washer not working. Spent my two days off waiting and on the phone with the grocery store, trying to find out where my grocery delivery was and then 70% of it either didn't arrive or was changed, so I had to re-order. Spent the rest of the time dealing with this.
I am conscious that being stressed maybe has caused me to be irrational. I mean it is still a big risk to rent to people regardless.
Would you cancel?
Answered! Go to Best Answer
@Tatyana5 I've had a few book with initials, also a 'David David' and a 'Scaff Older' and they were fine! (But I'm home share, so less of a risk to property!)
Why don't you ask to see their passport on arrival and request their full name beforehand, then google to see if any reports of crime come up? Check them out on fb, Linkedin?
Here in the US, all of my guests have always shown a first and last name UNTIL recently. Now I get one initial. I do not like this either. How does Airbnb check them out when they do not use a full name? I also ask for a photo ID. So far I have gotten an animal and a child's picture. That is not the photo ID that was requested. This makes me feel very vulerable and uneasy. WHY would Airbnb do this to us? Do they not care about our safety?
Since this started, I have had strange people in my home and others that tried to con me into fraudulent financial deals. That has never happened before. What is going on with Airbnb?
UPDATE: For anyone who is interested... I found out that Airbnb also do not have access to guests' IDs. They have a 3rd party verify the government ID, but the company does not see or have the ID on record. The guest is then allowed to change their name on their Airbnb profile to whatever they like. So (presumably) if they use a credit card that is not their real name, as far as I can see, Airbnb will not necessarily know what a guest's real/full name is either.
If you see the importance of knowing who is staying at your property (and, like mine, your country of residence does not require you to check ID, so requesting it therefore makes for an uncomfortable situation and the potential for bad feelings) I urge you to give feedback to Airbnb about this issue.
As a further Update... I accepted the guest for the 7 week stay for reasons already mentioned. They stayed two days and then their plans drastically changed (and of course they didn't want to have to pay the full amount.
@Tatyana5 And this is exactly why hosts should listen to their gut reactions. A guest who balks at giving you their full name is someone I would not trust.
It's also why I will never use Instant Book. I want the opportunity to decline a booking that doesn't smell right to me, rather than have to try to cancel it after the fact.
I am completely with you @Sarah977 and @Tatyana5 - I will never use Instant Book because I absolutely need to review guests before accepting them, and the idea that guests are not required to use their real names is completely unacceptable. I just learned of this today (which is what brought me here) and feel that now I have to put this in my listing to cover myself. Something like "guests must provide their real names on their Airbnb profile to have their booking requests accepted". Hopefully that will keep bad actors away, much like my chatty messages to those who are tight-lipped tend to send them away...
After this problem I changed my booking requirements that guests have to answer a question before they can book (or when booking...) and made the question to be something like:
"For the sake of politeness and security tell me your full name and that of any guests staying with you."
Did that work? I have that in my rules and welcoming message but airbnb saying I will be penalized if I cancel because the only name I have is the man who booked and there are 5 total. The other 4 are questioning why I want their names and ID.
It is over a month away. I just feel it is red flag if they think that way, and I do not want them in my house.
I have been doing Airbnb for almost 8 years. In the beginning, people were grateful to provide you whatever you asked for and treated your space with respect. Now, I'm getting people booking for other people and when I bring this up to Airbnb, they ask if the guest could finish out their stay? What? I had then the guest who was not a registered guest with Airbnb complain about the expected rules, location, parking when all of this is identified in the listing information. THEN, I get three of these close together and Airbnb puts me on probation for getting low reviews on pictures are not like listing, location, excessive rules. These were left by the people who were not registered with Airbnb. I asked Airbnb how could they penalize me for guests who do not exist and no evidence existed on my security cameras the actual registered guest was the one who stayed in my unit. Airbnb response: we are standing my our decision. So, I was blocked for a week and the reviews stayed on my page and the scores for the reviews were still factored into my overall score. I too took off the instant book and I will be kicking people out who are not the registered guest listed with Airbnb. I'm sure I'm not long for this business.
I’ve had this as well. They end up being builders or other trades. 100% of the time they have been terrible guests. Take things, break things, leave the kitchen and dinnerware filthy. Embarrassing hygiene levels (sweat stains through to the mattress protector and on pillows and duvets and stomach curdling foot odour on the duvet so bad I had to wash the duvet).
The last guests booked by a supposed cleaning company was for two guys who live on 11 month trailer park accommodation and just need to get off it every year. They claimed they were builders…. It took 14 hours to clean the place when they left, plus they took a blanket and broke in to the cleaners cupboard, so I had to buy a new lock.. Impossible to communicate with to the point I had to phone Airbnb. They smoked so much, I had to have the rugs and curtains washed to get out the funk of bad tobacco. (Found roll up tobacco shreds and various smoking related stuff in crevices for the next two cleans.)… They had female guests arriving at odd hours. I even found a used maxi pad hidden under a waste basket.
This has happened quite a few times but seems to be getting progressively worse.
That was a no fuss fix for this problem.
I have frustratingly had other problems with other guests (people booking or trying to book under a fake company and installing two blokes in who broke things, took things and left the place filthy and wreaking of cigarettes... a 'film company' trying to book to make the type of film with the rating after W... the usual, entitled tricksters, who get a super-saver discount, bring a free extra guest and still have the gall to demand the entire stay for free, because 'their stay was ruined' because the new water heater didn't heat up quickly enough for them)...
But at least I now have guest's names and why they are coming.
If someone doesn't want to give their *full name, yet expects to stay at a private property, it is a no-go for me. Why Airbnb doesn't understand this and act to support hosts is worrying to me.
There are understandable reasons why someone wouldn't want to give their full name, of course. Someone might be in the middle of a divorce and be fearful of information getting out that they were away with their new partner, for example... In the example I gave, my best guess was that it was a lockdown-related issue. (I think they went as far as spraying their ID with a coating, as the flash photo I took recorded as one big white blob!)
In the end, they were okay as far as people go, but they continued to be problematic guests.
I think most of the time it is probably just a weird personal and/or personal legal reason. Regardless of the reason someone wouldn't want to give their full name, we are trusting strangers with a lot; guests need to understand they have to relinquish at least this small amount of trust to hosts.
* 👉 Now I also require them to give for the reason of stay, before arrival – as well as full names of all guests. Sure they can lie, but I find it has helped A LOT with weeding out the kind of entitled guests who don't care and end up being terrors. If a guest cannot at least be bothered to give basic info, in my experience, they always end up being more trouble than the booking is worth.)
Last year i had a 9 months reservation with 10 good reviews from all over the world.
When accepting the request, all was false on the profile.
No face photo (it is mandatory in my house rules). Humm!
I guessed all was false it because she said she was russian and the reservation name sounded american. The country Bulgaria instead of Russia.
For long term reservation, my rules are that a French contract is signed + copy of ID (it is the law here).
I asked her to download a face photo and that if the name on the reservation was different from the ID, the reservation would be can cancelled.
5 minutes later, she changed completly her Airbnb profile information (photo, name, country) but i did not like her lies.
Not a good start for a 9 months tenant.
Hopefully, her work contract was broken because of the 2020 economic crisis and she cancelled.
And i had the loveliest student tenant instead.
A real gentleman.
I think you should follow your guts.
It is not a matter if the guy could be nice or bad - even if it is important.
It is a legal matter.
Except UK law is different, identity MUST be written on the reservation.
because a reservation is a furnished lease and the identity of the tenant must be written to how who is the tenant.
So Airbnb explaining that they can't display the identity because of privacy is not only bull**bleep** but your reservation is illegal.
And Airbnb produce (writes) the reservation (furnished lease)! So they are responsible.
I never accept an illegal reservation.
The tenant must give me his full identity (name, 1st name, birth date and birth place) and show me an ID when arriving.
AND the reservation and the ID must be have the same name.
Of not, no key because no lease!
It is as simple as that.
If the full identity is not displayed on the reservation, it means you let a squatter come inside.
If you wish to go on with this secret gentleman, i suggest you sign a private UK furnished lease + copy of the ID in addition of the Airbnb reservation.
There might have legal and insurance issues if things are not done properly.
Here is what i would do :
- write and call Airbnb to say the reservation without identity tenant is illegal because it is a furnished lease.
- As long as THEY don't update the reservation with the identity of the tenant, you won't let nobody come in.
And you explain to the guest that the reservation is illegal and that he must update his profile with his full identity before coming and that an ID with the same name must be shown when arriving.
This is very interesting Nathalie. Thank you! Airbnb have a lot ot answer for as it is, but this is privacy laws gone crazy. I just cannot believe they (or the guest) think/thought this is acceptable.
@Tatyana5 Airbnb doesn’t have any requirements for what guests show on their public profiles. That doesn’t mean they don’t have the guest’s name, on their end. You can require guests to have verified ID if you wish, to be able to book with you. You’re right, it’s certainly no guarantee of a good guest, but it doesn’t hurt to require it. And you can, as you did, ask the guest to give you their name, and show ID at check in. How they respond is very telling. I agree with Mark. The way this guest is responding is suspect and if making you uncomfortable, ask Airbnb to cancel on that count, neutrally without penalties to you.
Hi Colleen 🙂 yes, it made me feel uncomfortable. I have never had a guest that hasn't given a first and last name. I honestly thought they had to and that that was on the booking. It is pretty standard with most formal transactions - even for little companies - so I wouldn't have imagined Airbnb worked like this. I didn't even think it was possible just to give initials. Even silly companies don't allow that. These people are coming to our homes.
So when the police turn up: "what was his name?"
Police: "John who?"
Me: "Ehmm dunno"
Police: "You had someone staying in your house 7 weeks and you don't know their full name??"
Me: "Well they didn't want to show me their ID (you know because privacy stuff) but Airbnb said it is okay."
I was going to cancel. I do need the money, but it was just too weird. I know they had no where else to go (maybe a 1 room hotel that would be at least 3x more and no facilities or proper internet that they said they needed). They were going to risk all that just to not show me their ID when they were the ones being improper?
They suddenly changed their tune 180* in the end and apologised, promising they would be happy to show the ID's.
I am still worried they are going to give trouble, but I didn't want to risk any repercussions from Airbnb once they gave in.
@Tatyana5 You are so right. It's ridiculous how some things work on this platform. Your imaginary police exchange illustrates that so well. That was priceless - funny/not funny, lol.
Good luck with this guest!
@Tatyana5 I wouldn't host him. It isn't so much the issue of not having his name on his profile at the first, but of not responding to your questions [rude], and also not wanting to show ID to you to ensure that he is who he says he is. Unless you really need this booking financially, I would ask Airbnb for a neutral cancellation because the guest makes you uncomfortable, even unsafe. I would reason that if the guest is causing all this extra work and problems before even arriving, that is a sign the booking has high chance of also being problematic.
Thanks for the reply Mark. you have summed up what I felt. If someone isn't willing to give something so small, what are they hiding and what else will they do? When they finally responded today after the 2nd agent phoned them they were like: "Sure I'll tell you my name." But that name still wasn't the name on the profile and I felt more than uncomfortable at that point.
On top of this, when I tried to smooth things over and asked them if they would show me the ID when they arrived, they were like "Why? I already showed it to Airbnb." and they even sent a further message arguing they had never had the problem of anyone questioning them before and that they would call Airbnb about the matter.
Well I have never had anyone book who didn't give a first and last name which (only taking verified guests) I always assumed matched what was on their government ID.
It is more the attitude. And then to make matters worse, he said he hadn't had the problem before. So none of the hosts who have apparently hosted him have given him reviews. I thought he had just never booked before. I have had loads of people stuck in the country due to COVID, or selling houses and stuck in between homes and most have been new members. So he kind of shot himself in the foot.
I was about to decline but he totally changed his tune (I suspect it was the other guest speaking for him) . I don't want to have trouble with Airbnb changing their promise to allow us out of bookings without penalty as they have now agreed to my requirements. Also he would have received my address and they will be desperate with the lockdown in force. I just don't want an even worse situation to arise.
To be honest I'm not accepting anyone who doesn't provide written confirmation that they meet the 'exceptions' legislation for allowing guests to stay under Covid.
it doesn't appear your guest has actually confirmed how he meets one of the exceptions for staying let alone given you anything in writing to confirm this.
on that basis alone I would be asking Airbnb to cancel. Please don't feel pressured into accepting him just because he has your address @Tatyana5
And please don't expect hosts to have to 'try and read between the lines' in your reviews - just confirming dates a guest stayed gives me no indication that your guest is one who broke your house rules or was one you wouldn't recommend