Liverpool, United Kingdom Level 2
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As the topic indicates, what "formula" or lack thereof does airbnb use to decide on a particular damage claim?
Just a bit of back story to my scenario.... We recently stayed at a flat overseas, during the length of our stay we never physically came in contact with or seen the host in person, everything was done contactless and correspondences were made through the app itself. With the stay, we were given only a single pair of keys to which we returned as instructed when it was time to check out. A few days after check out we were contacted by the host wanting to be reimbursed for a "second pair of keys" to which they were claiming they left on the table for us to use and could not found during post checkout inspection. Having been the first person in the apartment and visually inspecting everything as I normally do I know that this was not the case and another set of keys were never left. I also happened to notice a contract left on the table by the host which stated all the rules and regulations of the flat. Within this contract it made mention that if a tenant wished for a second pair of keys to "contact the host prior to arrival", to which we did not. Now I know that we as humans can sometimes be forgetful but it was a little off putting that the host demanded I reimburse them for the keys and did not leave room for any doubt. Since I refused to pay for something I stood strongly on they opened up a claim with the resolution team and provided to them nothing more than a receipt for the cost of replacement.
By the grace of documenting most of my stays I happen to have kept a copy of this contract to which I noted to airbnb as counter proof (but not uploaded because there was no option for that). Because the contract explicitly stated that tenants wishing for a second pair of keys must contact the host prior to their stay and the host not having any proof that I contacted them, I felt as though this would have been an easy claim to rule on. To my surprise the ruling was made in favor of host despite the only proof shown was a receipt of the replacement keys. Even more so, when I appealed the ruling I was finally given the opportunity to upload the document, to which then it was again ruled in their favor just a few mere hours later.
My issue isn't necessarily the cost of keys but more so how they arrived to such decision and how quickly the appeal was ruled on, and the president this sets. If the host had decided to instead open claim for another item for a significantly higher amount, where would that have left me? I guess the other frustration comes into play with the appeal and how quickly it was made. The quick turnaround gives me the credence that it was not actually taken serious. You would think that a competent agent would follow up with the host and determine if there was some communication made for these keys. I have always understood that the burden of proof lies on the host, a replacement receipt honestly does not seem substantial and makes airbnb a little off putting to me.
Anyone have any similar experience or know what they use to arrive to such decision?
@Hector473 I hope you have not paid Airbnb/The host. If they really want their money let them pursue you in the courts and see how far that gets them. If they charge your card then initiate a chargeback and provide your proof to the bank.
Just one thought - Did your host have multiple listings or were they just a private individual? If the former then these 'professionals' do seem to get a better service from Airbnb than the rest of us.
Thanks @Mike-And-Jane0 , They have not charged me yet but a chargeback does sound like the way to go. I believe they had multiple listings. I guess they hedge there bets and would rather tick off a single source of revenue vs another who brings them multiple? Hard for me to figure that one out.
Thanks @Rick8. I can certainly see sticky scenarios where an agent needs to decide which story he or she believes the most based off who tells the story the best, the minimal evidence they have, or as you put it "hearsay". As tear jerking as that sounds, in a way its a fact of life, I'm sure insurance claims deal with this all the time. But to have proof beyond a reasonable doubt and STILL rule in favor of the host lends me to believe that they lean heavily in favor of them.
I don't think that is the case. Most Airbnb policies are guest, rather than host, centric, and have become more so over the years.
As for damage claims, if you browse this forum, you will find countless posts from hosts who have tried to file a claim and provided a raft of evidence and yet gotten nowhere after weeks and weeks.
Others here are correct that CS is a bit of a shambles these days and, since Airbnb laid off a lot of its call centre staff in the early days of the pandemic, many reps are outsourced, undertrained workers hired by third parties. Sometimes you get lucky and get a rep who actually knows policy and will make a logical decision based on the information and evidence provided, but this is becoming rarer and rarer.
I believe that dealing with Airbnb CS is a game of Russian roulette for hosts and guests alike.
Also, in future, I would suggest you avoid hosts with multi listings and go for smaller, individual hosts (don't be fooled by the label 'individual host' on the site, but look at how many listings they have and whether their reviews say they care about guests).
@Hector473 90% of postings here suggest that Airbnb favour the guests. Of course if 90% of posts are from hosts then all it really proves is that Airbnb are random with how they deal with issues of whom to believe.
Many multi-national companies outsource customer services to developing countries (most no longer use the outdated term third world) @Rick4645
Can you link to your evidence that Airbnb CS are paid $10 a day and receive no training ?
yes the Airbnb CS system is broken. But this is down to Airbnb and often results from some of their ridiculous policies
for example Airbnb automatically suspends hosts where a guest claims a safety issues. This is nothing to do with CS incompetence and everything to do with Airbnb not caring about hosts and having ill informed policies in place
Clearly you've never dealt with their customer service.
When you have to quote AirBNB's own policies to the CS reps because they don't know them, and they still don't understand what you're saying, that means they are untrained.
When you have a guest that tries to extort a refund by saying, "If you don't refund me I will write a bad review" and you don't cave to the scammer and they say, "There was a bad odor" and gives you 1* across the board. You contact CS and they say, "That was the guest's experience".
"No, it wasn't their experience. The guest stupidly said they would leave a bad review if they didn't get a refund. That's extortion."
The CS rep still doesn't "understand the problem".
So you have to screen shot the policy to educate the CS rep on how to do their job.
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While I agree with everything you are saying about your experience with Airbnb CS (been there, done that), the use of the term 'Third World' to describe developing countries is considered by many to be offensive, for many reasons.
It is also outdated because the origins of the term, which are from the Cold War, have largely been forgotten, having now become irrelevant in the current geo-political climate, and those that still use it are applying it in a totally inaccurate way. Did you know, for example, that some of the richest countries in the world were included in the 'Third World' category?
Lumping a whole bunch of countries into one group and making derogatory comments about people from those nations is, quite frankly, racist, whether you intended it that way or not.