When guests lie and Review Guidelines

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Dan132
Level 3
Oakland, CA

When guests lie and Review Guidelines

I've been a host for about a year now and love Airbnb. I really like being a guest but hosting is another matter. I've had some strange reviews from guests who didn't respect the guidelines of the house and clearly didn't read the profile. They didn't have the experience they wanted to left reviews with outright lies in them. 

 

The last review was the worst I've gotten. I contacted customer service and they said that the review didn't violate the review guidelines so they would not remove it. I asked if lying was acceptable and they avoided the question....repeatedly! I asked how far within the guidelines a guest could lie and, again, the avoided the question. I gave a hypothetical scenario....a guest claims there is no Airbnb at all and had to pitch a tent! Again, customer service refused to answer the question. 

 

I can understand why they don't want to mediate reviews, but when someone leaves a review that's totally inaccurate and downright false I find it troubling that Airbnb is not more supportive. Again, I can understand why they don't want to get involved or hear from hosts who can take honest constructive feedback....if your place is a mess then it needs to be cleaned, etc. 

 

In the recent survey they sent out I addressed this issue. As of today, I am really distressed to find such a large loophole in their review policy. For example, I have two brand new air conditioners in the house that have worked fine for everyone, but the last guest claims they "did nothing." We had record hot temps, he had done a long-distance six hour bicycle ride in that heat, and he was clearly not doing well after the ride. I also checked in with him to see if everything was okay, which is my routine, and he said nothing about the house not being cool enough....frustrating because I have a third unit in my studio that I could have provided.

 

I wonder if Airbnb is addressing this issue. A lot of hosts find this frustrating! I've invested a lot into this space and more improvements are forthcoming, and yesterday I pulled my business permit as the county is now requiring it. It's frustrating to think we have no recourse to guests who lie!

 

Dan

1 Best Answer
Peta7
Level 10
Johannesburg, South Africa

As of recent the platform agents only consider the Content policy and no other long standing policy or guideline is taken into account to have a bogus review removed.

 

We have also been advised that only the review may be removed in extreme cases but that the more damaging star ratings will anyhow stick to a profile?

 

After foiling a recent guest's attempt to Blackmail and Extort from us by denying him a FREE sleepover visitor resulted in us recieving the promissed bogus review with all its intended damages and as always requested to have the provable lies removed, obviously this did not happen as the guest did not transgress the Content Policy that clearly advise on how to make a bogus review stick.

 

We were refered to the Terms of Service we entered into but could not find this doc on the platform, however we did find a copy of this legally binding document with the help of Google and find the following extraction on reviews facinating:

 

10. Ratings and Reviews

10.1 Within a certain timeframe after completing a booking, Guests and Hosts can leave a public review (“Review”) and submit a star rating (“Rating”) about each other. Ratings or Reviews reflect the opinions of individual Members and do not reflect the opinion of Airbnb. Ratings and Reviews are not verified by Airbnb for accuracy and may be incorrect or misleading.

10.2 Ratings and Reviews by Guests and Hosts must be accurate and may not contain any offensive or defamatory language. Ratings and Reviews are subject to Section 5 and must comply with Airbnb’s Content Policy and Extortion Policy.

 

So now we find ourselves completely confused, perhaps someone could enlighten us on "Reviews are not verified by Airbnb for accuracy and may be incorrect or misleading." We ask ourselves... 'So why do we then get penalized and our listings suspended, what for?'

 

Then in (10.2) we read: "Ratings and Reviews by Guests and Hosts must be accurate......" will this then equate in a breach of contract entered by Platform and Host for allowing provable lies to be posted on the platform? And are we now to believe that the Review and the Star rating systems are 2 different entities always believed to be part and parcell off the Review?

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43 Replies 43
Sherryl1
Level 2
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Hello Airbnb Community of Hosts,
I too am a Host and have been renting my vacation rental home to Guests since 2010. Our casa is located in the historic area of a coastal beach town and I have seen the quiet little town blossom over the years. In the beginning, even before Airbnb was incorporated, it was like a brand new idea. Everyone arrived so happy. The casa has had many remodels, even before us. As many of you know, it is a labor of love to create a beautiful space and invite strangers whom you hope will love the warm and welcoming home as much as you do. 
It is a gut punch when you find that someone who is struggling with mental issues has you in a vulnerable position. I have a team of employees who work with me to greet our guests, but there have been some very scary situations as well. The worst one was a Russian fellow who demanded I go to the casa so that he could harm my person. His father vetoed the exit and they stayed through to the end of the stay, but it was awkward. The fellow threatened me personally. The fact is the young man wanted his father to spend more money with a house that had a pool and the father didn't allow the change. The most recent Guest that lied in a review lied within the communications online within the Airbnb platform that he had found a cockroach. I sent my fumigation service over right away. He used the word "infestation". The fumigation service denied that status. Then the Guest lied to me saying he was a "mold expert" and he said there was mold in the house. Anyone who stays for any length of time in the summer in Mexico has seen the hot moist climate create discoloration on the walls due to the salt content in the sand that they use for construction. It is not mold, it is salt. Then he disparaged my character, called me a name and warned in all CAPS others away from my beautiful home saying that neither I should be a Super Host nor my casa be a house on Airbnb. The vehemence in the review was such that it felt very personal and mentally unhinged. As it is, it is under review by Airbnb. I see here that it will likely be allowed to stay. The Guests aren't allowed to extort the Hosts, but that's exactly what they do as they have learned how to game the system. Airbnb imposes service fees, platform fees, withholds taxes but then not the full amount and then the Guests come and use leverage to claw back the funds they feel they overpaid for their vacation. I'm not sure how this business model will survive the upcoming decentralized world view as our banking develops into decentralized finance, tokenized real estate and P2P earthquake changes before us. It may be us who has the last laugh after all, my lovelies, my compatriots, my fellow Super Hosts. The world is about to change. Make sure you are positioned to benefit most from it. Cheers.

Hayley261
Level 1
Calgary, Canada

Airbnb doesn’t care that I have PROOF of my guest lying. 

I have camera and audio monitoring in my own home (above rental suite) and can provide time stamped video showing my dogs were not barking per the guests claim. 

The TV and Apple TV work like a charm despite guest saying they don’t in their review. 

the guest said they were “more than comfortable” when I checked in on them and then stated 7 things were wrong they never communicated and were all lies. 

the guest also extended their stay, then tried to cancel the extension, got a refund, and then stayed the extra days without paying for them forcing me to call and message them repeatedly until they paid. 

Airbnb doesn’t care. They won’t do anything even though it’s all lies about my suite being broken/dirty/etc. 

 

I also had a family emergency in hospital I told guest about related to foot traffic at 4am and 6am and the guest had the nerve to say I made noise after quiet hours. 

all around despicable person. Airbnb doesn’t care. 

Jessica3282
Level 3
Hernando, FL

So how about us as host who have had these experiences just connect and start sharing our own listings amongst each other? We can collaborate, write our own policies, address bad guests, flag bad guests, and if a guests stayz at one of our rentals due to the referral of another verified  host within the group or a verified leg guests, a small percentage could be given back to referring host or guest, like the 3% airbnb charge for their lack of help. If others are interested, send me a message and let's get it started.

Jessica3282
Level 3
Hernando, FL

I have just experienced a negative review full of lies from a guest, who I had to contact airbnb about on their second day of being in my rebtal for Not following house rules and being unable to contact. Airbnb left generic response stating no violation of review left, when I have video and picture evidence to prove otherwise. I don't know how this is acceptable oe even allowed, due to defamation law suits that can arise. Maybe us as host are to come together and form a committee to combat the ill practices airbnb is allowing at the cost of a host, and still taking a cut of the profit a host make. Honestly, seems like theft to me.

Leena61
Level 2
Carnelian Bay, CA

same exact situation! Outright lies! But Airbnb won’t do anything !

I thought I was the only host going through this issue. I had a client state everything was fine upon checkout and then leaving a scathing review of dust on the fan and the smell of urine with the use of vulgarity. My unit always gets high marks in cleaning, and this guest did a complete 360. I love airbnb but considering how hosts are not protected, I am considering alternative platforms. 

Jonathan1492
Level 2
Melbourne, FL

Airbnb customer support is useless for lying reviews or reviews that ramble about irrelevant things not related to the rental/visit. They do nothing and hide behind bad policy.

I had a review 4/5 stars because the neighbor complained about the smell of Marijuana from a neighbor on the opposite side of the building with an opposite facing balcony.  How is this my fault? I didn't build the building and I dont control the wind? 

This review system is the same garbage system ebay had 20 years ago.

Im sorry but host and renters shouldn't be able to ramble on willy nilly. 

Was your stay good or bad yes or no.
Pro/Cons
Any additional review information submitted should actually have a community peer review from other host spread across the country to edit or remove non relevant review information. 

If theres a major problem with a guest/host then airbnb staff should get involved and examine proof from both sides to resolve the issue.

Brian2036
Level 10
Arkansas, United States

@Jonathan1492 

 

I like your idea of a peer review system and possibly we, as a unified group of hosts, could convince Airbnb to help us implement such a system.

 

Airbnb has neither the ability nor the inclination to resolve review disputes.

 

The contract we have all agreed to indicates this, although not in plain language.

 

 They state that all reviews must be honest and factually true but that they are not responsible if the process is abused.

 

It would be extremely costly for them to investigate every claim of review abuse and we would have to pay for it.

 

If we want it done we will have to do it ourselves, as is the case with many other things.

Guests lie in reviews and Airbnb allows it. They allow guests to lie to get refunds. Guests are important to them. Hosts are expendable. Bottom line: know as a host you are Nothing! Expect to be abused . Learn the lesson : AIRBNB HATES HOSTS. 

Brian2036
Level 10
Arkansas, United States

@Ginger-And-Ryan0 


We all need to understand that Airbnb is a publicly traded corporation and as such they only care about one thing: their profits.


They are not human entities and they don’t love or hate anyone. Corporations have no moral values or empathy. They can’t.

 

We should not expect Airbnb to provide us with anything other than advertising, collections, and a few other things required by law.

 

 They are not required to provide emotional support and cannot take responsibility for guest or host misbehavior.

Alyson2
Level 2
Kendal, United Kingdom

I have been an Airbnb host for 8 years. I have worked really hard for my superhost status. I have recommended 6 other hosts who are also super hosts. I have just had my worst ever review of 1 star with the guest asking for a full refund. He claimed the bedding was not changed. It was! I have told Airbnb this is libellous and defamatory but they don’t care.The review has stayed. I am mortified

Tanya528
Level 2
Concord, CA

I am saddened at the injustice reading your review,  andothers. I stumbled upon this community after receiving a similar review on me , a "guest" with 3 blatant lies, (or complete different interpretations of reality), & I have proof against the lies, but as you note, it's written, and it's libel and defamation of character,  even a future employer could read these, and airbnb refuses to protect the truth.  I would like to think in your situation most other guests will see your favorable reviews, and reasonable heads prevail.  Good luck. 

Alyson2
Level 2
Kendal, United Kingdom

Thank you. I have lost my superhost status because of it. Gutted

Leena61
Level 2
Carnelian Bay, CA

Me too! It’s so frustrating that we have zero control over the stupidity of guests! 

Mike-And-Jane0
Level 10
England, United Kingdom

@Tanya528 For what it is worth I think your answer to the dodgy review would mean I would discount this review if you were booking with us.

Given that guests have the advantage of knowing the address of the host could they not sue for defamation?

Blanca220
Level 1
Guanacaste Province, CR

I have contacted the Resolution Center about guests checking out 5 hours late despite us letting them know so much in advance that we couldn’t allow it. We had cleaning services coming that were already booked and scheduled. I have messages on Airbnb with the guests, notifying them in advance, 4 hours before check out about this.

 

The guests went to a scuba diving class and notified us they needed to leave an hour late, which turn into 5 hours late. I contacted Airbnb several times before check out time and after saying I needed help with  the guest. So they have a record of my phone calls, the whole time I’m told that I am right and they will help. Days later they call the guest, the guest lies and says they were allowed to over stay by the host (lie) and that they only checked out 3 hours late (lie, they checked out 5 hours late, past our time for checking in in case we had another guest).

 

Airbnb is happy with what the guest said despite my repeated phone calls. We will not be reimbursed for the cleaning we had to cancel because they believe the guest, despite there being messages on Airbnb with the guest with repeated denials to their request. The Several calls to the resolution center before and after check out did not help our case either. 

 

We had another instance in which the guests left a totally untruthful review, this time our guests were upset that we charged extra after they allowed 4 extra people not in the reservation to stay the night without telling us. They said yes to the extra charge for the first night and then begged us to allow ten people to stay in an apartment for 6, as their friends’ reservation got cancelled somewhere else.

 

We said no repeated times but felt bad for them in the end and allowed them to stay. We got an awful review at the end saying the internet didn’t work (lie), maybe it didn’t work as fast as they’d like since there are 10 people using the internet. We have two routers there.There were complaints of mistreatment which I assume is because we were upset they had smuggled 4 extra people at night. For security purposes we were not ok with this as we have other guests with children in the property. We told them we needed to know who the people that were staying were, we wanted to see IDs, I find it so risky to not know who is coming in and out. They lied about how clean the apartment was saying it smelled bad.

 

Why would they beg us to stay longer if the apartment was not clean, makes no sense. All our reviews say the apartment is always super clean as this is one of our priorities. We have amazing reviews but had no help from Airbnb despite me contacting them for help in a timely manner also. They do not moderate reviews and in both cases for me they have sided with the guests.

 

I have asked the hypothetical question of a guest totally fabricating lies and how can I protect myself if contacting them and the guest on their messaging system is not enough proof. I have found myself and our business not really protected from lying guests. In the end it was not a lot of money that we lost, the distressing part is the totally untrue side of the story from lying guests and how Airbnb ignores the hosts even when we are careful to document everything and help people have awesome vacations. 

 

My guess is that these are the risks with the platform and one should just accept them and try to make the best out of it.  They do not want to upset any guests it seems, after all this is a business and everybody is allowed to write whatever they want online with no repercussions or mediators. This is are the times we live in. 

@Dan132 Oh, that's just terrible. It sounds like you did everything you could to be a great host, but you ended up with a guest who was going to find a reason to complain no matter what.

 

I don't really know what to say, as we are completely new to hosting and are just figuring all of this out as we go. However, Farah had a good point when she said that you have to keep all of your correspondence within the Airbnb email platform, to safeguard yourself. I've heard of cases where hosts have given out their WhatsApp and then corresponded with guests, and then when a problem arose later, Airbnb wouldn't recognise the complaints because there was no evidence of it within the system.

 

So, I think that is a golden piece of advice. It may not help, and they may still not back you in the end. But at least you'll have a bit of peace of mind in knowing that you did work within the system to do the right thing.

 

Hope you finally get some resolution for this. Good luck!

 

Jessica3282
Level 3
Hernando, FL

I am a new host, have documented messages via airbnb to guest and customer service, AND airbnb STILL allowed lies to be in the review by guests. I also have video proof and pictures, to which airbnb has done 0 to help with. So documenting via airbnb is NOT a full proof help nor a help or support as airbnb claim it is.

Diana108
Level 4
Effingham, NH

Airbnb doesn't care if Guests LIE in their Reviews...........it's that simple. I asked today and was told, "No we don't care if they lie; Lying is not against our Content Policy/Rules." Plain and simple. So have at it with your own Guest reviews and READ reviews they have left for others. I closed my B&B early this season because I don't want to deal with the BS from guests AND airbnb.

Diana108
Level 4
Effingham, NH

Oh, and don't bother to check in with the guests more than once to see if everything is okay and if they need anything. They will LIE to your face and stab you in the back with a horrid review and low rating. If they are liars, why would they do anything like telling the truth to your face?? That's not how Liars play the game!!