Cancelling a booking after confirmation upon seeing a lewd male photo in profile

Courtney517
Level 2
Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Cancelling a booking after confirmation upon seeing a lewd male photo in profile

As a woman, living alone, who lets out a spare room, do you think that once you accept a single male guest and only then are given the opportunity to see his profile photo in which he has his legs spread and is holding his crotch (through his shorts) that it is acceptable to cancel the reservation? Well, I did.

I phoned AirBnB support within 2 minutes of receiving access to the photo (after checking for contact phone number on the website) and the (self-admittedly) very inexperienced staff member on the phone support was not in any way helpful so after 5 mins I separately messaged the guest and told him I would have to cancel and that the room was not available after all because I did not want him showing up at my home. I gave a superficial reason because he had my address by now and I didn't want to risk some form of confrontation (AirBnB didn't get round to cancelling the reservation for several hours).

Because it was within 24 of arrival AirBnB charged me a penalty for me protecting my own safety which I think is totally unacceptable because:

1) I would not have cancelled if I did not find the prospective situation uncomforable and potentially dangerous

2) I was not able to see this concerning photo before accepting the booking

3) I took action within 2 mins of accepting the booking

4) I have never cancelled a guest before, having acted as a host for more than 5 years with more than 200 bookings

5) He had no previous reviews and only the most basic authentication

Just to be sure I wasn't overreacting I showed the photo (without his name and with his face scrolled off the top of the screen) to a male and a female neighbour and both confirmed he is doing in the photo what I thought he was doing and voiced their own views on levels of unacceptability and danger.

After more than a dozen exchanges with AirBnB, about half by phone and finally 2 with supervisors, they have finally reimburshed the charges and one of the supervisors (a man) vocalised that he could see what I saw in the photo.

My query is what does the AirBnB Host Community think of this situation and has it happened to others and, if so, with what did you do/what was the result?

I would also say that I have had a lot of great experience with hosting guests but this experience has really thrown me.

Courtney

@ links to members; @safety @

15 Replies 15
Bhumika
Community Manager
Community Manager
Toronto, Canada

Hello @Courtney517, I understand what you have gone through after reading this! It would have been absolutely terrifying. So glad that eventually everything was taken care of and you are safe.

We're happy to announce the Month of Celebration!

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Courtney517
Level 2
Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Yes, but the point is that AirBnB didn't help me for days and days and when they did respond they were not helpful. The ONLY reason that i finally had the cancellation charge removed was because I kept on badgering away until I finally got a supervisor to talk to me. I shouldn't have to go to these lengths. No host should. AirBnB needs to take better case of its hosts.

Tina9064
Level 5
Fairfield, CA

Yes, you did the right thing and what a disgrace your case took even more than ONE phone call to CS! I would only add that hosts are allowed up to 3 cancellations per year without penalty and all you have to do is select that you are "uncomfortable" with the booking request. Glad you took safety seriously as AirBnb doesn't really seem to care.

Courtney517
Level 2
Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Hi,  Is that 3 cancellations per year without penalty or 3 rejections of booking requests?

Tina9064
Level 5
Fairfield, CA

Try this link, I'm not sure if it's 3 cancellations only for instant book or for ALL booking inquiries and/or completed bookings.

 

https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/990

 

Courtney517
Level 2
Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Ah, I don't do instant booking because I always screen my guests before accepting.  And still this happened...

Mike-And-Jane0
Level 10
England, United Kingdom

@Courtney517 I think the 3 cancellations mentioned by @Tina9064 is for hosts on Instant Book. 

Courtney517
Level 2
Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Yes, I see.  As I said to Tina, I don't do instant bookings and still this happened...

Bes175
Level 10
England, United Kingdom

Just to be sure I wasn't overreacting...

No, you were not.

 

what does the AirBnB Host Community think..

I for one, think that you did the right thing.

 

What I like in your story is that you made the right call - with rgs to safety in a pro-active way. In this forum there are samples aplenty when people 'expect of AIBRNB' up to last moment or once things develop - forgetting (a) own safety and then (b) law of the land [cops, courts etc] supersede whatever Airbnb says or does. 

 

They might change penalties later [wrong by the way - but that's how it is often] but everyone has to care for self first, then 'bookings/ guest/ rules etc' if something is clearly WRONG. Well done Courtney!

Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom

@Courtney517 

 

I am glad you finally got reimbursed, but it's crazy that you had to have over a dozen conversations with Airbnb about this. It's just another example of what a mess CS is these days.

 

Also, if Airbnb insists that hosts cannot see guests' profile photos prior to accepting a booking, then it should be Airbnb's job to check profile photos as part of the verification process and address those that are clearly inappropriate, but we know they are never gong to do that.

 

I trust you reported and blocked this guest?

Courtney517
Level 2
Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Well, I was a bit stunned that AirBnB didn't review the photo when they validated his account.  And AirBnB certainly know all about it now because two supervisors (in addition to who knows how many other in the support team) had reviewed my case and the guest photo - the male supervisor I spoke with acknowledged that he could see what I could see in the profile photo.

 

My feeling is that if they have the staff time to ensure that a guest's credit card works then they have the time to review the photo and the profile statement.

Mike-And-Jane0
Level 10
England, United Kingdom

@Courtney517 clearly this is unacceptable and it is good you finally got the right result with Airbnb.

You could consider, as the rules allow it, only to host female guests if that would make you more comfortable. 

Courtney517
Level 2
Edinburgh, United Kingdom

I certainly will no longer accept single male guest requests when they have no prior highly positive reviews.  I have not ever had any problems of this nature with couples (heterosexual or gay or lesbian) or single women, and to date I have only had a couple of single male guests but never, ever with this sort of experience.

Clara116
Level 10
Pensacola, FL

@Courtney517  I can't imagine how upsetting this was....I'm sorry that this happened...but maybe those CS people and some hosts have had to rethink their style in hosts to be ready for weirdo garbage and make sure settings as re in my place and this stuff reported. I personally would call the Cops since you got his pic and full name...he needs to know this is NOT OK! Again sorry it's upsetting stuff. Peace, Clara 

Courtney517
Level 2
Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Like I said above, if AirBnB have the staff time available to review credit cards before accepting new guests to the network then surely they have the time to review the photo and profile before allowing them to make bookings.

 

I have always had positive experiences with CS and AirBnB more widely so am very disappointed by this experience

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