Guest damaged property then when i file insurance claim, she leaves a very damaging retaliatory review. Airbnb team is refusing to delete the review. My lifehihood being attacked!

Answered!
Val4219
Level 3
Hollywood, FL

Guest damaged property then when i file insurance claim, she leaves a very damaging retaliatory review. Airbnb team is refusing to delete the review. My lifehihood being attacked!

Recently, a guest nearly burned down my house. She tells me one of her invitees left something burning. I discovered that it was more severe then I thought. There was literally a fire at the airbnb. The walls, ceiling, kitchen cabinets, even dishes inside of the cupboards were covered in heavy  smoke soot. I had extensive smoke damage!!! 

I politely contacted the guest about it and let her know that I was going to file an insurance claim. Hours later the guest submits a review that was exceedingly damaging to me. 

Her point was 

1- I checked her in late

2- she didn't realize it was a 1 bath house. And calls it to ATTENTION

3- I did not communicate with her for 1 week leading to check-in

 

She gave me 1 star review!!! I have been a superhost for 2 years without gaps at all. I go above and beyond for my guests though that does not mean I am perfect but I try to make ALL my guests happy.

 

The lowest review ever was 3 star.

 

airbnb is telling me that her listing meets their review requirement and they will not delete it.  I told them their policy should include retaliation which is clear.

 

This guest noted 1 star for accuracy after stating that she did not pay attention to the fact it was a 3 bedroom 1 bathroom house. My listing clearly stated its 3/1. If you overlook that, how is that consistent with my listing being inaccurate?  She gave me 1 star for right about everything she could. 

 

The day she needed to checkin, I lost my phone and needed to get a new one. I was 1.5 hours late sending her the code. I felt awful. I offered $30 compensation to which she agreed. Then I thought further how awful it must be to wait so long, I went back and gave her $50 instead!!!  I am a host that cares!!! She did not mention this. But never mind, right? 

 

Then communication. I communicated with the guest in airbnb inbox multiple times after booking and leading to the checkin via both airbnb and direct text messages. So we can lie and that is accurate right?

 

Checkout - checkout is at 11 am, right? The guest contacts me to let her mother back in the house because they forget their funeral flowers.  It is past 2pm. I hesitate because its not policy to let people back in several hours after checkout but AGAIN I wanted to be kind so I say ok.  The mother shows up at 5pm!!! My cleaning staff had saved the flowers and handed them to the mother.  That deserves 1 star review right? And that is okay with airbnb to victimize a great superhost, right?

 

I document everything and advise airbnb of all of this and they still said her review does not violate the review policy.  But MY LIFELIHOOD is being attacked because I file insurance claim.

 

The review policy should include retaliation. 

 

THE INSIDIOUS THING ABOUT RETALIATION IS THAT IT CAN MAKE EVERYTHING LOOK PLAUSIBLE AND LOGICAL YET MAKE VICTIMS OF ALL OF US.

 

I demand that review be removed and the review policy include retaliatory behavior.

 

I am just LIVID!!!!

1 Best Answer
Helen744
Level 10
Victoria, Australia

@Val4219 you have answered your own question val . i think you are super stressed by this apalling guest . How did your cleaners not tell you about this sooner ? or was a pot or something left after they left , maybe in a hurry. leaving funeral flowers seems odd as well . send the guest an extra charge for cleaning and any damage and ask the guest to please remove the review as after the house nearly burnt down and you saved flowers for a return then you feel that she has added insult to injury.something along the lines of . Dear , so and so," It was unfortunate that your stay was marred by the late check in ,for which I take responsibility and returned you fifty dollars , but the rest of the stay seemed to go okay. did it not ?I am not sure what occurred that caused you to leave the funeral flowers behind and to cause a fire at my home. I am happy to send photos of this incident . I will need to send them to Airbnb , but to alleviate this situation to some extent I am requesting an extra cleaning fee , plus that you remove the very damaging and unfair review that has been posted as the low stars will damage my rating. Please do these things or I will escalate this situation through airbnb as this is untrue and damaging to my home and reputation , although i do realise that the damage was not deliberate . Thank you and I look forward to you taking positive action to help in this situation" .do this in messaging and then move on to talking with Airbnb. H

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26 Replies 26
Jacob695
Level 2
Rogers, AR

Hi!  Just wondering how the situation was handled if you were going through Airbnb's air cover for the reimbursement for damages.  We had a similar situation, and our airbnb has soot and smoke damage. We followed all of the procdures; took pictures and noted the damages and got quotes from a restoration company.  We then submitted a reimbursement request which was then declined by the guest and escalated to Airbnb for Aircover.  Our Airbnb has been sitting vacant now for nearly 3 weeks and we have not heard back from Airbnb's air cover team about the situation.  Just wondering how long it took for you?  I have followed up with Airbnb 4 times now.

 

We have been losing revenue because it is sitting empty, unlisted, and still damaged nearly a month later with no resolve.

Sean140
Level 5
Chicago, IL

@Val4219 So sorry to hear about your terrible experience with the guest as well as the damaging that occurred as a result.  Hope that you are able to get your property back online and that future guests will find your property to be an ideal location.

Val4219
Level 3
Hollywood, FL

Key things I learned from this unfortunate experience:

 

1- invest in wifi-enabled  smart-locks and fire alarms. I will also change my split AC units to wifi.

 

My house could have burned out without me knowing it.  

 

2- don't take your eyes off your investments. 

 

Knowing what guests are doing in your home at all time is key. Goes back to #1.

 

3- upgrade my homeowner insurance policy to make sure it's airtight

 

Don't know how aircover will come thru in my situation or in more serious circumstances. Our responsibility as hosts is to protect our investment.

 

4- keep loyal dedicated cleaning personnel. Lots of the services turn over the staff. You can't trust their dedication to keep you successful

Helen744
Level 10
Victoria, Australia

@Val4219 you have answered your own question val . i think you are super stressed by this apalling guest . How did your cleaners not tell you about this sooner ? or was a pot or something left after they left , maybe in a hurry. leaving funeral flowers seems odd as well . send the guest an extra charge for cleaning and any damage and ask the guest to please remove the review as after the house nearly burnt down and you saved flowers for a return then you feel that she has added insult to injury.something along the lines of . Dear , so and so," It was unfortunate that your stay was marred by the late check in ,for which I take responsibility and returned you fifty dollars , but the rest of the stay seemed to go okay. did it not ?I am not sure what occurred that caused you to leave the funeral flowers behind and to cause a fire at my home. I am happy to send photos of this incident . I will need to send them to Airbnb , but to alleviate this situation to some extent I am requesting an extra cleaning fee , plus that you remove the very damaging and unfair review that has been posted as the low stars will damage my rating. Please do these things or I will escalate this situation through airbnb as this is untrue and damaging to my home and reputation , although i do realise that the damage was not deliberate . Thank you and I look forward to you taking positive action to help in this situation" .do this in messaging and then move on to talking with Airbnb. H

Val4219
Level 3
Hollywood, FL

@Helen744 thank you so much for your input. It was a LIFESAVER!!!

 

I thought about it and wrote a nice letter to the guest apologizing for starting on a bad foot and sharing empathy for how I would feel if the shoes were reversed. And I explained how I take responsibility and would have appreciated it if she did the same were I too a guest at her house and walked away leaving so much damage as a surprise. I asked her to search her heart for the truth. I told her I am not an enemy even after all that. I am just a homeowner whose house was damaged and have no choice but to seek compensation.

 

I attached the pictures for her review and asked her to delete the review.

 

She just did so.

 

Omg! I am so happy.  And I forgive her.  We all make mistakes but we gotta hold ourselves accountable.

 

@Helen744 and all of you hosts who stood by me, thank you. We are stronger together.

 

I submitted a feedback on the review policy and I hope you all do.  Retaliation on the part of guests or hosts should not be tolerated.

Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom

@Val4219 

 

I'm so glad that the review has been removed as it certainly sounds like you didn't deserve it! Sorry you had to go through all that stress.

 

However, while I don't want to be a party pooper, I feel I do have to issue a word of caution to other hosts reading this and thinking of doing the same, because it is actually against Airbnb policy. Had the guest reacted a different way and, instead, reported you to Airbnb, it could have resulted in you being permanently banned from the platform. 

 

I wasn't aware of the precise details of this, but Susan from Dublin sent me this:

 

WhatsApp Image 2022-10-22 at 09.06.52.jpeg

 

As you can see, this can result in restrictions, suspension or removal. You took that risk and it paid off this time, but I don't believe that I would want to play that kind of Russian roulette with my Airbnb business.

Val4219
Level 3
Hollywood, FL

@Huma0 , Airbnb rules and regulation prohibits bribing (quid pro quo). Not the situation here.

 

 I wrote in a manner that de-escalates and calls for reason nothing more.

Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom

@Val4219 

 

I am not saying that you tried to bribe the guest or extort her or coerce her. But, if the guest had reported you, CS might have seen it that way because there was a resolution dispute/damage claim. That's where it gets tricky and you just don't know where they will go with that decision, especially as we have seen so often on this forum that hosts get suspended without warning, explanation or consultation and then the nightmare begins... CS might have considered your message proof enough if the guest felt that she was being pressurised.

 

That's not to say that I think there is anything wrong with kindly asking a guest to remove their review. I have done it and it worked for me. But, there was no damage claim at play.

 

I'm not telling you that you broke policy, but other hosts reading this thread might read your story, word things a different way and end up with a very bad result. It's important that people understand the policy I posted above and tread with caution.

Gillian166
Level 10
Hay Valley, Australia

@Val4219  I'm SO glad to hear this worked out for you. 

Helen744
Level 10
Victoria, Australia

@Val4219Power to the people Val . Way to go you legend. I always say hosting comes down to a contract of trust in the end . Well done H

Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom

@Val4219 

 

Sorry this happened to you, but why did you leave a review for her as 'great guest' when she nearly burnt your house down?

Val4219
Level 3
Hollywood, FL

@Huma0 it was a case of mistaken identity. I had marked down another guest for the resolution.  I only realized who she was when I saw the date and by then the review was already submitted.

 

I had been away and returned to a lot of notifications to submit reviews for multiple guests.   by default i rate my guests well cause most of my guests are beyond great.

Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom

@Val4219 

 

Oh no. That's really bad. Did you manage to get the review/ratings of the guest you mistakenly marked down removed? I hope so. Poor guest.

 

Sorry, I don't want to lecture here, but this is something you need to get on top of. The review process is quite important and leaving a bad review for a good guest is a major blunder. 

 

I understand that you were away and therefore maybe a bit stretched for time, but you don't appear to have a massively high turnover with multiple listings to manage and you seem to mostly leave the same review, i.e. "great guests", so I would think you would make a note of that one guest that nearly burnt your house down!

 

I host long term stays now so I don't need to leave a lot of reviews, but when I was still doing short term, I had many to do. What I found helpful was keeping a document when I would quickly make notes if some issue came up, but also just in general to keep track.

 

For example, some guests would be wonderful in every aspect other than they were extremely messy, or have terrible communication so I would make a quick note of that in order to remember how to rate them when I did the review.

 

I always try to leave personalised reviews, and did this even when I had many more to write. It takes less than two minutes. I am pretty sure that guests will appreciate it more if you leave one or two sentences about them and, if you have to think about it for a few seconds, rather than just write "great guest", you are less likely to make a mistake.

 

It will leave them with a warm, fuzzy feeling, and they are more likely to book with you again, which is obviously a good thing if they were indeed great guests. Guests, just like hosts, like to feel valued.

Val4219
Level 3
Hollywood, FL

Hi @Huma0  I think you might have read wrong. I left a great review for everyone including the one that damaged my house. I did not realize she was on the list of people to review.

 

I fired the cleaning service I was using.   They put me in that predicament in the first place. I was far more successful when I cleaned myself or had a dedicated person who knows my house and standards.   

 

I only have one listing now. However, I have been busy renovating another house that I listed for sale.  That's how I got distracted.

Val4219
Level 3
Hollywood, FL

I am asking for my review to be taken down on basis of mistaken identity not retaliation.

Mark116
Level 10
Jersey City, NJ

@Val4219  I'm sorry this happened to you, but Airbnb will never remove that review.  I'm curious, was there anything in the guest's communication that on looking back, were red flags that she was 'one of those guests' who didn't pay attention herself but at the same time was high maintenance.

 

I don't think your response was that bad.  We are all human.  It may over explain, but it would not prevent me from booking with you, it seems an honest and forthright response to someone who was both a bad guest and not a very nice person.  

Val4219
Level 3
Hollywood, FL

Thank you @Mark116 I was rereading my response. I got overheated but yes I said the things I meant to say in the absence of expletives, of course. Lol.

 

But if given the chance to rewrite I will be more concise. 

 

As superhosts we should all be concerned of retaliation and ask airbnb to upgrade the review policy to deter such behavior.  That guest submitted no reviews for 2 weeks until I submitted the claim. Hours later she drops the bomshell

Val4219
Level 3
Hollywood, FL

No. Late check-in is not little, which is why i went above and beyond.  I take that seriously. 

 

I dont believe i would burn a house and just walk away saying nothing.  The damage she left is no joke. It's well over a grand. 

 

I think from what she told me, is that she vacated the house and left her guests in there who caused the damage.  And that is not ethical and against airbnb policy.

 

She needs to check her moral compass before submitting a review like that. There are real life consequences here. 

Gwen386
Level 10
Lusby, MD

@Val4219  I was prepared for you to say tens of thousands of dollars in damage when you said she almost burned my house down! Now, I’m not saying over a thousand dollars is not a lot of money, because it is, but I was envisioning a lot more. 

All hosts are in fear of retaliatory reviews or even less than 5 stars. But it’s going to happen if we stay in business long enough. We just not have to allow it to knock us down. And, if it does, we just have to get back up and make sure that we completely vet those who rent our property. 

One other thing, if you don’t have a fire extinguisher, please put one in your home.  

Mike-And-Jane0
Level 10
England, United Kingdom

@Val4219 I would ask Airbnb to delete your response. All it will do is encourage people to ask for compensation for small issues (although a late check in is not a small issue to me.

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