Big Bear Lake, CA Level 9
I have been a long time AirBnB user over the years and to date have never had an issue with any Host until recently. Travelled to London and booked an AirBnB in Fitzrovia. Nice little apartment. Communication with Host was good. We left the apartment as planned after 3 nights on Saturday 26 November 2022 at 10.00am, leaving keys in the Lock Box and advising the Host we had left. On Tuesday afternoon, 29 November 2022, I receive an email from the Host saying they wanted over $1200 AUD for damage to three items - a blind, a lounge chair and a Duvet. There were photos sent with the Request. What was most disturbing, other than the fact that we were not responsible for any of the issues brought forward by the Host, was that she accused us of having Children in the apartment, stating there were sticky fingermarks all over the furniture, and a green boiled lolly had melted into the Duvet and the stain could not be removed. My wife and I are in our 60's, we did not travel with any children - we have our Ferry Tickets/Airline tickets to prove there are just the 2 of us travelling. Why I even have to state this is beyond me. We did not even bring any food to the apartment as we ate out all the time. We only had cups of tea and coffee. We never even sat in the chair the Host accused us of damaging. We do not even know what blind the Host was referring noting we closed all three blinds when we arrived and never touched them ever again. The green stain of the Duvet, well we did not even remember seeing it, as if I would have I would have certainly taken a photo of it and sent to the Host. I have stayed in Air BnBs previously an on one occasion I broke a Hosts knife, and then replaced an item that broke with a vastly surperior type, and advised the Host of doing so. The accusations that this Host has made was Disputed by us, and whilst we await Air BnB to resolve, and regardless of what their response is, we feel like we have been scammed, and also hold the opinion that this Host must be a serial Accuser desperate for another Fix of sorts. Maybe she gets lucky with 1 out of every 10, but watch this space because whatever it takes and with a solid background in contract law, I will make it my mission to flush out people who think that this practice is acceptable. Hosts have a responsibility to provide a Service, within the bounds of the Law. AirBnB users also have obligations that protect the Host's property. These accusations levelled at us are not only unjust, they are lies, and the accusations could be easily interpreted as threatening. The term Extortion comes to mind, but I'll leave the AirBnB review team to work it out. I am very eager for anyone from Team AirBnB to reach out to verify the above. Like I said, I will not let this go. It is so so so wrong. AirBnB is a good product, however the screening of their Hosts in our case, leave alot to be desired.
The host is either confused or is hustling, if the accusations do not fit. Probably the former and in that case just needs the time to realize it, if the latter the host should be dismissed as a charlatan.
I'm not sure I would assume this was a scam right off the bat. Did someone such as a cleaning person, perhaps with a child in tow, enter the apartment after you left? Maybe this kid caused the damage the host is alleging. It's such a weird group of items to claim damage for, and all sound like kid damage.
You have to respond to the request immediately though, or it will be decided in their favor. So decline it. Upload all of the receipts you mention to prove your ages and traveling status. Any photos of the place when you left. Think of it like going to court with Judge Judy. The person who has the best documentation is going to win.
Honestly from the sounds of it, their case is pretty weak. I am not sure they would prevail.
If a host did this all the time to guests, they wouldn't last very long as a successful host and there would be a record of it. Airbnb would cotton on to a pattern.
I think it's someone else.. Since you have had good communications with the host, write back and ask if someone else might have entered the place after your departure. What if the cleaning person had a kid and didn't even know they were running around breaking blinds and getting sticky messes on everything?
Sorry, the website is being glitchy today and just deleted my response. I was suggesting that possibly the host had other guests stay directly after you and is getting confused.
AirBnB users also have obligations that protect the Host's property. These accusations levelled at us are not only unjust, they are lies, and the accusations could be easily interpreted as threatening. The term Extortion comes to mind, but I'll leave the AirBnB review team to work it out. I am very eager for anyone from Team AirBnB to reach out to verify the above. [OP]
If it was me, I'd keep insisting that the accusations are untrue [bring up also the fact that you have been an Airbnb user for many years and have no similar cases - at age of 60 people dont just turn into vandals!] ...and then what you wrote here, say to Airbnb; they are LYING and this is a Con. [so they investigate and see if its a way of operation by this particular host] G.LUCK
@Peter3602On behalf of UK hosts I can only apologise for this behaviour. It is really awkward when a host claims damage and a guest denies causing it. I have seen instances where it is suggested that guests and hosts should take videos of the place they stay but this is frankly ridiculous as even a video wouldn't show some types of damage.
I guess there are sadly bad hosts and bad guests out there and I really don't know how Airbnb can determine which it is for each case.
I wish you luck with fighting this claim and suggest that you just refuse to pay for damage you didn't cause. I suspect if you just refuse to pay it will go away.