New York, NY Level 2
I would like to share with you my nightmare experience as a host. I am feeling really left out by Airbnb, and I have the impression that I am not protected. I don’t know if you feel the same. Happy to read your stories.
here my story. From day 1 to the end the client M. has found all the little things to discredit my place my place. M. Called three times Airbnb to complain about stuff that is not even true just to get a reimbursement. The client has unpleasant communication to me and my team. When M. end up leaving through altering the dates, the client never showed for the check out leaving my property unlocked, all AC and lights on. M. Left the place dirty with trashes the floor. The client has never paid the electricity. I have requested the client to pay the electricity and M. has still not yet paid the electricity. The client does not pick up Airbnb calls. And I am told that they cannot do anything. I asked Airbnb to delete the review, which Airbnb denied. This is clearly a nightmare experience. The client will ruin my business and there is no sanction against it. How can we be protected, how can we protect this type of client to future hosts. I will clearly post a bad review but this is not enough. I am feeling that there’s no enough protection to host. Clearly the client has violated multiple times the rules despite’s evidence nothing is done.
Sorry for my long message, but happy to have your advice, stories.
@Huma0 At the moment these limitations are by law in some European countries, for example in Italy, France and Germany. For now there are still no problems, it is assumed there could be in the months between December 2022 and February of next year. Since Airbnb has not yet made it clear that it will not accept energy complaints, the only way for us is to protect ourselves with the house rules and the contract.
Yes, you are very wise to do so! I can see guests getting bent out of shape about it, especially the bit about the WiFi!
@Huma0 here is a translation of the new rule:
The Italian Government has established that thermal heating systems of any type can be switched on in the period from 22 October 2022 to 7 April 2023, limiting the daily duration of ignition up to a maximum of 13 hours per day.
According to the law, the internal temperature in the period can never exceed 19 degrees centigrade.
Resolutions of the Condominium Assembly, or other causes not dependent on the host's will, could lead to further limitations on the period or daily duration of ignition, and also the total shutdown of the heating systems.
Limiting the use of electricity is also recommended.
In the event of excessive consumption, the supply of electricity may be suspended without notice.
In the absence of energy, in addition to the impossibility of using any appliance, in particular the heating will be off, hot water will not be available, the internet line will not be active, the induction hob will not work.
Due to technical problems, or for other reasons beyond the control of the host, there may be interruptions, without notice and for an indefinite period, of the Internet line.
Oh wow. Well we don't have anything like that here. There is no limit on energy consumption, just high prices!
When we did have a hosepipe ban here in late summer due to drought, I asked the guests to please try not to be excessive with their water consumption, i.e. not put tiny loads of laundry on long washes or leave taps running when not in use. It made no difference. One guest responded, "Oh, I don't do those things anyway," which was nonsense because she absolutely did, otherwise I wouldn't have been asking in the first place! The thing is, the ban just meant that you were not allowed to water your garden with a hose pipe nor wash your car. We were 'asked' to try to conserve water in other ways, but it was not a law. So, there was not much more I could say to guests about it.
@Huma0 At the moment what we are doing is actually raising the price to address energy costs. Go to taste, I personally would prefer to know what I'm paying for, but one way or another, the only way is to increase costs. I and some other Italian hosts, we have also added a new house rule to protect us from any complaints because it is cold or for possible interruptions in the supply of energy that do not depend on us.
What's the house rule? I mean, how do you word it?
I've had in my house rules for a long time that the heating is not on overnight (that's actually unhealthy and rarely necessary here), but guests will still complain about that. Many guests simply will not tolerate being cold, even if it's because they are walking around in shorts and bare feet.
Sorry to hear you experienced many problems with this guest. However, I'm a bit confused about some of the things in your post.
On your listing, you state that the guest pays for the electricity directly themselves via a couple of different methods.
"It is up to travelers to pay the personal electricity comsumption during the stay. You can refill the electricity depending on your comsumption (or we can assist you to do it) via Wave or Orange Money."
So, if the guest hadn't bought the units of electricity, how was it that they were able to use it? For sure, it's idiotic to leave the AC and lights on when checking out but, again, wasn't this electricity that he had already paid for as per the above methods? Why would you be charging him later via the Airbnb system if that is the case? Or, was it that there was already enough
Anyway, let's suppose that you are not using the methods of payment above, and only charging the guest for electricity after the stay, I am not sure that's a good idea because, as you have found out, Airbnb won't do anything to collect the money if the guest refuses to pay or they can't get hold of him/her.
Re leaving the place dirty, with trash on the floor, the listing says that you provide cleaning twice a week. So, did you not clean the place during his stay? Or, are you saying that he made this mess in the few days at the end of the stay and not before? If the listing is being cleaned twice weekly, then one would think it couldn't get too bad... But I guess some guests are very messy.
RE the review, I cannot see a review from this guest on the listing and of course you cannot see his review until you leave one yourself, or the 14 day deadline has passed. Do you already know he has left a review, i.e. So, did you get a notification about it and you are just anticipating that it will be bad and asking Airbnb in advance to remove it? They will not do that and will only remove a review if it violates their review/content policy (please read these for more information). So, you need to wait to read his review and then ask for it to be removed and state what it is in the review that breaks Airbnb's policies, otherwise they are just not going to do it. As you know, if they don't remove it, you still have the right to respond to it.
You are right that the host is not that well protected, but in this case, I can't see that there is much you can do, except to leave an honest review/ratings for the guest.
Thanks Huma for your responses. Much appreciated to have your feedback.
Indeed you are right, I should mention clearly on the listing. In fact, since it’s an electrical meter and people does not know how to charge the electricity we are putting enough money in the electrical meter so they can use the electricity. We checked the electrical meter at the arrival and when the client leaves that gives an expect amount of Kw consumption and this will give the price of the consumption. I should clarify so everyone is aware, but to be honest this is the first I have an issue with a client not showing up to the check out with unpaid bill.
Regarding the cleaning, there are two times cleaning on Monday and Thursday. The client arrived on Thursday but left on Monday. Even though the cleaning is included, I should have to find the appartement with trashes on the floor just out of respect.
With regards to the review, yes right. I anticipate she will make a bad review based on the communication she had from day 1. I know there is nothing we can do, and I have read the rules. And I will make sure to respond publicly just to protect the future host and guest (because the client is also a Host).
Thanks for the clarification.
I know that most people are honest and will pay their bills, but this could easily happen to you again, so I would try to find another way if I was you to protect yourself and you can't rely on Airbnb for this.
Another host takes a deposit for electricity. She sets a limit for usage and, if the guest goes over it, she will charge them from the deposit. However, she says they never do. Once there is money to lose, people stop being as wasteful!
RE the review, you might get lucky and the guest won't leave a review at all. Bad guests often don't. If she is a host then she probably knows that you have the right to respond and she knows she did not pay for the electricity! There are plenty of things you could politely and calmly point out in the response that would demonstrate that she was the guilty party.
Hi @Huma0 , I only intervene to point out that, as I suspected when I wrote the post on energy, this method of detecting consumption and then eventually asking for compensation for excessive consumption, does not guarantee in any way that the guest will actually pay you, for this reason I insist that the best way remains to add a flat cost for the energy.
Yes, I know. The suggestion above (which is what @Debra300 does) involves taking a despot up front, as well as meter readings. Therefore, she already has money from the guests in case of excessive consumption. Of course, you have to make sure that the deposit is large enough to cover what it might cost but Debra says that it also helps to deter them from being wasteful. It is their money, after all, that they risk losing!
I have not done anything like this myself. As I think I mentioned on your post, because I host different guests in my own shared home where I also live, it's impossible to say who used what. A flat cost would therefore certainly work better for me. If I was renting out a complete unit though, I'd certainly consider other methods.
I have created the energy saver version of our guesthouse studio listings, and they have the 20% discount promo. We will see in the next six month how many, if any, guests choose the non-AC listings over the regular ones. If they can find us with the new search functionality. Our Airbnb guests have been a bit different than those who make reservations with us on other platforms in that they tend to expect more than what's advertised. We charge more on the other sites, including a separate electricity fee and service fee for the credit card transaction, yet during the past year the percentage of our bookings have significantly shifted away from Airbnb to those made on other platforms. Airbnb used to represent about 35% and now are less than 10%, and the length of stay is much shorter.
I don't have comparisons to make RE other platforms as I'm not using any. I tried listing on Houfy, but there seems to be NOTHING happening on that site at all.
I have noticed though that more Airbnb guests lately expect more than is advertised. Recently, most of the enquires I'm getting are from people who want what I am not offering, e.g. private bathroom, two person booking when my rooms are for one. I even had one where the guest was from London and wanted to book my listing specifically to entertain her friends. I would say, right now, I am turning away four out of five.
I wanted to add (for some reason can't edit my post above) that if it's a flat fee, wouldn't it be better to incorporate it into the room price? Personally I hate it when there are lots of extra fees on top of the room rate and I know many guests feel the same.
Thanks Huma. It’s always good to have feedbacks from other hosts.
You are absolutely right. And your advice is much valued. Thanks for your great suggestion.
Unfortunately the client has left a review. I know. I am just waiting until the very last end to give a review back. I will make also a public response. thankfully this guest is an exception among all the good clients, but having this experience is just a nightmare.