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400+ completed trips, Superhost status ... and now today, my first bad review (and how I got it removed) ;-)!


#1

“Since the site is called Airbnb and I have come to England, I was expecting a full English breakfast with fried meat.”

…Yes, folks - really! These were the words that came out of the mouth of a first-time user, on the second-day of stay after she cornered me in my living room. Err, I’m sure my non-meat eating guests would really appreciate the aroma of fried sausage / black-pudding / various saturated-fats wafting up to their rooms in the morning, I thought! I didn’t say that, however. Instead, I calmly explained that although breakfast is not actually included in the list of amenities within my listings, I do provide a selection of cereals / porridge / jams / freshly baked bread (that’s right, I even baked her some nice bread!), tea and coffee as a complimentary touch which guests are welcome to help themselves to at their own convenience / leisure.

“Ah, that makes sense.”

I explained all this to you on your arrival, I thought, whilst making you tea in my kitchen… but I guess some folks just don’t listen… so anyways, whatevs ;-)!

After her 5/6 day stay is over she leaves on what appear to be good terms but I am left with a very negative feeling about her in general. I’ve done my best to meet all her needs, been at her beckon call, giving her everything she asks for - extra towels, tea-making things, transport advice, specific dining-out tips, even arranging her transport from the airport. But something wasn’t right - I could tell she simply could not get her head around the Airbnb ‘home-share’ concept (probably thought she was coming to a hotel).

So then her review came in and I make the decision not to leave her one because I know whatever she’s said is going to be, well, odd (at best). Also, because I want the reviews of subsequent (and normal) guests to build up before hers becomes public after 20 days. So then 20 days pass and I have 3 excellent reviews from the 3 lovely guests since she left. Today it became pubic. I was shocked to see just how damning it was! Slamming me for not serving her breakfast, not cleaning her room for her after each day, for being out some evenings so she could not ask me certain questions (I am always available by text or whatsapp and reply straight away, as she well knew as she bombarded me with messages constantly!). She also complained that it was too far from the city centre and took her 1 hour to walk. I’m not sure what route she took but it must have been very scenic (again, I explained the best route to take, only to fall on deaf ears) … it takes a normal person 20-25 minutes to walk to the city centre (or a 10 minute bus ride, if you’re feeling lazy).

I was checking my emails when I noticed it - I was out having a coffee and taking a break from some last minute Christmas errands … the funny thing is, even though she was obviously a nutter, I was utterly heart-broken and almost had a breakdown in the coffee shop :cry:!

Now, I’m a firm believer in how it’s often necessary to make a mockery out of such ludicrous individuals. When done in the right way you can destroy them in a handful of words, without even seeming like you’re rising to them. So I starts to plan my public response … but in the end I decided it was too draining and the best thing to do would be to first try and get it removed altogether. I took the plunge and called air when I got home. To be honest I just expected them to say they couldn’t do anything or advise me to leave a response … but the rep was very good and agreed it was a classic-case of a first-time user misinterpreting thier ethos … moments after the phone-call, an email comes through saying that the review is based on ‘unrealistic expectations’ and has been removed. Yay! :heart_eyes:


#2

Well, wow… I thought getting one removed like that would be impossible ! Well done!

Re responding to review the goal is not to destroy the person or even to give them the slightest consideration.Responses are for the benefit of future guests reading the review.

The original guest is gone and no one gives a damn what she thinks.


#3

Kittyp, so sorry!! Those things bruise us deeply. Good job taking the high road. And thanks for letting us know the positive experience with airbnb. Its great to hear a happy ending!


#4

AWESOME!!! Kitty, I am so very glad you were able to get Air to side with you and remove that crazy review! What a kook, she sounds like she was expecting the damned Ritz Carleton! Like you were supposed to be the concierge or 24/7 desk staff?

(Are you willing to share what country she hails from, I seriously hope it was not the U.S.! We’re not all like that!)

I totally hear you and totally get the feeling of first (something is off/odd) and then finally, shock and heartbreak that these cruel jerks have it in their measly power to wield on those of us doing our damndest to make sure they have a good travel experience. GOOD on you for getting that badness removed!

To me it sounds like you offer more than breakfast, and certainly WAY more than I offer! I would love to come stay in your place and would be so grateful for even one bit of tea and some advice about the transport. (Even though, the Tube is so easy, a kid could learn it in minutes…)

May you (or any of us) never see the likes of this awful kind of guest again!

PS. I agree it’s a slippery slope to leave a public response. For one thing, they print the entire thing and for another it just draws more attention to the entire awful thing, and thirdly, it’s just so hard to respond without sounding defensive. You did everything right here!


#5

Hey, Kona - the ‘lady’ in question was Dutch. Now these guys are very similar to the British - so it totally makes sense that they should harbour a wedge of crazies in their demographic, too ;-)! She was also an older guest - now, not always (have had some marvellous older guests!) but I think this can occasionally be an issue as their expectations are sometimes the hardest to manage?

However, sometimes I think you get newbies who are just not suited to the Homeshare concept … they’ve arrived by accident - either stumbling upon Airbnb through a search-engine then booking your place (just because it’s cheaper than comparative hotels - without even bothering to research what Airbnb is) or someone suggested to them to try Airbnb and they have gone along with it - without bothering to even find out what it is - often having the booking made for them!! I have had such guests in the past, and this individual was DEFINATELY a text book example of that, haha!

Having said that, many of my guests are first-timers and have been absolutely brilliant! I don’t even bother screening my guests too much and only deny an enquiry if they have weird/unreasonable requests or just seem straight-off rude … I generally just take it as it comes and I actually quite like the feeling of not quite knowing what to expect in the moments leading up to a guest rolling up! However, this was just altogether an unfortunate anomaly! But 1 in 400? Those are the kinds of odds I think I can live with ;-)!


#6

How horrible. The expectations of breakfast included here in the UK is different isn’t it. I had a guest recently who left a nice public review but slammed me in the private review for not having a microwave they could use among other things - which they knew all about before heading over.

It’s good to know that Air will side with us over reviews like this but to be honest, its in there interest really isn’t it? Sounds like you have been a very good earner for them (are you in London/Edinburgh?)!

There is a forum topic not to far down titled ‘Guests complain because I don’t serve breakfast - Not a true Airbnb they say’ - check it out.


#7

i’m so happy for you that you had a good outcome! good job! by the law of averages i think you’ve been long overdue for an encounter with a looney :stuck_out_tongue:


#8

Why do you think this is?


#9

I think because actual B&B’s and also guesthouses (which are just larger B&B’s) always have and always will serve a hot English breakfast and here in the UK and they are a dime a dozen. There are loads of them and I think a lot were created as a way to make a second income, so when Airbnb came along they all got quite upset. In reality, it seems from posts on here and in my experience it is only the older generation (that haven’t read your listing right) that expect a breakfast.


#10

Kirsty, you’ve hit the nail on head! Although I agree that the name Airbnb could be misleading , people still need to read the damn listing!! Yes, I did see the other thread created by Wilburforce about that older couple who also expected a breakfast - I wonder what the outcome was and if they slammed him too!


#11

Wow nice that you got it removed!! Must have been a horrible experience with a loonie!! Thanks for sharing! I hope I can be as clear headed as you when I run into this.


#12

Yeah Wing, it was really weird - but I’m glad to say it was a freak occurrence :-)! It’s bound to happen once in a while, I just wanted to reassure everyone about how helpful Air were under these circumstances👍🏻!


#13

Very nice story, Kittyp. This topic is always sitting in my mind when I screen my guests and I think majority of my first-time airbnb guests got their declines due to “unrealistic expectations”. That’s why I really recommend to make more than one back-and-forth messages prior you accept the booking. It always makes sense to get a feeling of their real expectations so we both know it’s all natural and there is no lies attached to it.


#14

As a host from the uk who has travelled the world, and toured the states to many times to remember, I can hobestly say, that Dutch food is nothing like English, (having visited holland over a dozen times)

European countries and cultures have been around for Thousands of years and are of course vastly different in almost every aspect.

Perhaps your generalisation could be the problem.

As long as what’s on offer is detailed it’s the guests choice to book or not.

If they don’t like then that’s their fault, don’t try and wrongly bring whole continents into play!

Utter madness


#15

Hahaha, I never said anything about Dutch food :joy::joy:joy:!!!


#16

Yep, Igor - I couldn’t agree more - a dialogue is important … but this guest used ‘instant book’ and I guess I just assumed she’d read the listing content (how silly of me!).
I’ve been hosting a year now, so it’s probably time the content got an overhaul, actually… I shall defiantly add an explicit footnote (maybe in the ‘house-rules’!) about not being a greasy-spoon B&B, in a bid to deter any potential future riff-raff :smiley: !


#17

As my brother is married to a Dutch, believe be they are very different.

As the British are slightly more reserved and are certainly less used to luxurious hotels found in the states or the UAE for example it is my experience that, expcations are usually lower within smaller countries, however, no one size fits all, and their are smucks everywhere sadly :slight_smile:


#18

Without a food preparation license, we can’t serve any unsealed food. Certainly in the uk.

This may become a major problem, hotels will find a way to close Airbnb Down, and I bet food preparation, fire precautions, you name it, they will try :frowning:


#19

I am happy for OP that Airbnb removed the review based on ‘unrealistic expectations’, although very surprised.

Airbnb declined my request to remove an empty review (no words but with retaliatory 1-star ratings) and insisted the empty review did not violate Airbnb’s review guidelines and content policy below. I was told Airbnb almost never remove any review.

https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/262/what-are-the-airbnb-review-guidelines
https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/546/content-policy


#20

I too was somewhat surprised, GB - I think it stems down to them trying to nip-in-the-bud the misconception among some new users that Airbnb is a blanket site for your bog-standard B&Bs… as opposed to unique home-stay experiences. I got the impression this is something they have to deal with quite often :yum:


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