Advice for false reviews 1 Star

I’m looking for some advice as have tried twice to get this review removed with AirBnb declining.

The guest caused damage to my property and left such a mess it took extra 4 hours to clean. The damage requires insurance assessment as the guests caused many cuts in my kitchen bench, burnt carpet which looks consistent to a smoking device, and on my table.

They have left me a 1 star review. The review is false and vindictive after I asked for extra cleaning then damage.

“If you’re a member of the minority, don’t stay here unless you want your holiday plans ruined.
We were disturbed, surveiled and intruded on throughout our stay.There were workman using power tools and disturbing the peace. The Host Deb, is a racist scammer who has been targeting myself and my friends with a campaign to extort charges for damages that occurred prior to our stay.”

There was no workman noise. There is a Unit next door which they took photos of two cars which did not impact their stay but claimed they were workman with power tools. One car was only there for 20 minutes. The outdoor camera verified unregistered guests arriving 4:30am each night, possibly for prayer before sunrise. If anything they were disruptive and noisy.

I’m not racist I’m from a multicultural family and host many races. I’m not a scammer either. The guests I believe were possibly Muslim Religion and have taken that angle for leverage. I had all their names provided for the five officially staying so if I was racist I would have cancelled the booking as they have Islamic names. Instead I welcomed them.

I now need to write a reply. I’m devastated and considering deleting my listing with 50 reviews as probably no one will book now. I still have another listing with 39 reviews. Trying to figure out my options.

I hope some experienced Hosts can help. Thank you in advance.

First off, I’m sorry this happened to you. I absolutely hate it when people play the racist card- it’s despicable to trivialize racism by lobbing the accusation at others as a deflection for their own bad behavior. It’s like the old morality tale of The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

Next- I don’t know why hosts think that one ranting outlier review is going to destroy their listing and stop guests from booking. Do you really think all guests are so naive as to believe everything they read? If a guest can’t see that you have scores of great reviews and that that one doesn’t jive, you probably don’t want them as guests, anyway.

The review response might be something like “This is a retaliation review left because the guest was asked to pay for the extensive damages they caused and the extra 4 hours of cleaning required after their stay. Neighbors complained that they were disruptive and noisy. The “workmen using power tools” is a fabrication, as is the allegation of racism.
All respectful guests are welcome here. Please refer to our other reviews, written by past guests, of many races and cultures, for accurate information as to what to expect when booking with us.”

10 Likes

I’m sorry that you had this occur

  1. It is a long shot but I would keep trying and escalating. If the statements can be proven as false or violating AirBNB terms, you might be able to have the review removed.

I wrote about an experience I had 2 years ago (in attached topic) where I was successful in getting a ‘post review’ removed (from a review I had left). I had enough documentation that the CS rep was supportive in removing the ‘post review’.

I chose to leave a review of this guest because she had (3) 5-star reviews and I wanted to alert other hosts. She never left a review (of me) so after the 14 day period expired I saw the commentary she had left after seeing my review (of her)

Her strategy was, when you can’t dispute the facts, you call the host a “Racist”. Since our minimal communication was documented on the message app, my interactions with her were minimal (and documented with AirBNB CS), and there was the significant messaging with ABNB CS during the photo shoot, they quickly concluded that she was out of line, and immediately removed her post review.

  1. If your other 50 reviews are good, this will ideally be considered an outlier. While many suggest not leaving a post review, in this case I’d leave one refuting the review in a non emotional way. Remember a post review is seen by your potential guests (not her potential hosts) so be concise & professional.

Debster, I think what Muddy wrote is perfect. Don’t delist because of one false review. Future booking guests will know it’s a false review based on your other good reviews. I’m sorry you had this bad experience.

3 Likes

Thanks I’ve just snoozed the listing until I write my side. Thanks Muddy. Can I use the word ‘retaliation’ I don’t want my side deleted. During the guests stay a cleaner went to the other unit otherwise it was vacant. Maybe a vacuum cleaner is a power tool? Unlikely it would be heard through double brick.

Should I mention what the damages are or not worry?

We all have an opinion. Many of us have been where you are.

Hindsight is 20/20. I truly wish instead of including detail I had simply said, “This review is not accurate. Please see my over 100 positive reviews for information about this rental & my hosting style.”

In light of the accusations, I like the idea of also including a sentence about, “all are welcome…”

The more you say the risk is you are reinforcing the negatives in the reader’s mind and risk coming across as unreasonable.

6 Likes

If your other reviews are good then this will stand out as obviously false.

as an FYI, people of all races can be racist. This is an unfortunate thing people say… like “I have black friends.” Prejudice is an attitude, discrimination is an action. You didn’t discriminate, that’s the bottom line.

That’s just letting them win. I’d just respond that their review is false and move on. If you close it, you won’t get any bookings. Yet you posted this:

I don’t get it. You’re afraid of the review hurting bookings but then you consider delisting or snoozing?

I know it’s painful to be falsely accused but I’d suggest moving on from this.

3 Likes

I also just had an unwarranted 2 star review to tarnish my sea of 5 star ones.
The guest had booked for his child’s Volleyball tournament in March, canceled because it was postponed. No problem all funds refunded, then rebooked for May when it was rescheduled. Stayed 4 of the 5 nights they had reserved for, I’m assuming the tournament didn’t go their way, so decided to go home. Informed us on check out day that they had left a day early as "the home was not up to our expectations ", then asked for a refund for the last night!
We did not respond, obviously, so we were left with a scathing 2 star review!
I am so irritated that the rental platforms allow this! I did call and because he didn’t use any “key” words that would warrant a deletion, I know have to love with it!
I did leave a review rebuttal, but that didn’t give me enough satisfaction!
Anyways, rant over! Move on and hope that the other 5 star reviews and my response to his is sufficient!

1 Like

They will book. All will take is one good review and this will will begin to fade away.

I’m not a fan of fake reviews. However if you can do a quick one night rental to a friend, who will leave a reasonable positive review (not a over the top “Deb is the most amazing host in the universe” review), it will help the negative fade into the past.

So @Militaryhorsegal suggests that you do not ask for the money until after the 14 day review period is up. Not sure if that works if you are making a claim on the host guarantee.

IDK because I have never asked a guest for money post stay.

Good luck

RR

I’m with Annet on making the reply, if any, much shorter and less “tit for tat” sounding.

“We don’t understand this review as we are proud to be welcoming hosts for all types of guests. Please see our other reviews.”

5 Likes

I feel for you. Initially I might consider stopping too, but you shouldn’t. Take the advice of others here and leave a short response to their review without diving into the weeds.
This is my 2nd Airbnb after a few years and my first guest didn’t leave a review, but instead an extensive note telling me all the things I should do differently. It was upsetting, but since then I’ve had some great guests and a few reviews and the first one is barely in the rearview mirror now.

1 Like

I would simply say damage to property. I would be vague and let the reader’s imagination go wild.

You don’t actually need to write a reply. One bad review amongst good ones says more about the person who wrote it than the host. You could ignore it. move on and ensure that your future guests have a great time so the one-star review disappears to the second page.

Why delist? If you do, you’re not going to get those 5 star reviews to send the one star to the back.

However I’d be sure to give the guests a concise, unemotional and honest review.

Great advice and response-

Be cautions. Rebutting guests point by point, or listing all of guests’ violations, can have the oddly perverse effect of raising questions about the host. By addressing in detail, one can confer validity to what are bogus statements/interpretations – creating a false equivalency that there are two sides, both with support or weight.
Not saying ignore, but focus on making statements that keep host in a positive light and don’t remind the reader of the accusations.

1 Like

That’s why the sample response I wrote says “extensive damages”, rather than listing each thing they destroyed.

But I also approve of simply pointing out that the review isn’t representative of the facts and to look to the other reviews for an accurate picture of what to expect.

The main things about writing a response are keep it brief, no emotion, no defensiveness or attacks on the guest, written for the benefit of clarification for future guests, not to speak to the guest in question, and realizing that future guests aren’t at all interested in your past guests’ transgressions- they just want to find a nice place to stay.

3 Likes

Annett3176
I have pointed that exact point you underlined in the policy twice. I can try again. Both times declined.
Should I keep fighting for it to be removed.?

1 Like

I’m thinking do your response but keep pushing Airbnb. They should be accountable for following & enforcing the policies they create. Also you & your listing should not be put at a disadvantage for a guest violating the rules. Keep asking Airbnb to remove the review because it violates their stated rules for review.

I also understand that sometimes things just suck all the air out of the room, so exhausting and you have other things to do, so it would be understandable if you leave your response snd declare it “done”.

2 Likes

It’s definitely good to know when to just give up, rather than wasting your time and feeling stressed out.

The good thing about strs is that guests don’t stay long. It’s a relief when bad guests leave. You never have to see or talk to those people again.

But if you continue to fret about their review or continue to be upset about Airbnb not being willing to remove it, it’s like the guests haven’t left yet. They are physically gone, but you’ve allowed them to take up residence in your head.

6 Likes