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Advice please, Airhosts hive brain, guest hurt finger!

I added a barn style door pull to a pocket door to the bathroom so a guest with grip issues could easily maneuver the door. The handle is close to the edge of the door when closed so that it doesn’t impede sliding the door the other way, fully open, to wheelchair width.

Guest sent me photo of GF’s cut and bruised finger where they pinched it between the side of the handle and the jamb.

I’ve immediately written back sorry that happened, hope it is healing well, where the first aid items are located, asking what the guest would suggest to correct the design, thanks for bringing it to my attention as it was added for less abled guests and I never imagined it would be a problem, and it certainly should be addressed.

No one else has injured themselves in this fashion in the 6 years I’ve been doing STR. It’s visually obvious.

The guest sent photos of the injury with comments on how dangerous, someone could break their finger etc. Although it’s been over 24 hours since the incident.

I have not admitted any fault other than saying the design should be addressed and I intend to do so by coming up with a replacement handle. I have not offered any compensation.

Thoughts? I’m thinking of asking if I can pop in there when they are out tomorrow and put some padding on the handle. Should I also leave my all-purpose gift tote with local snacks and wine?

I wonder if you might write on the platform, "I’m writing to ask how your finger is healing, whether there’s anything I can do – is there? – but also permission to come over to put some padding on that handle. Is that OK with you? I can come when you’re out if you prefer so as not to disturb you.

Please know that my custom is to bring a small gift tote with local snacks and wine, but now I’m wondering if you might injure yourself opening the plastic wrap. Or even suffocate. [Oops, that sounds snarky. Let me try that again.]

Please know that my custom is to bring a small gift tote with local snacks and wine, but now I’m thinking I should just bring the hard liquor. It’s a disinfectant after all and you could drown yourself in your sorrows from your most disfiguring – and dare I say it? – tragic accident. [Still snarky? Let me try one last time.]

Please know that my custom is to bring a small gift tote with local snacks and wine, but now I’m thinking that I’d like to leave you two a certificate for breakfast at the most charming restaurant known for their . . ." Please let me know whether you are breakfast-eaters. If not, I think you will be delighted by these local treats.


You’re right not to ‘admit’ any shortcomings to the design and also right to offer the padding and reconsider the design even though it had never been a problem before. Your approach is very thoughtful and considerate.

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The way some guests carry on, you would think they’ve never cut or bruised themselves in their own home, or ever.

So she mushed her finger in the door. I pinched my finger in my kitchen drawer last week. I didn’t call anyone to share that news with.

I think your response is fine. I don’t believe in throwing discounts or refunds at guests for every minor issue. It’s created a generation of guests who try to scam refunds for any little thing that isn’t perfect, with all these hosts so terrified of a bad review.
Money isn’t going to make her finger feel better or heal the cut faster.

If you bring a gift, I’d present it in a way that doesn’t seem like some sort of compensation or a bribe to ward off a refund demand or bad review. Just present it as “Oh, hey, I thought you guys might enjoy sampling some of our local treats”.

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She could say, “Here I am, playing the world’s smallest violin for you. Oh, am I being cruel? You can’t move your little pinkie, can you, sweetheart?”

As for you, now you have an excuse when you’re slow with those texts with your daughter.

I wonder if your injury will result in arthritis in years to come, or even permanent nerve damage? Maybe you, too, should wonder this and aloud to everyone you know. People will find it endearing.

All seriousness aside, maybe you should contact a lawyer and bring suit against the manufacturer of that drawer. It’s a defective design! At the least there should be a warning label.

I agree that @dpfromva shouldn’t make too much of this, lest it give the guest ideas. But I also think that the Host should be aware of how all this might look to a third part in case the guest make more of a big deal of it than they already have.

That’s why I suggested that @dpfromva let the guest (and whoever ultimately reads the communication) that it is @dpfromva 's custom to leave a gift, so it doesn’t come off as a ‘payoff.’ And maybe she should leave it at that.

But ‘getting that in’ that it is her custom AND showing a little extra attention (which these guests seem to need) motivated my suggestion of offering the guest an alternative that was a little more than her custom to show both that the Host cared and that bringing a gift was customary for this Host.

I’m still hoping that @dpfromva writes that first stab about the plastic wrap posing such a danger for these hapless guests. Maybe instead she should instead offer to have 50# of ice delivered, or offering one of the local children – a Girl Scout for a badge project? – to demonstrate how to slide a door open and closed. Maybe offer to get someone from the Blind Society to read to the guest if the guest’s mangled fingers can no longer turn the page of a book?

I still thing by acknowledging the shortcomings of the design that she is opening herself up to Airbnb CS compensation.

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I understand, It is this comment that is concerning you: " I have not admitted any fault other than saying the design should be addressed and I intend to do so by coming up with a replacement handle"

Yes, that might be felt to be an admission of fault and justify an action by Airbnb. I don’t think she should say anything further along these lines.

In her defense, she could say "There is no design, no handle, no door, no building code in the world that could not be improved. The door and handle were installed and used for their intended purpose; there is no building code violation, no mistake or error. People don’t always watch what they’re doing, become distracted, act on automatic pilot. Accidents happen.

I did not point my finger at this guest but offered understanding, compassion and a desire to improve a design that had never been a problem. That desire to improve should not be used against me, turned on its head to create liability for me.

Quite the opposite, the kind of Host that Airbnb and society should cultivate and reward is that Host who goes the extra mile when not required to do so rather than stops, does nothing, digs in their heels, says ‘not my fault!’ and attacks the other as careless.

It’s a cut and bruised finger from not looking at what they we’re doing. In a world where too many are in pain and have been hurt let’s not mock them with dignifying any kind of a claim here."

The Host was in a no-win situation. Do nothing and someone could say that she was apprised of this situation that did result in an injury, small as it was, and did NOTHING, Or, do something and someone says “Aha! By doing anything you admit there was a problem.”

The Host did the better thing. She did something. She sought to improve the situation. That’s what progress is all about, also compassion.

It’s a sad state of affairs that the guest might seek compensation from Airbnb, and might get it. No good turn . . . right? Worse, it’s possible – I don’t know – that doing nothing would have put this Host in a better light.

I hope that by doing something to improve the situation and by showing compassion, just person- to-person to this guest who injured himself, that the Host makes it a better world. How this guest receives this Host’s goodwill really does make a world of difference. Do they reveal themselves as someone who’d spurn it into a sleazy attempt to make a few dollars? Or do they reveal themselves as an adult who gratefully accepts this Host’s grace and professionalism and moves on with their life?

We’ll see.

Without seeing it, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the design. Six years without a problem? I wouldn’t do anything else and I wouldn’t consent to any refund. Expect it to be mentioned in the review.

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So, on reflection, I think you’re suggesting that going there to put the padding might be a mistake.

Maybe this Host should not assume (maybe she knows and is not assuming) that padding would improve the design. Maybe she should offer to go and look at it, better understand what happened, and see if there was any reasonable way to improve the design.

Yes, I think that is better. Say something like “I’d like to come over and better understand what happened and if anything can be done to possibly improve the design.” [We don’t know yet whether the guest has responded to her request of what the guest thinks might have improved it.]

I’m having difficulty imagining this.

But assuming that this is correct you were balancing issues of grip strength, wheelchair access and general use. From your description I wonder whether a handle that projected further out from the door would be better, so that the fingers holding the handle would be beyond the plane of the jamb.

It might be instructive to the guest, if you were to look at it with them, and hear their suggestions if, on the spot, you were able to identify drawbacks to any obvious solution. Maybe in that way the guest could see that you were trying to balance the drawbacks, that what might have prevented this accident for them might present a challenge to that person in the wheelchair or that person without grip strength or a person in a different situation.

Of course, it’s possible that with 20/20 hindsight that there is a solution that solves all the issues. I wouldn’t say that because a contractor or someone else might see an issue that you don’t see in the moment. If that happened I might say something "I’m not a contractor or mechanically minded but I will want my contractor to evaluate [the proposed guest solution (if it looks like a good one)]. Thank you for suggesting that. "

Being with them, they’ll get a feel for you, and you for them, and you’ll have a better sense of what to do/say next.

A gift card is enough, without accepting responsibility. Depending on how much profit you are making from that particular stay, a chain restaurant or Starbucks.

i say a chain so that the guest can choose to use it during their stay with you. at their next stop if they are on a road trip or when they get back home.

All you have to do is say ‘thank you for staying with us, please have dinner on us too.’

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Thanks for the responses! Here is a pic of the door, and the guest’s “demo” pic. So they were closing the door from the inside of the bath (there are barn handles on both sides) so pretty much had to be standing right in front of the door as they caught their finger between the handle and the jamb. Scratching my head as it’s hard to close a pocket door with much force. Maybe they’re visually impaired.

Concur that that there’s a fine line between acknowledging guest concerns and making admissions. I did engage the guest (by message) in back and forth as to possible solutions so the convo became constructive.

With my guest psychologist hat on, my guess is GF is mentioning their finger still hurts so guest felt they had to take action with late night messaging a day later.

I’ve got some HVAC foam tape and will ask to come in and tape the handle.

Anyway, if one guest can do it, a future guest can. I found a handle for disabled that sticks waaay out (you can move it with your forearm) but I think you could take your eye out getting up from the toilet, so no go. I’ve ordered a couple 6 inch cup pulls (enclosed half circles) nromally used on desk drawers, which will be harder for those who can’t grip but will shield fingers, I’ll see if those work.

There you go, fixed that for you :wink:

JF

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Ohhhh, JF!

As a sometimes clumsy twat myself, I’ll just stick to my statement that if one guest can manage to do it, another one might in future.

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What if the handle was moved back from the edge of the door so that they can’t pinch their fingers? I realize the pocket door wouldn’t slide as far back. Is the doorway still plenty wide if you do that?

Another option would be to find something rounded like this in addition to moving the handle away from the door frame a little.

round

Here’s a handle that would match the grab bars:

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In 2019, we had some Russian guests. I think they were part of a Ballet tour. At that time, I had a heavy paver holding the little trailer door shut upright but leaning into the door. That night she tried to get into the little trailer and this heavy cement paver flopped over and landed on her toe. They called in the middle of the night asking for 1st aid and bandaids which I directed them too. The next morning she was limping and wearing loose tied tennis shoes. I felt so bad but they seemed not to mind. I finally worked for several hours to fix that door. I hope that she did not have to dance professionally on that wounded toe. There were several blood stains on the patio and inside. An American or other guest might have made a big deal out of this but they did not. I can’t remember if they reviewed me at all.

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Yep, the problem is maintaining the door width for a wheelchair. I measured for the placement of the pulls when they were installed.
So I’m considering this 6 inch cup pull: handle3
Or even a lipped shelf bracket, mounted upside down.
This forearm pull, which is really the correct hardware, may be too wide when it stops the door opening on the other side:
handle6

My pocket door in my airbnb uses something like this:

And there is also this style:

I hear ya – but the door has the small pull out type lever installed already. The auxiliary handles I put on can be pushed with a forearm and are to accommodate someone with limited fine motor skills, arthritis, muscle weakness, etc.

What a great resource this forum is. It’s valuable not just for concrete suggestions but also checking that one’s reaction is not off-base. Anyway, here’s my resolution, hung on the entry door:

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I’m not especially clumsy but at the moment I have a toe that’s black with bruising, a cut on my arm where the medicine cabinet caught me, bruises on my arm from bashing it on the laundry room door and various bites from my ‘loveable precious’ cat.

Bites, bumps and bruises happen. They can happen in a rental, they can happen at home.

P.S. When receiving the aforementioned, I was 100% sober in every case.

:rofl: :wine_glass:

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