Airbnb's "Trust & Safety" team draconian, but ultimately some faith restored

Apologies in advance for the long post-- but the TL;DR is that Airbnb came through only after A LOT of persistence, the “Trust & Safety” team is a black box and all powerful, and hosts should not rely on the Host Guarantee / Host Protection Insurance AT ALL.

We’ve been hosting for about 2 years, it’s gone relatively smoothly so far. Superhost status for nearly a year. We have a flexible cancellation option, and a reasonable price for the area. It’s an entire 2BR townhouse with basic amenities. So far, no guests have really abused our flexible policies, we don’t get last minute cancellations (maybe 1 in the last 2 years, 2-3 date changes/shortening). Nothing stolen or broken (except for our wifi router, and we aren’t sure if it was guests or cleaning service-- we secured it with a lockbox). No major damage, just the usual (stained towels etc that came out with bleach).


Fast forward to recently-- a guest that ended up showing some red flags early on but that we still let stay. Basically we messed up, gave the wrong lockbox code so it took 15-20 min extra to check in around 9pm at night. The guest sounded ok on the phone, but made an offhand comment about “you should treat us to breakfast for this”. Since we want our guests to be happy, we offered a half-night credit to compensate. Guest agreed. Next morning I called to check on things-- guest was now demanding more compensation because the temperature last night was 80 at first, and took 10 min to cool down after switching on the AC. My instinct was to get this guest re-accommodated because it didn’t seem like we could make them happy. Ultimately, they accepted an offer of one night refund to stay (3 nights). MISTAKE.

At the end of the stay, we noticed some significant damage to the kitchen fixtures and the bathroom. Total cost to repair in the hundreds, more than the security. Of course the guest denied, even while saying things like “we are honest people and want to do the right thing”, “my wife is a teacher” (as if that means they are perfect). I believe it was accidental damage, maybe caused by their 10 year old child.

I called Airbnb right away, asking specifically what we should do, what is the process. Was told the wrong info (Lesson: open a resolution center case IMMEDIATELY even if you’re not sure), that I would need estimates of the repair to continue. That took me a few days. By then, another guest had checked in.

While we are experienced at hosting, we did not have experience with claims, so we thought calling would start the process. Airbnb Trust & Safety did not even talk to me to find out any details; instead, they closed my case immediately because a guest had checked in before I opened the case on the website, despite my calling first.

2 weeks of emails and calls got me only one response “Trust & Safety’s decision is final” “We have no way of contacting them” “We don’t know how they work”. Finally, I’m not sure what did it, but I got a call from a supervisor in the Trust & Safety team, and my case was reviewed, where they saw that I called several times before the other guest checked in, and what happened. They made it right, listened to our situation, and my faith was somewhat restored.

BUT, I still feel very wary about the Host Guarantee / Host Protection Insurance. My sense is that it really will only come through if your situation gets enough publicity, or if you apply pressure via legal means, or if they are in a good mood. There is no due process really.

1 Like

Hi @GoldEli

Glad to hear you finally had a resolution.

I know you are long term host and have probably used it lots, but I find their help centre and the community forums really useful.

For example when you search the help centre for making a claim it gives you details of what to do. Whether you will get anything back is another matter :frowning:

Wow a whole night discount for a 15 minute mix up and the air condition adjusting - self entitled or what :slight_smile:

What is true to say is trust your guts if there are red flags - don’t accept the booking.