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Any hosts been pulled up by Airbnb for writing a negative review?


#1

M, Oct 26, 09:41:
Hello Sandy,

My name is m from Airbnb.

I contact you about the stay of Alan in your accommodation. He received a negative review and I would like to clarify what happened to
solve the misunderstanding to improve your the experience in our community who believes in trust and honest conversations.

Sincerely,

Airbnb has gone to a whole new level now. They say they are into promoting trust and honesty, but when I have now started to write honest reviews, I have been pulled up by Airbnb. Obviously the guest complained, they didn’t like the review clearly, but we had a bad time waiting out until they left. My review simply said the guest wasn’t a great fit for our home. We felt that we were treated like hotel staff rather than hosts. Rude remarks, clearly an older guy that felt we should be cheaper (in his value comments he remarks that they had been booked into a local hotel for around the same amount but canceled - yes, because it is on the edge of a swamp, moldering near the ugly mall area rather than the beautiful historic part, and has horrific reviews, not to mention with tax is still much more expensive). Moving on, the guest while I was trying to make suggestions to help him find a good breakfast place to meet with his group of friends made quite a pointedly insulting remark on our breakfast (warm croissants/jam/fruit/coffee). When I asked what kind of breakfast they would enjoy, he scoffed, and said ‘definitely not just croissants’.

After his stay he wrote to let me know of his quibbles. One was that he ‘would have preferred a conventional washcloth’. But he won’t share these issues in the review (the other was helpful in that the shower curtain had lost its weights, but he wrote it in a nasty way ‘have you ever used ‘that’ bathroom?’ (Yes I have by the way, it’s a lovely ensuite with a huge Art Deco basin. Stunning).

The unconventional washcloths (lol) are wonderful for makeup removal, and it would appear his wife didn’t enjoy it either (thankfully almost 100% of my female guests rave about them- hand crocheted organic cotton, soft but awesome for removal and also makeup washes out wonderfully). She left a full face of make up on one of my beautiful pillowcases. I didn’t mention this or take anything for damages, even though I specify I do for makeup stains as it is totally unnecessary, and I highly doubt women do this at home, especially 60+ year old well turned out women.

What do other hosts here think about Airbnb pulling us up about leaving honest reviews for guests? Just because they might not like it, is that grounds for complaint? I am about had it with Airbnb right now. I really just can’t get a good balance with my NYC guests. They are too self consumed to make enjoyable guests to host for us, and the lack of support from the company causes me despair.


#2

Hi Sandy,

That is completely ridiculous for Airbnb to assist the guest in challenging your review. It goes against everything they purport to stand for (honest communication, etc.). Unless a review is vitriolic or factually incorrect, which yours was definitely not as you describe it, Airbnb should stay out of it. Somehow, I bet that if you were unhappy with a review that a guest left, Airbnb would not intervene.


#3

I truly feel this is bullying me into not feeling as if I can write honest reviews about my experience, because a guest can complain. Also I don’t understand what needs to be clarified about it. Here is my exact review in its entirity:

Unfortunately Alan was not a good fit for a guest in our home. There may have been a disconnect with his idea of what a stay in an Airbnb might be, as we felt he expected we were a hotel (and us the staff) rather than a unique home stay experience.


#4

@GoodbyeSandy

Have airbnb actually made you change anything?

The email suggests to me that the guest has called them post staying with you with several complaints. In that case, if the guest is very very insistent (and by that I mean pushes and pushes until they get a supervisor) they sometimes contact the host just to see what your side of the story is.

If you simply make a review complaint, in my experience one of two things happens- if you call them either before the end of the stay or early in the review period saying you are concerned about a poor review, they will make a note on your account. If the guy complained about being nervous before the review was posted, that might be standing in his favor here.

In my case, they said they would contact the host.

Bear in mind, this was the host who messaged me to threaten me directly- my experience was that the host left me a creepily positive review saying we were like family and they would be happy to have me again.

I suspect airbnb told them if there were more issues they’d kick them off the site.

I’ve had one other review issue- stayed with the host twice- host left me a positive review the first time, and a negative one the second- without ever mentioning to me there had been an issue. I called airbnb, and explained that I didn’t want them to change the review on my page, that was fine, but that it isn’t fair that my review was not able to encompass his poor behavior.

To add salt to the wound, he added a positive response to my positive review, saying he can’t wait to have me stay again… while my guest page has his complaint at the very top, so his page looks great and very friendly.

Airbnb would not allow any changes to either of our reviews, citing policy. They would not contact him either.

I suspect if they agreed to contact him, his allegations may be serious enough for actual concern- as I mentioned, they only contacted my previous host due to a direct threat.

I don’t think your review was particularly bad at all, by anyone’s standards. That suggests to me he’s said something quite serious to them to have them chase it. I wouldn’t bother replying to the email, I would either call or livechat them. Explain his poor behaviour, and say that this was the most pragmatic way you could say it without including anything that was a personal attack.

I suspect they’ll leave it alone after that- if he’s aggressive, they can at least say they’ve done everything they can.

Edited to add: They will avoid contacting a host when it comes to review issues with everything they can- first they will cite policy, then they will say the system does not allow changes, they will offer sympathy, but they will refuse if they can manage it. It’s one area where they really, really try to stay out of it


#5

Is your email from air copy and paste? If it is, then i suspect that it is not from them, the use of english is terrible…


#6

Well it doesn’t seem this guest/also host was pulled up for negative reviews:

I googled “worst airbnb reviews” and the first link was this ladies profile!


#7

Thanks Justshoot. Calling now and trying to get to the bottom of it. Of course the guest complained about the review. He wrote me saying he didn’t understand and what did they do wrong. The last review they got was excellent. Well the last review (I never saw it) was apparently on his wife Elizabeth’s account, and had I been reviewing her, I would have written it differently, as she was somewhat more pleasant - though still not a guest I would welcome back.

Off the phone, you are correct, short of one of the rules being broken (they’re pretty hard to break! You have to mention personal details, or make threats Etc), the reviews stand. The woman had no idea why the other rep contacted me and apologized profusely.

To be honest though, this and another woman that was acting out the old jealousy routine (as if I was going to steal her boyfriend - please!), has us on a break from Airbnb. I have had it with NY women that come up here and can’t turn off the ‘everyone is a competitor and a threat’ mindset and shoot me vicious looks when they think their boyfriends aren’t noticing - everyone is noticing how awkward it is around you, love! Just exhausting, depressing.


#8

What has this got to do with my post?


#9

In terms of a negative reivew - its not standard across the board with airbnb is it? They delete reviews and with others they don’t.


#10

I know Bob! I was pretty appalled. Imagine my surprise when I called up and the service rep sent a call out to the rep who wrote me by name. Yes, it is a straight up copy and paste, and the woman who wrote the email seemed to be in office but on the phone - or is that just what I was told? I really don’t know for sure, but it definitely came from the standard Airbnb email address that all rep emails have come from in the past. If someone hacked the service, then they are right within the office. The guest was in his 60’s, so not really a hacker type…

I honestly think it was just straight up terrible writing. It sounds like English is not the first language which is fine, but perhaps a few more grammar classes before being put on email duties?

Last name ‘Siquier’ I believe is from Portugal, but I might be off, plus they change their names I think. Siquiera is the closest I could find before Siquieros (Mexican)


#11

@GoodbyeSandy

If it helps, they mentioned in a livechat recently they’ve had a lot of new staff.
Which makes sense, I had a (very nice girl) tell me I could still edit my review, because it was within 48 hours. I couldn’t, because the host had posted also.

I had to cite their own policy back to her.

If I were to make a guess, he called, complained, got a newbie who panicked and thought it was bad (hasn’t had any real doozies yet) and emailed you just because she’s inexperienced.
If she took verbatim that his last review was good without realizing it wasn’t his account, then she’s obviously inexperienced.

I’m on a break from air myself at the moment, told them that too.
I’ve had enough crazy for a lifetime lately.

Honestly, the majority of the problem is that they allow so much to be subjective, and don’t make policy for it. It exhausts everyone when the ground issues aren’t clear.


#12

Couldn’t agree more Justshoot. Isn’t it a pity they are losing good hosts just because they are pushing us so hard and exposing us to way too much as a result. I feel the review system creates so much unnecessary stress for hosts. There are better ways to do it, but Airbnb isn’t listening. It’s just far too personal knowing that any of the lovely people staying with you right now could say something nasty should you do anything that displeases them in the slightest. It is too much pressure, and I feel guests use it to advantage. My guest knew his power when he said to me ‘I won’t mention these issues.’ Oh yes, because I am just soooo disappointed he was unable to embrace something slightly different to a generic hotel washcloth and deeply afraid of the public outcry. Not. In this case it was a matter of if that’s all you can complain about I really must be doing things right. Well, I already know I am, I have great views and mostly 5 stars, and have yet to have a bad review that wasn’t a reaction from being made to pay for damages. But at what cost?

The review culture, although great for many reasons can get out of control attracting some that seek to use it to gain control by manipulation. Nowadays a bad review can do terrible damage, and people know it. Exposing ourselves to such a critical review process is neither pleasant for host, nor I think guest. Both of us at times feel concerned we might be treated unfavorably and left with no comeuppance. The business owner (or struggling airbnb’er in this instance) has a lot more at stake, but many people are finding that misunderstandings have left them hurt and confused.

It doesn’t seem like Airbnb intends to listen anytime soon.

Of course this isn’t the only issue. But it is one that causes more stress than it should.


#13

@GoodbyeSandy

Completely agree with you.
They’re basing their reputation and rating system on something that is so subjective.
One person’s great host is another person’s nosey stickybeak, and I have both types of reviews on my profile. Fortunately 4 positive to 2 negative, but nonetheless it leaves me as an inconsistent seeming guest.

Why wouldn’t they just leave a star rating up for each stay, and indicate stay length and guest profile?
Stars are far less damaging than personal venom, that can be used unfairly against you. Like I said, the review currently at the top of my guest page is terrible, and the host just bombed me with zero issues prior, and no message saying there was an issue.
Unfortunately I have the same issue as you, and one uncommon to most guests- I stay so often my reviews have real power to hurt me.

Just as you host so often, you have the same. It’s a fundamentally unfair system, because lots of guests might use it once a year, if that, so one review isn’t a big deal. But we’re in the same position of sweating it every time.

Not only that, unless you’re renting out a place in really poor condition compared to the pictures, any review is just going to be personal bias.

Because theoretically you get what you see in the photos and the listing description… so if you’re disatisfied (barring difference from pictures, threats, or uncommon behaviour issues) you’re really just criticizing your own choices.

Because why would you have a problem with the accommodation or rate? You’ve already seen it! And agreed to it when you booked.

So in my opinion it’s a somewhat moot point.

For example, I booked a place I thought was standalone (note, never click book when you have the flu) it wasn’t. That’s my fault for not observing, and I’m not going to ding the host for it.

So… what they’re really allowing each side to do is ding whether you like someone or not. And that’s just a bunch of bullshit.


#14

At first I thought the same as Bob Blank with it being a scam due to the wording. Most scammers use the word “accommodation” when sending an email to my personal website and on other listing sites.

Since it’s not a scam, it sounds like he is being a cry baby about his review. Just the fact that he stated he wouldn’t mention his issues in a review speaks volumes. That’s right…they are “his” issues, not yours!

So ALL of your washcloths are crocheted, or just the ones for makeup removal? Why would anyone complain about a crocheted wash cloth? I mean…I could see if your wash cloths were made of sandpaper…lol. Sounds like he was trying to bully you and it came back to bite him in the end.


#15

I didn’t really answer your question in my first reply. I am guessing the guy wants to know the details of why you thought he wasn’t a good fit for your place and why you thought he expected a hotel.

I just had a guest minutes ago email me with what time their party would be leaving tomorrow. Yep…they informed ME of when they would be leaving…didn’t ask if they could leave a bit later…but they told me they will probably be out around 11 or 11:30. Umm…NO! Check out time is 11 and they are fully aware of this. I let her know this so now I have to wait to see if guest pretends to not have received my email. I have a back to back tomorrow, and this is just ridiculous that I feel I have to start looking on cameras early to see if cars are being loaded, and sending text reminders. Thank goodness for my cameras!

And guest checking in tomorrow hasn’t replied back yet with the time. Hopefully is just working and doesn’t have access to email until this evening. Again…my fault when I get lax and don’t ask at least 48 hrs. before arrival. I usually get the “crickets” routine when it is the day before arrival. I will be texting in the morning with that one if I don’t hear back tonight. Wow…I would have been such a good baby sitter growing up.


#16

OMG! I feel your pain/strain. This is utterly ridiculous. I cannot believe you have to put up with this crap. What planet are AirBnB on challenging your review? I don’t even supply a wash cloth! WTF?? I think sometimes one could become a victim of good reviews. The ‘rave’ reviews set up a stupidly high expectation in the guest and you end up with knob heads like that one who want a 5* hotel experience in someone’s spare room. I don’t offer breakfast either. I wonder if you need to re-invent yourself? Don’t offer breakfast, don’t offer kitchen use, send people out to cafes if they are available. You in NYC did you say? I have no idea why you seem to get such a large % of fussy people compared to me, it must be your location, but I would have quit long ago if I had your experiences. wish I had something more positive to say, but words fail me. I’m currently on a break from Air, I took my listing off line, just want some me and family time.


#17

I am afraid Older Couples often have this idea that Air BnB is just another Hotel or Motel only with a host. I cringe when I get bookings from couples over 60. It seems that they are not able to “get” the idea of unique home stay experience. For many of us we really do offer a “Home Stay”. Peer to peer, you want a room in a nice clean home, and we offer just that, along with some little perks.
If your Listing is properly written and you add proper photos, all guests should know just what they are renting, and what comes with it.
By me being informative in my Listing, telling about the house and room, with photos showing their beds and bedroom, Living room and kitchen. I explain when they will be alone, and when I will be present. I make clear the downsides of my house, like you must shower downstairs. I offer them the best times to shower, when I will not be present downstairs. After 7:30PM on and all morning till 11:00AM. So nobody has ever complained about having to shower downstairs. Same with breakfast, I serve none, so they can’t bitch! I give free coffee ready to turn on and cups are laid out and creamer too. People seem to like having coffee at hand, and if they do want food, they know all the kitchen is available.
Make clear, in words in your listing that you offer a quiet, friendly home stay experience with plenty of guest privacy.
If someone shows up looking for a Hotel experience, you are covered. Just point to your listing, that says what they do get, what they don’t get, and how best to take advantage of what you offer.
By writing a long complete listing description, 99% of problems are averted.


#18

Actually that one’s hilarious. I’ve also googled that as well and explored Magalie’s profile with some amusement. The interesting thing is she responds all the time without realising she has addressed comments or issues that her guests have left her in the private section. She does herself an enormous disservice!


#19

Hi Sandy

I feel you and I are going through a similar stage at the moment. And I’ve not been around in the forum much, but am happy to see you back. So please excuse the rant.

I’ve had a run of difficult guests leaving poor ratings which has made me really tempted to be honest in my reviews about them. It’s a little soul destroying as although I know most people on this forum don’t give much weight to getting Superhost status - I just got awarded it and was very chuffed. However I have watched the last reviews take me way back below the criteria so I will definitely lose it at the next assessment. Oh well…

So this is what I’ve just dealt with:

  1. Weird couple came to stay - lovely and polite but just weird. They are in their 50’s and travel with stuffed monkeys (which is also their profile photo). The wife doesn’t like the idea of the plane going down and her babies being left with no one to care for them so she travels with them. Did I want to go up to the room and see them? “Errm…No, but how sweet - I’ve just got a bit to do right now…” I greet all this information with a smile while I do her washing as she doesn’t want to be stuck waiting for cycles to finish and stuff to dry. They send me the most beautiful email when they leave. What a great host, great room, thank you so much, blah blah blah. BUT. As requested, they didn’t leave me cash for the travel cards which they used and which they had told me they understood I would need to be reimbursed for (no, I don’t need you to sign for it. Just leave the cash in the room when you leave). So when I realised they hadn’t, I sent them a request to take the amount from their Airbnb deposit (all very polite - they must have forgotten etc). They agreed - Airbnb were great - money was reimbursed a couple of days later. And then the review! Nice words - awful star rating - the worst I’ve had. Retaliation. Pure and simple.

  2. Group 2. Stay at our beach house - newly renovated and our pride and joy - the second booking we’ve had. Could we shorten the booking criteria, blah blah blah. I accommodated them - fixed the calendar so they could book - smsed them when they arrived to check everything was okay (they never replied) and when they left they sent me an email. Loved loved loved the house. Could they come again? Could they make an arrangement with us to come for shorter trips like long weekends because they live only an hour away? Perhaps we could work something out, I said. Also 'Could you please leave me a review as it’s a new listing and it helps build a profile? Sure, they say. Then rate it 4 stars for value and accuracy. It the listing didn’t live up to expectations and you thought it wasn’t good value, why would you want to stay again? I was so annoyed I emailed to ask what was inaccurate about the listing (explaining that I don’t like guests to feel disappointed so if they could help me understand the issue…). The layout of the house, they informed me. ! I should include a floor plan!

Arrggh. Does this mean I’m having some kind of Airbnb crisis? I need the money, but man I’m ***ing sick of people who don’t seem to understand that they’re getting accommodation they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford in these locations and that I’m busting a gut trying to make sure they have a great time.

How does everyone else get over the ‘I’m sick of people’ stage of hosting??

Oh, by the way Sandy - sorry I didn’t really answer your question.

I expect it’s okay for Airbnb to intervene. They need to find out everyone’s side of the story - I’d like them to intervene on my behalf if I got a really shitty unfair review. But you can kind of tell from the email that the person’s understanding of the situation is about as finessed as their grasp of English!

Good to see you back.

Wilburchien


#20

Hi Wilburchien,

It sounds like you have been working really hard hosting. And it truly is hard work. It is genuinely heart breaking when someone treats you and your home like some sort of ridiculous resort or hotel experience and us like a slave. I felt a shock of anger when I heard that explanation of your value/accuracy marks. When I told my husband he said ‘there’s always a dickhead out there’. It appears you got one right away.

I don’t even know what to say about it. Obviously if you continue there will be more people to take advantage, and it just gets worse. We don’t offer laundry facilities. Our stays are short, and our laundry is through my husbands studio. Nonetheless, I had a guy booked in our cheapest room on the weekend before last, came up from Washington, and suddenly he tells me he wants to wash some clothes. I explained that we don’t allow access. He keeps pushing. He really needs to wash the shirt he is wearing, his jeans and socks. He was going to do a load of washing and drying of those three/four items. He tells me he is desperate and gives a half story about meeting his girlfriend unexpectedly. I thought he meant up here. I said we would put the laundry in with some of ours. When I asked when he needed it by, it was only for when he returned home, back to Washington on his checkout day. I was put off. He was using us as a free laundromat, shamelessly, when he could have easily gone around the corner. Of course as a host you feel if you don’t do as the guest asks you may be subject to a bad review, so we always feel pressured to do things we would prefer not to. He put a lot of pressure on me to say yes. I would never have been doing laundry if it wasn’t for him and his one set of clothes,

I seem to be particularly lucky in so much that my ratings stay high, however guest behavior is beyond entitled. There is no doubt our guests act as if our home is a hotel. It is possible that its size and layout contributes to people falling into the idea that they are in a hotel rather than a home (it has a grand historic feel with oak paneling, large entrance and sweeping central staircase). Nonetheless it is our home, we most certainly live there, every guest is aware of it, and asks the same question on arrival (how long have you lived here? - no idea why every single person repeats this soon after entering).

No, we can’t blame the home, guests act entitled before arrival, pushing back arrival time well beyond the time I specify we can receive guests knowing I can hardly say no once they have paid. In particular the older people are the worst for marking down and trying to find issue with their stay. I won’t be accepting older guests any more. I just turned away a group of librarians that lo and behold were trying to use their mobility issues to bargain down my price. When I said I wasn’t comfortable being responsible for guests with mobility issues in our home they dropped the bargaining and said they wanted to stay, but hell no! I have yet to have a pleasant experience with older guests. They are most likely to treat our home like a hotel, and act as if they felt we should be cheaper (of course like the guy that tried to get his review redacted, he was welcome to stay in other accommodations in the area, but they choose my room based on reviews and the listing, then want to find fault because a home stay should be ‘cheap’).

I wish I could offer encouragement Wilbur. I know a lot of my guests behavior is because they have come from a highly pressured environment, and it isnt one where anyone is thinking about others. I truly feel the Airbnb platform just doesn’t help hosts feel good about what they are doing.


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