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Considering a switch after Airbnb shafting hosts once again

I had a guest depart with no explanation after my caretaker said that he seemed happy with my place when he arrived. When the reservation ended, Airbnb informed me that they refunded the guest the entire cost ($751) based on photos that showed my place wasn’t clean. After multiple calls and emails to Airbnb, they finally share the photos which include things like the inside of a garbage can. While one image shows a legitimate though minor cleanliness issue, the rest are clearly the work of a very fussy guest. (Of course I have dozens of positive reviews to prove that cleanliness has never been an issue with my place in the past as I hire professional cleaners.)

I have yet to speak to any kind of manager at Airbnb in spite of numerous requests and assurances, and have been told that the decision to refund the entire amount stands. I’m still trying to contact them (currently on hold for over 30 minutes) to get some justice, but it seems that this is another case of Airbnb treating hosts like dirt while doing everything they can to please guests.

If the guest had been told to contact me or Airbnb contacted me earlier so I could at least try to get a last-minute booking, I would feel differently. I am generally willing to make adjustments to reservations so that guests are happy and I don’t lose income.

This is the second experience that I have had where Airbnb disregarded my strict cancellation policy (the first time was due to weather!) so I am considering switching to one of the other services. I know others have had similar issues with Airbnb. Are any of you switching? What are other good services? How do they compare?

How long was the stay? And they only complained after the entire stay ended?

Did you tell Airbnb that this goes against their own policies of the guest needing to report an issue within 24 hours? What was their response?

It really sickens me every time I read of an Air rep. approving a refund and the guest sent pics after the stay. And who takes a pic of the inside of a garbage can unless you are building your case for a free stay?

We have had a few of the ‘professional’ guests, that claim ‘cleanliness’ issues after a multi day stay. Every time this has gone through the resolution center, and I was able to see the guests photos immediately, and respond accordingly with my own photos, showing the zoomed our area, and the XYZ problem not being nearly as bad as they made it out to be.

I wonder how the OP’s guests were able to circumvent the resolution center?

2 Likes

Pretty awful. But they have 50 hosts lined up behind you, and you and me are nothing but a cog in the wheel.

3 Likes

@astara - we’ve had some issues with the resolution center (when we claim damage, the guest says they did nothing wrong, AirBNB sides with them, and when you appeal you are stuck in their MOST ANNOYING insurance process for Host Guarantee).

We also list on VRBO, and I use the simple iCal link to keep the property calendars linked. VRBO is not without it’s own issues, but you can actually take a real deposit, instead of AirBNB’s “so called” deposit which is just them saying they will charge the guest card IF you claim damage and they agree with you.

What I’ve done is to raise my rates on AirBNB, and lower them on VRBO. This means if I am using AirBNB, I hope it’s worth the added headache of their often unfair systems - vis-a-vis having more control on VRBO.

I looked at FlipKey - but last time I checked it was pretty expensive to join, and linking 3 calendars seemed pretty daunting. Depending on your region/geography, Tripping.com may be a nice way to syndicate your listing - but it’s much more popular in Europe, in my experience.

One thing I will say about AirBNB - it’s always worth calling back in and asking for a supervisor, pleading your case again, threatening legal action, etc etc - seems like depending on how the wind is blowing they can always change their policies if you’re a squeaky enough wheel (in my opinion).

Keep us posted!

4 Likes

The reservation was for five nights and Airbnb contacted me on the day he was due to check out. I’m not sure when the guest complained to Airbnb as he never contacted me directly.

The guest didn’t actually stay there, so it was more about him getting out of the cancellation policy. And I don’t know when the guest contacted Airbnb as I have as yet been unable to get the case manager or anyone with authority on the phone, only that Airbnb contacted me the last day of the reservation. So while the guest was clearly very fussy, it’s Airbnb who failed to handle it properly.

Thank you so much for the helpful info! I am continuing to call them and will hopefully get a supervisor on the line one of these days.

I hope you keep us updated on what happens. The guest is supposed to contact the host first within 24 hrs if there is an issue, so that the host can fix it. Airbnb keeps writing all these policies but they only enforce them when they feel like. If they couldn’t get a hold of you then that is one thing. But if they didn’t even attempt to get hold of you, and Airbnb just refunded this person, kept your days blocked from another reservation, it’s ridiculous. But what is new there. Refund policy:

If it’s within 24 hours of check-in, check our Guest Refund Policy to see if the issue you’re experiencing qualifies for a refund. If it does, you’ll need to message your host through Airbnb to notify them of the issue, take photos to document the issue, then contact Airbnb. You can see a complete explanation of coverage in our Guest Refund Policy.

1 Like

Hi @astara,

Sorry to hear about the difficult situation. But however this goes down, make sure to give them a terrible review. Any host who finds out that they tried to get all the money refunded (regardless of whether they succeed) is very unlikely to let them stay. Crappy guests, maybe. Guests staying for free, a big NO NO.

1 Like

Sounds like a good trick to get free accomodation.
manufacture any reason u can during your stay…

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