Dealing with false reviews

We had a fellow and his friends stay for a long weekend in our large, two story 4 bedroom two bathroom two living room huge kitchen house on our lake, and we did notice he had booked for 5 but we saw 7 or 8 over there. We said nothing because they were nice, fairly quiet and we couldn’t prove they were staying there, might have just been day visitors. After he left, we saw the place was left in pristine condition except that one large easy chair recliner had been moved into a bedroom walk in closet and left there. Odd…Also, one of the window a/c’s had been taken from the storage closet and left in the hallway.
But, we left a five star review as he had responded to our texts (welcoming, asking if everything was ok, etc) promptly and positively, and had left the house so clean and had put all the kayaks etc back nicely.
Once we wrote our review, we saw his. IT WAS AWFUL AND FULL OF LIES!!! I was shocked and frankly kind of hurt. He said that it was 86 degrees in the cabin with no air conditioning- but his entire stay it never got above 74 in the daytime and 40 at night, so we had not yet put in the A/C’s- we usually do that on Memorial Day weekend even though up here in the far north of Wisconsin, we dont need them until July.
He said that the cabin was “much smaller than advertised” and that “advertised amenities” were missing. And finally, he said that people should plan to use a buddy system in our town because it was sketchy and unsafe, with a high crime rate.
Now, the cabin is huge. The photos are untouched and accurate. Not a single thing advertised is missing, and he never texted to ask about anything, and responded to our “need anything?” queries with raves about how nice and well equipped the cabin is.
Our little village is small, honest, and has a very low crime rate- I think the last thing to happen here was someone going 42 in a 35 mph zone! No graffiti, one constable who naps on the side of the road, last week alone someone lost a wallet at the beach and a purse at a hiking trail head and both were returned, untouched.
So I want to know if there is a way to warn other hosts about this liar! Our best guess about why he did this to us is that someone also reported anonymously to airbnb that there were unlisted security cameras, and we think he might have. As a “social media influencer” (his stated profession) he likely noticed our neighbor’s ring cam which shows our property in the background. Fearing that we would be informed that he had more guests than reported, (maybe moved the chair to make room for airbeds or sleeping bags?) he went on the offense?
I think it is SUPER unfair that we cant see the review until after we make our review, just for this reason alone. A more fair way to do it would be that the host cant see the review until they make their review, but neither are posted by airbnb until both sign off on them.
In the meantime, we posted a gentle rebuttal taking the "im confused by what you said, since (state fact) " approach, but I think hosts should know he cant be trusted. Is there a way to do this?

I’m sorry this happened to you, but I definitely don’t think it is appropriate to be able to see the other party’s review before submitting yours.

Reviews are supposed to be an honest reflection of your experience with the guest pre and during the stay, and how they left the place. That you chose not to talk to the guest about the extra people you saw there during the stay nor mention it in your review is unfortunate- other hosts would want to know that he invited others over without permission. You need to mention both the positive and negative in a review if that was the nature of the booking.

Reviews are not meant to be “You give me a good (or bad) review, I give you one”.



I know you got burned in this case but that’s completely unworkable.

Sometimes things are unfair.

I’m unclear on the situation with cameras. You don’t have cameras but you use your neighbor’s Ring to monitor the guests? If you see a guest has more than they registered, it’s up to you to take care of that. You let it go, now you are sorry. At least he left the place in good condition. Other guests will see that his review doesn’t align with the others.

You could attempt to get his review removed for things like “town is unsafe” which isn’t relevant to his stay.


Well, I did not intend to imply it was a review transaction- what I propose is that we would have the opportunity to correct misinformation before it is posted and has a chance to cause harm. It is a distinctly unfair advantage for one party to be able to make untrue statements with impunity, though. I just think a grace period where things can be discussed before it is publicly posted is reasonable.

no, I do not use the neighbors camera. I was saying perhaps he assumed we did, or assumed the neighbor would inform us. And I have since noted in my listing that the neighbor has a ring cam that may or may not show vague views of the exterior of the property in the background. I do not know for sure.

If a guest is the type to make up false complaints, I highly doubt that they would be someone you could discuss their review with and have them be amenable to changing it. And Airbnb won’t change a review.

About all you can do in a case like this is what you have done- leave a response that makes it clear to future prospective guests that the review isn’t based in facts. Don’t worry too much about it- guests aren’t stupid and believe everything they read. If you have plenty of good reviews, they will see it for the outlier that it is.

You mean the host approve the review the guest left and vice-versa? If so, that would lead to all manner of review extortion, even more unreliable reviews, and it would also be an assault on free speech.
If you mean you would then have a chance to change your review based on what the guest wrote, as mentioned, that isn’t what reviews are supposed to be based on.

I’m sorry that this happened to you.

If you copied and pasted the review here some forum members might see ways to approach Airbnb to remove the review if it violates Airbnb content guidelines or on some other basis (like the contradiction of the review to the guest’s raves on the platform).

So – if you’d like – let’s focus on your next steps here:

o Evaluating whether and how you might get the review removed
o If the review cannot be removed, whether and how you’d respond to the review on platform
o Considering any changes you might want to make in your listing (AC, rules on unregistered guests and maximum occupancy (is it ‘whether overnight or not’ or just overnight as you suggest as your concern), cameras if you choose to install, moving furniture, size?) or your procedures (like how you write reviews)

I agree with @muddy that it would have been helpful to other Hosts to mention in your review that the guest brought unregistered guests, though ideally you raise this with the guest otherwise you’re inadvertently communicating that you don’t ‘mean what you say’ in your rules. If it doesn’t bother you, you can also waive it. “I see you have some unregistered guests, and [edit appropriately] that’s OK, but no more than our maximum occupancy of x or but not overnight unless . . .”

I’d encourage you to have exterior security cameras, and of course disclosed in the listing.

So, does your listing list AC as an amenity? If so, the guest is within its rights to mention that. The guest could have complained to Airbnb within 72 hours of check-in (? I think I have right timeframe; check me) and requested partial refund or worse for a missing amenity.

I’m sorry you are dealing with this, but something is very odd. If they never made a complaint to you, it seems odd that their review is as atrocious as you say it is. Did they ever try to get money from you? Could they have reviewed the wrong property?

I’d call AirBnB and tell them you can’t even prove it’s wrong since it’s vague about being “smaller” and what kind of amenities are missing. And if you have any kind of thermostat that might show a history that it was never 86 degrees, that’s more ammunition to get the review removed.


I’ve never had a guest who stated that they were a social media influencer, but if I saw that on a guest’s profile I’d be leaning towards declining. :laughing:
Buncha egotistical wankers who don’t want to work for a living, as far as I’m concerned.


I put the square footage of my suite in the first sentence of the description, so no one can say anything about its (petite) size.

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Actually, of course they can and they can comment on the size. Remember in the United States people think they’re driving a small car when they are in a SUV hybrid lol.


Someone in his group complained that your neighbour had a Ring door-cam and Airbnb accepted this as a valid undeclared camera attributed to you?

It’s 2023 – everyone has a neighbour with a ring cam. Why would Airbnb make you wear this one? That’s just stupid! And what kind of entitled “It’s all about me” whiner even thinks this is a thing? (Oh wait! The answer is "a social-media influencer".)

As for the 86 degree house on a 74 degree day? At the risk of veering off into nerd land, that can certainly happen if you have lots of windows and it’s a sunny day. It’s simply not accurate to say it is “impossible.” A lake-house in northern Wisconsin is more susceptible to heating up like a greenhouse from solar radiation in early May than it is from equally intense sun in July because the cooling canopy of leaves on nearby trees hasn’t fully greened up yet at that time of year, so a lot more of the sun’s energy hits the house.

You also don’t know to what extent the guest had (or didn’t have) enough common sense to take advantage of natural lake breezes by opening enough doors and windows to get cool air flowing through. An old lake-hand like you would know to do that, but maybe your guest doesn’t know all the tricks

The trend is that warm weather is arriving earlier – and it’s entirely possible that climate change may mean you will need to install the air conditioner a few weeks earlier from now on. (Trees won’t green up any earlier because that timing is triggered by length of day, not by temperature).

I have a huge complex garden, and this year the warm spring and the early arrival of summer-like weather have changed the natural calendar in ways that have astonished me again and again, as many small plants ARE accelerated by heat . No two years are the same, of course, but I’ve never seen anything remotely like this year for “summer milestones arriving early,” and “putting in the A/C’s” is certainly a summer-season milestone in is own way.


I would ask ABB to remove the positive review you left of them. That will hurt them too. I’m kinda surprised than an “influencer” left a bad review, funny how when no one is paying them they choose to be negative. I agree with Muddy, i’d be very wary of hosting “influencers” cos the cliche is they are shallow, bratty, entitled twats.


I wouldn’t ask to remove the review, at least future hosts can then check what he wrote for the host and have a chance to decline a booking.

I just declined a booking after an all 5 star guest wanted to book my place,I told her she has a remarkable talent for spotting faults in every single property she stayed at.


Every time I get a request from a so called influencer I send them a special offer for double rate. I tell them you are such a big influencer you must have a lot of money. So I’m going to charge you extra.

I ignore all their questions. I send them a bland template response on how much I’d love to host them.

For my listing, influencers are not worth offering a free stay.




I meant, to remove the positive review the host wrote. the bad review left by the influenza will still stand.

You don’t get it. If you remove the positive review what the host wrote about the guest, then future potential hosts will never see what the guest wrote about the host.


why would the guest’s review also be removed? A guest review can stand unattached to the host’s review. unless there is some policy, and if so, that’s a great way to get unfair reviews removed (so I don’t think it’s a thing)

I think what balivilla means is that if a host removes their review of the guest, when you look at the guest’s profile and want to click on other host’s profiles that the guest has stayed with, to see how they reviewed the hosts, there’s no host profile to click on if the host didn’t leave a review.
If you have a guest and don’t leave them a review, or remove the review you wrote, I would have no idea that they stayed with Gillian to see what kind of review they left you.

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