Dealing with malicious reviews

Guest has sent in a review which I know will be bad. Am trying to decide whether I should send them a review or just wait until the review period expires and send a rebuttal.

Problem arose after they had left ruts in our driveway by spinning wheels on takeoff which I filled in but found fresh ones the next day. I messaged that I would prefer they parked on the street. They responded that they were sorry but there was a problem with the vehicle and they would stay off the driveway. Fine, as that should have been the end of it but then later accused me of reporting the issue to Airbnb which I had not. This was followed with messages wishing me a bad day and after they checked out I got another sarcastic message.

We have over 100 five star reviews whereas they had a 4.25 so people reading whatever her review stated would not believe it anyway. My concern is that a malicious review could lower our ratings and maybe our positioning placement.

They left the unit in a very untidy condition but no obvious damage. The only star rating that would be appropriate would be “communication” with the “disrespectful” tab checked

Writing a response to a bad review doesn’t accomplish the same thing that leaving a review does.

Your review responses appear on your profile, so they are intended to be read by potential guests.

The reviews you leave for guests are intended to be read by your fellow hosts, to help them decide whether to accept a guest or not.

Wouldn’t you have appreciated being warned about these disrespectful guests? Why wouldn’t you review them? How do you think not leaving a review is of benefit to you? The only people it’s of benefit to are the disrespectful guests.

As a host, I would want to know that these guests falsely accused you of something, sent you rude and sarcastic messages, and left the place very untidy.


Muddy - Yes, that makes sense. They are obviously expecting a bad review anyway… I think that they were unhappy from the start as they wanted to bring a dog even though listing stated no dogs as we have a dog that is aggressive towards other dogs. They were also disappointed that pool was not heated even though our listing prominently stated that.

I know it’s not a pleasant chore to have to leave a negative review, so can understand why hosts sometimes shy away from doing so.

It’s good to keep in mind that guests have no qualms about leaving a bad review if a listing deserves it, and even sometimes when it doesn’t.

Occasionally a host is sure they’ll get a bad review, and are surprised when it turns out not to be. Or vice versa- as far as the host was aware, there were no issues with the stay, but the guest leaves a bad review. But as long as the host has reviewed the guest honestly, there shouldn’t be any reason for regret. Reviews should never be based on the review we anticipate getting, good or bad, but on facts.


I understand getting a bad review sucks. Writing a factual review as the host can suck too, as i found out recently. I just said that ‘ I met the guests briefly’ on their arrival when really i wanted to say’ ‘The guests were most unfriendly and didn’t want to engage with an introduction to my place’.
They were bad tempered from the start and left me a 3 star review. I wish I had said what i really thought, but felt i shouldn’t. I gave them 5 stars as the place was left in a tidy state.
Oh well, one moves on!!

Yep, just what I need, someone who bears a grudge and knows where my property is…

1 Like

It’s a fear some hosts express, but I’ve never heard of a guest coming back to wreak some sort of physical or verbal vengeance, either on the host or the property, over a less than great review. If they did, I’m sure it would be publicized in the media.
The only similar case, wasn’t a guest coming back to a place they had checked out of and gotten a bad review, but some guests who had wanted to leave, and asked for a refund for the rest of the stay, which the host refused. They didn’t cancel, and the host assumed they were still there, only to find out a couple weeks later that they had left all the gas appliances turned on and all the water running for all that time, as revenge for not getting a refund.
Of course, the host had some responsibility there for not determining whether the guests were still there and not checking on his property all that time.

I was a public school teacher for 27 years. I was listed in the phone book and I only had one instance of vandalism or pranks at my house. Eggs were thrown in the driveway once. I have no evidence of it being related to my job though.

I’ve long thought it odd that Airbnb hosts take the risk of letting largely unvetted strangers into their property to begin with if they are that concerned with the safety of their property.


We always like to meet and greet our guests personally. If the guest goes out of their way to avoid any contact then it usually means an unjustified bad review follows. Not much we can do about it but fortunately it is a small minority.

As long as the host is clear in their listing that they meet and greet their guests (and hosts who do, but also list self-check-in, really need to make this known), then guests “resenting” a meet and greet are way out of line. If they don’t want any contact with the host, they should be booking one of those self-check in listings where the host is some faceless entity who never interacts with their guests.

Of course, hosts need to avoid being overly chatty unless it’s evident that the guest is also the chatty type. By the time most guests arrive, they are usually travel-weary and just want to get settled. Some guests may seem unfriendly or aloof at first, just because they are tired, and once they settle in, shower, and relax, you might find that they are actually not like that at all.


“If they don’t want any contact with the host, they should be booking one of those self-check in listings where the host is sensitive to the guest’s need for efficiency and a fluid contactless check in.”

Many of us hosts are simultaneously able to provide self check-in and caring quality of service. There’s no need to ‘put us down’ and assume we are ‘faceless entities’ simply because we provide a quality check in experience without a meet-and-greet.

You are right!We knew that review wasnt going to be a glowing one!! Like for you, it was a rare experience, fortunately!

Our guests do not get the code to the door until it’s given to them by me personally at meet-and-greet time.

And no need to take it personally. I wasn’t thinking of hosts like you, who run their own listings and live close by. I was referring to places owned by remote “hosts”, run by property managers who never see or meet any of their guests unless the guest has a complaint about something that they have to attend to. And even then, they’d likely just send the cleaner or a tradesman.

Also, I was referring to guests who book a place where the listing says there is a host meet and greet, then give the host attitude when they do that.

There’s all kinds of good reasons why a host, even a homeshare host, may have self-check-in for guests- maybe the host works outside the home and can’t be home when guests check in, or goes to bed at 9 pm and doesn’t want to wait up for late-arrival guests. And many places lend themselves to self-check in, where others, like mine, don’t. There are too many things that don’t work like they do where the guest lives, and they are much better demonstrated in person than trying to convey in written form.

Also some hosts believe that guests behave better when they have met the host, whether that’s on arrival, or just in passing, when the host lives on the property, or next door.

1 Like

Yep you’re correct Muddy. It doesn’t take long to figure out the mood of the guest- body language saying it all. We predicted what the ‘bad review’ guest would do after she snarled about cutting plants back on my path and ignored my apology re a temporary car parked in the driveway. We took her ’tip’ and pruned the plants later.
Que sera sera

1 Like

I’m a firm believer in that theory.


Sure glad I haven’t gotten one of those. My path was a jungle you had to almost machete your way through for several weeks until I had time to attend to my gardening.

1 Like

I think her review was about my garden, not the apartment!! Wish i had a witty comeback for it!!

1 Like

Me too. I think it’s harder to disrespect a property when the guest has met the host face-to-face. It also conveys that it’s actually a place the host is involved in and cares about, rather than guests thinking of it as just “an Airbnb house”.

Of course, that’s assuming the guests aren’t total jerks or insane. The worst case I’ve read, of the lengths someone would go to to scam a free stay, was a homeshare. The hosts had gone out shopping for a couple hours and found that their guest, who had already been there for a couple of days, had packed up and left. She had emptied every garbage can in the house, strewing the garbage all over the floors and furniture, taken the covers off the throw pillows, and threw those around, too, tipped over lamps, threw food all over the kitchen, poured milk on the floor, then took photos of the mess and sent them to Airbnb, demanding a refund. She had even trashed out the hosts’ bedroom.

1 Like

Wow!! What a horror story!!
Did Air pay the guest out?
So bad a story its almost funny!!