I just wanted to give kudos to AirBnb for quickly addressing my concerns following denial of claims for guest damages. I actually wrote Brian Chesky (see letter below), and I received a response within the week. And Airbnb paid for all damages. I recognize that it is highly unlikely that Mr. Chesky viewed my email, but really appreciate AirBnb addressing and resolving my concerns. Not sure if it will help others with denied damage claims or issues with customer service, but I thought I would post.
Dear Mr. Chesky,
My name is Richard XXX. I have been a loyal Airbnb host in Indianapolis, IN for 10 years; I have not used any other platforms to rent my house. I really appreciates the services your company brings to guests (and hosts), and I am a great admirer of Airbnb’s social consciousness. Although I do not travel in the business world, I have seen very few businesses that have the standards and moral compass that Airbnb strives for and largely maintains.
That being said, my faith in Airbnb has recently been shaken. I recognize that the issue on how I was treated by Airbnb as a host is relatively inconsequential and unimportant as renting my residence grosses under $40K/year. I hope though that Airbnb will train its representatives to be more knowledgeable of the company rules, and strive to accurately communicate the policy to Airbnb hosts.
My situation in brief: I had a guest who stayed at my house at the end of July who vandalized my property during a party. Although I made it clear (both on the Airbnb host site and in a subsequent written communication with the guest) that parties were not allowed, they still had a party that resulted in about $700 in damages. After the guest checked out I noticed the damages, and immediately reported this to Airbnb. Through subsequent communications with Airbnb representatives (over two dozen exchanges over a week?), and going through the resolution process, and following escalation of the issue, I was told verbally and in writing that the guest had paid $500 for the damages, and I should receive the money in 15 business days. At the conclusion of this time period, I contacted Airbnb and indicated that I had not received the money, and they then told me to escalate my request to Claims. I followed again their advice, but Claims denied my request because it was beyond the 30 days after the damage was noticed. Although I talked with an Airbnb supervisor, and relayed to her that I followed precisely all of Airbnb’s advice and direction to obtain the money for the damages (I also suggested to her to read my written exchanges with Airbnb support, as well as review my recorded verbal communications with Airbnb to validate my claims), she said it does not matter…it is beyond her control, and she will make no exceptions to the 30-day rule since it was stated on the document that I signed. I was also told I cannot appeal to Airbnb.
Although the Airbnb representatives I spoke with were courteous, thoughtful, and appeared to sincerely display tenacity in trying to resolve the situation, the supervisor made it clear that their advice was incorrect and she is sorry for what happened (and indicated the guest was disciplined), but she could not do anything for me. She said the written rules are what mattered. I am now completely disillusioned as a host with Airbnb. Clearly following the advice and suggestions of Airbnb ambassadors was a mistake. And the supervisor was probably correct in that I did not read closely read what I signed. But to follow precisely what I was told to do by Airbnb representatives, and then get penalized is not a good business model.
Anyway, I am left with a significant (at least to me) dilemma: is it still in my interest to host guests through Airbnb? It is not clear the risk (to my house) benefit ratio is conducive to using Airbnb’s platform, since I cannot rely on Airbnb’s ambassadors to give correct advice if a similar problem arises in the future.
Finally, I do not expect a response or even expect that Mr. Chesky will see or read this message; my hope is that Airbnb will train its representatives to be more knowledgeable of Airbnb policy, and to see hosts as individuals who sincerely want to support Airbnb’s mission…not people who can be readily discarded.
With respect and sincerity,