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Expecting First Bad Review

I’ve been an Airbnb host for over 1 year with 4 listings and I’m expecting my first really bad review.

I had a guest check into my 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom unit with her husband and 2 kids on Sunday and they’ll be checking out Wednesday morning. She emails and calls me late Monday evening saying there are issues with one of the showers. The cold water isn’t working and only hot water is coming out of the shower. She started screaming at me and said she can’t stay in the apartment and demanded a full refund. I told her the manager and I would go to the unit to check on the shower to see if it’s a problem specific to the unit or if it’s a building issue. She continued to demand a refund so I told her to contact Airbnb and that I couldn’t issue a refund to her directly without getting Airbnb involved. She eventually calmed down and the manager checked on the issue and told her the plumber couldn’t be out until Tuesday morning. The manager suggested she use the 2nd shower, but the guest said she didn’t want to. 2 plumbers came out Tuesday morning, fixed the issue, manager double checked for 10 minutes with the water running to make sure it was fixed. I get an angry email late Tuesday evening saying shower isn’t fixed and how her family can’t shower at all. Then I get another email saying it’s a safety issue and how this could have severely harmed her children.

I’ve been renting this unit for over a year and have NEVER had anyone complain about the shower. I also don’t understand why she couldn’t have used the 2nd shower since this issue was only in one bathroom. I know she’s going to leave an extremely negative review with all 1 star. Is this something I can have Airbnb remove? Any helpful tips?

They won’t remove reviews.

Sometimes, it’s best if they do cancel/leave. In this case, I would have seen the refund request as a golden opportunity to have them pack up and depart.

Another host on this forum, last year, gave me the line “You’re welcome to check-out early. Why don’t you find another property you like and then contact airbnb know what you’re doing”. It’s a bit of a gamble but I’d be you they don’t want to pack up and move and are just looking for a free stay.

I used this when I had a booking that was then freaking out about my price (I was having to adjust it as she was adding and subtracting people). I just said “This is your vacation and I want you to be comfortable. Please feel free to find another place that will make you happy and I will refund you”. Her song changed right smart quick.


I agree the guest is just looking for a free stay. @dcmooney I love that line. Luckily, we have never had any issues with people wanting to leave early, knock on wood, but I’m totally going to use that if it ever comes up.

We did have a very strange person in SF last summer, who checked in then messaged me 2 days later, that our property was ‘not a fit’ for them and they would be leaving. I of course followed up, but never heard anything about what the issue was.

@felixcat Would you tell them to call Airbnb to request the cancellation or would you refund them thru the Resolution Center?

@dcmooney That’s a great line!

@azreala I’m getting frustrated because it seems like a lot more guests are making up false issues to get a refund. Last month I had someone stay for 4 days with no issues and all of a sudden I get a request from them asking for a full refund. He said there were bugs, noise issues, how I ignored all his messages, etc. The accusations were pretty ridiculous and of course, had no photos or proof.


@jpark We are just starting the busy season in Barcelona and I got our first review (of the season) and the woman complained about everything! I told my DH and property manager I think she was just angling for a refund, bc our prop mgr is VERY diligent about checking up on people, etc. He said they said nothing, etc. They complained the kettle was broken (it was, but I think it was them), the dishwasher was broken (it is most certainly not), there was one 1/2 of the shampoo and conditioner left (we have large containers for guests, so yes they are not always completely full), there was not laundry detergent (I was unaware I needed to provide this for a 3 day stay), noted will added a box next to the laundry machine. I’m just waiting for a refund request. What they didn’t mention is my prop mgr allowed them to leave their luggage until 3pm the day of check out, check in outside our normal hours without a fee. Its the ‘new’ to air bnb people that always expect champagne on a beer budget.

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Ouch. Have you tried this trick? I subscribe to this blog, and this is one of the best tips they’ve sent out:

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I find this a very interesting comment, for I am sensing a difference between the ‘old’ AirBnBers and the ones just signing up lately (last few months). Maybe my mind is playing tricks on me.


Thanks for sharing that, Monika! It’s a great idea!

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Agree that having an old fashioned comment book makes a difference. We provided some adorable stationary in the room just to make it a little more hotel like. It organically morphed into a guestbook. Most of our folks have left lovely notes for us. Whats especially nice about it is that current guests are faced with all of the positive feedback from former guests while they’re here. Helps reinforce that they made a wise choice by booking with us and thus less likely to nitpick.

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Bad reviews happen. If you get five positive reviews after, the negative review will move over to page two, no one will see it!

Few more tips: Don’t write her a review until day 14, this will decrease the amount of emails she receives to write you one. Also, if you wait to have it published until day 14 by then maybe you’ll have two or three good reviews so its not the first thing guests see. The reviews e in order of the date guests check in not the date the review is released. Lastly, you can leave a pubic response to anything she writes.

Hope this helps!

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I do both, I have a guestbook (actually it is a gift from Air, I thought all new hosts get one ) where guests leave kind words, and I leave a paper for comments with the phrase: “a question ? A suggestion ? Please tell us what we could do to make your experience even better”.

There is also a field where they have to write their desired checkout time and I remind them to put the paper in my letterbox the day before their checkout. This way I can read their comments before they leave and provide an answer when we meet for their checkout.

So far all guests have filled the question/suggestions field , with comments from smart (provide washcloths) to surprising (the vacuum cleaner isn’t very powerful ? You mean you vacuumed the place during a 2 nights stay?), or just lovely words (everything is perfect).

Airbnb is really hit and miss when it comes to giving gifts. I think it varies ALOT where you are based.

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That it does!

Also saw this about avoiding/handling reviews. The advice is pretty basic, but there are def some good tips in there:

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