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First Experience as Host - Nightmare Experience


#1

I just had my first experience as an Airbnb host. I was really excited to try it out - cleaned my house like crazy, took some pictures, wrote up a house manual and bought new sheets, towels …
In retrospect, I should have suspected trouble from the get-go. The guest wanted to pay me in cash rather than go through Airbnb and I told her that I was only accepting people through Airbnb.

Before she even arrived, a package had come in the mail for her from India. Granted, I never put “No mail” on my house rules so I let it go.

Once she arrived, with no car, she locked herself in the bedroom. I saw her very briefly over the course of 4 days. When I did see her, I was polite, asking her if everything was okay, if she needed groceries or help since she had no car, how previous visits had gone before, how she liked Airbnb. She was very distant and removed, hardly giving me answers which was just fine - I respect a person’s need for privacy and space.

The trouble was just beginning. I did not receive payment from her for all of the days she had requested and so I had to ask her to leave. It was incredibly uncomfortable. That night, she informed me that another pharmaceutical shipment from India was coming and that I would need to send it to her. At that point I told her that I had wished she had asked permission before shipping things to my home. This was going to create an inconvenience for me since I don’t get out of work before the post office closes and I am often away on weekends. But, rather than apologize or show some kind of gratitude (since I did say I would be willing), she got incredibly angry at me.

The next day, I came home and she was gone. But not before leaving the garbage literally overflowing with food so that it was spilling everywhere. My room was a shambles, the towels left on the bathroom floor and she left a fair amount of food in my fridge (which I was clear about in the “rules” section - please take any food you bring in with you.)

I just received an awful review from her - she said that I was asking lots of questions and was incredibly suspicious. (I was trying to be friendly and make some light conversation.) She said my house was “dusty, dusty, dusty!” (I had my house cleaned and I personally spent hours making sure things were impeccable - I even scrubbed out the closet.)

The thing is - this was my very first experience and it was just awful. I ended up with someone who turned out to be a nightmare! I had visitors last weekend as well and I am quite sure they will leave me a good review but I feel as thought the damage has been done.

I did reply to her after she reviewed me but I am not sure people are interested in hosts who get that kind of negativity. Does anyone have any advice? I put so much into getting my beautiful home ready only to be rated poorly.

Thanks.


#2

Wow…sorry to hear you’ve been through that horrible experience!
Did the guest have any prior reviews at all?
I listed house rules on all my Airbnb listings and print out page at the house too.
Make sure you give them a house tour first and go over how to use items and make sure they understand they have to put things back to where they belong.
ALWAYS set deposit so that if anything goes wrong, you can request claims with Airbnb.
Pick and choose guests that have verified ID and at least one good review. It’s very hard to start off with no reviews but try to engage in a conversation with your guest first via Airbnb platform to know them better before accepting them. It’s better to be safe than sorry…


#3

Sorry to hear that you’ve had a bad first experience. My first guest has only been here one night - and so far so good.

I think the golden rule must be to never make arrangements outside Airbnb - if a guest asks (and one has) it tells me they won’t be that respectful. If a host agrees, it tells me the same thing. If people are prepared to use Airbnb for marketing and find safe and affordable accommodation then going outside that has its risks.

Hopefully your next guest will be much more appreciative. Also, look them up on Facebook if they haven’t be verified. I’ve found all my upcoming bookings and can see that they seem legitimate.

Best of luck


#4

You poor thing, that’s absolutely horrible! But I am confused. Are you saying you made payment arrangements outside Air (zero benefit to the host) or you told her you wouldn’t and she got angry? Agree with others here, if they ask to do that it’s a red flag and I’d rather not host trouble and I tell them no thanks.

Most people are just great and are happy to follow the house rules. I have never ever heard of anyone getting mail sent to a host address. That sounds so bizarre and makes me think she was doing something nefarious.

Hope the rest of your guests from now on are respectful!


#5

Hey Gillian,
Apologies, I’m a little confused with what you wrote. You mentioned that she asked you to pay cash and you told her her only accepted people via AirBnB. If you went through AirBnB payment should not have been an issue.

Since she left you a review, I’m assuming you did go through AirBnB and thus you can respond to the awful review she left you on your review page so others can read it. Also, send a message to AirBnB to inform them of the problems you had with this guest. You can also have friends/family write recommendations for you.
I’m not sure how much you’re charging, but when we started we lowered our price until we had some good reviews.

We have a mother-in-law suite that we rent out, so I am not familiar with having people stay in my home. However, to avoid issues, we don’t allow guests to stay over a week and we only accept people with positive reviews or people that are professionals. If I get a request by someone that doesn’t bother to write anything about themselves and they have no previous reviews, I generally don’t allow them to stay with us.
You can be picky, it’s your space!!

I’m so sorry you had such a negative experience. We’ve been doing this for a year and a half and so far all of our guests have been great so I know it will get better for you!

Best of luck!
Michelle


#6

I had the similar things happen when I first started hosting. Twice I have had people make me ship things for them when they leave (which always makes me afraid I’m somehow smuggling drugs for them). One guy who I made leave used my home’s address as HIS address so now I still receive junk mail for his applications to technical colleges. I reported him to AirBnB. Just start putting rules on your listing and print them out and leave them on a page in the room when they arrive. Put down everything that annoyed you as a rule you won’t put up with.“Recycling required. Neat and tidy only. Limited kitchen use.” And charge a security deposit and state that if your rules are broken their deposit is forfeited.
Good luck.


#7

You won’t be able to charge their deposit for broken rules. You can only make a claim on it for damaged items. Air makes you upload receipts and photos of the damage as well as estimates of repairs. The guest then looks it over and can deny it and refuse to pay. This is of course where things get tricky.

I have never heard of guests making you mail anything or accept shipments. I would totally not allow that and certainly not go running around for any guest. Just say no!


#8

Lol. Thanks for clarifying that. I took my “You will forfeit your security deposit if you vomit here” out of my listings.


#9

Thanks for sharing your experience - but sorry it was so negative.

But thankful to know that I should state “We do not accept packages delivered to you at this address” or something similar to avoid such problems.

However, I think people have seen enough reviews from crazy people to be able to read between the lines. I’m always impressed when a host responds to a bad review with a reasonable response. You could respond with “I did my best to clean the space and make it comfortable. I would have been quick to correct any problems you had pointed out to me. I’m sorry my questions came across as nosy; I really was just wanted to be friendly and helpful”

Hope your next experience is much better!!!


#10

It is absolutely NOT normal to have to state in your house rules about not accepting packages for guests. Just check around and see how many airbnb’s do this. This situation despite happening is clearly way out of the bounds of reasonable behavior unless the guest has asked the host first. If they did not, then they should be told that they cannot send parcels to an address that is not their own, and it will be returned to sender. ESPECIALLY pharmaceutical packages from India, which is now with China responsible for the highest amount of customs crimes for illegal drugs and illegal copycat pharmaceuticals. Once YOU the host accepts that package to your address, you become implicated in whatever it may contain.

Regarding the bad review, I would call airbnb discussing the guest and their behavior (especially the mail that wasn’t discussed and how they left your home, and all the broken rules, and ask that they remove the negative review). The best way to get this done, is to say you will review the guest in full, so prospective hosts know to expect possibly illegal packages without permission and a home like a dump.

You must be assertive with airbnb. You are dealing with a bunch of just out of college kids, who are being fed alcohol by the gallon (reviewed by many employees at Glassdoor.com as keeping the masses happy with a culture of encouraged alcoholism).


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