For reference, the URL towerroom.net redirects to my listing.
I hate to be the guy who shows up here only when there is a
problem. Though I guess these days this is what I am.
But I just had an infuriating experience with a guest who just
left. Happily this is a rare occurrence. I do try to screen my guests,
but obviously it’s a crap shoot at the end of the day.
I promised her a very bad review, and I feel that I should keep my
promise. She certainly deserves it, in my opinion. But I feel it would
be a good idea to run my proposed wording past the experts here, in
case she tries to get it removed for reasons of objectionable language
I’m writing this in a bit of a temper, but I feel I should do it now,
otherwise I will probably forget about it.
So, some background. The guest is a lawyer, and according to her, has
practiced in the Bombay High Court for 10 years. The Bombay High Court
is quite close by - just down the road at Fort. Basically walking
distance. She also said she is familiar with my area (Marine Lines),
which is quite close. And there is a church nearby which she said she
knew about - she’s presumably a Christian.
However, she moved to Goa during the pandemic, and stayed there. She
made a booking request on 18th April, which I accepted on 19th April,
after speaking with the guest. That’s not something that is supported
by Airbnb, or possibly even approved by them, though I am not aware of
any rule against it). But I started doing it during the pandemic. And
despite some push back from prospective guests who apparently can’t be
bothered to take a call, I think it is a good idea, and have kept it
as part of my screening process. It possibly saved me from at least
one unpleasant experience; a New Yorker with great reviews who I might
otherwise have accepted. When I spoke to him on the phone he was
extremely unpleasant, said I sounded “exhausting”, and hung up on
me. I’ve had bad experiences with New Yorkers before, and was quite
happy that he didn’t come to stay. (Sorry, I’m rambling.)
Anyway on 28th April, I sent her my information, including my guest
guide, which includes my address, directions and landmarks. So she
knew exactly where I was located.
The reservation was from 10th May to 15th May. And her check-in was
scheduled at 12.30 pm on 10th May.
Shortly before midnight on 9th May I sent her a last minute message
(not an arrival confirmation request) to ask if she wanted to have
lunch (no charge) since she was arriving at lunchtime. She replied
almost immediately, and said that she would be arriving after lunch
and so would not have lunch.
I think I might reach after lunch and not at 12:30 PM. I’ll share my
ETA. No lunch, thanks so much…
I then told her that wouldn’t work for me as I had a doctor’s
appointment in the afternoon, and we settled on 7 pm.
She sent a message on Airbnb Messaging at 5.51 pm, asking if a friend
of hers could “crash”, and also asking about parking. I had got back
early from the doctor’s appointment and replied to her at 6.15 pm,
telling her she could come now. The next I heard from her was at 6.46
pm, saying that she had gone for something to eat! I called her and
asked her when she was planning to come, and she said maybe 7.45
pm. (Her attitude seemed to be that this was a perfectly normal way to
behave. She said to me “that’s fine, right?”, referring to stopping
off to eat.) I said that was when I had dinner. And she eventually
arrived at 9.20 pm, with some man in tow who I had never seen or heard
from in my life, who she wanted to stay with. Against my inclination I
agreed to have him stay. I took his details and ID, naturally.
The next morning when I woke up I was greeted by an Airbnb message
which said the guest has complained that the listing incorrectly
advertised “beach access” in the amentities. Apparently, the listing
Listing details → Amenities → Location features
Supposedly I had enabled
Guests can enjoy a nearby beach
Beachfront On or right next to the beach with direct beach access
I got a screenshot from one rep with the
Guests can enjoy a nearby beach
part. As I tried to explain to more than one Airbnb rep this
afternoon, I had no recollection of ever enabling this, and certainly
would not have said I was on the beach front, which I’m not.
What makes this doubly weird is that the guest, who has lived and
worked in this area for a long time, must have been well aware, at
least on 28th April when I sent her my exact address, if not before,
that I was not on the beach. As I already mentioned, she was familiar
with the nearby church. This isn’t some foreigner who had never been
to Bombay. Though even then, this would have been unreasonable
Whether I am near the beach is arguable. Chowpatty Beach is not far
away, though I don’t know why anyone would want to visit it. It’s
quite polluted. It’s also clear from the area name (Marine Lines) and
the location shown on the Airbnb map in the listing, that it’s not on
a beach. And she could anyway have written and asked me if it was that
important to her. Or asked me when I spoke to her.
Of course Airbnb, who seems to be mostly composed of robots, didn’t
listen to anything I said, and refunded the guest 4 days of a 5 night
stay. This is not surprising. One does not expect sanity or common
sense from Airbnb reps. But this was only an issue because the guest
I am sorry to say I got a bit abusive with the guest as she left. I
rarely do this, but I was provoked.
So I was left with ₹2,061 (around USD 25) for maybe 10 hours of
nuisance, not counting the time I’m spending writing this. And
possibly not including the time I spent arguing with Airbnb. Plus the
₹500 I collected from this person’s “friend”.
Ironically, I have a lot of legal troubles, and had thought that this
person might help me with contacts or something, since she was a
lawyer who has worked in Bombay. Though I certainly wasn’t counting on
it. Seems funny in retrospect. I didn’t try asking her when I met her
on the evening 10th May, because her behavior was a bit strange, and I
kind of got bad vibes from her.
In 7 years (my listing went live in April 2016), with a pandemic gap,
I’ve never had someone complain to Airbnb about the accuracy of my
listing. I didn’t even know it was a thing, or that it could be the
basis for cancelling a booking and overriding the hosts’s cancellation
And my experience with Indian lawyers have been that they are really
crooked and unpleasant people. This just serves to reinforce this
bias. This person was one of those people who makes one wonder why one is doing Airbnb hosting.
I wonder if there is really any point leaving a bad review, because
the guest, whose account currently has no reviews, could presumably just delete her account and create a new one. And then that review would be gone. Is there anything stopping her doing that? I currently have 217 reviews. If she leaves me a bad review, I’m not going to delete my account because of it.
I often think my guests are troublesome, but happily I’ve had very
few experiences like this. If this happened regularly, I don’t think I
It seems that this approach is a good way of doing an end run
around cancellation policies, if the guest is sufficiently immoral to
try it. Because Airbnb and their reps will happily assist the guest if
he/she decides to try to screw the guest over. And I’m sure it is
always possible to point to inaccuracies in any guest’s listing. I’m
just glad it wasn’t a longer stay.
Fortunately, I get few cancellations, and so far it doesn’t seem to
have occurred to anyone else to try anything like this. But I guess
that’s the sort of thing lawyers do?
Anyway, so what do you think of the following review draft? Excuse the
telegraphic style, but Airbnb has a 1000 char limit on reviews now
(idiots). I don’t remember it before. Perhaps it’s new?
I’ll post this one a bit before the review period closes. Possibly on
the same day. In any case, I tend to post them rather last minute
these days. After hundreds of reviews, I think I’m jaded.
Summary: avoid this person if you value your time & sanity.
Made 5 day reservation with agreed upon check-in time 12.30 pm. Night
before arrival guest informed would not be making the time, and we
agreed on 7 pm. Was waiting for her & at 6.45 pm informs me has gone
Finally turned up 9.20 pm with some person I knew nothing about, and
asked if he could “crash” for the night. Agreed against my inclinations.
Next day, got Airbnb message saying guest had complained listing was
falsely labelled beach front property. Had said no such thing in
description, but some setting had been enabled on listing. So guest
cancelled reservation, Airbnb refunded almost all money & I got ₹2,061
(USD 25) for 10+ hours nuisance value spread over two weeks. First
such complaint in over 300+ stays over 7 years.
Guest didn’t contact me about this issue, & is familiar with area,
having lived and worked nearby (Fort) as Bombay HC lawyer. Also, I
sent her address/landmarks details 2 wks earlier.