I had a guest which booked my villa for a month and then changed her mind off coming to Bali (went to Thailand instead). I have strict cancelation policy and so she never canceled because she knew she would not get a refund.
On day of her check in I started getting WA messages from strangers and people coming to my villa that have nothing to do with the booking but were requesting to enter my villa.
I found from one of these people showing up that the guest was promoting my villa for her friends on her Instagram, offering strangers to come use my villa because she cannot make it.
I contacted airbnb regarding this issue and they actually canceled the booking (but waited 24 hours for their response). They rewarded the guest a full refund but they did pay me in full out of the resolution right away (around 5000 USD).
Next day in a huge public Facebook group for rentals in Bali to my shock I found a rental company trying to rent my villa, they completely copied my listing description and every single picture from my Airbnb listing without ever asking permission from me. I contact them and they told me my guest requested them to rent my villa and that they have the permission from airbnb resolution for this.
They didn’t even delete the fb post right away although I showed them the guest doesn’t have a reservation with me anymore, they deleted it after another 24 hours.
I contacted airbnb about this rental company as they also have hundreds of listings on airbnb and this is a serious breach of several of their community standards, but unfortunately after 8 days of waiting I just got some random message that they cannot arbitrate disputes, so basically they don’t care they have this scamming company with hundreds of listings on their website or that their guests tries to sublet the listing.
Has anything like this ever happened to anyone here? Any advice?
This sounds similar to something that happened to @CatskillsGrrl several years ago. Maybe she will pop in and share her experience.
One of the frustrations of Airbnb is that any one can list anything anywhere and not have to prove that they own or have the Authority to list.
This is why arbitrage is so popular on that site.
With B.con/ VRBO had to show rates/ tax notices.
I have seen a couple of times now, where owners at home have had random strangers and their wheelie bags show up at the front door claiming a booking- to the point of police being called and CSR being no help.
Not only that, but home owners who have caught their renters illegally listing on Airbnb and who have contacted Airbnb to get them to take the listing down have been met with non-compliance. Airbnb’s attitude is that that’s the landlord’s problem to work out with their tenant.
I even read a post from a guy who had his house for sale, had never listed on Airbnb, but found that some scammer had stolen his real estate photos and listed the place on Airbnb. When the home owner contacted Airbnb to say the listing was bogus and that anyone who booked it would arrive to find they had been scammed and turned away at the door, Airbnb didn’t care.
We have every guest sign an agreement. One of the clauses prohibits sub- letting.
My guest went to Thailand instead of Bali so never saw her.
So you send these agreements to guests after booking, before they arrive?
Airbnb did in the end protect me from a 3rd party booking and paid me, so that seems a bit excessive.
What seems excessive? There are many of us out here who don’t rely upon Airbnb to protect our finances nor our valuable properties. I would never let anyone cross my threshold without a signed agreement. Glad it worked out for you this time.
I saw a different version of this type of scam.
Guest showed up at a home where they thought they had a reservation. It wasn’t listed on Airbnb.
Airbnb said they couldn’t refund the money but would help them book something else. The guest was livid. They posted a photo screen grab of their reservation confirmation—from something like Airbnb.abc.
Airbnb never had their money so couldn’t refund. Airbnb could try to shut the fake site down but those sites disappear as soon as they’ve got the $$.
The guest’s perception was Airbnb didn’t care but what could Airbnb do?
It appears that Prince in Nigeria wanting to gift you $1M has a lot of scammer friends.
Was your guest’s name “Chris Cooper” by any chance?
Yes, that’s a well known scam. They’re all over the internet. And of course Airbnb can’t be expected to do anything about it, because it has nothing to do with them.
But like the Nigerian prince scam, while one can have empathy for someone naively losing their money, only a fool would wire money to some online stranger.
The emails these fake Airbnb scammers send to their victims are so filled with red flag BS that no one who bothered themselves to find out how Airbnb works would ever fall for it.
They typically say that they will use Airbnb for the first month’s payment, that it will be handled by Airbnb’s “long-term dept.”, that an Airbnb agent will meet them and give them the keys and if they don’t like the place they will get a full refund. They also tell the victim that the host will arrange the booking for them.
The victims of these scams typically say things like “I found this great apartment at a price that was too good to be true and it turned out to be a scam”.
Well, if it was too good to be true, why did they think it was legit? A 2 bedroom apartment in London, with Wifi and all utilities included for $500/ month?