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Guest turned freezer OFF, everything thawed, leaking


New here. Guests rented our personal home for a week (we stay three doors down) and at first all seemed well after checkout. Then I discovered that the freezer part of the fridge had been turned off and everything—including a fair amount of meat—is thawed, warm, and leaking all over.

The fridge is fine, and all it takes to turn the freezer back on is to push the clearly marked “Freezer on/off” button, so it isn’t that the appliance is malfunctioning. I’m thinking they had left the door ajar at some point, the thing started beeping, and instead of pressing the button that turns off the alarm, they hit the one that turns the freezer off. It does not seem plausible that they did not bother to check it because there is no sign of a full bag of ice that had been in there. Considering how thoroughly thawed everything is, it had to have been this way for at least two days. I’ve taken photos of the bloody, dripping mess.

In multiple places, including in person at check in, I communicate “Please let me know if you have any questions or problems.” They did not.

I would like to request payment for all the food that needs to be tossed. Question: Do you recommend first sending a private message or should I go straight to the “request payment” option? They were otherwise model guests. Thanks for your help!


Document everything through Airbnb, photos, descriptions. Then I’d let the guest know what happened through Airbnb message system and let them know the damage amount. If they don’t agree to pay, go through Airbnb resolution center.


I would not request payment. I do not understand, you rented the whole house with your food in freezer yet you live 3 doors down? Live and learn, don’t leave anything in freezer.



I would request payment via Airbnb messaging, with photos of mess. If they respond and agree to pay for loss, fine. If not go through the resolution center.

If you don’t get resolution that way, then this is an expensive lesson to learn, but you won’t make this mistake again, will you?

You’ll walk you next guests through the kitchen and demonstrate the door-open beep, and how to stop it, won’t you.


RiverRockRetreat, This is our primary home and it says so in the listing. When we make it available, we either stay in a small separate dwelling on the property or with friends down the block. This is not unusual. As I would think you would know (since it was the intent of airbnb in the first place!) many people rent out their actual homes and it is understood that many of the owner’s personal effects remain in the house. We don’t leave anything of major value, and of course food is replaceable, but that doesn’t mean guests should never be expected to compensate when they are responsible for a loss.


I have learned the hard way that never ever underestimate the stupidity of the general public.

So I tweak and have most of the the issues taken care of but will not be surprised if they find something weird to do.

In this case lock of anything you do not want them to access.


You are guaranteed a bad review if you ask to be paid. Your listing, your reviews so do as you wish.



Yep, lots of livin’ and learnin’ involved. We’ve stayed in many personal home rentals where they leave way more stuff than we do, but for the most part, I’ve been doing what we’ve experienced: I clean out plenty of space in the fridge and freezer and get rid of anything personal or gross or super perishable, so it’s all clean and the guests have room for their own food.

We usually don’t have quite this much meat around, but the bummer is, I’d just bought three whole organic chickens and some other stuff from a small-scale local farmer. :frowning: I figured if a guest ate a chicken or snuck one into their luggage, c’est la vie (the odds seemed pretty low). It didn’t occur to me we’d lose the whole lot.


Unfortunately, it will probably be considered as an assumption of risk.


kbell - sucks that you lost all that food. It really does. I just don’t see how this situation would turn out well by asking to be compensated. If the guests are willing to pay, please keep us posted.

If I rented out a whole home with someone’s personal belongings…I’d sure hate to be asked to compensate them if I screwed something up. It’s one thing to lose all my own groceries…but it’s another when someone else is also (in essence) making me responsible for their groceries too.

This would be the equivalent of me doing something dumb and accidentally flooding your hardwood floors. I may need to pay to replace those floors. But I wouldn’t want to be responsible for replacing your personal paintings, clothes, etc. that may also have stored and ruined in those areas.


Gee thanks for the tough love, RR. Did you think I didn’t see your “advice” the first time?


Interesting. If I messed up, I would feel responsible for the damages no matter what they were. I believe most guests are decent people who want to do the right thing.


I hope you can see what I am saying. I was trying to use the example if I flooded your floors. Yes, hopefully most people would fess up and pay to replace them if they did something dumb. But…let’s say you had some expensive paintings in storage that got wet also…the guest would also be responsible for that. I was just trying to give devils advocate view. If you ask for payment I do hope they pay up and apologize.


I simply responded to you, I really am not invested in wether you take my advice or not. Take the best and leave the rest I say.

Have a great day


I sent the primary guest, who is new to Airbnb btw, a personal text (she had contacted me that way earlier in the week). I thanked her for leaving the house neat and clean and asked if she realized the freezer had been off for quite some time, etc. I said I assumed it was an accident, but most of the food couldn’t be salvaged.

She responded apologetically and said she hadn’t much used the freezer, but that she would check with her colleagues. (The group was three middle aged co-workers in town for a teachers conference—they all struck me as pretty considerate folks.) She asked for an amount.

I explained that I needed to toss about $150 worth of food (it was actually probably closer to $200, but I could only document about 150). I offered to split the loss $75 each. She agreed.

Yay for humanity!


I got snippy because I thought you responded twice with your “guaranteed bad review” opinion. Now I see that this system automatically double posts sub-replies. Wouldn’t it be dandy if a double negative added up to a positive when it comes to human interaction?


Yes. These situations are sucky and subjective. Ideally both parties communicate as thoughtfully as possible to arrive at a reasonably balanced solution. My initial question asked if people thought it best to start that process privately or to initiate it with a payment request. I was surprised by the comments from some implying that it was basically stupid to initiate anything in this case. Why not give people a chance to make things right?


I’m so glad this turned out well for you (apart from losing the organic chickens!) and I think you handled it correctly in contacting the guest first . Because of bad experiences, some hosts consider that all guests are ill-intentioned towards their host.

The partial payment seems a completely fair solution because, as @cabinhost suggests, there was a slight “contributory negligence” on your part. If you hadn’t, by chance, newly stocked the freezer, you’d probably have let it go …

To those of you who seem surprised at someone airbnb-ing their primary home, I’ve seen it quite often, and have stayed in such a place twice when we were in London for a family reunion. It was a really good experience because it was homely and the host left kids’ toys which the grandchildren could play with. The only drawback: fiteen minutes before check-out we discovered that our youngest grandson (who has Aspergers and is a Lego Genius) had put together a brand new, still-boxed Millennium Falcon. I can tell you that it takes three frantic adults 12 minutes each to dismantle one of these fiendish creations …


Unnecessarily harsh RRR


Really? It was not intended to be harsh. I am glad it worked out for the OP hopefully she does not get slammed in the review.


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