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Guests abuse "Airbnb clean policy", what should I do next?


#1

I recently got one French couple coming from Hongkong, they booked 4 nights but left after stayed for one night by leaving one message to say, the bed is not comfortable and my house is dirty.

They sent photos which took undergroundly to a French agent of Airbnb, and the agent just refunded them 4 nights without confirming me the accuracy of those photos.

Actually, they took photos of my warehouse room and one tooth brush which I used for cleaning the lavabo, the agent might think the warehouse room was their room and the tooth brush was the one I provided to them.
They just rented one bed room but I did not see any photo of the room they rented. (My house is 164 square meters size with 4 rooms, I gave one option to rent the whole house but they chose to rent only one of them).

I am here doubting for standard and process which Airbnb agent followed to make the decision to refund.

As the agent wrote in explanation of his decision, he said:
“We handle situations very pragmatically way.”
“I ask you one last time to understand that according to our very clear and strict rules on this point, when housing is in such a state of “non-clean” on traveler arrival : Airbnb simply cancels the booking on the host behalf (thus committing a breach of its obligations Airbnb Host) and to repay the traveler.”

At first is the standard, can Airbnb make more it more detailed?

  1. Is the clean requirement applies to “the room which guest rented” and “those things (like slippers, towels) provided to guests” or “every place of the house” and “everything inside the house”?
    If it is the former one, the couple gave photos of the room which they did not rent and those things not provided to them, I hope Airbnb agent reconsider their refund decision.
    If it is the latter one, I hope if it is possible to exclude some parts, as the couple acted like a hygiene inspectors, they even took photos of some places I have not used for a very long time, undergroundly.

  2. Is the clean requirement is for the time when guests just arrived or is for guests’ whole stay?
    Those photos for my toilet were taken the next morning after I used the toilet for a shower at around 9:30am, they got up but did’t show up (closed their room’s door). I think they were waiting for the chance to take photo after I used the toilet and left my house.

Secondly, it is the process, can Airbnb consider the rights of the hosts when cancel and refund a booking?

  1. Can the cancellation and refunding proceed after the hosts were told to clean, but still cannot reach the requirements?
    The couple never told me my house was dirty in person, I could clean those parts they thought “dirty” if they told me.
    I even asked them if they needed me to clean those newly dropped leaves on their balcony, but they said “it’s OK”.
    I arranged a last minute airport pickup at midnight (arrive my house around 0:30am and I did not get paid), gave them SIM card, bus cards, powerbank, I am up to any cleaning but they said nothing.

  2. Can Airbnb agent ask the opinion of the hosts before made the final decision of cancellation or refunding?
    I got the email from Airbnb agent then I was told that email was the final decision, I am surprised how a final decision can be made only based on those photos from guests. Photos can be far away from the fact like what happened in this case.

Also I have something to say about the guests.
7 days before they arrived, they booked my house for a room, I accepted their booking in the same day.
2 days before they arrived, they told me they will arrive at midnight(it was a later told), I gave them directions and information, in the directions, I told them 3 options to arrive my house including Uber and arrange pickup from me.
3 hrs before they arrived, they asked me to arrange pickup, it was not that easy but I did.
(After they left I asked why they did not tell me earlier for midnight arrival or arranging pickup, they said hosts should be “flexible”).

We had about 30 minutes talk when they arrived, I asked their needs and breakfast choices, I even asked them if they need me to clean the newly dropped leaves on their balcony, they said “it is OK”.
I gave them local SIM card, bus cards and powerbank, as they said one of their phones was dead (no battery) and they are happy to have a local SIM card, I told them clearly they were free, just I am happy to help people and also want to make them happy.

The next morning, when I sent them very detailed directions (I totally didn’t know they will leave), I got the message from them to say they will leave because:

  1. The inflatable mattress: “I didn’t expect the bed to be inflatable”.
    However I wrote clearly in my list it is an “Airbed”.
  2. The dust: “I am very sensitive to dust and I can’t breathe properly from time to time”.
    This one I have no comment but again I am up to clean at any time.

As they told me in a following message that they cost a lot of time to find another accommodation and to text me, it is really hard to think “The dust” was the main reason they left. They knew I accepted their “later told arrival in midnight” and “last minutes arranging pickup”, I have no reason to refuse their requests to clean those dusty parts.

I suspect the reason of their leaving was something I could not change even they requested, like “The inflatable mattress” or my house was too simple to them, however those parts are written clearly in my list, then they used “Airbnb clean policy”.

It is not one case of abusing “Airbnb clean policy”?

I am afraid this time’s cancellation and refunding will encourage this couple to use “Airbnb clean policy” to force their hosts’ “flexibility” in the future as they look a little kind of random.
Even Airbnb system will record above case but cannot stop them from asking a deal offline, as they asked offline cancellation to me by sending message “I don’t want to pass by Airbnb and would prefer a mutual agreement with you so that I can leave a good review about your kindness”.

BTW, I asked the couple to pay for the airport pickup through Airbnb system since they just left, and even this request had been cancelled together with the booking by the system.
After they left, I sent them message to invite them to a local cuisine as they asked me before their arrival, and said I can arrange another taxi to the airport for free to make them happy but it seems they didn’t want to see me again.


#2

This is really a shame as it sounds like you really do care about guests and go the extra mile for them. Sorry. Not sure what you can do now. It seems as though ABB ruled against you on this one.


#3

Thanks for the message, except for how Airbnb will judge this case, it is really sad when someone smiled at me but stabbed my back after.
And they hid themselves in their room that morning waiting for my leaving to take photos!
I can clean my house “dirtness” but who will clean their “dirtness”?


#4

They sound like inconsiderate entitled guests. As much as the loss of income may be upsetting, you may want to consider it a blessing in disguise. Had they stayed who knows what else they would have conned you into doing for them. In addition, they seem like the type of guests you cannot satisfy and ultimately would have been able to leave a horrible review. Try to see it as good riddance.

Follow-up regarding complaint from guest:
You may still want to consider following up with Airbnb with proof of the condition of your listing. Hopefully you get a rep that is HELPFUL and knowledgeable.

With regards to your question about will you be judged on the “cleanliness” of the room or the entire house… in my opinion it depends on how your home is set up and what your listing offers. For example, if you share a bathroom or any other common areas, then try to keep it as clean as possible during the duration of a guest’s stay.

Obviously you would want to have the common areas clean especially if you are giving guests full access to your home even when they just opt for the private room option. I don’t know what your listing states but a suggestion if you don’t already do this, is to specify the areas guests can access. If you don’t want them accessing certain rooms, maybe try to lock it or provide guests with a house rule sheet on what areas of the house they are allowed to use during their stay.

Check-in.
I inform guests via the airbnb messaging system the unit is available at my listed check-in time, however if they need a later check in time to please inform me of their plans. At the very least I try to secure a 2 hour window so I am not waiting for them all day/night. I have seen listings that say check-in time must be between such and such time if that is a concern for you, you may want to add it to your house rules.

While I don’t offer a pick-up service, and you WERE extremely generous to pick them up at the wee hour and not charge them, I would recommend you do this for a fee in the future or simply not offer it all. Let them figure out their transportation options.

When you offer a pick up service to guests, require at least 48 hours (or more depending on your schedule) prior to their arrival date to confirm a pick up time so that you can plan your schedule accordingly. This way, you don’t have last minute surprises.

Lastly, I am sorry to hear about your experience. I hope your future guests are much more appreciative.


#5

I would not let this go and I would start raising hell with Airbnb reps. until someone will help you. These guests are rude, dishonest people. You have proof of why the guest left. The guest left because they DID NOT read the listing and then were disappointed to find out they would be sleeping on an Airbed. This had nothing to do with dust or dirt, or anything else.

They are clearly abusing the policy and now they will do it again in the future. Even if it isn’t within the Airbnb message system, it sounds like they texted you and said they didn’t want to go through Airbnb so that they could leave you a good review about your kindness. That is more proof that THEY were the ones who made a mistake by not reading the listing. And they wanted you to be so kind to give up your income and refund them.

They were probably afraid that Air would not side with them so of course they made up the cleaning issues.

I am sorry this happened and I have no idea why a representative would not listen to your side of the story before making a final ruling. This makes no sense. IF the place was so dirty then they should have taken pictures right upon arrival - NOT presenting pictures of used bathrooms, etc.

No, you are not obligated to keep areas clean where guests should not even be entering. That would be like guests expecting your bedroom to be clean when they shouldn’t even be walking inside your bedroom door. As long as the spaces guests will be in are clean…then you are fine.

The pictures shown should have time stamps and you can tell Air they peed all over the toilet and then took a picture of it. And they pulled out a floor cleaning toothbrush and took a picture of it. I don’t know what they were trying to prove with the toothbrush. Were they trying to say that you gave them a nasty toothbrush??

Airbnb needs to pay you out of their pocket. It was their error for allowing the guest to receive a refund.

Edited to add: Air should also realize it makes zero sense for a guest to rebook new accommodations when they don’t even have a car to travel with. It takes 5 minutes to wipe off some dust. Although, I know they made up the dust story, any reasonable person knows it would be quicker to wipe dust.


#6

Ahh, sorry that you had this experience.

I get it, may be the house was not sparkling clean, but considering all other extras, they should be more forgiving than that.

To answer your question about common areas: I think the toilet should be clean at all time when you are sharing it. Also, kitchen and other common areas.
Many hosts have an opinion that only guest’s room should be clean but the rest of the house not their concern. I have a different opinion about it: the whole image of the house plays a role and should be kept clean through out guests stay. If they have their own bathroom, then no, you do not have to clean their bathroom every day…

With that said, istill you as a host still have the right to be heard, and may be talk to a supervisor.


#7

It sounds like the guests did not fully consider what they were renting. And then faked a reason to get their money back.
When guests rent a place, they should read the detailed description. But they don’t always. I had a couple thrilled to death with my house, their room, the location and the clean modern new look. But wait, they were shocked, shocked to learn my bedroom was upstairs and I lived here! They thought for the rent they would get an entire house! Yet my first page says " Private Guest Room" “Shared Home”.
They left a good review, but slammed me for not giving them the whole house! INSANE.
You are a victim of foolish people who don’t care to read descriptions or listing pages.


#8

You are correct. I read the infamous post from years ago where the father of a famiily rented a place on Airbnb and then discovered he rented a room in a shared place. The family dealt with it…but just goes to show that these sites prefer bookings over educating guests.


#9

Thanks for the advices, I will add more detailed house rules to prevent similar case happen again.
Also I will only make those places which my guests will use accessible.
It is a good idea to set some check-in limitation time, I don’t want to have another mid-night check in again. :slight_smile:

As my talk with Airbnb, the non-clean judge is quite depending on personal opinion, not relying on any standard.
and they don’t have any process like if told the host to clean or if confirmed with the host the information are accurate or not.

And once that person who handle the clean case made a decision, even without confirming with the host, it is impossible to override by any ways.

BTW it looks like we should be careful with those “experienced” users, they know how to use Airbnb to cover their mistakes.


#10

It may be impossible for Air to get the money back from the guest since they chose to refund. But Air can pay you the money you deserve to be paid. Air made the decision to allow a guest to abuse the system.

Sometimes during damage disputes (if guest denies damages) - Air will pay out of it’s own pocket to host.


#11

Indeed! I posted earlier on a different thread about the new method to cancel and get money back. People now book, then 2-4 days before coming message me saying a family member has died and they need all their money back from me. I had the 5 day moderate refund system then. In two months 3 parties had family deaths and requested their money. So I lost over $500 in profits, having to give it all back. The word is out now, claim death, get total refund.


#12

You need to ask for a death certificate! AirBnB would ask for it. I’ve had that scam run on me before… I fell for it too many times. I checked up oin the guest who had done it and sure enough, he had traveled during the time he canceled on me and it wasn’t to his grampa’s funeral…

I hate to be hardline, but that’s what you need to do in this business.


#13

Are you saying that a death in the family is an automatic refund? Good to know.


#14

Reeny,

Google “airbnb extenuating circumstances” to find their policy that “may” override a host’s regular cancellation policy. I wish someone would chime in if any of their guests have used this through Airbnb AND if Airbnb showed the host proof. How does Airbnb know if a death certificate shows blood relation. What if my friend has a death certificate and just uses it to claim a death of a blood relative. Just not sure how it works.


#15

No of course not. In my personal case, yes, I refund in full for real emergencies like death and illness. My point was, this seems now to be becoming a scam, and I will reconsider in future how to deal with requests for full last minute refunds for deaths. One couple pulled the “His girl friend’s grandpa died and it was a crisis”. That one made me think the BS meter was pegging.


#16

Oh sorry, I should have put ‘a death in the family’ in quotation marks. I was being a bit ironic. But still, good to know.


#17

lol, I have nothing to say but lol. thanks for sharing.:joy:


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