Guests rob me and AirBNB offers $164 for 6k in damages

I had a guest stay at my place a few weeks ago. I tried contacting him, and found out he had a google voice number instead of a real phone number. I called customer support to cancel, as I had a bad feeling, and they assured me it was a legit account, and that I had nothing to worry about, and that I would be charged $100 if I cancelled the reservation.

Fast forward, I do the return key exchange, and he texts me and says he had to leave at 5am for a family emergency, and left the key in the unit. I come to my place that is ransacked. They stole a bunch of information that i had locked in my closet, like an ID, SS Card, credit card, coins, etc. They also stole 2 laptops and 2 iphones.

I ended up breaking my lease for $3000 and had to cancel several other reservations, not to mention countless hours cleaning up the mess, cataloguing my losses, and trying to submit a claim to airBNB.

Their response is that they are only covering $164 because that is all of the loss I could prove (duplicate key and one receipt for an item I just purchased).

They call this a “goodwill payment”. How is reimbursing me for documented loss “goodwill”? And how are they not at all accountable for their negligence?

What did you submit to Airbnb as evidence of your loss? I do feel for you and you obviously know now that mistakes were made by you as well. You’ve learned a very valuable but expensive lesson.

Surely you understand that if you are going to leave thousands of dollars in valuables in your home you need to be able to prove they were there. You have to prove this to police or insurance or Airbnb. If they would just take your word for it then by all means, let us know. I could use an extra $6k too. It seems from another thread you have a fraudulent charge on a credit card. Big deal. People have that happen to them all the time.

It also sounds like you were sub-letting in violation of your lease?

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It’s amazing to me how trusting some people are. You had two iphones. Why did you not photograph all that valuable stuff – in situ – as evidence that you had it prior to the guests arrival??? Why would you think that stuff “locked in a closet” would be protected from some guy with a screwdriver?? That’s what safes are for.

Why were you NOT there?

I feel your pain, but honestly you made these expensive blunders, and AirBnb should not pay you for your mistakes.


What I don’t understand is how someone would let total strangers into their property and not remove these items?

And don’t most people carry their ID, SS card, credit card and phone with them at all times? I do.

If I was working at Airbnb I’d suspect a scam. No-one in their right mind would leave such items around when strangers are in the house. And if this was legitimate, wouldn’t you claim from your home insurance? After all, if this was a break-in (to the closet) there will be a police report.


If someone ransacked your home, wouldn’t you call the police?

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If you were a legal host, yes :slight_smile:


I don’t ever carry my SS card or passport. Why would I? In general, the only reason I have an ID on me is because I am driving and I do have to carry a license. Heck, you don’t even need an ID to vote in my state [and may that continue.]

I guess I don’t quite understand why this host is being challenged so heavily. She locked the stuff up. This is what my parents and grandparents did when they rented a second home out to folks. It is a pretty standard practice and has been for at least 100 years. The difference now is, that AirBNB opens your home to a greater variety of people and, to be honest, has allowed criminals to gain easy access to our homes. Criminals LOVE AirBNB and all the other online booking systems.

I think that this continues to be a warning that AirBNB does not screen guests and that we, as hosts, have to take more drastic measure to protect ourselves and our homes.


You open your home (via AirBNB,, whatever) to a variety of people. As a host, you can choose who to let into your home. AirBNB et al does not force guests on to hosts.

“I had a guest stay at my place a few weeks ago”. So one could suppose this has been going back and forth for a while with Airbnb. The guest supposedly stole: “a bunch of information that i had locked in my closet, like an ID, SS Card, credit card, coins, etc. They also stole 2 laptops and 2 iphones.” which was kept on the premises, but locked, which was occupied temporarily by really a total stranger. Supposedly it was all worth $6,000. Airbnb is asking for proof.

I certainly wouldn’t cut them a check for $6,000. Anyone here would?

What do you think Airbnb should do @anon67190644 with this dilemma?

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I think it’s pretty naive to assume Air will pay based on your words. Just words. It’s not easy to get money from them as it is WITH proofs but without its not realistic.
I do lock all my things in my bedroom. I don’t carry my passport around, why? It’s a travel document. I don’t keep valuables such a jewelry anywhere in a house, all is in safe in bank. But laptops and I pads I just leave in my bedroom.
I would definitely call
Police and have a record of the report. You have all info on this guy. He will be in big trouble if he robbed you.
Plus you will have something to show to Air

@Mearns ,

I think that AirBNB should have advised the host to call the police immediately, and then should have cooperated with the police completely, handing over everything they know about this guest. They should provide the police with the ip address that they booked from, every ip address that the bookers have used to log in, the names of hosts and addresses of other places that have been booked with the same account, the credit card information as submitted, and all verifications that were used to create the account.

I think that the case should remain open as long as there is an open police investigation. I don’t think that a payout of $164.00, which indicates that AirBNB considers the case closed is a valid response.

I hope that the host hasn’t cleaned the doors and surfaces of the house. Fingerprints and DNA might be available to the police and could help track down the criminals. This is not a one-time occurrence. Generally, when criminals find a successful scam, they do it over and over and over again.

Considering guests steal bottles of ketchup,from locked cupboards, it’s really foolish to,leave valuables in a locked closet. If you had a safe secured to the floor that might work. I have all my electronics, cameras on my home insurance. Had a computer stolen from my double locked office, insurance paid up. Credit cards can be cancelled.
What has the lease to do with the robbery? Did your landlord kick you out?
If you had a bad feeling, then you should have moved your stuff.
I had a tenant steal the satellite receiver. Nothing else as that was the only thing he had access to before Airnb.

Yep. Police should have been called from the outset, sparing Airbnb to be once again the referee, and the ‘heavy’; a no-win situation. Couldn’t agree more. Begs the question, why weren’t they called. Also discourages this type of scam, which surely will be happening more frequently.

The mere mention of lease thickens the plot, sort of speak.

I challenged the OP because 1) I don’t know him. I tend to not take things that people say at face value if I don’t know them and there are gaping holes in their story. 2) Airbnb is not being unreasonable by requiring proof.

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Sounds like you tried and failed at scamming. No one would leave their phones and laptop(s) in a short term holiday rental. Why no police?


The platform lends itself to trust people through what I thought was a verification and review process. I was wrong. Of course I could have done things differently. But does this mean that AirBNB can just look the other way?

How about the fact that I called AirBNB on the day of the reservation and said I just had a weird feeling, and they assured me by saying “you have nothing to worry about”. That’s what really upsets me.

Also, they tout themselves on this great trusting platform. Because of this experience I know now that its just a haven for thieves. No wonder cities try to regulate.

K9 - I submitted a laundry list of the stolen items. I didn’t have a receipt for a laptop that I bought several years ago, but was able to get the model number. I also lost business because I had to cancel some reservations after it happened.

Also the guest tried to make it look like a robbery. He left at 5am on account of “a family emergency” however there was fraudulent charge at 12 am the night before. Also, the bed was not even messed up at all… made the same way I make it. He just cased the joint, stole my shit, and left.

Jaquo - very helpful monday morning QB thoughts. I’m not saying I am without blame, but the platform lends itself to people renting out their only home. That’s what I did. Where am I going to put my valuables? Granted, knowing how unsafe this platform is, specifically because AirBNB does nothing to vet guests, I will never do it again.

I was just dumb and naive… thinking that the way it was setup that it wouldn’t turn to this. Also, my understanding was that AirBNB had a reputation for making things right.

Also, I did file a police report. Insurance won’t cover if you are using for profit. I believe there is a rider in the coverage that addresses that.

I did call the police, and I got a police report.

Thank you! Yea… I was really stupid. I was stupid to use the platform. Stupid to think it was safe. I guess growing up in a small town and thinking that most people are decent made me naive.

Again, just so baffled that AirBNB can turn its back on people like this. I get the lack of documentation, arguments, but from a legal standpoint, what are your thoughts on this - I tried to cancel through the app on the same day. They woudln’t let me - all same day cancellations must go through phone. I call, explain that the person had a Google Voice number, and that made me uneasy. The CSR said “you have nothing to worry about” and then said if I did cancel, I would be charged $100. I figured that since they gave me that assurance, it was probably legit (only rented a few times in the past so didn’t know what to expect). I should have gone with my gut. Expensive lesson.