Guests who lost our keys gave me a bad review because I opened a file with the Resolution Centre claiming money to replace all the locks

Dear All,

Upon check-in, I always show guests where my mailbox is so that if they need to leave earlier than my arrival on the day of their departure, they can drop the keys into my mailbox. One day before their check-out, I remind them that I’ll arrive around 11am and send them a picture of my mailbox in case of early departure.

A couple with a baby wrote me two days before their departure telling me that they would leave around 7am and asking me in which mailbox they should leave the keys. As usual I wrote them "Our mailbox (labelled “XXXXX”) is on the left hand side in the middle row (see photo).

I didn’t find any keys in my letterbox on arrival. I called the guests and wrote to them asking if they still had the keys with them. (If so, they could return them to me by registered mail.) I called Airbnb who asked me to request money (before the check-in of the following guests) and put an estimated amount (subject to modification based on the eventual quotation of a locksmith).

I put an estimated amount of 800€ to cover the replacement of 3 locks by a locksmith, the replacement of 2 heavy-duty bike-locks, the replacement of a lock cylinder by myself and a duplication of 2 entrance keys to our residence.

It was a very stressful day. While preparing the apartment for the follwing guests, I wrote an anonymous message asking neighbours who find the keys to return them a a neighbour whom I know well, I was obliged to rush to the locksmith to buy a replacement lock cylindre for the glass-door (the only one I’m able to replace by myself), and then to the sports shop to buy two new bike locks (for locking baby buggy in the courtyard by next guests). I had paid 115€ for these 3 items.

Seventy-two hours after opening the claim file with the resolution centre, as the couple who lost the keys still hadn’t answered me, I involved Airbnb. The locksmith gave me a quotation of 600€ to replace the 3 locks on our main door and the duplication of 2 keys of the residence entrances.

The same evening, the couple wrote me to say that they were sorry about the lost keys but they had left them in my mailbox. I said that I had already involved Airbnb. They declined to pay and gave me 3 stars and the following review :

<< Our stay at Mei Yu’s place was very comfortable for my husband and I and our 17 month old toddler. The location is excellent and within walking distance to all main attractions. There are many restaurants to choose from and a convenient grocery store within a 5 minute walk. The place is spacious and clean. Upon leaving, we placed the keys in the mailbox as instructed and shown to me by Mei Yu, however, I received a message from Mei Yu stating that the keys were not there. I am 100% certain that I placed the keys in the correct mailbox. I even requested a picture of the mailbox again the night before we departed . Unfortunately, this situation with the keys has soured our whole experience. Mei Yu has requested payment for replacement of her locks in the amount of $1100. AirBnB has been handling this whole situation, however, it has been nearly 2 weeks and there has been no resolution. Having done exactly as instructed, this is extremely frustrating because I am not responsible for her missing keys. >>

No neighbours have returned my keys. Airbnb’s guarantee has paid me 600€ instead of 715€ saying that the 3 locks were not new. The couple has caused me a lot of stress and has made me waste a lot of time writing, calling, running to buy this and that, asking for a quotation and answering the nonsense messages of the Resolution Centre. The couple hasn’t paid a cent for their mistake and they gave me only 3 stars, just to take revenge.

I asked Airbnb to delete the review but, of course, the person in charge replied me 3 weeks later to refuse to delete it because it hasn’t violated any of their regulations. He suggested that I write an answer to the review.

I just feel that the couple has taken revenge because I dared asked them for so much money. I feel that my apartment wasn’t rated according to its quality. Besides, the wife lied in her review, she said that she “even requested a picture of the mailbox”. She has never asked for a photo of the mailbox. I’m keeping a photo of it in my cell phone, I send it automatically to all my guests in case of early check-out.

Can I have your opinions? Should I answer to the review? Would you please make any suggestions?

€1,100 claim from the guest seems a bit steep.

Why the rush to change all the locks, don’t you have copies? It would be the exact same scenario if the guest had the keys and was returning them by post, i.e. you’d still be a set short for a period of time.

Being honest, if I were the guest I’d have told you to ram it as well.



and a key copy is how much?


I request that my guest leave the keys inside on the dresser when they leave and make that they lock the door, but I also have a keyless upper lock. Only the bottom door knob can be opened only by a key. I have a friend that has an outside camera so she can see that the key has been left and where.

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I had a similar situation. I got a keyless entry lock from Amazon, about US$100 and had it installed.

Key problem solved. Now you can add/edit/delete their access codes between guests. I use the last 4 digits of their phone numbers.


That is a very hefty price for keys. Not sure how the bike, etc. also was included in your billing, but I would be snarly too.

Some keys are very expensive. I believe the listing should have mentioned this, so people will be prepared.


Your guests were from Canada and you live in France (google is your friend etc,). I wonder why you imagined this couple with 5 excellent reviews would have deliberately taken your keys with bad intent? Personally, I think you over-reacted with replacing all the locks. Even if the guests mistakenly took/lost the keys, what do you imagine they are going to do from Canada?


I think that you realise now from the other responses that asking the guests for such a large sum of money was pretty ridiculous. In effect, you’re asking them to pay (a lot) for your own lack of organisation.

Remember that hosting isn’t a power struggle; it’s not some sort of battle between the host and the guest.

Going forward, update your systems so that it doesn’t happen again and realise that it’s been a valuable lesson.



Could not agree more. In fact, anytime I have unnecessarily done something to feel like I have the upper hand with a guest (not often, but, hey, I’m human), it has come back to bite me on the arse.


I have six cottages here in a summer colony and they were built in the early 50’s so some of the locks are quite difficult/impossible to replace now - so i make sure that guests only get COPIES of keys and I have the originals.
If any of those keys get lost or taken by guests, I’m not that concerned. The only time I had an issue was about 15+ yrs ago, when I didn’t have copies of keys for one unit because the lock was a ASSA (Swedish) lock and getting copies here was impossible because that key type isn’t used in USA locks. When one key got lost, I had to contact friends in Sweden and work with a locksmith there to get some blanks bought/sent to me.
i think the OP here went overboard on charges to guest and I don’t see why some of those locks needed to be replaced had host had proper BACKUP keys because the chances of the keys being misused that far away is minuscule at best.


Search this forum for “keys mailbox” and you’ll see what a bad idea it is. This isn’t the guest’s fault. This is the host’s fault. Implement a self checkout process that isn’t broken.


It might not be that bad. My father-in-law paid over 300€ for a new lock on his place in Germany when my sister-in-law lost the key, so 600€ for 3 locks isn’t out of the question.

I think you’re extremely lucky that it cost you only 115€. Get a key-lock-box installed near the front door and do it before this happens again. If that’s not allowed, then figure something else out, but don’t expect Airbnb to pay you out again for your broken checkout process.


Not sure if this is possible at your residence but an idea, that turned out to be the same price as a professional lock change, for us at least …

After one guest lost a key, we decided on this route (at our own expense), rather than a lock change. We now have electronic locks with a key back up in case of battery failure or a guest that can’t figure things out. I have a lockbox next to the door with spare keys for my caretaker. I don’t give out that code to guests (but will if there is a problem with the electronic lock). I also have a master lockbox hidden with all the keys to the house so if I happen to go to the house without my set, I have a spare to anything.

Yes - if you are counting that is three sets of keys - I’m neurotic, haha, but I will not be changing locks again anytime soon.


But… we’re not a support group, are we?


The stated goal of this forum is to connect hosts to hosts to offer support…

You can’t have it both ways. The OP was out of order and was rightly told so. If she’d made a mistake and didn’t know what to do, many of us would support her with advice and encouragement and refrain from berating her for being a sub-standard host.

@KKC To be clear: I have no wish whatsoever to re-open previous disagreements. Blame current British politics. It’s made me realise how important it is to hold people to account for the things they have previously said. I am not comparing you to Boris, good grief. I’d rather have you as our PM. Probably… !

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I’ve nothing helpful to add to what’s been stated so I’m backing out of this thread.

@KKC @Magwitch
I have only one word for you both: ORDERRRAH



I only replaced one of the lock cylinder myself. I bought two bike lock for the expensive baby stroller of the following guests. Because I didn’t and still don’t know who is in possession of the missing keys.

I thought they might have forgotten to drop the keys in the mailbox because they were in a rush to the airport. I wish they had the keys (rather than having dropped them in the wrong mailbox) so I wouldn’t have to waste time and money to replace the locks. I’ve never imagined them taking the keys with bad intent.


Are your electronic locks for outdoor use. If yes, would you share the brand and model with me please?