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Help! Bad first experience and review issues

Hi Everyone,
I need help addressing a guest review issue. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Please advise if I am taking the right steps, or if there is something else I should know about this bad guest experience. I have to submit a review by tomorrow:

Our first guest on July 4th weekend was a nightmare, and a fast-track learning experience for us. She booked our four bedroom house for two guests (red flag, now we know); then asked if she could have a “tiny family gathering with her parents, grandparents, and 2 sisters” on July 4th. Not realizing this was a lie, we thought it would be ok (won’t do that again). Her guests lit fireworks in our backyard and in the street. When our neighbors asked them to stop because of fire hazards in Northern California, her guest threatened them and threw fireworks in their backyard.

After all this drama, we researched the guest online and discovered she was a porn actress, and was written about in LA Times for a murder (Lesson: we research all our guests ahead of time now). If anyone wants her name to keep her on your “BLACK LIST” (is there such a thing here? If not, we should create one!), let me know and I’ll give it to you.

After my neighbors contacted me with issues the next day, I immediately contacted Airbnb and asked the guest to leave one night early. Airbnb investigated the issue and thanked us:

“Again, thank you for the time you took to report this incident. We’ve taken appropriate action based on your report, and it wouldn’t have happened without you.”

HOWEVER - the guest was able to leave me a review, which I know can’t be a good one. I have put off reviewing her until the deadline tomorrow, and in the meantime, asked Airbnb to remove her review given the circumstances. Their response was: “In regard to the review left by the guest that you wanted to dispute, I have forwarded your case to our dedicated team for further assistance. They will be in touch with you shortly.” I have yet to hear from them after multiple emails to them.

I plan to post a negative review on her as follows: "Cannot recommend. This guest brought in unregistered guests on July 4th. They lit illegal fireworks in my backyard, and on the street, and when my neighbors asked them to stop, they threatened them and threw fire crackers into their backyard. I had to file a police report and ask her to leave one day early. Her unregistered guests also stayed overnight in all 4 bedrooms, when only 2 people were paid for. I found cigarette burns on my outdoor furniture, and the entire house smelled of marijuana. I would not rent to her again.”

Any suggestions and input is greatly welcomed.
Vina

This idea has been suggested in the past and no, we shouldn’t create one. This is a public forum with good placement in search results. Posts here have been reposted elsewhere including in online media sites and blog posts. So that’s not the image we want to project as Airbnb hosts.

Also this is an international forum and the chance that your guest would want to book with any one of the hundreds of hosts here is minuscule. If however someone wants to DM you for more information they may do so.

As for your review and timing, you are on the right track.

You gave the guest permission to have the added people over. Yes, she lied about it but your review misrepresents what actually happened. Don’t give her an opportunity to call you a liar. Just the fireworks, smoking in the house and burns outside is plenty to keep anyone from renting to her if they check her reviews.

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Thank you for your reply. What advice do you have about the review situation? That is my main question.

I gave that in the last paragraph. Don’t complain about the added people, just stick to the damage and fireworks.

Ok sounds good, thank you.

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Wow. What a baptism of fire . :grin::cry:

This is not just about the review but you;

  1. Having CCTV or similar so you don’t rely on your neighbours to act as watchdogs for you in terms of your guests bad behaviour and bringing in extra guests

  2. I would visit your neighbours or have your co-host do it with a handwritten apology, gift and letting them know what you are doing to tighten up on your vetting of guests and security procedures

  3. Having a system in place to evict partying guests straight away not just shortening their stay

In this case charge for the additional guests, damages to your furniture and leave an honest review . @Vina

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Hi Helsi,
Thank you for your input. We have instigated the following since this happened:

  1. Live camera in the front and back yards.
  2. Talked with our neighbors and smoothed things out, giving them our commitment for taking immediate action if any disruptive behavior is noticed.

This is not just about the review but you;

Question: What system do you recommend to evict partying guests straight away not just shortening their stay?

I didn’t learn about all these details until the next day when I talked to my neighbors. I will definitely remove them immediately from now on. I would like to know more specifically about what you mean: Go to the house and tell them all to leave? Call the police? Or both? or something else?

In this case charge for the additional guests, damages to your furniture and leave an honest review - yes I did charge for the additional guests. Although, when I put in a request from the $300 deposit, the guest denied it, and now I have to go through Airbnb. Your thoughts?

We should not. If hosts left honest review about their guests there’s absolutely no need. Over the years I’ve had guests who have definitely not been five star guests despite that being their rating. We really need to encourage hosts to write honest reviews and eventually any bad pennies will be chucked off the platform. So no blacklists.

Regarding the review, the guests brought in additional people with your permission, so I’d cut out the ‘without my permission’. By the way, I have in my listing that guests are allowed a maximum of four guests during daylight hours only. The place was smelling of marijuana is only an opinion (sorry to say, smells can’t be photographed - perhaps one day…) So I’d stick to the cigarette burns and the neighbours being disturbed.

Sorry if pointing these things out sounds a bit harsh but remember that reviews must be factual, unemotional and true. and a guest could always try to have a review removed if it strays from the facts.

As you called the police on her you’re going to get a bad review from her, so don’t pull your punches too much. :slight_smile:

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Thanks for the reality check, Jaquo! Will stay factual.

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I’ve seen that AirBnB now says they protect against retaliatory reviews when a guest throws a party. Not sure if you’d be able to make the case in your circumstance or find sympathy with AirBnB but worth looking into- Airbnb's Dispute Moderation for Reviews - Airbnb Help Center

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Fireworks are banned in our town, but not our county or state. When I sent my Independence weekend guests their check-in documents I noted the following:

A fireworks display is scheduled at Blank Elementary School on July 3rd. The school is about a mile south of the house and there is ample parking on the fields. Please do not discharge any fireworks on our property, as they are banned by our town and any violation carries a personal minimum fine of $600 per violation.

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Sorry for the crappy guest. Please note that NEW HOSTS ARE TARGETTED BY JERKS and Bad Guests. They CAN SEE THAT YOU ARE NEW and prey on that inexperience.
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So that you don’t learn lessons the hard way, spend a lot of time here reading posts, especially prior to March 2020 - there is a ton of good stuff to accelerate your learning.

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Thanks for the link, HudsonNY! I will definitely look into this :slight_smile:

Thank you, Karen. Definitely will remember that for New Years and July 4th around here. They are not banned here, but I will be on high alert and let our guests know our strict policies.

Thank you, Jefferson. Yes, new people are a target and these folks know how to play the game, unfortunately. It can be discouraging starting out with such an experience.

I was so happy to get a “normal” group of guests the weekend after, and they left us a glowing review.

I have 19 hours left to give my review for the first guest…

I have been perusing and doing searches on various topics here and will continue to do that, it’s a great resource and I really appreciate it. Especially the support to reach out to others and get real time input. So thank you, everyone.

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Did they leave a review for you? If not, then wait until a few min before the 14 day deadline then blast them. It is best to pre-write it, and paste it, etc.
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For such a so-called guest, we would absolutely 1 star them across the board and our review would be something like:
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"Would Never Host Again. Very Messy, Broke House Rules, Threw Party, SMOKING!, Cigarette burns on our furniture, yelled at our Neighbors and launched fireworks in our street and yard.
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Give them 1 stars for EVERYTHING. And hit NO for “would you host again”.

They did… the very next day :confused:

Love the summary you have written, thank you!!! Will use it in my review, due in a few hours.

That’s too bad. Vet your guests best you can. Require full names, addresses and ages of ALL GUESTS (state "as required by insurance). Confirm full size of booking party, and agreement to house rules, etc.
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Get exterior camera(s) - must be disclosed, and until you get things well under hand, do In-Person checkins as often as possible. If the booking party gives big red flags at check-in then do not let them in - cancel them on the spot. I.E.: They booked for 4 and show up with 10? Etc, rinse and repeat as needed.
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If you are literally “just getting started” and they hit you with anything under 4 stars, it may be worth it to just kill your listing and start over again. It would be very hard to climb out of a hole if she blasted you with 1-3 stars.

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What systems you use depends on the laws in your area. I would suggest you research them and come up with a plan.

In my country it would be a civil matter and the police would laugh at you if you asked for their help as a business owner, so having your own security people in a party situation is advisable.

All good advice below. Don’t let this discourage you from hosting. Just learn from it and the hosts who have handled similar challenges. Don’t expect much from Airbnb support. Your reviews may dampen your overall rating (unless Airbnb reacts) for awhile until you have lots of positives to counter it, but you’ll get there. Maybe you’ve used up your quota of bad luck with guests right out of the starting gate, lol.

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