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Im a new host with a horrible 2nd guest-please help!

Hello! Looking for some advice on a situation.

The basics: My home is a bungalow in downtown Austin, TX. Fits 4 people. Limit clearly listed.

The situation: Last Saturday I received a day of request to book. Family fleeing hurricane IDA. This would be was my 2nd guest ever- listing went live two weeks ago. She didn’t have any reviews BUT she was identity verified so I thought it would be ok.

I approved the booking. Messaged her to confirm the number of guests(she had said 4 when she booked.

She says there are five. I tell her that’s ok. My insurance does cover up to 5 and the sofa converts to a queen.

They arrive in the dead of night bc of what I’m sure was hellish traffic from Louisiana. I did not check our doorbell cam at that point. HUGE mistake.

2 days later they check out. I go to the house and see as I pull in that our previously empty trash bin is packed with no less than 6 full bags of trash and is overflowing. Again this was supposed to be 5 people for 2 nights.

When I get inside I start to see more things. All of my toilet paper and paper towels are gone(now I know to lock that stuff up!) Our new white duvet had red juice spilled all over it :frowning:

That’s when I go to the camera. They were a group of 7. I also saw them washing their cars with our towels. I’m so upset.

The reviews: I leave her a poor review(of course) and do not recommend. She leaves me a good review.

When she sees my review, she decides to retaliate and adds a comment to my review of her saying that the beds were dirty(literally brand new listing-only person that slept on that set ever was her) and that my house had graffiti and was “in the hood” yadada. Insanity.

Even though this nasty comment from her is on HER profile, I was really worried about it bc her good review of me is my ONLY review. I’m worried people my click her profile and see these insane lies and not book my place!

Airbnb gets involved: I call Airbnb and explain to them the situation. The agent escalates to his supervisor. They decide that the comment is a “retaliation” as it completely contradicts her review and her private message sent to me when submitting the1st review. They say the two reviews(mine and her original) will remain but the comment will be removed.

Today: I see that her comment is still there. I call Airbnb again and ask when it would be removed. He says it’s impossible to remove and that I was “given incorrect information” I tell him that the removal was even cleared by a supervisor. He says “oh, that’s interesting” but still sticks to “you were given incorrect information” He tells me to move on and to not take her comment personally. Gah! What the heck is going on at Airbnb?!

So if you’ve gotten this far… here are my questions

  1. Are guests like this common? I’ve only had two so far, the first was amazing and then this. I’m wondering what the hell have I gotten myself into?!

  2. Does ID verified mean ANYTHING? Or should I only accept people with reviews?

  3. Is it a common thing for Airbnb to give completely different answers depending on who you talk to when you call?

  4. Should I call Airbnb AGAIN and see what a third agent does? Or just let it go and let the comment remain and not push the issue anymore?

I’m feeling really down and really upset about even hosting my home now. Would love any advice.

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  1. No they aren’t, you are getting your hard experience early
  2. When you start out, tick the box that only allows guests with good reviews to book, verified basically means they have a working email address
  3. Airbnb customer services people have no real training and you are lucky that that the first one made sense. Always confirm what they say in writing…….then you have proof.
    4.her follow up is on her profile, not yours…. I would save the stress on trying to get it removed!
    Welcome to the boards, otherwise known as the Airbnb University, and the wonderful world of hosting on Airbnb
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Thank you for your encouragement! Really really helped my spirits! Excellent advice to get conversations in writing!

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You are going to occasionally come across guests and situations on Airbnb including dealing with CS reps that will do your head in if you allow them to. Once they have left and the review is done breathe and move forward. Chances are no other guests will read her response to your review and if they do they will be in the tiny minority. You’ll be fine.

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  1. -I’ve never had anyone sneak in 2 extra guests, just 1 and only a couple of times.
    -Sometimes people really fill up the trash bins, especially if they have been driving from
    another state (you collect a lot of trash in the car). I also imagine these people left in a hurry and so may have been getting rid of stuff they realized they didn’t need. Personally, the extra trash wouldn’t bother me. And they took it out to the bin, which is great. Would you rather it was in the house?
  • I’ve only had one guest (and I was a new host at the time, there’s a theory about this) who took stuff like toilet paper and paper towels (and qtips, straws, ziploc baggies, packets of artificial sweetner, etc, she took a lot). I too thought I would then lock stuff up or provide less. However, I didn’t and I am glad I didn’t because it never happened again, but YMMV. How many rolls of TP did you leave for 5 people for 2 nights?
  • We have white duvet covers. They get stuff on them, blood, wine, grass, paw prints, curry, various fluids, mud, ink, highlighter, makeup, and other stuff I’ve forgotten. It will be annoying and frustrating but you will get used to it and it’s not most of the time. You can get it out. Any stain can come out. An enzyme cleaner like Bac-out followed by liquid Oxy Clean will get out everything but ink and tatoo ink, for which you need hairspray and makeup sometimes requires Dawn dish liquid.
  • I have never had a guest wash their car with our towels. The may not live to tell about it. This is entirely unacceptable by any standard. And it is highly unusual. I’d be shocked if it ever happened again. You can save those towels, see my stain removing advice above. You’ll need Dawn for any wheel grease. If it looks like too much work to get the stains out, Pets Alive will probably take them if you just wash them.

For perspective, the deal breaker with these particular guests, for me, is the using the towels to wash the cars. That is unforgivable. And if the TP was stolen as opposed to just used by more people then that is annoying. I would not generally accept the fact that they snuck in extra guests, but I would make an exception for them because they were fleeing a hurricane. In Austin, fleeing a hurricane is a special status (not enough to use towels on cars but enough for extra guests and extra TP), especially on the East Side. I used to live off E. 4th, it sounds like you may be over there (I’m guessing because that is where bungalows and graffiti live happily together).

  1. I ask for verified ID. If someone doesn’t have it, send them the link to do it. If they do it, then you know they are cooperative. I don’t check IDs but I find that people who verify their ID are generallly more cooperative in nature. I don’t care if they have reviews. Although a lot of good reviews tells you something about a guest. No reviews tells you nothing about a guest. But they have to do their ID, jump through a hoop.

  2. Yes, it is more than common. You will rarely get the same answer twice. You will very often get an incorrect answer.

  3. I really doubt the comment matters, I’d put my time into something else. And though a review gets removed on a rare occasion, I’ve never heard of a response being removed. Responses usually make the responder look bad anyway, people will see through it.

These guests were a whole lot all at once. With most guests there are no problems at all. Sometimes there is a problem but only one, not all of what you dealt with for these guests. You had bootcamp for hosts. I was overwhelmed several times when I started hosting and I didn’t have any guests as bad as these. Do you know Garp? The best thing about these guests being so bad all at once is that is unlikely to ever happen to you again.

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This is just a support reply from a fellow start-up host. I really hope your next experiences are better. :heart:

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Sending you some support and encouragement. It will get better.

If you can’t catch (ie prevent) bad guests at booking, the only other chance, really, is the arrival before things can go south quickly. You already know that not checking the camera was a mistake and so you won’t ever let that go again. Don’t stress over the additional comment. We all complain that guests don’t really read.

So sorry this happened! I do suggest accepting folks with positive reviews (and verified) when you’re just starting out. Ofcourse it’s not a guarantee of good guests, however our experience has been higher maintenance folks had zero reviews vs experienced guests. We stay booked either way so it’s not a big deal for us to have the extra requirement.

We do deal with a lot of laundry-related issues (stained sheets, stained towels, etc). Oxi soaks and bleach will be your close friends- but using towels to clean a car is just inexcusable and weird!

I wouldn’t worry that people will look at who reviewed you and then see her response, especially if their review is positive. Her response will be seen by future hosts and they’ll judge how she responded to critical feedback.

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Don’t even think about giving up! This experience will wind up being a blessing.

You learn more from dealing with scummy guests, than the perfect ones.

However as a new host, you need to make some adjustment or this could be a frequent occurrence.

I). Never put your trust in guests. And never say that the first few were amazing, so I’ll take my eye off the next.

II). Only accept guests with a prior history of good reviews and confirmed ID. I would do this until you develop that ‘sixth sense’ on good/ bad guests. Also ask guests ‘what the purpose of their visit is?’.

III). Invest in 24/7 CCTV to go alongside your door bell camera and if possible, hide your wifi router.

IV). Where possible, ‘meet and greet all guests at check-in. Use this opportunity to check ID, address any queries the guest has and let them know that you ‘live down the street’ in case they need anything.

V). Make sure that your check-out instructions specifically mention things that are important to you e.g. guest are to throw out all rubbish and wash any used kitchen items. Failure to do so will result in X cost.

VI). Have a read of Airbnb’s review policy here. If you feel that the guest has violated them then contact Airbnb to get the remarks removed. Persistence has been known to work.

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@LetsHost
While I hosted for several years in AZ, my very first guest in this rental was a problem, not remotely like yours. She left a long list of what I could do better but also said she wouldn’t leave a review. This as a way to start was not good, however…
That was in April and I haven’t had another negative person since.

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Many hosts don’t accept these bookings. Maybe as a new host you shouldn’t. I’d also advise using the block a day before and after setting so you have plenty of time to get in, assess and do a good clean until you have more experience. I take one night bookings and same day bookings but not everyone can do that. For a place like Austin, unless you are really close to I35 and think you’ll get road trippers passing through I’d set a two or three night minimum.

That’s the mistake. little point in having a camera if you aren’t going to check it. The next morning you just calmly message her and say you see two more people and that violates your insurance terms. Since it’s an evacuation, etc you’ll allow it but a fee of XX is required. Also put something in your house rules about guests who bring undisclosed guests. To have any help from Airbnb it needs to be in your rules.

Thank you for leaving an honest review.

You’ll be lucky if people read your entire description and look at your pictures. Then maybe they will read your reviews. Her comment on her profile is unlikely to hurt you when she gave you a good review.

As others have said, probably not worth your time to pursue this. Onward and upward and get ready for ACL.

Your questions, my answers:

I don’t think so. I’ve hosted over 800 guests since 2014 and I’ve never had a guest like this. Yes, a few incidents, nothing too serious. I’m limited to two and once 3 arrived. After that I put a stern warning about arriving with more and an instant cancellation of booking and it hasn’t happened since.

Maybe while you’re new. It seems that problem guests book with new hosts. Maybe by design, maybe by accident. That said I’ve had many guests, probably about a third with no reviews when they booked me and they were fine. My least favorite guests all had reviews.

Understandable but you’ll get over it. You have to get back on the horse so to speak. The vast majority of guests are fine and being a competent host puts you ahead of the game. The fact that you’ve found this forum early on will save you a lot of headaches. I found it in my first year and I think that’s a big part of why I haven’t had problems. Please don’t let the cynics and negative people here poison the air. Most people can be trusted. What is it they say, “Trust, but verify?” Expect good things to happen and treat every guest as the individual they are. Don’t punish future guests for past guest behavior. For example, most guests won’t take all your TP and paper towels. That doesn’t mean you have to leave a 24 pack for every guest.

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Ordinarily I’d cut someone fleeing a hurricane a little slack. More specifically.

  1. I’ve been doing this for 9 years and it is not common for my homeshare.
  2. ID doesn’t mean much.
  3. Airbnb is notorious for conflicting advice.
  4. Since the review is not visible on your rental listing and her positive review is the one counting toward your rating, just forget her.
    Hang in there, follow advice on this forum that makes sense for your rental, and look forward to the occasional guest who leaves the place looking like no one was there.
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Verified ID means nothing. All it means is that they uploaded some ID, like a drivers licence.

You are assuming she is using Instant Book, as there is no box to check for this if you don’t. And I would suggest that new hosts not use IB until they get proficient in recognizing red flags, how to say no, and vetting guests.

@LetsHost Sure, you can only accept guests with a prior history of good reviews, but not all hosts leave honest reviews. Plenty of hosts have gotten awful guests who had several 5* reviews. A history of good reviews is just another tool in your vetting toolbox, among other things like commmunicating sufficiently with guests, seeing if they bothered to do a little profile write-up, have more than a phone number listed.

And don’t accept last minute bookings, particularly when you are a new host. Set an advance notice of a couple days.

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Verified ID means nothing. All it means is that they uploaded some ID, like a drivers licence.

You are assuming she is using Instant Book, as there is no box to check for this if you don’t. And I would suggest that new hosts not use IB until they get proficient in recognizing red flags, how to say no, and vetting guests.

@LetsHost Sure, you can only accept guests with a prior history of good reviews, but not all hosts leave honest reviews. Plenty of hosts have gotten awful guests who had several 5* reviews.

Reviews are just one tool in your vetting toolbox, along with communicating with the guest, recognizing red flags, seeing if they have bothered to do any profile write up, etc.

No- has nothing to do with the email address. It means they have uploaded govt. ID.

My profile has a working email address, but is not “verified”.

It only means that they went through the trouble to do it. If it’s a new user and they do it because I ask them to do it, then that says something. I take lots of new users with no reviews and have never had a bad one using this system, maybe lucky, but it’s a large pool of people.

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Yes, guests who have taken the time to do that, along with bothering to do a short profile write-up, posting an actual face photo, and writing a nice, informative initial message are all good signs.

I’m sure guests with no prior reviews but who have done this, get accepted far more easily than those who have a grey sillouette photo, no profile info, nothing but a phone number listed, and whose booking message to the host only says “Is there parking?”

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It seems to me that people who book in short notice are usually trouble. Sorry this happened to you.
#1 Don’t get discouraged, most guests are lovely but every so often you’ll get a rotten one.
#2 I have accepted folks with zero reviews and they were wonderful guests but I did snope around their social media before deciding to keep the reservation.
#3 Yes, it’s common to get different information from the Airbnb customer service agents.
#4 Yes, call Airbnb again. Do you remember the name of the supervisor? Ask to speak to him/her.
Hope it works out. Best wishes.

First, sorry about these guests. Things will happen that we should shrug off, like 5-15 extra min of cleaning, etc.
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Washing your cars with Our Towels? WTF?! **1 Star in ALL CATEGORIES! And a SCATHING Review, like this: **
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"Would Never Host Again. Violated multiple house rules. Very messy. Washed cars with our white towels. Brought several extra and unauthorized guests, after a clear discussion of the maximum.
.
Don’t worry about her response. It is on her profile not yours and warns other hosts who she really is!

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This entirely depends on the kind of rental.

I’ve had hundreds of these with no problem. Here it’s because they are road tripping and being spontaneous in their trip planning. At your place a last minute one week beach rental might be worrisome if it wasn’t a pandemic.

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