Latest report on Airbnb host scams from Vice Media Group

It’s a bit one-side given that the article is titled “Here Are the Most Common Airbnb Scams Worldwide” but they don’t go into the guest scams at all.

Toward the end of the article they do cover some of the issues hosts have with damage payments.

They used the example of Guest 1 smoking in the unit, which Air refused to charge for. Then Guest 2 arrives, complains of smoke, and receives a refund. The issue was caused by Guest 1, but Air puts hosts on the proverbial spit roast and sticks it to us on both ends. Lost fees on guest 1; lost income on guest 2.

I do hope Air figures out some basic quality control soon. The longer they allow scam hosts on the site, the worse it is for the rest of us.


The most interesting thing to me is that they mentioned hosts angling for 5-star reviews as one of the many scams.

Somewhat frequently, hosts—even really, really bad ones—will seemingly ask up-front for a five-star review no matter what the stay was really like.

Someone else who said they stayed at a “Becky and Andrew” property in Milwaukee said she received the same request from them: “After we checked out we also got a request to give a five star review, and handle disputes privately.”

I know some hosts here like to ‘educate’ their guests on the review system. It might be wise to take note that it may be perceived as “scammy” behaviour as Vice is far-read and they have just labeled it as such :wink:


Oh THIS is what the review section needs. More ways for guests to ding us!
In part, Chesky suggested Airbnb would start asking more specific questions of guests upon checkout—relying on users, in other words, to help police what happens on the platform.

True. But airbnb doesn’t properly educate guests as to their expectations of hosts and maintaining SH status, and that 4 stars is a bad review if stay was as advertised and expected.

It really depends on how you do it. I do talk to guests about how reviews work on the hosts end, but as I’m a home-share and have quite a bit of interaction with most of my guests, it gets talked about casually in the course of conversation about other things, rather than being pointedly talked about or written about in a house manual. And I never mention that I want the guest to give me a 5* review. I just let them know that the explanations that Airbnb gives them (4 stars is a “Good” rating) isn’t how they apply those ratings to hosts. All my guests have expressed gratitude for me letting them know this- good guests have no intention of tanking a host’s ratings and don’t like being misled. Some were considering hosting themselves and were shocked to hear of how punitively Airbnb deals with hosts. Some had a relative or friend who hosts, so already knew this and said they thought it was outrageous.
And I don’t talk about the rating system to all my guests- I play it by ear- if they are only staying a short time and keep to themselves, rather than being chatty, I wouldn’t have an organic way of bringing it up, so I don’t. And guests who are hosts themselves already know, so if they would rate les than 5*s, well, then they are just those kind of hosts who don’t care about tanking another host’s ratings. Luckily I haven’t had any of those types.

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Is everyone still convinced that Air is ready to go IPO?

I’m not one of those hosts. A host has many jobs and wears many hats but educating guests isn’t one of them for me.

I’m not saying that other hosts shouldn’t do it if they want to but it’s not for me and if a host tried to ‘educate’ me I’d be inclined to give them a bad review for being too pushy. (That’s just me being contrary, I know…) And yes, I see it as ‘scammy’.


Me too :japanese_ogre:

And, apparently, we aren’t the only ones.

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I have a lot of interaction with our guests and I have never talked about reviews. I wouldn’t shy away from it if the subject came up but it has just never come up.

Sometimes I worry after they have left that they may not get how the review system works but so far it’s worked OK. So much depends on the chemistry between host and guest. Is the baseline for 5 stars for cleanliness the ICU at the hospital or is it an average clean house?

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I think you’re right. In hosting scenarios where there is a fair bit of contact between host and guest this can make a difference to the quality of the review.

We recently had a BDC guest who managed to get one internal AC/Heating unit on heating and the other on cooling at some point during the night. They both work off the same inverter so it caused an error. It took me 5mins to rectify in the morning, but the wife was seriously unimpressed! She had a face on her that would have turned milk at 100m.

To me, this had the making of a bad review. She constantly complained of how cold she’d been that night while I was resetting the inverter.

Bumped into them a few times during the rest of their stay, chatted, told them of a few local events they might like etc.

By check out time we were getting on fine (I hoped!).

Mid afternoon, Pulse App notified of a new review.

9.2 overall and 10 for staff and comfort.

My view is that we dodged a bullet in respect of the review, it could have been a lot worse. The guest mentioned the heating issue in the negative comments, but qualified it by saying it was rectified as soon as they mentioned it,

We’d discussed doing a partial refund due to lack of amenity, even though it was the guests fault, but decided to let it ride and see what happened.

One major takeaway here from our perspective is that we need to review the instructions in the house book for the AC/Heating, even though this is a complete first!