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Lovely home trashed by guests, lack of airbnb support

After five years as Superhosts, we recently had our first awful experience with guests trashing our place. While to some degree we expected that this might eventually happen, what was ultimately the worst part about the experience has been the lack of support from Airbnb. This experience has eroded our trust in airbnb and we’re in the process of tying to decide if we should pull our listing.

I was initially anxious about these guests because of poor communication before their visit (they would not respond to any messaging), so anxious that I called Airbnb to discuss cancelling the reservation. Customer Service contacted the guest by phone, called me back and advised me to go ahead with the reservation. I was told that cancelling reservations affects my listing’s visibility status and is not advised. To some degree I felt pressured into accepting, despite not feeling great about these guests.

Should have listened to my gut. My cleaning person called me as soon as she went in after the guest’s two day stay. The place was trashed. There was garbage, leftover food, dirty dishes spread all over the place. Red wine and been spilled and splashed around, destroying an expensive rug and staining walls. Furniture had been moved all over the place. They smoked in our home, despite explicit directions that this is not allowed. They stole eight bottles of wine from our wine rack. They left behind smoking paraphernalia, as well as a credit card making machine and blank cards, as if they had been producing fake credit cards. These Airbnb guests were likely committing a crime at our listing.

We switched into hyperdrive. The police were called, and I immediately contacted Airbnb. From the get go, I found Resolution Support agents cold, uncaring, robotic. The process of what to do was unclear, and still is to some degree. Not a single customer service agent I communicated with expressed apology or any genuine concern for what we were going through.

After submitting documentation, photos, and receipts, Airbnb agreed to reimburse us $500 for the rug, and $508 for an ozone treatment to try to eliminate the smoke smell. But they refused to pay an additional $300 we asked for to cover additional cleaning. Our cleaning person usually takes about 2 hours. After this incident she spent 8 hours!

The communication about reimbursement all happened via email, and when I asked to have a phone call with a supervisor, I was declined. I was told “the matter is settled and our decision is final.”

It felt like a slap in the face. Let me be clear: we love our listing. We don’t just share it, we spend a lot of time there, it is our home away from home and cabin in the woods. We have put a great deal of love and sweat into the place, and we love sharing it with people who appreciate it. We have loved that about the Airbnb experience. Then this, Airbnb basically saying to us, “We don’t care about you, we don’t care what you went through, we’re going to write you a check and you can bugger off.”

It has felt incredibly violating, the whole experience.

Any thoughts, suggestions, wisdom appreciated. We are very close to bailing on Airbnb altogether.

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Complain loudly on social media!
They hate bad publicity.
I did this to get extra required cleaning costs.

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Just want to add to my initial post, we have no idea whether there were any consequences for the guests because Airbnb would not tell us anything about what their process was for handling such incidents. I also forgot to mention that we have a 4-guest limit, and clearly they had many more than that. When I initially reached out to the guest after the visit, he denied anything and refused to pay for anything.

Thanks for replying. I’m not really on social media, but do you mean even just a Google review, for example?

No - their face book page.
With photos and state how badly you were let down by the process and how unsupported you are.

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So you are out $300 after five years. Suck it up as a cost of business. Hopefully you get another five years without issues

Next!

RR

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@RiverRockRetreat
Someone sure is grumpy today. Must be the residual from that arrogant spam photographer :laughing:

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We have had two very bad experiences with guests who damaged our house beyond what you could. It’s a very frustrating experience to say the least. You actually have the right to file criminal charges through your own state attorney. They will subpoena Airbnb for the guests information and you can press charges. This is a pretty extreme move and it would have to be very egregious damage to take that step. I feel that you should not make any rash decisions and after a few days, when your feelings subside, hopefully you will continue with the business. I have had bad experiences on other platforms. so it’s not necessarily going to be fixed by switching from Airbnb.

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Huh? I am in the most pleasant mood:)

RR

That’s a shame as it costs them nothing to pretend they care. It won’t get you a bigger payout but it seems you really want and need a better bedside manner from them.

This is standard procedure but persistence can sometimes result in a different outcome.

I honestly think that is their attitude. You are easily replaced and they don’t care about your feelings. It’s cheaper to recruit new hosts than to provide real support to hosts such as yourself. The more you can emotionally distance yourself from Airbnb, the better. Love your cabin, enjoy your guests, don’t expect anything from Airbnb and you won’t be disappointed.

Completely understandable, but see above comment about continuing this way.

Repeat, Airbnb doesn’t care. Unlike DirectTV or Verizon, they won’t beg you to stay, they won’t offer incentives, they won’t send you emails asking you to reactivate your account.

I can’t believe you hosted remotely for 5 years with a full wine rack. Lucky.
You mentioned about listening to your gut. Did you know if you use instant book you can cancel guests with whom you feel uncomfortable with no penalty? Up to three times a year with a mouse click, more if you call in. So if your gut is really so good that might be a better option for you.

When you host remotely, meaning you aren’t on site checking in guests in person and monitoring them from across the street or upstairs, etc you ABSOLUTELY MUST HAVE EXTERIOR CAMERAS to monitor this. As soon as you saw the extra guests you could have called Airbnb and your co-host and gotten them out of there.

Welcome to the forum. If you stick around and read as much as possible you can prevent future problems. My advice would be to continue with Airbnb. You hurt no one but yourself by quitting.

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You’re missing the point, which is that it’s not only financial. It’s about trust, and the question of whether Airbnb is the kind of company that stands behind the hosts who make their company work.

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If you take things personally then you will get your feelings hurt. It is about the money for me. Air does not care, so don’t you go and care because it only hurts you. It is about the money for me. Business, heads in beds.

RR

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This is an awesome reply, thanks a lot for taking the time. You are right on, I think, about needing to distance myself wanting Airbnb to actually care. I came to Airbnb first as a guest and had some formative experiences with amazing hosts, and when we began to host I had some overly idealized perceptions of what Airbnb is, i.e. that it was about community building, creating connections, all that pie in the sky thinking. But you’re right, it may as well be Verizon I’m dealing with. About the cameras, I have been procrastinating on that, and am paying the cost. Thanks again.

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That’s the sales pitch, not the reality, which is why they hate bad publicity…also known as the truth

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I hear you and appreciate your perspective. Don’t get me wrong, I like the money too! I think I’m just dealing with some delusion about the kind of company Airbnb is…but yes, I suppose it’s pointless to get one’s feelings hurt by a corporation. But what about your trust in Airbnb to adequately screen?

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Good point, haven’t heard great things about VRBO for hosts.

I do not care, I accept everyone. I am close by to handle anything that comes up.

RR

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Now you have learned, as many others have before you, that they don’t stand behind hosts and they don’t care, they only care about collecting booking fees.

I’m shocked that you would have a whole house rental without remote cameras and that you would leave anything remotely valuable available for guests. Five years of leaving a wine collection open and available without a theft must have really left you complacent. Same with a valuable rug.

So now you know that you need to install a remote camera system and have locked storage for your wine, food, and anything else you don’t want stolen, and that you can’t count on AirBnB to be anything other than a flawed advertising and booking service.

You got off light. Be thankful, and take the steps to protect yourself, because only YOU can do that.

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Hi @RiverRockRetreat,
Note how this is actually not about the $300.
They have an emotional attachment to this home.
They felt they were also vanadlaized along with the home. AirBnB support were not very helpful.
It isn’t just a $300 problem.
If this happens again in the future, she is worried she would get the same treatment.

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It’s true, airbnb doesn’t care about hosts. They lied to us after encouraging us to accept a booking that sounded sketchy, like they wanted a party. We were allowing hurricane evacuees to stay free in our guest house, thinking with Airbnb’s we care rhetoric they’d respect that. So the sketchy guests were offered a room in the house. Mr party was agitated and stormed out, complaining to airbnb and leaving 1 star. After I called and explained they assured me it wouldn’t affect my standing. Specifically wouldn’t affect superhost status. But guess what? Email saying they had to remove our superhost status that we had held a long time! They said there was nothing that can be done about it. They don’t care. Forget the hippy dippy rhetoric, it means nothing.

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