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.