Message thread of last AirBnB guest we had DISAPPEARED while staying here; ended up with loss & damage; now can't leave review

We advertise our rentals in many places and AirBnB is just one so we have to focus on each site’s rules and procedures, which in and of themselves are always changing. For any of you AirBnB experts what do you make of this:

We had a guest request to book one of our nicest resort units the last second (day before arriving) which we normally don’t accommodate (we ask for two days at least). But for some reason the requests we have been getting back in business after COVID are about 85% from AirBnB, which it never was before COVID. Out of our worst guest experiences the majority have been from AirBnB, and then when they are either last-minute, no reviews and/or local, that is a recipe for possible disaster. And this lady was driving cross country and checking in with her husband, an 8yo and a 2yo.

Nevertheless to get business rolling we accepted the request after speaking to her by phone – she seemed nice and pleasant. When she arrived however she reeked of marijuana, so we made it clear smoking is allowed ONLY outside on patio with windows closed, to which she completely agreed (she asked for the nearest pot dispensary).

A few days into their 9-day stay she contacted me apologizing that her 2yo had crawled up on one living room end table, knocked over a nice lamp and cracked the custom glass on the tabletop, which I need to have custom re-made. But at least she told me and paid for it in cash. However while there to survey the damage their 2yo boy was all over everything – even walked out the front door without her seeing. I had an uneasy feeling from the start about her (we have learned that “nice” guests can still be the most dishonest and messy and ones breaking rules).

Anyway, when I went to respond I noticed her message thread was missing from my INBOX. She began contacting/texting outside of AirBnB. We did our standard “send-off” call the night before checkout, when she said all else was fine and there was nothing not working or that we needed to look at. I was still nervous upon checking it out the next day. Sure enough, aside from the reported shattered glass tabletop, the place had a marijuana stench the moment you enter. They had apparently yanked a ceiling fan light switch chain completely out of the mechanism (not just detached chain) requiring me to dismantle the light kit, cut and rewire a new switch mechanism I had to buy. One of the coffee table casters was missing (no big deal because they were cheap casters for such a nice table to I replaced all four a few days ago), the pool keys were returned without the keychain we issued them with, there was a small nick on the lamp where it hit the glass, a couple minor pieces of kitchenware were missing and black hair dye was found inside a bathroom drawer, marring the finish.

I emailed her outside the system about this (AirBnB being the only site we do business with where we cannot request a damage deposit up front) outside the system as necessary and went to request money from her in the Resolution Center. The only option was to file an immediate claim with AirBnB Host Protection, even though she agreed to pay an additional $40 on top of the $50 she had already paid for the glass top replacement. There was no 3-day waiting period or even the ability to charge her for miscellaneous services, etc. (I didn’t want to go thru a claim process for just $40 as I’ve had issues with those too with AirBnB). I call in (waiting about 45 min. on hold each time) and am told there is an “issue” with her account that they never informed me of while she was here nor after checkout and that they couldn’t elaborate.

I deliberately waited on reviewing her but when I got a second email prompt to do so yesterday (now ten days after checkout) the link said PAGE NOT FOUND, even when I tried to review her from the reservations page. I called again (another long hold) only to be told the same thing: there is an issue with her account (something she did wrong on her end, not just a technical glitch) and she would have to contact AirBnB; very unlikely if it’s so hard to get thru to them and she is the one at fault. So in four days it will be too late to review her (and she cannot review us either) thought we deserve a good one for our understanding and trouble.

TWO QUESTIONS for y’all:

  1. Has a guest’s message thread and full access disappeared while staying with you, and if so what did (or would) you do? Do you feel you have a right to be informed if there is an issue when doing business with a guest, and that it is your right to know what the issue is so you can take appropriate action?

  2. Is it against the rules to prohibit toddlers (walking children say under 4 years old)? And yes, I know there is a fixed option to indicate “not suitable” but is that the same as turning them down without being accused of discrimination by AirBnB (who constantly warns of anti-discrimination rules). Also, how does their strangely inflexible and specific option with a choice of suitable for “under 2” or “2-12” solve the problem of toddlers around 1-3 year old? Are we supposed to exclude all kids under age 13? How is that helpful?

You cant leave a review on a guest account that has been deleted…everything just disappears…I wonder what happened at her previous stay…

Never said her account was deleted, and they said she is still active so I don’t know. The reservation is still there. But that’s not the point. If something negative happens regarding the standing of a guest with AirBnB while staying in my rentals I have a right to be informed, especially if there is loss or damage. Do you disagree?

1 Like

@SWLinPHX you can specify that you can’t accept infants or children under 12

What did Airbnb say when you told them the guest’s message thread disappeared and that you couldn’t leave a review?

I have never had a issue like you are describing but one thing stands out, $90 worth of damage, $50 paid for on a 9 day reservation in one of your nicest units sounds like a non issue. As long as I was paid for the reservation I would not give this woman any more space in my brain.



No. If it did I would contact Airbnb. I’d be frustrated but would have to let it go quickly. Time is money and you are throwing away your time.

I have marked that my place isn’t suitable for kids. I’ve always considered requests I occasionally get. Helpful? I don’t know. Airbnb seems to be a platform that is best not used if it doesn’t meet your needs.

I’ve used various excuses to try to discourage people with children from booking my place and I frame it as being in the best interest of the guest and their child. But one must be careful in this approach.

As for the rest it just doesn’t seem like a big deal. You have assigned too much importance to reviews. Let it go.

1 Like

If you say it’s not suitable for children, then you should stick to that. As soon as you start making exceptions to your rules, guests start to think they can push the envelope in other ways. Why have rules if you’re just going to cave on them because a guest wants you to?

This makes no sense. Why email her outside the system and then charge her through the Resolution Center? Just because Airbnb doesn’t actually hold a damage deposit doesn’t mean you can’t set one and since she agreed to pay for the damage, you just should have dealt on the Airbnb system altogether.
I also don’t understand why you spoke to her by phone when she requested to book. You really should keep things on the messaging, if possible, so there is a record in case there is a dispute.
And you say you’ve had problems with last-minute Airbnb bookings, yet you accepted the booking anyway, even though she also wanted to bring kids, which is against our rules.
It seems like you ignored your own gut feelings and your own rules- IOW you sort of allowed this situation to happen yourself.

1 Like

“Right to be informed”? No. Agree that it would be nice if it worked that way. But they don’t care. At least it seems like you got paid.

As I stated in my original post, they said just that there’s an issue with her account and she has to be the one to call in (very unlikely if she is the one who defaulted somehow and they have 45-min. hold times).

Well when she is staying at our lowest off-season rate (of $37-$75/nt.) $90 is nothing to sneeze at (and that is not charging for the in-house smoking which we cannot charge for unless we pay to have special cleaning come in – not worth it since no guests would be staying for another 10 days), and besides, it’s the principal of disrespecting a place after assuring how careful they are and that there was nothing else (no other loss/damage/incidentals) we needed to know about. To me, integrity matters as much as (if not more than) money.

Except as I said, just because we don’t want little toddlers running around that grab everything doesn’t mean we don’t want older kids. Do you consider all ages the same? What’s wrong with letting us choose the age range or terms instead of two arbitrary choices that fail to prevent the worst ages (1-3yo or so).

But this isn’t about a review only; that was just the last part of it recently. It’s every step of the way for this one reservation. The issue that came up with her during her stay that may or may not (don’t know) have mattered if known. You can’t just remove a message thread/means of communication while a guest is staying with you and not explain why or even inform the host why something that drastic has happened (and yet turn around and tell hosts to make sure they keep the discussion on the AirBnB platform). And the review request was just another factor (they sent me a reminder that I need to review her, the link of which leads to PAGE NOT FOUND).

Since this seems to be so important I’ll explain, though a bit besides the point: I took a chance to get more business after COVID (and after I did turn down some others who wanted longer term with little kids), especially since this owner was worried about not getting any bookings after COVID. It was only 9 days so I figured I’d give one a shot. We all take chances when hosting to a degree. I would think you know that. Besides, AirBnB guests are not my first choice, especially when with little kids, local, last-minute and/or with no reviews. However, as I also originally stated, for some reason those are the requests we are getting. HomeAway/VRBO and have been very slow to return.

Did you miss the part where I specifically said her message thread was removed and she did not have access to it while she was staying? It’s even in the topic title. And a “deposit” is something you pay ahead, not something you agree to be held accountable for (although nothing can force them to) after the fact. Calling that a deposit is a complete misnomer. It should be called a “pledge” or “agreement” that they can be held liable, etc. And this is a perfect example of how that wouldn’t help in the least since her account is apparently suspended or something (won’t elaborate). So yes, an actual deposit is important because guests are more careful when they have some “skin in the game”. And yes, any host that accepts a guest who ends up being less than ideal (or even horrible) technically “allows the situation to happen” as you say by accepting a booking. So all hosts should have no recourse because they accepted a booking and it’s their fault for doing so? There is no way to know anything for sure. That’s the whole point of deposits and accountability.

And I didn’t realize not being able to see the thread meant I couldn’t request money either. Again, I was trying to follow the rules by keeping it online so I wanted to charge her just a nominal additional amount she agreed to and be done with it. I am not going to go thru the entire Host Guarantee claims issue for just $40 more because that involves time and they can deny you something even if the guest agreed to pay it (which has happened to me). I knew I could ask for an extra fee or service (or even give her three days to pay if filed as loss or damage). However none of those options were available with this guest due to the mysterious “issue” with her account. First we couldn’t communicate, then a few days later found we couldn’t charge her, then a few more days later found we couldn’t review her.

Well I guess their “not caring” is what I’m having an issue with. Maybe it doesn’t bother any of you, I don’t know.

Anyway, yes after the fact I did put a clause staying that some of our rentals are not suitable for walking children under the age of 5 (just to be safe) and also in the part they have to read and agree to for those specific units. Also, we added an extra day’s notice (3 instead of 2) to prevent super last-min. bookings. Never had a problem with the other sites but AirBnB has become the “McDonald’s” of the vacation rental industry it seems. :confused:

Ah, so it’s personal to you. I get it, guests piss me off too. I go around and cuss and yell and say WTF were the thinking! But then I clean up and move on. Next!



No. Once a guest instant booked and said they were traveling with their daughter and 3 dogs. I followed up about “children” and she said daughter was 8 and would be closely supervised. I was fine with that. At the time guests came into my home and down the hall to the room so I used my in home dog boarding as an out and it was very effective. Toddlers and a bunch of unknown dogs don’t mix. Now they have a separate space so children aren’t going to irritate me. But it’s a small room and really very little space to put a pallet in the floor or a pack and play. Almost 800 guests and I’ve hosted fewer than 5 kid families.

Interesting choice of words as they clearly can and do.

You’ve indicated you’ve been a host and been on other forums a long time. Surely you know that Airbnb can do a lot of things and that it’s guest centered (as are most businesses). Some hosts would like to spend time trying to get Airbnb to change, I’m not too interested in that.

As I said the amount of time you are investing on this case in which you were paid and things went okay but not great really has me scratching my head. I guess it’s slow for you and you have a lot of time right now?


Just an aside re: the ceiling fan thing … guests constantly screw up our pull chains and we have had to repair where they yanked the whole thing out … presumably from pulling then pulling EVEN HARDER when it didn’t turn on because you never need to touch those pulls. They are switch-operated.

I wanted to remove the pulls entirely, but then you can’t adjust the fan speed.

What? Label the switches? They’re labled. “People don’t read.”

Edited to add, I have never charged a guest for an accident like this. Things break. “Screws fall out all the time, Sir. The world is an imperfect place.”

Newer fans now have remotes with adjustable fan speeds and no pull chains. Thankfully I have a newer fan in my rental.

We just had that conversation when we were there and I was ranting up on a chair so I could reach them. I said, “for the first time in my life I see why someone would want a remote control fan.” But they would probably try to yank on a damn chain anyway and break off a blade and then the remote would get accidentally packed in someone’s bag and I would just be mad about the wasted money. :joy:

Simple. Remove the chain.

1 Like

So, you took a chance against your gut feeling and against your own rules. It didn’t work out well. That was the chance you took.

I can never understand why when hosts point out to another host who’s bitching about some aspect of Airbnb that that’s just how Airbnb does business, that the host who this is pointed out to assumes this means that other hosts aren’t bothered by it. Of course other hosts are bothered by it. But we know that’s the reality and there’s nothing we can do about it, so wasting energy being irritated constantly by Airbnb’s ways is pointless.

I have a different kind of rental but the only issue I’ve had with my fan is a dead battery in the remote. My remote fan don’t have any chain at all. I guess they can swing from the ceiling on a ceiling fan though. Maybe you should remove them.

I meant if he gets a remote for it. And why does the fan speed have to be adjustable for guests? Just set it on medium and don’t give them an option unless there’s a remote.

That was my thinking, too. My fans have wall switches. One for the fan and one for the light. I set the fan speed on medium and removed the chain.

What a fabulous movie - thank you so much for the memory. We’ll need to rewatch it now.

1 Like