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My first guest/review - and it was negative :( I'm gutted

I have been hosting people in my home for several years, but this is my first time using Airbnb.
The space I have available is an in-law suite/apartment attached to my house. It has a full eat-in kitchen, living room, and bathroom on the main floor, and the sleeping areas are in the (finished) basement. I provide dishes, towels, sheets, etc, but guests are expected to bring their own food. The furniture (sofabed) in the living room is older, but still comfortable.
In my ad, I make it very clear that laundry facilities aren’t available to guests (although the laundromat is about four minutes away), nor do I have a TV in the space, but that there is free WiFi.

Two weeks ago, I had a guest from Spain come and stay. He was my first “official” Airbnb guest and I was very excited meet him. Before he arrived, I had a cleaner come in. I purchased new bedding and curtains for the bedroom, which I had painted the week before. Fresh flowers on the table when he arrived. Aveda products in the bathroom. Coffee and filters for the coffee maker. Etc, etc, etc.

He had told me he would be arriving by 10 pm, but his arrival time kept changing. First he would be an hour later, then two. Finally his arrival time was settled at 3 am. This was a Sunday night. I have to wake up for work at 5:30 am, so I told him that I would leave the door to his space unlocked (I live in a very safe neighbourhood) and I would meet him the next day.

When I did meet him, (I came home specifically on my lunch hour to meet him) he seemed nice enough. I asked if there was anything he needed, and he said no. I asked if the apartment met his expectations, and he said “Oh yes, you have a beautiful home”. I asked him if he was warm enough (it was unusually cold here that week, but this is Canada - summer doesn’t really start until July), and told him to feel free to turn the heat up as far he needed to. I explained that there were extra blankets if he needed them - just ask. I tried to ask him about his job (he was apparently here on a work trip) but he basically just stared at me… awkward. I told him I had to get back to work, and that if he needed anything at all to please just text me.

Over the next few days, I did see him about once a day. Our conversations were stilted as there was a language barrier, and he didn’t seem to understand when I spoke. Texting seemed to work better. Every time I asked if there was anything he needed, he told me that everything was great. The only complaint he had was that there were no young people in my town. He asked several times where he could go to meet young people. The problem was that he wanted to go out at 10 pm on a Wednesday night - my town is very working-class and any young people would be home in bed by that time because they work in the morning. My town only has one pub and one pool hall - which I pointed out to him - but he seemed quite unsatisfied with this. I did tell him that there was more “nightlife” in the city about 45 minutes away. What he chose to do with that information was up to him. He did go out and bring someone back one night (the living room is right under my bedroom and I could hear them talking) so I’m assuming he found some young people at some point.

On the Thursday (he was staying from Sunday - Sunday), he asked if there was somewhere he could go to wash his clothes. I gave him directions to the laundromat and told him that he could use my laundry soap if he wished.

Unfortunately, toward the end of his stay, I was called out of town unexpectedly for a work emergency. I had to leave on Friday, and he was leaving on Sunday. I asked that he leave his key on the counter when he left. He seemed fine with that and, again, told me that he was having a great stay.

When I returned from my work trip, there was food left on the counters and the smell of his cologne permeated the place (it’s still there nearly two weeks later, even after I have had the cleaners in). However, because I am a fool, I wrote a very short, positive review. Basically, “He was a fantastic guest”. He wrote nothing for the next two weeks. Today was his final day to be able to write a review and I. Am. Gobsmacked. Absolutely gutted by what he wrote.

“The house is as an hotel but very very bad. Its a house with a little kitcken with a old sofa without television. The room was dark and cold basement. The washer machine didnt work and i had to look for a laundry in the village. It looks like a scary movie . In 7 days i only see host in two times and only 2 o 3 minutes. She told me hi, all is good? And that all. Im sure that i never will return to that house. Horrible house with a scary basement like in a scary movie.”

He also gave me 2 stars out of five for “arrival” and “cleanliness”. An overall three-star review. And this is my first review, so it’s the only one people will see! I did respond (and I hope this was the right thing to do) with the following:

“It is very unfortunate that you feel this way, V, and I wish that you had told me of your concerns in person. I’m not unreasonable and would have liked a chance to rectify the situation for you, if only I had known there was one. To address your concerns: As advertised in the ad, yes it is a small space as it is not a house, but an in-law suite attached to the house. The furniture is not new, no, that’s true. The ad states that you do not have access to laundry, so I’m not sure why you were upset about the laundromat situation. The ad states that there is no television. The kitchen is small, as it is an in-law suite, and I feel that is clearly visible in the photos of the space. The bedroom is in the basement, again as stated in the ad. Yes, the weather was cold when you were here (not something I can help), and yes, a basement can be cooler than the rest of the house, I 100% agree with you on that. I did mention several times that you could turn the heat up to whatever temperature you liked (which you did), and offered extra blankets several times, which you refused. You continually told me that everything was good. The only complaint you made to me during your stay was that you had nothing to do as there were no young people in town. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to provide you with more exciting things to do while you were here. As for not seeing each other often - I was at work. I work during the day and have a second job in the evening, and unfortunately I was called away on a work emergency the day before you checked out. I did have more than one conversation with you during your time here, most of which were, I thought, pleasant. We also communicated quite a bit via text. I apologize that you didn’t see me as often as you would have liked. I will take the time to thoroughly look through the apartment again, to see if there is any way I can address your concerns. Once again, I’m sorry that you did not address these with me when you were here as I would have liked a chance to make your stay more positive.”

Now I am paranoid that my house is somehow like a scary movie. I have contacted my next booking (I have someone arriving this weekend) and asked them to read the review and my response, and to please contact me with any concerns that they have. She wrote back that she is not concerned at all with this review. I’m still thinking about it, though. I don’t know what more I could have done for him.


Aww, man - I am SO sorry @jeezlouise. I can feel your pain through the screen. I totally understand your feeling this way. What a JERK. There has been much discussion on this board about why guest have become SO FREAKIN’ PICKY and nasty to boot. You did the right thing in contacting the next guest, I think, and I am glad they were so reasonable and supportive. Believe me, we all feel your pain.


Sounds like you did nothing wrong to me. Just brush it off and move on.


How agonizing. I totally relate to getting smacked by a guest and having it mess with your head. First of all Jeez, your house is not a scary movie. Your guest is. He’s a nasty vicious creep who has no manners or couth.

I wish you hadn’t responded but now that you did, here’s what I would do. Call Airbnb and ask them to please remove both the review and response. Plead ignorance. Say you are new and you just are beside yourself with upset about this (not a lie). That the guest went too far and was absusive. If they won’t remove it (harder because you responded) then is it possible to just dump this account and start another one? Host the reservations you have now and start over?

In the future, try to restrain yourself from responding. Only do it when you have to correct something factual. It’s a slippery slope to respond because you run the risk of sounding defensive and creating more drama.

I feel for you and remember it is not you, it is HIM. Hang in there!!!

I will invite you to our private bad guest lounge where you can post this evil monster’s profile so the rest of us can avoid booking him.

Ugh, is it me or does the traveling public seem to be regressing in terms of manners and sense?


@jeezlouise, @konacoconutz speaks wise words. Follow her advice. Call Airbnb and if they won’t removed the review I would start a new account if you can. And she is right about responding. Usually not a great idea, but I totally understand why you were moved to do so.


Also, he was very rude to arrive at 3am his first night and bring a hookup home another night. Disgusting, filthy, vile…!!! Make sure to be firm on this in the future! Firm check in time and only your registered guests allowed on property. No overnight guests.

So sorry about all this. It sounds like he took your sweet pearls of hospitality and threw then before swine–himself.

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You might be able to edit your response for a certain amount of time. I would call Air to find out if you can, and shorten it. Or like the others said - you can create a new listing since this is your first review.

I am sorry to hear this jerk did this. Do you already have a lot of other Air bookings lined up? If so, then hopefully his review will just look odd compared to the others.

The guy is a nut case. He sounds like he was bored to death outside of work. He wanted you to entertain him even though he just awkwardly would stand there during conversation.

Why did he say the washer machine was broken? I would plead with Air to get the entire review removed. You don’t even advertise a washer/dryer so he should not be able to say it was broken and he had to go do laundry elsewhere. Is there a broken washer in the basement?

Definetly has been regressing

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I do have several other bookings lined up, so I am not sure I should dump/create a new profile. I will definitely call airbnb and ask them to remove the review but I don’t know that they will, since I’ve responded.

As for the “broken washer machine”, when he asked for a place to do laundry and I gave him directions to the laundromat. He asked to use my laundry soap, and I was kind of in shock at this request but also am very non confrontational so I told him where he could find it (in another part of the basement which guests don’t usually have access to). I also (because I’m chatty and, I guess, naive enough to think that he wanted to converse) mentioned someday maybe having a repairman in to look at the washer because it had made a funny noise last time I used it, but that that would not be happening during his stay. So I can see where he got the “broken washer machine” from, but really it’s a moot point because he wasn’t to have access in the first place.

The good news is, that review will get pushed down with new reviews from your upcoming reservations. Others may think differently, but I would respond to your new reviews with something cheerful and positive. That text will take up more space on the review page and push the negative one to the second page quicker.

Side note: I also have a dark basement suite and applied a few design tricks to keep it feeling bright. I painted the walls white, bought 100 watt daylight LED bulbs for the overhead lights and have 8 lamps strategically placed throughout. The bulbs in the lamps are 3-way. When I do the check-in I have every single light on! After that the guest can choose how much or how little light they want by adjusting it themselves. I also have large mirrors on the walls to reflect any natural daylight coming in (of which I have very little).

Cheer up @jeezlouise this too shall pass!!


All things pass. One thought that came to mind, when dealing with such people (irrational behavior or thinking), the onus should be on them not on you. Best not to defend your position, but throw theirs into question. Example: the opening salvo in this case perhaps could have been - 'How odd you found my place (whatever), when all others (chance to isolate the nut as the oddball).

Also best to keep such responses SHORT, real short, as if it didn’t merit too much time on your part, nor anyone else’s reading it.

Note: None of the above should preclude you always making mental notes and making improvements.

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You’ve gotten really great advice from all the wonderful hosts already, so I’ll just chime in to say to try to not let this bother you going forward! It’s done and over with, and yes, your upcoming reviews are going to knock his way down to the bottom!

great response :slight_smile:

Hi @jeezlouise,

I think your response is quite reasonable and measured, especially compared to the kind of response to criticism that I have seen on Airbnb. Often people’s responses make them sound worse than the original negative review did.

Having said that, it would not hurt to run future responses by people here before posting. I’m sure they won’t mind, and you don’t have to take their advice.

And as other people have said, one should always use feedback, even from scary strangers, to improve your listing for future guests.

And of course, as others have said, try to get the review removed. But if it doesn’t get removed, try not to worry about it. I’m sure it will be history soon.

Would you consider posting the link to your listing? People might be able to offer more useful comments if they can see the listing.


Ask a friend (or two) to write you a review under the “References” section.
Since you only have one review, it will balance it out and people will look at both and get a better
idea of what to expect.


I am so sorry this happened to you! What an awful experience! It sounds like he was a nut job that is blaming you because he wasn’t entertained. Maybe Air will remove his review! You should at least try! You do have other guests lined up so hopefully they will be sane people and leave you some good reviews!

Unless you respond to all of your reviews, it will be best not to address these in the future. It just draws attention to them. Otherwise, it’s one among many future good reviews and once it scrolls off the first page, it probably won’t even be read.

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OK…I figured it was something like that - the guy turned the situation into something else…he already had plans to go to the laundromat, and then he claimed the washer was broken. I really feel like this job is a bunch of babysitting and stepping over grenades.

I had one jerk stay and shortly after arrival he said he would fold the towels that were left in the dryer - There just wasn’t time to have them dried and folded before they arrived that day. I told him to just set them aside and there were plenty of towels in the closet for their group already. I had to keep repeating “you have plenty of towels for your group…just set those aside if you need to use the washer/dryer during your stay.”

He was the type that would have made a comment in a review that they had to do laundry, when in reality they had everything they needed. Your guy is a shady, sneaky jerk.


I felt so awful for you on reading about this cabrón (Spanish for jerk, so you can use this in future!) that my eyes welled up! You’ve had a lot of great advice and support from the group which I hope has cheered you up a bit.

I live in Spain, and although I like the Spanish and have Spanish friends, I’m not that keen on them as guests. They tend to expect holiday rentals to be hotel-standard, definitely don’t read the listing and can be very demanding. They are also VERY gregarious (don’t think I’ve ever met a Spanish introvert!) and tend to feel quite lost away from their tightknit group of family and friends; and of course, Spanish nightlife tends to begin at 10p.m. and they are genuinely shocked when they go somewhere that works to a different timescale!

So I think that what happened was that this young guy, probably not very well-travelled, since you say his English wasn’t great, thinking he’d be staying somewhere like Toronto or Vancouver with a buzzy nightlife where he’d meet loads of blonde Canadian chicks, missing the comforts of home, Mama’s tlc and the sun, and who does he project all his frustration, boredom and homesickness on? Why, who else but his nice caring host who is doing her best but can’t be a magician and who, to cap it all, DOESN’T DO HIS LAUNDRY! (see the bit about Mama’s tlc …!)

I also note that he didn’t have the guts to address his “complaints” to you directly, but waited till he was away and could attack you at a safe distance - sorry to say that I think this is also a bit of a Spanish trait … don’t talk to your neighbour about a problem but send a police “denuncia” (complaint).

So I hope that this might help you realise that “it’s not you, it’s him”! Incidentally, I agree with Faheem in thinking that yours was a measured, reasonable response and that you needed to get it off your chest - but take the advice of all the experienced hosts here and don’t take it too much to heart - and may your next guests be really lovely!


He is a total jerk. That being said, his review sounds somewhat illiterate and a bit crazy. So I dont think it will hurt you at all if your next guests leave good reviews. It may actually help in the long run, as you were able to use the review to clarify guest expectations, so you will get better guest match in the future, and the idiots will avoid you. It always hurts; I know. But it will pass.

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