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Need advice: retaliatory message from bad review

Hello there! I’m a fairly new host (6 months in) with 3 spare bedrooms that I rent in my house, 143 completed trips and an 86% positive review rating so far. So far, so good.

I had to leave my first critical review of a guest a little while ago and they just sent me a retaliatory message back. I’d love some advice on what to do about this from here. Frankly, I’d like to spend as little time on this as possible, but am wondering if I should just ignore it, report it to AirBnB, or something else?

Here is the review I left the guests, which I think is pretty matter-of-fact and explains the experience pretty well:
“D & A were a lot of fun to talk to, and they left the room in great shape, but we had 3 small problems come up during their reservation: they overstayed the checkout time, broke a bowl without offering to replace it, and took books and magazines from the library (which they partially returned later). Taken alone, I would’ve overlooked any of these things, but taken together, it left me with an odd feeling of general disrespect.”

I’ll add a little bit of color on two of the topics:

They clearly had no intention of checking out on time. When I went downstairs at 11:15 (check-out is at 11), they were lounging around. I reminded them of check-out time and began cleaning and they said they had been hoping to stay an extra night… I replied that the room was booked that night and I only had 3 hours to clean, and they started packing and left at probably 11:45 or so. If there are no guests coming that night or not much cleaning to do, then I can be somewhat lenient about check-out time but on this particular day I had 3 hours to clean and switch over all 3 bedrooms, so I didn’t have time to spare.

I have a shelf in the common area with books and magazines about the local area for enjoying while there. Nobody has ever taken one before, although until this incident I didn’t put an explicit sign about it on the bookshelf. When I went downstairs at 11:15, I saw several of the publications on their bed along with their other belongings, and after they left while I was cleaning, I realized they hadn’t put them back. I messaged them via AirBnB and asked for them back. No response in 24 hours, so I messaged them again and said due to AirB’s 48 hour policy, I was going to go to the resolution center if I didn’t hear back but that I really just wanted my books and magazines returned. She replied pretty quickly that time and said she would drop them off, and later that day she dropped off some of them, but not one particular book I had specifically asked about because I had specifically seen it on the bed. When I asked her about that book she said she didn’t have it. I wrote it off as a loss.

So today I got this message from them via AirBnb:
“I just saw the pretty bad review that you left. I’m really shocked and would never recommend staying with you. We did not “steal” anything, and I want that revoked. Also, we never had such a strict check out policy. 15 minutes late and you said we overstayed!?
I cleaned up, stripped the bed etc to make up for it - but I guess you are quite ocd about these things. You would be happier if you relax a bit. Life is not to be wasted on trivial little things. And telling about breaking a dish ? Stuff happens - didn’t know it was a priceless piece.
These are things you don’t NEED to point out. Again - to be clear - we didn’t take anything from you, and you need to remove that slander.
So disappointed”

So, what do you think - ignore, report, or other?
Thanks, I’ve really appreciated the wisdom on this forum!

Mostly, I’d say ignore and get on with pleasing your new guests :slight_smile:

Although I find this a bit harsh.

If I’ve understood correctly, they took these publications to their room from a common area? You say:

So (if I’m understanding properly) you were already threatening them with the resolution centre? Did I understand correctly?

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Jaquo, they can’t just take things from host’s house. This is very wrong. It does not matter if its books or other things. They cant just take it without asking. Sign or no signs.
Also, the broken bowl should be paid for. I broke glasses in my host’s houses and always left few $ to replace it. Things happen, true, but it does not mean a guest is not responcible for replacing damage, broken items.


These guys behaved disrespectfully and deserve a bad review. I don’t like the tone of their message to you either. You may want to forward threatening messages to Airbnb.


Apologies. I thought that the guests had taken the books into their own room (in the house) and not removed them. I agree, taking them from the premises is wrong without permission.


There is nothing here to report. They are ignorant people, they want you take down your review, which you are not going to do.
Everything they did was wrong. Assuming they can stay past their check out time, broken bowl, and books.
I would reply that they need to put their act together, and instead of arguing may be be more considerate next time. Hope it will help them to become better guests. I am all for communication. To not say, or pretend it does not bother anyone, or be always politically correct is not my approach.

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They sound like very immature people. How old where these guests, and where were they from?

(Edited, I misunderstood your question!) To confirm, they actually took the books from the property when they left. I messaged them after they checked out, and they drove back and returned some of them. I wasn’t concerned that they were using them in the room.


Baby boomers, from my state.

Good point about communication - although when their message devolved into personal insults (“you are quite OCD”) and quasi-legal threats (“slander”), I started to think I wasn’t dealing with someone rational. From the tone of their message, it doesn’t seem like they can or want to be reasoned with.

Since we live in the same state and I live in a popular area that they seem to visit often, I am nervous about poking the bear. After all, she knows where I live now!

I was considering a reply to smooth things over and make it less about me and more about AirBnB, like, “Thank you for the feedback. I’m sorry to hear you’re upset. AirBnB does not allow me to edit or revoke a review once submitted, but I will report this message to them so they can consider your situation. Best wishes.”


What a self entitled sounding pair of pillocks. I agree with what kona says above.


Ignore or report. I don’t think they are worth engaging any further. In some ways, I believe that replying validates inappropriate messages (or reviews in other cases) by acknowledging them.


I wouldn’t bother. They don’t deserve the courtesy. Best to let it go?


I completely understand your being upset about this and then wondering what to do. I have had a few guests like this too (I think every host will get at least one rude guest like this at some point), and it is very unpleasant to have to deal with such people. For me, it’s the distorted perspective and entitled attitude which are the most offensive, rather than a rule violation or a broken dish. For instance, it’s completely different to have a guest break a dish and apologize, versus have one break a dish and tell you that you’re ocd if you’re bothered by it. It’s very different to have a guest accidentally overstay and apologize, versus have one overstay, and depart with your belongings, and then insult you and call you ocd when you confront them about these things.

If I were in your position, I would either ignore their message and not reply, or if you want to reply, try to find a way to respond firmly, politely, concisely. If I responded, my response to these guests might go like this:

Checkout time was 11am, you left at 11:45.
You broke a dish.
You took my property out of my house without permission, and later drove back to return some of it.
Yes, “stuff happens”, such as breaking a dish, and when it does, decent people apologize.

Always keep in mind that anything written on Airbnb messaging can be read by Airbnb staff. For that reason, I like to use AIrbnb messaging to make notes of guest behavior and problems, in advance of the guests’ departure. So if they break a dish and dont’ tell me, I will message them about that on the Airbnb thread so there is a record of it. Same with other rule violations. This can help when you have to do the review. Likewise after the review is done. If they are abusive to you in messaging and you keep calm and very reasonable, then that is the picture that Airbnb sees if they should ever need to look into this. For this reason it’s best to be very professional in your messaging and avoid snarkiness, sarcasm, or put-downs. You want to always look more courteous and professional than a rude guest does.

I would suggest adding to your house rules something to the effect, “Please do not take my possessions off my property for any reason.” This can give you leverage if a guest should ever do this. It can help show they actually violated rules, rather than just “borrowed” something.


I love this response. Plus, it is another “record” in the messaging system in case guests call up Airbnb crying slander.


Forestsprite Rocks! …


“Thank you for the feedback. I’m sorry to hear you’re upset. AirBnB does not allow me to edit or revoke a review once submitted, but I will report this message to them so they can consider your situation. Best wishes.”

That is REALLY a great response…if you are going to respond.


In their defense, I suspect a lot of people think check out time is noon based on their past experience with hotels.

Really? Most hotels I stay in it’s 11 - at least on the east coast of the US.

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Even seeing 10:30 lately on the East Coast, USA.

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