Need help dealing with untrue review

Dear Fellow Hosts,
I need your guidance, please. Alas, it’s now my turn to deal with a completely untrue review. I have been a Superhost for years with wonderful reviews, many returning guests year after year. However, guests booked for two weeks and on the second night I received an urgent message followed by a call about two “huge roaches” in the kitchen. The guests wanted to leave and I agreed to it but asked that photos of the roaches be sent to me. I never had anyone reporting an ant, never mind a roach.
This morning I was shocked to read a terrible review, starting with
“There are roaches in the apartment. As soon as my husband and I went to go cook two roaches ran out the side of the oven across the kitchen counter".
The review goes on and on about the apartment being dirty and in need of renovation.
Naturally, I contacted Airbnb and explained that I wanted the removal of the review because it was simply not true. Airbnb refuses to do so.
As a host, it’s shocking that I have no way to protect myself from lies concocted by guests with a hidden agenda and no scruples.
Any thoughts on how I can get this review taken down? Your guidance is much appreciated. Thank you.

I don’t think you’ll have any luck getting it removed, as there doesn’t seem to be anything in it which violates Airbnb policy (lies don’t, even if you have hundreds of stellar reviews saying the opposite).

You’re just going to leave a response to the review. Make sure you don’t sound defensive and acknowledge the possibility that there could have been roaches, without saying that exactly (the fact is that just because you’ve never had a insect complaint before doesn’t mean the previous guests couldn’t have introduced them by being in their luggage or by leaving food out). You don’t mention whether they actually sent a photo.

I’d write something like “I was shocked by the guest saying they saw cockroaches, as no one has ever reported seeing so much as an ant in our place, and it is thoroughly cleaned between bookings. We are getting pest control out to see if this report has any validity and will certainly get the place fumigated if anything is found.
As far as this reviewer’s claims that the unit was dirty and in need of renos, prospective guests should refer to all our past reviews and decide for themselves whether this is to be believed.”


@muddy Thank you for your guidance. It took years to build a reputation as a good host and in a single review the guest tarnished my good name. No photos, no nothing, just the guest’s word. I feel so helpless.

I’m sorry this happened. Guest’s blatantly lying in reviews and Airbnb being unwilling or unable to do anything about it is probably the most frustrating thing about Airbnb.

You’ve been on this forum a long time and hosts have been posting similar stories for years. Why are you shocked?

Go through the review very carefully and see if it violates Airbnb’s Content Policy or Airbnb’s Review Policy. This is the only way to get it taken down for certain.

I’ve read stories about hosts “shopping” for customer service agents until they find one that is sympathetic, but not in the past 2 years or more.

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It sounds as though you are in Miami…as a southerner, I know that Palmetto Bugs ( big cockroaches) and brown cockroaches, can be an issue for those of us in humid climates.
We have indoor and outdoor extermination bi-monthly. Are you in a free standing house? Condo? Are you having regular treatments? Condos are very susceptible.
During Covid we have to insist and ensure that the exterminator continues inside treatments, and everyone must vacate for distancing safety. Make sure the inside of you property is still being treated as well as outside.
Truth is, you cant know this is an absolute lie, so the best avenue is to assume that there are cockroaches, or palmetto bugs, now in the kitchen and then find the source of entry or food, and eradicate them.
And if those guests were lying, then be thrilled you dont have an infestation! You must answer properly online, and to future guests, with sincerity and assurances that if this happened, that it will be handled immediately. Good luck. I know its awful, but it shouldnt become a permanent booking obstacle.

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No they didn’t. If they went on a long rant about how dirty the place was, and other complaints, in light of all the reviews saying the opposite, they’ve shone a light on who they are. Which you will make even more obvious by your response.
I know it’s distressing, but I assume you have tons of great reviews, and when there’s an obvious outlier, prospective guests will see it as such. It’ll soon get buried among all the good reviews.


@muddy @georgygirlofairbnb @Brian_R170 Thank you for your wise words. Now, after several contacts to Airbnb, I’m told there is a video but that Airnbnb is unable to share it with me. It makes no sense, if there was a video, the guest would have mentioned on the 600-word review (well, I don’t know how many words the review contained). Yes, naturally, the condo will be fumigated just to be on the safe side.

From my knowledge of the large Palmetto bug type of roach, there is usually evidence of them being there for any length of time. Check for droppings, under the sink, under the fridge and in the bathroom. Even though you’re getting the fumigators in, if it was me I’d prob still check out of curiosity.

We had a problem with the big’uns a few weeks ago with one of our apartments, and I initially confused the cockroach droppings for mice droppings, until you examine them (very!) closely they look similar. We usually get them blown in, depending on which way the wind is, but in this instance I think they came up the drains due to the apartment being empty for a while.

A few drops of this stuff and problem gone.


Maybe reply
Karen, thanks for your review although it clearly is in contrast with our previous reviews I will leave it up to future guests to sort out who is telling the truth here. We are confident in the high standards of cleaning and can assure future guests that they will have a great stay as evidenced by the previous (insert number here) reviews.


confident 202020202o

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If this couple is or soon to be a competitor you might stand a chance for removal. However, proving it could be very difficult if not impossible. It would be nice if Air bnb would allow for the removal of (1) customer review per XX amount of bookings or per year.

Yes that’s very clearly stated in the Review Policy I linked above. If that’s the case, I think the only question is whether they were stupid enough to use a guest account that is or will be associated with their host account as I imagine that’s the only proof Airbnb would accept.

@RiverRock I love your reply and I’m grateful that you took the time to help me!!

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Thanks and you are welcome, don’t forget to call her Karen… :slight_smile:


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@RiverRock , @Brian_R170, @JohnF; @Katrina, @NordlingHouse, @muddy
Here’s a draft for your candid input; thank you RR for your guidance – should I really call her Karen (even if she is not a WASP?).
xx, thank you for your review. I have been a Superhost for many years and your review is clearly in sharp contrast with our previous 77 reviews. I will leave it up to future guests to sort out the credibility of your review. We are confident in our high cleaning standards and are confident that future guests will enjoy a great stay as evidenced by the previous reviews posted here.

Lol, Karen is slang for entitled person… Up to you, could be an honest mistake…

I think your response is fine.


I use a similar type of gel for the cucarachas, which are endemic to my area. It works well and I don’t fancy fumigating my home with poisons. I dab it in places where it won’t come in contact with anything else, and no one would touch it by accident, like the very top corners of the undersink cupboard.

The same company do a similar product for ants, which I’ll try next Spring when the little sods return. I know we can never eradicate them entirely, way too many nooks, crannies and void spaces in this old house!


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Palmetto bug= wood roach. They are the bane of my rental. They don’t carry Ecoli and other nasties like the smaller brown cockroach.

I have a first floor rental in a warm coastal area. Guests leave the patio doors open and the palmetto bugs and mosquitoes fly or stroll in.

This year was awful because the condo was empty for 24 hours between rentals a guest would check in and find a dead bug close to the door. In other words the exterminator treatments were working.

I’m sorry your guest didn’t talk to you during their rental if there was a true concern

Another way to say it is: I wish this guest had told me of his concerns before check out. Our rental is treated for pest control. Please see our prior reviews for accurate descriptions of their Guest experience