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Please comment on mildly negative review for young couple that shipped parcels to my address without asking me


#1

Hi folks,

A young Indian couple recently came to Bombay for some kind of fashion/cloth exhibition and stayed at my listing. The girl (X) was exhibiting, and as part of the exhibition, she shipped a couple of parcels to my address without asking me. After arriving, I realised the young lady, though perfectly pleasant, was a bit of a ditz, so perhaps this was normal behavior for her. She also expressed surprise
that the bathroom wasn’t attached, though this is mentioned more than once in my listing (there’s a description of the bathroom location) as well as relevant pictures. She also decided she was going to stay till 1.30 pm without asking me. This wasn’t late enough to be an issue for me, so I let it slide.

Anyway, the first I heard of this was the following, sent by X the same day the parcels arrived (I believe). If I recall correctly, I saw it only a few hours before the packages arrived.

I have sent out two packages through a courier service from Ahmedabad as moving around with a lot of luggage in the morning won’t be viable for us and it shall reach your place either today or tomorrow morning. I request you to please accommodate it for a few hrs.

I replied with

You should have asked before sending packages to my address. As mentioned on my listing, we don’t hold guest luggage/property for security reasons. Also, we cannot guarantee we will be present to receive packages we haven’t ordered, and know nothing about.

However, if you have already sent the packages, we’ll hold on to them for you, since there is no alternative.

She then responded:

Well it was to arrive tomorrow with us but the courier service called sometime back to inform that it was already out for delivery and i couldn’t ask them to hold it for me till tomorrow cause their main office is quite far off from the place we’re put up and that I’d need it on 10th morning for my exhibition held at mahalaxm racecourse Apologies if it caused you any inconvenience.

And I finally wrote after the parcels arrived:

I received both parcels just now. I’ll give them to you when you arrive.

I wasn’t happy about this at the time, and I thought I should include it in the review, if only to discourage this lady from doing something like this again. This is a first for me, and hopefully will remain a rare occurrence.

I’ve now added some specific languages in my house rules about this. Here is the version before this happened.

For reasons of security and liability, among others, we cannot accommodate requests to store luggage for guests before check-in or after check-out. No exceptions.

And here is the new version.

For reasons of security and liability, among others, we cannot accommodate requests to store luggage for guests before check-in or after check-out. No exceptions. Similarly, do not send parcels to my address without checking with me first.

Comments welcomed about the wording of the language in the house rules, the review, or anything related. I’m undecided whether to deduct a point from the house rules rating, since the specific prohibition against parcels wasn’t in place at the time. Do you think that such a prohibition would be understood from my wording about storing luggage?

The review follows:

Review date: 23rd February 2018

Y and X visited for a few days for work. They seem like nice friendly young people, were good guests, and left everything in good shape when they left.

However, I feel I should mention that X shipped some parcels to my home address before arrival without asking me. I explained to them that this is not ok, and I hope they understand that doing this is not a good idea - it causes increased risk and liability to the host, and also creates risk for them. In any case, my listing states that I cannot store baggage on behalf of guests.

Cleanliness 5/5, Communication 5/5, Observance of House Rules 5/5


#2

Don’t sweat it. if it bothers you then change your rules, as you have done, to make it more obvious what you expect. They gave you a great 5 star review. Your own review won’t make a difference to future guests. I’ve learned this from other people who post on this forum. Life is too short.

Move on.


#3

Hi Faheem,

What you’ve written is factual and fair. I would try to precis it down a bit, but if I understand correctly, they had checked out already, knowing these parcels would arrive after they had left your place. That’s plain cheeky! Did she order them AFTER they had left? Cheeky. In your admirable factual fashion, I would mention this if it’s the case. Then move on!


#4

I would also mark them down on communication so 4/5 because of their poor communication around their parcels.


#5

Hi @JamJerrupSunset,

I’m confused where you got this from. They haven’t left me a review, and the review period is about to expire (I guess I forgot to mention that), so I thought I’d write one.

Hi @Joan,

No, the parcels were sent to me before they arrived, and I gave them to the guests once they had arrived… As I wrote

I feel I should mention that X shipped some parcels to my home address before arrival without asking me

Hi @Helsi,

So, should I mark them down for House Rules? I suppose I could mark them down for Communication too, but I’d be inclined to leave it at that.


#6

Totally my careless reading. Too much of the red stuff last night and t’was early morning; too early.


#7

@Faheem I know you’re trying to be polite, but IMHO your House Rule wording is much too “soft”.

Instead of this:
“For reasons of security and liability, among others, we cannot accommodate requests to store luggage for guests before check-in or after check-out. No exceptions. Similarly, do not send parcels to my address without checking with me first.”

Be firm: WE WILL NOT store guest luggage or accept guest parcels sent to our address.

Same thing with the review. Tighter wording, more to the point. Instead of:
“However, I feel I should mention that X shipped some parcels to my home address before arrival without asking me. I explained to them that this is not ok, and I hope they understand that doing this is not a good idea - it causes increased risk and liability to the host, and also creates risk for them. In any case, my listing states that I cannot store baggage on behalf of guests.”

Say: Before arrival, Guest shipped packages to my address without my knowledge or permission, in total violation of the house rules.

I would certainly mark them down for communication and not following house rules.


#8

Hi @Joan,

Thanks for the feedback. I think @KenH makes good points, but if you have anything further to add, or even if you concur, please do say so. I’m don’t want to be too harsh, but I also think that this kind of thing is over the line, even if only slightly. I hope others agree.


#9

Hi @KenH,

Thanks very much for your helpful comments.

Yes, I’m trying to be polite, and also explain where I’m coming from. So that people don’t think it’s pure cussedness. Though maybe your wording is better - it’s hard to say for sure.

One concrete difference between your wording and mine is that my wording leaves open the possibility that I might accept parcels sent to my address for a guest. I’m trying to think of circumstances in which I would be ok with that, and it’s hard to think of anything, so maybe I should change that to a clear no.

And do you think it makes any difference in the end? People who are going to do what they want, are going to do what they want, regardless.


#10

I concur. Ken has done the precis for you!


#11

I think it’s fine if you mark her down on house rules. Who cares if you didn’t specifically have a rule about packages. And, if this is the only time this has happened, I wouldn’t even add it - it just makes the rules that much longer to read.

I think it was really dumb of her to not ask permission. I don’t know how things work in your area, but what if you weren’t home? Does the delivery person leave the packages with the front watchman? If so, did she already know you have a watchman?


#12

Exactly… @faheem do you think it might happen again? The little corner shop near me would add a new sign every time there was a disagreement with a customer, began to feel a bit oppressive, signs everywhere


#13

I’m not sure I’d be giving her 5 stars. You can skip that part if you wish. And just give no stars. I don’t like her tone with you though… we request you hold these until our arrival. Also she checked out late and you’re giving her five stars? I would add that too. Guest did not respect check out time.


#14

But it wasn’t a rule then??


#15

There might be an Indian English linguistic issue at play here. Most of my nursing staff in Bahrain came directly from India/Sri Lanka/Pakistan and spoke English well, but with different nuances and cultural norms. It was a good learning curve, and my experience then helped us navigate through outsourcing of IT services in the UK to Bangalore and other cities. I became the Linguistic/Cultural Understanding Help Desk!


#16

Hi @cabinhost

Yes, I thought of that. But it’s intended as preventive/preemptory. It’s related to the baggage thing, so it feels more like an extension to an existing rule to me.

If I wasn’t at home, it would most likely have been returned to sender. Though if there had been someone else at home (and often there is) they might have signed it. It depends on specific policies. Normally delivery people don’t leave things with the watchmen, and they are certainly not supposed to. I think it might be possible to prearrange it if you can get hold of the delivery person in advance. But generally the delivery people are supposed to get a signature of the recipient or someone else in the household. Though they are often very casual about it (as in not bothering to get one), particularly the Amazon people.

Oh, and yes, the watchmen are mentioned briefly on the listing, and also in my guest guide. No idea whether she knew we had watchmen, though.

Hi @Barns,

Who knows? I’ve had around 125 groups of guests maybe (just a guess - I currently have 109 reviews, but people seem increasingly disinclined to leave reviews for some reason), Most of those are foreigners. Obviously Indians are more likely to ship parcels to my address, because they are local. Also, based on a lifetime’s experience, Indians are just a bit more likely to do wacky things. Though my Indian guests, who have mostly been young professionals (lots of IT/computer software people), have all been pretty well behaved. One of the benefits of keeping the prices a bit high, I suppose. If I started to rent to more Indians, maybe this sort of thing would come up more often.


#17

Hi @konacoconutz,

I’m not sure what you’re suggesting. As you know Airbnb doesn’t have an overall 5 stars, just a thumbs up or down. I usually do the thumbs up, but I think that maybe I’ll just skip that this time. It’s also worth noting that this lady didn’t book the listing - her friend who stayed with her did.

I’m still undecided whether to take off a star for house rules or not. I suppose this shipping parcels comes under storing baggage?

People tend to have a fairly casual attitude towards checkout here. Maybe I encourage them, but most of the time it doesn’t make a difference to me. I suppose if it did, I’d take a harder line. Though usually people at least ask if they want to stay later. I generally have a hard cut-off around 1 pm or so. If I have guests arriving a bit early, I might try to push that back, but it’s rarely an issue.

The shipping parcels wasn’t a rule till now - I just added it.


#18

Hi @Joan,

East-West cross-cultural issues are certainly a big deal and frequently discusssed. E.g. see threads on Reddit and Slashdot and places like that about outsourcing programming to India. But I don’t see how they factor in here. Am I missing something?


#19

No… I mean on all the points here, not overall five stars.

I think you have to do the thumbs up or down to proceed with the review


#20

I still crack up at your candidness about your own culture :joy:


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