Protect my listing from false accusation by unhappy guests

Hi guys (sorry for the long post in advance🥲)
I need your advice for this.

I got a request for reservation on Oct 19-Nov 1 (13 nights). After some convo with the guest, I got booked on Aug 15 and gave them my direct contact.

Fast forward to Sep 18, I got a message (via direct contact) asked if our listing has TV for their kids. I said no (already stated very clearly in the amenity list). He was pretty concerned and ask if he can cancel. I told that he can but it could be complicated (strict cancellation). Then, he started to use infamous trick of postponing the stay. I was skeptical. So, I suggested him to rebook and negotiate the refund for this booking instead. He canceled his alteration and directly asked me if I can cancel for him and he’s willing to give us some money for our time. I didn’t wanna risk the penalty so I politely rejected with host cancellation policy attached. We haven’t had any convo since then.

My question is

  1. Will he get the full refund if I accepted his alteration? (It’s already more than 30 days.)
  2. How can I protect myself from false accusations/ bad reviews during and after their stay?
  3. Any further suggestions?

Thank you so much.

He’s canceled the alteration so that’s a moot point. Unfortunately attempts to get any negative review removed will depend on who you reach at Airbnb to request it. If his review lists anything blatantly untrue you might be able to do so. If he comes you might consider alternative ways to make their stay wonderful. Depending on the age of the kids you could put a DVD player in with some kid DVDs that are available at libraries and cheap secondhand. Or even do a 14 trial of a kid channel. Any other available games and activities for kids will be helpful to the adults. I urge you to get your communication back on the Airbnb message thread and to save any communication on text or email that you have received otherwise.

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1.Cancellation policies for your listing - Airbnb Help Centre)
2. You can’t
3. Don’t keep communicating with the guest off platform. As Airbnb says keep all correspondence on their platform so there is a record. Just be clear with the guest if they want to cancel they need to do so with airbnb in line with the cancellation policy they booked under. No other communication is necessary.

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Sorry for not making it clear enough

Cancellation policies for your listing - Airbnb Help Centre

I understand that my strict cancellation has 48-hr window full refund if it’s more than 30 days before the stay date. But will he get another 48-hr window if I accepted his alteration?

I don’t know that’s why I directed you to information on Airbnb. Perhaps give them a call if it’s not clear. @iamahmbing

Yes-an alteration in dates will restart the 48 hour free cancellation period.

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Yes…that’s a trick that guests have deployed when they want to cancel without any penalty to them, to circumvent the “strict” policy in place.

As for them leaving you a negative review because of no TV, there’s nothing you can do unless you want to put one in. If it’s possible for you to add one, then maybe it’s something you should give more consideration, especially if you cater to families.
The suggestion of a DVD player with some movies was a good one.

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To help protect yourself from false accusations, you need to film everything in the property. Your video needs to show the condition of the property, what items are there etc

I’ve had guests try to say that we never left them any towels… Well when you can produce a video, which clearly shows that they were left with two towels guess who comes out on top? Loool

In general I take pics and video of

  1. The ceiling, walls and floor of each room

  2. Make sure that all electrical items e.g. Lights, TV etc are either on, or switch them on to demonstrate they work in your video

  3. All furniture, beds etc. Show that bedding is clean, bed frame is not damaged etc

  4. Bathroom items - show all the items you left for the guest e.g. Toilet paper, body wash etc

  5. The toilet and shower to show that it’s spotless and operational.

  6. Pots, pans, cutlery, plates etc. Make sure vid shows that all kitchen items are clean and the number of items left

  7. Kitchen appliances to show that they are clean and operational

If any items have a defect, document this as well.

When the guest arrives, I ask them to contact me if they have any issues or problems at the property.

And during the stay, i like to message the guest to ask whether all is well.

99% of guests will confirm that all is well and that they are happy.

You can use this along with the video, in case they try to make things up later.

Good luck.

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That is the beginning of the ‘problem’.

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Wow! That sounds like a lot of work to video before each guest, though I suppose if you did this before each guest then it would just become part of the routine. Have you had many experiences of guests making claims about things not working or items not being present?

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Why? Guests are given the host’s phone number when their booking is confirmed, it’s on their booking, there’s no need to give it to them.

You should try to keep all communication on the Airbnb messaging, if possible, so there is documentation should any issue or conflict arise.
Phone calls, texts, whatsapp, are fine for certain situations, like if the guest just calls to say they are running late and will arrive later than the ETA they gave, stuff like that. And sometimes elderly guests aren’t good with online communication, and will want to use the phone rather than Airbnb messaging, but in that case, you should back up anything significant that was discussed with an Airbnb message- “Just to recap our phone conversation yesterday…”

And of course, if the plumbing springs a leak or some other emergency situation, a phone call is to be expected and welcomed before it escalates into a bigger disaster, but that, too, should be backed up with an Airbnb message once you deal with the emergency.

Hosts have had bad guests claim that the host never addressed their concerns, so you really want to have a written record that you have. Airbnb isn’t going to just believe you if you say you answered every phone call the guest made and responded to the issues.

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You should try to keep all communication on the Airbnb messaging, if possible, so there is dicumentation

I guessed I just try to be considerate at the time cus his wife is from my country and I thought using other messaging platform would be convenient for both of us. But lesson learned now.

May I as well ask you guys @ if the convo from other platforms could be used as proof for anything that might occur? (not just for this case)

Thank you so much for your suggestions!
I’m planning to contact him again for the confirmation and prepare some sort of board games and coloring books for them hoping it entertain the kids a bit (and ease the tension they may have prior with us too :smiling_face_with_tear:)

If it’s possible for you to add one, then maybe it’s something you should give more consideration, especially if you cater to families

Having guests as family is very rare for us, and we’re not located in sightseeing spots like many listings. My house is normally rented as individual rooms by small group of adults that come to have surgery at a famous international hospital nearby. This family wants our whole house as they need privacy and for the wife to go back and forth to hospital easily. But they just started worrying about how to entertain the kids during those time and found out we have no TV provided…

I have read posts where hosts said Airbnb accepted their screenshots of text messages and whatsapp messages, but I certainly wouldn’t rely on it. Like anything where you have to deal with Airbnb customer service, it depends a lot on the rep who handles the case.

I do understand about some guests being used to using whatsapp, etc.- I live in Mexico and many Mexicans only communicate that way. But as I said above, if that’s the case, follow it up with an Airbnb message outlining the convo that took place unless it’s just something totally trivial. I admit I sometimes use texting, whatsapp, or phone calls when a guest is in residence without any further documentation, but as they are living in my home with me, I can get a good sense of whether I need to be on guard with them.

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you can also write a negative review of him, i think a 3 star would permanently block him from instant bookings from a lot of hosts

We have no TV. What I would have done is sign up for a free trial of Hulu or Disney or something, and ask if they can bring a laptop to stream it on. This assumes you have good WiFi of course. Even if it cost a few bucks to me it would be worth it to have happy guests.

Yes the guests made a goof. But I travel a lot, and I make mistakes like that sometimes too.

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My cleaner photos/videos after cleaning . Takes about five minutes :grin:

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Why not provide a television? Are you in a remote area without television service? If guests are in the area for medical treatment, I’d think a television would be great distraction. What am I missing? Once I determined several guests were staying in my place for post-op at nearby hospitals, I immediately purchased a reclining chair that is much appreciated by the guests.

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Just to clarify. The 48 hours never starts over. It is independent of the dates of the stay.

It’s based on the time of the booking and the time of booking never changes, it’s static, regardless of when the stay ends up taking place.

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I’ve never provided a TV in six years of hosting and it’s never been an issue. My guests just watch TV and films on their laptops if they can’t survive without it.

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