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Refusal of Airbnb to remove obviously vindictive and false reviews

We have been victims of two all onestar reviews, both of which we suspect are related to each other. These were given after we had refused to give guests discounts or refunds because, in both cases, their claims were completely unfounded and denied by Airbnb following their investigation. In spite of that and the fact that anyone could see that the reviews were vindictive and retaliatory, they would not remove those reviews. Because we have over 100 5 star reviews our rating dropped from 4.9 to 4.8, so that was not a disaster, but had this happened in our first few months when we had less than 10 reviews, it would have probably resulted in our listing being deleted. At the very least, our future bookings would have suffered. We did post rebuttals to both of these and were also fortunate that we had guests within a couple of days of the bad reviews who gave us 5 stars, so at least potential guests would see those first.
Both of these bad guests had the following in common – Both lived in same town. Both showed in profile as being hosts themselves. Neither one had any prior reviews. Both tried to avoid personal contact. I am not saying that all hosts are bad news, or that all guests without prior reviews are bad, or that all people from city of “ you name it” are bad. However, we recently had another booking request from the same town, also without reviews and their reasons for visit were not logical. We declined that booking which happened to be out of season when bookings are scarce, but I would say that common sense overruled money as the $ from those other two were not worth a hundred times of what we went through at the time. Out of curiosity I researched the last onestar guest and found their address but could not find any airbnb listing associated with that which made sense as to why an host did not have any reviews at all. I looked at all the other listings in that town, which were not too many, but none had a name or profile picture of our guests. We were very suspicious that we were being set up for a scam especially after Airbnb had denied their claim. We later learned that one of them had a record of filing frivolous lawsuits and had a criminal record of fraud and theft. We sent Airbnb a link to the criminal history but they declined comment other than to confirm that their claim had been denied. We understand that Airbnb cannot conduct credit/background checks on guests and do not expect them to do so BUT do expect them to remove retaliatory reviews under these kind of circumstances.

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I had a guest make fun of my disability in a review and they refused to remove it. I do feel that I could have probably taken it up the chain to eventually get it removed but just didn’t have the energy nor desire to waist my time. I have over 350 reviews with a 4.92 rating so I let it go but to this day, it really bother’s me.

As for nasty reviews, I no longer kick guests out, confront them with bad behavior, etc. If damage is under $100 (always has been so far) then I let it go. I wait to about 30 minutes before the 14 days are up and review them honestly.

I have found that we just don’t get the Airbnb support we used to get and it’s best to just let things go.

The only caveat is if they are doing smoking illegal or harmful I will take action but document in pictures and messages to Airbnb.

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That is so wrong. If it still bothers you, and it would me, then maybe have another go using their own guidelines:

On the basis that ridiculing a disability is no different (in my eyes anyway) to ridiculing a race, religion or sexual orientation. Try their social media team via Twitter or Facebook, anecdotal evidence suggests they are more pro active than the standard CS person.

JF

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It’s so buried at this point that no one see it. Funny thing is that he gave me a 3 for review but where he could write about missing amenities he checked of everything. Only guest to ever say that I am missing sheets, etc.

One thing Hosting has taught me is to let go of issues more. I used to get so upset of guests stupidity and meanness but now I just smile and say, (to myself) thanks for the money.

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I have a similar mind set when people are surprised that I do my own cleaning… yes, most expensive cleaner in town because it is all profit!

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I don’t want to detract from the problem of retaliation reviews but I don’t think Airbnb removes hosts over a bad review or two. They threaten to but I don’t think they do it.

Did you try to initiate a conversation with that potential guest? Or you just declined due to the already existing similarities?

Airbnb isn’t going to remove guests for this reason and they aren’t going to do investigations. Since the recent bad publicity about Airbnb maybe something will change but I wouldn’t count on it.

This is another thing that seems unlikely to change but they might decide to remove all reviews or remove host reviews of guests.

I have had several guests whose profile says they are “also a host” but no listings and no reviews on their profile from those listings. I haven’t had any problems with any of them but it does make me wonder why I’ve had so many and where their listings went.

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We do all our own cleaning, too. We’re too much perfectionist not to. Hahah

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No matter how lying, false and / or discriminating a review is, Airbnb refuses to remove it.

My wifes medical condition was once outed by a guest in a review, but Airbnb refused to removed it due to “transparency and freedom of speech”.

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While I’ve not had a negative review, I recently had a guest who left disparaging and false comments in response to the negative review I had left for her.

I wrote about this experience in a different topic (unauthorized guests / photo shoot)

I chose to leave a review of this guest because she had (3) 5-star reviews and I wanted to alert other hosts. She never left a review (of me) so after the 14 day period expired I saw the commentary she had left after seeing my review (of her)

Her strategy was, when you can’t dispute the facts, you call the host a “Racist”. Since our minimal communication was documented on the message app, my interactions with her were minimal (and documented with AirBNB CS), and there was the significant messaging with ABNB CS during the photo shoot, they quickly concluded that she was out of line, and immediately removed her post review.

The confusion I have is that despite my ratings of her:

  • 1 for communication
  • 3 for cleanliness
  • 1 for abiding by house rules
  • would not host again

Her rating (total of 4 reviews ) only moved from 5 to 4.5. That seems oddly skewed and different than the way I’ve read hosts are rated.

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I scraped by in my math class but still have a grasp on basic math and seems like their overall rating should have dropped to shy over 4% !? Am I wrong?

Appalling that guests are allowed to mention illnesses and disabilities of hosts without repercussion!

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Haha me too. My last snotty guest wrote me a book size review of what I should have done and I wanted to respond Thanks for the money!!! but decided ignoring her altogether would be even better bc she wanted attention and I do not care.

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In approx 500 bookings we have had a total of two bad reviews. Interestingly …

  • both were themselves AirBnB hosts.
  • both tried to claim a refund they were clearly not entitled to.
  • both lied about the reasons for claiming the refund.
  • both were refused refunds by AirBnB.
  • both subsequently posted reviews filled with outright lies, which were easily proven to be lies.
  • both times I tried to get AirBnB to remove the offending reviews, with no success.

My guess is that these “guests” are probably repeat offenders. They know how to manipulate the system, they know what they can get away with, and they rely on other hosts “giving in” to avoid bad reviews.

While I deplore the fact that AirBnB seems to always side with the guest, even when the guest is demonstrably lying for financial gain, I have learned the following:

  • Never (knowingly) host another AirBnB host. They make the worst guests.
  • Don’t worry about bad reviews. If your rental is any good, such reviews will soon be swamped by genuinely good reviews. Hard on newcomers, but you will get over it.
  • ALWAYS respond to lying reviews, pointing out the truth. I have had guests arrive immediately after such a review, laughing because they had read my rebuttal and they could see how ridiculous the review was.
  • While I will continue to complain to AirBnB, I no longer expect them to back the host in such situations. I think this is because the guest is also a host, and therefore AirBnB thinks they have some credibility. But in any case, don’t expect AirBnB to have your back when it comes to a dispute with another host :frowning:
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We have received only two bad reviews so far in over 300 guests. Airbnb wouldn’t remove the first one because they said it was our word against the guest’s. But it was so long ago that it doesn’t matter. Even at the time, it didn’t affect our SH status.

Airbnb did remove the second one, because the guest said we hadn’t notified them we have dogs—among other complaints. But our dogs are mentioned multiple times in our listing (including the HR) and shown in our listing’s pictures. The other things the guest complained about were also shown to be untrue by our listing.

What I concluded is that if a guest’s negative review says things that are refuted by our listing itself, Airbnb will remove the review.

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That’s a shame. I’m both a stellar host and a stellar guest. But I also try to exclusively book instant book hosts which eliminates host bias as a factor.

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We’ve had only excellent experiences with hosts who stay here with us. Many hosts. Many Superhosts.

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This forum seems completely split on that one!

There are several folks here who will wholeheartedly agree with you, and several (myself included) who will disagree on the basis they’ve had generally good experiences hosting hosts.

Yup, we’ve had similar; and the “hosts” get treated the exact same as any other guest. No extra treats or favours. So far, all good reviews from them.

JF

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It’s just an “acceptable” form of discrimination. Substitute most any other group and there wouldn’t be an even split.

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It’s a slippery slope when guests can and do get away with whatever on one’s property because one might get a crappy review. If that is our only line of defense, I do hope that forthcoming ads for hosts include more realistic expectations. Like a cage.

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I’m sure that’s true. Perhaps I should have said “Never host someone who makes a big deal out of also being an AirBnB host. In my experience, this generally indicates they will expect special consideration.”

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That is probably the case. The same for the guest who wants to make sure you know they are a lawyer, film producer, “influencer,” or any other profession that’s irrelevant. Unless you are a professional housekeeper or possibly a contractor, I don’t need to know.

Edit to add: At parent - teacher conference time it was a red flag if a parent said “I’m a teacher too, so I understand…” This was quite often followed up by some version of “you should do it my way.” That’s exactly the problem with hosts who compare your listing to theirs.

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