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They claimed there were bugs and now want a refund!

I am alternately ticked off and slightly panicked.

I am a Super Host and have been renting out my garden retreat house since October of last year. All 5-star reviews and no huge problems (unless you count the guests that Airbnb kicked out for me because they were drunk and partying at 4:00 am with 12 people when they reserved for FOUR people and the people who left the doors open and left in a bird who pooped all over and the guests who sewed the sheet to the blanket!!??!!).

Last weekend, a group came in for a small wedding. Three kids, 6 adults. More than I usually take,but I made an exception since the children were small and would sleep in Pack N Play portable cribs.

They arrived Thursday night, but the people who rented (family of 4) suddenly decided not to stay at the house, but stay at a friend’s house to dog sit. OK, I guess, although I have a rule that only the person who rented is allowed to open the house and get the official tour with regulations.

Another women arrived two hours later than expected while I waited for her. I puttered around the house, cleaning some spots in the carpet in the Master Bedroom…freshened up the house a bit, etc.

Since it was now after dark I had the porch lights on, When she came in, a small moth came with her. I couldn’t catch it, but knew it would be OK and I could find it later. No big deal, right? Hmmm.

The next morning, I had a text from her saying that there were a “large number of bugs - big bugs” in the master bedroom and she couldn;'t sleep so she went to another room to sleep.

I was horrified. Exterminator had been there only two days previous to their arrival. I quickly called them and they made an emergency call to treat the entire house spraying the baseboards. The spray was “green” and non-toxic to humans. I emailed to tell her the problem was solved, but NO…

Now she was upset about the bug spray and wouldn’t sleep in the house with her 16-month old baby, who was arriving that night. So I called a local hotel and got them a room. She declined, saying that she would stay with friends.

I asked if any of the guests would be staying there and offered to refund the original person who booked the house (if no one would be sleeping there). She said two women would be staying there. OK, they are adults, no problems with bug spray. I didn’t hear another word from them.

Until today when I got an irate call from the husband of the original booker/guest who did not stay at the house asking me repeatedly “What would you consider a fair price for last weekend?”

Um…the price was listed on my site…they paid about $1100 including taxes (I got about $875). He kept saying that only two women stayed there and I explained I don’t rent per person, but by the entire house. And reminded him that it was his choice NOT to stay at the house but instead to dog sit for friends. “That has no bearing on this problem!” he bellowed!

Huh? He accused me of having roaches in the house (not true - if anything looked like a roach it was a Palmetto bug which looks awful and is brown, but drops in from the trees - nothing to do with filth or dirt. (Ask anyone from the South about them, they are gross but a fact of life). Remember that I had been in the room cleaning right before she arrived. No bugs. Nada. None. Not that bugs can’t show themselves later but still…

He threatened me with a bad review about my bug infestation (HUH???) and said he would take it up with Airbnb. I called them immediately and told them a longer version of the story I am posting here. They said his review would not be counted because he didn’t even stay at my house. That’s a relief since I don’t want to lose my Super Host status (but heck, I tried everything to please these people and nothing worked!). I understand that not staying at the house was an inconvenience, but it was their choice to stay. He claimed the other two women stayed because they felt they had no other options. Not true. Airbnb will find you another place to stay if you just call them.

Anyway…it is upsetting and I am not blaming the guests (except that jerky guy who called me today). I don’t like bugs of any kind, which is why I have a monthly treatment to ensure they aren’t present at the house. And there probably was one bug or two…but not a “large number” of bugs. No… that is an exaggeration.

When I try to take care of the problem urgently and immediately and then get dinged even for THAT, I am at a loss as to what I could have done differently. I even offered a refund for Pete’s sake…but that was before they used all three bathrooms, slept in all the beds and used every room in the house. Nope. My cleaning fees and water bills need to be covered and I am not gonna refund them after the fact.

Thanks for letting me vent. I just wanted other folks who understand this frustration to hear it!

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Do you have this on the Airbnb platform? Or was it a text that you can screenshot? Threatening a bad review is strictly against Airbnb policy and they will side with you if you can prove that he said that.

Didn’t know that. No, he called my home phone, but I did put him on speaker so I had witnesses to his tirade. Probably not solid enough evidence for an Airbnb stance, but almost immediately after he started in on me, I broadcast his voice to my assistants, so they know he threatened me.

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You mentioned Palmetto bugs, you in Florida?

North Carolina – you guys have been sending them up north ; - ) Seriously, we have had a couple at my house and I hate them. ANd maybe that’s what happened. But they are not typical “roaches.”

Love to see this woman’s reaction at a place I once stayed in; during the night you could feel huge cockroaches crawling over you, someone put on a light, there were thousands of them, the room was covered.with them. She would have had a cardiac arrest.

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I do have all my texts to the woman who freaked out about the spray. She was grateful and seemed happy. I did screen shots…she even said “Thanks for offering a hotel room but we are staying with friends.”

She was probably happy until her ‘support system’ of outraged friends (and closet lawyers) got into the act.

Yep – I suspect you’re right.

Not one cent! They just want to recuperate some money on a rental they booked, but then did not use. It is no your fault. You went above and beyond.

However, I would write them a nice message via airbnb system mentioning that it was a shame they did not stay personally, that the Exterminator gave it to you in writing that there were no bugs and the best for them would be to cancel and direct their concern to the Resolution Center from Airbnb.
Once they cancel, they will not be able to leave a review and you back to: Not one Cent!


Exactly - although I think it’s too late to cancel, right? They already received the “post a review” email.

The thing is that I had guest leave on Tuesday morning who RAVED about the place. Not a word about bugs anywhere. Two days later we have an “infestation?” I think it’s all baloney. Not even sure she actually SAW A bug.

Airbnb says if they file a compliant against me they have to prove that there were bugs. Doubt that she took a photo but who knows?

I really won’t worry about it till further notice.

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If I were you; I wouldn’t give them a refund. From what you’re saying it sounds like most of the members of the party decided they’d rather stay elsewhere and manufactured a reason to get a refund. If there were an infestation of insects; they would have to prove it to Airbnb who would then decide on the appropriate refund.

I got a good chuckle from your tales of misbehaving guests.

Regarding palmettos; I googled them. Every website listed says that they are in fact a type of cockroach.


Go to your inbox and pull up their messages. If you see a button there about Change or Cancel - they will have the same button.
They point is: if they Cancel, they cannot leave a review.
They can escalate it to the Resolution Center, which will side with you. They don’t know that.

But not a cockroach from filth. They live in trees and fall down to the ground.Treatment is completely different than what you see on those god awful hoarding TV shows!

No Cancel button. Only “leave a review” or “resolve an issue.”

How the heck do I reply to the message instead of starting a new chain? Grrr…technology

Yes, they are roaches. Two to three inch long roaches that can fly. When frightened, they have been known to raise up on their legs, open their wings, and charge at you. They are disgusting, nasty, scary ass roaches.If you ever think you hear screaming off in the distance, that’s me, dealing with a palmetto bug.

But you don’t get them in your house because you are dirty. You get them because they are flexible little buggers who can work their way in through almost any window. They live outside and visit you when they want to scare the daylights out of you. The dirty kind of roaches live there, eat there and bring their friends for a party. But they are small and go squish.

The big ones explode when you hit them just right. Legs go everywhere.


That sounds like my three years in Texas where sitting on an outdoor patio at a restaurant meant you were a target for those nasty creatures. Occasionally, when the water tables were high [about four days a year] they would crawl up the tub drains. :: shudder :: I couldn’t leave Texas fast enough!

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Just spend some time reading about them. Aggressive rascals.

@Artemis you sound like you have taking sweet revenge on a few of them. LoL


I first encountered them at Daytona Beach - they love the water. We left that hotel ASAP – because there were dozens crawling around on the floors. They DO respond to bug spray, but then more of them arrive,…thank God we have only a few. And only in the past couple of years.

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