Threats, Intimidation Standover and Bullying by Airbnb

I have been in the STR business since 1974 (way before the founders of Airbnb were borne) when I bought a half share in a house near a ski resort. When the local rental agency changed hands shortly after and the new owner was simply incompetent I started to do my own marketing in those pre-internet days. Soon it morphed into a competing rental agency and grew into the largest sub-alpine agency in the state managing over 350 beds in holiday houses and flats. I authored publications of “Growth Trends in Victorian Ski Resorts” and “Investors Guide to Sub-Alpine Real Estate”., and was editor of the area Visitors guide. I also renovated and flipped two other houses. These were all part-time activities when I was a junior accountant. Eventually in 1990 I sold out my interests due to increasing other commitments and kept just one house as our family holiday home for skiing and mountain biking. Now being retired we normally do a lot of long vacations. I can manage the pricing and reservations from anywhere in the world with internet and I have a local caretaker who deals with guests when they are in residence and local cleaners.
On June 17, 2021 I received more a demand than a request for some legal information about the ownership of our holiday house which is held in a trust controlled by a private company. They wanted the information asap. It sounded like their lack of planning was now my emergency. They seem to ignore the fact that they have built a profitable business model based not on large corporate partners with big professional staff but mainly sole operators and retired owners. They also seem to forget that in essence they are providing a booking engine and money collection service and as such the hosts are their customers.
Fortunately I was at home when the demand arrived, so had access to all the company registration data etc and was able to upload it immediately. There would often be times when their lack of planning would mean a 4 to 8 week delay until I returned home.
Just a short 2 weeks later while away on a skiing holiday I received a message from Airbnb incorrectly accusing me of not responding to the request and suspending my payments until I did so. (I tried to see if I could upload the information again but their system would not let me as it said I already had)
I pointed out to them that their accusation was untrue and asked them not to default on payments due to their mistake.
On July 9 I received another message that they were reviewing my data (been uploaded for 3 weeks) and would tell me if it was satisfactory and when (presumably if) they would start paying me again. After 2 weeks of the original request they had wrongly stopped paying, but after 3 weeks they had not checked the information.
I have had a gut full of these rude stand-over tactics by Airbnb.

Below is my response to Airbnb
“I received the demand and threat (not a polite request) on June 17, that as we were operating as a taxable business we needed to provide verification for the ownership of our holiday house. I uploaded the information immediately. There was no need to threaten to not pay me what I am legally entitled to. Why would I not supply the information for you to meet your legal requirements? Fortunately I received the request just before I was about to go on holidays and so was able to upload the registration information about our company the same day (The upload page confirmed all done). Being retired I am often away for 5 to 6 weeks at a time and my caretaker and cleaners look after guests, I do not have access to some of this legal information when on holidays. The attached screenshot shows that all the requested information was uploaded on June 17.
The guests are my customers and when I appoint Airbnb to take bookings and collect payments I am your customer. But you do not seem to be treating me to the standard of service I treat my customers. Airbnb is legally entitled to set conditions to enter into a contract to act as my agent. But you can only change the conditions prospectively. You can refuse to take future bookings if I do not supply the legal information but you cannot change the agreement retrospectively and refuse to pay for bookings taken previously. Even to threaten not to pay is illegal in Australia. By your heavy handed approach in an attempt to avoid a possible breach of one law you have committed a crime against another law.
On July 2 only a ridiculously short 2 weeks after the first message you message me to incorrectly tell me I did not supply the information and you were withholding the payments to me for current guests and bookings. Apart from the fact that you were incorrect in that I did upload the information, and you had no right to withhold payment. Two weeks was an absurdly short length of time to allow without a further reminder even if I had not supplied the information. I am your customer, when was the last time your professional paid lawyers gave you a 2 week turnaround time on any matter. Most likely never.
I messaged back same day that your information was incorrect, I had supplied immediately and requested you not to withhold my payments due to your error.
On July 9, I received an email that Airbnb was reviewing the information I had supplied on June 17 and I would be advised if additional information was needed and when (or if) payments for the guests that had booked through Airbnb would continue.
This is our very peak snow season, and this is a high demand year. Currently any Airbnb cancellations get re-booked within 30 mins via VRBO or BDC. (This happened just last week an Airbnb guest arriving on Friday July 9, cancelled and the dates were re-booked on before I had a chance to read the cancellation email. We cannot afford to have guests staying that we are not being paid for, yet these people have paid Airbnb in full 3, 4, 5 months ago. If you do not pay us for guests who stay, then we will have no choice but to start opening dates to get bookings through other marketing channels and when we receive them cancel the Airbnb reservations.
Our next Airbnb guest arrives tomorrow July 12. I certainly implore you to pay us on time. I do not want to be forced to cancel future Airbnb bookings and have to explain to guests that the cause is your unreasonable and high handed approach in not paying us what we are legally entitled, and definitely without good reason.
I look forward to you paying me on time as well as a sincere apology. I find your attitude to me as a customer and super host totally unacceptable. We host guests in our family holiday house because we get paid. If we do not get paid we do not want anyone, we are not a charity. I find Airbnb approach very amateurish if you think we will host guests when you are in payment default. You are talking to an accountant here. You pay on time or you are in default. Pausing payments is simply spin for missing a payment.”

I have already organised with one guest to cancel with Airbnb and approved a full refund and then book and pay direct through my website saving them the 15% Airbnb fees and making sure I got paid. Because I was busy skiing I missed the opportunity to do this with the July 12 guest. If they do not pay me for the July 12, guest arrival by July 13 I will start approaching subsequent guests with the same arrangement.
I had to stand up to Airbnb last year when they threatened me after I was chasing guests to pay for leaving the house filthy, breaking rules and overstay. Since then I have been aggressively increasing bookings from other sources, particularly BDC where I control the charging. Fortunately Airbnb is a minority of future bookings when a year ago they were a majority. I refuse to be stood over and threatened by Airbnb, I am their customer treat me properly. Airbnb is popular with a lot of guests so it is worthwhile using them even if their guests are the lower end of the market, but there is no need to put up with this treatment. Hosts have a choice, in the end they need hosts more than hosts need them.


This violates the ABB TOS.

It would have been better to say you’re canceling the guests and using other booking engines.


Not many members will read such a long unparagraphed rant. But if you’re feeling that you’re being threatened,. intimidated and bullied, then don’t allow yourself to be.


Airbnb sees the guest as their customer at this time.

Yeah, you posted about this a year ago. That doesn’t seem very assertive to me. If I were as unhappy as you are I would have closed my Airbnb account last year. I don’t understand why someone with your experience even uses them.

Ah, reminds me of my high school teaching career.


For such a detailed post it sure is hard to find your point! Maybe add a TL:DR (Too long: didn’t read) summary.


You are mistaking those tactics for being rude or bullying when the reality is that it’s just incompetence on Airbnb’s part. They haven’t found the correct balance between automation and manual human effort, and the automation is left to do whatever it’s programmed to do. Your response will likely fall on the deaf ears of the automation system. Don’t expect anything to change until somebody can prove to them how much money their incompetence is costing the company.


I didn’t. The OP invested significant time to post something poorly formatted & rambling thus not going to be read by many people.


I had to draw upon my Evelyn Woods class I took back in the 60’s to read that post.


On my phone, it’s all just word soup.



@ocker Just as your post was taxing to read due to lack of paragraphs, the message you included that you wrote to Airbnb will not be read by them and was a waste of your time.

The communications to Airbnb need to be simple, best in bullet point form, in chronological order of the issue. Otherwise they are ignored or you are just sent a canned return message.

Dont speak for all of us please, he is free to express himself as he wishes, I read it, He made some fair points. he did what airbnb asked and through their own incompetence they messed the whole thing up.


I can sympathise with your issue, unlike others who wish to chastise you on your length of post.
I can see how its irritating. I think you ar rubbing up against alot of the same issues other hosts have mentioned re airbnb and its general disdain towards hosts.

I think the answer is a new platform - a lyft to airbnb as an uber if you will.


I spell out in detail because I find the Airbnb people stupid, unless you spell it out in chapter and verse they are too thick to get the message. That is my experience and my reason. I tried being brief in the past, and time and time again they completely missed the point. Maybe nothing gets through to them.

I post here and explain so others are warned. Particularly newer hosts. So hosts know it is not them that is the problem. Others have the same experience so it is Airbnb that is the problem. Knowledge is power. If we all know what they are like and we all stand up to them then they they cannot push us around one at a time.

I find this forum valuable in that it helps me appreciate the experiences other hosts have with both guests and Airbnb and hopefully learn from their experience to avoid problems before they arise.

I continue to use Airbnb as one of many marketing channels because it is to my financial benefit, and worth putting up with some problems. Otherwise I am just cutting off my nose despite my face. However it is not to my benefit to be too dependent on Airbnb. And I am not prepared to let them walk all over me and push me around.

Read what I wrote again please. I was not speaking for everyone.

Seems too much discussion about paragraphs. Not really important but if you look closely there are 15 separate paragraphs. A paragraph must start on a new line, but a blank line after a paragraph is optional. However it appears that the English teachers in this forum disagree. But I am not here for debates about grammar style just sharing information and ideas. Please no more off topic talk about paragraph construction.


Dictating to people what they can comment about on your posts is never successful here.


Wrong. Normally a new paragraph is indicated by indenting the start of one. Which you didn’t do. Nor left a blank line. There are no paragraphs except in your mind.

This isn’t about your grammar or paragraphs or English teachers. It’s about communication. If you bother to write something, the assumption is that you are wanting to share info or experiences.

If others tell you it is difficult to read, to the point they wouldn’t even try, I should think you’d want to know, rather than being defensive about it.


Great idea if I can read the ideas you seek to share. It’s word soup when viewed on my phone.

No white space is a way to guarantee you aren’t sharing with many people.

The reason people are sharing concerns over formatting isn’t to be school-marmish, it’s because they want to participate. Your formatting is defeating the purpose of you posting.


I agree wholeheartedly. That doesn’t make it much better.

I like your letter, but it needs to be edited down by 50% at least. The people who would be reading it simply don’t have the attention span or bandwidth. Good points, but make them faster. Opens strong, though.


Exactly. And my take-away from the OP’s comments is that the OP doesn’t listen to any feedback the OP doesn’t like or agree with.

I am assuming this is also how OP treats their guests when getting feedback. Or if no feedback by guests is given during the stay (“May I please have another towel?”), it’s because they give off a negative, bullying vibe of “You don’t need no towels…” (paraphrase from Blazing Saddles omitting the “stinkin’” because …)

I waded through the badly formatted, poor grammar (take-away was non-native English speaker) and concluded that the OP is stingy with towels and probably other amenities. I hope that the OP’s place is a bargain so I wouldn’t be expecting my type of hospitality business in their place.