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Uh oh...a bad review is on its way (advice?)

Hi everyone!

So my guests (a couple) left a day early. He messaged me to say that he thought the place was nice but they decided to stay the night at his uncles house…and oh by the way there wasn’t any hot water for showers yesterday or today. I went to check the shower and sure enough, he had the temperature knob turned all the way around so all they were getting were different levels of cold water coming out. I explain how the shower works with every new set of guests and they are the first in 21 that did this. It’s not a hard concept to grasp - one knob does the temperature one knob turns the water on/off.

I messaged him back and told him what I observed and that I wished he had of told me about the cold shower the first time it happened.

On top of that, we’re in a drought so I asked them to take shorter showers and do the whole “if it’s yellow let it mellow” dealio.

I’m thinking these two things scared them off - can’t know for sure because he hasn’t messaged me back with a response. Pretty sure I’m about to get hit with bad review.

Any advice?

Regarding the water temperature. Even though we demonstrate the shower and we put instructions in the house guide, we have had two guests (out of over 300) who couldn’t figure out how to get the water hot. Believe it or not, our shower is pretty uncomplicated by our standards. One of these guest’s boyfriend showed her how to get the shower water hot. The other one told me at the end of her five day stay that she hadn’t been able to figure it out. I told her that I wish she’d said something earlier. Neither of these guests gave us a bad review. I think maybe they don’t want to put in a public review that they can’t work plumbing, pretty embarrassing.

Regarding the yellow mellow; that would gross me out and I’d leave. I grew up with hippy parents who did that. The bathroom always stank. I do plenty of things to save water, but not flushing the toilet isn’t one of them.


Well I’ve had dolts like this guy with the shower knob before. Don’t worry about the review. I know that’s easy to say and it hurts when you get a negative review. First off, don’t refund anything - he decided to leave early. The fact that he took cold showers? Dummy, pick up the phone and call the host!

Let’s say that his review is something like “overall a nice place, we left early because my uncle has a place nearby. We were dissapointed because there was no hot water for our showers”.

So you reply - Thank you for the review Ding Dong (use his name, obv). As a point of clarification for future guests, the hot water is plentiful but it does require turning the knob to “H” instead of to “C” for cold.


If he says anything about the hot water just say that he didn’t use it properly and didn’t contact you for further instructions. As for if it’s yellow, let it mellow, you don’t have any way of monitoring that so he could do as he pleased. If it bothered him that you want to conserve water then good riddance.

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If I’m expecting a bad review, I wait as long as possible to review the guest. If the guest doesn’t leave a review and the two week mutual review period expires, problem solved!

If the guest leaves a review I wait as long as possible (till I get the notice "you have only two days left to leave a review for guest xx). This way it will take some time for the possibly bad review to appear on my listing and there is a good chance of getting other good reviews in the meantime appearing higher.

To sum up, if you’re expecting a good review - review the guest back quickly. If you expect a bad review - wait as long as you can.


Hi Ellen - yes I understand that. My grandparents were the same and I hated going into their bathroom. These were city kids though and I just think they figured our “water was broken” so time to run back to the city.

We’re on a dug well and yesterday our neighbours reported that their dug wells were drying up. We’re doing everything we can to avoid being in the same situation. In the grand scheme of things it’s nice that they’re not here adding to our worry.

Thanks for your advice - helps to know you’re in a similar situation with the shower controls :slight_smile:.

This is extremely helpful @Jan_J! Totally doing this - I am wishing and hoping they just don’t leave one at all. Fingers crossed. It’s going to be a long wait-and-see.

Yup. I truly believe these kids have no idea about rural life. We tried to keep the seriousness of it down to a low murmur but I don’t think it worked.

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Thanks @superhostnyc! This is probably one of those bad reviews that would require a response and I like what you’ve said. I wondered about refunding and whether or not that would do anything, but none of this is my fault. Having said that, their experience here was certainly compromised and for that I do feel bad.

There was a drought when I was a kid and we did the less toilet flushing thing too. Still grosses me out, especially if you have to share a bathroom with anyone (that includes a spouse).

There are kits at Home Depot to convert a regular toilet to a low-flow toilet, maybe you could try this option? They won’t work on all models though - our last house had 40-year old toilets and the attachments didn’t fit right.

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Meh, sounds like you had a BSTAH guest (better suited to a hotel). Airbnb should have an element of adventure! We once stayed in an apartment in a small town in the heart of Morocco that had a “kitchen” that comprised a camping gas stove sitting on a tiled counter, a sink with a solitary cold tap and a fridge that looked as though it had been salvaged from a 30 year old motor home. But it had a rooftop terrace with views out across the town and the mountains beyond. One of the most memorable places we’ve stayed. Don’t let it bother you if you get one less than favourable review. The next guest will love your rustic charms!


Ah ha…another one grossed out by the yellow/mellow thing. Oh dear. All of our toilets are low flow so that’s good. However, it’s important that we converse every bit of water right now until the next rainfall and water tables go back up. Can’t run the well dry.

Now I’m worried that we shouldn’t be hosting anymore guests until this issue has resolved itself.

Oh @Geddy3 I hope I get you as my next guest :smiley:. Love that story! Ok so now I have to find a way to make gunfire romantic AND turn a smelly toilet into something charmingly rustic. Whew! Hope I can pull it off lol.


But notice that everyone who has commented on yellow/mellow has actually experienced it, rather than being put off by the idea without having done it. I understand that it’s necessary when water is scarce, but maybe we all still have that animal instinct to hide our spoor.

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I’m going to offend someone but…being “grossed out” by a few ounces of pee sitting in a 1.6 gallons of water shows how truly spoiled we are. I live in a desert with 9" of rain a year and I don’t flush the toilet after every pee. I think it would be a shame for you to have to stop hosting until things improve but people on a vacation expect to flush all they want and eat all your snacks.


@Artemis and @KKC - my next guests check in on Wednesday next week. If our water issue hasn’t been resolved by then, do you think I should cancel them? Or just do it now as a precaution? Maybe I could explain the situation and offer a full refund if they choose to cancel.

Would you mind posting your listing? I’m intrigued to know what your guests think they’re getting.

I’d explain and offer to refund if they cancel. Maybe you could put in a composting toilet for future use. I don’t think the water shortage problem is going away permanently.


I’ll PM it to you - we have lurkers on this forum (like Airbnb), and, sometimes our threads get posted on Facebook. I prefer to keep personal info off the forum because of that :wink:


No problem. Thank you.

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