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Would you book an apartment with no reviews?


#1

Hello everybody!!

Been very happy with AirBnB so far.
Now going to Paris with a friend and she booked us the apartment with no reviews whatsoever even though the host is a member since Oct 2013.

Please leave your comments on how safe you think it is? Tried to contact AirBnB - but didn’t find a way. So i couldn’t ask them about this member…

thanks a lot everyone in advance for your advices and thoughts!

Irene


#2

Hmm. That’s tricky. I always like to make sure there has been plenty of communication between the guest and host. If anything at all sounds fishy, call it off!


#3

If depends on how the listing is presented… If the listing details are vague, misspelled, disorganized with poor photos (no doubt reflecting the author’s real self) I would not. If it has been thoughtfully presented then yes I would. As a guest I would make sure to ask about the amenities and if there are any limitations (i.e. Can you cook there or store food? Can you drink alcohol there? Will the host be there? How’s the parking?). Find out if they will provide towels or let you do your laundry for free. All these things should be checked off under Amenities. If none are checked then the host doesn’t know what he’s doing yet. Find out if the host has children or pets or friends or family living there. Find out about the neighborhood if it matters to you…ask if it would be safe to walk alone at night. Ask about transportation options if none listed. Ask the host what he does for a living if he has not mentioned it in his profile…make sure he has a photo of himself up. Some of the best deals you can get are from people new to AirBnB eager to get good reviews.


#4

If it’s an apartment you might want to ask if the host owns it (or risk getting evicted or cancelled on) or is renting it with knowledge of his landlord…


#5

thank you for such a thoughtful answer
!


#6

Bola,

I wanted to mention my response was because I have read quite a few stories and reviews from guests, particularly in Paris who went to stay in Airbnb’s who once they arrived were taken to a different apartment than in the photos for some strange reason (usually nowhere near as nice), and other stories particularly in Paris of unhappy airbnb guests. Sorry for not taking the time to answer more fully. When this happens, it takes quite a while for airbnb to refund your money. So just make sure you have enough for alternate accoms should it not turn out as you hope.


#8

‘Nothing but five star reviews’? I’m surprised you haven’t been rewarded a medal Billy Bob (beyond the usual superhost). Excuse me if I find it just a little bit hard to fathom that in all the years you claim to have been using Airbnb (from its inception in other posts), and how many ‘units’ you have, and all the guests in and out of your doors, that not one person, or even 1 percent of guests decide it wasn’t necessarily a five star experience, but a four star. I have yet to see a host that has had enough reviews over time, to have 100% 5 stars every time. I’m surprised you’re not on some kind of speaking circuit such an advocate are you.

Back to the subject at hand, yes, new hosts happen every day, but did you take 2 years to take your first trip, or list your first unit? These can be red flags. I would assume the guests looked to see if they had other listings already, but if not it bears mentioning.

As far as what he is thinking, this requires communication between guest and host to ascertain. Assuming anything is never recommended. Bad things can and do happen, and recommending that a guest throw caution to the wind, simply because you feel you’re a great host and everyone must be like you is flawed advice.

I’m a frequent traveller to Paris, part of my career being based there, and have spent months at a time living there. There are many issues to take into account such as communication - please do NOT expect fluent English, and in some cases any English at all, and secondly increasing crime from a frustrated population dealing with immigration issues. These things do play into the safety of booking in certain cities. One more thing to be aware of, is that although Paris is in large part dependent on tourism, it is not totally uncommon to find people unhappy about it, particularly if you don’t speak a lick of French.
There’s even a psychological syndrome Japanese suffer after their dreams of what Paris is like are shattered by facing rude Parisians. It is similar to a post traumatic stress disorder.

This is not to say that your trip won’t be amazing Bola - all international travel can be fantastic if you have the right expectations. Expecting everyone to be just like us is not the best start though, and that is why you are asking the right questions.


#11

Billy Bob, you can make personal insults all you like, however if I expect the worst, why is my rating the same as yours? Surely your great outlook should have given you the 100% five star reviews you claimed to have made already (when actually 7% felt otherwise)? You show a 93% average of five star reviews. Picking and choosing data is not honest. Also, you share a snatch of just 14-15 guests for the other data. I have no idea where you got that data the way it is shown here. It looks from an older format. Airbnb’s dashboard is quite different now, showing a yearly result. Perhaps your rating has dropped?

As I said, this isn’t the place for you to always be bragging. It truly is getting too much, and is mostly irrelevant, and unhelpful. We get it, you think nothing bad ever happens on airbnb, because it’s the ‘best platform you’ve ever used’. I really wish for the sake of members, that we could keep topics on topic. If there were never any issues, we wouldn’t need customer service support, or million dollar guarrantees.


#12

While I would agree that we were all newcomers with no reviews once’ I think someone who hasn’t shown any activity yet they’ve been open for business since 2013 would worry me a little. I have to be honest.

On the subject of stars, I am a great host but I don’t worry too much about stars. I will never ever have five stars. But I have 62 all positive reviews and have been wi Air since they were a no name start up (evidenced by my very low listing number!)

My location is rural and a distance from town so I get marked down on location. I also get marked down on value even though my high season rate is not over $99 per night-- and they get a private, separate, lockable studio with full cooking and private BBQ and patio. Right near an uncrowded secluded Hawaii beach so go figure. Oh yeah, and I provide all beach gear too. Everything you need for a day at the beach so they don’t have to bring it. Yet this is just not enough for some people!!!

In answer to the question though, try to get some dialogue going with this host. If he’s not forthcoming, see if you can ask Air whether you can cancel and book elsewhere. Just as we don’t have to rent to someone who makes us uncomfortable, guests don’t have to stay with same.


#15

BillyBob, this has been addressed multiple times. Please move on.


#16

I see what you’re saying but perhaps the OP was telling us she didn’t even have any correspondence with the guy? If that is the case then in the description the guy should give his original listing and mention that fact, that yes, this is a new listing and if guests want to read reviews of him as a host they could do so at original listing. Otherwise she is left to wonder whether the host is even active. I would. If she cannot get an answer I would definitely mention it to Air especially since Paris is known to have issues along these lines.


#18

Hello all, dear guys, thank you for your replies!! They are very considerate.
This host doesn’t have any other listings and has no profile picture neither. But he replies very soon and he said that we are going to be his first guests and reassured us that everything must be all right and we shouldn’t worry. He speaks good English.
I am just thinking to myself: basically if the host receives money only after 24 hours after the guests checked in, there shouldn’t be any risk for us - right.
Cos, if something goes wrong with checking in, we contact AirBnB and they simply block this payment and the host does not get this payment.


#19

We are going to be his first guests since October 2013. Thats a bit odd. Maybe he lives there himself and decides to only rent it out sometimes when he leaves. I have to ask him that…


#20

Well what happens is, you check in…and if everything is terrible and not OK, you can leave…but to get a refund I would imagine you’d have to leave immediately and cancel. Have a really good reason…such as the apartment was nothing like the description or the host was creepy or whatever. Notify Air ASAP if you have to do this. If you wait you will lose everything.

Depending on his cancellation policy and you check out before the 24 hours, you might receive half back. I have had a couple guests check in and pick up and leave, but after I had been paid…(this was back when Air paid me on PST, not HST! So I got paid within 6 hours of them checking in! yeah!) And you can bet your bottom dollar I was not going to refund one thin dime!!! One party left because I had no dish TV! Clearly stated in my listing so not enough for them to get a full refund. Or any refund at all! I did get paid already and they had spent one night… If they had canceled before I got paid, and I only got paid half for their reservation, I would be pissed and leave a bad review for anyone who did this. I think the other few I have had that I have had leave before their reservation was over knew they had to forfeit all of it and all the better for me. I got paid without having to provide service!

Other hosts here with uncomfortable guests have said they offered to show them the door and refund their remainder. Would a hotel where you prepaid do this? NO! I would never do this. My place and its downsides (out in the country, far from town) are clearly stated in my description numerous times. So they would simply have no case. If they don’t like it and want to leave, toodaloo!!! Sayanara! Au revoir!!! Don’t let that screen door hit you on the way out!

That said I’m not exactly sure about how this goes down as a guest checking in as I’ve never had it happen…maybe other hosts can help. Check Air’s FAQS to answer this question about what happens if it’s terrible, doesn’t match the description or you want to leave immediately.

Possibly the guy just opened his account in 2013 or traveled himself as a guest and that is why no activity. As long as he is communicative and friendly and will readily answer your questions, including addressing your worry that he has had no guests up until now, this sounds like it will probably be totally OK.


#21

Bola, I’m sending you a PM


#22

I have to completely disagree that it should ‘totally be alright’. No profile photo, and three years on airbnb and no activity are huge red flags. I don’t know how many times I have had guests that sounded like the perfect guests, until when they arrived they were nothing even remotely like they portrayed themselves to be in their communications. Someone after your money will say anything to tempt you over and sucker you in.

You absolutely require a profile picture, and to make sure the person you meet is the one who’s profile picture it is. As I mentioned in my first post, yes, there are issues if you don’t like it when you get there. You can leave, but you need good reasons to get your money back from airbnb (including photos and strong evidence) depending on your cancellation fee. They will always keep their fifteen percent. Furthermore, they will not refund that money for a number of days. I repeat, you will absolutely not, by any means get that money back until a certain period of time has passed for airbnb to ‘process’ your funds. Most people say it takes at least a week to get it back - sometimes by the time their holiday is over, and they have had to make do with the budget they had set aside for accommodations. This is why I said if you take the risk, make sure you have extra money for accommodations if this does not work out.

If I need to find these horror scam stories from Paris that began just the way you are relaying this, I will. But of course, there’s always someone to imagine nothing bad happens on airbnb, even though we know all kinds of people exist everywhere in the world, why not on airbnb too? I’ll be attacked for being negative, rather than realistic, and an experienced world traveller that has found myself in so many situations due to naivety I choose not to relive. I don’t wish for anyone else to have to live through it, especially in such an easy to scam system as airbnb.

Your host has issues that are problematic and need resolving. All his telling you it’s ok is no better than a psycho killer convincing a little girl to get into the car for sweeties. You need to KNOW certain things. A photo of the person, and what is his full name? Can you do a search on it? Does it come up anywhere as someone that exists, particularly as an owner of the apartment? Whenever I can’t get the details I need, I turn to google to see if more info can be found. If airbnb can’t give you any more assurance on the guy and who he is regarding verifications, I would be worried. The verification process isn’t happening in every country yet.


#23

This isn’t totally relevant to your place, but mentions scams in France, though based on chalets:


#24

I missed the part about no profile pic. That is not a good sign.


#25

I totally agree…you have to start SOMEWHERE. But if the rest of the listings and host’s account are as abandoned as is the reviews section, there’s either something a little fishy or the host isn’t totally dedicated to his/her Airbnb role. The latter isn’t necessarily a red flag, but I would advise steering clear of members of the community who don’t seem to care much at all about the experience. This is the type of Airbnb member with whom many people unfortunately run into problems.


#26

Sandy, thank you for informing the traveler! You are the host that likes to share with other host and help host and guest become the best host and the best guest.
Host and Guest can be on the shady side and also the most carrying nice people. In my opinion unfortunately in current economy we are seeing the ugly under bally and that goes for host as well as for the guest.
I am a host myself, my six’t month, and i had some great guest and some that i never want to see again.
I like your style, informational, non judgmental.
We are here on this forum to find answers not trow stones at each other. There is a huge difference between constructive and destructive criticism. One shoo does not fit all, so the more input without finger pointing the better.


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