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Worrying article

Discussion in 'Hosts' started by Sandy, Aug 15, 2015.

  1. Sandy

    Sandy Active Member

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/15/y...n-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=1

    As I've mentioned many times before, crime is just as likely to happen in an airbnb as in any other place, and may even be especially enticing to some types of criminals. What is especially troublesome as always (in my opinion), is airbnb'so apalling way of handling such a crisis.

    This is absolutely typical airbnb customer service from my experience. Take my recent experience wanting to cancel a guest before arrival because she had lied, sent a bunch of mixed messages in an effort to manipulate a refund, and eventually changed arrival day 2 times in 2 days (the day before and day of arrival). I was uncomfortable and didn't feel I could trust the guest in my home, if they were disrespectful enough not to try this kind of behavior on with me before even getting here. Airbnb'so response? Well, you can cancel (actually I couldn't, I needed them to do it), but you will be punished for not taking a guest you feel you can't trust in your home by losing the Superhost status worked so hard for and held for 2 years and other penalties.

    Thankfully the situation didn't turn out so bad this time, although it was uncomfortable having to confront the issue with the guest. Nonetheless, I have learned to trust my instinct when it comes to reading into the messages before guests arrive, and more often than not very right about what a guest will be like based on our communications. It disheartens me that airbnb is dropping the ball by not giving hosts full reign to pull out of a booking where the guest has given signs of being irresponsible, dishonest, aggressive or anything else that can give a host good reason to worry, but also that guests aren't protected from hosts that are off either. To have not immediately gotten on the case and alerted the police in this instance is reprehensible and typical; so characteristic of the 'I'm just following policy, I don't have to have any actual empathy, intelligence or bother with initiative' CSA you get at airbnb.

    I wish it was better, but there are going to be more experiences like these, and frankly I find using airbnb stressful, even though some guests are good.
     
  2. Matt S

    Matt S Active Member

    Like you said crime is likely to happen anywhere. For how many stays AirBnb is touting, the number of crimes in the media seems minimal. Uber has been considerably worse. I have thought about it in some regard, that if I host AirBnB for 10 years eventually something bad is going to happen. People are always asking me what the worst thing is that has happened from hosting, and I really don't have an answer. But I tell them, it's just a matter of time I suppose. Like anything in life, the bad side is somewhat eminent. For you Sandy - do you plan to stop hosting at some point? Do you think AirBnB will get better for hosts? I know you think it has gotten worse.
     
  3. Sandy

    Sandy Active Member

    That's right Mattt, crimes in the media. That doesn't mean there aren't many more crimes going on that aren't getting the media attention. We had an awful experience over the weekend with some Chinese guests. The guy literally was the biggest jerk I'd ever met, didn't even think he needed to take time for an introduction to my husband (his host and owner of the house) - just barged in while his wife was speaking to him and another female guest and started speaking in Chinese to her then said gruffly that they had to go essentially dragging her rudely from the conversation and room without even a 'hello I am an asshole'. It went from bad to worse. I even ended up looking up who were the best and worst tourists to see if it was typical Chinese behavior to be so inconsiderate, rude, loud, obnoxious, (and sure enough out of all the nationalities, hotel owners year after year vote Chinese the worst guests in the Expedia survey - and Japanese whom I have always found lovely the best). So it was perhaps not so unusual. But it was stressful. Late at night when the rest of the house was trying to sleep they were still thumping around flinging doors closed from afar instead of using the handle to close it to prevent the entire house shaking over and over as the tromped back and forth from the bathroom repeatedly during the hour long getting ready for bed session. We were worried about the other guest who had been asleep (or trying to for hours). They certainly weren't. They were right next door to her and making an almighty racket. Oh, and he completely destroyed an antique chair. Tore the embossed leather along the front clean off and in half down the middle. Just by being incredibly rough with it.

    Needless to say we are not accepting guests this weekend. We we're stressed, upset (the chair was a set of antique Spanish leather chairs worth over $1000), and it was terrible to be treated like we nor our home was worth basic respect. We have some guests coming the weekend after and although they are repeat guests that ar nice, I am still not looking forward to it.

    Unfortunately while I am still not well enough to go back out on the road I can't think of anything else to do to bring in income. I dread each new guest that we let in our home though. Soon after arrival (and often before) I can tell which ones are going to treat our home like it's an amusement park, and I cringe and worry the whole time. It sucks. Wish I could stop.
     
  4. Matt S

    Matt S Active Member

    I don't think it's right to generalize about the way people act based on their race.

    Will you make an insurance claim with AirBnB for the chair?
     
  5. Sandy

    Sandy Active Member

    Then I'll leave you to accept them Matt. In the meantime, read someone else's experience who seems to get a lot of Chinese guests:
    http://airhostsforum.com/t/good-and-bad-guests/1436

    I did post a resolution, and they lied and got extremely abusive, saying they never used the chair (we know this is not true), and even tried to denigrate our airbnb saying that the bed was uncomfortable and that they had a hard time sleeping. Now considering my beds are the one thing every single guest raves about and gives me high marks on, it was a bit rich. The mattress is amazing on the bed, and besides, they said they'd had a great time, knew I had another room available and I had said that they could let me know if they had any problems at all as I was there to ensure their comfort. It didn't matter, after two messages, it went from bad to worse. After 5 days, it is clear airbnb is not going to do anything since it got escalated. I have heard nothing since. So, too bad for that. I was just asking some money towards repairs (although in reality it would be as pricy as finding new chairs probably, and the $200amount I suggested would go nowhere near it). Instead of any apologies or 'we don't think that's fair, how about x amount instead, it was an out and out character assassination. I regret doing it, as I knew the arrogant guy would react that way. It was a total waste of time.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2015
  6. Matt S

    Matt S Active Member

    Did you send in photos of the chair? I'd be interested to hear how that works out. If they ruined your chair, I would be surprised if AirBnB wouldn't compensate you for it. Especially since you are a regular Superhost. Have you had a claim before for damages?
     
  7. Sandy

    Sandy Active Member

    Well, it was a good result after all. Not only did airbnb rule in my favor in regards to the payout, but they also removed what I assume was an abusive review for breaking the policies! The guest was amazingly abusive in response to a very courteous message I wrote saying that we found the chair damaged after their stay, and that we although we didn't expect a replacement or even costs for a full repair (which would have been in the hundreds), an amount towards it would be appreciated. After I responded with a further explanation, they said they had called airbnb about my ongoing harassment of them, and that airbnb had told them to ignore me and to alert them if I tried to get in touch with them again. Of course I had done nothing except what airbnb asks us to do, 'keep talking' in the resolution, and just one response at that. It was crazy town, with all kinds of bullying language and tactics.

    The review although I didn't see it because I am waiting to leave my review until the last minute because I didn't need that nastiness up until I had the situation dealt with and knew what the end result was, I can assume from airbnb's removal pertained mostly to the fact that I filed for a damage claim, rather than to their stay. You may know that this is against policy. Reviews are meant to be about the quality of the accommodations, the hosts, and the stay, not to gripe about matters such as damage claims, because as you can well imagine, if guests do that, it is akin to a type of blackmail, as far as the power they have over hosts. They can make out they are innocent (when they very well may not be) and that the hosts are criminals trying to steal money from their pockets unfairly. This can make it so that hosts don't feel like it's worth taking up a damage claim with guests because they know it will affect the review - which is obviously important, and actually in this case, I really didn't think it was worth doing because I knew this guest would react like this due to his behavior while here. But it was my husband this time that wanted me to (it was actually his chair from New Orleans).

    When speaking to customer service last night, she told me the trip team was very good at getting to the bottom of things, and they read the messages from both the host and guests. I'm sure it does not help a guests case, when they start hurling abuse, just because a host brings up that some damage has been done, and politely asks for contribution to the repairs. There are so many different approaches such as 'well, we didn't realize we had done that, and it's more than we feel is fair, how about x amount', or even 'we would love to help with the chair, but we felt it was so fragile that it just tore on the first time we used it, and now we are out of funds since our holiday and can't afford any extra. Is there any way you can let this go?'. Anything, but claiming the hosts home whom absolutely every single guest that has ever visited has claimed perfect comfort, is a shit pile that is really uncomfortable (despite saying that they'd had a great time and showing no signs of discomfort while here), and that they never even sat in the chair for the desk that they told us that they chose the room to use. The trip team is going to see that the guest as gone overboard on the offensive.

    So a good result, and feeling a bit better now that the sting has gone out of not only the unpleasant memory of hosting these inconsiderate and rude guests, but also the horror of dealing with them in the aftermath of the damage they left.

    Airbnb did warn me this was a one off, and that I need to put security deposits on the rooms from now on. I didn't have them on, due to no one in my area using them. I don't care if anyone else uses them, I am going to. Although it's the same system we have to go through in confronting the guests in the resolution process (which is why I removed my deposits) in the first place, it obviously makes it easier to get the money out of the guests for airbnb. So back on it goes!
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2015
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