This article explores a situation that occurred with a long-time and well-known host in the Baltimore area, a Superhost with over 500 reviews. After her guest made a false accusation and defamatory statement in her public review, Airbnb terminated this hosts' account, apparently refusing to consider the facts that the host presented which very clearly demonstrated that the guests' statements were false.
There is a happy outcome in this case in that the host took action and fought back, and her Airbnb account was actually reinstated. However, much more work remains to be done to convince Airbnb that their behavior in cases like this is deeply unjust, and that they must afford Airbnb users an appeals process to appeal decisions which, after all, could spell the ruin of their livelihood. Destroying someone's livelihood isn't something that should be done lightly, or without sufficient fact-finding and evidence.
I am making a logical point. If Airbnb takes whatever any guest says at face value, not bothering to investigate, then what advice does @theinsider for hosts, to protect themselves from losing their livelihood over any random accusation by some randomly upset guest? Is there anything that a host can do to protect themselves – such as declaring they have surveillance cameras, when they dont’ – just so they are protected in case guest tells a lie – or declaring they have a gun, when they don’t – for similar protection. Is it better to lie and say they have certain things at their house that they dont’ have, just to reduce the risk of the fallout from lies of a disgruntled guest?
I mean, if there is no way for a host to protect themselves from a false accusation, then I’d like to see someone from Airbnb such as @theinsider just come out and say that .
And if and when that is said I hope the media are listening. The Judge in @puppylover case certainly was upset. Maybe someone would call the judge’s response to this case in the courtroom, a “rant.”
A reply to that:
This is EXACTLY the heart of the problem. For a LONG time I wondered if this fake review as a “hit” on me by some undetermined enemy. I don’t think it was, but this case PERFECTLY illustrates that –
If you want to take down a business competitor If you want to harm a neighbor host If you want to create mischief for any reason against for ex. a political opponent in the short-term rental legislative wars … Just pick up the phone and call AirBNB and say they have an undisclosed weapon!!!
It’s sayonara for them.....
This is exactly the problem. I have suspected for a while, and now am convinced, that the AirBNB model is doomed to spectacular failure. The company CANNOT police / referee all the who-shot-John stories that roll in constantly from aggrieved guests and hosts. That is why hotels have security, cameras, legal departments, locks, credit card screening, and so on and so forth. Which costs money. The reason an AirBNB listing is 40-80% cheaper than a hotel is because the company is just a LARP (“pretend”) hotel, with none of the safety features and buffers essential to handle normal human conflict.
Someone in AirBNB legal/financial/trust and safety has just decided, “We CANNOT afford to investigate squat without a 20% host fee and a 20% guest fee, so we will just ditch ppl the second there is a complaint.”
Which means, EVERY host barring a few with more or less airtight setups like @kkc will eventually be kicked off the platform, after guest 100, 200, 500 or 642 … who will be the flaky liar that brings you down.
"The Judge in @puppylover case certainly was upset."
For those keeping score, TWO SEPARATE judges are very upset with this guest and with AirBNB itself. I hope to have the audio to upload from the 2nd upset judge in a few more days. Short version: She told Air’s attny that its ToS stink to high heaven.
THe Insider replies again:
Whoever thinks investigations don’t happen when a guest claims this about a host or a host says a guest stole X from me is just wrong and not informed correctly. I come to rent your listing and you have a hunting rifle mounted on wall that wasn’t disclosed on listing, the burden of proof of claim falls on the guest to prove the host has said hunting rifle. Claims are a two-way street and both parties typically have a chance to respond unless it’s an extremely urgent matter and the guest or host shows rock solid proof of what’s going on.
Airbnb can, will, and does drop hosts and guests every day for many reasons BUT this is a microscopic percentage of all users. Don’t stress this side of things too much. When I say documentation is your best friend, I mean overall in host protection of your listings assets. When I mention making your listing ad and house rules air tight, it’s for your protection etc etc etc
A member posts:
There was a fascinating post by @barry_Brachfeld the other day. He had been unjustly suspended for unknown (according to him) reasons and ignored when trying to discover why or to be reinstated. Then one day he discovered his account was active again and he could start hosting again. His experience, and if I remember correctly he is not in the US, is that Airbnb is king in the space. What was shit was his business when Airbnb de-listed him. Now he said that if the Airbnb guest wants to knock a hold in the wall, he will give them a hammer. That’s how much power they have.
I suspect the home share model Air started with was not really profitable but we’ll probably never know.
If you’ve already received the do better email, imo you need to make corrective action based on guest review complaints regardless of if you’re in the wrong or not. I honestly don’t know the cutoff or timeline so I won’t mislead you. I do know if you’re deactivated it’s usually for 14-30 days for the first time.
Reply from TheInsider:
Both models in the past and current are highly profitable or alot of people wouldn’t have jobs and the site would be done. Millions of reservations take place each day with less than 6% of those having any sort of issue that requires a csr mediation. It sounds like that host was deactivated for a period of time for either guest reviews, host standards violation (s), unresponsive to guests or support, etc but it was first offense (after warning emails) which is why he was ultimately turned back to active. I’m just assuming here as I don’t have, nor do I want, account details.