NYC: Airbnb removed my review mentioning bed bugs

Old Nov 3, 17, 11:23 am
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NYC: Airbnb removed my review mentioning bed bugs

I stayed at a listing in a large U.S. city. The room in the informal "hotel"-style accommodation (i.e. a house with a digital lock and multiple rooms) had bed bugs. I was removed from the listing, Airbnb (after fighting) paid for a hotel for three nights, and I left a very honest review articulating exactly what happened. The review posted two days ago, and it was removed today, presumably at the prompting of the host who did not want a review mentioning bed bugs on their listing page.

(Lest I be accused of bringing the bed bugs to the listing, let me say that I found the bugs -- a lot of them -- on the second night after the host said that her "cleaner" accidentally cleaned my room, instead of another room in the house. One of the bed bugs -- a large adult -- came crawling out of the "clean" duvet/sheets that night.)

On the whole, the three-star review was more-than-fair in terms of positivity (I said the listing was clean, the bed was comfortable, the house was quiet, and that guests might want to stay there again after the bed bug problem is fixed), but I did detail the bed bug experience in the middle of the review.

Well, lo and behold, today, I get a message stating:

Good morning! My name is CASE MANAGER and I am a Case Manager with Airbnb. I hope this message finds you well and that you're having a great day! I am contacting you today about your review for your reservation with HOST.
It has come to our attention that your review for HOST is in violation of our content policy. For your reference, you can learn more about our review guidelines in our Help Center: https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/...content-policy
Reviews are the backbone of Airbnb’s community. In order to maintain this structure, we have guidelines in place that ensure that all reviews are fair, honest, and relevant to your trips.
We also don’t allow reviews to mention any actions taken by Airbnb, including investigations or mediations in our Resolution Center.
As such, it is our responsibility to remove your review from HOST's profile. As of this correspondence, it has been taken down."
LET ME BE CRYSTAL CLEAR. My review did not mention the resolution or mediation at all, other than saying "Airbnb told me to leave for a hotel."

When I called to question the review's removal, I was told it was because of my sentence about the hotel. (This is absurd, because I didn't say Airbnb paid for the hotel or describe the mediation process. And, regardless, how an accommodation provider responds to a problem is an essential thing to mention in a review.) And that it was also because "mentioning bed bugs would hurt the host's future listings." (Isn't this the whole point of leaving honest reviews?! To allow guests to make up their own mind about staying somewhere based on past experience?!)

If hosts are going to be allowed to get around critical reviews with such ease, guests should have zero faith in this Web site.

Why do guests even waste their time writing honest reviews when hosts can so easily find an inexperienced "case manager" to take any slightly negative review down from their listing?

This is positively absurd.

What should I have done instead? Left vague language about vermin, cleanliness, and then had the review removed for not being based in facts because it would have been so ambiguous?

Now, a future guest may suffer from bed bugs, or other incompetence, at this listing, simply because Airbnb can't competently execute its model.

What. A. Joke.
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Old Nov 3, 17, 11:28 am
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Originally Posted by ajl1239 View Post
I stayed at a listing in a large U.S. city. The room in the informal "hotel"-style accommodation (i.e. a house with a digital lock and multiple rooms) had bed bugs. I was removed from the listing, Airbnb (after fighting) paid for a hotel for three nights, and I left a very honest review articulating exactly what happened. The review posted two days ago, and it was removed today, presumably at the prompting of the host who did not want a review mentioning bed bugs on their listing page.

(Lest I be accused of bringing the bed bugs to the listing, let me say that I found the bugs -- a lot of them -- on the second night after the host said that her "cleaner" accidentally cleaned my room, instead of another room in the house. One of the bed bugs -- a large adult -- came crawling out of the "clean" duvet/sheets that night.)

On the whole, the three-star review was more-than-fair in terms of positivity (I said the listing was clean, the bed was comfortable, the house was quiet, and that guests might want to stay there again after the bed bug problem is fixed), but I did detail the bed bug experience in the middle of the review.

Well, lo and behold, today, I get a message stating:



LET ME BE CRYSTAL CLEAR. My review did not mention the resolution or mediation at all, other than saying "Airbnb told me to leave for a hotel."

When I called to question the review's removal, I was told it was because of my sentence about the hotel. (This is absurd, because I didn't say Airbnb paid for the hotel or describe the mediation process. And, regardless, how an accommodation provider responds to a problem is an essential thing to mention in a review.) And that it was also because "mentioning bed bugs would hurt the host's future listings." (Isn't this the whole point of leaving honest reviews?! To allow guests to make up their own mind about staying somewhere based on past experience?!)

If hosts are going to be allowed to get around critical reviews with such ease, guests should have zero faith in this Web site.

Why do guests even waste their time writing honest reviews when hosts can so easily find an inexperienced "case manager" to take any slightly negative review down from their listing?

This is positively absurd.

What should I have done instead? Left vague language about vermin, cleanliness, and then had the review removed for not being based in facts because it would have been so ambiguous?

Now, a future guest may suffer from bed bugs, or other incompetence, at this listing, simply because Airbnb can't competently execute its model.

What. A. Joke.
You could do US a favor and specify the property.
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Old Nov 3, 17, 11:33 am
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Yes, but I don't want to risk retaliation.

Bottom line is that Airbnb's reviews are worthless -- they are extremely "inflated" by Airbnb deleting negative reviews, and guests putting their "relationship" with the "host" over leaving an honest review. (Or guests leaving the "bad stuff" in private feedback.)
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Old Nov 4, 17, 9:16 am
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As a host, I am unaware of any method by which I can get a guest's review removed. The Airbnb host forums are replete with owners complaining about unfair reviews and confirming that Airbnb will not remove them.

Whether or not you think you crossed the line with giving information about Airbnb's resolution of the issue, even tangentially mentioning it does appear to violate their policy. Had you just said, "I found bedbugs on our second day, and we left the property," I don't think your review would have been removed.
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Old Nov 4, 17, 10:27 am
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Had you just said, "I found bedbugs on our second day, and we left the property," I don't think your review would have been removed.
Seems like the proper thing to do would have been for Airbnb to just edit that portion of the review out, rather than removing the entire thing?

Also, when I called to complain, the case manager said he also removed the review, because it mentioned bed bugs, which would affect the host's future reservations -- so this leads me to believe the host sent a message stating my review was unfair, because she would lose future bookings after providing an extermination certificate, and then the case manager removed it on the technicality of me saying, "Airbnb told me to leave for a hotel."

Anyway, regardless, Airbnb reviews have *a lot* of problems. They're almost never negative.
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Old Nov 4, 17, 11:11 am
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Seems a lot of these sharing economy business models are run quite unethically. Just look at Uber.
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Old Nov 4, 17, 5:53 pm
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You have to be careful when reviewing about bed bugs because the host will do everything in their power to get it removed. I had an issue with bedbugs at a property in New Zealand booked through Airbnb. I know the host tried to get the review removed because she said me several messages about how I was a horrible person trying to destroy her reputation and was an absolute liar, however, I pursued compensation from AirBnb for having to wash my suitcase and all my clothes and provided pictures of bedbugs and bedbug bites (they only gave me $35) and the review seems to have stayed, probably because I provided proof to counter the host's likely claim that I was lying.
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Old Nov 4, 17, 6:00 pm
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I sent Airbnb pics and videos of the bed bugs, because I needed proof so they would refund me and pay for hotel nights.

Airbnb only gave you $35? You should have pushed harder and demanded a full refund.
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Old Nov 4, 17, 6:02 pm
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You have to be careful when reviewing about bed bugs because the host will do everything in their power to get it removed.
I think I'm done with Airbnb for a while -- it can be a good option in some places, but the reviews are never honest, and you always have more problems than the reviews would suggest.
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Old Nov 5, 17, 12:50 am
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Originally Posted by ajl1239 View Post
I think I'm done with Airbnb for a while -- it can be a good option in some places, but the reviews are never honest, and you always have more problems than the reviews would suggest.
For a while? If I ever stay in Airbnb again, it will be too soon. I'm just here to watch the train wreck.
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Old Nov 5, 17, 11:21 am
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"For a while? If I ever stay in Airbnb again, it will be too soon. I'm just here to watch the train wreck."
Oh yeah? What happened to you that made you want to quit Airbnb for good?

Honestly, I can think of a million hotel stays I've had that have been close to perfect, but almost every Airbnb stay I've had has had some kind of significant problem: no WiFi unless you stand by a wall; not enough toilet paper; a door that didn't lock in Provence and the host said this was fine because it's Provence; nasty message from a host that I didn't run the dishwasher upon leaving when I was trying to keep her ancient farmhouse safe from possible flooding without me being there; toxic rat traps that Airbnb didn't think were a big deal in Paris; bed bugs in NYC; a door that couldn't open in Paris until I bloodied my finger; black mold; cockroaches and a window with a giant hole in it in Tulum and the "solution" was to put a grocery store bag over it...and the list goes on and on and on.
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Old Nov 5, 17, 12:02 pm
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Originally Posted by ajl1239 View Post
Oh yeah? What happened to you that made you want to quit Airbnb for good?

Honestly, I can think of a million hotel stays I've had that have been close to perfect, but almost every Airbnb stay I've had has had some kind of significant problem: no WiFi unless you stand by a wall; not enough toilet paper; a door that didn't lock in Provence and the host said this was fine because it's Provence; nasty message from a host that I didn't run the dishwasher upon leaving when I was trying to keep her ancient farmhouse safe from possible flooding without me being there; toxic rat traps that Airbnb didn't think were a big deal in Paris; bed bugs in NYC; a door that couldn't open in Paris until I bloodied my finger; black mold; cockroaches and a window with a giant hole in it in Tulum and the "solution" was to put a grocery store bag over it...and the list goes on and on and on.
Man, you made some unfortunate choices. I've stayed in dozens of short term rentals, through Airbnb and other services, and have never had anything but excellent experiences. But I don't treat booking a short term rental anything like booking a hotel, which is a couple of clicks on their website and show up.
Because reviews are so inconsistent and untrustworthy I use much more scrutiny of the property listing, doing a lot of secondary checking. The only Airbnb reviews I care about are those "This reservation was cancelled by the owner xxx days/weeks before check in." One of those and the property is discarded.
And I communicate with the property manager extensively before booking.
I want to first, independently do what I can to confirm the listing is honest. I'm looking for the same listing on other sites and especially differences in pricing. One time, I found a perfect property in Rome, but while doing my due diligence I found the property listed on other sites at twice the rate. That looked like a recipe for getting my reservation cancelled if someone booked on one of those sites. I contacted the manager, who equivocated about the other listings but assured me my booking would hold. I chose to book elsewhere.
Assuming the property itself suits, the other main issue that disqualifies properties for me is the neighborhood. I'll use Google Street View to find the property and have bumped lots of places that were not ideally located (which is my first requirement for rental or hotel). If I'm staying for
a week or more (less than three nights is always a hotel), I'm not compromising anything. And being willing to do the work, I've never had to.
I'll mention that Airbnb has their Superhost program. No cancellations and accurate, trustworthy descriptions of the property. This is a reasonable shortcut to a good place. But even then, I backcheck.
Lastly, Airbnb has three cancellation policies - strict, moderate, and flexible. Strict is nasty and takes 50% of the entire booking for any cancellation, even if you change your mind the same day you've booked. That's a no go for me. Indicates a more one sided approach to the rental than I'm willing to accept. Owner's willing to list with Moderate or Flexible cancellation policies, just seem more moderate and flexible in all regards.
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Old Dec 15, 17, 8:20 am
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Originally Posted by ajl1239 View Post
Oh yeah? What happened to you that made you want to quit Airbnb for good.
See https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/28700887-post603.html

As opposed to say, sticking with Marriott where I got a wonderful room at the Renaissance St. Pancras (London near Kings Cross) earlier this week for free with breakfast and evening snacks included and am about to get a room at the Marriott County Hall (also in London) for free with a Big Ben View, breakfast, and evening snacks.

For any truly frequent traveler who cares about service over penny pinching, the big chains are much better value IMNSHO.
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Old Dec 15, 17, 8:33 am
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LOL I see what you mean about your partner. Airbnb hosts get very sensitive if you criticize the crummy Web site or leave bad reviews.
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Old Aug 30, 18, 3:44 am
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I have 300+ reviews on my listing & I’ve asked Airbnb to remove a total of 4 reviews (of course.. good/bad reviews either drive or hurt business!) Airbnb removed only 1 of 4. (That guest left a terrible review, because the guest had somebody on the street “look at them with bad intentions”.. direct quote and I couldn’t forget it because it sounded so ludacris)... Airbnb removed the review because “the review did not describe what I offered as a host, but something entirely outside of my control”.. which I think is fair. but the other 3 Airbnb basically said, screw you, it will stay!

So as a host I’m 1/4 in removing bad reviews, and our rates are between $300-500 a night - so I would honestly say that Airbnb is as impartial as possible- I certainly do not decide which review stay or go.

Bed bugs do sound like an absolute nightmare though. I assure you it is my biggest nightmare as well.. I can’t imagine when that ever happens conveniently, but if a guest brought them into my home I would be pretty upset hasn’t ever happened knock on wood.

mb
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