“I’m a 5-star superhost, but Airbnb’s duff advice resulted in an unfair 1-star review”

Has a company treated you unfairly? Our Consumer Champion is available to help. Click for how to contact her here.

Dear Kate,

I’m a Airbnb “super host” with exemplary reviews, at least until recently when a problematic guest came to stay.
I admit that the problem first arose due to my mistake.

At the time of the guests’ stay, a nearby pedestrian bridge was closed, making the walk into town approximately 20 minutes instead of 10 minutes as stated on our profile.

We had previously thought that the work was only temporary and would not affect their stay, but I notified them five days before their arrival.

However, I don’t think the guest read the message.

They arrived in a bad mood and got even angrier when they heard about the bridge. I called Airbnb on their departure day for advice as we expected them to complain.

I was told we didn’t have to offer a refund.

Airbnb also told me that “due to a glitch” the booking was canceled in the system, so neither the guest nor we would be able to leave a review of each other.

Then, to our surprise, the guest left a 1-star review. It contains false and vengeful accusations, such as impurity, which have offended me.

GS, by email

Dear reader,

My personal experience with Airbnb is that there are way too many money wasting hosts who recharge the earth but don’t bother to make things special for guests.

Judging by your reviews, you put your heart and soul into making sure every guest has their accommodation well appointed, and you should be applauded for doing so.

You seem happy to take some of the blame here, but I can’t see you’ve done anything wrong. You alerted the guest about the bridge as soon as you knew there was a problem and if the guest didn’t read your message, well, that’s their lookout.

I agree with Airbnb that you didn’t have to offer a refund, but it sounds like you were already thinking about offering a goodwill gesture to protect your reputation.

However, Airbnb misinformed you about guests’ ability to leave a review, which discouraged you from taking action.

With this in mind, I’ve asked Airbnb to consider removing this unfair review, and I’m happy to say it has. Airbnb has a duty to ensure that guests can provide honest feedback, and I wouldn’t usually advocate removing negative feedback.

But in this case, restoring your outstanding 5-star record was the right outcome. We need more like you, so just keep doing what you’re doing.