Airbnb bad reviews

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Why Are There So Few Airbnb Bad Reviews?

9 Aug , 2013  

If you’ve been through dozens of Airbnb profiles, you would notice that there aren’t many Airbnb bad reviews. For host who want to try their hand at using Airbnb, this fact may raise an eyebrow. Airbnb users themselves will not be able to hide, alter, or remove any reviews on their profiles. Are the reviews being hidden? Are Airbnb guests just too timid to leave scathing criticism? Many people have been scratching their heads over this question. Of course it’s likely that there is no one absolute answer. This is why we decided to compile all the most plausible explanations and lay them out to you one by one.

People are Afraid to Leave Bad Reviews

Some guests might just find it awkward, especially since the host has their contact number. So if a guest’s stay was so-so, they wouldn’t really bother dwelling on negatives if there are many positives anyway. Also, some people might find it awkward to mention even just tiny constructive criticisms in their review. This is because, more often than not, they would already have some sort of friendly rapport with the host they stayed with. A lot of foreigners would feel immense gratitude to just have the opportunity to stay in an affordable New York room thinking, “they let me inside their home, I should be grateful”. In short, writing a critical review that contains bad points is a hassle. Also, leaving a bad review could get you a bad review in return. However, if a guest had a truly horrible experience leaving him or her no desire to go back to a particular host in the future, none of these will stop a bad review from popping up.

Some Hosts Delete Their Property Listing

Then they create a new one, just to get rid of the bad review. It’s a technique some people employ so their “new” house will have a fresh and clear slate. But it’s not foolproof. The bad reviews will still be visible as “user” reviews. However, there are some guests who only check the reviews for the property only.

Most Bookings in Airbnb Are Positive

One just can’t discount the fact that maybe, just maybe, almost all Airbnb experiences have been positive. Perhaps their system really works and hosts really do get motivated to provide top quality. Perhaps most people’s lack of faith in humanity needs to be reconsidered. Whatever the case, it is not impossible. Of course if you search online, you will find horror stories. This is because horror stories are much juicier and therefore are more likely to get shared around. Also, if you had a good Airbnb experience, you might not have to rant about it. But if you had a bad one, you will really want to rant about it online. So even if only 10 percent out of a hundred Airbnb experiences are negative, that 10 will be very visible.

Airbnb Hides Negative Reviews (?)

This one is controversial. Does Airbnb delete negative reviews? They do. As stated in Airbnb’s review guidelines:

“Airbnb’s default position is not to delete, censor, or edit reviews. However, there are rare cases in which we may take the extraordinary step of removing a review or disallowing review responses, according to the review guidelines found in our policy center. We reserve the right to remove portions of reviews that violate the guidelines.”

And just what are the “rare cases” when Airbnb will remove bad reviews?

-        The Review Goes Against Airbnb’s Content Guidelines (violations include messages that have: spam, endorsement of illegal or violent acts; personally identify a user’s full name and his contact details; religious, social, political commentary; content used for extortion; and false, deceptive or slanderous content)

-        The Person Leaving the Review Has Been Suspended Due to Violations or Any Safety Reasons

-        A Legal or Law Enforcement Request is Given to Airbnb

So this means that if your review is false, was used for extortion (a guests tells you he will give you a bad review if you don’t give them their money back), or is “deceptive”, then it can be removed. Now, some people disagree or feel that this policy is a loophole for Airbnb to remove negative comments and promote business. However, the fact is that the policy is reasonable and necessary for keeping order and stopping the misuse of reviews.

All in all, there can be many explanations for why there are so few negative reviews. In the end, these explanations are probably all true in their own way.

6 Responses

  1. Dominik says:

    I recently got attacked, physically by a bad Airbnb host so I had to call the police etc. My bad review was removed a few weeks later without any word or question. Of course, I did warn people not to stay there because the host attacked me for no reason whatsoever. But then every very negative review is slanderous etc. But it’s 100% true what I said. I got the reference number for the crime report etc. to back up that my side of the story is 100% legitimate but Airbnb never asked or anything before removing the review. Removed the review, didn’t say a word about it and the a******e host who could have easily hurt me pretty badly just keeps renting out on the site as if nothing happened. Conclusion: Airbnb definitely and recklessly delete bad reviews, compromising the safety and welfare of guests. That’s why there are no bad reviews on the site.

    • Kim says:

      thanks for sharing your horrifying story. No good words to add to it unfortunately, the story speaks for itself.

  2. wolverine says:

    I had a first time experience with airbnb.

    Although largely the experience was fine and my review was a long detailed one much the sane as posted on TripAdvisor in past.

    I see the whole point of these experiences is to share the good and bad.

    Everything about my hosts mother who took care of us n was in flat and the flat was great. Except for the host … She basically had taken payment for breakfast and then said she hadn’t. I did the calc to prove it was paid. Her mother was fine and provided it no issues. So I said in the review this was sorted.

    But in my review I also had a v negative review of airbnb for not making charges for admin service and card/PayPal conversion fees obvious and transparent. I also said I’d be complaining to them as the host said they never received the extra money I’d psud airbnb for the breakfast.

    So air bnb is pocketing extra cash.

    I told her to also complain.

    The next thing you know my post doesn’t get posted and there is only one line posted of 4words which is only the title I gave the review! The 4 words were positive and a 4 star rating.

    Although I would use again airbnb are cheating consumers and hosts in monies earned and in terms of describing actual experience. Thus you could end up staying somewhere which is rubbish but as airbnb doctors the posts or hides them u wouldn’t know any different!
    A disgusted airbnb member

  3. branee says:

    what if some insane guest leavs reviewe which is commpletlly incorecct and folse just becouse he s mean and bitter???

    • Kim says:

      It is really bad if that happens and you can always contact airbnb about it. This is what airbnb has to say about it:
      “Any attempt to use reviews to force a user to do something they aren’t obligated to do is a misuse of reviews, and we don’t allow it. Reviews are a way for guests and hosts to share their experiences with the Airbnb community. We have clear review guidelines in place to help promote our core values. We believe in free speech, transparency, and clear communication. Our community is built on trust, and trust comes from honest conversation. Therefore, we ask for reviews that are truthful, clear, and helpful to both the review’s recipient and the wider Airbnb community. If you think you have experienced extortion, please refer to our Extortion Policy.”

      That link is:

      Good luck!

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