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The question might sound very one-sided and unreflected so I'll try to explain in brief what happened below. My main problem is the helplessness I feel when talking to the support, which on top of all seem to be hosts themselves. I've done a little research and found many complaints about how the airbnb support changed the past years.

My partner did receive a warning which I guess is now a stain on her account. It probably doesn't have a big impact but I still feel it's very unfair.

After our stay we posted a review which was overall very positive feedback. We only mentioned one downside and we really tried to make it sound half bad. But, pretty much every night I could barely sleep because of constant barking and crowing from dogs and roosters while the house was advertised as a quiet, relaxing rural retreat. But since we paid good money and I actually had this bad experience I felt it was quite okay to briefly mention that for potential new people. We also talked about this in person at the house.

Right after the review, the host contacted us privately via WhatsApp asking us to change our review because it would change the average rating from 5 to 4.8 and that "would look bad" and would give them "a disadvantage" and all the other guests would like the "tranquility". We were still on the road traveling elsewhere. We discussed it quite a bit and felt like that it was kind of rude and invasive to ask us that but since we didn't really have a free minute and felt being pushed, we didn't do anything about it yet. The next day, she wrote us again ("???") and talked about how our perception is wrong, she would have proof other people didn't experience this, and that "she found out the loud dog came from a visitor" in the area.

TL;DR

I'm sure this is not true since we heard many dogs and roosters on top, but since we didn't want any more discussing and back and forth I sent her the following text:

Look, the thing is I don't really want to complain or have this discussion, I liked the house but I really had a hard time sleeping during the whole stay. [...] We will try to change the rating to 5 later but we both think it would be fair to get a compensation in return.

Best, [...]

The next day we got a warning because we allegedly violated the terms by offering to change our review for the exchange of money. At first, I couldn't believe that this was happening so I contacted the support, showed them all the invasive message the host sent us before and tried to clear that we don't offer to change our review if we get a compensation but that we will try to change it and would think it was fair, independently from our review, for the bad experience we had, to get a small compensation in return, too (please note: the sentence was said in German and not in English Wir werden versuchen die Bewertung nachher zu ändern, fänden es aber beide fair im Gegenzug eine kleine Entschädigung zu bekommen).

Now, I understand that you could interpret our last text as a violation but not after all the text evidence we supplied, too. We are nice people and would have loved to clear things up, maybe even talk to someone on the phone or something. We never had a bad experience before. But the airbnb support acted very infantile, repeating over and over how it's not allowed to change your review for money etc. There wasn't even the try to go into a dialogue or understand that we didn't want to change our review for money in return. They would just close our case, we opened a new one, the copy/pasted the terms and closed it again.

Now, are we mad thinking we are the victims here? If so, what would you do from here? Just let it be or try to get some justice?

Thanks for any advice.

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  • 21
    I'm sorry but I'm not exactly sure how it is you're saying you didn't do what you're accused of. Your own quote is you saying we might change our review if you give us some money. So what is it exactly that you think is unfair?
    – MJeffryes
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 10:39
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    barking and crowing from dogs and roosters while the house was advertised as a quite, relaxing rural retreat. You are looking for a desert, or for sleepy town in the early morning, stay out of rural places if animals annoy you! And also would think it was fair, independently from our review, for the bad experience we had, to get a small compensation in return, too. It is not the question that come one-sided and unreflected, but your whole approach to the thing
    – EarlGrey
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 12:35
  • 10
    I struggle how to respond to this: if you believe your review is correct, you should not change it regardless. If you believe your review is incorrect, you should not be asking for compensation to change it (even if you claim this is 'independent'). This is not an issue with Airbnb, this is an issue with you making an inappropriate request. It really is impossible to read your request any other way than a bribe. If you did not intend this, I would suggest reflecting on how you communicate, particularly where it comes to requests for money.
    – MJeffryes
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 13:11
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    @MJeffryes Thats true, we shouldnt have agreed to change it. I guess I just needed to be grounded and face the fact that our formulation didnt have the meaning we intended. Thanks for all feedbacks.
    – Alex
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 14:25
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    Basically, you are saying "I'll change my review, but I expect some compensation for changing my review". The "in return" is key (basically meaning "in exchange for"), and you keep saying it even in comments here. If you didn't mean it I doubt you can argue it after the fact just by saying "we didn't mean it".
    – user25730
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 23:03

3 Answers 3

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We will try to change the rating to 5 later but we both think it would be fair to get a compensation in return.

You unambiguously requested a compensation in return for changing the rating, not due to the poor sleep.

I will be one of the last people on the planet to come to the defence of AirBNB and the request from the host is not reasonable, but I really can't see any other interpretation of the message you sent in return.

(Incidentally, you travelled to a rural area and then complain about roosters, seriously? You might as well leave a negative complaint on a night club that they have loud music.)

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  • Maybe its my poor formulation then, I'm not a native speaker and changing the review only if we get a compensation is not what we meant. I am a bit surprised that it is perceived that way. I thought the difference was clear by stating "we will try to change it but we think getting something in return would be fair" instead of "only if we get something in return we will change it". Well, we didnt travel to a rural area but a "quiet, rural retreat". And we didnt complain, it was just not mentioned beforehand, quie the opposite actually. But thanks for your input.
    – Alex
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 12:52
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    Maybe it's not what you intended, but the only difference I can see between those two sentences is whether you're asking them to pay you after you change the review or before you change the review.
    – Chris H
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 14:23
  • @ChrisH The more often I read it the more I get it... thanks
    – Alex
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 14:26
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    I was about to upvote this, and then you had to throw in the line about the roosters. I stayed in a rural Airbnb a month ago, and there were no crowing roosters and no barking dogs. I don't think it's unreasonable to go to a rural retreat and expect quiet, nor to expect the host to highlight the possibility of crowing roosters and barking dogs so guests have a reasonable expectation. "Rural retreat" doesn't automatically mean "barnyard."
    – Kyralessa
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 15:43
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    @Kyralessa rural has a broad and possibly ambiguous definition: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rural_area In my cultural area, rural without farming/agri is a reserve, a spot in the wild nature ... or other definitions. But not rural.
    – EarlGrey
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 16:09
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Lots of bad decisions here:

  1. As you suggest, it was inappropriate for the host to ask you to change your review. At this point, you had three potential options that would have kept you out of trouble: a) ignore them; b) report them (as I suspect they're not meant to be haggling over reviews anyways); c) change the review.

  2. You didn't do any of these things. Instead you made a statement that (intentionally or not) appeared to be asking for a bribe. This was not an appropriate response, and violated the terms of service of AirBnB. The host reported you, and you received a warning. (Frankly, I'm surprised you weren't suspended or even banned; a lot of services have a zero-tolerance policy for anything that could be interpreted as soliciting a bribe.)

  3. You are now digging yourself a deeper hole by repeatedly opening disputes and arguing with their customer support over this issue. If you keep doing this, at some point AirBnB will decide they've had enough of you and you will be suspended or banned.

The fact that the host also did something inappropriate does not exonerate you. For all you know, the host could have also gotten a warning for asking you to change the review.

So give it a rest, be glad you weren't banned, stop bothering customer support, and do not ever mention "compensation" in the same conversation as a review again.

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    "The fact that the host also did something inappropriate does not exonerate you." a thousand times this
    – AakashM
    Commented Sep 20, 2023 at 9:28
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Now, are we mad thinking we are the victims here?

Of course you are the victim of spoiled expectations, you read rural and you thought idylliac sound of leaves gently brushed by the wind, but you insead discovered dogs and roosters (no cows? you were lucky, they are way louder!).

The host may have been stalking you because of your review, which is not nice, but you basically asked to be bribed. The host asked you to change your review so they could avoid potential reduced income in the future from missed reservations, you asked a straight-forward payment from them ("it would be fair to get a compensation in return.", your words).

You could agree to disagree with the host, now the only justice is really "punishment for the corrupted". And you are a potential corruputed person, changing your fedback for money. At the same time, a fair justice would be "stronger punishment for the ones promoting corruption"... and you managed quite elegantly in being also on that side, because you were first in bringing in the discussion the possbility of changing the review in exchange of some benefit!

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  • Thanks for your feedback. I think you missed my point. I didnt want to change my feedback for money. I said "I will try to change it, ontop it would be fair the get a compensation in return". Latter was not a condition though, but I see how that may be subject to interpretation. I didnt really expect anything, just not noise when it was advertised as quiet.
    – Alex
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 12:54
  • @TooTea since OP asked, I answered :) !
    – EarlGrey
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 15:11
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    In what way is it unrealistic to expect a place to be quiet when it says it is though? I know people would disagree with me since I take things too literally, but if there is any potential downside, I'd rather write it down as a disclaimer, such as: "expect noises from wildlife and animals around; the walls aren't soundproof" or something. Granted, if the client has any reservation (e.g. if you are on the spectrum and require absolute silence for example), they should send a message before making a reservation, but it would be nice to come clear in the description. At least in my opinion.
    – Clockwork
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 16:13
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    @Clockwork I think the host now got the message and will exactly add that disclaimer. I genuinely think that for someone that lived in rural, low-mechanized agricultural area dogs barking all the night and rooster shouting is "natural and quiet", while the bus rumbling at the bus stop and the distant ambulance of the city during the night is disturbing. For some people city noises are "natural" and natural sounds are "nerving" ... you never know what the brain is adapted to ...
    – EarlGrey
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 16:16

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