This morning, I received a message from a guest that check in yesterday, saying that the shower temperature was “non-hot”, and it had been “non-hot” for the past few days. I was confused because she just checked in yesterday, and only spent one night in the apartment. Where did the “past few days” came from? Did she meant to send this message to a prior AirBnB host, and sent it to me by mistake?
I told her I can come over to check on the shower temperature, and asked why she wrote that she didn’t have hot water for “the past few days?” She brushed my question off and said she was on her way out for dinner to celebrate her husband’s birthday, and couldn’t be bothered with answering my messages. She will let me come over the next day. Not the nicest reply, but birthday dinners are important.
Next day, she messaged me when they were out hiking, and gave me permission to go inside the apartment. So I went and turn on the shower. I reach my hand out to test the water coming out from the lower faucet, and from the upper shower head, and the water temperature was warm enough to take a comfortable shower. It was the same temperature I use to take a shower. My shower at home has a temperature dial, and my preferred setting has always been at 85° F. It was at least 85° F.
So, I thought, the shower water temperature came back to be normal, and I messaged her to let her know that the water came back to normal now.
A few hours later, she message me and said the water was still the same; warm but not hot; not even close to 85° F. So at this point, there wasn’t much I can do for her. If she wasn’t happy with a shower temperature of at least 85° F, then she can cancel her reservation. Even if I hire a plumber, what could he have done if the water was at least 85° F?
So, out of politeness, I apologized to her about the shower temperature again, and told her that maybe the shower temperature varies during the day, depending on how much usage there were. But truthfully, in the past six years, I have never had anyone complaining about the shower temperature. This was a first. I offered her to cancel her reservation if my apartment could not provide her the comfort level she expected.
She decided to stay, stating that moving out was more of a hassle for her. But there was not much hassle for her because she was surrounded by hotels; a hotel on the left and another hotel on the right. It was probably because she had to pay five times more to stay at a hotel. And if she decided to stay for the remaining five days, using a shower that was “non-hot,” then it must not been so bad.
However, I developed suspicion to her claim because when I went to the apartment, the water temperature was hot. In addition, when she claimed that the shower was “non hot” for several nights, when she only stayed for one night, this also pointed to the fact that she might be an exaggerator, and she might want to claim money back when after she checks out. All these signs told me to be careful with this guest.
How can I protect myself in this case?
Go get a thermometer! Take the temperature of the shower after she checks out. That’s the only way to protect myself and prove my shower temperature was comfortably warm.
The day she checked out, I went to Target and brought a thermometer. Target had the perfect thermometer for me! It was large, easy to read, and perfect to take a photo and video to show the temperature. I turned on the shower, put the thermometer right under the running water, and started to take a video of it, just to show that I am not playing any tricks, and I am at the exact apartment she stayed.
Guess what? The thermometer displayed a indisputable 110° F! I was relieved.
Later on that day. I saw that she wrote me a review. Without seeing what she wrote in the review, I had the hutch that she gave feedback about the shower temperature. AirBnB only let you see the review when the host and the guest(s) both finished writing their reviews. In this case, I had not wrote a review to her yet, but I want to let her know that I cared about her complaint, and went to checked the shower temperature again after her departure, and it was 110° F.
I asked her if the shower temperature had changed since she last complaint. After twenty minutes, I decided to send her the pictures of the thermometer that displayed 110° F. I thought that maybe she would realize that I did my best to try to resolve the problem for her, that I took her complaint very seriously. I also thought that she might think twice before she publish her review since the water temperature was hot when I checked it. At no time did I ever thought she was untruthful. I just thought perhaps the shower temperature varies, and whenever I showed up to the apartment, the temperature became normal.
A shit storm was coming me way, unknowingly to me at the time I wrote her the message, that I really hit a bad nerve in her head by showing her the pictures of the thermometer.
Twenty minutes passed, I received a message from her. May I just say that it was really not a message; it was more like a “book,” it was a ill-written “book” without punctuation, incorrect grammar, repetitive, and off-subject. She stated that she did not care about what I have to say. She will write her review in accordance to her experience. She was extremely defensive, and said that she wasn’t a liar. And how happy she was back home, finally taking hot showers, and she just did not care about her bad experience at my apartment anymore. She didn’t care, but she wrote a “book” about it, and insisted on leaving me a bad review.
She was also contradictory. In the beginning of her message, she said the shower temperature never changed, so it stayed “non-hot” and below 85° F. But later on, she mentioned that her husband said the shower temperature was not, and she quoted him saying; “finally, I can take a hot shower.”
Hell, if she wrote a review like the way she wrote her last message, I am in trouble. Not only because it was false, but also it will take up the entire page or pages of my listing. Her review will be the only review potential guests ever sees, at least for a while. Bad for business!
I called AirBnB immediately, and explained to the representative that I had a guest from hell. I have evidence that her claim about the low shower temperature was false. I have pictures as proofs. He looked at the message chain and immediately pointed to the pictures of a thermometer clearly showing 110° F. I told him that this guest’s review must be deleted if she mentions false information in her review, such as the low shower temperature, unless she has proof. I also told him that I gathered the she did write a bad review because I can tell from her last message that she was unkind and unreasonable. The representative read her unpublished review, and said to give him a few hours to get the other side of the story.
A few hours later, the AirBnB representative called me back, and say that he couldn’t reach her by phone or email, and given the fact that I had evidence showing the shower temperature that it was normal, the review was removed.
Well, that was the end of it, I thought. But it wasn’t! The shit storm continues.
Two days later, she asked me for $100 dollars because the apartment was unclean and she wasn’t going to pay for cleaning. She also mentioned that I was acting in spite not letting her leaving a review. No doubt, she was very angry to the point that she couldn’t let go but continued to lash out and to harass me.
Once in a while, a host will encounter difficult guests. It is bound to happen, and when it happens, it is helpful to have good support. AirBnB gave me support when I need them.
I messaged AirBnB about her harassment against me, explained that she never claimed cleanliness problems with the apartment, until she found out AirBnB had deleted her review. I asked AirBnB to stop the harassment.
Next day, I received a courteous message from an AirBnB representative, telling me they will be taking care of this case from this point on. I was relieved.
It is always important to protect yourself from unreasonable guests. They are few, but they do exist. Statistically, hosts will encounter them once in a while. May be 1-2 per year for me. It is tolerable, and it comes with the business.
To protect yourself, you must have hard evidence. No one can argue against hard evidence, and AirBnB do take evidence into consideration. No one can argue against a video with a thermometer under the running shower that shows 110° F. The more angry and unreasonable she became, the more she helped my case.