If you’re coming across this post it’s probably because you googled “how to win an Airbnb dispute” and you’re most likely freaking out right now because you don’t know what to do next. The Airbnb dispute resolution process isn’t very transparent and many people aren’t sure what information to submit, how things should be addressed, or what steps to take next.
Airbnb Dispute Resolution Center Process – Q&A
A few years ago we were also in your shoes. We left an Airbnb apartment and within a few hours, we were accused of allegedly breaking the host’s couch.
Initially, the host requested $70—before we knew it she was demanding that we pay for a brand-new couch! We walked readers through this situation is, “How to win and lose a dispute with the Airbnb resolution center.” The article was designed to guide both hosts and guests through the process.
Our first dispute process (with the couch) lasted about one week and it was a total Airbnb nightmare. We won, but the entire situation was very stressful.
The article generated a tremendous amount of traffic and questions to our site. Since then, we’ve realized that a lot of people are going through the same heartache that we did during the unclear resolution process.
We’re hoping this Q&A will help add some clarity to the process and relieve some of this stress. Please keep in mind that although our past article was designed for hosts and guests, this Q&A is for guests only.
This Isn’t My Fault and I Don’t Want To Have To Worry About Paying. How Do I Get Out of Paying for This?
There are two ways to get out of having to pay Airbnb. Because Airbnb is purely a credit card-based business they need to function based on Visa/MasterCard merchant rules. This creates some loopholes for credit cardholders. Below are the two options to get out of paying:
- To prevent the charge, you can contact your credit card company and tell them not to allow any future charges from Airbnb. This option will most likely cause Airbnb to close your account. In other words, you won’t be able to use Airbnb under your current user profile for future bookings unless the balance is paid.
- If your credit card was charged, you should open up a merchant dispute by contacting your credit card company’s dispute department. According to Visa/MasterCard, “a cardholder may dispute a transaction if the cardholder can document and support with corroborating documentation a mischaracterization of the described goods or services, or dispute concerning the established quality of goods or services provided to the cardholder.” You should select one of the two reasons below for your credit card dispute and communicate them to your credit card company.
- Services not as described
- Services not rendered
What’s the First Thing I Should Do?
You should read our other article “How to win and lose a dispute with the Airbnb resolution center” and take away the following points:
- You will need to begin to lay out a case/argument as to why this damage is not your fault.
- Attempt to negotiate with the host without getting Airbnb involved.
- Make sure all communication is done through Airbnb Messenger.
How Does the Dispute Resolution Center Process Work?
Airbnb will share with both parties what they deem appropriate to share. Airbnb will usually allow each party to state their version of the situation (only once) and will then base their decision on that. If you feel like you need to send more information to Airbnb during the process (before the case is closed), you should have a case manager assigned to you so you can forward that information onward.
The Host Is Still Trying to Get Me to Pay. Now What? What Are My Options?
If the host hasn’t opened up a dispute against you in the Airbnb resolution center then you should proactively notify Airbnb of the current situation. You can contact Airbnb directly here. Remember, this shouldn’t be an informal interaction. We typed up a formal letter to Airbnb that was two pages, single-spaced. In it, we addressed the following topics:
- Check-in procedures
- Initial impressions of the unit
- Inventory checklist of the unit
- Problems incurred during the stay
- Checkout process
You can see our entire letter here: Dispute Letter. While communicating with Airbnb you should also be communicating with the host, or at least making it look like you’re trying to resolve the dispute without getting Airbnb involved.
If the host has logged a dispute in the Airbnb resolution center then you should submit a similar letter to the one above and address the overall issues with the rental and submit any relevant photos/video.
I Can’t Get a Hold of Airbnb. How Do I Contact Them?
It does seem too complicated to contact Airbnb but don’t feel too bad because everyone’s going through the same thing. This is the best way to contact Airbnb.
In these initial communications, it’s important to emphasize the amount of duress you’re under. Use words like frustrating, nervous, and anxious.
My Host Just Opened up a Dispute Against Me. What Should I Do About Leaving Them a Review?
This is your opportunity to address every single thing that went wrong with the rental experience. Don’t hold back, but make sure to stay professional. Don’t get personal. State facts, not opinions.
Also, it’s against the Airbnb guidelines to mention the dispute in the review. In other words, don’t talk specifically about the dispute in the review. Here’s the review we left for the host from our “couch” rental experience: How to win and lose a dispute with the Airbnb resolution center
Should I Get Airbnb Involved in This?
You should get Airbnb involved if you feel like you’re the victim or you’re being victimized. Also, if you can’t work out a reasonable deal with the host as to the replacement/damages cost, then you should also contact Airbnb.
Remember, when a dispute is open in the resolution center, both parties are agreeing to allow Airbnb to determine who’s right and wrong. They become the chief decision-maker. It’s similar to small claims court, only proceed with the dispute if you feel that you can create a logical explanation as to why the damage was not created by you or is not your responsibility.
“So I Broke a Wine Glass, and the Host Is Charging Me for the Price of 6 (Plus “Service Charges” Totaling $30) Because They Cannot Find a Matching One. Are They Allowed to Make Me Pay for Something That I Did Not Break?”
I would try to explain to Airbnb and the host that this glass represents something insignificant and that offering a glass to a guest is a part of doing business. If the host continues to escalate the situation.
I would ask to see the purchasing invoice for the original glasses. Also, make sure to include depreciation costs (wear and tear). If the host cannot provide this information then they will automatically lose the dispute in the Airbnb resolution center. Hosts need to remember that minor accidents do happen.
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