Ankkit Aggarwal loves Airbnb. He’s a web developer who owns several luxury condos in Toronto and rents them out via Airbnb, Roomorama, HouseTrip and through his own website,
Since 2012, Airbnb has sent him more than $US160,000 worth of bookings, according to his Airbnb account.
But Aggarwal was booted from Airbnb when he submitted claims after one of his guests severely damaged an Italian bed in a luxury condo worth $US2.5 million that will cost over $US6,000 to replace, he said.
In response, the room-renting company decided he had broken their rules, cut him off, blocked his account and cancelled over $US25,000 worth of upcoming bookings, he says, and then told those guests that it was him, not Airbnb, that cancelled the rooms.
Airbnb promises hosts that it will cover them for up to $US1 million worth of damage, as part of the Airbnb’s Host Guarantee. While it won’t cover everything (like missing cash or rare art), generally, Airbnb has a great reputation when it comes to protecting hosts against nightmare guests.
Airbnb tells Business Insider it cancelled his host’s account because they’d received too many complaints about him. They say he was collecting money outside the Airbnb system and before booting him, tried to work with him.
Airbnb spokesperson Kim Rubey explained:
In 2012 there were 3 million total guests who stayed on Airbnb, yet there were only 400 situations resolved under the Host Guarantee program. Only a tiny percentage of guests on Airbnb result in a Host Guarantee situation, and we take each one very seriously, including this host’s claim of damaged furniture. Unfortunately, this host consistently provided very poor experiences to guests — he violated Airbnb’s Terms of Service multiple times and we’ve received numerous complaints from guests about bad experiences.
Aggarwal denies much of this. It’s a he-said, she-said story, for sure. But the tale is also about what can go wrong when Airbnb believes a host is breaking its rules.
Here is how it happened.
Aggarwal says he had the typical problems of any rental business. This set of guests, however, trashed the apartment. Guests are required to leave Airbnb apartments in a clean condition.
'Out of 86 guests, I've only had problems with 15 guests,' Aggarwal told Business Insider. 'You see, I love Airbnb, that's why I take all these bullets as a business expense.'
This was a three-day stay. There was garbage everywhere. Airbnb says it paid Aggarwal a $US1,310 Host Guarantee payment to cover the damage and the cleaning bill.
The cleaning bill alone was $US830, Aggarwal says. Airbnb says that if a host collects money outside of the Airbnb system, that's a violation of the terms of service that voids the host guarantee. (Airbnb only makes money when it collects a 3% fee from each transaction.)
The guests broke stuff too, like this lamp. Aggarwal says he never deliberately violated Airbnb's terms of service. 'I'm willing to get any kind of thing in writing Airbnb wants promising them that I won't break rules,' he told us.
All told, damage tallied $US1,050, according to the bill shown to Business Insider. It took a three-person professional cleaning crew five hours to clean this mess.
Another guest broke the couch, Aggarwal says. The couch on the right should be upright like the one on the left but the frame was broken. (Airbnb disputes responsibility for this couch.)
Here's a close up view of the missing screws. Under that you can see the crack in the frame. Aggarwal says of Airbnb, 'What they have done to me isn't right, cutting me off. Not talking. No way to reach them.'
Airbnb says, 'We attempted to work with him to improve his guest experience, and we've spoken with him via phone or email on 13 different occasions. The poor guest experiences continued, however, so we removed the host from the Airbnb community.'
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