NC Airbnb property threatened with $10,000 fee for negative review – WSOC TV
STATESVILLE, NC — A Statesville man who was planning a vacation says he backed off when he saw one of the rulers of the Airbnb he had rented.
Alan Price, his wife and their dog Lincoln had gone to the mountains.
Price went on Airbnb and found a great rental called Blue Ridge Bus.
“It was like a really cool, old, remodeled RV. So we thought that would be a great way to check it out,” Price said. Plus, the host was a “superhost,” which, according to Airbnb, means “highly rated, experienced, reliable and responsive”.
Price booked the rental, but on the way, something made him read the host rules more carefully and he noticed the number 16: “Guest may not leave a negative review on online (digital) forums if Guest has violated this Rental Agreement. Guest agrees to pay Landlord a penalty of $10,000 if Guest violates this Agreement rental, then post a negative review on any online (digital) forum.
“We are going to charge you $10,000 if you potentially tell the truth? And you wonder what kind of person would write this and what ramifications you’re going to have,” Price said.
Price thought that left too much room for interpretation, didn’t want to take a chance, and called off. “There was really no way to be 100% sure that I could follow the house rules,” he said.
But it was eating at him. “You have just reached the point where you can no longer turn away. It’s a hard thing to accept,” he said. “It just seemed to undermine the principles that initially endeared me to the Airbnb experience.”
Price reached out to Airbnb and Action 9’s Jason Stoogenke. Stoogenke checked in with the company, and the company said the host rule violated Airbnb rules, specifically the rule about “extortion.” “. The company said it would contact the host immediately and a few hours later this rule no longer appeared on the website.
Stoogenke noticed that the host has five other properties. None of those had the rule either when he checked on Thursday.
As for the host’s side of the story, Action 9 tried to contact her in several ways, but she didn’t respond in time for this report.
Stoogenke says to always read the fine print, no matter who you’re booking with. If you think an Airbnb host is breaking company rules, you can report it. here.
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