Airbnb guest says host tried to charge them $2,500 in damages

A woman on TikTok is warning others not to stay in Airbnb or Vrbo rentals after she says an owner tried to blame her for damage to property she didn’t cause.

The video posted by user Lauryn Stephens Smith (@laurynsmith308) includes her account of being asked by a property owner to pay increasing amounts of money to make repairs to the house she was staying in due to damage she was allegedly dealing with had nothing to do.

@laurynsmith308 #airbnbscam #vrbo #airbnb #bachelorette #travel #traveltiktok #scam #airbnbhostproblems ♬ Cumbia Buena – Grupo La Cumbia

Initially, Lauryn says in the video, the Airbnb host reached out through alternative channels and demanded payment for the damage.

“We just had a host trying to blame my group for a bunch of damage to the apartment that was already there when we checked in,” she says in the video. “She contacted me outside of Airbnb, which is against her policy, and asked for $658 to repair damage.”

The hostess said she had to stop work to fix the house, Lauryn says. She responded by telling the host that she wasn’t comfortable with her messages off Airbnb and that she wouldn’t pay for the damage – as she says she wasn’t responsible.

“Then she went through AirBnB and requested $2,500 for the exact same damage,” Lauryn says of the woman, “and now says she had to hire a contractor to fix it, although she told me she fixed it.” .”

The TikToker claims Airbnb initially sided with the host. However, when the situation escalated, she said the charges were reduced to $908, despite what she describes as inconsistencies with the host’s story and the video she took of the home. Lauryn says she didn’t have to pay that fee.

To prevent a similar thing from happening to others who use the service to secure a place to stay while traveling, Lauryn encourages viewers to take photos of any rentals they would be staying in once they get there, and even that holding on to the smallest object that an owner might call “damage.”

In a follow-up video, the TikToker says the alleged damage included paint abrasion, sheetrock damage, a broken lamp, stolen toilet paper, and stains on the carpet, curtains, bedspread and ottoman. However, she argues that she and her friends who stayed in the house could not remember seeing the lamp or stool and claimed that they could not have caused the harm they were accused of.

Although the listing can be seen at the end of her video, it appears to have been removed as it is no longer available on Airbnb.

Some viewers shared that they’ve had similar experiences trying to use Airbnb or other rental sites, or that experiences like this have put them off from using the service.

“These people have gotten so greedy with the prices it should be a cheaper option than hotels and now it’s more and I have a to-do list,” wrote one commenter. “No.”

“That’s why I don’t do Airbnb — too many horror stories,” said another user.

“A very similar situation happened to us a few years ago. It was very stressful and upsetting but we fought back and won,” added a third. “Much luck!”

The Daily Dot contacted Airbnb via email regarding the situation and Lauryn via comment on the video as other means of contact regarding the video could not be identified.


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*Initial publication: October 7, 2022 at 11:41 am CDT

Brooke Sjoberg

Brooke Sjoberg is a freelance writer for the Daily Dot. She received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin in 2020.

Brooke Sjoberg Airbnb guest says host tried to charge them $2,500 in damages

Jaclyn Diaz

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