Enrico Schaefer - December 8, 2022 - Account Deactivation or Termination, Airbnb
Has your account on Airbnb or VRBO account been suspended, deactivated, or terminated? Hosts are being kicked off Airbnb and VRBO more frequently. This can happen for reasons while you are a guest or as a host. Both accounts are deactivated when Airbnb decides you did something wrong. Hosts have only one option to reactivate their accounts once they are removed from the platform. Here are some of the complaints we hear from our clients:
My name is Enrico Schaefer, I’m an attorney representing hundreds of Airbnb hosts and property managers. Airbnb does retain the right to remove you from the platform if you breach the terms of service, the policies, or the standards. However, in many cases, Airbnb is deactivating hosts’ accounts, super hosts who have done nothing wrong or whose violations were minor. Airbnb says you have the right to appeal VRBO, but they don’t offer a way to tell your side of the story.
To get back on the platform, once you’ve exhausted your efforts with customer support, your only option to get reinstated is to file for arbitration with the American Arbitration Association. This is because the Airbnb Terms of Service limit your options for dispute resolution. Paragraph 23 of the December 2022 TOS states:
23.2 Overview of Dispute Resolution Process. Airbnb is committed to participating in a consumer-friendly dispute resolution process. To that end, these Terms provide for a two-part process for individuals to whom this Section 23 applies: (1) an informal negotiation directly with Airbnb’s customer service team (described in paragraph 23.3, below), and if necessary (2) a binding arbitration administered by the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”). You and Airbnb each retain the right to seek relief in small claims court as an alternative to arbitration.Airbnb Terms
Because Small Claims court judges can only award damages, the small claims court can not do equity or order Airbnb to reinstate your account. That leaves arbitration as your ONLY legal option.
There are three phases of arbitration to reactivate your account after an alleged violation of the rules. Each phase costs about $5,000 if you hire us to handle your arbitration case. You can also do it yourself. We have some free resources to show you how to file arbitration here.
The first phase to get an order requiring Airbnb to reactivate your account is to prepare the arbitration demand, file the arbitration demand, serve Airbnb with the demand and wait for Airbnb to assign an attorney. Once an Airbnb or VRBO attorney is assigned, you can have an honest conversation about why you were deactivated and whether or not it was justified. If it turned out that you had a significant violation of the terms of service or their policies, then chances are they’re not going to let you back on. However, if it was a minor violation, or you can show that guests are not at risk by allowing you to host on the platform, Airbnb might decide to let you back on the platform.
Most hosts are making well beyond $5,000 per year. So getting back on the platform and being on both VRBO and Airbnb is worth it. If Airbnb does not let you back on at that point.
The next second phase of account reactivation is discovery and motion practice. You or your lawyer will demand that Airbnb (or VRBO) give you your entire file justifying why they terminate your account. During that second phase of discovery motion practice. That’s the second point at which Airbnb or VRBO – at the recommendation of their attorney – can decide if they will let you back on the platform.
The final phase is a hearing, a trial where the arbitrator takes evidence, takes testimony by zoom, and decides whether or not Airbnb reasonably removes you from the platform. Airbnb may argue that you breached the terms of service, violated the community standards, or that a guest will be at risk if they allow you back on. If they can’t show that you had a substantial breach of the terms, community standards, or policies, the arbitrator can order Airbnb to let you back on. You would also argue for damages for all the canceled reservations, an arbitrator can also award damages.
These are the three phases of arbitration to get reinstated on either Airbnb or VRBO. You can file arbitration yourself or hire a lawyer. I you don’t fight back, Airbnb wins. At each point you’re making this ROI decision, is it worth it for me to spend another $X amount on attorneys fees (or your time) to get myself the chance to get back on the platform? That’s the way this works. So when you ask yourself, “What can I do if Airbnb deactivates my host account,” you know your single option is fighting back.
Your only option for getting back on the platform once your account has been deactivated or terminated is to go through arbitration. If you want to represent yourself, click the 10,000 host community link, and go to the library. 10,000 Host COmmunity has free resources, either arbitrating yourself (self-help) or guiding you through the process if you hire an attorney. We know what we’re doing. And so it’s easier for us to navigate.
My name is Enrico Schaefer. Let me know if you have any questions. We’ll see you next time.