10 Replies Latest reply: Nov 28, 2018 7:59 PM by twomoreyears RSS

    I Need help responding to a bad review

    watersedgelakemitchell New Member

      I have consistently received 5-star reviews for the two years I have rented our lake cabin.   last week, I received a 2-star review that was extremely exaggerated and parts were an outright lie.  They left the bad review AFTER I retained their damage deposit for damage done by their dog in a NO PETS rental.  The dog chewed through a wall corner and it had to be replastered and painted.  The carpets and upholstery were covered in dog hair and had to be cleaned and deodorized before my next renters checked in the next day.  The interesting part is they left a good review in the guest book before they checked out, and then after I contacted them about the damage, they left a bad review online.

      I have included both reviews below and made comments in parenthesis. Please help me respond to this review as if speaking to future renters.

       

      Review left in the guestbook

      Hosts were gracious and accommodating, house is great.  Dock and fishing were even better.  This lake house made the long drive to see grandpa…GREAT!  My 3 boys love this place.

       

      Review left online

      Place is cute with a great deck.
      Access is challenging, a steep and rutted, non-paved and non-lighted road is difficult. Large trucks should be avoided. Don’t arrive after dark without having been there before. (Our listing includes the fact that the house is on an unpaved road and the last 1000 feet is rough but easily passible in trucks, sports cars, and luxury cars.  We have had every type of vehicle you can imagine travel the road from Cadillacs to transfer trucks.)
      It’s a multi-level cabin recently updated, but the inside stairs were an afterthought. They are difficult going up or down, there are warnings. It’s around 5’ from top of 4th stair to ceiling, going up is possible, just bend over completely. But going down is extremely difficult, grownups should just avoid the staircase. (  The stairs are steep, but certainly not an afterthought.  The house was built in the 1940s and included the stairs.  The original owner was a 93-year-old, 5'9" woman she used the stairs daily.)
      The next area to avoid is the downstairs bath/laundry room, which has a door clearance of less than 6’. There is a step up to enter the bathroom just inside the door, making the bathroom ceiling well below 6’. Once inside the bathroom, a tall person must remain in a ducked position with your head down. Exiting is impossible, you have your head ducked, going down a stair at the doorway that has an exit clearance of about 5’ 6”. You will hit your head. It’s more annoying than the staircase. (this is a total fabrication.  The ceiling is 7'8" and unless you are taller than 6'5" there is plenty of headroom.)
      Roaches were a problem in the kitchen, which I guess is normal being right on the water. Don’t leave food items on the counter. (This has me more upset than anything and is a flat out LIE.  There are NO roaches in the kitchen or any other part of the house. We have an exterminator contract inside and out and they will guarantee there is not a roach problem in the kitchen. Being a lake house, there are sugar ants that find their way in from the outside if food is left uncovered.  We have signs in two places in the kitchen asking our guests to keep food sealed and in the refrigerator to keep the ants from coming in.)
      The owners house sits immediately adjacent and above the cabin making for little privacy, especially while on the deck. (yes, we live next door and keep an eye on our property.  However, we do respect the privacy of our renters.  These guests are a prime example of the privacy they have because they had a dog in the house for 4 days and we didn't even know it until they checked out.)
      Lake Mitchell is beautiful and my boys enjoyed the fishing.


      This property is our home and we share it with our family and friends as well as our VRBO guests.  We take great joy in treating our guests as family.  This review has been devastating for us. If you are interested in reading our other reviews you can find the property listing at 1075984.


      Thanks in advance for any advice and encouragement.

        • Re: I Need help responding to a bad review
          u0999 Premier Contributor

          must be a year of bad reviews. I just got a 2-star review on otherwise 98% 5-star and remaining 4-star property over stuff which , like yours, was covered in communications and rental agreement (which apparently they did not read). I am a tad more philosophical about it, I resigned myself to thinking that sooner or later anyone in VR business is BOUND to have a bad review - from people who have unrealistic expectations, never stayed in a VR and expect hotel room service type of deal, do not read, are generally unhappy, had a fight with their S.O. or all of the above. Just sit on it, and then respond item by item factually. I made a numbered list in which I addressed all of my reviewer's claims factually and concluded that "we hope that next time this guest will find a vacation rental that suits their needs and expectations better'. That's it. If the review is an outlier, treat it as such.

          • Re: I Need help responding to a bad review
            ohst8er Senior Contributor

            The first thing you have to do is take the emotion out of your response.

             

            Perhaps you write something like:  To our future guests, we take great pride in our property, as you can see from our many stellar reviews.   Our 1940's lake home has much of the charm you'd expect from this generation (I'm sure there's a better way to word this, I'm just shooting from the hip), The stairs are indicative of the generation of our home, but they are not that tricky to navigate, we promise.   Being so close to the woods and the water, we anticipate some of nature's critters to enter our lake house, which is why we regularly schedule pest treatment (as an aside, you might want to make SURE there hasn't been an infestation... just because you hire someone to treat, doesn't necessarily mean they have proactively stopped infestations before they occur).  We can assure you there are no issues there.

             

            The owner's property is located adjacent to our lakehouse, but no worries about privacy!  After all, we didn't even notice when THIS family unexpectedly brought a dog!      

             

            We look forward to hosting YOU for your next family vacation. 

             

             

            I'm sure others will come up with a better way to word this.  Write your response in a word document, take some of my wording, take some wording from whomever posts next, etc., then sit on it for a few hours, or until tomorrow.  In situations like this, my first response would NEVER be my best one, and it would take me awhile to be able to write a response I'd want to own for eternity! 

            • Re: I Need help responding to a bad review
              susaninrehoboth Premier Contributor

              SMH at the exaggerations and details of various heights. If it was impossible to exit the downstairs bathroom, does that mean they are still there?

               

              Seriously, refer to your many 5 star reviews. Mention you were surprised by the review because they wrote in your guest book Hosts were gracious and accommodating, house is great.  Dock and fishing were even better.  This lake house made the long drive to see grandpa…GREAT!  My 3 boys love this place.

              Taking the high road is good, but I would mention the guests were upset because you charged them to repair damages done to your VR by the pet snuck in to your no pet rental. You are aiming your review at future guests. Let future guests be warned not to bring a pet and that they are responsible if they cause damages..

              • Re: I Need help responding to a bad review
                patpat Contributor

                Just happened to me too! Killed my 5 star streak. This is our 3rd property and I learned from the 1st two that the sting would come sooner or later. There are always those people out there that you will never EVER be able to please. "Chronic Complainers". "Nothing is Ever Perfect People". So what I did was took a deep breath, pulled up a blank work doc. and started typing a draft, going point by point with a smile on my face. I let it sit/stew, then went back later and revised as necessary. Always remember to talk to future guests while addressing the complainer. Turn your good into bad. When I see places that have all 5 star reviews and only 1 or so poor ones, I like to zoom in on the lonely poor reviews merely for entertainment - just to see what kind of idiots are out there, and I like to see how the responses are handled. So smile and let the smile shine through in what you write.

                • Re: I Need help responding to a bad review
                  scowol Active Contributor

                  Based on the information you provided, this is a retaliatory review.  You may want to consider being "professionally candid" in your reply.  Otherwise, you are just relegated to defending point by point.  Here's a suggested draft from an earlier post from an owner who had a similar retaliatory review:

                   

                  We're committed to making sure that all our guests are thoroughly satisfied and our overall 5-star rating prior to these guests demonstrates our commitment.  This guest happily checked out and remarked in our guestbook that they enjoyed the house immensely, and had nothing but positive things to say.  However, our cleaning service discovered damage from an undisclosed pet.  Regrettably, this guest made the decision to submit this retaliatory review upon being notified that their damage deposit was used to pay for repairs and extra professional cleaning.  We are glad that we were able to make professional repairs and restore the house to top-notch quality for our future guests to enjoy.  We invite you to continue reading all of our other reviews from our delighted guests!


                  P.S. Most readers will be savvy enough to detect that the guest is nitpicking, so I would avoid a point-by-point response to each petty complaint. Just let the facts speak for themselves and it will be obvious that the 1-star review is without merit (especially considering that you have otherwise positive reviews).

                  • Re: I Need help responding to a bad review
                    twomoreyears Senior Contributor

                    I agree with the suggestion made by several others to NOT address the issues they list on a point-by-point basis.  It makes you look defensive and, in the words of the immortal bard "the lady doth protest too much".

                     

                    I like what scowol wrote, but I might leave substitute "inaccurate" for "retaliatory".  That way, you are criticizing the review and not the reviewer.  Future potential guests will understand the reviewer was upset when they wrote the review, but YOU are not ascribing any motives to the reviewer.

                    • Re: I Need help responding to a bad review
                      dinamight Contributor

                      I agree: do NOT go through it point by point, you're dignifying their slander with a response. It was the same with us. Just explain to future renters that they loved the place until you charged them a very fair damage deposit and you would do it again. Something like:

                       

                      Okay, this is what really happened: we had no complaints from this guest and a very flattering guestbook entry. However, when we discovered that they had brought their dog into our No Pets property and asked them to pay for the (considerable) damage caused, suddenly they turned salty. Please refer to our many other reviews to get an idea of what our property is really like.

                        • Re: I Need help responding to a bad review
                          u0999 Premier Contributor

                          I disagree somewhat. because if guest states something obviously not factual, that needs to be addressed so that future gusts do not think that something is missing

                           

                          examples:

                          "there is no fireplace' - there actually IS a fireplace.

                           

                          "there is no yard" - there is 1/4 acre yard

                           

                          "there are no pizza pans" - our kitchen is fully equipped and stocked with extras.

                           

                          "the deck is too small" - there are 3 decks of various sizes for our guest's enjoyment.

                            • Re: I Need help responding to a bad review
                              twomoreyears Senior Contributor

                              u0999 wrote:

                               

                              I disagree somewhat. because if guest states something obviously not factual, that needs to be addressed so that future gusts do not think that something is missing

                              Very good point, but I would not do it in a line-by-line rebuttal. Using the middle part of scowol's response with u0999's examples, it could be

                               

                              Regrettably, this guest made the decision to submit this inaccurate review upon being notified that their damage deposit was used to pay for repairs and extra professional cleaning.  We do indeed have a fireplace, a large (1/4 acre yard), an extremely well-stocked kitchen with several pizza pans and three decks with a total of 600 square feet.  We are glad that we were able to make professional repairs and restore the house to top-notch quality for our future guests to enjoy. 

                          • Re: I Need help responding to a bad review
                            twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                            I had a guest who had a terrible time finding my place (not sure why GPS gets everyone here no issues). Anyway by the time they got here they were so upset they called and read me the riot act about not providing directions that clearly got them here without the difficulty that they had. (didn’t ask why they didn’t call on the way). Anyway, that spiraled into the wife adding that there was a dead fly on the window sill. I apologized for them having such a difficult time finding the place and asked if they would like my cleaning lady who lived two doors down to come and remove the dead fly. They declined and I heard nothing further. They didn’t leave a review (thankfully).

                             

                            I do think that people can get very wound up and decide to be upset about things that normally wouldn’t upset them and it takes them time to calm down again. Sorry that you are dealing with such people and that they wrote a review while still upset instead of calming down and putting themselves in your position.