Dear Mr. Shoup,
First, I wanted to thank PeerSpace for allowing us to list our venues. For the most part, it has been a satisfying experience. Now, however, that the economy is crumbling into pieces, and especially the event/venue rental business, the way PeerSpace operates is placed under a microscope.
I’ve been trying to piece together the legal framework of PeerSpace’s operations. As I understand it, and please correct me if I’m wrong, PeerSpace is both an agent and an escrow company. It is an agent because it is collecting a percentage of the booking fees, and it is an escrow company, because it holds the money in its bank account until it is disbursed.
As an agent, it appears to represent both the hosts and the guests. This, of course, could lead to a conflict of interest, as I believe it has recently due to the coronavirus situation.
First, I believe it is improper for PeerSpace to change its cancellation policy in favor of the guests without consulting the hosts. As hosts, we have relied on PeerSpace’s stated cancellation policy - less than 7 days, 50 percent refund to the guest; less than 24 hours, no refund. I do not remember seeing anywhere that due to an Act of God (earthquake, epidemic etc.), PeerSpace reserves the right to change the cancellation policy without any notice.
A booking essentially is a contract between the hosts and the guests, facilitated by PeerSpace as the agent. Because PeerSpace is acting as an agent/escrow company for the hosts, PeerSpace has a fiduciary duty towards the hosts. Therefore, it cannot unilaterally decide overnight that it will change its cancellation policy.
In one of my cases I mentioned previously, the guest cancelled his booking less than 24 hours prior to the event, and before PeerSpace even published its new cancellation policy. Despite numerous emails to PeerSpace, as of today I am still in the dark as to what PeerSpace decided to do with this specific booking. As I mentioned previously, the booking completely disappeared from my message board. And I still don’t know whether PeerSpace refunded the guest’s money or gave him :“PeerSpace credit.” If the former, based on what published policy? If the latter, again, based on what published policy?
Because the guest cancelled less than 24 hours prior to the booking, as the host, I was entitled to my share of the amount he deposited. I don’t believe PeerSpace had the right to decide the fate of this money without first consulting me, and I respectfully request an explanation and possibly a payout, if warranted.
As far as PeerSpace’s new policy about cancelling bookings on its own, again, I think it is violating its fiduciary duties to hosts and essentially amending contracts retroactively without notice. First, it appears PeerSpace contacted the guests without any advance notice to the hosts and offered them to cancel for PeerSpace credit, instead of facilitating alternative arrangements between the hosts and the guests. How is it possible for PeerSpace to communicate with the guests outside of PeerSpace only to penalize hosts for doing the same? *
I specifically have two bookings that still say “cancel pending,” cancellations that were initiated by PeerSpace immediately after it sent out an email that it will be instituting yet another cancellation policy. One booking was for March 21st, and the guest never cancelled. Therefore, PeerSpace should be sending me a payout. As of today, I have yet to receive an answer from customer service regarding this booking.
As far as the second “cancel pending” booking, it is scheduled on April 16th, Although it’s not even covered by the time frame announced by PeerSpace’s email (March 27th), yet apparently PeerSpace contacted the guest with the PeerSpace credit offer. Again, I have yet to receive a response to my inquiry from PeerSpace to clarify the status of this booking.
I am sure PeerSpace is hard-hit by the coronavirus situation, just as us hosts are. But we embarked on this business venture together, and one should not try to take any unfair advantage over the other, or at least give the appearance of impropriety, in these challenging times.
As hosts, I believe, we deserve a better explanation, accountability, transparency and fairness from PeerSpace to restore confidence to our business relationship.
- Not too long ago, PeerSpace took away my power host designation because I dealt with a guest outside of the PeerSpace app (I collected $100 overtime from the guest because I thought PeerSpace neglected to do so). They stripped me of this designation without notifying me, even though I was in communication with them and ultimately refunded the guest’s money. Luckily, once I brought this issue to their attention, they restored it. This is how seriously they handled one transgression. It is important that they are playing by the same strict rules when it comes to dealings with the guests.