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After being a host with over 2 hundred successful bookings I recently changed my booking status from moderate to strict based on comments from this forum. It made sense and has been working well so far.
Now I have strict booking set I have an alteration request to dates. I am aware this can be used as a defacto way of cancelling a booking by push the dates to the future in order to get a full refund.
The current trip dates start in 4 days (no refund). The alteration request is for 2 weeks time (full refund).
I suspect the guest is pushing the dates into the future to be able to get a full cancellation. For those hosts with strict bookings how do you deal with this airbnb loophole that is fair and reasonable for guest and fair for the host given the strict setting ?
Well, if it’s true that it is because of flight disruption, then the original booking wouldn’t “go ahead” if they weren’t coming, in so far as them actually showing up. And if they don’t cancel it, then you wouldn’t be able to rebook the dates, in which case they wouldn’t get any refund for dates that got rebooked if you offered that.
So if the dates don’t get cancelled, whether they show up or not, then yes, they would be able to leave a review.
I had one person try this. Their reason was “My aunt has terminal cancer”. Two weeks probably doesn’t change anything on that… I let them cancel with a full refund anyway - we were under lots of COVID restrictions and I didn’t want them to have a bad vacation.
BTW, this was a fellow host.
I recall she rescheduled for exactly two weeks later and said “My dear Aunt was diagnosed with terminal cancer and has exactly two weeks to live”
It smelled fishy. She’d already made comments about not being able to afford it, or having to work during the vacation.
My understanding is, if the guest never checks in, but does not cancel, that you can get their review removed, assuming they leave one. My gut is they are looking to leverage the “free cancel” exploit.
I agree with @Annet3176 - the “can’t do an alteration at short notice but will refund if rebooked”. So, the guest needs to cancel and roll the dice. Her other thoughts are also nice!
If a guest cancels day of, but doesn’t check in, they can claim that they did. It’s just the guest’s word against the host’s, and we know how that flies with Airbnb.
So, that they didn’t check in doesn’t mean you can get the review removed. Even if you could prove they never arrived with camera footage, they could claim they drove there, but there were drug dealers hanging out in front of the house, or the yard was covered in garbage, or whatever else scammers seem to be capable of inventing these days.
Yes, my business policy. I do not allow changes in a confirmed reservation, I do not allow more than 1 dog in my pet friendly listing, I do not allow any other species of animals (that one is in the rules) .
I once had a booking come in that was “awaiting verification” and airbnb blocked the dates. I called them and asked what was going on and they told me that the guest needed to update the credit card and that Air’s policy was to hold the dates 24 hours.
I told them to kindly point out exactly where in the TOS I agreed to that and they could not, told me it was policy. I told the CS agent it was my policy not to hold dates for unpaid reservations. I prevailed.
While I generally do concede to this as a sensible option, I am torn when guests abuse the system mainly because it is deceitful but also becuase it enables a pattern that will eventually become widespread abuse of the system and as hosts we have to stand up and say NO !
The tricky thing about this date alteration tactic is - is it a valid alteration request or is it a tactic for circumnavigating the privacy bookings policy ? Herein lies the issue.