Aggravating guest issue

I got an instant book late last night from a lady who was making the reservation for (presumably) their husband. After clarifying that the woman would not be staying, I scanned through Airbnb’s policies again to make sure that fell under their policy, then let her know we could not accept the reservation because it violated Airbnb’s policy.
Instead of just cancelling her reservation, she put through a request for us to cancel it and with it came this message at the top of the screen:
"You have until Aug 10 at 12:17 PM to respond
If we don’t hear back, the reservation will be canceled on your behalf. Standard host cancellation penalties will apply."
What the? I will, of course, be calling Airbnb in a few minutes, but what the heck is the deal here? They can force the host to do the cancelling and take the hit? How is that okay??

This doesn’t make any sense to me. I have never cancelled a reservation, but a few times guests have cancelled. I have never received a message like yours doing a cancellation, but I also don’t use Instant Book.

I wonder if it has to do with the handful of “risk-free” cancellations hosts who use instant book have access to? My understanding is that hosts can cancel a few instant book reservations per year if they are uncomfortable with a reservation (or something, the terms of this type of cancellation are fuzzy to me). But it shouldn’t be the host’s responsibility to cancel a fraudulent reservation. OF COURSE you are uncomfortable - the person making the reservation isn’t the person staying. The guest broke one of the most basic rules of the platform - penalizing the host for that is unreasonable.

I hope you can get some clarity from Airbnb, as this situation would definitely unnerve me. Good luck!

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I let the lady know I would not cancel on my side due to potential penalties and would have to contact Airbnb as soon as a had a few spare minutes and explain the situation to them to see if they would cancel on their side. I was not overly surprised when she messaged back that she would rather cancel it herself. The cancellation just went through. I’m still going to call Airbnb later (we have to clean rooms now) to find out what that message was all about.

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Not uncommon for me to have one spouse book for another, does not bother me but it is against the rules.

On the general subject yes a Guest can ask you to cancel, you say yes or you say no.

In pretty much every case you just say no.

@corvidae, you can safely cancel in Instant Booking with no penalties, provided you’ve pointed out that there was a rule violation or some other guest action that’s made you justifiably uncomfortable.

If I were you, I’d ignore her request and simply try to effect a cancellation myself. I cancelled an IB recently (for valid reasons of guest violation of my House Rules) and I’ve not had any penalties.

Let’s know how it goes.

EDIT: Realized after posting that the issue was sorted above, intention to post this after reading only the OP was to make this known asap.

Ah, so this was a request from the guest for the host to cancel? In general that makes sense, but the “reservation will be cancelled if we don’t hear back from you” part seems wrong to me. If I have already accepted a reservation, I shouldn’t then have to reject a cancellation request in order to maintain that reservation.

Sounds like the guest cancelled, as they should have, and this all worked out for OP. But the fact that I could be slapped with cancellation penalties because a guest asked me to cancel and I didn’t respond quickly enough? Not a fan. :wink:

Same here. I’ve had even more ‘proxy’ reservations than by a spouse. I must look up the suggested Airbnb policy on this. My instinctive reaction has been to accept the reservations so as not to lose them, rather than question the role of the booker.

I don’t know if this can be generalized, an Instant Booking is a special case.

I think part of the confusion above is because the Airbnb web page wording everywhere is still ‘menacing’ about all cancellations, whereas it’s only more recently that they’ve eased on IB cancellations.

@carolgrrr, I think it’s now any IB that can be cancelled risk-free, not just a quota of them. That’s what I understand from the link I posted above.

The vast majority of my bookings are IB, principle is the same, never cancel.