Airbnb now allowing guests to stay without paying

So in the past two months this has happened twice to me. Just this past week Airbnb allowed a guest to book, and I recieved a confirmation. At the exact same time I received an email from airbnb stating , this guests payment was declined and we are not liable to pay you for this reservation. You can cancel free of penalty if you choose. I ( wrongfully) assumed since the confirmation came after the decline message it was a go. Come to find this week when no payment came that NOPE, she never paid. She stayed, upgraded guests to 4 from 2, left the place a mess and never paid a dime. This was last Friday and I have yet to come to a resolution as to how I will be paid for this.

Two months ago something similar happened except the declined funds notice came two weeks after I got the confirmation email. And merely days before the reservation started. Luckily she paid just prior to arriving. With no notice mind you!..I only realized all this after the fact.

My question is what happened to them charging guests and holding the money for the reservation. And what happened to the notice that would appear at the top of the app that would prevent the reservation from confirming till they paid?!

BTW they’ve held all my payments since last week while they “clear this up”… 3 guests and almost $600

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This is very odd. when there is a credit card problem, it’s usually immediate and the guest cannot complete the booking and your calendar is held for 24 hours with the host given the option to decline.

Just wondering, are you in the US? Just curious if this is an international issue.

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I’m in Tennessee. I think I’ve isolated it to upgraded days and guest number. Their CC gets declined for the additional funds and therefore holds the entire payment indefinitely. Freezing the system and stalling all my future incoming payment’s from other guests…

You must call Air and open a case if you haven’t already.

Happened to me. The payment didn’t go through for 3 days. I called air and had them cancel the reservation.

3 days meaning, the guy booked and had their credit card declined. Still a valid reservation, still blocking my calendar (not gray, green OK reservation). After 3 days I called them to ask if they had gotten the payment they said they didn’t and they couldn’t be liable to pay me either. I immediately asked them to cancel that reservation without penalty for me. They did.

Same guest tried to book again with the same problem a few days later. I repeated the same procedure

So when this happened, did it give you a confirmation with their phone number and email?

Quite scary that this kind of thing is starting to happen. We should be allowed to decline these or cancel them with no penalty!

It’s worrying that Airbnb considers a reservation with no payment a valid reservation. I thought this was not possible within their system. Sometimes after I accept a guest reservation, I get a “Pending Payment” notice at the top of the page, and they are given 24 hours to pay, though I’m also given an option to decline. In the cases that I’ve dealt with, the guests always paid within the 24 hours, as far as I can remember.

I used to get the pending payment option, no longer so that’s what I’m saying, it’s changed somehow now. Very sneaky. What’s upsetting is it looks just like a regular reservation, except you don’t get paid and no recourse after the guest has stayed and left.

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Confirmation email, they get my address, the whole shebang!

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Yes, that’s very bad. How would the host know that the payment has not been made? Is there no indication? If this is the case, it makes one of the main reasons for using Airbnb would no longer apply. I.e. they act as a reliable intermediary to handle the cash.

You don’t know, that’s my problem. They send an email saying the payment didn’t go through, but to cancel is up to you. The reservation stays active as if they did pay.They don’t confirm if they actually do end up paying either, you are forced to call…

Was this an altered reservation, as in did they add days or guest #? I’m trying to figure out the common denominator on how these are getting through.

How did you know that it didn’t go through? Are you saying it only did this after the alteration was made?

If you do decide to cancel there should be zero penalty for doing so!!!

As I said, I got an email that said the payment was declined, after they requested alterations to reservation. The reservation was still allowed to continue with the requested alterations (more days, etc.) But the additional funds were not cleared. When they left I got 0$.

Thanks Krista to alert us on that. I have realized that I have also a lot of confirmed reservations, but at the calendar on the thread messages they appear in grey color, meaning that the method payment of the guest hasn’t been confirmed. It’s terrible that they are allowing this, and at the end left you with the problem on your hands.

Thank you for posting and alerting us to this issue. As you’ve said it must be a change that air have made as this isn’t what happened to me last year when guests payments were declined.
I can’t fathom how they think this procedure is ok.

What steps do you think, if any, that you/we can make to prevent having to go through this in the future?

I had the same thing happened to me recently. It blocked off my dates but Airbnb was waiting for them to pay. It was Valentine’s Day night so by the time Airbnb finally confirm they didn’t pay I now lost any chance to book Valentine’s Day. I had to call Airbnb to get it physically removed from my calendar. There was no way I could remove it myself. And basically Airbnb was waiting for them to confirm payment for days. I was never even notified that they made this reservation, Airbnb just blocked off my calendar anticipating they would pay. In the end they never paid and like I said I lost out on a very big night of rental.


My bad. I do see you say that you got an email. So if I am understanding this correctly…

Guest makes booking, first payment goes through
Guest requests alteration to booking, you accept and payment is denied, email is sent.
Guest arrives, you are still awaiting payment.
Because there was an alteration, the card is charged a second time for the full amount and is denied.
All subsequent payments are blocked while this is going on.

Have you tried reaching out to the guest? They might not realize anything went wrong. It seems to me if they were honest enough about requesting an upgrade, they would also try to make good on the payment.

Really sorry. What a mess.


So your reservation looked like a regular reservation? How did you know the guests had not made payment?