AirBnB Overrides Strict Cancellation Policy and Make Hosts Pay

AirBnb hosts be warned: AirbnB can and will override the strict cancellation policy you have put in place even if guests cancel AFTER check in date.

Two of our guests (for two consecutive and separate bookings) cancelled due to medical reasons. They did not provide us with any details and contacted AirBnB directly.
In spite of the fact that we have a so-called “strict” cancellation policy in place, AirBnB decided to cancel both reservations (at no costs for the guest nor for AirBnB of course) and told us these cancellations were due to "Extenuating Circumstances). Note that the list of these circumstances is left broad and vague enough so that it can include pretty much any situation
When we ask AirBnB which objective criteria they had used to determine the fact that these travelers had to cancel at the very last minute (or even after the check in date in the second instance!) they refused to provide any justifications (again in spite of the fact that the hosts have to bear the full consequences of their decisions, which seems completely arbitrary!)
As a result we are left with an empty house in the midst of the high season after vacating it for our “ghost guests” and paying fees including cleaning and booking someone to take care of the check in / out process. It is now too late to find other guests. This is even more disappointing that we had to turn many reservations away after confirming these two which ended up being cancelled at the mast minute.
AirBnB does NOT protect hosts (they make more money from guests) - host are treated like a commodity and it certainly does NOT feel like a community.


Tweet your last statement see if they respond


I have been saying this for YEARS! Airbnb is ALL about guests and they have created a market where guests are almost without penalty for anything at all. They will bend over backwards to please and not upset a guest. Seriously, I am almost done with them.


I did they responded asked to provide details via DM which I did and all they did was to resend me the link to their “extenuating circumstances policy” refusing to provide any further details on the reasons behind these two consecutive cancellations.
Very easy to decide on someone else’s behalf when you don’t have to bear the consequences I guess?


Agreed. Hosts are not protected whatsoever when it comes to security deposits or cancellations. They have all sort of policies in place that are left vague and broad enough on purpose so that they are legally backed for their arbitrary decisions.

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Be mindful of the TOS. They have also added language in the last update that allows them to cancel you if you tarnish their brand in public. I doubt they would do it after a single tweet tied to a real incident but I know many hosts who are not too paranoid to call them out on social media.


Personally, I think the unscrupulous out there have caught on to the medical excuse. It is being used left and right from what I hear.


Yeah most they do for us is give you a super host badge! YAY. 4 quarters straight I’ve been SH, have I ever received any “surprise gifts” or any other type of appreciate from they claim they do for their super.hosts? NOPE


I think we hosts need to look after ourselves. If this platform becomes a losing proposition I think it won’t matter to hosts to continue. I was lucky my last air bubbles guest agreed to a partial refund. I did it on principle

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I’ve said it before. I get MORE guests from VRBO these days. I really don’t know why. VRBO/HomeAway suck in their own way, but I take pleasure it being less dependent on Air.

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I’ve had this happen and they wouldn’t share the medical documentation with me due to confidentiality. They always keep their fees by the way. Those are never refunded, ever.

The next product they should think of introducing is travel insurance for guests. To put this on the host is so unfair and wrong.


AirBnB only makes about 25% of my sales.

I have the bookings on max 3 month ahead, since I use it only to fill my gaps.
I get most bookings directly trough my website.

Yes, no-shows and cancelations are always a risk, but they are a bigger risk when there is a 3rd party involved making the decisions for you.

AirBnB is all about making as much bookings as possible, they do not care about the hosts.
They are a big bubble, that will eventualy collapse.

It is funny that they still trying to disguise their business as “sharing economy”. Where their business is more the “make bending and avoiding rules and taking risks economy”.

75% of the hosts do not even know what they are getting into. They have no clue about their responsibilities and liabilities for their guests.

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this probably isn’t the right place to pose this question but it is about VRBO and HOMeAWAy

  • been using Airbnb 13 months now, 5 months renting an entire home 2.5 bed/bath. the income to me is insane ( largely due to geographic location I’m sure. I think Seattle has to be top 10 maybe 5 in US for housing and rental prices)

  • I’ve thought many time about adding my listing on those other 2 sites… but this does so well…why mess with a good thing? can you give me a few bullet points what makes VRBO and HA better than airbnb? (BTW i prefer short term rentals, I average 2.4 nights/ per reservation. I look at it as "hey if I get 15 reservations/month that’s $1500 extra I make a month (cleaning fee). I also offer 0% discount to discourage people booking 1-2 week or longer stays Also makes cleanup much easier and quicker IMO.

-If those other platforms don’t take the ridiculous cut airbnb does then I will have a profile on their sites by end of day haha

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Capucerio said “As a result we are left … paying fees including cleaning and booking someone to take care of the check in / out process.”

If you choose to run your AirBnb “remotely” through cleaning companies and booking/reception agents, that is YOUR choice, not AirBnb’s choice. There’s no reason they should pay you for such incurred expenses that are not part of the “home stay”.which is the foundation of AirBnb.

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The “homestay” may once have been the foundation of Airbnb, but I don’t believe that’s the case these days. I live in a small summer resort town, one of a string up and down the coast. I can’t give a percentage because I haven’t counted, but I’ve noticed that many listings in my area belong to commercial hotels, motels, cottages, bed and breakfasts and inns.


That could be a separate thread. And you’d probably get more responses that way.


Could you provide a quote? I suppose I could go look, but I’m lazy…

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Everyone should read the Terms of Service, especially section 14: User Conduct, which is not too lengthy, but includes stuff like registering under more than one name, which I read here all the time.

“engage in disruptive, circumventive, abusive or harassing behavior in any area or aspect of our Platform, Application, or Services;”

I don’t think it is. You could try Wimdu. Based in Germany… their platform is much less sophisticated than Air’s. You’ll have to collect your own security deposit. But hosts keep ALL the profit. The entire booking. I like them. They’ve always sent me quiet, appreciative solo travelers. FlipKey (FlopKey) is horrid and I would avoid them if at all possible. I don’t think Homeaway is at all better to name just one thing. YOU, the host are made responsible for chargebacks. They also charge you 8% on the PPB platform. Lots of hosts here use them, so look up the threads where this is discussed.

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Hi @CatskillsGrrl,

Thanks for the pointer. That’s pretty broad stuff. I suspect many Airbnb users have violated this, for example:

use manual or automated software, devices, scripts, robots, backdoors or other means or processes to access, “scrape,” “crawl” or “spider” any web pages or other services contained in the Site, Application, Services or Collective Content;

So taking screenshots, for example, is a violation of the terms of service. Yay. I’m pretty sure I’ve already sent Airbnb itself screenshots of their site from time to time, as well as posting them here.

It’s possible they don’t mean to include screenshot taking software, but the language is pretty vague. What does “access” mean? And, really, a web browser accesses Airbnb web pages. Does that mean web browsers are illegal? Not the greatest piece of legal writing.

And here’s another pretty broad one:

use our Site, Application or Services to transmit, distribute, post or submit any information concerning any other person or entity, including without limitation, photographs of others without their permission, personal contact information or credit, debit, calling card or account numbers;

If I understand this correctly, this basically means you can’t quote any information from Airbnb web pages without violating the Terms of Service. Again, yay.