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AirBnb refusing to pay host due to technical error with promotion code



I found this forum and really hope I can get some guidance here since I don´t know what to do with this matter.

Yesterday evening I got a booking from two girls requesting a 2 night stay at 7.30pm
at 7.50pm the booking was cancelled by them
at 8.10pm they write and say that they randomly cancelled the booking( I guess this is meant as like, by mistake). They asked if it still was possible to come. They where just boarding the plane.

I saw the message at 10 pm. Told them that I can welcome them and that we can sort the booking with Airbnb afterwards.
This after confirming that Airbnb had registered my payout since the cancellation policy clearly states that a cancellation the same day, can´t be refunded.
The guests arrived late at the airport and had problems getting to the accommodation. I was up all night sending them different options to get to the apartment. At 3.30am they said they where going to sleep in the airport and come in the morning. Since I was afraid of oversleeping and I didn´t know exactly when they were going to arrive, I didn´t sleep. Instead, I was awake trying to contact Airbnb to solve the booking.

I was on hold for 1.5hours waiting to speak to a staff member of Airbnb. Finally, they answered, they asked me to hold for 2min while they checked my case, but instead of coming back to me, I was disconnected. I tried to call again but was put on a phone line instead.

Simultaneously I had written a mail to Airbnb Customer Support so I just continued sending them a second mail.
At 8 am in the morning my guests arrived and I ran to the store to buy them some breakfast.
I welcomed them and they checked in to the room to sleep immediately.

I received a mail from Airbnb saying that the following;
There was a technical error with reservation XXXX. As a result, we have canceled the reservation. We have also notified the guest, who may choose to rebook the reservation. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Airbnb later contacted me saying that the booking was cancelled by them due to a fake promotion code used, that is not valid.

The guest said it was valid but since they were not going to receive a refund for this, they did not want to make another booking.
I went back to the apartment to clear out things with the guest but when I arrived they already left. They slept, ate the breakfast, and then just left with their belongings.

The cancellation policies clearly state that a booking cancelled the same day, can´t be refunded.
I don´t know if it was a technical error from Airbnb or a fake promotion code used by the guests, but I as a host shouldn´t end up in the middle. I haven´t slept all night, arranged the accommodation and breakfast, spent the whole day trying to solve the issue and now I am left without nothing. How can this be?


Kind regards,



Not much we can do about customer service decisions as many of us have run into brick walls ourselves.

You could try escalating on Twitter. But sometimes you get referred back to the same person who made the bad decision.


Welcome to the forum. Can you clarify, did you let them come without rebooking?
If so, you probably have no recourse. You should have had them officially rebook before letting them come. You went way overboard and you’re most likely not going to get anything for your efforts. Can you prove that they stayed? If so, I’d pester Airbnb to get a better resolution.


I also had two bookings made late on Friday evening then woke on Saturday morning to find this in my mail box for both -

‘There was a technical error with reservation xyz. As a result, we have canceled the reservation. We have also notified the guest, who may choose to rebook the reservation. We apologize for any inconvenience’

Both were for future dates next year and made by new users with no history.

The bookers also wrote to me saying airbnb cancelled their reservations without giving a reason other than ‘technical error’.
I’ll ask the bookers now if they used a promo code.


When you initially received a cancellation notice, was it like the one someone posted below?

If the girls cancelled and you received a regular cancellation notice, then yes you should be paid out as if they cancelled and never even stayed. The fact that they stayed is irrelevant.

If Airbnb did the cancellation, then no…there will be no payout


I am taking the above statement to mean that Airbnb “randomly” cancelled their reservation, not that the girls cancelled it,. Can you post the original cancellation notice?


C[quote=“cabinhost, post:6, topic:19040”]
I am taking the above statement to mean that Airbnb “randomly” cancelled their reservation, not that the girls cancelled it,
This is how I read it. This may be a new kind of scam, trying to enter a promotion code to get a discounted or free stay and Airbnb caught it and canceled the reservation. She didn’t say it was random by Airbnb but that the guests claimed it was random. Airbnb said:
Airbnb later contacted me saying that the booking was cancelled by them due to a fake promotion code used, that is not valid.
The OP was scammed.


Now this is interesting. Here is an article of a recent promo code glitch. OP…If you scroll down you can see the email that the girls likely received.


Yes, there was an “error” promo code that many people used – AirbNB automatically canceled the “error” bookings and wouldn’t honor them. The girls took advantage of you, unfortunately. I’m sorry – I would be pretty outraged if I were you given the obscene amount of effort that this booking exacted on your part.

You probably can’t even review them since there was no actual booking, yes?


Since it sounds like you had their contact info (even after the cancellation) - have you considered contacting them to let them know you need to receive payment through resolution center, or will have to call the police to report theft of services?

I’d do it. I’d be so pissed


(I’m wondering though, has anyone contacted the police and has it worked?)


Nothing, this situation was entirely avoidable and dies not seem to be the fault of Airbnb. Rather, you allowed guests into your home, who you knew had a cancelled booking, you ran around like a headless chick to accommodate them, and they scammed you. Deliberately. It’s just lucky they didn’t steal from you too.

These people are scum, learn from it and never ever allow anyone into your home until you have a confirmed booking, and any extra fees, in writing from Airbnb. And don’t stay up all night for guests who can’t get it together, and don’t run to the shops for anyone and stress your self out. Have done basics on hand and some long life milk for last minute bookings.


This might be a good idea @vanesa but it would usually be a charge of ‘obtaining financial advantage by deception’ and I think you have a weak case. This is because the guests clearly told you they had already been accused by Airbnb of using a fake code (which they were) and you allowed them to come and said ‘we’ll sort it out [with Airbnb] in the morning’. It wasn’t able to be sorted out, this the girls defence is they weren’t deceptive. You also don’t have a contracts case outside of Airbnb as there was no clear agreement ‘no meeting of the minds’ so I would let it go and be thankful you have learned a very harsh and undeserved lesson the hard one on a short booking, not a long $$$$$$ stay and at least the scammers didn’t rob you.


I sure wish I could find an old post about a PM who started threatening guests for chargebacks on credit cards that were not justified. It was a really funny read.

Not sure where the OP resides, but in my state I would quote this just to at least scare them:

§ 14-110. Defrauding innkeeper or campground owner.
No person shall, with intent to defraud, obtain food, lodging, or other accommodations at a
hotel, inn, boardinghouse, eating house, or campground. Whoever violates this section shall be
guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. Obtaining such lodging, food, or other accommodation by
false pretense, or by false or fictitious show of pretense of baggage or other property, or
absconding without paying or offering to pay therefor, or surreptitiously removing or attempting
to remove such baggage, shall be prima facie evidence of such fraudulent intent, but this section
shall not apply where there has been an agreement in writing for delay in such payment. (1907, c.
816; C.S., s. 4284; 1969, c. 947; c. 1224, s. 3; 1985, c. 391; 1993, c. 539, s. 48; 1994, Ex. Sess.,
c. 24, s. 14©.)

As a young adult I had my share of doing some really stupid things. And if someone told me to pay up or the police would be after me…I’d pay up. Then again, I would never be the type to dine and dash…


I agree…it’s worth a try.

Bluffing is a tactic that I use in my LTR’s when necessary, and it has worked more than once. I was able to boot the non-payers out without going through the eviction process.


I assume the cancellation was under extenuating circumstances so no payment is due from AirBnB.

They had no AirBnB booking so the sorting it out would be taking cash.

Or cheque.

Assuming you have no way of [processing a card.


THANK YOU SO MUCH, ALL OF YOU for your support, ideas and comments.

Just to make clear, the guest cancelled first.
In my balance account, I could see the expected payout.
Since it was in the middle of the night and I saw that I either way would get a payout I decided to help the girls since it was in the middle of the night.

I tried to reach Airbnb by phone and mail.
In the morning I received a mail, exactly like commented by theredlion;
-There was a technical error with reservation xyz. As a result, we have cancelled the reservation. We have also notified the guest, who may choose to rebook the reservation. We apologize for any inconvenience’-

And then I see that my payout had disappeared on my Airbnb Dashboard.
They where already in the aptm sleeping at that moment.
AirBnb customer service was then already in contact with both me and my guest at that point.
Since the girls didn´t want to pay, they left before I could reach home.

I have learned a big lesson out of this I have to say, but I was also very disappointed with Airbnb because I didn´t know this could happen. That is, technical problems with fake coupons, and not getting a payout despite cancellation policies.

My trust was restored in Airbnb though because they were able to take my case into consideration and make a payment of half of the actual sum (one night, instead of two). This was a relief considering all the effort this booking took ( basically 2 days of work, one preparing their arrival and one solving the situation with Airbnb). I was actually already looking into other alternative websites where to post my listings but thanks to that customer service helped me solve the situation, I decided to stay on Airbnb, but of course, being more careful with the guests that I am accepting and always double checking how the booking was made, in case of cancellations.

Once again, thank you all for your time and feedback.


Oh, and I was given the opportunity to write a review on the guests, which is good.


Thank you for the feedback.
Yes, Airbnb was in contact with them and their check-in was confirmed.
Thankfully the situation got solved in the end


Actually, both things happened.
First, the guest cancelled and then I could still see the payout on my dashboard.

The next morning, Airbnb cancelled the already cancelled booking. Very strange… But I guess, that´s when they realize the booking was made with a fake promo code.