Am I bullied by "Stanford" students and staff?

Dear Hosts,

I am new to AirBnB and AirBnB Hosts forum. I have a situation and need your help desperately.

A group of Stanford students persuaded me and convinced me to let them book my house with more than 10 students although the booking rule set the maximum number of guests to 10. My bad, but I did tell them no more than 15. A week later, a Stanford staff on behalf of the students called me, and again I was persuaded and convinced to agree on the booking of 17 students. My bad again. But I did repeatedly tell the staff that 17 students would be too many people in the house and the experience would not be good.

On the check-In day (Friday), when I did route check on the house, I found the power outage in the area which affected 600 households. I tried to contact the staff who did the booking. No response. I finally found the contact of one of the students. But by that time, the first group of students just arrived on my property. The other groups were on the way.
I informed them right away about the power outage in the area and PG&E’s estimate of power restoration time by 11PM. The first group continued their check-in, so did the following groups.
I tried my best to accommodate them and keep them informed on PG&E’s update.

Early next morning (Saturday), still no power at my AirBnB property. I offered students to come to my home nearby to cook breakfast, take hot shower and charge phones. But they chose not to. In the meantime, I contacted AirBnB, reporting the issue and preparing for refund.
By 5PM, still no power, the 17 students decided to leave and go back to Stanford.

On Sunday, I got a full refund request from the staff who did the booking, and a message saying “I haven’t completed the review request that was sent me today by airbnb yet as I would like this piece of the transaction to be completed before doing so. We realize how important the reviews are.” The hostility of holding review for refund was just too upsetting. Instead of my planed full refund, I charged $1236.75 out of total $3347. The Stanford staff responded to my charge first with students objection, then with student staff and the Resident Fellows (Stanford Faculty)'s position demanding for a full refund excluding the cleaning fee.

I, an inexperienced AirBnB host, up against 17 Stanford students, Stanford staff and Stanford faculty, felt helpless and powerless. I caved in and agreed to a full refund.

Later AirBnB case manager told me that AirBnB paid the cleaning fee since the Stanford would not be happy paying the cleaning fee.

Days passed, I couldn’t get this matter out of mind. Am I bullied by them? In searching for help, I found this AirBnB Hosts forum.

I would very much appreciate your help, suggestion and idea.



Loss of an amenity like power usually means a full refund to the guests.
You are new and sensitive to reviews, but in this case you would have had little choice. I have seen guests fully refunded for loss of wifi.
Don’t stress you will harden up, if will get better!


What is Stanford? Please tell me this isn’t a case of America thinking they are the only country in the world and we should understand that, as that’s what it reminds me of.


Stanford is one of the leading universities in the world @Poppy.

Although in principle you are right. I think many people outside of the US will have heard of it. It’s like Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford, Trinity College Dublin, the Sorbonne, Paris etc.


@baoshipb this is a hard lesson for you to learn. As soon as the power went out for an extended period, you should have contacted Airbnb and asked them to cancel the booking under extenuating circumstances (see Airbnb Help centre). In fact you should have asked Airbnb to cancel as soon as they pushed you to accept more than your maximum numbers.

Never let guests push you around. When they asked you to accommodate more than 10 the answer is a simple no. How did you accommodate an additional seven students? Where did they sleep?

It is against Airbnb’s terms to accept a third party booking unless it is done as a business booking. Was this done as a business booking.

Guests are not allowed to withhold reviews in exchange for monetary gain - See Airbnb Help Centre.

You were taken advantage of as a new host, but you should never have accepted the booking.

A hard lesson to learn.

Please take the time to become more familiar with how Airbnb works so you don’t get taken advantage of and do not let more people book than your house accommodates. Airbnb Help Centre, the guides on Airbnb’s Community Centre and this and other forums are great resources.


Sorry my ironic comment missed it’s mark. As you know I travel a lot. I also enjoy teasing Americans. When you are travelling the inevitable question is: where are you from? Apart from Americans everyone states their country. Americans name their city, like they are Americans so we should know about their city! I like responding with: so what country is that in? Or, where is Stanford?

If I said I was from Launceston would an American know where that is (this website doesn’t even recognise the words “Launceston or recognise”)?


Too true @Poppy there is that tendency for some in the US to do that, although quite honestly I don’t keep track of how often individual hosts on here travel so didn’t know you were a frequent traveller.

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That’s good to know as I thought the forum was over hearing about the hundreds of Airbnbs I have stayed in throughout the 80 plus countries I have visited. So I try to refrain from mentioning it too often. No one likes a smart ass.

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You are right it is probably best to refrain @Poppy :slight_smile: It does sound a little needlessly boastful.


I believe they were entitled to a full refund. To be honest, I think it was a blessing in disguise. I can’t even imagine what the house would look like after having 17 teenagers stay there for a few days. I personally would not rent out my house to a bunch of teens. Not only the damage they can cause but also the liability. Teens doing drugs and drinking under your roof might make you liable if there was an accident or destruction of neighbor’s property.


I disagree about being ENTITLED to a full refund. They were the ones who CHOSE to come regardless of no power and to then refuse the host’s offer to her house and then stayed overnight anyways.

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Sorry, again it shows I am new. Stanford University.

That is how I fell. But I don’t know if there is any recourse.


YOUR FAULT for overbooking your listing.

Listen and heed what Helsi told you above. Like kidney stones, this too shall pass…

Since this IS an international forum, it’s a good idea to always be country-specific about things.

Ignore that smart ass Tasmanian Aussie @Poppi – he’s always stirring up trouble. Yes Poppi, I do know where Launceton is, I had Chartist ancestors who were transported there alongside real criminals.


I’m going to be blunt. Yes, you are being bullied, but you are also allowing yourself to be. We hear many stories here of entitled AirBnB guests look for pushover hosts. Apparently prestigious universities will as well! You are in charge of your listing and need to set firm boundaries so this doesn’t happen again. If you can’t stand up for yourself, you should switch your house to a LTR.

What to avoid doing ever again:

  1. Overbooking. I hope you at the very least charged an extra guest fee. In the future, I’d recommend charging an ADDITIONAL fee for guests who sneak in extras since your place seems to attract big groups in a college town. We can talk more later about preventing college parties.
  2. Accepting a 3rd party booking–the staff person who made the booking probably works 9-5 M-F, so they aren’t checking their app over the weekend to liaise with the students.
  3. Not calling AirBnB to cancel when the power was out. It is AirBnB’s job to relocate the guests in these circumstances. At this point, you’ve given away something worth $3347.
  4. Agreeing to a full refund. The guests knew the power was out and chose to stay the whole time rather than moving to a hotel or calling to be relocated.
  5. Allowing the staff person to threaten a bad review in exchange for a refund. This is a violation of AirBnB’s TOS.

Nobody can bully you without your permission.

Just let it go, do better next time lots of good advice on this thread, thanks for posting.



Except for people from New York City, who will just tell you the neighborhood or street they live on and expect you to know what and where that is.

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My thoughts exactly. I had a booking from 10 guys that had all graduated college within a year. Broke almost every house rule, did a few hundred $ in damage and left a huge mess.

You have to ask yourself if any group that wants to break your number of guests rule is likely to respect the rest of your rules.


Yes there is but you have to stand up for yourself, be proactive and now take action with Airbnb. It may be too late in this case but as others have laid out here…you MUST follow your own rules and be firm with potential guests and guests (and Airbnb). Contact them on the grounds of their extortion clause (find it in their TOS first and be armed because Airbnb will now try to bully you again). Be firm, be strong, and feel free to come back here for suooort and advice.

That will go straight to the keeper.

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