Booking request from a guest with prior review mentioning extortion

I just got a request for a week-long booking. The guest’s communication was clear and thoughtful, although she mentioned a mild allergy to cats (I have an indoor cat). She has a dozen positive reviews, but the most recent review from last month mentions that she tried extorting the host for a refund due to a mildew smell, and he warned other hosts to stay away from this guest. I’m thinking I should just decline and move on, but wanted to see what others think since she’s had so many other positive reviews. I just had a guest from hell cancel due to the cat meowing (see the ongoing thread), and since this guest has an allergy and says she is looking for a quiet and peaceful home, I’m nervous that I’ll run into the same situation and she will ding me for the cat either due to her allergy or if the cat meows prevent her from having the degree of quiet that she wants. I thought about contacting the previous host to ask how everything panned out in the end, but would have to choose a date and send an inquiry for booking. Any thoughts? I’m not desperate for the money so may rather leave my options open for a guest without bad reviews.

Block a day in the middle of the week requested and respond it is not available. I would not approve or decline, just block and respond.


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@RiverRock Sorry, I edited my thread to say that it’s a booking request, not an inquiry as previously mentioned. So I can’t modify my calendar and must accept or decline.

She says she is looking for peace and quiet? and the cat will be meowing outside her door early morning? Decline. Why does she mention her mild allergy to cats if she knows you have an indoor cat? Did she ask you a question about the cat?


Our guest from hell had many great reviews. I’m glad she finally got one (from us) that revealed her true form. Can you tell Air you are uncomfortable with this guest? 2 reasons: cat and bad reviews??

@gypsy Are you suggesting I ask Airbnb to withdraw her request rather than me decline it? I’ve had variable luck with that (usually they tell me I have to decline myself, thus counting against my % of accepted reservations).

I thought the “uncomfortable” line only works for instant book.

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@cabinhost She didn’t ask a question about the cat, but just wanted to assure me that it shouldn’t cause any issues as long as the cat isn’t in the guest room. She may not be aware that there is likely dander in the air (even in her room) no matter how well I keep the house cleaned.

I’m not sure how "uncomfortable with this guest " works, never tried it.

Sorry, but maybe I would take it for a week and hope for the best if you think there is no mildew odor and if you tell her about the likelihood of cat hairs. If you sent notes about the obstacles to her perfect enjoyment of your place to her , she might change her mind and cancel. A no win situation.

Maybe some good writers on here could help!!

To me it’s a no-brainer. Why can’t you just simply decline the booking. If you want tell her you are doing so because of her recent review @GardenFairy

Why would you want to risk another unhappy guest and bad review when you have been warned by the previous host, particularly as you have pointed out you are not desperate for the money.

Declining the odd guest now and again doesn’t affect you at all.


Thanks @Helsi, I appreciate your advice. I’m still a bit on edge after my last guest complained about the cat, so I sent her a message stating that I can’t guarantee she won’t have allergies and that the cat sometimes meows in the hall. I’ll give it a bit of time to see if she withdraws the request, and if not I will decline. Even with all the other recent positive reviews, it is clear that she may be difficult if anything isn’t to her liking, and I already see two possible risk factors.

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You are brave @GardenFairy , for me it would be a straightforward decline. I can’t see any benefit in letting her stay rather than holding out for a better guest.

If she goes ahead I would just spend the time worrying about this guest and a bad review.


@Helsi I’m still worrying about whether the previous cat-hater will write a review before the 14 days is up, so I don’t need more things worrying me. I told this new guest that I can’t guarantee she won’t have allergies, and she withdrew her booking request. All is good now! No worrying about whether the cat is bothering her and no need to have another decline on my record.


You have definitely taken the best course of action here; so glad she’s withdrawn her request.

It sounds to me that Hateful Cat Woman has rocked your equilibrium. Perhaps have a break if you don’t rely on the money coming in, and give yourself time to regain your footing.

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Decline! Follow your gut instincts. When in doubt, decline. She will probably be a PIA.


I think this forum has made me into a suspicious, mistrustful person! I just feel there’s something not quite right about someone who is “mildly allergic” (and is that a thing? Aren’t you either allergic or not?) to cats booking a whole week in a shared house where she KNOWS there is a cat?! I’m sure @GardenFairy’s place is lovely, but isn’t there any other ABB in the vicinity that is moggy-free?

Along with the recent “extortion” review this made me think … “The cat MUST have got into the room because I was awake all night sneezing, eyes streaming … but I won’t mention it in the review if you give me a 50% refund.”

And I used to be so trusting … look what you guys have done to me!


This is sometimes what I do, if I sense something may make my place not a good match for a guest, I’ll point out those things in my first message. The guest, has on occasion, canceled their request, and I’m okay with that. Other times they go ahead with the booking, and that has worked out alright as well. And I feel more comfortable having everything in writing on the platform before the stay.
I do think me living on site makes a difference in those cases, meeting and greeting on check-in.

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In my communications to guests I always give them reality driven information and hope that they read it all so they know what they are getting into. ie: Potential for high temps, wild animals, remote location, tiny house, rules etc.

Just. Say. No. If anyone mentions allergies of any sort during the inquiry or booking request process, I always say “This is a shared space. I have a Bengal cat, she’s very friendly and this being Florida, pollen can be an issue. Perhaps you’d be happier at one of the nearby places that doesn’t have pets.”

Because if she goes into anaphylactic shock, you’re on the hook for her medical bills as well as refunding her money.

This review about mold is alarming. Combineded with her saying about her allergy knowing you Have a cat ( makes no sense) and peace and quiet.i would decline.
I myself got 2 bad reviews as guest. One was about 6 years ago from German host. He said i left appartment in antisanitary condition.
That was a mistake. I actially dusted and scrubbed bathroom as it was not clean when we checked in . He mixed me up with someone.
Another was from host from Poland. She just lied . She said we left garbage everywhere…we didn’tt even eat inside even once …we are people who even in hotels clean after ourselves and put garbage in a bin and do our beds somewhat fof it to look neat.
And the reason she lied is because ahe offered pick up from airport for 3 times more of what Uber charges. And when I asked her if that’s a different airport as I just saw on Uber it’s 3 times less…she gave me a whole lecture on how dare I point out to her price difference and how she privides special service etc.
Then I read her responded to othee guests who mentioned her overpriced airport pickups no and she was quite hostlie and defensive about it…
Same way she was with me.
She was a superhost with almost 500 5* reviews …

Every guest occasionally has a bad day; just as every host has one. I think this summer I had more than 1 (or 2 or 3…)

I haven’t traveled (except work) since purchasing my condos. I knew it would be a while before I could afford a vacation other than at my own place.

Anyway- can guests reply to a negative review in a manner similar to how a host can respond to a public review?

If yes, wouldn’t it be appropriate to not let a negative review by a host of the guest (me) lay out there without a short explanation?