Can guests cancel without penalty if a listing gets very bad reviews after they booked?

Would Air allow a guest to cancel without penalty for an upcoming trip if the listing received some bad reviews which weren’t there when the guest originally booked. I’m not talking about nit picky things like previous guests didn’t like the decor or thought there should be free breakfast, but serious problems like major dirt, safety issues, excessive noise at all hours etc.

Just a hypothetical question.

This is what they say under “Extenuating Circumstances” (take note of the word “might”, which implies they could add whatever reason they want):

What might be covered?

Valid extenuating circumstances include:
•Unexpected death or serious illness of a host, guest or immediate family member
•Serious injury that directly restricts a guest’s ability to travel or a host’s ability to host
•Significant natural disasters or severe weather incidents impacting the location of destination or location of departure
•Urgent travel restrictions or severe security advisories issued after the time of booking, by an appropriate national or international authority (such as a government office or department)
•Endemic disease declared by a credible national or international authority (such as the US Center for Disease Control or the World Health Organization)
•Severe property damage or unforeseen maintenance issues that directly impact the ability to host safely
•Government-mandated obligations issued after the time of booking

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I would imagine that Airbnb would deal with this sort of thing on a case-by-case basis rather than having an absolute policy. So if reviews were seriously bad, they would allow penalty-free cancellation.

This is a really good question! What comes to mind is that link I posted a while back to that horrible place…would a guest that had booked but looked at the newest reviews been able to get their ABB fee returned when they cancelled? I would certainly hope so! If the listing is deemed not appropriate for ABB, then it would certainly seem like good customer service to allow a guest to cancel AND refund all their fees.

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Call them. I would bet they will allow this to be cancelled without penalty - be polite and name the specific things that will not be acceptable to you - for example, “I have a dust allergy and I see that several guests now say it’s not clean, so the apartment appears to be unsuitable for me.”


I’ve never heard of a situation where Airbnb refunds their service fees. Not saying it’s never happened, but it might be like a unicorn…

What a heck of a good question. I could just imagine how this could be abused, but at the same time it’s understandable future guests could become nervous if things radically change.

We had a guest who couldn’t figure out how to change her reservation dates and didn’t ask, so I couldn’t direct her.

She cancelled her reservation and submitted a brand-new one.

She told me they transferred her fees for the cancelled reservation to the new one with us, and she didn’t get dinged.

I wonder, though, if they’d do the same for cancelling and then reserving a different Air listing for the same date. I’m interested if anyone knows?

Yes, Airbnb will transfer the fee to another booking for the same date. I’ve had a depressing number of cancellations laterly where someone made a confirmed booking with me, and then decided to change to another location and they all said they were able to transfer the fee.

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Good to know, thanks @Artemis

Yep, us too - another hosts sends them a special offer after they book and boom, we lose our booking. One guy even had the audacity to tell us the day before their expiration date to cancel without penalty, that they had to cancel to attend a funeral.

I guess he didn’t know his wife sent an email an hour earlier saying they’d decided not to venture to our part of the country.

I was a bit suspicious of that so I waited it out and, sure enough, they received and wrote reviews for a place 1 km away. Sigh


Woah, why is my text a mile high? Sorry folks!

Just shows you the power of the lie!