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Cancelation of payment by guest

Had a long term booking for several months. The guest paid for the first month ok but a few days before the second month contacts me to say she is going to cancel. She claims bereavement, (turns out this was not correct) and then cancels her card. This means no notice period whatsoever. Airbnb only take payment for long term bookings a few days in advance of each month. Further to this if the guest cancels and gives one of the exceptional reasons the host is not entitled to any notice. This is great for guests as you don’t need holiday insurance and can effectively just cancel whenever you want. It is a nightmare for the host as it leads to lots of unplanned vacancies earning no revenue. To make it worse the Airbnb payments team will not respond to you if this happens, you will just get fobbed off by customer service telling you someone will be in touch for weeks on end.

So sorry to hear this happened. Did the guest claim that an immediate family member died and did she show proof to Air that she was related and produce a death certificate? They shouldn’t just be going on her word.

I really really despise that extenuating circumstances policy. Did they show you proof? I wonder if they are avoiding you because they messed up and now they should be stepping in to pay you. But they are hoping you will tire and give up.

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Thanks for the reply. Yes she claimed it was an immediate family member as per the policy. I have no idea what she has said to Airbnb as I keep getting fobbed off by the aptly named customer experience team. I have however checked the online obituaries and no records are showing that and the timing literally a day before the payment was due makes me suspect I have been had. I think what concerns me most is that I had no idea I was taking all the risk using Airbnb. It is not clear in their help pages. Normally it is down to the traveller to take out insurance against cancellation not the person or company they are using.

On the second issue of guests being able to terminate their credit card to avoid paying when the payment gets cancelled you receive an email from Airbnb saying they are not liable. Given that they make themselves solely responsible for taking payment I am wondering who is liable? Doh! It is the stupid old host who is liable for any loses but has no influence over any of the causes.

Once this cancellation technique becomes common knowledge amongst guests I expect hosts could start to experience regular losses as a result.
A better method would be to offer guests travel insurance as part of the booking and also to take at least part payment more than two days in advance.

The other thing I discovered which hosts may not have realised - with long term bookings no deposit is taken by Airbnb.

There is a potential gap in the market for a host and guest friendly version of Airbnb.

Hi Monty,

This is awful. I know what you mean about the customer service runaround. The extenuating circumstances policy is an absolute joke. I had a guest who simply went to the doctor - because, that’s all you have to do. You don’t actually have to prove your sick or anything, just a doctors cert saying you went and you get a free pass. It is absolute insanity, they are ripping off hosts, and they know it but don’t care. It’s happening all the time. Customer service actually got extremely surly and rude to me when I questioned the fact that the booking that I had cancel on me was sick at all. There were a dozen obvious clues that pointed to him faking it, including the fact that he pretended to be his girlfriend in a message when he wanted to cancel and made out he was too sick to tell me himself so she had to ‘log in’, yet she wrote just like him! Right down to a few little quirks like the - dash before the initial signing off, and unique spelling of some words. Even stranger, when they found out about getting a refund, suddenly within ten minutes he was well enough and back to being able to write messages like a pro. Nonetheless, they treated me as inhumane for daring to even think that someone might not be ill when they said they were. I KNEW he wasn’t. So obvious, and I’m sure they did too, but he fulfilled their silly policy, and that was that. I was out of luck.

As far as your situation is concerned, if she hasn’t come up with the documentation, you are owed money. They can try to palm it off all they like, but their rules that they love to follow don’t work like that. She has to produce the documentation for the extenuating circumstances, otherwise you are meant to be paid. Airbnb obviously totally screwed this up. How can they be so stupid as to not take the money until just a couple of days before a long term stay?? I am horrified by this revelation. I don’t do long terms, but even a week would be enough to cause a big loss of income during high season.

You are totally correct that the worst thing about this situation is that Airbnb could fix it. They could make sure we were protected. They have seen thousands and thousands of hosts left high and dry, income that might be their sole earnings not coming in because of their stupid policies that let guests cancel.

In some small boutique hotels they often have a no cancellation policy due to the effect it has on the business when someone cancels last minute in a hotel that has only 20 rooms or so. Even more so is the effect ruinous when it is your only room or apartment. The fact that Airbnb continues to let this happen is baffling, scary, and disappointing. I’m sorry, and I hope you manage to get some money somehow.

The extenuating circumstances policy - its not too bad. I’ve used it once when I had a leak in the bathroom. I had to show photos or a invoice. Airbnb can be caught between a rock and a hard place sometimes I feel.

Yes but Kirsty Jane, with a simple insurance policy in place there would be no need for anyone to suffer. That’s the point.

All I can say is #hostsdontmatter. I had person scam the death in family thing 7 minutes after writing they did not want to come due to RAIN!! I lost $378.

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