Cancellation by airbnb without my consent

A guest booked one night through “Instant Book” for New Year eve. I would not have accepted it if I had had a chance to screen the booking before confirmation. Anyway, my plan is changing so I may not able to accommodate them on their travel date. I emailed the guest if she could change the date or cancel it due to my plan changed on New Year eve. She said she could but she requested me to full refund her by bank transfer before her cancellation. I don’t feel comfortable doing her way so I declined her request. Airbnn cancelled this booking without my consent. I saw a review on my listing: “The host canceled this reservation 114 days before arrival. This is an automated posting.”

Then I knew it was cancelled while I am asking any of my friends can accommodate them instead of cancellation by me.

It is unfair to the host because cancellation done by airbnb and the host got the penalties. Why?

Airbnb doesn’t like when a host pushing guest yo cancel instead of canceling herself. If guest cancels they loose Airbnb fee and because it was not their fault why should they.?
I as a host never cancelled but I sm assuming it’s the same rule; if hosts cancel they loose fee.
My friend did the same in a beginner, she was trying to get guest to cancell. Guest called Airbnb and explained, Airbnb sent to my friend a warning saying if she will ever push guest to cancell her account will be closed

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Thank you for replying my question, Yana_Agapova.

I did not push the guest to cancel it. I just offer her a credit note of 10% of her payment as appreciateion and refund the booking fee to her if she wants to cancel herself (i.e. full refund and she has nothing to lose). In the meantime, I told her I will keep looking for other host who can accommodate her group. She wants me to full refund her by bank transfer before her cancellation instead.

Cancellation is due to change of circumstances. I learn a mistake that NEVER use INSTANT BOOK function.

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I agree, Mamamia, that her requesting a full refund prior to canceling is odd - and you don’t have the ability to do anything with her money anyway - it would have to come from airbnb.

But I think, considering that you were canceling because you changed your plans, the polite thing would have been to cancel it yourself.

Thank you for your response. I do not want to cancel it myself for the time being because I don’t want any penalities and my plan has not been confirmed. I just let her know I may not be able to accommodate her group on New Year eve so I ask her if I can refer her to one of my friends who can accommodate them. I told her I am still looking for a better solution instead of cancellation myself.

Anyway, it is over but I am really not happy with the cancellation done by airbnb without my consent and grant me penalties.

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I guess you just gotta pay to play.

Accepting a reservation is serious business, and it is a business. Guests often spend a lot of time researching and planning before booking a room, and when we accept the reservation, we make a binding contract with them.

It’s not like making plans with friends and you keep the plans open until the pieces fall into place. This is the guest’s holiday or business trip, and they are planning ahead to make it a success. Most of us are very busy and would not have time for this 'well, maybe I can honor the contract, maybe I can’t, I don’t know, let me see what I can do". Now this guest is sitting there not knowing if they have a place to stay or not, or what you’re up to.

As hosts we have to be totally professional and that will often mean honoring commitments that we wish we hadn’t made.


Thanks for your reponse, Dcmooney. I absolutely agree with you. I learn a mistake that I should not have tried the INSTANT BOOK encouraged by airbnb. I will never use INSTANT BOOK function which caused me trouble for a booking I don’t want to accept. Cheers.

Accepting bookings is very different from a new host not realizing how punishing the Instant Book feature can be. Having a guest book over New Years for ONE night is one of the things that can happen, and clearly this is a bad situation for any host - guests going around snatching up major public holidays for just one night - usually young people looking for a party. Clearly a listing should (if open for this holiday) be looking to accept longer bookings, and this blip in the middle of the holiday will likely be a problem for that, as typically guests are hoping for at least two to three days over the New Years break.

As far as how much pain and heartache for the guest that booked her space for one night over New Years, this doesn’t really fit the description DC describes in my opinion. It’s hardly a long sought holiday or a business trip. She wasn’t left hanging for weeks, as the host got in touch immediately. In fact if anyone if anyone got the short end of the stick in this situation, as far as hardship goes, it is probably much more likely to be the host - in lost income because she could have booked a longer staying guest over the biggest holiday of the year instead. These exact scenarios are why I stopped using the feature so soon after using it - it attracted just the kind of bookings you’d never even want. I really feel for you being penalized in this instance. But, as you’ve learned, airbnb doesn’t care much about different scenarios, or different people. They have policies that can be interpreted differently depending on whoever you get that day, and not a lot of empathy between them. As it is, they lost another host using their much touted Instant Book, but it won’t count for much to them I’m sure.

I agree Mamammia. Lesson learned. Never use Instant Book. My friend that uses it is constantly trying to get his guests that have booked one night stays with him into our place last minute I don’t do one night stays, so he asks someone else.

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Thanks for your response, Sandy. Accepting one night booking on New Year eve is obviously unwise because of the reduction in income. The mistake I made is that I did not aware of INSTANT BOOK without setting the minimum stay could cause me so much troubles and headache.

Airbnb cancelled my booking without my consent while I was trying hard to solve the problem for my guest. Now then, I am very unhappy with the cancellation done by airbnb without my consent and grant me penalties.
Why am I deserved penalties when airbnb cancelled my booking without my consent?

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I know Mamamia. They can me rotten little so and so’s. Notoriously awful customer service. Clearly unfair.

I think they cancelled without your consent because your guest called and said you were reluctant to cancell yourself, which honestly this what you should be doing in a first place. I know it’s unfortunate that your plans changed, but it’s not the guests fault.
You said you offered her to find accomodation with your friends, but if it was me in her shoes I would not just stay in a people’s house that are not part of airbnb , and not verified. Safety goes both ways. Plus there are plenty of available listings that are official and verified on Airbnb.

You didnt want to loose fees money, but so did she. That would be nice for them to call you and verified the situation, but nothing would change anyway, right? You would cancell anyway, and the outcome would be the same.

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Sandy, so according to you this guest inconvinienced the host by making this 1 one day reservation??? Do she as a guest should be more considerate and not book New Year eve despite the fact that it was open for booking?

Read carefully what OP said herself that “Cancellation was due to change of circumstances”.

Host can not list her room and then start playing a game " may be I will rent it or may be not". It’s a bad business and if someone did it to me and after was not even willing to cancell trying to “help” me I would do exactly the same thing; call Aitbnb. Why does anyone even needs a help from individual host when there is s whole website with 100s if not 1000s of listings.

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Hi Sandy,

I would like to express my respect to you and really appreicate your fully understanding my situation. I am very frustrated because it is not the outcome I expected since it is my first time to use Instant Book function. I tried hard to help my guest for other accommodation instead of cancellation. One of my friends who is also a airbnb host might be able to accommodate her before airbnb cancelled it. I absolutely agree with you, 1 day on NYE is a real punishment as a host. Anyway, it is all over now and I have paid for my lesson. I have so much to learn as a host. Thanks so much for your time to response my case and sharing. Cheers.

Yana, I know it is my mistake that I should not have used Instant Book function. I offer my guest a full refund including all airbnb fees plus a compensation but she requested me to full refund by bank transfer before her cancellation. I do not feel comfortable with her request. I do not like to cancel any booking once I accept but this one is booked on 1 day on NYE through Instant Book which I cannot accept. Her booking was for my 2BR apartment, not a room. Thank you for your time.

I thought the issue was that you didn’t want to cancell because you were not sure about your plans and you did not want penalties?
Mamma Mia I am trying hard to understand : you are saying you offered her full refund. So the ideal situation for you would be if she cancelled herself right?
I this case she would loose her fees to Airbnb but she would get the rest of the money back . So, did you offered her to just wire the fees back from your own pocket?
The outcome is the same: you are loosing fees anyway wether you cancell or her. Did you mean by penalties your record?
May be that’s why she asked for upfront refund bcs you offered it to her this way?
I offered her full refund but I did not want to cancell myself . She would not get a full refund if she cancelled herself, she would only get it if you cancelled, but you didn’t want to do it.

This is how I see it Mamamia; you put Instant book without thinking that it can be reserved for just that 1 day. I understand its quite a bummer. … But the rules of the game is that you can take it back only by canceling booking yourself. And it comes with a few $ on your expense. I think its nothing comparing to how much you are loosing by keeping this reservation.
Now what you were trying to do is to make a guest cancell. You offered her full refund and I asked in previous post how exactly that would happen.
The guest is in a situation where she can’t have the appartments for which she already paid. She is dealing with a host who is refusing to cancell. She calls airbnb , tells them the story and I sm sure they heard these scenarios plenty, they cancell without asking you.
Now you are upset that they cancelled without consulting with you first. What would happen if the called prior ?
What would you say? Would you just agree to accept this terrible for you 1 day deal or would you insist on canceling? Or would you tell them about your IB misfortune?
It would not matter anyway. It was no one mistake but yours, and you are the only responsible party.

Or perhaps Yana, just perhaps, they could allow her the opportunity to help find a suitable airbnb for her guest as she had so kindly suggested. But that would take a bit of empathy for both parties, and an understanding that sometimes new hosts don’t realize how bad their policies and much touted systems such as Istant Book are for hosts. The unbelievable pushing to ‘ADD INSTANT BOOK NOW!’ Is relentless. A new host will never know the terrible consequences for themselves until stuck in an awful situation such as the one above. Of course there would have been a way to sort it out amicably ‘and between the guest and host’ as airbnb famously pushes hosts to do in other instances (but this is of course when THEY require help). The double standards are astounding.

May be they did asked the guest if she talked to a host. And then she told them that a host doesn’t want her reservation but at the same time doesn’t want to cancell. The guest obviously didn’t want any help from Mammamia to find her a new place, that’s her right just to go look somewhere else. That’s why when she saw they are going back and forth, she just called Aitbnb. I don’t really see what else could be done here?
They both tried, nothing worked out.
My friend also tried to refer her guest to me. Her guest called Airbnb and said that my friend is trying to make her cancell and my friend was in big trouble.

Also if a host didn’t want to keep my already paid reservation, I would not trust this host to find anything for me. This is s total stranger to me that already sort of screwed up. Why would I give another chance to someone not particularly reliable?
I had this happened to me couple times when I was told this apartment is not available but we have a different for you. I don’t want different, I spent all this time calculating distance, searching for certain things that are important to me and now you are offering me something else. I refused, and the hosts cancelled immediately without me having to call Airbnb