Cancellation by Clever Guest

Clever Guest! He cancelled his reservation and realized that with my strict cancellation policy that he would not get a full refund. So he altered the dates. I received and accepted the date change request. He then cancelled the reservation with the new dates within 24 hours. Was refunded in full by airbnb.


Yes, we’ve posted here about that many times. That’s one of the many benefits of being an active reader of Airbnb forums.


This plan of attack is all over the Internet on how to get a full refund from Airbnb. The new dates resets the the timeline. You need to be very very wary when you get these requests.


This is one reason I do not accept reservation changes. I just say no, I am sorry our policy does not allow for changes to a confirmed reservation.



Sorry you got hit by this - it is a pretty well-known scam. I’m sure Air is well-aware of it and could care less since it is very guest-centric.
As others have noted, this is why we would never accept changes, unless they are well-outside a cancellation window.


I wonder when you accept the reservation if you could state that the new dates would be non-refundable. They can fight it successfully, but a few might think it’s enforceable and save you a few bucks. Not sure if Airbnb would scold you.

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Not a clever guest at all. This ‘hack’ (ha) is all over the internet. As @KKC says, that’s just one good reason why hosts should be reading this forum.


I have been reading this forum for four months but have never seen this “hack”. Perhaps there are other hosts out there that should know about it. No harm done in my case because I was able to rebook the original cancellation and the altered date cancellation was many months away so it will rebook soon. But what if the guest altered their reservation date but just a couple of days and then cancelled in 24 hours to avoid airbnb fees? Do we as hosts just say no to alteration requests when they are a few days or a week away? Does airbnb have any solution to protect guests from this scam?


Yes, if you have a strict cancellation policy. If you are confident you can rebook dates just a few days away, then maybe you should just consider a more lenient policy - it will be attractive to more guests and you might be able to charge more.

Of course, you are always free to do what you want. If the guest claims they had a death in the family and you believe them, you can accept their request.

Here’s an example from March 2012.

Today I got an email from a hotel group I’ve stayed with in NYC before. In addition to price promotion offered they offered “free” 2 pm check out and free cancellation. I didn’t click to see the specifics but the last two hotels I’ve stayed in or booked with in the last two years have free cancellation up to 24 hours before the stay which is the same as Airbnb flexible.

Airbnb hosts with a strict policy might not be doing themselves any favors.


I agree. I’ve had flexible for years. For the first month or so using Airbnb I used strict but soon went onto flexible.

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I’ve always used moderate and I would use my discretion as far as refunding guests in full if they cancelled less than 5 days out.

I didn’t want to go with flexible because I would be bummed if I spent the hour and a half it takes me to clean, only for the guest to cancel last minute. I don’t get last minute new bookings that could fill the cancelled dates.

And I never considered using strict because I wouldn’t want that as a guest myself, nor would I want to have to deal with messages from irate guests telling me I’m greedy for keeping 50% of their money, which I know happens to hosts sometimes, or making up stories to tell Airbnb in order to get refunded.


The reason I go with strict is because guests book in January for 1 week stays June to August; their teens compete at the baseball dream parks in Cooperstown. Also for the Hall of Fame induction (cancelled again this year) If a guest cancels at the last minute, it is hard for me to rebook because most people have made arrangements already. I may get two or three days. If a guest cancels - I always refund them in full if I am able to rebook. I will revisit a less strict policy to see if it could work for me.


Every area, every host and every group of guests differ. My rentals are very unlike yours and it’s up to hosts to choose what suits them and their own situation.

I’ve not yet had a problem filling cancelled space but realise that not all hosts have the same facilities to do so. For me cancellations have always been for stays several months hence so filling the dates hasn’t been a problem.

The great thing is that you can change your policy at any time in the listing settings so you can experiment a bit.

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AirBnB is not in the business of protecting hosts. It’s in the business of giving you a platform (for fees) to market your listing, book your listing, and get paid.

I switch back and forth on cancellation policies. Moderate seems to work best.

I don’t mind the cleaning, I mind that, like you I’m an in-home host, and it’s not easy to fill those dates at the last minure.

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I don’t mind cleaning, I mind that that cleaning time would go to waste, because like you, I don’t get short notice bookings.

The cleaning would go to waste if I didn’t have another booking for a week, because of where I live in the tropics. Between the gecko poop, the dead bugs, and the dust that quickly accumulates, I’d just have to do it all over again.

If I still lived in Canada, I would just think, great, I’ve already got the cleaning done for next week’s booking, because it would basically stay clean aside from a quick dusting.

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Soooooo smart!!! Hahaha

I’m just wondering if your place has a baseball theme?

Nope. We are happily 40 minutes from Cooperstown so we get the leftover business. There isn’t a hotel room or airbnb to be had in the summer. People move out of their homes and live in campers in the back yard so they can rent out to baseball people. During Hall of Fame induction in mid July (cancelled again this year) we don’t go near any towns. It’s too crazy.