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Cancellation Due To Death?

This was a first for me. We received a request several weeks ago from someone who wanted to book a discreet, private weekend visit to our farm with a companion. They didn’t want to use a credit card, or book through Airbnb and wanted to pay cash upon arrival. I said no way, and insisted the guest use Airbnb, or VRBO if they were uncomfortable with all the verification. (the guests found us and looked us up to contact us via our website).

Eventually the guest had his companion register on Air and push through the reservation which I gladly accepted. The reservation is for the second weekend of August, but I received an email from the original person who had been emailing me saying that there was a death in his traveling companions family and they won’t be able to make it. He asked that I personally cancel the reservation because he can’t fathom asking his companion to do so because of the family death, and that they didn’t want to pay the 50% due to the moderate cancellation policy.

I said I was willing to refund in full of course, however, I was not willing to cancel the reservation myself and that it must be done from within the companions account or by speaking with Airbnb. I asked that it be done immediately so that I can re-book the weekend.

I never heard anything back in response, so I called Air today and they said that they will try to reach out to the guest and push the cancellation through, and that it wouldn’t hurt my metrics, but that they would need to speak with the account holder first.

What happens if they can’t reach her? I will not be able to refund them if I cannot have at least 2 weeks to find another guest. I feel bad of course, but I can’t lose an entire summer weekend.


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Have you heard of Air’s “extenuating circumstances” policy? You need to google that now if you are not familiar with it. You may end up getting nothing at all, depending if the whole death in the family is brought up…and if they produce documentation. From other posters it seems Air does not question the documentation that is submitted, as they don’t want to hurt the guest’s feelings.

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I have heard of it, however, I am offering them a full refund already. I was just hoping Air would help me out and cancel the reservation. I really hope they can contact the guest.

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I see.

But you have moderate cancellation policy? Guest can get a full refund 5 days before arrival. Are you sure you don’t have strict?

It sounds like your guest’s spouse found out about the affair. If it were me, I would tell them to deal with Airbnb.


Haha @ EllenN. I would never assume something like that and they were very nice people, but its none of my business if its an affair.

The guest wants a “discreet, private” getaway and wants to pay cash, then suddenly wants to cancel. It’s not a stretch to think the guest is having an affair. To be clear, I’m not judging that they’re having an affair. The only person I would judge for having an affair is my husband. What I’m saying is that they should not be able to cancel with a full refund by saying that there is a death in the family.

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I agree… however, they were both older people in their 60’s and I don’t want to judge them. Also, if it was an affair then I would imagine it would be much easier for myself and Air to get in touch with them so they can cancel.

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These kind of requests are red flags to begin with. I don’t care what other people do in their private lives but I don’t need to be a party to it. Things like this can get ugly. They should have booked a regular hotel where this goes on all the time for mr & Mrs smith!


You are correct. My internal radar is usually good at keeping away things I would rather not deal with. In this situation I just based my decision to accept it based off of the conversations I had with them and felt that I would be comfortable having them here. I am a private person myself so I respect the privacy of others.

I hope I am not being taken advantage of here and being lied to. What a horrible lie if that is the case, but at this point I am just hoping for a cancellation so I can move on.


You are a very good kind person @LegendsCreek! No good deed goes unpunished as they say. So next time you’ll know better!

Thank you! I actually had the conversation with my husband about how the request for discreet was strange. I probably shouldn’t have accepted it to begin with and next time I will certainly deny requests like these.

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That’s totally what I thought too…

The No Tell Motel! :smile:

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Well after you get a few of these fishy “deaths” you will become jaded like us. :slight_smile:
Guests can and do lie about this because they hope to play on your sympathies, wanting you to take the fall because they found another place to stay. Just don’t.

If they don’t cancel and don’t show, you get to keep the money. So cancelling is on them. Is your policy strict? It should be!


I strongly agree. This business is all about watching out for red flags and running screaming in the other direction. Assuming you can afford to, of course. Sometimes one might need the money.


Haha!! I like the “no tell motel”. I was able to get airbnb to cancel the reservation and now I hope I am able to book it again in time. I did some further research and found that the guest was telling the truth about why they needed to cancel so I am glad I made the right choice. After talking about it again with my husband this morning, we would accept the reservation again from these people. What people do in their own lives is none of our business. As long as they pay, follow the rules, don’t do anything illegal, and are nice people then I don’t mind them visiting my farm.


Technically adultery is illegal in NY and RI. But I’d be more worried about a spousal confrontation which could turn dangerous. I wouldn’t want the responsibility, no moral judgement here.

You have time to get another guest.
I got a cancellation today, for this weekend :slight_smile: like 3 hours before guest’s arrival. Ok, I gave money back in full.
Reason was a medical emergency.

Speaking of the ‘No Tell Motel’, if I am asked to role-play, with a straight face, one more time when a 50+ year-old guy smelling of money, insisting on paying cash upon arrival, showing up with his 20-year old ‘wife’, I think I am going to laugh in his face.

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