Consequences for writing a bad review?

Thank you. I will stick to this.

I agree with you. I was rationalizing what I did… the fact is I care more about getting a guest for Christmas who won’t cause drama, and who will pay me well. If they leave me a good review or not, I don’t care. I reduce my rates in the low season and offer one-night stays to pad my reviews. So I’m insured against an occasional bad review. That’s why I did not offer a refund to this guest even though I knew there was a possibility of a bad review. Luckily for me, she did not leave a review and I left a review at the last minute.

I’m more interested in learning from this experience, which I have by posting here and reading the responses.


True true true true to 20

Don’t worry about her review because most people read bad reviews and realize what a toxic complaining person they are to leave a bad review. I think ABB has record of everything but they deal with so many hosts and guests so it’s not like anything will stick out since you’ve done nothing wrong. The guest did, by not complying with what she agreed to at booking. We have our rules up front for a reason. Guests book based on our understandings and agreement to the rules “we” set.


Penalize you for what? I don’t understand your anxiety about this.

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Possibly but not likely. ABB would likely have easily gotten her to book another listing on the platform.l, if they were even willing to refund their fees to begin with.

Guest probably complained to abb about me. I might be overthinking this as this is only the 2nd bad review I have submitted after hosting 300 guests.

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So she complained to Airbnb. If she complained about not getting a refund, or the review, so what, that won’t affect you in any way. If she makes something up about how your place isn’t safe, or had bedbugs, etc, that would be a different story.


Yes, you are. And even if they complained it won’t matter.


Move on. Take the suggestions you find useful from this thread and apply them to any similar situation that arises in the future.


NO. You worry too much. They are too busy to notice. You are one of millions of hosts. They are not going to waste time noticing the timing of your review as long as you posted it by the deadline.

Please, for your own health, stop worrying about this truly minor issue.

Once it’s over, it’s over. Next guest…


I’ve never seen this countdown on my phone or iPad. Is it on the desktop version only?

Yes, you shouldn’t have but not because of any potential negative outcome or penalty for you.

Your guest did what many parties to a contract do when faced with a change in circumstances between the time the arrangement was entered into and delivery of the product/service. She tried to negotiate cancellation of the agreement on better terms for herself.

You did what you should have done and insisted that she abide by the terms of the contract. I would have done that. I would, however, have waited in trepidation for the review.

I would have breathed a sigh of relief at 5 minutes to midnight on the 14th day and either left a 5 star for everything or no review at all. In my view, future hosts will not benefit from your rating and review of this guest.


I appreciate your point of view and feedback.

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Did she tell you her problems when wanting to cancel or in response to your review of her?
It would have been helpful for you if she had.
She was lucky to get another flight. I would’ve wondered if the original one had really been cancelled too.

Exactly this. You’re in the hospitality business @house_plants so yes, you have to deal with all sorts of different people.

I might have missed it, but why did you argue for hours? If an awkward guest is calling you, block their number. Ignore texts or messages from the Airbnb system.

You can’t expect a guest to be concerned about your cash flow problems. If the cancellation of a 7-night stay is going to cause you hardship, then maybe you can start from scratch with your accountant. It may well be that you are seriously undercharging.

Be aware too that many of us don’t pay cleaning crews, ‘greeters’ (does that mean co-hosts?) and maintenance people. We do the work ourselves. Are you running at very slim margins because of the people you employ?

Personally, I have given Covid related refunds because we are not in a normal world at this time. If I had booked a rental, then cancelled because of rising numbers of cases in that area, then I would expect a refund, quite honestly. We all have to take care of each other in today’s world.

I’m not an old hippie or anything banging on about karma but there are a lot of sites on the internet (like Next Door sites) berating businesses who have been unsympathetic or uncaring during the pandemic. I’d prefer not to be one of them.


I see the countdown on both, I have the android version of the app. The expiry is exactly 14x24h from the time of email, so it is easy to setup the alarm minute before posting a review, just have it prepared to copy paste.

Yes. I understand that the guests are not concerned about my cash flow or my terms.

I don’t have any cash flow issues because I set my rates carefully, and I don’t offer refunds. If someone who is not vaccinated or is in poor health or worried about covid books a non-refundable rate, I don’t see any reason to offer refunds if they decide not to travel a day before check-in. They should not have booked the trip in the first place or booked a refundable rate on for 2x what I charge.

As you said, guests don’t care about my cash flow issues. Guests are not interested in taking care of my cleaning crews and maintenance people. And I’m not interested in their issues either. For me, it’s a one-time transaction. It takes a long flight to get to my studio, so only 10% of my guests come back. I give them what I offered in the listing and get five-star reviews 95% of the time. We part ways happily.

Covid is no longer an unforeseeable situation. If you booked a refundable rate, you can expect a refund. Otherwise, I will enforce the no-refund terms like I did this time.


I hear your pain, after 12 years of hosting people from all over the world, I’ve been able to see a pattern. I roll with the punches but have decided, after staying in an Air B and B in NZ that we didn’t enjoy, that No reviews are better. That house had enough ‘read between the lines’ reviews for our liking. He gave us a great review. In recent times, I’ve decided to let the bad guests go as they have only offended me, so other hosts might not find their behaviour a problem. Our space is above our house, so it brings its own set of ‘issues’. The last set of ‘tradies’ (4 x20 year olds) came with all the correct gut feelings that they were going to be annoying!! For the sake of the money, i welcomed them in but they treated the place like a shopping centre food court!! On departure, nothing was broken or damaged and that’s the best outcome i could have. I didnt leave a review, nor did they. This is their Karama, as i was hesitant not to book them due to them not having any reviews, even thought he said he’d just spend a couple of weeks in a out of town b and b. The NO review can speak louder than words… I do enjoy the non emotional chance to respond to bad reviews (only had a couple due to ‘expectations’.) So, I now write after their request to book. “Please read our full description so there are no surprises”… this puts any real issues back on them.
As for refunds, im really flexible as I hate being ripped off. But, with my business I can as its a hobby. If i was in your situation , I would have stood by the booking cancellation rule. Maybe put in your listing something like, " Due to our holiday home being on a island, please be aware that we are unable to accept cancellations 2 weeks before arrival". Up front warnings are good. I’ve had to do this in regards my steps. Had a number of cancellations as they didn’t see the small print regarding the stair entry for older guests. Don’t let the review bring you down. I know it can play on your mind. Learn from it. Let steam off BEFORE you write a review and always think how will what i write actually harm me, not them. Im a passionate honest person and cant handle being taken advantage of! The landscape of hosting had changed from the ‘good old days’ of its beginnings!!


very well said. Writing a bad review (or even a good one) doesn’t make me any money. Earlier I would not write any reviews as it doesn’t benefit me but after joining this forum I realized that it is my duty to write reviews.

Yes, the landscape of Airbnb has certainly changed from when I started using it in 2010. 10% of the problem guests have spoiled it for the other 90% great guests.

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Thanks so much. I’ve never seen it. I’ll definitely look for it now.