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So I woke up to a barrage of messages from my guest who booked this past Friday for today, Sunday. His girlfriend is sick and he wants to cancel, his girlfriend is not on the reservation. So he starts messaging at 930 last night asking can he cancel, she is sick he has to take care of her. At 1030 CS emails saying he wants to add her to the reservation. So clearly they told him he cannot cancel under EC because she is not on the reservation then messaged on his behalf to add her. So they are trying to help him manipulate the system to cancel. No.
I messaged him back saying I am sorry she is sick, that I cannot cancel for him and suggested he check with his credit card company about trip insurance.
I had something along these lines in December - guest tied up my calendar for a year then wanted to cancel bc he “didn’t want to make the drive with his kids”. I told the guest and ABB that I would not refund, but I would refund if I rebooked. I didn’t rebook on such short notice but noticed that my 50% payout never came thru. ABB refunded them - completely! - under EC!! With NO notice to me.
I called, tweeted, FB’d, emailed and basically raised holy hell. It was a fight but they made things right.
Just an FYI, RR - keep an eye out to make sure you get paid.
This was my response to the cs agent this morning who tried to get me to change the reservation:
"It looks like you are working against me here, trying to get me to add the extra guest so they then will be able to cancel penalty free. You can pay me and allow the guest to cancel but I do not appreciate the inherent dishonesty of AirBnb in this situation.
This is outrageous that you would team up against me with this guest in trying to circumvent my cancellation policy."
I would feel more generous towards the guest if not for the way Air is handling this. I will message guest and tell him if he is unable to get refunded that I will give him a 2nd night free in the future.
I’d like to suggest that the CS isn’t coaching or manipulating. The guest called airbnb and told them their sob story. CS said “sorry, but that’s not covered you didn’t even put your gf on the reservation.” So he says “what? No, she’s on the reservation! She’s not? Well I meant to put her on. Call the host and ask him to put her on the reservation!” What is the CS supposed to say “no, you call him.” Sure that’s what we would like but remember the guest is the one whose money is in Air’s hands and the guest is the one on the phone.
Following your own advice about playing your cards close to the vest (like in being nice to a guest to their face until you get your review from them) I wouldn’t have worded it this way. More flies with honey and all that.
I expect that given your lack of issues and the revenue you bring in, you’ll ultimately get your money. I’m just suggesting that you shouldn’t have disclosed your opinion about Air’s handling of the situation to them yet. Wait until you get your money.
Somewhat off topic: I’ve been planning a trip to New Zealand for months. My trip insurance doesn’t cover my friends in New Zealand suddenly being unemployed. They may not even be there when I go as they are desperate to find jobs and that includes overseas. Travel is risky.
You are right @KKC I should probably have not sent that message.
Update . Just off the phone with CS and they tried to get me to refund of course. I said no and reiterated what I told the guest on the message thread.
I said I would discount tonight and refund what I make if I get a reservation, and that if I do not book tonight that I would give the guest a second day free on a future reservation. I told the guest not to instant book and to message me first and I will send a special offer with the discount. The CS agent asked at least 3 times would I give money back on the current reservation. The reservation was cancelled by Air on behalf of the guest.
I think this will have the added benefit of not getting a bad review as the guest indicated he would take me up on the offer if unable to get refunded by air, I asked the CS agent would the guest be able to review me and of course he will because it is day of. The case manager told me that since he did not stay that the review had to be relevant or it could be removed. Whatever that means I guess. I could see a guest pissed off they did not stay and giving a poor review and them saying it was relevant because he complained about not getting a refund. We shall see, I am hoping I do not need to deal with it.
Just guessing here but when I’ve had a similar situation, the guest has said ‘pleasant to deal with’ or accommodating’ or ‘understanding our difficulty when we cancelled’. It would be nice to think that anything other than that wouldn’t be relevant.
I told the CS agent on the first ask that no I was not going to be the travel insurance for this guest and that I have already offered a generous solution.
That did not stop her from asking twice again. The follow up email was a bit mixed, but pretty much asked again:
“With the refund of the guest, per our previous conversation we still uphold your cancellation policy so it is okay not to refund them or it is your prerogative if you are willing to just let us know.”
I feel good about my solution, I do not act as TI for guest, and only because the sick traveler was not on reservation, and I offer to refund what I can (and when i get paid) for a possible reservation tonight or they get a second night free coming up. I hopefully avoid any review issues by dangling the carrot of a comp night in the future.
So this makes me even less worried about the single guest who says we in a message, keep the reservation as is and reduce the EC exposure by half.
I had a similar EC situation last Summer. The guest did book for 2 people. And during him trying to cancel, he added his girlfriend to the reservation. And then he went for the EC. However, the girlfriend wasn’t sick. Her grandmother was sick. And the grandmother was certainly not one of the “traveling party”. I also went back and forth with CS and they were hassling me to refund the guest but then sent a message like the one you got. In the message, it actually said that the guest didn’t qualify for EC, etc.
However, 14-days later, they withdrew the amount of his cancellation from my payouts and refunded him anyways, without any notice to me. Urgh.
I now know to offer something, like you did, as I think it helps somehow - not only with the guest but also with CS. Though I do resent the manipulation
And do not add the extra guests as it increases your risk. I see no upside to accepting a reservation alteration. Change dates? they can cancel without penalty. Add people? It increases my exposure to EC.
Interestingly, when Airbnb called me asking me to rehome a family, they mentioned on the phone that I was a “great host! You’ve never had to call us before!” So in case anyone was wondering, they absolutely know if you have to call in to CS frequently and they keep track of that.
I think I have only called in as a guest, I have been called, called back but cannot think of when I had to call them as a host. Yes they keep track of everything and mash it through the algorithm machine to calculate risk. Too bad they do not use that for creating a travel insurance product.
I didn’t accept a reservation alteration. He originally booked for “2 guests”. He only added the girlfriend to the guest list under “2 guests”, e.g. connected to her profile. He didn’t need my acceptance to do that. It’s weird anyways because the girlfriend wasn’t sick and the grandmother wasn’t dead. It technically did not qualify. He pestered them enough that they gave in - after I was told it was settled.
It won’t matter either way. If they want to refund for EC, they will. In my case, no one in the traveling party was sick and no relatives were dead. He and the girlfriend really didn’t qualify for EC but they refunded him out of my money anyways.
I wonder if their software and algorithms make distinctions as far as the reasons that hosts have contacted CS. For instance, would they count differently if a host had a lot of damage claim contacts, or wanting to cancel a booking or boot out an obnoxious guest, as opposed to contact about a tech glitch on their account?
Can they look at their computer screen and think “Ah, here she is again, complaining about yet another guest not following her house rules”?
BTW, in three years of hosting, I’ve only called Airbnb once, when I first listed, about something I didn’t understand how to do. All other contacts have been done through messaging, as none of the issues were super urgent.
And, FWIW, I think they kept track of dicking me over on that EC case. Not long after, I had a real issue with some guests and they fell all over themselves helping me. I had top people in 3 different departments contacting me and helping. They even checked in after it was all over to make sure “I wasn’t stressed out”. Lol. Whoever picked up the EC case handled it inappropriately and I believe that those things are, at least sometimes, reviewed later. I think they added some “credit” to my file for it. I also think it helps to have Superho and a high rating too.
I did contest. And I won…And then they reversed it 2 weeks later behind my back. And I contested again but I lost.
I understand this
I contested and contested, and, yes, I asked for a supervisor but I was shut-out and told the decision was final, blah, blah, blah. (Even though I was told the decision was final the first time too, when he didn’t get a refund).
Here is one of the many ‘handouts’ I prepared and sent to the case manager:
So, I understand and I really really tried. However, I ultimately lost this payout. And the guest in question was certainly full of BS anyways as I checked his profile a couple of weeks later and they had stayed in a different city during that time…it was a total scam because they had a change of plans (e.g. I am confident that not even a grandmother was ill).
But, as I said, I had a wholly more difficult situation right after this and was treated exceptionally well. There was a quick mention of this “recent issue” during that ordeal and that’s why I think it was somehow reviewed at a later time. I didn’t get my payout back but the larger issue was dealt with beyond my expectations and so I let it go - picking my battles and all