Difficult guest requested a refund

We had a guest who is also a superhost who stayed at our house for a week. When he checked in, he complemented the house but complained about cleanliness. Since we live in a different state and count on our cleaning crew, I offered a $300 cleaning fee refund immediately . I also asked him if there was anything else that I could do. He complained the next morning that some of the door locks didn’t work. We have 11 doors in our oceanfront house. The salt eats the door mechanisms so fast, it’s difficult to keep up. We were aware of one door and had a sign up “do not use.” Another door was a new failure but it was upstairs, leading to the balcony (no access). The guest declared that he did not feel safe. I apologized and offered to allow them to check out without penalty since they did not feel safe and the locksmith would take at least one day to show up (small town.) He did not comment but stayed. We sent a locksmith who watched our guest kick the downstairs door in demonstration how the door does not open with a “do not use” sign on. He kicked it until it opened. Then he complained that there was rust on outdoor furniture, we ordered new furniture and sent our house manager to replace it. He was happy but as soon as she left he emailed me that there weren’t enough butter knives and no “beef” knives. I asked our housekeeper to count butter knives after he left, we had 12 (there’s was a party of 6.)
They requested a refund after they checked out on top of the $300 cleaning fee refund. Airbnb claims that we have violated some Airbnb hosting standards.
This was the first guest out of 100+ who found so many issues. He was right, the furniture was rusty, but we replaced everything immediately and tried to resolve every issue as quickly as possible. I don’t want to refund anything. That was a guest from hell. I wouldn’t wish him upon anyone. Help?


Don’t refund anything. Let Airbnb sort it out. Sounds like the guest is just using the system to get free stays.


Persnickety guests who look for every little thing to fuss over are always trouble IMO, do not cave to the demands of guests like that. When they start asking for money after the stay is done, that’s where I draw the line. Just take the bad review (they will ultimately leave one no matter what) and reply to it explaining how they already had a refund and still gave you trouble.

I wouldn’t have refunded their cleaning fee either. That pays for you to clean up after them.


It’s really hard to gauge this without seeing photos of the cleanliness, rust, etc. It certainly could be a guest that knows how to game the system. However, if you’re charging a premium rate and your listing has photos of a sparkling clean house, new patio furniture, etc. Then you should ask yourself if you’re really giving guests what they think they are paying for.


Airbnb says that hosts should have the opportunity to make things right and you did that and beyond. This host know the game. You should say no. respectfully.


I guess I have a dark side but I would stay in his Airbnb and give him a taste of his own behavior!


I feel for you having to deal with this guest.

The salt air will rust anything and quickly! Dear friends are fortunate to own a wonderful ocean front home. Last year a hurricane did tremendous damage. The big marvelous window facing the ocean must be replaced every few years due to the constant breeze off the ocean picking up sand and slowly sand blasting the windows, making them almost opaque. Beachfront property is difficult to maintain so do the best you can and don’t worry about this guest. People unfamiliar with it, just don’t understand.

He also doesn’t understand about “reaping what he sows”. I guarantee he will have a guest soon who is just as spiteful & difficult.


Yes, time wounds all heels!


About refunding the cleaning fee… Do what your conscious tells you, just be aware Airbnb has a suggested refund/discount schedule. Other hosts have mentioned it on this site but I didn’t put it together until today.

Recently, I contacted Airbnb when the guest reported a problem. Contacting Airbnb first, helped me to control the situation. Per the CS Rep, the most refund they recommend for the lack of an amenity is 50% for EACH NIGHT without the listed amenity; and depending 25% may be the appropriate.

The Airbnb rep handled communicating with the guest, explained how the discount was determined, and did not award any additional discount when it was requested.


Thank you for this! This is our new favourite inside joke! Our wounds are already heeler!

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Thanks! It’s so true! We replaced an outside umbrella bought 2 months ago just so the “guest from hell” would stop complaining. When we bought the house, the maintenance guy told us that the average time buyers hold onto their oceanfront property is 2 years–maintenance is incredibly expensive.

I am wondering if a lot of guests have seen “Something’s Gotta Give,” starring Nicholson, Keaton and a Hamptons beach house (< the real star). I think that movie gave people an unrealistic notion that it is somehow effortless to keep up a gorgeous home on the water.

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We aren’t quite oceanfront - but we’re a quarter-mile from it and in the rainforest in the Caribbean. Yes, maintenance is a never-ending job! The only way we’ve found to avoid replacing everything within a year or two is to buy really high-quality items designed to last (read expensive). Teak or ipe furniture to stand up to the sun and rain. Genuine sunbrella cushions - no discount cushions from Home Depot. Everything has to be stainless steel or a composite (like StoneStrong). Yes, it’s a challenge but we wouldn’t trade it for anything!


Valid thought…also shows (that I like) like “Beachfront Bargain Hunt”, “Bahamas Life”, “Beach Hunters”, and “Beachfront Bargain Hunt Renovations” where the focus & joy is in purchasing the home. No one EVER talks about or plans for what it will take to keep it looking nice.

A woman overheard me asking my hairdresser if she was looking forward to her beach trip. The woman chimes in, “We just sold our beach place. I’m thrilled. We thought we could enjoy it and rent it out to help pay bills. We never got to relax. Every time we were there we were repairing, painting or replacing. I’m looking forward to actually taking a vacation”. You know, she was right.


Sounds like what boat owners learn, “A boat is a hole in the water you pour money into.”


I’ll pay this one! Brilliant!

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Sound like people who know how to work the system. Demand AirBnB work it out. But unfortunately they ALWAYS err on the side of the guest.

How do you not refund anything. When I did that Airbnb just with held paying out in my next guest. I had solid high 4 and 5 star reviews and they still sided with guest and refunded her money

@AndreaB , I think that was @Brandt 's point. Airbnb will sort it out and if they decide to issue a refund, they will withhold the amount from your next payout. The reason not to issue refunds yourself are many, but most importantly is that Airbnb may side against the guest and recommend a lower refund amount or none at all. It also allows Airbnb to keep tabs on guests that are constantly requesting refunds.

My thoughts exactly. I’d do that too.