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Guest gets full refund for strict cancellation policy listing with just 12 hours' notice!



I just had a guest with poor communication (generally, not because his first language is Turkish). He asked loads of daft questions on the app about buses into the early hours of the morning, I just repeated the answer 4 times then said I wanted to go to sleep (he was elsewhere in the UK so no time zone problems). He then accused me of being rude and asked me to cancel the reservation, because if he cancelled it he would lose his money. I asked him to, since he was the one who wanted to! (Obviously why should I lose the money and lose host reliability statistics?!) So it seems he can’t suss out a bus but knows how to play the system … Unbelievably Airbnb let him get away with it and I have lost my money for the week. What on earth is wrong with Airbnb?


oh, that sucks



Outrageous. I would try them on social media.

If they want to refund him up to them, but you shouldn’t be out of pocket.

How was he able to get a refund - did they quote in what way this was an extenuating circumstance?

Unless you agreed to a full refund, I can’t understand how this happened


I know, I was horrified on the phone to Air and got it escalated to a manager. His line to Airbnb was that I was rude about the bus thing (the fourth time I repeated the information I reminded him I did want to get to sleep as it was 1am) and he didn’t feel comfortable staying with me. Airbnb rule that where there is a ‘personality conflict’ etc. they do not disadvantage either party. Trouble is I am disadvantaged - lost a week of money and still got bills to pay. To me it was a clear case of him breaching guidelines by trying to manipulate the host to cancel for him so he evades all responsibility. In my opinion he should be kicked off Air for that! I think I would have been better off not trying to help him at all (just refer him to my directions already on the listing), and not bothering to contact Air, then he would have had to cancel rather than Air cancelling it for us. I need to hold my nerve and sit things out. Trouble is my instinct is to get everything sorted and harmonious!


So you gave him the information four times then told him you needed to get to sleep at 1.00 a.m. and they say that translates as you being rude.

He clearly knew how to scam.

There is nothing rude in what you did, and I would push for them not you to pay.

I don’t see how this is a personality conflict. They wouldn’t have let you cancel in these circumstances I bet.


I honestly pushed things as far as they could go, 3 phone calls and a manager. They have all the conversation with the guest on the app, but say they will not adjudicate as to whether I was rude or not (not!). They made no comment about the guest trying to manipulate the host to cancel. They say it has to come down to whether the guest feels confortable or whether they feel they have reasons. On that basis we hosts are in a very vulnerable position indeed. For all I know the guest could have made the whole bus routes at 1am thing up in order to wind me up and get a free cancellation. We have to think of defensive tactics to protect ourselves. I think my earlier idea about keeping help briefer (‘check my directions and on Google then get back to me tomorrow’) keeps us safe because they cannot construe a personal conversation from that. Sad but necessary. Also don’t try to help sort the situation - leave it til the last minute so the guest will have to cancel rather than Air doing it. It goes against the grain for me to not help people, but that is what Air is driving me to.


How frustrating for you.

Surely they are adjudicating for saying the guest gets a complete refund.

If a guest only had to say they were uncomfortable to get out of a booking, thousands more would do this every day.

They are not being equitable you lose your booking with little chance of a replacement.

Personally I would pursue it because they are not being equitable. Or get them to push you to the top of the rankings so you are likely to get another booking (I know they can do this).

However I can understand if you have had enough.


I wish I could push things more, it really seems to land on deaf ears and I don’t know what to do. In my mind that’s categorically MY money! If Air feel like giving him a refund it should be from their very rich pockets! Yes I think Air is adopting a customer is always right posture, trouble is they are not, and we are often doing Air in our own homes, so guests need to be accountable too.


This. You have no obligation to be available 24/7 for a guest who hasn’t arrived. I would have answered once and then ignored further messages from him until 7 am the next morning. Then I would have said “sorry I didn’t see your messages last night as I had retired for the evening.” Then pasted in the information I had previously given him. Or said something like “I don’t understand your question.”

Hindsight is 20/20 but I wouldn’t have admitted that I was purposely refusing to further answer regardless of the cause.


Yes I can see the logic of what you are saying. I genuinely wanted to help him with his comprehension problem and have been punished severely for it. The bottom line is Google maps make a bus journey like the one in question a ridiculously easy walk in the park. I am not happy with Airs decision to take my money, whatever microscopic errors I made it was unreasonable and unbalanced.


K9 is probably right. In the future, just turn your phone off and don’t answer anything until the morning.


@KKC I agree, that is what I have done.

Now AirBnB hold hosts to a much higher standard that themselves so still possible the same result would have happened.

For the umpteenth time all I can say is that you should never assume ABB will uphold you cancellation conditions.


No good deed goes unpunished!


If you really wanted to make a stink, this does sound like a story that some journalists, maybe particularly local ones, might be into. And you can also post it all over social media. But there are downsides to that move.

Airbnb has pissed me off so thoroughly that I have a very hard time being civil with them lately, so I understand your pain.


You would have to be ready for them to delist you.


Yeaaaaaaa, sounds on par with what I’ve been experiencing lately. Also, their new full refund before 48 hours on strict cancellation policy thing??? What about instant booking for last minute guests? I don’t think their team really thought that one through.


It only applies 14 days before the stay begins.


I’m not sure it would be of interest to local media as it doesn’t have elements that make for a good human interest story.

Hosts having their placed trashed by partygoers, neighbours upset by hosts who let noisy guests party in their listings, a guest being discriminated against because they are black - is likely to excite their interest.

Airbnb not enforcing a host’s cancellation policy isn’t likely to excite them.

(I say this as a former local journo).


Yes likely just to get me delisted and not change anything. A more far reaching expose of Airbnb profiteering/exploiting hosts might.


As I understand it the new policy means there is a cooling off period of 48 hours after booking to allow booking of flights etc… Thereafter normal cancellation policies apply, such as they are.

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