I am submitting my experience for anyone’s review and to mostly share what I feel has been an alarming experience for others to be aware of.
Guest X instant books room for Oct22-28 for 2 people. I am contacted by Guest X through whatsapp that they will arrive around 10pm (check-in hours are 3pm-9pm). I respond to guest that it is in house rules to send all messages through Airbnb and as listed in house rules, late arrivals from 9pm-11pm are $25 late fee and $75 for after 11pm arrival. Guest X replies that Airbnb has locked out their account and they are not able to access the messages. I reply that I understand that Airbnb does have (in my experience) consistent problems with messaging service and if it is their only possible way to communicate then I will accept it but prefer everyone to correspond through Airbnb. I later receive a reply that they solved the connection problem and will respond through Aribnb. On the arrival day I receive messages through whatsapp, not Airbnb, notifying me that they will now arrive around 11pm.
Guest X arrives with boyfriend after 11pm, where I greet them and I give keys and tour of home as I do for everyone and then invite them to make themselves at home, let me know if they need anything, and promptly excuse myself to go to sleep since I must wake up at 4am for work. They spoke perfect English and appeared to understand everything I said.
I send a message to Guests the following day requesting the late fee through Airbnb. Guest responds asking to pay only $25, stating that they don’t understand English so well. I reply that they arrived after 11pm, I waited up for them and it is not fair to all other guests who have complied with late fees so that it is only fair to pay the $75 fee, as listed in house rules. I return home from work and while in the kitchen I hear guests call my name to which I respond to while making a cup of tea, while they are getting their things together to depart by the front door. They say hello, I say hello. They ask hows it going, I respond that I’m feeling pretty exhausted to which they respond “well, at least its the weekend”, and I say “sure”, while shrugging my shoulders and continue to get stuff from the fridge while they finish getting their shoes on and leave.
On Oct. 27th I am contacted by Airbnb Case Manager who says that Guest X did not feel comfortable due to a cold welcome. The reservation dates at some point were changed without my consent to Oct22-27, and the case manager informs me that the guests left the premises (no communication to me about this) and that Airbnb has refunded them at my expense for the 2 days that they did not stay there, and did not mention anything about also altering the dates of the reservation, so I lost a total of 3 days of payment that they deducted from the next amount of received payments.
I immediately responded to this and am still waiting for weeks now for another case manager to review the actions taken. I have expressed my frustration and anger of the situation and have asked how it is that the host is not involved in these decisions whatsoever and what right Airbnb has to change reservations and issues refunds with no regards to cancellation policy or communications with the host in any way prior to making a decision that negatively affects a host and allows guests to break the rules, give an arbitrary complaints, and also be allowed to give a potentially bad review despite not following rules.
My impression is that the guests are fully aware of what they are doing and know that they can manipulate the system to be refunded without having to cancel and I feel that this is a violation to hosts. I am not aware of anything that says that Airbnb can change reservation dates at whim and issue refunds for any reason they want. Perhaps someone can educate me for what I am not understanding about this situation.