Guest not willing to pay for breakage?

Wondering if anyone’s had this experience - had a guest who told us they loved the place, then on check out said “Unfortunately one of the wine glasses broke while my friend was washing it up” (no apology), I replied saying no worries, these things happen and mentioned that I’d just send through the reimbursement request for replacement (they were very nice, brand new wine glasses - if it was a cheap Kmart glass I wouldn’t have asked for reimbursement) and the guest came back with:

“Again I’m sorry that the glass was broken, however as mentioned it was happened whilst washing it up, perhaps suggesting how fragile it is. Although in my past experience with airbnbs and with these small breakages I’ve never previously been charged. These events usually come under general wear and tear. I’m going to politely decline to pay the request as I believe the single glass breakage should be covered in the higher accommodation price we paid.”

Then she went and wrote us a very average review and 4* having previously said they loved the place and were very happy.

This seemed odd to me that she was so put out by me being super friendly and understanding but still requesting reimbursement, but I wondered from other hosts, would you just absorb breakages of nice wine glasses in the cost usually? Perhaps I should have just absorbed the cost. Was surprised how haughty she was about it, as a guest, if I break anything I’m always 100% willing to pay to replace it, it just seems fair to me.

For context, it’s only $190 per night for a truly beautiful little studio with stunning views and complete privacy out in the countryside in a very popular area in Australia (previously all 5 star raving reviews, all of whom paid $250 per night).

Others may say differently. But my advice is to just put it behind you.

I’ve decided that “wear and tear” can describe what happens to the host’s feelings, not just the contents of the place.


I personally do not charge for breakage unless it’s over $50. In the four years I have been hosting, I have only requested payment once and that was for a broken dining chair.


Yes, I’d absorb it and perhaps get some less expensive glasses.


I absorb the cost of things getting stained or broken within what is likely normal usage…so a broken glass or a stained towel. I have requested payment for things missing (throw blanket, quilt) and if damage seemed like it was caused by egregious behavior, I’d charge.

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I had a guest break one of the brandy snifters, told me about it, but bought a replacement - then promptly broke the replacement. I thought it was a valiant effort and wouldn’t ask for reimbursement as my nightly costing analysis includes replacement of items under $150 CND. These same guests are coming back this year after I’ve been closed for 2 years. They never ask for discounts even though they stay for 2 weeks. I’ve more then covered the cost of that crystal glass. Cheers!


Haha very true, hosts feelings definitely get some wear and tear in this business, felt so disappointed by an unfair review ruining our 5* rating, but mostly guests are wonderful!

Yes obviously it’s very minor and now worth dwelling on, but I wanted to ask others advice for future breakages. Seems like the consensus is don’t charge. I’ve never charged for breakages in the past (there have been many at our other property), seems like we need to just hide the nice glasses and get cheap ones for guests.


I would not charge for a broken wine glass. That is called normal wear and tear, and asking for payment comes across as petty. Especially with guests who said they loved the place, and mentioned the breakage, instead of leaving you wondering what happened to the wine glass, or finding the broken pieces in the garbage. They could have ended up being repeat guests and recommending you to friends and family- now they won’t. You can’t expect everything to stay perfect forever in a rental.

Some guests are nice and responsible and offer to pay for something like that, but if they don’t, you can always expect that they will leave a lower star review if you try to charge them.


All my wine glasses are from the thrift shop at 10 cents each. I would never charge for a broken glass as in my mind it is just the cost of doing business.
And you have the result in a low review score over a singular glass…… do you feel it was worth it?


I think this is the reality whether it is fair or not. I have chosen to accept the reality and use it to my advantage.

Once a guest broke a salad bowl and she sent me a message about it. I told her not to worry about it, and asked if she hurt herself. I got a glowing five star review!

Airbnb system is not set up to be fair to hosts… I have had to absorb such losses to avoid a bad review. I try to make up for these losses with higher rates based on more five star reviews ( or lack of bad reviews).

Guests can get away with a lot. Guests don’t care about bad ratings, since Airbnb forces hosts to accept problem guests with the 88% acceptance rate.


Definitely not worth it haha, honestly I just assumed she was letting me know she broke it because she wanted to reimburse me because it was a really nice glass, her annoyed reply came as a complete surprise!

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While I agree that Airbnb is often unfair to hosts, I don’t see a host not charging for one accidentally broken glass as the guest “getting away with” something.

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If someone has the intention of paying for a broken item, they will say that. “I’m so sorry, but I accidentally broke one of the wine glasses. Please let me know the replacement cost.”

If they simply inform you that they broke something, they just don’t want to be seen as the jerk who walked away without mentioning it. Which is also to be appreciated.

A neighbor of mine had a cleaner for awhile who was a klutz, and seemed to break something every time she cleaned. A glass, a plate, a mirror. But instead of mentioning it, she would try to hide the pieces in the bottom of the garbage can. My neighbor said it wasn’t the breakage that disturbed her much, and she wouldn’t have fired her for that, it was the failure to own up to it and hiding the evidence.

The former is just carelessness, the latter is deception.


I see this as an opportunity (super low cost damage that guest brings to my attention).

Why? It’s a chance to do my guest a solid and unless you really messed up they usually show appreciation via a stellar review.

I know my last guest broke or took (surely but accident) a coffee cup.

I said nothing. She knows what she did. She also knows about the stained mattress cover. She informed me of nothing.

A couple of years ago I would have mentioned it but not charged. Now, mums the word unless I see egregious or pricey damage.

Plus, I’m boss at stain removal these days & stock budget-minded items (less stress for me AND my guest);

BIG PROPS to my fellow forum hosts for sharing the best products & processes to get that stain removal done! :slight_smile: :facepunch:t4:


Yea totally, we’ve even found that on two occasions, guests have broken stuff (pottery, and a wooden piece of art) and then actually glued them back together very badly just to try to get away with it (which they did, as we didn’t notice til later/ couldn’t tell which guests it was!) So much better when they just own up. I obviously just misread this guest as she seemed nice enough and I just assumed she wanted to pay for the breakage, alas I was wrong! Lesson learnt.

Thanks for all your helpful replies, much appreciated! In future, just will absorb breakage costs (and hide our nice wine glasses - it’s our home that we airbnb out while away).


I use Schott-Zwiesel wine glasses (sometimes just called Zwiesel). They run $8-$12 US a stem. They are made of titanium-based crystal and can go in the dishwasher. Break-resistant but not unbreakable.


When a guest tells me they’ve broken a glass, I say good, if you didn’t break a wine glass you weren’t having enough fun!

Also, unless it’s very serious (and when this happens I phone Airbnb and open a case and explain I’m waiting for their review and why), I never ask for reimbursement for anything until 72 hours after the guest has written their review (they have this time to change it if you haven’t written yours).

I always weigh up whether asking for the money is worth the damage of the deducted stars. You never get away without payback unless the guest has offered to pay at the beginning.

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Haha, I’ve learnt my lesson! It’s our home, not just an airbnb, hence nice glasses. (which will now be hidden and replaced with cheap charlie glasses :smiley:

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Great advice about waiting til after the review for sure. It was just a case of naivety for me as it honestly didn’t even occur to me that the guest was confessing a breakage that she wasn’t willing to pay for, I’d never previously heard of someone breaking something and thinking that was my problem, not theirs. Learnt my lesson! :woman_facepalming: