Guest wants deposit back

Hi All.

Looking for advice. Someone booked my place in July and now wants to bring whole extra family to stay in my house (8 people and capacity is 6). I said no to that but looked up my neighbors Airbnb and they are available for the additional family. I have a strict cancelation policy and even with the neighbor option, she would like her 50% back. I then told her that if I re-book it, I’ll return all fees to her (not sure how to do this buy I’d find a way). She doesn’t like that option either so I could just stick to my policy or give her the money back with the hope that I re-book. Thoughts? thanks.

I wouldn’t do any of what you’re doing. I wouldn’t look for another accommodation. Nor would I promise to return all fees to her if you rebook. Don’t give her any money back yourself.

Refer her to Airbnb. Let them handle all of it.


Thanks. Good advice.

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This 100%. That’s what they get their 3% for, sorting out stuff like this.



I concur with the previous advice of telling guest to get AirBnB to fix it for her.
This was a very generous offer you extended to the guest and they are not being gracious.


@MaryJO, I agree that it was a generous offer. But inappropriate. As you said, Airbnb should always fix situations like this—not hosts.

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Just tell her NO. She knowingly booked under Strict and cannot bring more people than you allow. If she cancels, tough luck for her. She can whine to Airbnb but you have the communication to exclude EC reasons.


Never ever refund guests money.

Refer to Airbnb for anything and tell them they will be refunded based on your cancellation policy. Airbnb will try to get you to fully refund but just say no.

Also, never promise returning fees (you have no control over that) and never refund yourself because you don’t get paid until the day after check in.

What she is asking for is not the deposit back (that is something separate that is not charged anyway).

You can of course offer to refund her the money if the place gets rebooked BUT only do that after you have the new guests check in and you get your money. There’s no guarantee that the new guests they won’t claim some BS to get money back, etc so I personal don’t off that anymore. They blocked your dates on your calendar and prevented others from booking those dates.

Again, Airbnb is going to try to have you refund but hold to your policy.


I suspect by deposit, the guest means they chose the pay half up-front option, not a reference to the “maybe you’ll be able to collect on it and maybe you won’t” security deposit. So essentially, if the guest only paid half up-front, what she is asking for is all of her money back.

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Yes, I know what she was referring to but I wanted her to understand that that is NOT a deposit. She needs to make sure she is using the correct terminology with Airbnb or you will confuse customer service even more than they usually are.

Well said, all of the information in your post.
It helped me put the entire transaction into perspective.
Host doesn’t even get any $$ until the day after check in.
Guests do not seem to understand that.

THIS. This is why guests pay Air Fees and Hosts pay Air Fees. Let them deal.

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I don’t mind the option of returning the 50% if you are able to rebook. You may want to caveat that you have no control over Airbnb fee’s which may be non-refundable. I would do the same thing as in my situation 50% of a booking could be thousands of dollars.


There doesn’t really seem to be any specific terminology for that first payment on a split payment option. I guess it should be called " first payment" or something like that. But I have always heard it referred to as a “deposit” in posts from guests. And they often don’t understand it at all, thinking that if they only pay half up-front, and cancel on a 50% back policy, that they’ll be able to be refunded the half-down they paid, as if they get 50% back on the entire reservation cost, when they’ve, in fact, only paid 50% to start with, so get no refund at all.

You should not be dealing with this. Airbnb has their money, you don’t.


I have done the “refund if I rebook” option a time, maybe two. The guest wasn’t appreciative, but acted more entitled, contacting me repeatedly to ask when they could expect their money back. I was new and trying to be helpful.

Now, I don’t do that. I tell them to refer to the cancellation policy, contact Air if they want, but they agreed to the policy at booking.

THEN when Air calls (and they will, bc the guest (not the host) needs something), I repeat the same things: (1) Cancellation policy (2) No (3) What didn’t you understand about no?

I really dislike the part of hosting … It’s like reasoning with a 2 year old. :woman_facepalming:

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I leave the entire thing to Airbnb and never discuss it with the guest once I have told them to call Airbnb. Admittedly I don’t have many cancellations but a guest has never recontacted me once I’ve told them to deal with Airbnb and once I’ve explained that I don’t have their money.

If Airbnb want to deal with all the finances, and not have transactions off the platform, then they are also responsible for every aspect of their transactions.


If I could, I would “like” your post x 10.


In 99% of cases I stick to my policy - Strict.
They new the conditions and booked - that’s all.
They have extra guests? They should look for extra accommodation.
That’s all. That’s my business and I do it for profit, not just for fun or philantropy.

Based on what I see here I’m guessing I’ll be the minority on this… In the time we’ve been hosting we’ve had three cancellations where the guest requested a refund. Two of them were non refundable. I don’t recall what changed now, but in all cases I called Airbnb and told them the customer wanted to cancel and that I was OK with it. In every case I didn’t care as the customer wasn’t staying. I guess if I was in a similar circumstance I’d hope a host would do the same for me.