Guest wants refund because I told him he could not have a15 person cookout

Guest instant booked yesterday for his son’s graduation from Ft. Jackson on September 21st. After booking asked if it was OK to have 15 extra people for a cookout from 11am-6pm. I responded sorry we are on a well and septic tank and cannot accommodate 15+ people. But he could have a cookout with a total of 8. My listing states no parties or events, also maximum of 6 people on property. My cancellation policy is firm. What would you do?

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He is now asking for a full refund. Forgot to add that.

Sorry, no refund, policy said maximum amount of people 6. Ask questions like this before you book not after.


Seeing as how he just booked yesterday, so likely didn’t block someone else from booking, as much as I hate the idea of rewarding cluelessness and presumptuousness, if it were me, I’d just agree to refund him if he cancels his booking immediately, opening up your calendar. Basically just to get rid of him ASAP.

“XX, by all rights, I can uphold my cancellation policy and not refund- my listing clearly states no parties or events and a maximum of 6 people on the property. If you wanted to ask about an exception to that, you should have sent an inquiry message instead of instant booking- it is the guest’s responsibility to read all the information provided for each listing.
However, if you cancel immediately, opening up my calendar to other bookings, I will refund you.”


I think this guest is still a good person. He at least asked you for permission, most others will just do it.

I get a lot of weirdo bookings like this. I usually get them to cancel but I do offer a full refund. Going the no-refund route is more work than getting this person to cancel and accepting another guest. I do wish there was an easy way to keep the money.

The alternative is to cancel the booking on the day of check in, when more people show up than the house rules allow. I can imagine that will take up a bunch of time and you will certainly not get a great review. Even if you get the review removed, it will consume your time.


But she stated it was an instant book…

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And guests shouldn’t instant book a place if they want to ask for some special exception to the rules. Anyone can send an inquiry message to the host before booking.


@mollimac I know, but no reason to not ask a question like that before you book.

I use IB mostly, but when a place says pets accepted and I’m traveling with my cats, I ask ahead if they accept cats, as some places don’t.

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No refund. They knew the rules.

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Or neglected to bother reading them.

You have ten days in which to fill the stay time! So allow the guests to cancel. In ten days you can fill that gap easily. So refund.


Although this may be true for you, it isn’t for everyone. We’re a fly-to location and almost never get bookings within a few weeks. I can sometimes get one from a couple (for our three-bedroom villa with staff and a pool) if I drop the price by 30-50% but I usually prefer to let it sit empty if it’s just a few days.


I thought about that too, and it would be too short a time for me to likely get rebooked, too. But the OP said the guy had just booked, so maybe she often gets bookings close to check-in dates.

I would refund and move on. Less than a day has passed. And they were upfront.

I ALWAYS book when the cancellation policy allows 48 hours and then ask those questions because I had an asshole host up the rate once I sent an inquiry. I wasn’t asking about a party or cookout (just blackout curtains) and they had the audacity to immediately raise prices since they knew there was interest. I mentioned it on here and unbelievably another host said they do the same.

So lesson learned, book and then cancel whenever you can do so without cost.

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That’s fine if the guest is responsible and cancels right away, but if they don’t, it ends up becoming the host’s problem.

And in the case of the OP here, the booking wasn’t far enough ahead to qualify for an automatic full refund.

I don’t think that having encountered one jerky host who upped the price after sending an inquiry is a good enough reason to advocate for guests booking first and asking questions after the fact. If a “no” answer is a deal breaker, the guest could hold the calendar hostage for up to 48 hours, which, in the case of some hosts, where guests tend to book weeks in advance, would mean there wasn’t time to rebook.

Not to mention, guests who book first and then ask deal-breaker questions afterwards tend to raise hosts’ “red flag” senses, because either the guest didn’t bother to read the house rules or other info, or seems entitled in expecting the host to waive their rules for them.


We’ll have to agree to disagree. I won’t get burned again by asking a question that isn’t answered in the description and having rates go up.

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How did you get burned? Would you really want to put money in the pocket of unethical hosts who up the price when they get an inquiry? Seems like you dodged a bullet by not booking with that host.
And blackout curtains are one of the things listed in the amenities section. If it wasn’t checked off, why ask about them?

Also, why do you assume the host raised the price because there was interest? Hosts on this forum who say they raise the price after getting an inquiry say they do so because they don’t want that inquirer to book for some reason, not because there was interest. That doesn’t really make sense, because it would just pee off the inquirer, as it did you, and they wouldn’t go on to book anyway at the raised price.


Exactly… they are not trying to have a party secretly.

When I get inquiries like these when a guest is looking for something very specific, I always raise rates as I don’t want this person to book. Imagine a child makes a hole in the curtains or damages them before this guest and then I suddenly don’t have blackout curtains and the guest will ask for a refund or give me a bad review. There may not be enough time left to order new curtains and install them before this guest arrives.

The more specific someone’s needs are the less desirable they are to me as a guest. I’m thankful when a guest discloses their “neediness” in inquiries. If they do it later, I offer them a refund if they cancel within xx amount of time.


I talked to the guest who was very nice (he has two 5 star reviews) and he assured me that everything would be well taken care of, and he would only have about 8-10 people total for a few hours. I think this will be a win-win for both of us.


Wait now I have a question: I thought that every guest could cancel within the first 24 or 48 hours regardless of the host’s cancellation policy. Is that not the case?