Guests ask for money with a veiled threat of leaving me a bad review!

I just received a request for $100. The guest checked out on Monday, I received this today. Her stay was one night. She has been on ABNB since 2018 and has no reviews. Her complaints have little if any foundation. The shower curtain has no mold. My husband does smoke but it is always outside. I feel like this is a veiled attempt to get back some of the money she spent. It was a last-minute booking and she asked for early check-in. I allowed her to check in at 1:00 instead of 3:00

The following is a copy of what she wrote in her request.
"I just wanted you to be aware of the fact that the shower curtain stunk like mold and also there must of been someone prior to us that smoked in the room because it smelled like smoke . I have mold sensitivity’s so unfortunately it wasn’t such a pleasant stay , for the amount of money that was spent for the night I was disappointed. I did not want to leave you a bad review because your were pleasant but also wanted to make you aware for next guests.

I would reply

"What a shame you didn’t raise your concerns during your stay (in line with Airbnb’s T&Cs) when we would have been able to come over straight away to investigate them…

'Having done a thorough review of the property, we can assure you that no-one has smoked in the listing. Nor is there any mould on the shower curtain (photo attached).

"We are glad that your sensitivities didn’t prevent you from taking advantage of the two- hour free early check-in you requested, enjoying our lake-front location, fishing and kayaking (provided free of charge) and that you were able to stay for the full duration of the period booked.


Some of our property amenities that they used while here…we are lake front, her son fished off the dock and they used the complimentary Kayaks that we provide!


Decline her request and report her implied extortion threat.


Outrageous- pure extortion :frowning: @Helsi response is perfect!
Please keep us posted as to how this is resolved!


Sorry for going off topic, but, may I ask how you handle the liability of the Kayaks? I know insurance. But, even with insurance, getting sued is never fun. Do you have them sign a waiver? Or, have you ever had any issues with it?

This. Absolutely.

Does your STR insurance cover the kayaks? Our lawyer said NO even to bikes so be sure that your insurance covers it. it could be a nightmare otherwise.

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This is the response I got after contacting Air.

Hi Kerri!

Thanks for contact us. You are a special Host for Airbnb.

Regarding about your question, as the guest has not left the review yet, the only way to help you that if it happens that you keep the email that the guest sent to you and we can dispute it later.

So please don’t be afraid, everything is gonna be ok.

Thanks in advance.


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Many non smokers are VERY sensitive to the smell of smoke. If your husband smokes outdoors, then comes inside, it’s very possible the room smells like smoke. You probably don’t notice it because you are used to it. The same is true of mold. You might not see it, but it could still be hiding somewhere.

I’m not making excuses for the way the guest handled it, but her complaints should not be dismissed without having someone with a sensitive nose (and from a non-smoking household) check out your place.


This is very true. I had a friend that smoked outside, well away from the Airbnb room and and the room was left with an odd and unpleasant smell. It wasn’t just a smoke smell, it was different but it was from smoking. When she quit smoking the smell disappeared on subsequent stays.

Ex-smokers can be even more disgusted by it than non-smokers. The times I have quit I couldn’t believe how awful it smelled to me.

And it’s very true that you get used to smells and they don’t register anymore. Things that are packed away here in the tropics get a funky, moldy smell, and have to be aired out or washed. I once had a leather jacket I wore when I went up to Canada. My daughter said, “Do you realize that jacket reeks of mold?”
I couldn’t smell it at all.

And pet owners with indoor pets don’t smell it, but someone else walking into the house can almost right away detect that the place smells like cat or dog.

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I’ve still got a good sense of smell and I can smell all kind of dog smells. I’ve also got 4 HEPA filters running in about 1400 sq ft and doors/windows are open seasonally. I prefer my evaporative cooler because it brings a high volume of fresh air into the house and keeps the smells pushed out. No carpet, no rugs, few drapes or other textiles.

I’ve had numerous people remark that they are surprised that it doesn’t smell. Still, I must always be vigilant and my friends know that they should tell me if the house smells.

I wish I was one of them. Although I haven’t smoked for quite a few years now I still love the smell of cigarette smoke.

And the smell always makes me long for a cigarette. I even dream about smoking.



Well, even though it smelled disgusting to me, it didn’t stop me from starting again :wink: It’s one of the most insidious and hard to break addictions.
I remember listening to a show about smoking and a guy said he quit 20 years ago, and not a day goes by that he doesn’t want a cigarette.

And it doesn’t smell awful to all non-smokers, either. I have a friend who has never smoked a cigarette in her life (I think she said she tried a puff as a teenager and found it revolting), but she likes the smell of cigarette smoke because both her parents were smokers and it reminds her of her happy childhood.

I wish I was one of those people who could just smoke one cigarettte occasionally. I have a daughter like that. She had been a light smoker, but quit a long time ago, she didn’t find quitting difficult, and doesn’t miss it. But she can sit with a friend who smokes, bum a smoke, and then not think about it or smoke another for the next 6 months.


When I quit smoking was when I realized that my perspiration, my skin, my whole body was saturated with tobacco chemicals. It took about 6 months before folks with better noses told me the odor was gone.

I’ve only dated one smoker. She was a very light smoker and was really trying to quit for my sake. She’d go have lunch and a cig with her mom and when she got home from work at 10 pm I’d be able to tell she smoked that day. But there have definitely been smokers in my Airbnb room that didn’t leave behind an unpleasant odor.

This is a copy of what I just sent. I will let you know what transpires from here.
What a shame you didn’t raise your concerns during your stay (in line with Airbnb’s T&Cs) when we would have been able to change the shower curtain with a new one, as I have extra in my supply cabinet. I replaced the shower curtain. I did not see any mold, but a shower curtain is easy to replace.

Unfortunately, my husband does smoke, outside only. I am sorry the smell from outside affected you.

We are glad that your sensitivities didn’t prevent you from taking advantage of the two- hour free early check-in you requested, (many hosts charge extra for this) enjoying our lake-front location and dock for fishing and that you were able to stay for the full duration of the period booked.

You probably think that host are paid the full amount that you pay. But that is not the case. After multiple expenses such as taxes and platform fees are deducted from what we are paid then we also incur added expenses such as cleaning, maintenance, supplies, taxes on income ect. So, when it all breaks down, we probably net about a third of what you paid.

With all this in mind would you be happy if I refund you half of what you are asking $50? And you not leave me a negative review?

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Her latest repsonse: More to come!!
There was no need for the sarcasm I have stayed at plenty of Airbnbs and never have I ever had a negative experience, we are paying 350 for a place to stay . I did not tell you about the curtain because it was late before we were able to take a shower and it stunk , I also did not tell you about the smell of smoke again cause it was late we spent a lot of time outside and I’m sorry there is no need for the sarcastic tone that you decided to write me , I told you because as someone that hosts an Airbnb I would want to know and again there was absolutely not a necessity for your so called southern hospitality, not .
Do not appreciate your email at all

Hi Christie,
Your profile states that you joined Airbnb n 2018, but you have no reviews. If you have stayed at many Airbnb’s, why do you have 0 reviews? Just wondering, not being sarcastic, just curious?

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Response from Christie,
Because it’s under my husbands name !!! This was a gift certificate under my name and I will leave a bad review thank you

You have been sarcastic from the minute I gave you criticism. So thanks for handling like a professional