Guests finds place "unsuitable", leaves, requests refund, then threatens me

Wow…this is the first time ever I’ve had a litigation threat from an Airbnb guest. I’m shook up. I’ve been hosting for over 2 years ad I never had an incident like this.

First, these guests book at the last minute. Right before she booked (I have instant book), she messaged me and said “I sent you 3 messages but did not receive a reply”. That’s BS, I do not have any record of her messages, and I called Airbnb to see if there was something in their end, but there was nothing.

Their reservation just said 2 adults. She then messages me saying “she’s on a short getaway with her children”. She mentions nothing about her children until then. I ask her about her children and she tells me their are two of them, ages 11 and 14. Ok no problem. I an accomodate them.

She arrives with her husband and the two kids. She mentions “I did not know this was a shared environment”. Duh…what do they think a “private room” listing is and I also mention in my listing I live on the property. She also asks if anybody else will be there with us…I said no just me and my dog. I also made it good and clear that I have 1 dog who lives in the house.

She says “I don’t think this will be a suitable place for us”, she says I have the 2 kids, it’s too far away from where our destination is, we have so much luggage, blah blah blah.

Without a warning, they up and left and texted me “this place is not suitable. How do we get a refund”. I have a strict cancellation policy. Unless they had some real emergency there are no refunds.

I called Airbnb about the issue and told it as it is. I knew there was something fishy about this guest and she would call in and probably twist the story around to get a refund.

She told Airbnb she was concerned about the “cleanliness of the house”. OK…I am in the process of selling my home (I may list it next month so I am stopping reservations starting Aug. 1) so there are a few boxes in the living room by the door (which is not the entry door). This living room used to be a garage but 2 owners ago, they turned it into another living room. and I have things on the dining room table which I am selling using the Facebook marketplace. Sure my living room looks a little bit like a storefront but I am selling my house soon. Otherwise the common areas are still clean; they are well dusted and vacuumed. Some boxes should not impact the cleanliness.

I always kept my place clean and the majority of stars for cleanliness are 5’s, and just a few 4’s.

This “uncleanliness” crack may be her plotting and scheming to get a refund.

The upstairs guest rooms are still spik n’ span clean. I dont have any stuff up there. The guests did’t even look at the upstairs.

So after a sort of long phone call with Airbnb, (that’s when they told me about the guest reporting the house as “unclean”) and checking this guest’s messages, they can see she rushed into booking and did not pay attention to the listing details or the cancellation policy.

Airbnb saw I messaged her (before her arrival) saying my dog and I live on the property and you will have your own private space (as stated in the listing). The guest did not object to me and my dog in the house in any messages.

About an hour after the guest leaves, she sends me 2 messages saying “they said you are responsible for the refund”. and then “do not let this turn into a litigation”.

I called Airbnb back telling what she said…Airbnb said clearly I am under no obligation to give a refund. If I was truly responsible for the refund…first they would have said so and would have processed it right away.

I asked Airbnb if I should send a screenshot of the text messages but they said there is no need to. If the guests wants to escalate this, it’s a bit of a process, I will have to have a chance to tell my side of the story before it proceeds.

To my knowledge I did not see the guest take photos of my house. If she took some when I wasn’t looking, she probably took a photo of the boxes…but that should not contribute much to uncleanliness.

The guest was to stay for 3 nights, which would have been around $200 (payable to me after the fees and all that) I do not charge a cleaning fee nor any type of deposit. If she wants to file litigation for $200 or so…wouldn’t it cost her much more than that for attorney’s fees, etc? could that be just a threat to make me refund her? to me it sounds like she does’t want to be at fault for not reading the listing.

I should also mention this this person is new to airbnb…it says she’s been a member since 2016 but I don’t see any reviews on her.

I wouldn’t worry about this much.

Anything in the US under about $1500 or $2000 usually goes to Small Claims Court, where there are no attorneys – just you and the other party in front of a judge. Each side tells its story, presents its “evidence” or hearsay or whatever, and the judge decides.

The judge will see past her shenanigans even quicker than the AirBnb rep.

If she wants to take things to “Big Claims Court”, unless she or one of her family is a lawyer, then it’s gonna cost her more than $200 just to sit down and tell her lawyer her story!

Save every scrap of communication with this woman “just in case”; today take your own wide angle shots of the areas where those guests visited and leave them on you phone where they are date/time stamped.


Her threat of litigation is just bullying tactics in the hope you’ll just give in. Please don’t! Honestly I would just ignore her until it goes to resolution. Then deny her refund. Airbnb have everything on record so in theory they should side with you (however we all know that’s not always the case).
Don’t indulge her with any more communication.


What an annoying situation. I feel sorry for you that you had to endure such a horrible guest!
I usually stay clear of last minute bookings as I had a bad experience once.

You are in the clear as ABB has sided with you and its their terms that count. Consider it easy 200 and forget about her. She won’t go to a lawyer but if she does just ask the lawyer to contact Airbnb. I’d probably message her saying that the terms are not breached by you and that it’s Airbnb’s terms she needs to read up on.
If she would like to pursue further matters, her lawyer should contact Airbnb as you have done just what you’re entitled to hence the policy and terms of agreement with Airbnb.

She sounds like a person who thinks threats are the way forward and it’s probably just a front. She knows she didn’t do her homework well enough prior to her booking your place. She might think that it was worth a shot to threaten you but she’s wrong and you are not to worry now that Airbnb has sided with you.
You are probably not the first or last host to sadly get threatened by a stupid guest.

I would message her and forget about her.

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What a cow, don’t mind her. She never read your listing correctly, that’s her problem and hopefully air won’t back down under pressure from her. Can you imagine what type of guest she would have been if she stayed, thank heavens she is gone and out of your home. Best of luck with the move.


eeek…that would have shook me up too. So far so good I haven’t had any incidents. They can be scary, especially if it’s the first one.

I thought trouble was brewing right away when I read the part that this guest messaged you 3 times and did not receive a reply. If a message was blocked for some reason, Airbnb would have a record of it. That was dumb of her to send that through Airbnb’s messaging system, because now Airbnb has a record of her lying. This person will have a tough time fighting that in court.

She was “concerned about the cleanliness” just because you have a few boxes around? A few boxes would not bother me. I moved a few times i my life and I know about the preparation of moving…getting rid of stuff and packing up stuff, etc.

You said they didn’t even go upstairs, and that’s where the guest rooms are. Geez. I bet they’ll be asked “how were the sleeping quarters” and they would get stumped.

the “concerned about the cleanliness” raises questions as you have no history of complaints about cleanliness. It does sound like this complaint about the cleanliness is a scheme to get a refund. She’ll have to show pictures of the “uncleanliness”. A few boxes and some things on the dining room table for selling won’t cut it…

how much luggage can they have staying for just 3 nights? did they come to your place by car? If so why can’t they just take what they need for the 3 nights and leave the rest of their luggage in the car?

Did they research their “destination” about how far it is from your place? Sounds like they did not. Your town’s name is available on the listing…they can google your town to their destination and find the distance.

If she REALLY had an issue about sharing the house with you and your dog, she should have said so and cancelled the night before. i bet then this whole thing would have been handled differently.

definitely save those text messages. avoid communication by phone because then you won’t have any evidence of what says. let her contact you by text or through airbnb’s messaging service so you have a record of her contacting you. if you see her number on your caller ID, ignore the call.

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Just completely ignore her from now on.
Block her number, or ask you phone company to block this number from texting (or calling) you.
And ask AirBnB to block her messages and remove your contact data.

Then wait and see how it ends.


Right. Extortion and threats are a violation of their TOS. Report her at once.


So far it’s been over 24 hours and she hasn’t said a thing yet (I hope it stays that way). I did not respond after she sent that litigation threatening message.

Now the thing that could be coming is a bad review as her way of retaliating. Even if she does give me a negative review, I can fight it. …however I can’t guarantee Airbnb can delete it. But… I am no way of giving in to issuing the refund to avoid a bad review.

At this point, if she gives me a bad review, so what. First I can fight it, and second I only have three more booked guests and i’m listing the house for sale after the 3rd one leaves at the end of this month.

My new property will be in an HOA and is a gated community, and it is extremely unlikely Airbnb will be allowed there. That said, I will not even bother starting a new listing at my new property.

I’m not sure she actually checked-in. If not, she can’t leave a review anyway.

Make sure you leave her a bad review, I don’t think any of us want her.

A bad review in retaliation violates the TOS and can be removed. Hopefully.

Yes she did. She has arrived and entered the property on the day of check-in. She was there for just a short time (not even half an hour) and left without notice. Later she texted me saying the property was not suitable and requested a refund. I called Airbnb and told them what happened and they cancelled the reservation without a refund.

Yes, hopefully. I probably wouldn’t be able to leave her a bad review for the same reason. In a situation like this, possibly Airbnb wouldn’t allow either one of us to post a review.

Probably Airbnb flagged her account and won’t allow her to book anywhere. My listing was her very first booking (she didn’t have any reviews at all). She’s off to a bad start with Airbnb.

In any event she doesn’t have a leg to stand on. And Air doesn’t like extortion or retaliation.

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Wow - sounds like my guest from hell that I posted about who was booked to stay with her family (husband and daughter) for three nights. Also just like your guest, she had just opened her AirBnB account and had never stayed at one before. She had no reviews at all. She arrived, I spent five minutes showing her the rooms and the bathroom and then they left to supposedly go to dinner. An half hour later I get a message…

“I’m sorry, but the accommodations are not suitable for our family. We understood that we would be renting the entire house, and that we would at least have a private bathroom and kitchen to use. Please cancel our reservation and refund my card.”

I talked to AirBnB - they confirmed my listing clearly showed that it was a private room, NOT the whole house or private bathroom or kitchen… (note that I have had to call AirBnB three times due to this guest)

This of course is what she reported to AirBnB when she is trying to get a refund…

“The only bathroom is downstairs through the owners living room which is extremely cluttered, covered with dust and dog hair, and video game cords spanning the floor. The kitchen is dirty and covered in clutter and dust and dog hair. Liquor bottles are everywhere and there is no privacy or security. We would have to leave our belongings unsecured as there are no locks on the bedroom doors and we were not going to be given a key. We were told to come and go through the sliding door which would always be unlocked.”

What is funny is that this is what someone who stayed just a few nights before said in their review…

“Robert and his place are awesome! Exactly as pictured, and the house is even nicer than expected. Robert is super friendly and informative, and his knowledge of all the beaches of the area really helped us plan our trip! We spent time in Seaside and LBI, neither of which are far from the home in Beachwood. We were just a short drive back at the end of the day. I can’t recommend Robert highly enough, we had a really amazing stay!”

then there was a person who actually booked one of the canceled nights and wrote. this…

“Robert was such a great host and was always giving us suggestions and tips on the are. He was very accommodating of our schedule and was available to us whenever we needed him! The room was very clean and very comfortable. Overall, we had a very great stay with Robert and would recommend him to anyone.”

Anyway - I feel your pain. The only thing my guest didn’t do was threaten to sue - at least yet. BTW - AirBnB told me that the guest doesn’t have a leg to stand on with my reviews unless they took photos and could backup their claims.

And so far good? No refunds to the guest by Air? You do sound awesome. Hey, is this the beach your governor sat on while everyone else was told to stay off? That photo made its way around the world!!

If you want to try to have the company remove her review you CANNOT respond to it. Once you respond, the company will not be able to remove it.

Not sure where you’ve heard that @lahope. Have you been told that by Airbnb?