Help - Guests demand refund for their grocery bill

Hello Dear Members,

I am new to STR as was LT Landlord since 2003. Converted over officially in January of this year. This is my first nightmare tenant. Maybe my perception is skewed due to having been a LT Landlord for so long…

This client moved in August 1 with two adults, baby and a dog - local residents of Phoenix who are awaiting their home to complete. I met the husband on the day of check-in. He had trouble with my Igloo lock… still does. Can’t seem to download the app right or use the bluetooth key provided. Wife also Neve uses the key provided in in a timely way to not have the key code expire.

After three full days, they finally actually full move in. I went to bed that night a bit early as needed to be up at 3 AM. Husband was apparently angry and sending me texts messages even up to 1:30 AM about the house being too hot. Finally resolved this issue by Deleting Eco Smart Settings and Unlocking low control so he can set it to 65 if he wants at this point. It’s been 72 mostly since.

Then I get another text that my refrigerator is noisy and that his groceries have condensation on them. The door is slightly bent and need make sure it is closed properly - no slamming. The noise and condensation sometimes appearing bothered him. Ice maker works, cooling works, freezer works. Well, I ended up buying a new one. Give him notice day before delivery and day of before 8 AM. He said he was too busy getting his daughter up to notice text messages and was angry he had to empty the contents so quickly. I had a bag of ice for him in the freezer. It was not enough he said to prevent his frozen items from thawing and being ruined. He told me they went grocery shopping on Wednesday (four days before) and bought $123 worth of groceries and for their inconvenience of the 15 minute frig swap and that it took a bit of time for the frig to get cold, he wants me to pay 100% of groceries.

I contacted AIrBNB to offer them to get out of the home. They said they like staying and will remain. They keep complaining. While I left them two pints of ben and jerry’s ice cream, champagne and many snacks, they want me to pay them $123. I asked them for their grocery receipt and will notify AirBNB. I have not paid. Anything less than paying for ALL their groceries, even possibly items not requiring refrigeration will make them continued to be unhappy.

I am inclined to kick them out and give them nothing. They are annoying and unfriendly and have nothing good to say ever … but are paying for a month rental and have two more weeks. What is your sage advice?

Thank you in advance.

I would just cancel and take the hit @humblehaven

Or let them stay if you want to keep the money.

Don’t pay for the food . It wouldn’t defrost/go off in a short time.


Cancel them now. Do NOT offer a refund unless they ask. LTR is not a great thing to do via ABB unless you have a lease in place that protects you. ABB won’t.

Take the hit. Don’t pay for their groceries. You’ve gone over and above with food, champagne, and a new fridge and unlocking the thermostat.

Get them gone, leave the appropriate review “Would not host again. Guests complained all the time about xyz (fixed all issues w/in 24 hours), texted at 1:30am with complaints that could be fixed in the morning, etc. Demanded payment for groceries when new fridge was being delivered.”

Someone else can wordsmith this. But I wouldn’t want them.


Ok - first the refrigerator. 2 weeks ago in 95 degree weather my electricity went out. The electricity was out for 6 hours. The next morning when I checked both the freezer and fridge the food was just fine. The guy is BS you.

2nd - I would ask Airbnb to cancel the reservation but with no penalty to you. I would get this in writing. Send you request and detail it in writing. It’s not going to get better. These guests are playing you. I’m not even sure I believe that they have a house they are moving into. At some point based on your state laws, they could become tenants and then you have to evict them.

Cut your loses, don’t give them anything. As a new Airbnb host, you want short-term renters to give you good reviews. You get a bump in the listings but only for a short time. This guy is going to give you a bad review no matter what you do. Search the forum about how to do the 14 day review (if he doesn’t review you). You might also want to talk to Airbnb about this person’s review and having them agree to remove. (They may not agree) Be careful on your end what you say - again read through the forums postings.

There are bad actors that look for new hosts and take advantage of them. I would strongly recommend reading through the different posts in this forum. Don’t get discouraged. I’ve been doing it for 7 years with some ups and downs but once you used to it, it can work well.

As or the locks system, there are some folks that just can’t handle technology. I have a video of how to use my locks and mostly guests can use it but a couple of years ago, I replaced them with same locks but with a backup normal key. I have the key hidden in a lockbox on my front porch should I get a “help - I can’t get in message”. I also states that if the keys are not returned, there is a $200 lock replacement fee.

In my opinion, this is not going to end well and it’s better to cut your loses (without being dinged by airbnb) than to see what other shenanigans these guest will put you through.


Yep, boot them out. Nothing good will come of this rental- whatever you do, it won’t be good enough, they will very likely have more unreasonable complaints and refund demands.

Couple of things. Unless there are regs in your area re doing rentals of no less than 30 days, do not take such long term bookings- in most jurisidictions it will give them tenants’ rights and hard to evict them. Cap your max stay at 21 days or even less. As a new host, as opposed to a landlord, you want short stay guests. You also want to build up good reviews as quickly as possible, which means short stays.

And while it’s good for short term rentals to be as glitch-free as possible (as in not having a fridge that is finicky about the door being closed gently), make sure you don’t get into a habit of trying to kowtow to guest demands for things you don’t offer. If, for instance, a guest were to complain that that there isn’t a microwave, and there is no microwave listed under the amenities, you don’t run out and buy a microwave, you say “Oh, it’s a shame you didn’t read the amenities list on my listing info, as I don’t have or list a microwave” - something to that effect.

The locks- it is actually against Airbnb policy for guests to have no alternative to using an app, or some electronic means that may be confusing to them, to unlock doors. You can use those “smart” features, but there also has to be an alternative if they find it too much of a challenge.

Guests who start out complaining or demanding about what are obviously trivial or made-up issues just become more demanding if you keep trying to please them.

One thing I would say is that contacting a guest about an arrangement for a technician to come fix something or for a delivery, etc, before 8 am, is way too early unless it’s some emergency situation. If I were a guest and a host phoned or texted me before 9 or 10 am to remind me of something, I would not be pleased. (altho it was a bit different in this case, as they aren’t on vacation and have a child to get off to school, so aren’t going to be sleeping in)


I agree with others - kick them out and don’t expect Airbnb to do it - get them out yourself. (You’ll need to learn to do this. You can’t rely on Airbnb or the cops. Actually, the cop thing depends on what they are like in your area but they mostly aren’t interested unless the guest starts getting violent or breaking stuff.)

Don’t refund but take on board what @muddy said about having your rental as glitch-free as possible. A finicky fridge doesn’t belong in an STR.

The bloke sounds like a jerk and you don’t want him around.

Also I agree with others about not accepting longer stays. I have no minimum (so one night is fine) and a max of 21 but I can only remember a couple of instances of over a week.

STR is very different - be sure to read this forum very thoroughly. No-one knows as much as the members here.


I’d say by now you know what you are doing with ABB, people seem to have missed the bit where you’ve got 7 months experience already.

claiming the food went off is BS, they are scamming for a free week of groceries.
texting you at 1AM and expecting you to respond is inconsiderate.
you let him control the air con AND you purchased a brand new fridge for these people!

I agree with the majority here, get rid of them. You aren’t going to get a good review anyway so why go through the pain of another 2 weeks?


I believe you said you’ve been a landlord, so think about it like that. A landlord would never be responsible for someone’s groceries unless it was due to negligence. And buying someone a new refrigerator is not negligence, it’s the opposite. Perhaps you should suggest that he claim on his renter’s insurance :wink:


Yep. I’ve had electric outages where I live that last up to 10 hours. As long as I don’t open the fridge frivolously and am super quick about it when I need to get something, nothing goes bad at all.
First worlders tend to keep a lot of things in the fridge that don’t even require refrigeration anyway. Eggs, most fruit, many vegetables, most condiments, might last longer in the fridge, but certainly don’t require refrigeration.


Oh Good Grief!!! I just moved five hours north, and all my refrigerator stuff went into coolers - from the thrift store. They arrived perfectly chilled, ready to unload into the existing frig here. Shysters!!


In the USA, eggs are required to be refrigerated.

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Yes, in stores, or restaurants, but not in your own home.

Not according to the USADA


Oh yes, there is always someone who tells you that you’ll get sick from doing this or that, but the likelihood of that happening is slim. I have been eating unrefrigerated eggs half my life in various countries and have never had salmonella poisoning. If you eat raw eggs or soft boiled, then it might be an issue, but I like my eggs well-cooked and cooking basically kills the bacteria.


If you read the article, since the eggs are WASHED in the US they are not ok to be at room temp. Worldwide, not the same,


How important is the money to you? How likely is it that you can get another booking to replace it? How many reviews do you have?

In your case, it seems like the guest is going to give you a bad review. So you might as well keep the money and not go out of the way to make them comfortable. You could even deny the money request (if it is on Airbnb), and then ask Airbnb to remove the review as it would be considered a retaliatory review.

If you don’t have a lot of reviews, you could just clone your existing listing and delete the old one after this guest (assuming he leaves a bad review).

My situation is different than yours, but I’d put up with it for the money and take care of them in the review, and leave the review a couple of minutes before the deadline.


I’d be inclined to boot them too. When a guest starts off complaining and nitpicking and making demands it doesn’t get better. And usually escalates.

I’ve had guests start complaining about my rules AFTER they agree to them and book. We’re talking they don’t want to bring linens or don’t agree to the check in/out times. They didn’t realize there’s no WiFi even though my listing clearly states it and I have an image stating this for those more visually inclined.

I have learned from experience that it’s just not worth it. Go sleep in a hotel with one room with WiFi and without a hot tub, kitchen, fire pit and beautiful natural surroundings. GO!


Why @Rolf eggs are much better kept out of the fridge - ask any chef :grin::grin:


7 months is nothing on the learning curve in this business. Because - finicky fridge. That’s the first thing that should have been addressed. Anyone in this business is always always learning.


New fridge takes time to chill before ready to freeze food, or keep frozen, especially if it was delivered from a HOT delivery truck. Old fridge would have probably kept cold, even unplugged for that period of time. And THEN transfer from old to new.


@humblehaven probably opted for the “haul old fridge away” service, in which case the food would have had to be moved essentially at the time of the delivery. So some thawing likely occurred. However I would only ever agree (if I were in that mood) to replace the specific items that A) required being kept cold, and B) were actually rendered useless after losing their chill, and C) were on the receipt. No receipt, no deal.