How guests have been getting out of paying cancellation fee's

I have a strict cancellation policy.
Last month I got a request for a booking alteration from a guest who was due to stay in a few days time. They wanted to move their booking to other dates six weeks away, I accepted this and the next day they cancelled the booking which was now outside my cancellation window.

I thought this was a one off but it has just happened again this morning.
Perhaps AirBnB should look at this.

@Phrafarang - there have been many posts about this and it’s quite common. If you search the forum you’ll be able to find them.


If you have strict cancellation and the guests read the fine print, this is how they do it. There are forums dedicated to getting out of paying hosts.

Unless there is a compelling reason and the guest hasn’t purchased travel insurance, don’t accept date alterations.

Keep your money, and refund ONLY if you rebook.


OK thanks for that, so if it has been going on for a while why have AirBnB not addressed the problem?

…‘You can change your booking dates but if you cancel you will be charged the cancellation fee from the original booking’ …


Because Airbnb doesn’t consider it a problem. Anything that makes things more acceptable for guests is their M.O.


Because airbnb does not care about the money you lost.

Sorry that you got hit with this. This tactic has been posted about several times here - and you would have been aware of it and refused the rebooking. That was a guest who knew how to play the game and screwed you.

The only thing you could possibly try is calling (not writing), airbnb. Maybe they’ll help but since you accepted the modification, they probably will not help. You can try.

1 Like

From now on, just msg the guests "Sorry that you will not be coming. Please cancel your booking. If your days, get re-booked, we will have the option to refund those days.

Please note - my language does not commit to providing a refund. Merely, that it would be an option. Keep the money.

At some point, a guest will be savy and force a cancel due to “extenuating circumstances” - it will be total bullshit - and airbnb will not protect you.


Yes but if it is a request to change the dates how do you tell them why you are not willing to do this and why?

You do not need to explain anything. 99% of guests who ask for a last minute rebooking for some "future date" - or even to "modify the reservation close to the date - are TRYING TO RIP YOU OFF, and get a free cancellation. Do not do it.

Just respond to their Request like this:

“Sorry that your plans have changed. Please cancel your stay. If we re-book the room, then we may have the option to reimburse you for those days”.

That is it. Period. End of story. There is nothing to talk about. We are not travel insurance.

You have a cancellation policy. You are running a business. It is what it is.


The same way that Nancy Reagan was gonna stop drug addiction…, JUST SAY NO!


This is a well known scam by guests to get out of cancellation charges @Phrafarang

In terms of responding to these requests it is simple. Just decline the request.

I say I am not able to accept last minute requests for changes to booking dates, but if they cancel and I am able to rebook any of the dates, I would be happy to consider a proportional refund.

I also say that as their plans have changed, I would be happy to accept their new booking.

If they argue the point I refer them back to Airbnb.

I ignore any pleas from Airbnb to accept the amendment or give them a higher level of refund if they cancel.


@muddy has it right - because it isn’t a problem. It’s been going on in the hotel industry for years before Airbnb was even thought of so it’s nothing new.

Simply decline the alteration and get another guest in instead. You haven’t lost anything. Remember that Airbnb don’t run your business, you do. :slight_smile:


Some requests for alterations are legitimate and not the guest tryng to scam a free cancellation. It depends on whether they are trying to change the dates to those that would give them a full refund if they cancelled. It’s not just a no-no across the board to deny all change requests.

1 Like

I had one case where I was willing to compromise so instead of 50% of a week I allowed them to reduce the booking to a few days and then cancel. Only would consider that if it was far enough in the future that I stood a good chance of rebooking a few of those days…