How to get away with cancellation penalties

I recently experienced an issue as a guest which makes me believe that it is possible to avoid cancellation penalties as a host. I booked a listing through Immediate Booking. The address I got had no street and no number, just the town name. The owner did not reply to any of my Dashboard messages. I called him and he confirmed that the address was wrong, the listing was actually 70 km away from the map location. I asked him to cancel my booking and he said he would. But he never did. Every time I called him, he gave me excuses for not being able to access Internet (he obviously knows what happens if he cancels). So 2 hours before the check-in time, I had to report to Airbnb that I could not access the property. I got a full refund because of that. I don’t think the owner has got penalised. The location is still wrong on the map. And how can you offer Immediate Booking if you can´t access Internet for 25 hours? (I booked 25 hours in advance)

So basically, if I receive a booking and my place is not available and I don´t want to get penalised, I just ignore all messages until the guest cancels it!

That will work all of once. I wouldn’t start seeing loopholes where they don’t exist.

And what do you do if the guest just shows up anyway? What do you suppose the penalty will be then?

Show up where? I was given an incomplete address with no street name or street number. And the host was not replying to any written messages.

You mean Instant Booking, I think.

Did you contact Airbnb at this point?

NO, I first contacted the host, which is the right step. Airbnb should only be contacted as a last resort. The host did not reply to any written email and only took calls. He said the apartment was 70 km away from the location shown on the map. He said he was sorry about that and that he would cancel the booking, but he never did.

Well it’s no secret to anyone that if the property cannot be accessed, the guest is entitled to a refund. If you had enough guests with this problem you’d likely get hit with warnings until they finally shut you down. So I am not sure what you are trying to suggest.

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Not the case. Any problems should be reported via the Airbnb messaging system immediately.


Airbnb recommends to contact the host to solve the problem and contact them only if I cannot solve it with the host. Obviously if I receive an address with no number and street name, I will first get in touch with the host to ask him for the full address.

I do not think that my host has got penalised. A host only gets penalised if he cancels it.

I beg to differ. If you do this to enough guests you will get delisted. It’s not any kind of viable strategy, so I’m not sure what your point is in suggesting it.

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I have been a victim of this Airbnb “system bug”, where I have been in a situation which is equivalent to the host cancelling at last minute, however, in this case the host did not get penalised at all. That is what I am complaining about. I am not posting this to encourage hosts to do it but to show how sad it is that this is allowed with no penalty.

When you called him and he said he was 70km away. In any case, I was trying to be sarcastic/funny. This is not a workable method to cancel on guest without penalty.

This is certainly the case if there is a problem during your stay. But as it was Airbnb who had sent you the incomplete information in their confirmation message, then they should have been the first call. This is especially the case as the host didn’t respond to your messages in via the platform system.

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I needed to know the address as I was running out of time. If I had called Airbnb, they would not have known the address because only the host knows the missing information (street name, number, floor, door, etc.). All they would have done is call the host (in the best case). So after messaging the host and getting no response, I called him, he told me the place was not there and promised he would cancel the booking. So I did not see the need to contact Airbnb since the host would be penalised after cancelling the booking himself.

Airbnb has the full information which should be in the confirmation email. If it wasn’t, then the host hadn’t filled out his listing correctly. But assuming that the host’s previous guests hadn’t had the problem you had then it was more likely to be an Airbnb glitch.

Whichever was the case, you should have reported this to Airbnb when you received the confirmation email for the sake of future guests.

If nothing else, it would be important to correct the location on the website.


The host does not have any reviews yet. Having seen many threads on this forum about people contacting Airbnb and receiving a late reply, I don’t think I would risk doing that when I can deal this directly with the host.

“If it wasn’t, then the host hadn’t filled out his listing correctly” — Exactly, which is why I called him and not Airbnb. And I got exactly the answer I needed (the address is wrong). What I did is report the listing to Airbnb mentioning it showed an incorrect address.

Can you tell us the source for this statement? It seems to me that all problems should be immediately reported to Airbnb. Perhaps they will refuse to do anything about it till you’ve exhausted other options, but that is a separate issue.

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If I go to this website:

The first thing I see is “Contact Your Host” in big letters. Then after all the details, at the bottom of the page, there is a smaller sentence that says “My host wasn’t able to answer my question” (which if I click I get Help options).

But this is another discussion. The point of my thread is to show what happened to me as a guest and the fact that the host did not get penalised for it. It obviously needs to be fixed.

Really? I think there are just as many people who would say that the Airbnb customer service is pretty good and I’ve certainly found that I’m only on hold for a couple of minutes.

What I’m wondering - apologies if you mentioned this and I missed it - but how do you know that the host received no penalties?

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