Instant booking scam terms

I hate Airbnb at those moment and need to blow off some steam at them…
Airbnb is completely lying. You say I can cancel instant bookings up to three times per year without penalty yet when I go to cancel I get threats of losing super-host status for 1 year. This is completely contradictory, how can you falsely advertise this? You completely mislead me. Last night I had to cancel my second booking using customer support due to this. I no longer trust Airbnb and I will never offer instant booking. The worst part is I have repeatedly asked for an explanation why I was unable to cancel on my own without contacting support and your stupid support completely ignored my question. I’m posting this to every Airbnb support until they change the misleading wording.

For the record, we aren’t “Airbnb support.” We are sometimes Airbnb host support but we are just as likely to be critical of our fellow hosts when warranted. We are a privately funded host forum not affilitated with Airbnb.

I had something similar happen in Dec. I got a message specifically saying I could cancel without penalty but when I called in to do so I had to call twice and was told the guest had to be informed first, blah de blah. I finally got it cancelled without penalty.

I hope it helps you vent but the policy is not going to change. Airbnb is becoming more and more like hotels and pushing instant booking more and more and for good, albeit not host friendly, reasons.

Oh dear - so many misunderstandings here.

As @KKC says, we have no affiliation whatsoever with Airbnb and are just a bunch of helpful hosts who hopefully help newer hosts. So @Aje, you wasted your time posting here - and everywhere else for that matter.

Your supposed grievance - that Airbnb will not let you cancel bookings without losing SH status is pretty lame, quite frankly. You hate Airbnb (but presumably are happy to take the money they send you when their advertising has sent you guests) but lay some sort of store by their mostly meaningless ‘accolade’ of SH.

As you’re posting all over the internet then I’m assuming that you have your own well-attended website, social media and promotional network that will sustain your business so you’ve lost nothing by trying out Airbnb. Airbnb, I’m afraid to say, doesn’t care that it’s lost you as a host and isn’t going to “change the misleading wording” just for you.

Sorry about that.

Feel free to use this forum as a place to vent but be aware that it is open for anyone to read. That’s the only thing to be wary of but otherwise, it’s good to vent.


They’re not lying, they just don’t tell you that as a host, you have to contact customer service to do a penalty-free cancellation. Yes, they purposefully make it more difficult for hosts. It should be quite obvious why they do it. If it were really easy, then there would be a lot more host cancellations.

You can argue that’s not fair when compared to guest cancellations where a guest can cancel penalty-free 3 times per year without contacting customer support. However, is it really worth the time you took to post this to “every Airbnb support” forum because in the worst case, you will have to spend some time on the phone with them up to 3 times per year?

I spoke with Airbnb and they explained the “trick” to cancelling without penalty is choosing I do not feel comfortable with this guest. I tried that the first time when a guest with zero reviews was able to book instantly, another contradiction per Instant booking terms. It’s still very shady practice and false advertising that they don’t have any fine print HOW TO CANCEL properly. That said, hopefully my waves through the Airbnb company might make some impact, combined with other frustrated hosts complaints. IF enough of us complain, they will listen and probably update their terms. That said, Instant booking sucks for hosts since any cowboy can book the place with zero reviews and throw a big party which several have already tried to do with one listing I manage. I’m still gonna use Airbnb, just never instant booking. Maybe by posting here a few other hosts have shared similar experiences and can help them understand what I didn’t understand before calling support today. I sure feel a lot better having vented, and that’s great it is for the public to see some insight to Airbnb’s shady practices.

I understand this is a forum for hosts, and the not Airbnb company directly which I am also in contact with. I think it’s very important for all hosts to be aware of Airbnb’s shady misleading lacking fine print details about instant booking cancellation policy. That’s all, take it or leave it. I’m sure I’m not the first or only host who feels deceived by Airbnb Instant booking. I even searched this forum for similar topics on Instant booking to avoid repeating this topic. I also use Homeway and they are worse than Airbnb in every possible way, from high fees, clunky website/app, and guests can dispute charges and say they never stayed with you and then you have to fight a credit card dispute, so much fun.

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Oh, definitely not. I’ve been reading this forum since 2014 and there are plenty of complaints. Nothing has changed, if anything it’s worse. As jaquo says, Airbnb doesn’t care. The supply of hosts exceeds the supply of guests already. It’s been called “burn and churn.” Ariana Grande would say “thank u, next!”

We aren’t unsympathetic, we’ve just heard it all before. Hosts saying if we all band together and complain it will make a difference. The problem is that we are not all the same and don’t all host the same kind of property. For example I’ve used instant book for 4 years and about 400 guests. I don’t require prior reviews. I’ve had about 700 stays/inquiries over 5 years and only cancelled or turned down about 20 total. I love instant book so have no need to join your campaign.


You’re pissing in the wind if you think they’ll change. Take Airbnb for what they are and if you don’t like them, move on to another platform.

Oh wait, you’ve got a beef with Homeaway as well… common denominator showing its wee head here.

There is always BDC :slight_smile:



I’m fine using these platforms but not without protest when they purposely mislead us like this. I’ve made big waves that led to some changes in other sharing economy platforms like Turo car sharing, if enough hosts raise their voice instead of passively going along with their systems then sometimes things can improve. Do I expect my influence to change Airbnb, not really. At least I feel better after vocalizing it rather than holding it inside. Thanks for your feedback as well.

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The listing sites only listen now when they see that their bottom line is being hurt. They have heard owners complain for years and years. I used to say the same thing and we all should make our voices heard blah blah. The reality is this is business and know that most hosts are not going to do a thing but allow the sites to take over more control.

If you want control, check out Houfy. Start sending your departing guests your Houfy listing. Full control for owners. No middleman. Free for travelers and owners. Houfy is a movement. Join the Say Yes to Houfy facebook group if you want to learn more.


Hi there. OK my understanding is that we, hosts, can never cancel on our own - aka hitting the cancel button - without huge penalties, losing the SH status etc. which is understandable to a point. My coworker for example went to Paris where she had booked an Airbnb in advance only to see the host canceled on them in the last minute. They scrambled to get a hotel and was more expensive. It is not nice to have the host cancel on you in the last minute. However there are situations where we hosts, need to cancel. Perhaps something happens, an emergency of some sort and in this case I ask the guest to cancel. We are encouraged to ask the guests to cancel because they dont get penalized for canceling. I would message them saying “I can’t host you because x reason and I kindly ask you to call the customer service and get your money back.”

however, Airbnb allows hosts to cancel by choosing the “I’m not comfortable with this reservation” 3 times per year. This is supposed to cover sticky situations, pervs or god knows what else, like it happened to me with the guest who broke into my room in the middle of the night!

They don;t do a good job explaining this and also their website is buggy as hell.

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As far as instant book is concerned, you can absolutely set your parameters. I personally have it listed that they have to have a government ID uploaded as well as good reviews. All others must submit a request to book. If you do not have your listing set that must include good reviews and such then that’s on you and not on Airbnb


Yes I did set the parameters to the most strict settings and it failed, this is why I’m so frustrated. Support didn’t even answer why or how that guest with no reviews was able to book, they just cancelled it for us. Their system is broken and I would like them to address it. I will give credit, Airbnb’s app is overall way more user friendly and reliable than Homeaway and Turo apps which are also very slow. I get it how difficult it is to get these sharing companies to change, but I’ve seen it happen.

If that’s true, then they should not count it as one of your 3 penalty free cancellations because it was their mistake.


I don’t think he was penalized. I think he’s frustrated because he feels that they are misrepresenting the joys of instant book. “Cancel if you aren’t comfortable!” “Get more bookings!” “Rank higher in search!” Then when you aren’t comfortable and want to cancel they don’t make it easy.

When I’ve had to call in to cancel it’s usually a very frustrating experience.

I don’t know if they counted that first one as one of the 3 cancellations. It doesn’t matter anymore since I’m done with instant booking on Airbnb. Instant booking works great on Turo and Getaround car sharing as I don’t care if my cars get destroyed, they pay well for claims.

I’m curious to learn what effect it will have on your business when you turn off instant book. I’ve heard it’s a drastic effect but no doubt it varies among host. A long established host with lots of reviews would probably not notice much difference.

Funny, I didn’t last a year on Turo. Someone took my truck on a camping trip and no doubt they were the ones who got a nail in the tire. But a slow leak and too much time passed and I couldn’t prove they picked up the nail. One new truck tire later and I was done with Turo.

Oh your so hip and I’m so old, I was thinking more like The Rolling Stones “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction”.


Perhaps you set your parameters and failed to save them. Like @MissSwan, I have the same parameters she referenced and have had absolutely no issues. I know when I started out 3 years ago I would sometimes makes changes and forget to hit the “save” option. It’s easy to do and I find myself double-checking many times.


LOL. Soon enough I’ll be so “hip replacement.” My students kept me young a long time and there’s still a bit of that going.