Is this a possible scam?

I have just had something happen that has never happened before, and I’m worried about its implications.
I have had a guest here for just short of 4 weeks. His payment went through the day after his arrival and was deposited in my account within 3 or 4 business days. YESTERDAY I got an alert from AirBNB saying that there had been a problem with his payment; that he had been e-mailed a direct link to pay outstanding charges; that I should follow up with the guest to ensure payment is made–and I was given some options regarding what to do if it is not made, but the message made clear that Air BNB is not liable for the hosting fees.

The situation may resolve itself, but I’m wondering if has brought to light a loophole in the system, whereby a guest can defraud a host by appearing to pay up front but then, due to a slow response from Air BNB, getting free accommodation for an extended period. This particular guest is from a warm climate so has required that the heat be turned up very high throughout his stay, so if I am not to be reimbursed, not only do I lose the host fees, but I have incurred substantial utlitlity costs that I would otherwise not have incurred.

Does anyone have insights or similar experiences? What can be done if the guest does not pay?

This is odd - I was JUST opening a new topic on this very subject. I have a business traveler who ended up showing up one day early and asked to book an additional day. I created the reservation alteration and received the following response from Airbnb after the reservation was confirmed.

The attempt to charge your guest, XYZ, for the amount due for reservation XYZ from Apr 25 - 29, 2016 was unsuccessful. The reservation is still active at this time, and we’ve sent XYZ an email alert with a direct way to pay the balance.
If your guest successfully submits payment, we’ll send you a confirmation email right away. If you have questions about the payment problem, you can reach out to your guest.
If your guest doesn’t successfully submit payment or if they cancel the reservation before making the payment, Airbnb isn’t liable for issuing your host payout. If you prefer to cancel the reservation, you can cancel without penalty at any time before the trip begins. If the reservation has started and you’d like to cancel, please send us a note.

The amount deposited into my account does not reflect the new rate. The reservation shows as being from the 26th EVEN THOUGH they have already stayed from the 25th.

I created a Resolution Center ticket and messaged the guest. I’m going to give them a call now.

This was almost identical to the wording I got. I will also try to open a ticket in the resolution centre. Obviously if someone wants to do this, they can only only do it once (as they would probably get a very bad rating) but my concern is the scope for scam if people are really canny about this. Thanks for sharing your experience. I think it must be an auto generated e-mail–the wording of mine was identical.

Update: I just called the customer support team who will be following up with the guest. If and when this happens you need to call them and open a ticket. 1-415-800-5959 or use the Superhost CS number if you have it.

The system is very buggy… She is sending screenshots of some of the discrepancies (the calendar issue, for example) and escalating the issue.

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Thank you. I’ll call now. I couldn’t find a number to call and get a live person, so even getting that number is a huge help. Again, many thanks!

PS: Mention (in a nice way) that you are a member of a forum and are trying to help another person with the same issue. it tends to help, in my experience, because guests, hosts and the media all research forums.

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Thank you! I’m on the phone now (on hold) so will do so when they come back to me.

In this instance, the message generated to me was not about the full amount of the booking. Apparently it is $26 at issue. I mentioned that I was on a forum and speaking to someone in a similar situation. He said that he was still not sure what this $26 is–the difference between host and Air BNB fee; a function of currency conversion (I am in Canada; Air BNB is in the US; my guest is from a third country); or a different problem entirely. His supervisor is investigating. I asked that he get back to me to let me know precisely why the e-mail I received was generated; how the situation is being resolved; and whether I’ve hit on a potential “scam” loophole, or just some other type of glitch in the system. Will keep you posted.

I finally got wise and saved the number in my cell phone! No more having to hunt around for it, hoping to click on the ‘magic button’ that will give it to me.


They are always finding ways to hide it eh very annoying!


So what does it mean that they don’t cover it?

I am confused. You said you got full payment into your account within 3 or days. No one can take that money away from you. So why are you worried about"non payment’? Is there other information you left out? How could AirBnB say there was a problem with his payment when it was already in your account? AirBnb deposits the payment directly into your bank and only you have access to it. It isn’t like a bad check! In fact this is one of the best things about AirBnB: not having to deal with guest payments directly. Maybe the guest underpaid AirBnB? But why should YOU have to follow up on a payment that was made to Air BnB, not to YOU? And what does free accommodation have to do with this ? I am confused. Maybe there is more to this.

@dcmooney You can always google it, too. It is easier than trying to find it on their website. Plus, I have it in my phone, as well.

It’s deliberately buried for a reason. They don’t want a zillion calls. :smiley: