Lesson learned on allowing change of dates to allow guest to avoid cancelation penalty

So yesterday, my guest who was to checkin within 3 days said his plans had changed and they had to cancel and was wondering about a full refund. I said the cancel policy was within 5 days you get cleaning fee back, but because I likely can’t get someone new in, I would be out the $$. He put in a request to change the date to a month out. I agreed to that (because he booked weekdays that likely wouldn’t get booked otherwise. As soon as I approved the change he cancelled the reservation. Not only did he get the refund of my money, to my surprise Airbnb said he even got the refund on the Airbnb fees (and cleaning fee). Lesson learned for me. Unfortunate. Airbnb will flag his account for what it’s worth.


Yes, that’s been reported here multiple times. It’s good to get a recent reminder.


Still, all the more reason for hosts to read this forum thoroughly!

I don’t live on this site, but I did do a search before posting and nothing came up that matched. Probably my search string.

Yes, it’s been quite a popular subject here.

Not sure why this is relevant?

these results have some similar threads.


Thank you for sharing @icedoctor. I hate it happened to you. A reminder to be alert to things like this can be helpful.

It happened to me one time—lesson learned. I wonder if this strategy is advocated in a blog about “how to travel cheap”.

BTW @icedoctor I’ve searched for a couple of topics that didn’t readily display. I think that at least one was in a thread that got off topic so not easily found.


Funny we were just talking about this in another thread.

The strategies probably aren’t openly advocated but as @Brian_R170 said in that other thread it’s not hard to extrapolate from the honest and well-meaning to the dishonest and the scammer.

This forum is probably an excellent source of information on how to scam hosts. :rofl:


Do you know if the 48 cancellation rule is added when you modify a reservation (i.e. add an extra day)?

1 Like

HI Icedoctor, you were caught between a rock and a hard place. There really was no good reason why you could refuse to change the dates. And the rest we know.


Why would you accept a date change if you knew he was cancelling? Was that a mistake on your part? Could seem innocent enough, especially if it’s a recurring guest, but seems like you let it happen.

I hadn’t thought of this scheme, and I’m actually surprised more guests haven’t tried that with me. Some who do cancel like to wait until the last-minute and expect a full refund, even after days of notice. Happened today as a matter of fact.

I think we’re very charitable using the Flexible cancellation policy - we’ve even offered full refunds as late as 7 or 8 in the evening. I honestly think we could use the Moderate policy, but in reality, few people actually cancel, and we get a lot of last-minute bookings.


I had a guest we’ll call Slick Rick try that once. I saw it coming before it happened but here’s the thing, if I didn’t respond to the reservation change request, I knew this guest was going to throw a fit and leave a bad review. Well I approved it, they cancelled and only got like $8 more back through ‘this one little trick’. Well after the review I left them, I’d be surprised if any hosts accept them again because I called out the dishonesty and made full disclosure what happened. I still got a good review from them too.
Since then however, I’ve noticed Airbnb will take down my reviews most of the time if I call a guest out on something like that and the guest complains about my review. I’ve had two taken down. I’m very familiar with the content policy and what is and isn’t allowed as well. This is just an example of Airbnb asking hosts to take one for the team.

I’ve had guests try to pull this one.

You can sidestep them by rolling the cost of the “current” reservation into the cost of the “new” reservation such that if they cancel you’ll still be paid out the full “current” reservation price.

Like if they’re supposed to stay this weekend and would lose 100% of their $300 booking, I let them move it out a few weeks but the new total is $600. If they cancel, which has a 50% payout, I still get the $300. If I manage to re-book the last-minute dates then I’ll refund them.

That’s how you deal with tricksy hobbitses.


Mistake in hindsight that won’t happen again. We had a good rapport up to then and I had no indication he was trying to trick me. He was asking to make a new booking for a time when I’m pretty sure I was going to be vacant any way, so I was helping him out. The whole thing was over in a couple of minutes. I’m thinking of shifting to flexible since as you say, it is infrequent.


This is a great idea.

Our guest changed the his date to the following week because he thought the weather would be nicer. We approved it, and the new date was more expensive for him. He came and it all worked out.

Thanks for the heads up!!

I’d have to disagree on this one @justMandi I think it’s quite legitimate for a host to say they can’t accept the amendment because they are unlikely to be able to rebook the original dates at such short notice.

However, they don’t even have to do that, they can just decline the alteration.


This has been a common scam in the hotel industry for a lot of years so I suppose it’s only natural that it’s happening for rentals listed online too.

Luckily I’ve never come across it because a guest can’t book three, four, five etc. weeks in advance because we’d be booked up.

The good thing is though, that because the guest in the OP booked for a month ahead, there’s plenty of time to fill the gap. And you wouldn’t one anyone who is scamming you to stay again anyway :wink:

Very clever girl!

Someone tried to pull this on me. I said rebook the new date and cancel the existing one and once the free cancel period is up I’ll refund the other 50 percent. He cancelled the following booking anyway so ultimately no refund. Nice try though douche bag.