Most Crazy Cancelation Request I've Ever Had!

Does anyone else think it’s kind of strange that a man who’s girlfriend just died is thinking about their stay, the need to cancel and the need to get a full refund?
Even more, he wants to call @Oded to explain in person.

To be honest these things would absolutely be the last thing on my mind and therefor I would like to declare the whole thing suspicious.

EDIT: I would have the guest cancel and have AirBnB handle it from there.


When my sister passed away three years ago I was out of town. My brother in law told me not to come home, there was nothing I could do for the next couple of days anyway, blah de blah. I was in such a shock I just spent most of the day in a daze mostly going about my business doing the things I’d gone out of town to do. Finally a friend said “you need to go home.” That snapped me out of my daze and I got on the next plane out. When both my dad and my mom passed it seemed perfectly logical to just start doing business like things. In a case like this I could do nothing less than show compassion. Trying to suss out if a person would actually stoop so low as to use this as an excuse to get out of reservation would be the last thing on my mind.

So you would do the same thing as Oded? Or is there something I’m missing?

I won’t lie, I also thought about this but I’m thinking the guy is in shock. It’s a “normal” behaviour in these type of situations.

Airbnb didn’t even call me this time. They just canceled his reservation - no questions asked.

Logically, one would show compassion and (at least pretend to) believe everything that is being said.
I was wondering if I’m the only one who has doubts about the story. And @Oded just confirmed that it also had crossed his mind.

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Oded just confirmed that it’s normal behavior in these types of situations.

I guess I misunderstood your post. I thought you were suspicious due to what you saw as odd behavior. But you were suspicious just because it was a cancellation.

It crossed my mind NOT from the place of he’s lying but from the place of dealing with THESE details when something like that happens.

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And that’s what people were saying about EC. It doesn’t matter what you did since they were going to refund anyway. Still it’s worthwhile to provoke thought to post about it. It’s certainly a situation we could all face if we do this very long.

I had a couple who was going to stay 2 nights. They arrived, stayed one night and came out the next morning (this is when I shared my home) and said they would be cancelling the second night and turning around to go back to FL, one of the gals brother had died during the night and they’d just gotten the call. When I heard some commotion in the room that morning I was afraid they were having a couple’s fight and I was dreading greeting them that morning. It’s so wierd to say I was relieved when I found out what was going on.

It did mine as well, but I was a Probation Officer for several years so naturally critical.
Then I thought well…bonus points for most outlandish yet plausible fabrication ever.

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He also attached a link to the article about it so it looks legit.


I had a guest ask to cancel this week for a reservation in 6 weeks time. She said her relationship with her boyfriend had changed.

I sent her the Airbnb link on how to cancel. She phoned Airbnb and told them her grandmother had died, Air phoned me. I said that wasn’t what she had told me to read the messages and even if her grandmother had died her stay wasn’t for 6 weeks. The guy from Air said, we can’t comment on someone else’s mourning. They said they had asked her for “documentation” and that she had supplied it so was given a full refund.

I thought the email I received from Air was inappropriate: blah has cancelled and according to your cancellation policy we have given her a full refund. No, my cancellation policy is strict, you are the reason she received a full refund. I have given up trying to win with Air anymore, I used to say I found them very supportive, but not lately.

I thought something similar but then if it was a scam to get a full refund I don’t think he would have asked to talk directly to the host. Grief does strange things to people

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This is infuriating, that you have it right there in the message thread and they still won’t support you. But your approach seems to be the best, give up on Airbnb and just handle it best you can. I’d inch my price up for those dates just a squidge and hope for an even better replacement booking.

As for the lying guest, her SO probably dumped her for precisely that cause.


A long time ago, I had a customer (nothing to do with airbnb) request a refund on an unused product they bought 1 year prior. He said he was trying to raise money for his mother in law’s funeral. I have no idea whether his story was true or not (I assumed it was). But there was no loss to me (it was a digital product) so it was the difference between being compassionate vs being greedy.

But, for your sole premium vacation rental, it’s the difference between being compassionate and suffering a significant loss.

So, bearing in mind Airbnb already has procedures to deal extenuating circumstances like these, what I’d like to do is just have a standard response which, whilst being empathetic to their alleged circumstance, simply defer to Airbnb. For example…

Hi %name%,

I’m so sorry to hear that %alleged circumstance%.

To cancel the booking and request a refund, please contact Airbnb by going %instructions%. They have procedures for dealing with extenuating circumstances like yours and they will cancel the booking on your behalf.

Again, I’m so sorry to hear about %extenuating circumstance%.



I can then defer the legitimacy of the extenuating circumstance to Airbnb without having to consider each circumstance.

Any thoughts on this approach?


This is what I write:


I am sorry to hear that you need to cancel, I don’t have much experience with cancellations but if you wish to cancel you will need to contact Airbnb as your financial transaction is with Airbnb not with me, I don’t get paid until after you stay.

I have found this in the Airbnb help section:

It would be a good idea to check with your travel insurance provider as it could be covered on your travel insurance. Also if you paid with a credit card you may automatically have travel insurance through your credit card issuer that some credit card companies provide. They are designed to cover costs when something unexpected happens and you aren’t able to complete a reservation.


Another link that could be useful, which isn’t mentioned on that page is:

Why would I want to give them info that if they make up lies about extenuating circumstances, (like my last my last one did) they will get a total refund and I will be left with a hole in my calendar?

Is Airbnb lax in giving total refunds? Don’t they demand documented evidence etc?

You will find my experience with this from last week further up this message thread.

They require evidence. We have had forum members on both sides of this circumstance. @azreala had to submit evidence and maybe she will pop in and offer her perspective. Several others have been cancelled on and don’t know what evidence is submitted. We sometimes hear that it’s very flimsy. Ultimately the booking and cancellation is via Airbnb and they will make their decision and leave you no recourse.

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We have been on both sides, being cancelled on as host for EC and having to cancel for EC. Despite popular opinion it is not easy as a guest to get an EC cancellation.

My MIL in Sweden, fell very ill, suddenly, and we had to fly to Sweden immediately. She was in hospital, and it was not oh I think she has a ‘cold’ kinda thing. I immediately told out host we were not going to make it and I was calling ABB to cancel. I went back and forth with ABB for maybe about a week with documentation regarding my MIL, and the only thing they would accept was hospital admittance records. Due to the sensitive nature of health records in Sweden this was not as simple as one might think, not to mention we had just flown 8000 miles and the last thing on our mind was fighting with ABB. I informed ABB that instead of going around and around just to drop it and we would eat the cost, the host very kindly offered us a refund, but ABB did not force his hand.

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