Need advice: really demanding guest or do I need to improve?

Hi all. I’ve been hosting for 3 summers now, and have had generally good experiences with guests. To clarify, my family leaves our home for a period of time, and we rent our complete 2500 square foot home to groups and families.
Last week, our fridge unexpectedly died, and we are waiting on delivery of a new one. I informed our current group before they came for their 2 day stay, and asked if our mini fridge would accommodate. She replied that she was expecting a full size fridge, and asked for compensation. I offered a $25/night discount. She accepted.
The day of check in, she asked to check in a couple hours early. I thought nothing of it, as the house had already been cleaned.
Upon check in, she wrote " we just wanted to let you know that the house was not clean all the way. And there was still things left over in the freezer that is melting. The outlets are not working upstairs and the microwave was left dirty. There should be some other compensation other than the $55."
I responded quickly, apologized, asked for clarification about outlets (we have a multitude upstairs), tried to clarify which freezer she was talking about, and offered to have the cleaning crew come by to rectify. I emailed again the next morning, asking her what her idea of a fair compensation was.
No response until the next afternoon (remember, they check out the very next day).
She wrote, "There are several things we wanted to address. One the outlet in the master bedroom is not working and was hoping you gave us a heads up on that. Secondly, we couldn’t use the oven and the microwave because the cleaner didn’t do a very good job cleaning it. Lastly, we were hoping that the trash bins had some plastic bag and also the towels weren’t laid out for us to use. The girls also mentioned that the sink was clogged up at some point and we had to manage and fix it. I hope you understand what we are going through. If you could give us another $150 back for the comfort and meals that we had spent that would be great. Thank you."
Personally, this feels ridiculous to me at this point. I checked with the cleaners , who assured me they did clean the microwave, and we leave a huge stack of towels in the hallway cabinet, but I guess she expected them to be set out in each room like a hotel. Also plenty of trash liners available in the house.
At this point, I don’t know, do I cave in and give her the money to avoid a bad review? Do I deserve a bad review? Do I brace the bad review, tell her she’s being too demanding? We have a huge house and live in an expensive area, so I can understand her having high expectations for the price they paid, but on the other hand, I always price lower than comparables because I don’t want people to be priced out of my beautiful town. We offer a really nice home, operative word being home–not a resort or hotel.
What would you do?

I feel for you. I had something a bit similar happen over New Year’s Eve, which is my high season. I felt bad about what was bothering the guests, although I felt it was a bit trumped up. I re cleaned the house, bought new sheets and refunded a whole night, and she still leave a totally terrible review.

So just refund what you think is fair and expect the bad review no matter what you do. Sadly.


Is there only one outlet in the bedroom? Re the oven being clean, too bad your cleaner didn’t take pics. The towels are nonsense, ditto trash liners, but I do put new ones in each bin.
How hard is it to wipe a microwave. That’s lame, I can’t imagine making a complaint if there is the odd spot inside or outside.
It does sound like you need to invest in getting plugs fixed, sink drain sorted.

I think she’s going to give you a bad review no matter what.lets hope she creates the impression of being too demanding. Hope other members here can help you word a review, I wouldn’t give her any more money.


Agree not a cent. Or even 20 cents.


I’m sorry you’re having such an unpleasant experience. As you didn’t say how much these guests are paying; I can’t gauge whether the discount she is asking for is reasonable. Since we started hosting, we’ve realized that quirks of our house that we can work around will really irritate guests so we try to fix everything. When we started hosting I showed guests the linen closet and told them to help themselves to towels. After two guests forgot and were stuck in the bathroom with no towel, we started putting each guest’s towel and washcloth on their bed. Guests definitely expect the host to put the trash can liners in the trash cans. If the outlet in the master bedroom that wasn’t working was the one closest to a desk or nightstand it would be annoying. The guest should have called you about the clogged sink so you could fix it. Did you check the microwave and oven to see if the guest was correct that they were dirty?

1 Like

You asked the guest: " I emailed again the next morning, asking her what her idea of a fair compensation was. " So I think now you backed yourself into a refund corner.
I would , because of your offer, tell them you will " split it" and give back 1/2 = $75.00, and you hope she finds this fair.
I dont know what you charge, or any details, there are certain failures that are problems…we too have dealt with broken refrig, a/c that has to be replaced, and much more.
It is important to correct as fast as possible…but that does not seem what you are able to do…it does not even sound as though there is anyone in charge.
It is probably a difficult situation no matter how you handle it and no matter how it pans out.
Also, it should not take more than a day or two to get a refrig into a rental…and are the outlets broken? Is the drain clogged? are these the truth or not?
When guests have a 2 night stay, they do need to be provided supplies, including trash bags.
Good luck. Let us know how it turns out.


Thanks for all the feedback, I appreciate it so much! This is a good learning experience. She hasn’t specified which drain; I have no idea if it’s true. And yes exactly, she should have told me so I could send someone to fix it right away. I do have someone available.
The fridge broke on a Friday, they couldn’t deliver until Tuesday. This group was booked Sunday-tuesday.
The cleaner is going to start putting towels on beds and liners in trash. We always have liners available in the drawer, I forgot to specify.
There are 4 double outlets in the master bedroom, with one on each side of the bed and a power cord on at least one of those, so honestly, it’s hard for me to see one outlet being out as a problem, but I will send my maintenance person over to check before next rental (as well as sink). We weren’t aware of any clogged drain or outlets out in master bedroom when we left our home 2 weeks ago.
And to clarify: we charge just under $400/night for a 4 bedroom 2500 square foot home that sleeps 9. In Santa Cruz, CA, this is a low price.
A few days ago, I lowered prices 100/night for last minute midweek specials. Sadly, I think she saw this and decided she deserves the discount too😕

1 Like

Do not give any money back, you will get a bad review anyway.

The only thing you can do is to go over and check and address all the complains by yourself.
And if they are valid, you can give some compensation or solve the issue.

But giving back money just to avoid a bad review is useless.


Liners in the trash is good, but towels on the bed is not.
You will see that they will also start to put wet towels on the bed.

Oh NO…do not lower your rates that much. You will attract problems. It is better to sit empty. You do not want folks in a 4 br for $100 a night. …bottom rate = $325 - $350.
I also have a 4 br and a 5 br.
Be careful to hear feedback, but not knee jerk in reaction. EllenN is correct also.
Other items are maintenence.
The fridge is yes an issue, but you worked that out up front. I would have gotten a fridge on a friday or saturday though at our local Lowe’s - a floor model - and had it put in no matter what. I keep a garage fridge for backup in each house.
also, once booked guests dont care that you charge a low price…they still want everything “just so” or even “more so”…so my philosophy is to price correctly and make profit and earn enough to keep everything nice and maintained. No sense in renting my most valuable investments for a Low Price.


If it were me, I’d try to get the crazy nut out NOW and see if Air could cancel where neither one of you could leave a review. BUT…since there likely is no reason you can kick her out, I would not compensate her anything. She is likely going to leave a bad review anyway. Just be sure you leave an honest review of her too.

Why didn’t she just ask if there were trash liners? OK- I would offer to compensate her for any trash liners she had to purchase if she didn’t think they were there. I am surprised your cleaning crew does not put them in the bins.

The towels were not laid out??? What in the world does that mean? I do not lay out my towels on beds. I used to do that and then guests just tossed them all around the room. So now all of them are stored in one closet. Was she questioning whether or not they were clean? Is it obvious that they are for guests to use and not your personal stash? If she had a question about towels then why didn’t she contact you? Ask her for clarification of this inconvenience she experienced.

An outlet isn’t working upstairs, but this giant 2500 square foot house has multiple outlets in the master bedroom and all over the house. And she wants to be compensated because one outlet doesn’t work? That’s like asking for compensation because a light bulb goes out during your stay and there is plenty of light from all the other bulbs surrounding it. She said she had hoped you would have given her a heads up about it. And then what? Would she have cancelled her reservation if she had known an outlet didn’t work?

What happened when you said you would send the cleaners by? If she didn’t allow them back then that’s on her. Do you not provide any kind of cleaning supplies for guests to use? Let’s say the microwave and oven were a bit dirty. If I were a guest, I would wipe them out and not go spend money at restaurants. She wants you to pay for her meals is what it is. They likely were going to eat out most meals anyway but now this is a reason for her to get a free dinner. If she agreed to the mini fridge, then that means she didn’t plan on cooking in much anyway.

She didn’t tell you which sink was clogged and how they “managed” to fix it? I don’t believe her story. Funny how they manage to fix a sink, yet they can’t manage to wipe up something in the microwave?

I can’t help you write a response because I need to go clean myself. But good luck. I thiink the woman is nuts. She is the type who will go to a restaurant, have the manager comp the entire meal, and then run straight home and write a scathing review of her experience.


You really should call Air and get your side of the story in first. Tell them she has already been compensated and that the guest did not allow the cleaners back in, etc. It really doesn’t matter that guest should have contacted Air. Air makes up their own rules and you may get a rep. who decides the guest should be compensated for 25% or something. Address each of her complaints line by line and point out to the rep. how ridiculous each one is.


Georgy, I didn’t lower rates to 100/night. I discounted them by 100/night, to 300 instead of 400. I would never rent it for 100! But I’m thinking even that was a mistake.

1 Like

Thanks again, everyone. Sounds pretty unanimous that I should expect a bad review whether or not I compensate for her many demands.
Anyone feel good about their ability to respond and willing to help me out? I will contact Airbnb, can I do this by email or do I need to call? I don’t have cellular service where I’m staying, but do have wifi, so all of our communication has been email so far, and I’m glad now it’s all in writing.
I would love help in wording an appropriate review of her, as well a response to her latest. And a response to her probable negative review. Usually I’m confident with writing in an articulate way, but I’m really bugged out by this woman right now, and I’m afraid I’ll come off the wrong way!


fyi, joining Skype will allow you to make calls for either free (to other Skype-ers) or extremely cheap (a few cents a minute). Works over wifi

I’m afraid I can’t help with wording an answer to your guest’s possible review (though there are several people here who I think could help) because I am so staggered by her complaints. You have obviously completely ruined this poor woman’s vacation because you did not put bin liners in the bins… heartless host, how could you do this to her?. When I was a young lass in Lancashire and any of the family moaned that they had to do something themselves, the answer was usually “Do you want me to come and wipe your bottom for you as well?” Though I guess you can’t use this in a review.

Sadly …


Sorry to hear you’re having a difficult guest. You seem very kind and have been generous enough. Please do not offer them any more compensation!

Here’s an attempt at a response to your guest’s latest message:

"Hi X,
Thank you for drawing my attention to the issues you have listed. I would have appreciated you letting me know about the problem areas early on as you encountered them, so that I could have sent someone to investigate/fix these for you to make your stay much more enjoyable. I will address them now as best as I can:

  1. I was not aware of a non-functioning outlet. Had I known, I would have got my maintenance person to fix it right away. Also, there are additional outlets and a power cord which are fully functional and available for your use.

  2. Could you please share pictures of my oven and microwave to show me the unclean areas so that I can go over these with my cleaning staff and make sure they clean properly going forward? I trust my staff has done a great job in the past, but if this is not the case, I will need to see some photos as proof before I can consider compensating you for meals that you could not cook in my home during your stay.

  3. My apologies for the liners not being present in the trash bins. I hope you were able to find trash bags in the kitchen drawers. As for the towels, we leave a huge stack of them in the hallway cabinet so guests can pick as they go as per their needs. I do not lay towels out on bed as sometimes guests tend to put their luggage and unpack items over the bed so towels end up tossed around.

  4. Please clarify which sink was clogged up. I also expect guests to notify me if they experience any inconvenience. As mentioned earlier, I would have sent my maintenance person to fix this had you contacted me at the time you encountered clogging in the sink.

The outlet issue, possibly unclean appliances and clogged sink could have been fixed upfornt if you had informed me right away. Hence, I cannot offer any further compensation. I hope upon finding the bin liners and towels, you and your family enjoyed your stay in our home.


Ha! I so wish we could though!


I’ll be the dissenting voice and say that I think the initial offer of a $25/night discount for a $400/night rate was too low. A working full-size fridge in a 4 br home is not a peripheral amenity and I’m wondering if she felt resentful that she had agreed to such a low discount.
She then checked into your home with this resentful attitude which for hosts is an awful scenario since any minor issue gets added on to her mental list of things (or in her case, a literal list) that aren’t right.

When a major basic appliance will not be available (AC, fridge, etc.) I feel that it’s up to the host to err on the side of overcompensation in these situations so that the guest feels they are made whole by the overall experience. The issues she’s complaining about are a bit loony but I’m wondering if she would have stayed in your home with an entirely different attitude if you had given her a $100/night discount from the start. If she would have had these complaints regardless (even if the full fridge was there and working!) then yes, she’s a loon, but we’ll never know.

Thanks so much YYCGal for the awesome articulation! And chicagohost, I appreciate your feedback as well. I’d wondered the same. And as I mentioned before, I think she also saw that around the time of her check in, I lowered the listing price by 100/night in an effort to fill some last minute spots. You live, you learn!! But it sure is unpleasant and uncomfortable to have someone like this in my home while I’m across the country!!!