New "Guilty until proven innocent" policy on IB cancellations

Just talked at length with an Airbnb case manager who explained their new approach to hosts who have instant book enabled and who cancel a reservation within 24 hours. The new approach is to assess all of the penalties, and then rely on the host to call in and contest the penalties and explain why it was a legitimate cancellation.

I asked why they hadn’t communicated this new “approach” (ie, policy) to hosts, and he said they assumed that conscientious hosts would call them upon seeing the penalties applied.

In my case, I had a guest who said she was going to have a party, and so I told her to cancel. She called Airbnb to complain, and they read the transcript and cancelled the reservation. They sent me an email saying no penalties would apply, AND THEN THEY APPLIED ALL OF THE PENALTIES!!!

I further learned that only a case manager from the trip team can remove the penalties. The reason for this change in policy was that “many” hosts were “abusing” the 24-hour cancellation procedure, so they want to make sure the cancellations are “legitimate”. So I guess you can’t cancel for just any reason.

If you have an email saying you are exempt from penalties you should be ok?

That’s what I thought, but nevertheless they assessed the penalties, and then I had to call in (repeatedly) and it took 4-5 days to get them removed.

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How often do you cancel? They used to have a “3 penalty free” policy. Then it went to unlimited as long as it was for the limited reasons they supplied. And now they are back to applying penalties but I’m wondering if you already have a couple of cancellations for the year and they are flagging the account? I don’t expect that they have actually told you the truth about the new policy.

I have five apartments. I might have done it 3-4 times in the last year for all five combined.

Is there a reason you didn’t cancel the reservation? You can cancel IB if you are uncomfortable. I would have just canceled and said guest planned party which is against house rules. Feel like less can go wrong if you just cancel and choose the correct reason.

I use IB since it has been invented, but never read anything about a free 24 hour cancellation period for the host.
Supposedly you may cancel anytime if the guest makes you uncomfortable, but well we know they define what makes a host uncomfortable.

I do allow the guest a 48 hour grace period after booking.

The free for any reason is limited to 3 a year. Uncomfortable is unlimited.

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I just cancelled a stay for this upcoming weekend using the reason ‘I don’t feel comfortable with this guest’ and it was penalty free. I also got a message saying I have used 2 of my 3 penalty free cancellations

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