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So on another forum a person posted a new scam going around for Airbnb Hosts. I think this one is probably targeted toward newbies because I don’t allow early check-ins in the morning and I do charge a fee for an early afternoon check in.
Here’s what’s happening:
Guest requests an early morning check in (say 8 am). Guest arrives, uses facilities, showers, eats a meals, takes a nap, then a little after the normal check in time, they contact Airbnb/host saying that the STR is not satisfactory and they ask to have their reservation cancelled and fully refunded and of course, Airbnb is complying. Host has to clean the system, replenish supplies, etc and is out of pocket rental.
Seems like an easy scam to avoid but I wanted to let it be know since I’ve seen it twice happen over the last couple of weeks to other hosts.
The guests who are doing this, though - what’s up with them? Do they need a place only from 8 am to 3 pm? Where are they sleeping at night? Staying up all night maybe and doing free stays by day? Seems like a lot of work, booking, talking the naïve host into letting them in early, setting the alarm for 3 pm, calling CS with complaints, getting refunded.
And if they do it more than once, wouldn’t even Airbnb CS catch on eventually?
And if they do it to a host who says no to the early check-in, do they wind up having no place to lounge for a few hours before they cancel?
Sorry. I know you don’t have the answers. I almost hope someone tries this with me, so I can ask directly. Almost.
I had a fellow contact me once at around 7 am. He had been driving all night and he did in fact want a place to shower, nap and then hit the road again. I was willing to do it for my nightly rate which was around $40 then. I’d had no one the night before and the room was ready. However he didn’t want to spend that much; he argued since he would only be here for about 6 hours and that I could still rent the room out again that night that I should only get $20. I did take the time to explain that I had to do a full clean whether he was here 6 hours or 18 hours. I also told him I couldn’t re-rent the room because it would be blocked off from his reservation which would be for that night.
There are hotels (TWA @ JFK) that rent out 8 hour blocks of times for a reduced rate. Most of us can’t do that but it would be fine with me if Airbnb could offer that option. I’d be willing to give a discount to someone only in the room for 8 hours instead of 18 on a case by case basis.
Not to mention, getting a full refund isn’t a cake walk.
Under the guest refund policy, the reasons for immediate cancellation/refund seem to fall under: unclean, vermin, or host didn’t give access (either didn’t meet to hand off key, or door code isn’t working).
Many of us would have video showing the guest entering and enjoying their 6-9 hour siesta, so the whole “too dirty to stay” and “no access to home” arguments won’t hold water. Good luck finding vermin. Perhaps some YouTuber made this up to garner views? I can’t imagine many people are successful with this scam.
Oh yes, I had one of those too. In my case the guest wasn’t travelling through, just a local who wanted the place for a day of camping. So burning up the firewood, napping on the bed, using the pans, plates, utensils, tracking in mud. It would be “no work” for me since they weren’t staying the night, so they were appalled that I would have to charge them for the two nights they would be blocking my calendar. By rights, I shouldn’t be charging them anything at all! What a scammer I was!
I understood completely that they would be booking elsewhere and wished them the best.
But even those guys wouldn’t have paid and then jumped through the hoops to get a refund. At least I don’t think so. Maybe now that they have found a blog about it? Is that it? Has some blogger done a step-by-step for free daytime stays?
Maybe, or maybe it’s just a freak co-incidence that two people had a similar thing happen. Keep in mind this a couple of posts against a backdrop of thousands of nights of bookings in the last few days/weeks. It’s no more alarming than other things that happen, imho.
What’s the significance of the “8am to a right after check-in” scam? Even if a guest finds an issue at check-in, the guest has 24 hours to contact Airbnb to request a refund. So, the guest could stay the night, contact Airbnb in the morning to report the made-up issue, and still get a refund.
The guest is also supposed to attempt to resolve it with the host first, and they are 're also supposed to have photographic evidence of the issue. Maybe the “right after check-in” part makes it look like the guest just turned around and walked out, then the Airbnb customer service agent ignores the requirements to provide evidence of the issue and resolve it with the host?
I’m right off of I-35 and get requests like this. I will not book them. I do many last minute bookings where they are driving and get to tired to continue some as late as 9 PM to 11 PM, these I do book and they are out by 11 AM.
Assuming all communication is handled on the platform, it should be pretty easy for a host to demonstrate that the guest arrived and checked in early, and further, to show the guest did not contact the host or allow them to remedy the “problem” per Air’s policy.
I’m not a newbie host (though yes, I’m pretty naive …) but I have agreed to it a couple of times when people are on early flights. I have a full day between bookings so the house is ready. I will continue to do it if requested as I refuse to believe that a large cohort of travellers are so devious that they are going to go to such lengths to get a free shower and a couple of hours sleep!
Knock on wood, I’ve only had to contact them on relatively minor issues but I have not really experienced this. Even today a guest cancelled, citing “family issues” to me but citing “I didn’t know about the pet fee” to CS. This is CS message to me:
I see, I contact her and it seems she didn’t read the full description there for she was not fully aware of the pet fee charge.
I suggest the guest to take a look to that information as well. If you have further questions please let us know.
Mind you, the pet fee is described both in the description, in the house rules you must acknowledge before booking, and in the pet rules. Three places. And the guest cited keywords from the house rules verbatim, i.e. they had read them.
But hey, CS admonished the guest to “READ THE LISTING”. I felt supported.
P.S. Dear would-be guest, Good luck finding someone to let you bring three dogs into their home, period; much less for free.