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Refund request - not sure what to do


#1

Hi all,

I’m pretty new to airbnb, so wondered if anyone might give me the heads up here.

I have a guest requesting the full amount of the 4 night stay as she said my place was unclean!

This is what happened:

On the day of Guest’s arrival, I met her at the bus station and walked back to the house with her, so she didn’t have to find it on her own.
I walked her round the house, pointing out facilities, and invited her to make use of the kitchen, front room and garden.
I showed her the bedroom and bathroom.
On more than one occasion during that day and the day after, I asked her if everything was ok and if there was anything I could help her with. She said everything was fine.
I left on day two of her trip to attend my mother, who had fallen out of bed and broken her hip.
I was very surprised, therefore, to receive an email requesting a full refund on day three – the night before the guest was due to check out – outlining her grievances.
I feel the following points are relevant

  1. She made no mention of any problems when I was resident in the house – despite being given ample opportunity to do so.
  2. She took pictures, of areas she was unhappy with, three days into her stay. Obviously, toothpaste and soap marks would be expected by that time, as would small bits of fluff on the carpet.
  3. Waiting three days to state that she could not stay any longer is rather far-fetched. If she was so unhappy with the accommodation, why not leave immediately? Or at least the day after.
  4. I have had three previous guests who left five star reviews.
  5. During her stay, she made good use of the drinks and breakfast items – all of which were provided as part of the cost.
    As someone who is fairly new to the Air BNB experience, I am on a bit of a learning curve. I am happy to take any suggestions on board that would enhance my guest’s stay.

I have loved hosting for the previous guests and am assured that they had a very good stay in my home.
This experience has made me wonder if it is right for me. When you welcome someone into your home, you do not expect to have to contend with somewhat spurious allegations of, at most, minor issues.

Have I got a leg to stand on?

TIA


#2

Check out the terms and conditions. Guests are supposed to communicate about problems asap, preferably on the app where Airbnb can see it, to give the host a chance to fix things. They are not meant to stay first and ask for a refund later! Sounds like a scam, at best unfair of them.


#3

BTW in your heart of hearts how much do you really want guests in your living room, kitchen and garden space? Are you just offering all your space to please? Down the road many hosts feel pushed out of their own home by entitled, messy etc. guests, or find that for example the garden is just one more thing they might get bad reviews from (for mess etc.). Sometimes guests with no plans might be right under your feet all day. Sometimes less is more. Personally I have kitchen times, but it’s each host to their own.


#4

You’re absolutely right Jess - I think I was just being super keen. That’s definitely worn off!
I don’t think I am the right person to do this. My house is clean, but a little rough around the edges, and I know I will be paranoid from now on that guests will pick up on it.
Fair enough I suppose, but I’m happy with my home and have already started to view it with new eyes…

Thanks for your input :slight_smile:


#5

Use the guest money to fix your house how you like it! I got a new bathroom last year. If you keep it simple it should be low maintenance. Easy for me to say, I live in a city where loads of guests need to come for work or courses. They are so busy I hardly see them, they just grab a self service breakfast. Because my listing is budget, in the evening they can afford to go to a pub or restaurant. I don’t allow guests in my living room.


#6

Remember – you personally do not do any refunds. If the guest wants a refund, let her ask for it through Air. If Air calls and wants you to do so, politely decline.

I had a guest (who lives an hour away) recently who called Air on the day of arrival and wanted to cancel because she wasn’t happy with an extended late check-in I offered, and wanted to arrive “sometime” that evening. Air called me and wanted me to refund her. I said "No! I set Strict Cancellation for a good reason


#7

She had to request to cancel her stay upon arrival. I would not give her a refund since she stayed for three days. She’s probably a con artist looking for a free stay. Report her to Airbnb and give her a bad review.


#8

Exactly! If the place was so dreadful, how come she managed to stay for three days and three nights? And never once mentioned any problems when I asked her…
She said in her request that she was on a very tight budget - makes me think she was a scammer looking to elicit a refund by whatever means!


#9

She sounds like the sort of person who would eat every scrap of a restaurant meal and then refuse to pay because there was something wrong with it. In other words a very inept con merchant.

No refund.


#10

Limit your your space, its a common new host mistake many of us make. If guests are paying for a room, give them just that . Dont allow them to take over as some will.Let them find their own way, do hotels fetch guests? Advise the guest that as you were away, it was her own mess she was photographing, advise her that you were not there and you dont offer daily house keeping. Ring airbnb and explain how upset you are especially as you were called away and it was her own mess that she never cleaned up, tell them she said everything was fine when you asked her numerous time. Give her the review she deserves


#11

I had a similar experience recently, guest arrived very late so I handed off the keys and didn’t do a walk through. I checked with her next day and she said everything was fine and even asked to stay another night. The unit is a full 3 bed suite with other suites in the building. On day 2 her water was off for a period because we had to have a plumber repair a leak. Her stay was 7 days. On day 6 she requested a refund of 4 days. During her stay, she had her parents visit and it would appear they stayed for most of the week. She took pictures too, pulled a spare comforter out of a blanket box and took a picture of a tiny tear, said the stove was dirty, pulled the cover off the sofa and said it was tatty underneath. I told her she would have to go through Airbnb for a refund, her demand was outrageous. Guests have 24 hours to complain. I am waiting for an adjudication from Airbnb, I offered a refund of one day and I am interested to see their recommendation. If they side with the guest then maybe we can motivate hosts to join together to put a stop to scams like this. My guest is offering to pay less than $10 / day per person for her stay in a fully furnished and equipped suite. At that rate I would be out of business very quickly

Tina


#12

@Tinan - please keep us posted on the outccome.


#13

You’re absolutely right Cassid - I was over zealous to have offered to collect her, and share my house. I’ve definitely learned the hard way (think that’s why I was so upset - I need to be less invested, more professional)
I did ring airbnb and they were great. The advisor I spoke to was really sympathetic - and said she would add notes (as the guest has already got the resolution centre involved) She didn’t think the guest would have a leg to stand on - having waited three days before contacting them. I hope so.
She said I would hear very soon, and I will post the outcome when I do.
Hope you get the right result too Tina
Thanks all for your input


#14

When I started my house was also a little rough around the edges too. I am not particularly worried if carpets haven’t been vacuumed for a couple of weeks or there is accumulated dust. I used to get average of 4 stars for cleanliness with 20%/40%/20% for 3/4/5 stars. When I decided to put up prices I asked a friend who had worked in hospitality as a hotel manager to give me an honest assessment and she came up with a long list of things I needed to do to improve which I implemented so now I get about 20%/80% 4/5 stars. I once got 1 star from someone who complained about cobwebs, event though I had a cleaner at the time she wasn’t very good. In my mind a 1 star would be an all male student house where the toilet hasn’t been cleaned for 6 months and the fridge has science projects growing in it, with a wall of empty beer cans.

But yes you do have to keep your space cleaner than you would if living there alone if you want 4/5 stars for cleanliness and clean continuously and deeply on a regular basis if you want all 5 stars. Especially if like me you are not that fussed about cleanliness.


#15

But you offered her 1 free night anyway. Even though her parents stayed for free for 4 nights? Presumably you are not the first host she has done it to and so she has learned she can get a partial refund by making things up or blowing up very small issues into major ones. I would slam her in the review for the parents staying without asking permission or paying and definitely do not recommend her.


#16

i wouldn’t mention that you were not there, then she could claim you were unresponsive, she couldn’t find you to remedy her (totally fake) “situation” (albeit off the platform). Just stick with “it was her own mess” as cassid suggested and you never indicated there was daily housekeeping as in a hotel.


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