Request for cancellation exception

I have a guest that reserved a month long stay, asking to cancel with an exception to our cancellation policy.
Here’s her ‘story’:
Sorry I had to put in for a cancellation, I have a Stalker here in Richmond that has been getting more aggressive,.I spoke with chesterfield police officer F&&&&&& in regards to this and a complaint has been filed but I feel it is the best course of action to move further away. He has been relentless and I have changed my numbers and blocked him on social media but he seems to recreate a page a follows me again. He has asked on numerous occasions where I am. He knows what city I am in and this is really starting to effect my day to day life to such I have contacted the Magistrate office to issue a no contact order on him and his family but I feel I shouldn’t have to live my life this way so I am just going to pack my bags and move.

Our AirBnB is about 45 miles away from Richmond.

I had already told my wife that I was concerned about this guest to be, due to an earlier message she sent wanting to reserve the apartment for another stay in the near future, she sounds like a diva.

If we accept the exception- we receive nothing. If we ignore it or refuse, we get our standard cancellation fee.

The AirBnB notice subtly suggests that if we reject the exception our rating will suffer.
The way they say it is:

What are your thoughts on:
Allowing the exception
AirBnB’s implied damage to our rating if we don’t approve ?

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As a general policy I don’t make exceptions to our cancellation policy on the rationale:

  1. Which party is in the better position to prepare for a contingency that prevents the stay?

The answer must be the guest, who can buy travel insurance. But the Host cannot.

  1. What policy is fair to all my guests?

A policy that is uniformly applied and does not incentivize a guest to conjure up that arrangement of words that gives that guest a benefit that none of my other guests enjoy.

Said differently, we practice fee integrity, which means that our other guests need not be concerned that if they would ‘say the right thing’ they could get a rate discount, a penalty-free cancellation contrary to our cancellation policy or some other financial ‘deal’ that departs from our stated prices (and a cancellation policy is a kind of price).

Aside: This guest did come up with an arrangement of letters and words that are creative and effective at getting me to think about giving the penalty-free cancellation. Good thing I have a policy that guides me in these situations.

As to what you say is ‘AirBnbB’s implied damage to our rating’ if you don’t approve.

Don’t worry about it.

First, I see the implication but also I don’t. Airbnb is making a true but meaningless statement omitting only the ‘of course’ that if you approve the penalty-free cancellation your SuperHost status will not be affected and no penalty will apply. Ha ha. [AirBnB is such the prankster.]

Second, Airbnb does these ‘nudges’ to try to get you to do what they want all the time and nothing happens (or can happen) when you don’t do it.

I get an inquiry for a set of dates and Airbnb prompts me to pre-approve or decline. A guest asks for a penalty-free cancellation and Airbnb tries to be a hero and get the Host to waive the fees while Airbnb keeps its fee.

Fugget about it.

Too bad that next to "Decline’ and ‘Accept’ Airbnb doesn’t offer a button marked ‘LOL’.

OK. I give up. What’s this ‘TIA’?

Surely you’re not having a transient ischemic attack over this. Or are you?


Thank you for an awesome response, that is just what I needed.

We have been taken advantage of before, and AirBnb facilitated such.
It appears, as though in most cases, AirBnb sides with the tenant rather than the host.

TIA = Thanks In Advance.

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Airbnb is not a good platform for mid term or long term rentals.

I’d stick with my cancellation policy. We aren’t social service agencies, or shelters for women who are victims of domestic violence. If you want to do that kind of charity, that’s great, but Airbnb isn’t the way to do it.



That’s right.

Not only is AirBnB likely to side with the tenant but of course state (and local?) laws typically favor the tenant in the U.S.

For example, I live in Massachusetts (MA). Under MA law if you want to evict a tenant and that tenant is age 60+ or disabled, they can get a stay of execution of that eviction for up to 12 months. 12 months!

We keep reading about how STRs [short-term rentals] drive up the price of long-term rentals, so municipalities want to limit/reduce the supply of STRs. But it seems to me the root cause is what I believe to be the onerous regulation of long-term rentals that drives investment money elsewhere.

I hope you’ve thought through the potential consequences of having tenants vs guests given the laws in your area. I understand that many landlords do well with long-term tenants, which they usually attribute to luck – Oops! I mean careful vetting.

The forum has some members who do long-term rentals. If you’re interested you might want to ask in a separate topic post for tips in doing so on Airbnb and what other platforms offer.

One of the red flags for a lie is that there is a lot of detail in a story. I feel like this story has an incredible amount of detail to be sharing with a perfect stranger. So either it’s a lie or the person has no boundaries. :grimacing:


Thank you for your feedback.
We have been hosts for over 10 years, and the greatest majority of our tenants are military who are in town for training for several months.
We rarely have issues.
Every issue that we have had has been with a fill-in tenant in between long-term stays by our military personnel.
Prior to AirBnB we had trouble reaching this audience.
Craig’s list, the on base listing, signs, etc. rarely found respectful tenants at a maintainable rent.
We respect our military, and wish the general population had the same standards of behavior.
Thanks again, I appreciate you taking the time to reply.

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Thank you.
I agree - TMI - and the story doesn’t hold a lot of water.

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No, that’s not what “your Superhost won’t be impacted” means. It’s an odd way to word it, as with much of Airbnb’s convoluted and vague wording, but what it is intended to convey is that it won’t be counted as a host cancellation (which does affect Superhost stats) if you approve it, nothing to do with your rating whether you approve or decline.

And this guest has provided far too much personal information- it sounds like a made-up sob story so you’ll feel sorry for her and give her a refund. Of course, it could also be a true story, but regardless, she blocked your calendar for a month so has no right to expect a refund.


The AirBnB notice subtly suggests that if we reject the exception our rating will suffer.

No, they are not saying that. You can reject without consequences. Just do whatever is best for you.


TIA= thanks in advance

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There is no point having a policy then not sticking to the policy.


When my mother passed away three years ago, we had to cancel and handful of reservations to deal with the services and help with housing for family coming in. Airbnb allowed us to do so without penalty IF i provided them with proof that my mom had indeed died! Seems to me this guest should be able to prove that something has been filed with the local police.
As far as allowing the guest to cancel without penalty, i always respond to the prompt to do so from Airbnb with, “I will when you will!” Airbnb’s cancellation policy is - we always keep our fees.

The Extenuating Circumstances policy was completely different 3 years ago. At that time, a death in the family qualified for a refund under the EC policy but it was one of the many things they removed when they updated a year or two ago.

I’ve been able to negotiate that when giving a refund. They seem generally open to it if you insist on it.

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A few weeks ago, we had a request to cancel and the guest respectfully asked for a credit. She had fallen and suffered a head injury.

I told her that if she cancels and I am able to rebook, I’ll be happy to credit. If I don’t rebook, there will be no credit as per our cancellation policy. I told her that this is a business and felt terrible for her situation.

My house rules include a reminder to review the cancellation policy and include links to two travel insurance companies.

She understood, and she did cancel.

Then surprise, she rebooked herself for a month from now!

I was glad I held my ground. Definitely felt bad for her situation, but I’ve regretted giving credit in the past and have learned.

You don’t need to accept the exception. Follow your cancellation policy and consider adding travel insurance options in house rules.


Couldn’t agree more; stick w/your policy (and your gut!) ; )


Nice to hear there are still guests out there who behave like responsible adults and accept the terms of the cancellation policy without putting up a fight.

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I like this policy a lot, and have saved it. I do make exceptions if I can re-sell the booking period without too much hassle. Just did that for this Memorial Day weekend, for example. Couple were out $540 cancellation fee & cancelled 10 days ahead so I committed to reimburse if I re-sold, which unsurprisingly I did. (post-script - Now frankly its a nuisance as they’re politely chasing me, and I have to explain that Air doesnt give me the funds until 1 business day following the morning after check-in, even if they paid out immediately). No good deed goes unpunished…


Yes, it’s a nuisance, but the majority of guests are completely unaware that hosts don’t get paid until 24 hrs after check-in or check-in date. Many, if not most, think the host has their money as soon as they pay.

Many also don’t know that the service fee is charged by Airbnb, not the host.

You can’t really blame people for being ignorant of things that have never been explained to them. As long as they are reasonable people who accept that you can’t refund money you haven’t yet received when it’s explained to them, it’s just one of those annoyances that comes with the territory of hosting.

So this is what I have written in my Quick Replies as my working draft of what I would edit based on the specifics of a cancellation:

"All refunds are handled through Airbnb. We do honor our cancellation policy.

However, I’m prepared to go further than required by the cancellation policy to which you and I agreed. To the extent that we are made whole by a re-booked reservation(s) I propose to pass that on to you to help make you whole.

For me to be whole from a re-booked reservation(s), I need to wait to calculate your refund until when most claims resulting from any re-booked reservation(s) can be resolved, usually 15 days or so after what would have been your check-out date.

So if the property is re-booked for any cancelled days, then in our sole discretion our policy is that we will authorize Airbnb to pay you a refund for what we received for each of those days (net of: price increases, Airbnb fees and any other charges), but no more than the amount that Airbnb would have paid us for your stay reduced by any amount paid to you by Airbnb on cancellation.

If you have any questions on this let’s discuss it now to avoid a later back and forth. If not, you’ll hear from me a little more than two weeks after what would have been your check-out date. I don’t know how long it will take Airbnb to process that refund.

I hope you feel that we’re being more than fair and will think of us when you return to the area.

I might be being overly conservative here but the scenario I consider is that even after I get paid by Airbnb I still don’t know what my net payment is IF that re-booking guest files a claim against me. I know that the claim period is 14 days; I gave myself an extra day cushion and made it 15 days.

I know that some here might think that is not fair of me to reduce the payment for a damage claim that the original guest had (presumably) nothing to do with, but my thinking is that I’m not required to make any refund and feel I’m being generous in making any payment I’m not required to make. Even more so, this calculation in effect potentially pays the guest the amount of the forfeited Airbnb Guest Service fees. I’m not sure that I want to pay the forfeited Airbnb guest service fees. I guess I’ll think that through when/if a cancellation occurs.

Also, for all I know the re-booking guest is a shill for the original guest. That’s probably unlikely but again why should I take ANY risk when I’m not required to make ANY payment?

Of course, each Host can do as they please, including not paying the guest for any re-booked dates.

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