Reservation auto-cancelled due to not "appearing legitimate"

An instant-booked listing was cancelled on me just a bit ago by Air’s trust and safety team for the following reasons:

We monitor all reservations and user interactions on Airbnb very closely. We’ve noticed this reservation HMAE2YFSAA doesn’t appear to be legitimate. As a result we have canceled the reservation and refunded the payment. If you feel this was done in error, please let us know. Otherwise we hope you understand that we do this to preserve the integrity of our marketplace.

I actually welcomed the cancellation. The guest:

  1. Had no reviews.
  2. Was listed as living in Houston but had an NYC-based number.
  3. When I tried calling said number I got a “this number is not in service” message.
  4. The guest texted me from a different NYC-based number asking for the door entry code. Another red flag for me. I called him to tell him I’d want to meet him in person. During said call he mentioned he’s from central PA.

It all seemed very shady to me. In any case, I’m glad it’s cancelled.

I was curious though, do you guys know what signals Air’s system looks at that auto-cancel these reservations? It’s clearly a black box and Air won’t disclose what they are, but I thought this community might have some ideas/thoughts.

If you find out what triggered Air’s cancellation, I’d love to know. I’ve had to fight them to get a couple of shady characters booted before they showed up.

These are only flags to me if the person won’t supply a photo of their photo ID after booking and can’t be found on any social media or search engine (I am a techie, I have all the toys!). If he was OK with meeting you in person with ID that matched his account, I would have been wary, but OK.

I am from New York and have lived all over the US and my cell phone number is from San Diego but I live in FL…

People are very mobile these days. There could be any number of reasons his phone was disconnected - work phone that wouldn’t transition to a personal account, lost the account & number…

Maybe there was a flag on the credit card after it processed? Banks are getting faster with that…


He also mentioned he “had a local number while he was staying in New York.” It seems 1) very rare these days someone doesn’t own a cellphone (twentysomethings in particular); and 2) less rare that a scammer would lie about their actual number.

1 Like

I had wondered that myself. It seems likely, but if that’s true, pretty frustrating that Air would allow bookings by partially verified accounts.

1 Like

I just had a first time guest who messaged me that she couldn’t find the address. Then she called from on the road needing help. The caller ID for her number didn’t have her name; it had some strange company name I’ve never heard of. It could be a pre paid phone. Anyway she’s in at least her 60s and the stay went fine. Obviously this was a suspicious booking but I’m not sure any of your “evidence” of what made it suspicious is reliable.

We had a similar message from Airbnb about a reservation not appearing legitimate, therefore they were cancelling it. When I queried it, they said “The reservation was cancelled because the guest made a charge back from their bank so the reservation was automatically cancelled by the system because there is no payment.”…

As is often stated here, Air doesn’t care about the safety of the hosts, they only care about getting their money. It’s a platform for our listings, not a company that covers us in case of… anything.

I suspect a bank charge back or bad credit card was the reason. Otherwise Air doesn’t care. #dontaskmehowiknowthis smh


Except when it’s not, and gets all up in our grills about nothingburgers.

(Not being critical in the slightest, only noting that “if only” it could be “just a platform” and butt out of the rest.)