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Review allowed by Airbnb though guest does not even enter house?

Last night I had a guest drive past my home and then cancel with the following text:
“Thank you so much for your hospitality. Unfortunately, I will need to cancel the reservation. We never entered your home but believe that it is beautiful from the pics. My only concern was the neighborhood, and there not being much lighting outside. Accordingly, we decided against staying. Best wishes to you.”
I have 96 5 star reviews, my home has a strong porch light which was on, and there is street lighting. I live in the neighborhood which is urban residential within a mile of the university the guests were visiting that weekend. The guests did not have any reviews. I have a moderate cancellation policy but the guest wants 50% refund. I have said I do not think this is fair as through no fault of my own I have lost a booking. Now I have just learned that, even though the guests did not enter my home, they have been invited to leave a review. I feel as though I have been put in a very difficult position, and would welcome advice from other hosts.
thank you!

1 Like

Yes, if they cancel within 24 hours or during the reservation period they can review. I’m not sure how this changes “your position?” You will also be reviewing.

This is what I would do: no refund. Let them fight Airbnb for it and they may well get it. Then write a review that says they canceled due to “neighborhood” and “poor lighting.” Then we other hosts can see that they might not be right for our neighborhoods with real people.

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NO REFUND. IF they want to cancel, it’s on them. Let us know when you’re ready to review them, and we’ll help with the wording…

5 Likes

I agree with KCC and Ken. You are not obligated to refund.

Is it possible they never drove by, and are trying to make up a non-issue in order to get a refund?

When guests complain that a host’s urban neighborhood was “unsafe,” I wonder if this was code for the guests fearing staying in a multicultural neighborhood.

4 Likes

Xena

    February 24

I agree with KCC and Ken. You are not obligated to refund.

Is it possible they never drove by, and are trying to make up a non-issue in order to get a refund?

When guests complain that a host’s urban neighborhood was “unsafe,” I wonder if this was code for the guests fearing staying in a multicultural neighborhood.


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Thank you guys for your advice. They did drive by because they posted an unrepresentative photo to the side of my house, rather than the brightly lit front porch, to try and uphold their supposed problem with light. I agree that it might be an issue with my multicultural neighborhood. A case manager is supposed to be contacting me sometime soon. Never had a problem like this before.

I’m sorry you’re dealing with such difficult guests. You might take some photos of your own tonight to prove that your house is well-lit. These guests may be savvy enough to know that AirBnB takes “safety” seriously so they’ve said the magic words “I felt unsafe” to get an unwarranted refund.

Since AirBnB is also fearful of incidents of racial bias, you might tell the case manager that the guests did not want to stay in a racially-diverse neighborhood. I don’t know if this would go anywhere since the guest didn’t come right out and say as much, and the case managers don’t seem to have the ability to read between the lines.

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Sounds like they have been savvy enough to know how to get a refund from Airbnb. I would take a VIDEO, starting with the side location with the picture from the guest (maybe on another phone or tablet or laptop) and sweep the camera to the GUEST ENTRANCE in FRONT where the light is. IF it will help your case then also sweep the camera to where they will walk and then to where they will park to show it well lit from the streetlights. Then also mention the multi-cultural racial thing if necessary to get what u r due.

Great suggestions … thank you to all. I will definitely do the video! At present Airbnb are taking my side, upholding my cancellation policy, and have told the guest that “the surrounding area is not part of my listing”. I still have the worry about a potentially negative review, but the caseworker said he would keep me informed whether a review is submitted. Fingers crossed.

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This doesn’t seem to be set in stone. A month ago I had guests who thought they had booked a ‘bungalow in our garden’ instead of a room in our house. They left after 10 minutes. It was a 7 day booking.

I contacted support as soon as they departed and one my requests was that neither of us be given the opportunity to review. They had to consider the request for a while and then came back with “In this exceptional case we will not permit reviews but this is a one-off decision.”

No, none of their policies seem to be set in stone. I had my first guest last week (out of 600+) book, show up, put his stuff in the room, leave, then message me to say he was canceling and would be back for his stuff. He asked for a refund $75 out of a total of $135 paid. Considering everything I was thrilled. I offered for him to cancel before he arrived and I’d give him all his money back and he didn’t take it. By the time he was done with his shenanigans I felt I was owed for my trouble. However, my notice to review him is still sitting there. If I do review I’m going to wait until the last day.

1 Like
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