SOLVED! Guest blackmails me

Hi everyone, now it’s my time to ask for advice.
We have a guest who left in 45 minutes after her check-in and know she blackmails us with an extremely negative review if we don’t refund all her money.

Let me explain more. To put you in the context we are Superhosts with about 200 reviews. We rent a room in our apartment.

Last week we had a female guest coming for 4 nights (she came from the second largest city in our country). Somehow everything came wrong for our guest:

  • looks like she had a hard time with her huge suitcase, looking for our place;
  • she couldn’t open the front door at our apartment block building. It is a door with a simple code system (we sent her all possible manuals and instructions in advance)
  • so she called me, but I couldn’t answer and texted her to call my partner, who was at home. So, my partner opened her the front door
  • my partner offered to help with a suitcase, which our guest refused. I was told later, that she had a really hard time moving her heavyweight to the 3rd floor. Yes, we don’t have the elevator and she knew about that before she booked our place.

So when she checked-in she already got nuts. I arrived about 30 minutes later just to witness that she was checking-out (I heard how she booked another place to stay). So she returned the key and left our place 45 minutes after she arrived.

We’ve called Airbnb Hot-line and asked to cancel her booking, and they cancelled, but just 24 hours later. As soon the cancellation was after the check-in date our guest still can write a review.

So five days after cancellation (I think she just returned home after her trip), she wrote to me asking for a full refund, which I politely refused. Immediately after that, she sent me:

  1. a payment request through the Airbnb resolution centre.
  2. an Airbnb message, that she will write an extremely negative review t(hat the room does not match the description, dirty and uncomfortable, the room is very small and there was no repair and no any cleaning for a long time).

I can say that the room is very small indeed and we write about it several times on our listing page. My believe that she didn’t read the description well before she booked and when she arrived she just overreacted and just couldn’t bear it all.

So it looks like she gave us a choice and it’s up to us what way of the payback to choose.

So here we are, it happened 24 hours ago, I haven’t answered on her last message yet and have no clue how to behave correctly. We definitely don’t want to pay any money back, cause we couldn’t rent the room out during those cancelled nights. And at the same time, we don’t want to receive a one-star review from her.
So shall we call Airbnb hotline or something else? Share your opinion

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DO NOT be bullied by this person!! You are Superhosts with 200 reviews. One negative review is not going to harm you. If she does write a negative, false review it is possible that you can get Air to remove the review.

  1. Ignore any further messages from her.
  2. Call Airbnb and have them Block her from contacting you. I’m not sure, but possibly you can block her yourself, I’ve had to do anything like that.
  3. While talking to Air Customer Service, read them the Air message she wrote you about writing you a very bad review. This should be enough for Air to deal with her appropriately.

IF Air won’t remove the negative review, then – and only then – reply to the review stating that the Guest was only at you apartment less than 45 minutes and could not possibly have observed what she states in the bad review.


Do not refund. She is attempting to extort you and based in the proof of it in her messages on Airbnb they would remove the review if you brought it to their attention under the extortion clause that is in the Terms of Service.


The silly woman. By saying that on the Airbnb message system she has shot herself in the foot. It’s against TOS to threaten a host with a bad review. You have 200 good reviews and I’ll bet that she doesn’t!

Just ignore her.


Thanks for a great idea. I found an Airbnb’s Extortion Policy.
Do you think I should call to the HotLine and report about the Policy violation?


I probably would - just so that you get your point of view across to them first. It’ll be on record if and when she ‘complains’ that you won’t give her a refund. She needs to be banned really, with the attitude she has. She needs to learn to be a civilised human being.


Thanks, everyone for your help!
The case was solved by Airbnb hotline just in five minutes. Airbnb hotline killed both her payment request and her one-star review (yes, somehow she already managed to write a review and I was not informed about that).
Happy Holidays to everyone!
jaquo, you’ve made my day!


YES! Call them right away and tell Airbnb everything about this horrible person!

I love a happy ending! I hope the forum helped!


Hello. I need community advice. My history - this was a routine pest control processing more than a week before the arrival of these guests. There were no ants in it, moreover - 1 day before Guest’s check-in, my co-host was in the house with a check and everything was OK. Then it happened, exactly on the day of her arrival! Immediately after the first messages from Guest I contacted by a Company Colonial Pest Control . They replied that - yes, very rarely, but it happens (see my correspondence with Katerina). And I suggested to Guest to leave the house - check out ahead of schedule and refund.

So, force majeure happened, that rare case when, after routine treatment at home from insects, ants appeared in large numbers a week after treatment !! What tools do I have to solve the problem? Invite the guest to leave the house and return the money. I do just that.

But my guest chose to ignore my offer to leave the house earlier, continued to get angry and scold me, and to my direct question - what does she want me to do in this situation? -
she wrote: “I can resolve with Airbnb…”
I replied that she certainly had this right. My husband said - oh! She wants to live in your house and get the full amount back! That is why she does not want to leave the house. You will see that it will be so …….

So, the Guest ignores my offer, for the rest of her stay in the house, Katerina never writes - oh, I can’t leave the house, since no hotel in the area can accept me. … ". But only 15 minutes away. there are more than 20 hotels from us!, see a map, there is a choice. She writes “we can’t leave Earle, because there is no where else for us to stay”. she writes - "… call me tomorrow morning to discuss … ‘if you can’ t discuss a real solution, I can resolve with Airbnb … ”Explain to me what kind of
“real solution” she wanted to discuss over the phone and could not write to me in the airbib messenger?

My answer:
“…Catherine, of course, you have right to resolve with the Airbnb, especially since I cannot understand what exactly you want me to do at the moment. Elena.
Catherine, about the communication on the sell phone, you need to take into attention the lag time and another problems, because I am currently undergoing treatment in Europe, besides, the airbib messenger, through which we are now communicating with you, is very convenient and airbib sees all our messages with you.
when you made the decision to booking you certainly noticed that our house really has only good reviews for cleanliness. we pay special attention to this. and after the treatment of the house by a Company Colonial Pest Control- neither we nor this company expected inconvenience for our guests.
and I hope that you will take into account that what happened is not our inattention to the guests.
Once again I ask you to accept our deepest apologies. Elena…”

After that Katerina stops communicating with me, contacts airbnb decision center, through decision center member Jose I offered Katerina $ 450 refund.
Not the full refund for all days, // because she didn’t want to leave the house//, but a 32% amount to show that I are reasonable.
She did not accept my offer and directly wrote to me in a letter, which requires a full return and punishment of me and the removal of my house from the airbib system:
In your last message, you said that you were going to issue a refund, and you never did. I have asked airbnb for a refund, and they are saying you are only offering $400. // I Why a different amount? I offered 450$//. I am not sure why you did not provide the refund, or why you lied about this. If we do not receive the money back, I will have to provide a very honest review of our stay. I will also be asking airbnb to reconsider your position as a super host, and the timber valley home listing, as our stay was unclean, unsafe, and you were unresponsive and dismissive. …”

Summary: the Guest does not want to leave the house and
refund in this case. She writes that the house is unsafe, escalate the problem, but she wants to live through all the days and get a full refund.
I reasonably assume that there is a case of blackmail and extortion.

Yes this is a clear and unequivocal extortion threat:

I don’t know what form this letter is but copy it and send it to Airbnb. Keep calling Airbnb until you get them to cancel her stay and then your co-host needs to go remove her from the listing.


I vote it’s not too early to tweet:

“Offered guest refund for remaining days to relocate when some ants reappeared after pest control. Plenty of other lodging available. Guest will not leave but threatens bad review & asking Airbnb to delist us as “unclean, unsafe” if not refunded in entirety. #Airbnbhelp


About the ants—have you seen them? Or pics of them?

In my own home I have a problem after soaking rains with tiny black ants invading. It is built on a concrete slab so when ants get flooded out they stroll up & in. All the treatment in the world can’t absolutely prevent this. The last time I followed their trail to an outlet box. Ortho makes an ant spray. I spray their point of access, they find another one, I spray and so on until they move on.

The point of this story is “Ants happen”. Treatment is an ongoing thing.

This guest is behaving badly. The comment about hotels not allowing them to check in is odd.

Like @kkc recommended, notify Airbnb of this trouble.


Thank you for sharing your experience! it is very helpful for new hosts like me who have faced with blackmailing issues with the guests. I’m currently having this problem and I would like to ask your advice on my case.

I have been blackmailed my a guest who checked out unnoticed over a claim about air pollution and didn’t return the key for 5 days. I will explain the situation honestly and in detail below.

A guest have blackmailed me with several offensive threats such as “*Also, I will be leaving you the absolute worst review possible”, “I’m making sure that nobody has the unfortunate luck with you”*and threatened to report the case to some organizations and legal team. These threats severely violate the review policy:

  1. “You’re not allowed to incentivize positive reviews, to use the threat of a negative review to manipulate a desired outcome…”
  2. Extortion: Hosts and guests must not use direct or indirect threats to coerce an intended outcome (ex: a payment, review, etc.) from an individual or group.”

Regarding the environment safety claim: I have taken this issue to the airbnb support team and has been advised that their claim of issue doesn’t fall under the airbnb cancellation and refund policy. Their claim of air pollution which is far beyond our control and it’s worth mention that previous guests have never mentioned such absurd issue and we have been living in the next door for 15 years now and have never experienced health issues such as blood coughing. Thus, it is suspiciously absurd claim to be sickened by our apartment as it was not the apartment’s issue but more like national weather issue. In their claim they said “the pollution is too bad, not just in the apartment but all around. (Guest’s name) became quite ill and would have gone to the hospital and has been coughing up blood occasionally.” According to the airbnb refund and cancellation policy (Long term Strict), I have chosen to follow the policy and told them that I’m unable to refund the unspent nights and they have blackmailed me.

Regarding the any effort helping them: they have mentioned that we never tried to help, while in fact I asked multiple times if I can help them with anything:

  1. First, they haven’t mention that they’re coming with a kid, so I tried to make my apartment even more child friendly and even offered some toys and cushions for the kid, however they declined the offer.
  2. Second, when they left the apartment without any notice and didn’t returned the key 5 days, I have asked if I can help with anything and even offered a help to find them a doctor who can speak English. But they said they will not return and just insisted on refunding the payment while mentioning that the apartment itself or my service had no problem and it was in fact wonderful hospitality. “You were such a wonderful host and we really wanted to stay in your lovely apartment. You were absolutely beautiful to deal with and this is no way a reflection on you. Thank you for you hospitality and incredible help.”
  3. Upon their arrival, I have even prepared Christmas gifts respecting their culture.

(All these suggestions and efforts has been recorded on the messages as a proof.)

Regarding not returning the key: They have caused a great safety threat to out property by not notifying us and not returning the key for 5 days. It was 2 days later when airbnb let me know that the guests have already left without returning the key. (We live in the next door) They remained non-responsive for 5 days until I contacted the airbnb upper management and reported the safety threat. They left the key at the hotel reception after non-responsive days, so I had to travel there and take the key back. In the meantime, without the key I had to call a special service to open up the apartment and had to change all the locks. And I have not requested any fee for that.

So the question I would like to ask from you guys is where should I report this blackmailing and what measures should I take?

I’m a little confused on what you are asking for even though your post is generally very well written.

I don’t understand this. What ‘refund’ did they decline to pay?

I am not sure what this means. Are you saying that you notified on the platform the guest of the costs to re-key the unit and the costs of trying the clean/replacement cost of the mattress?

What is it you are asking for? I assume it is costs for re-keying the property and for a new mattress. Is that right?

I’m not sure if it is important but you might confirm the country and state of the Airbnb.

I am assuming you want the costs of re-keying the property and the cost of the mattress paid.

I don’t know what Airbnb’s position on the mattress would be since you could have covered it with a mattress protector (which is a good idea for many reasons – to avoid need for replacement if there is an ‘accident,’ to prevent dust mites, bed bugs, etc. – and you did not do so. So, I don’t know how Airbnb will handle that portion of your claim. If Airbnb decides you are entitled to payment for the mattress I also don’t know whether you might receive the depreciated cost of the mattress (you might need to provide a receipt for the old mattress) or replacement cost of a new mattress.

You should first be asking the guest for payment for the re-keying the property and for the cost of the replacement mattress, providing documentation of these costs and a picture of the mattress.

If the guest does not pay, as I am assuming that they won’t, then you would ask for reimbursement from Airbnb under the AirCover policy.

Stop using keys and invest in a smart lock.

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Thank you for you answer!

I’m very sorry for the confusion. I tried to address the issue of blackmailing and wanted to ask where should I report this blackmailing and what measures I should take. They blackmailed me and saying I should refund or else they will “leave the worst review possible”.

I haven’t requested the re-keying fee from the guests and covered it myself, and mattress issue is being solved through the airbnb resolution center. So I have no problems with these two anymore with the guests. Just wanted to provide some background information and whole situation in detailed as possible. Sorry if it was difficult to understand :sweat_smile:

So you’re saying that they did notify you that they checked out? Did they leave the property earlier than their checkout date? Did you have clear, written instructions on what they were to do with the key?

Well, that sounds strange to me. How did Airbnb know that?

Thank you very much for your recommendation but the apartment entrance is opened with a chip so I will have to hand it personally every time :sweat_smile:

Oh, this is simple. I am assuming that the blackmail/extortion threats were on the platform. Just write Airbnb Support on the platform that the guests are threatening you with a poor review (direct Airbnb to see the platform comments; if the threats were off platform, take screenshots that show the threats and ideally identify the sender (e.g., phone number)) and ask that Airbnb remove the eventual guest review under its policy of retaliatory reviews.