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To Refund or Not

Hi All,

We have been hosting for 6 years and have had many wonderful experiences and some not so great. However, I have been plagued this year with people booking the wrong dates via IB, then messaging me (usually within 24hrs) asking for a refund. The first group that did this I thought okay fine, honest mistake, they booked the weekend BEFORE a major music festival in our area. Last night I got an IB for 3 weekends before the music festival with the message being that they can not wait to attend the music festival, etc. I was a bit confused, but people camp during the festival so I let it go. This morning I wake up to a cancelled reservation (we have a strict policy) and the guest asking for a refund. The note from the guest said she cancelled with in 12 hours, and that she had 12 hours to confirm her IB reservation so I should cancel penalty free with in 12 hours. First time I had ever heard this. The reservation is 45 days away, but I’m just getting sick of this, seeing as how this is the 3rd time. Thought? Comments? Feel free to tell me to suck it up :slightly_smiling:

Guest has no saying on what you should or should not regarding refund. It’s totally up to you, and I would not refund.
Guests should be prepared to loose their money in case of emergencies. So they don’t want to loose their money , it’s ok, but when you don’t want to loose your money, is not ok???
Go by the rule and your policy, this is what it’s there for


Tell guests that want to cancel and their money back that their travel insurance should help them with getting their deposit back.

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Agree with Yana. No refunds. Might add in your listing to “Please book carefully. Refund requests due to booking errors or indecision will not be honored.” Sounds like the music festival might be attracting the younger, more inexperienced set. Maybe things will settle down once it’s over. Certainly, you can ask for higher room rates during festival season.


Also I want to add that i am renting out a lot through Booking.com and there is an issue with credit cards being declined all the time. So, reservation is made, my calendar gets blocked, but in fact i can not charge a guest. So, here iam sitting waiting who knows what, and i cant cancell for 24 hours based on a fact that i can not get paid.
Out of 10 people 9 dont react to my messages to submit new card and then they don"t show up.

Another scenarium people do pay but then dont show up, and next day they are calling demanding refund, though my policy is not refundable. At first silly me, i was refunding all the time. And then stopped doing this nonsense and kept the money.

Talking about imperfect system, Airbnb comparing to booking.com has everything so well organized and thought off that really, we should not complain as much.

Bottom line is that we can not stay in this hosting business if we keep not follow our own refund policy. We are not hotels who have multiple rooms and much greater flexibility than us


Thanks for the responses. I am still on the fence about this one, only because I feel like it is slightly bad karma to keep the money given the dates were only blocked off in my calendar for a few hours. However, I am sure a hotel/airline would have no qualms with this and since this is our business, I am torn.

What I thought was interesting was the guest said she had 12 hours to confirm her Instant Book reservation? That was very odd to me…any idea what she was talking about?

It usualy happens when you want only verified guests. When they book, they are asked to verify themselves and the system gives them 12 hours which i think is unfair to a host since the calendar gets blocked for this period of time.

What she told you its a complete nonsense. You have nothin to do with her 12 hours of verifying herself. I think she made it up to manipulate you.SO, stop feeling bad and keep the money:)

Actually my ex husband worked as a travel agent. It’s a LITTLE KNOWN federal law that you have 24 hours to change your mind after booking any airline ticket!!! All fees must be refunded too. But these companies take advantage of traveler ignorance on this.

That’s why I warn everyone to stay the hell away from Travelocity. I exercised this option with them (refund within 24 hours) and they tried to keep the fee, claiming they were entitled. When I pushed them on it, they begrudgingly refunded the fee.

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I know and use frequently the airline 24/ht policy! BTW only valid on US carriers OR flights going to/from US.


Just play dumb. Say it’s unfortunate but you can’t do it and they should contact AirBnB. Promise nothing!

I think the only reason I feel ‘bad’, which is not really the correct emotion but I do feel a bit sympathetic for this idiot, is because its $1000 and that’s a fair amount of money to take from someone without providing a service. HOwever, fully agree its her issue not mine.

BTW Thank YOU all for the feedback. I promise I am normally much more decisive!!

@konacoconutz meant to address your comment earlier!! We are WELL versed with music festivals as our property in Barcelona has 2 major ones a year. However, we have never had a problem in 3+ years. Its the Americans here in Northern California that seem not to be able to book the proper dates.

We have been using dynamic pricing for all of our properties and have been very happy with the ‘high demand’ time pricing. They have suggested and converted much higher rates than we were doing manually, and I thought our manual rates were pushing the top of the pricing spectrum.

Do you mean Instant Booking? If so I don’t think it is the booking method so much as the people booking. For example I have had 3 cancellations this month for reservations made for this month all of which were made over 5 weeks previously, and booked in the regular manner i.e., not instant. Up until now my policy was moderate re cancellations and I have now changed to strict. None of the bookings I refer to had any reviews but that was the only common thread. One of these was for 7 nights and cancelled the day before arrival. I offered to refund all but 2 nights, which offer was finally accepted after going through AirBnb resolution. Jan, Feb and Mar is our peak season so these last minute cancellations hurt to say nothing of the time spent with emailing back and forth.

Yes, this reservation was made via Instant Book. I do not think IB had anything to do with the date mix up, I think it was just human error or omission. I just wanted to provide all the context necessary to give an unbiased opinion.

We changed all our policies to Strict after a last minute high value cancelation a few years back.

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