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Trying to cancel incoming guest that smells like trouble


Hi Folks,

I could use some advice about a developing situation with an incoming guests who looks like trouble.

I guess I’m not really active on this forum these days, and I feel bad than I only seem to pop by when I need help/advice. But Bad Things are
happening here. I’m drowning in paperwork, and having a difficult time
keeping up. So I apologize.

Anyway, I got a booking from someone who is shaping up to be a problem guest. He initially attempted to make a booking from 29th March to 1st April. The only problem was (a) the booking was for two people, but he made it for one. (b) he stated that he would be arriving at 11.55 on 28th April, and would be checking in around 1-2 am © he would be checking out around midnight on 1st April. His first message pretty much says it all:

    I would like to book your lovely place from 28 March till 1
    April.  Will arrive Mumbai airport in 28 March at 23:55 and
    estimated time to reach your place will be on 29 March between
    01:00 to 02:00 (first hours of 29 March) And will leave at first
    of April at 23:59 before midnight of 2 April.  So make check-in &
    check-out dates from 29 March to 01 April.

I explained to him that if he wanted to arrive at 1/2 am on the 29th, he needed to book from the 28th. After cancelling and rebooking from the 28th to the 1st, he then discovered that he had only booked for one person, so then cancelled and booked again. There the matter rested. For some reason, I failed to realise that his statement about
leaving late on 1st April was also not ok.

This all went on for quite a number of messages. In hindsight, I probably should have cut things short and told him to go away after around 20 messages, but hindsight etc. I see at one point I wrote:

> Finally, check out will be at approximately at around 22:30 to 23:30
> pm on the evening of 1st April, correct? Just confirming.

So it seems in this case I missed that he was checking out on the 1st. Perhaps I thought it was the 2nd. I should have been paying more

Anyway, things hit the fan yesterday, when I got a booking request starting on 1st April, which I accepted. When checking when this guest
was leaving, I realised what had happened, and sent him a message telling him that he couldn’t check out at 10.30 pm+. He was not happy.

I don’t normally do this, but I’ll post the exchange of messages to
give the flavor. From me:

   I just looked at your messages again, and noticed that you wrote

       > we’ll check out in 1 april between 22:00 to 23:00

   But I just noticed that your booking is till 1st April, so that
   won’t work. The official checkout time is 11 am, but I can make it
   a bit later if necessary. But not as late as 22:00. I’m not sure
   why I didn’t notice it at the time of booking.

   If that won’t work for you, please feel free to cancel the
   booking. Otherwise, please specify a more suitable booking time.

He replied:

   Faheem you told me then we can be flexible in check out, I paid
   for a night I’ll not use it at all I’m very sorry you’re putting
   me in hard situation and can’t booking any place else and we’ll
   leave at the evening because of planes time, so it’ll be hard and
   unbelievable to pay for other night then we’ll pay for two nights
   will not use at all or stay at street with our luggage Again, you
   confirmed with me on these dates and times which i told you more
   than three times by different ways (check our conversation if you

I responded with:

  I’m sorry, but it seems you don’t understand how check-in or
   checkout times work. The check-in and checkout times exist so that
   guests who arrive the same day can be accommodated. I try to be
   flexible, but obviously if you’ve booked for a period ending on
   1st April, it doesn’t make sense that you would expect to check
   out at 10 pm or later. That means you will have blocked off that
   day, and nobody else will be able to arrive for that night.

   In any case, I have another reservation starting 1st April, so I
   will need the room to be vacated not much later than the official
   checkout time of 11 am.

   I really don’t have time for this, I’m very busy. I strongly
   recommend that, as you are not happy with my policies, which are
   very standard, you cancel the reservation. There are many places
   ini Bombay that can accommodate you. I think that since you will
   be cancelling more than a week in advance of the arrival date, you
   don’t have to pay me anything when you cancel, but in any case,
   I’d be more than happy to refund you any money I got from your
   reservation. So, please do go ahead and cancel as soon as
   possible, so that those dates can be freed up for other
   bookings. Thanks in advance.

Which received the following response:

   Seriously this is the way of dealing with your guests?!!!  Before
   one week you’re asking me to cancel and look for other place?!!
   If I’m checking out late and (as you said) I’ll block one night
   like that if they want to check in in the Same time so they have
   to pay for 1st of april that i already pay!!!  And you don’t have
   time for what… it’s your place and you make it harder.  Please
   check our conversation and see how you confirmed with me several
   times about dates and times of check in and out Faheem you’re
   putting me in hard situation like that, and I’m totally upset

Well, I’m not sure how to handle this. I think it would be reasonable
to contact Airbnb and tell him the guest is being hostile, unreasonable, and uncooperative, not to mention incoherent (I’m not really sure what half of what he has written means), and ask that his reservation be cancelled. Airbnb reps aren’t exactly reliable, but I’m not sure exactly what else to do.

I agree that I should have spotted the problem earlier, but this guy should also have basic reading and comprehension skills. Everyone else seems to manage it. And I’m not a computer.

But as of right now I’ve got someone arriving on 1st April, a booking
I would like to keep, and this guy is giving me attitude about having
to leave at the regular checkout time. This is really the sort of thing that makes me feel that perhaps I’d be better off speculating on the stock market.

So, if you good folks are willing to help me make my case to Airbnb, I’d appreciate it. Alternative suggestions are also welcome. Thanks in advance.

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Sounds like he will not go easy… He is stuck on the fact that he told you several times his plans and now it is changing. I think you have the right idea, tell air you are uncomfortable the guest is getting hostile.

Good luck


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Personally at this stage I would just cancel the idiot (first booking) who is clearly trying to manipulate things so he gets more than he wants to pay for and take any consequences from AirBNB for cancelling a booking on the chin. I think it’s likely that those nights will stay blocked as ‘punishment’ for cancelling but if they don’t I would block them off anyway so he doesn’t try and book them again. End of the day the simplest and best course of action is to get rid of this guy.

Then go to your listings and double check your the check in and check out times as suitable for yourself (not anyone else) and never deviate from them.

However if your check out time is clearly stated as, for example 11.00a.m. and this guy seems to think he can not check out until 11.00p.m. (thereby effectively taking a night’s booking from you for free) then it may be worth phoning AirBNB and see if you can get them to cancel for you for this very reason.


Are your check in and check out times clearly spelled out on your listing? if you do you have to tell him, look this is my check out time 10 or 11 am or noon or whatever.
Tell him that you can’t let him stay longer. I got several cases of people trying to steal a free night from me in a similar manner, like checking in after midnight and pretending it’t the next day.

Ask him: if you go to a hotel with these dates you will be required to pay for a full night even if you check in at 2am - you still sleep that night, right? - and check out at a certain time in the morning so the house keeping has time to prepare for another guest. In a hotel, if you want to stay until 10pm you will have to pay for one more night.
there is no need to cancel and re-book, you just modify the reservation and submit to him for approval.
This guy i think is trying to get freebies out of you. I hate when this happens. If you really are not comfortable with the guest you can cancel penalty free if you chose “im uncomfortable with this guest”. This is like “get out of jail card” but I think you only have like 3 of those per year or something like that.


In case there is any doubt (per @Snowdon) of course my check-in and check-out times are clearly stated on the listing, and have been for years. They’re 4 pm and 11 am respectively.

And I would prefer not to cancel if possible. As I understand the penalties for a non-approved cancellation include (a) the days being blocked (b) a fine (c) losing superhost status.

It all seems like a bit much for not reading a message sufficiently carefully.


I just checked private rooms in Bombay March 28th-Apr 2. There are dozens of Superhost places still available.

If he spends his time arguing you with instead of finding a new place, then maybe they will all be gone by the time he arrives!


Hi @adrienne12,

Yes, of course my check in and check out times are listed. And they’ve been the same for years.

No, this only applies to IB. It’s an inducement from Airbnb to get people to use instant booking. And this guy is a good example of why IB isn’t a good idea.


Yes, of course they are.

Well, that’s possible, sure. But our busy season is ending. And at any time there are plenty of Airbnb places available in Bombay. And he doesn’t have to use Airbnb. And he doesn’t have to go with a Superhost place if he does, either.


If you don’t want to cancel you as a host, can call the customer service and claim you are really uncomfortable with this guy. Repeat this to the representative several times and she will cancel it for you penalty free - get out of jail card. This is how I found about this. But really complain and say you are terribly uncomfortable. because this is the only reason they will be able to cancel it for free.


Maybe send him a link to some available places that are comparable to yours in terms of neighborhood and amenities, and offer to send him
$20 for his trouble? Yeah, he’s a jerk and doesn’t deserve money, but better to spend $20 than pay the fine and lose the chance to be SH.

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It seems there was a communication failure on both sides. It’s unfortunate but it happens as neither side is a computer and the computer (Airbnb) doesn’t have custom settings for each day to prevent this kind of thing aside from leaving a day open between bookings. I agree with calling Airbnb and try to get a penalty free cancellation. If you don’t then you’ll probably get a poor review.

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Heh, I wouldn’t have to claim it. I am uncomfortable. That’s why I wrote this message, even though I have dozens of other urgent things to do. The only really bad guest I had (the French crazy man back in 2016) didn’t understand the concept of checkout times either. I’m worried what this guy might do if he turns up here.


BTW, does anyone have an opinion about calling vs writing to Airbnb?


Calling can be faster but writing is in writing so I’d go that route as you have a little time.


Suggestions for suitable wording appreciated. I don’t really have experience asking Airbnb to cancel.


I would like you to please cancel this on the guests behalf, I am very uncomfortable with him he is trying to scam me for two free nights. After I told him no he called me yelling and really scared me. I am very uncomfortable with this guest. Please confirm that this is not a cancellation by host and I will not be sanctioned.


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Thank you for the suggested wording, @RiverRockRetreat. Though I’m not sure whether it’s a good idea to write that he called me, because he didn’t. And in any case, I can’t prove what he said. Whereas what he wrote is there.

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Doesn’t matter. AirBNB don’t know he hasn’t called you and they won’t go back and ask him. Tell them he was shouty, abusive and intimidating on the phone and you are scared for your safety. Likely the CS agent will just cancel it and get on with their day.


Call (!!!), don’t write, and get it over with. Put yourself in desperate, scared, hyperventilating mode and call. Tell them you have never been so uncomfortable with a guest, that he has wrong expectations and that you feel you won’t be able to make him happy. Say you don’t want to lose your SuperHo status on this, but that your really feel too uncomfortable for your own good.

If they’re really not willing to cancel by agent, think about other possibilities. Worst case scenario, you can have him leave his stuff until 11pm and maybe let him use your private shower.


I’d call if it’s possible. Say that the guest is demanding a 11pm checkout - 12 hours after your regular checkout and you will have another guest arriving at 4pm that afternoon so there is NO WAY for your to make the guest happy. Confirm that the cancellation won’t count against you.

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