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We're on the hook for declined credit cards


I got a new booking this morning and an email shortly after that the guest’s credit card was declined. According to the email, it is my responsibility to cancel the reservation if I am uncomfortable not getting paid.

The booking still appears to be active on the mobile app.

I have no way of telling if the guest had paid yet unless I log in on the computer, where the booking shows up as a different color (blue) on the calendar, which otherwise looks the same as the screenshot above taken on my mobile app.

I had thought guests had 24 hours to pay. I’ll let you know if this booking is canceled tomorrow morning or if I have to call to cancel.

I wanted to share this email because it suggests if the guests had been a same day booking and already arrived, I wouldn’t be getting paid. And if I’d overlooked the email and relied solely on the mobile app, I could have just proceeded to host these guests.

I’m not sure what AirBnB is good for if we can’t rely on them to collect payment and compensate us when they fail to do so. You had ONE job, AirBnB. :roll_eyes:


I have had this message once before and I cancelled the reservation immediately. If the guest gets their issue resolved then they can rebook if available. I thought I have received the message not only in my email but also my inbox though. But I do check my email and inbox on a daily basis. And the statement about ABB not being held responsible is also in their TOS. Hopefully this all works out for you.


I had a similar booking in December and it took two calls to get it canceled. It was also for the next day so I had a little cushion to work out the situation. I was really annoyed because despite the email assuring me I can cancel without penalty the second CSR was telling me they had to contact the guest and some BS, (I forgot the details) as an explanation for why it had been 30 minutes and they still haven’t canceled. I was furious because as you say, we are relying on them for two things: bring me views and get my money if I turn the looker into a booker.

If this problem gets worse I could see doing things like requiring one day notice and not taking same day bookings and limiting stays to a day or two so I could never be on the hook for much money.


I recently had an issue where I had a guest for 3 nights and wasn’t paid into my Paypal account on the second day as usual. After they checked out on the 4th day it still wasn’t paid so I rang up ABB and got some guff about how the amount they were trying to deduct was twice the booking amount. The booking amount on their system was correct.They would “look into it”. I had to ring back later and got the same. Eventually it was passed to someone more senior and they paid and it appeared in my account within 2 hours. I had no doubt the guests could afford it so it was passing strange to make this sort of error on a system which must handle millions of such transaction a day and to wait for the host to point it out.


I’m waiting until tomorrow as an experiment to see if the booking is automatically cancelled or if it is held. If it is held, I hope to make a fuss on social media. I already complained on Twitter but they just said to DM them.


It is a major problem if they let bookings with declined cards proceed as normal. If I just used the mobile app, I’d have no reason to suspect the guest hadn’t paid since I received the email since everything about this reservation looks normal.

Next time, I think I’ll call up and cancel immediately.

This is the only way I can think to ensure I get paid. As much as AirBnB wants us to be flexible and take day-of bookings, they’re sure discouraging us from actually doing so.


Most experienced hosts like @KKC would cancel immediately as they are blocking your calendar and other guests can’t book.

@JamJerrupSunset situation was different as the guests were already staying with him


They will not automatically cancel the reservation. Usually they’ll give time to the guests to get the funds to pay for it. It isn’t in the next couple of days so I would let today Roll by and see if they get it sorted before I cancel. If they are able to get the payment taken care of you’ll get an email to letting you know.


If you cancel, doesn’t that hurt the host? Would it be better to contact Airbnb and ask them to cancel?


And even though the email says you can cancel they still try to contact the guest and give them a chance. If it’s a same day or next day the calendar being blocked for hours or day is an issue for a host like me.

The email from Airbnb posted above says the host can cancel without penalty. When I did this in late December I was not penalized. I thought I might be given that I got angry with the second CSR I spoke with and I thought she might disappear my listing as a thank you but she didn’t.


Certainly. I always value @KCC’s advice; she replied to my first post here in 2015 when I was seeking advice on how to deal with my first guests (who have been my worst yet), and she has been incredibly helpful ever since. However, on this matter, since the booking is two weeks out, I don’t mind waiting to give the guests some time to pay while I also experiment in how long AirBnB lets hosts think they have an active reservation.

In fact, it seems the guests have now paid. I talked to the AirBnB Help on Twitter via DM and they said the reservation had been paid in full. I asked how I could tell they’d paid since everything looked the same on my end, and what if this had been a same day booking? The CS agent reassured me the “system” would have canceled the reservation after a few days. As usual with AirBnB, they didn’t actually answer my question since a same-day booking would be over by the time their “system” caught the error.


This would have been interesting to see.

On my similar reservation that I cancelled, his hometown was local, he reserved for one but said two were coming and it was for the next day. His other reviews with local hosts were fine but I just thought I wasn’t going to take the chance. It was a “strike 3” type situation, during the xmas holidays when I’m quite busy with the dog boarding and not wanting to muck things up further.

Wow, how can you remember that?


I’ve reread my first post once or twice to see how far I’ve come! Giving much of the good advice I’ve received.


This guest just messaged me that he’s still having issues paying! He says the trouble is over a one cent difference during a currency exchange.


So I messaged the CS agent and she said I would have received an email if the booking had been paid in full. She can’t confirm or deny whether the guest has paid because the GUEST has to contact AirBnB. I’m really frustrated and going to call the Superhost line when I get home from work. I’ll probably get yet a third answer!


I have an update.

My guests arrived on Saturday and I noticed this morning (Monday) that my payout had not been released. I called the Superhost line and the CS agent said there was still a hold on this payout due to the guest’s credit card being initially declined, though they had accepted payment from the guest since then. She said she’d have to talk to the payout specialist and get back to me later today.

I’ve called twice and messaged AirBnB twice about this reservation and received different answers from everyone I’ve talked to. The people on the Superhost line seemed the most informed, and reassured me payment had been accepted. The person I talked to on Twitter said if the payment hadn’t been accepted, the reservation would have been automatically canceled. The CS agent on the AirBnB app said if the payment had been accepted, I’d have received a second email saying so (after the initial “payment declined” email).

In hindsight, I wish I’d just canceled the reservation since it was not worth my trouble to spend so much time talking to CS and the initial booking was made two weeks out so it is likely I could have gotten another booking for these dates.

It should not come as a surprise that the guests themselves are not very self-sufficient. They are on day 2 out of 3 of their stay and have been prompt communicators but somewhat clueless travelers, asking questions that are in the house manual (which I referred them to a few times) and how to order takeout and take the subway. I don’t mind answering tourism questions or “how’s this done in the States?” questions, but paired with the doubt I’ll be paid for this reservation, I’m getting more annoyed. They thought they were renting my entire 4-bedroom/3-bathroom house, not the guest apartment, for $65 a night. :sweat_smile:


You should read the thread from TheInsider.


Thanks! I just found the thread. I hadn’t read this forum in a few days and missed a lot!


This has happened to me twice and both times I got the money and guests were great


I’m glad to hear it. TheInsider confirmed I’d get my money as well. These guests are leaving tomorrow and it’s annoying I haven’t been paid yet but I suppose if the money is coming I shouldn’t sweat it. It’s been about 14 hours since I called, and I haven’t heard back from the CS agent, who reassured me someone would get back to me before her shift was over.


An update for those interested:

The guests left today after a three-day stay. I wish I would have canceled rather than taking a chance on new guest whose credit card was initially declined. The guests were very inexperienced travelers and needed a lot of hand-holding. They were messier than average but nothing obscene. They broke a decorative item but were honest and left some cash behind to pay for it. They mentioned the cash in the messenger app so I hope I don’t “get in trouble” for accepting a cash payment.

I still haven’t been paid for this reservation, and the CS representative I talked to yesterday morning on the phone hasn’t responded to my follow-up message. I want to call AirBnB back, but I’ve become wary of having my account flagged as agent-shopping, as @TheInsider noted in their AMA thread.

From searching this forum for past topics on non-payment issues, it sounds like everyone has eventually been paid for guests if the guests actually showed up and were hosted and left happy, but it could take days or weeks to get my payout.

I plan to leave an honest review, but I’m not sure if I should mention that I haven’t been paid for hosting these guests. It is AirBnb’s fault, not the guests, that I haven’t been paid, but I also want to warn future hosts.

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