What refund would you have offered?

The only draw to this small town is the charm of a small town and the biggest lake in the state. The recent rains have raised the lake to where my beach is covered.

I emailed the guest several days before his stay that the lake was high, the beach was covered, and my dock was inaccessible, but fishing is usually better when the lake is high and he could fish from the shore.

He said thanks for the information, he was looking forward to exploring the area. I have a second floor above a garage guest house. My listing explains the stairs and that it is not suitable for the disabled.

So the guests came. When I showed them the place, they huffed up the stairs. They liked the place and everyone was smiling when I left. Later, I saw them walking down to the beach and about 20 minutes later, the man was at my door saying they were leaving. He said the beach wasn’t what they expected.

I think the stairs were not what they expected. When they went back up, they decided they didn’t want to go up and down.

I gave them a full refund, but now I am second guessing myself. I told him before he came that the water was high and he didn’t care. He said he was going to explore the area. I think they didn’t want to climb the stairs.

I also didn’t realize that he would still be able to give me a review when he didn’t stay. I don’t understand that. He hasn’t left one and since he got all his money back, he better not, but I feel cheated.

If this happens again, I think I should at least charge him for the first night… What do you think?

If everything is as described and in the pictures I would not have given any refund.

A high water level is no reason for cancelation, just as bad weather.


If my customers are not happy and wish to cancel their stay/leave immediately after arriving for any reason (not happened …yet) I would refund in full.

It’s a pain to lose out on a booking’s income but in the grand scheme of things I would rather that than risk getting destroyed by a 1* rating because you’ve annoyed them by traying to claw back one night’s rental money. I just look upon possibly getting guests like this as a risk of doing business where your customers don’t actually see what they are ‘buying’ until they arrive so there’s always the possibility of them misunderstanding or not reading descriptions fully.

It’s easy for other people here advise things like “don’t refund them” or “charge them 1 night”, they are not the ones who are at risk of getting a 1* review and the damage it can do seeing as we all know AirBNB will almost certainly not back you up if you do receive one.


But the whole point @Snowdon is whether you refund them or not you are still risk at bad review if they cancel because they are not happy with the local amenities/weather conditions/some perception about the listing that was pointed out to them but they didn’t bother to read.

In your case @jrjan1 I would have said to the guest you were sad that they have chosen not to stay because of conditions at the beach and that if you are rebooked for any of the nights they have cancelled, as a gesture of good will on your part you would be happy to consider a refund for any of the nights rebooked.

I am one of the hosts in the camp who say you shouldn’t be held to ransom for fear of a bad review for doing what you know is right for your hosting business.


That’s what my husband said. Ask when they would like to reschedule.

My listing clearly said the guest house is on the second floor and not disability accessible. I think people like the price, so they book.

The only bad reviews I have gotten were from people saying there is nothing to do here - meanwhile, my place is called Fisherman’s Dream, and I only show pictures of a lake and fish that people have caught. This is a place for fishermen, not for night life, but just like everything else, nobody knows how to read anymore.


It’s too late now to second guess your decision but in the future sleep on it and make the decision the next day, not on the spot.

I would always trust your gut…and as you get more experience the more you’ll feel comfortable in your decisions. It sounds like you are pretty new and I had a similar situation when I began, and I refunded. Today I would not have refunded the first night as they kept you from earning money by not cancelling…and who knows,. maybe their plans really changed, they had a fight, two people weren’t on the same page…none of that is your fault and you shouldn’t be penalized for it. One thing you can do is go back and critically look at your description to ensure you underpromise and overdeliver. I didn’t look at it so I have no idea, but I do know that with more guests I’ve been more and more precise about what to expect, (or not).

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I’m trying hard to be kind and not snarky here but this had been discussed so many times. Posts assume you are new but you’ve been a registered member here almost a year. I strongly urge you to read as much as you have time for. This will forearm you. Simply logging on after there is an issue and made a decision isn’t going to help you at all.

As for the question, I wouldn’t have given any refund. They kept you from getting any other booking and I assume it’s high season for you. You gave him information in advance and if you had wanted to modify or offer a discount at that time that’s one thing. But to take your time, probably use your bathroom and then leave gets them zero.

I had a guy a couple of weeks ago book two nights for him and his dog. I sent him the pet fee and he asked what it included and and that it seemed high. He actually said in the message that he could have just stayed in the hotel where he was. So I pointedly told him this:


It was a same day booking so he wasn’t keeping me from getting booked. Well, he arrived anyway. Unloaded his stuff. Drove away and then messaged me that he wasn’t happy and he’d be back for his things. I refunded him his pet fee and one of two nights but only because he hadn’t blocked the room from anyone else and I’d already offered. Otherwise he would have had to fight Airbnb for all but the pet fee.

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NO Refund! They were made aware of conditions but came anyway. Their bad, not yours.

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If this were my listing I would revise to say, “Access is via a steep flight of stairs, no extra charge for the cardio workout.”

Deconditioned people for whom your stairs are going to be an issue don’t consider themselves disabled. They will not clue in on what you need to convey with that word imo.


I think you should send pictures to your guests before they arrive so that they know what to expect. Explanation are one thing, pictures another.