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What would you do...?

dear fellow hosts,

I had an instant booking from a guy identified by the nickname “Cool Dude” instead of his real name. His reason to be visiting Miami was “get away from work”. I wrote to him thanking him for booking my place, yadda yadda yadda and that I needed his email address to send him a form to be signed for the building security. No response. A week later I wrote again reminding him of my request, his response was “yes, thank you” but he didn’t provide an email address.
I called airbnb and mentioned that I was uneasy that this guest was a potential scammer. I received a response message from airbnb that his identity was confirmed and payment legitimate, and that there is no rule that a guest can’t use a nickname. Further, to add to my discomfort, the guest’s photo shows a man one would not want to be alone with at an empty train station platform at midnight.
Your thoughts please.

Sorry I don’t use IB because I want control over who stays in my home - so am not completely familiar with how it works. However I understand you can cancel up to three bookings without penalty.

If you aren’t comfortable then get on the phone to BNB again and get them to cancel the booking.


Not a fan of judging people by looks but if you are uncomfortable you are uncomfortable. This is a separate space so you aren’t going to be in any danger. I’d just write again and say I need this form back. If you don’t send your email asap I will have to cancel your booking.


Slight modification to K9KarmaCasa’s suggested last response to the dude you wouldn’t want to be on an empty train station platform at midnight with…in the last sentence I would eliminate the words “have to” so it reads: “If you don’t send your email asap, I will cancel your booking.” It’s decidedly more forceful.

I never play ‘cute’ games with guests. It’s my way or the highway.


Would you consider calling him? I had a guest once with a crazy photo, bad at communication - I was dreading the visit. I finally called and she was lovely, wonderful family -

I hope it works out great - sorry you’re having to deal with this.

Hang in there, @MissMiami!!!

I’m sorry this has happened, and you appear to have had an idiot on the phone at AirBnB this time. Call them again and express your discomfort at the fact you have a guest with a fake name who’s ignoring your messages, and you need them to cancel him.

It’s not ok for people to be listing their name as Cool Dude when we have to make a judgement call on whether we want this person in our home.


Why are you not using the AirBnB email adress?
It is in the booking, I use it all the time to send the guests their checkin-in forms.


You can use that, but especially in this case I would want some sort of semblance of dealing with a real person. Call them, leave a VM if they don’t answer, and if you can’t get those forms or a real phone conversation within 24 hours, cancel!!

Why in this case? What makes this one special?

She should not have asked for the email address, but use the email address provided by AirBnB.

As a guest I would not provide an email address either. I would have answered her to use the AirBnB one.

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I would call Air and tell them that you are under no obligation to accept a IB from someone using a fake name and CANCEL and change your IB options to only accept reservations from someone with a review.


Because this person is not complying with simple requests. I would want some sort of feeling like I’m dealing with a real person (hence wanting a real email address). If they won’t send the forms and if they won’t answer the phone or give a real email, then I would cancel because you have no idea what you’re getting into. It’s a feeling of security I guess. While of course conversing within the Air system is best, this person’s vibe is almost screaming “scam!”. If they won’t send required forms or hold a real conversation, they need to be cancelled.


This person cannot send the forms because they have not received them from the host jet.

The host is asking for an email address, in the first message. Which is against AirBnB rules.

Her house rules should have a requirement to fill out the forms and send it back within 48 or 72 hours, or the booking will be canceled. She should not have asked for the address, but just send the forms, with a message to send them back within the set time.

When the form is not send back in time, she has a reason to cancel.

This again is an example of an inexperienced host, who did not think things trough until after they got their first booking.

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I don’t think it’s against Air’s rules to request contact info after the booking is made. Lots of hosts ask for real contact info once the booking is made so that they can contact the guest directly if desired. It’s against TOS before booking so that you don’t book outside the system. While of course you can email them directly via the air email (similar to a craigslist email), @MissMiami may not know that, and there is a level of trust involved at this point that needs to be established. It’s not unreasonable to want to ensure this is a real person with a real stay planned, not a plan to rebook or do something shady in her place. If this person doesn’t want to establish their identity and true contact info, then she should cancel.

Well, @MissMiami, what’s the situation?

One of my first guests was named The Black Knight and that was before I realized that as a host you really need to read everything about a prospective guest to avoid trouble. He turned out to be a polite Japanese guy but just as clueless as a guest as I was as a host. Talk to him the way you’re talking to us and communicate. Say, “Why is THAT your name?” Only cancel if he doesn’t respond or sound weird. Like you, when I called Airbnb they didn’t care how weird it was. I also had a guest who only put the first initial of his last name in his profile. Airbnb wouldn’t tell me it. It was either cancel and lose $100 via host penalty fee or let someone stay in my home. Not a great feeling. That’s when my enthusiastic support of Airbnb first began to wane…


This INFURIATES me. F^&k Airbnb! You absolutely should NOT be forced to allow someone in your home who is trying to obscure their identity. What ever happened to your right to refuse a guest you don’t feel comfortable with? Honestly, Air has NO incentive whatsoever to support hosts. None. And that includes forcing you to take any weirdo that comes along. Thank god I get most of my renters through VRBO now. With HomeAway and VRBO I call the shots. I want to keep a deposit, I keep it. I don’t want six 20 year olds, I just say No. VRBO could care less.


Did you look at the reservation confirmation? Is his real name there? Or does it still just say ‘cool dude’?

@KKC, @Sarah_Warren, @dcmooney, @Chris
Dear Fellow Hosts,
Airbnb actually sent me “Cool Dude’s” email address (and yes, it’s cooldude@hotmail.com) and I wrote to him with the form to complete and…no answer. I explained that I need the completed form 48 hours before his arrival or I would not be able to grant him access to the apartment. Nancy, no, his reservation has the “Cool Dude” name. I actually looked him up to make sure there isn’t a musician or some other known figure by such name and found nothing; so it’s not as if he is Madonna and that’s his official name.
Many have written that I should just cancel his stay - but why should I do that? If he can’t meet the requirement he should cancel or simply not show up.
By the way, “Cool Dude” is not the name he provided, but I thought I’d preserve his privacy by using a similar name.

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Problem is if you don’t want to host him you can’t force him to cancel nor can you prevent him from showing up. He already has your address. I’d tell him you will cancel as a way to impress upon him the importance of returning the form. If he doesn’t return it you could try to get air to cancel. In any case you shouldn’t be punished for his refusal to conform to your house rules.

Oh, and if it were me I’d still rent to him, Cool Dude, Lady Gaga, Madonna, whatever. LOL.

I’ve had situations something like this and I called airbnb. They offered to ‘reach out’ to the guest for me. I think this should be your next step. Then you have more on-record communication - so if he shows up and can’t access the apartment, airbnb knows that it is on him, not you.

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