Would you give a refund (or partial refund) in this situation?

Apologies this is so long…
So we recently had a group of 6 women that stayed for 1 night that are now asking for some money back. I don’t know if I should give them some money back or not… I’m not against that idea but I worry they would leave me a bad review any way which would really annoy me… Here’s some background: I don’t typically do one night bookings, because I don’t think it’s worth my trouble. I had a checkout on Saturday morning, so I lowered my Saturday rate from $349 to $249, basically treated the weekend as a weekday since it broke up the Friday and Saturday weekend. This lady told me she’s a superhost herself and really wanted our cabin for Friday and Saturday but she can see that my Friday is already booked, is there anything I can do. I told her I can let them stay just Saturday if that’s something they want to do - breaking my normal rules only because she’s a superhost (but I didn’t say that part to her). She agreed and started telling me what to do (how to send a 1 night booking request etc.). It was annoying because I can see that I have over 100 reviews and she has 22. But I let that go.

Soon after she booked, she asked for late check out into the late afternoon, and citing that she knows no one is coming that day. I told her she can checkout at noon or pay a small fee to check out later. No response for several days until right before check-in, she told me she’ll take the noon option. She also asked lots of questions, some questions she would ask again and again, after I’d responded the first time.

So for her one night of stay, she cited the following issues:

  1. She found 1 long hair on one of the bunk beds on the third floor. So they all refuse to sleep in that room (it has 3 beds in it but there’s still plenty of other beds to go around in the house for them to sleep).
    Reality: My cleaners are a group of women all with long hair. I talked to them to prevent this from happening again.

  2. She found a lizard in the basement floor and had to “chase it outside”.
    Reality: This cabin is in 3 acres of woods. Cabin is built with real timber logs with natural splits in the logs so I’m not sure how we can prevent the lizard from coming into the basement but the lizards tend to stay right next to the basement door.

  3. She found dust on one window sill in the basement after running her finger all the way across.
    Reality: This cabin is over 3500 square feet with 5 bedrooms. We had a 7 night stay right before them and my cleaners admitted they did not dust that window sill.

  4. She said the hot water was barely lukewarm so they couldn’t take showers.
    Reality: I sent maintenance crew there as soon as I got her permission and turned up the water heater a tiny bit and all was fine. The maintenance crew said it just wasn’t as hot as they liked. I do consider this complaint a valid complaint unlike the rest of the items.

  5. She complained that my maintenance crew didn’t immediately know the location of the water heater and had to call me to inquire.
    Reality: This was my backup crew because this was on a Saturday night close to midnight. I didn’t realize it was such a big deal that they had to call me which I told them right away where it’s at…

  6. She complained that the TV and DVD player had no sound.
    Reality: I told her to unplug the HDMI cable and plug it back in. She said there’s too many wires so she doesn’t want to touch it. I suggested to use the TV on the top floor, she said that’s the room she found 1 hair in. I suggested to use the TV in the basement living room, she said they are too comfortable on the main floor already. Finally 2 hours later someone in her group got brave enough to unplug and plug it back in and ALL WORKED FINE.

  7. She complained there’s no salt and pepper.
    Reality: I never claimed to provide salt and pepper although we usually do have salt and pepper but I’m guessing the previous group took with them.

  8. She complained that we don’t provide a second roll of paper towels.
    Reality: We provide 1 roll of Viva cloth paper towel and after they left, majority was still on the roll.

  9. She complained that the towels smelled smokey.
    Reality: One of my cleaners smokes and she admitted to transporting the towels in her car (inside a bag). I understand some people can be very sensitive to smoke so I can see this as a valid complaint as well.

  10. She said she’d wash the towels herself except she can’t find any detergent.
    Reality: The detergent is in a jar right on top of the dryer. When I told her this, she admitted they are indeed there but she was only looking in the cabinets.

  11. She claims one of my beds is broken.
    Reality: She couldn’t figure out how to strip the bed sheet from this bunk bed because the bunk bed is custom made (by the previous owner of the house) and custom fitted to the mattress. When she tried to strip it, the mattress became wedged in the frame so she claims the bed is broken. She’d have to unwedge the mattress first before the bed can be stripped.

  12. She claims cleanliness is a known issue in my cabins.
    Reality: She cited the one bad review from Mark that was on a DIFFERENT cabin (in a DIFFERENT CITY) as her proof. (Marks’ review was retaliatory due to the damages his group caused at my cabin.)

Because of the reasons listed above, she told me that if I don’t give her at least half of her money back (over $250 since we have a $200 cleaning fee, the night was $249 and i’m sure she paid some fees to Air) she will involve air bnb. She even told me my cabin is not up to “Air BnB standards”.

What would you do in this situation?

Edit to add: She WAS a superhost. She’s no longer hosting on Air BnB. She still has the superhost badge because she just recently stopped hosting.

Edit to add: Since she kept sending me complaint after complaint, I told her that I would extend their checkout to 4pm (for free) instead of the previously agreed noon. At 2pm, she sent me a message that said, “thanks for the offer of 4pm check out but we decline! We have just left your property!” Well… if they decline shouldn’t they have gotten out at noon?

Edit to add: She claims that she has stayed in MANY air bnb’s and this is the worst she’s ever stayed in. Well, I noticed she only has ONE review from a host so I don’t know if she’s just lying or if other hosts didn’t want to review her…

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Why didn’t you call this a rant from an entitled cow?
No to any refund!
Ignore her!


You made me laugh lol. How do I prevent negative review from someone like that?


Seriously? This is laughable. She found 1 hair and a tiny bit of dust in a massive home. All her other complaints indicate she’s an idiot or high maintenance.

She’s out of touch with reality if she thinks she should get a refund for this. I wouldn’t refund her a cent.


Or she’s setting herself up for a refund. It seems no matter what I did it wasn’t enough for her. She told me if she were the host she’d be bending over backwards (which I already was, contacting my maintenance crew and sending them over there close to midnight on a Saturday night, giving her suggestions on what to do with the TV etc.) but later on it became clear what she meant by bending over backwards was to refund her money… I spent over 2 hours dealing with her and this was the reason I couldn’t finish my taxes on time this year and had to file an extension… (ok, real reason is that I procrastinated until last second)


Ugh, what an awful guest. The fact that she’s a host herself is irrelevant (other than confirming what many of us have experienced: hosts are often the worst guests of all).

It is highly likely that she will leave you a bad review no matter how much you refund her. So save your pennies. And if you feel you must refund something, give her half the cleaning fee for the smokey towels and the dust. She gets nothing for the hair, omfg that is beyond ridiculous not to even use the room where it was found.


Absolutely no refund. Who cares if she’s a super-host when in reality you have more reviews even though that really doesn’t matter. I cannot imagine treating another Host this way. Especially after already getting a discounted rate and not having to book two nights. This is awful entitled behavior and just based on that I’m going to assume she’s already knocking to give a great review whether you give her money back or not. She needs to suck it up and act like an adult


To her defense she may not be aware that she got a discounted rate since I lowered the rate before she booked or inquired but since she’s so familiar with everything else (the night before isn’t available and the night after is available for example) I wouldn’t be surprised if she was aware.

The fact she only got 1 review from a host makes me wonder if she’s been doing this shenanigan many times… maybe if i pay up then she won’t review… just wondering…

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I thought so too… I guess maybe she’s really privileged or something… I talked to my cleaners and they did own up for the dust and the possibility of 1 hair and explained about the smokey towels and apologized to me and promised it won’t happen again… So I feel bad to dog their pay… What do you think about asking the guest to sign a non-disclosure agreement if they want to get their refund? I know Air wont’ help me so I’m trying to think outside the box here. If I deny a refund I know she’ll take it up with Air and Air might just give them the refund they ask for…

She may either way. Maybe leaving her a review saying how needy she is no one will book her in the future


I don’t think that will work at all. She could contact Air and say you were trying to extort her not to leave a review. Plus it wouldn’t hold up - pretty sure there will be something in the T&Cs about such things.

I would offer half the cleaning fee and see what she says.


I think that once you get a guest who know how to play the game the negative review will come regardless of wether or not you give a refund. Airbnb allows hosts 24 hours to make things right (in most cases) and I think you have gone above an beyond. No refund.


She will give you a bad review irregardless. She was imagining things simply to make you refund her. I wouldn’t refund a cent!!!

You addressed the valid complaints (no sound in the tv and hot water).
The finding of 1 hair is laughable!!!

She is one of these hard to please, splitting hairs kind of guest (cow). I had a number of these also.

Ignore her and give her an equally bad review so future hosts will know how needy she is.

And block her so she won’t be able to book you in the future.

As strange as it sounds one of these entitled, demanding and entitled women who found problems at my house and gave me a bad review had the guts to want to book me the second time!!! Luckily she didn’t IB me but inquired because she wanted to bring the dog and asked me to make an exception although my listing does not allow pets.

I didn’t know how to hit the deny button quicker. I blatantly told her she and her dog are not welcomed in my house and I blocked her.


I seem to be going against the grain here but the OP clearly feels that the cleaning was not 100% so perhaps a small refund is reasonable. It is a pretty hefty fee, after all.

@happilytorn, personally I think you need to put aside all thoughts of the review because you can’t do anything about that. Also, I would try to ignore the fact that she was a true PITA guest in all respects and just concentrate on what you think is fair. As I said, half the cleaning fee would seem about right.

(As an aside, why is your cleaning fee so high? Wouldn’t it be better to increase your overall price and reduce the fee? You’re bound to get people being pickier over cleanliness when they’ve paid such a lot)

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How much is a fair cleaning fee for a 3 story cabin with 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 2 living rooms, 1 huge kitchen and 1 game room (total cabin is over 3500 square feet)? There’s also a fire pit, a grill, a hot tub and a huge yard which all needs to be cleaned up (we are in a mountain area so trash can get blown on to our yard). I don’t know but I’ve had a REALLY hard time finding anyone that’s willing to do it for $195 (I know earlier I said $200 but technically it’s $195).


Too funny. My guest also said that once I get “all issues resolved” they would love to stay again!!!

Jings, that is a big place! I hadn’t realised. I think my point still stands though. You don’t have to set the cleaning fee at the actual cost of cleaning - increase your overall price to cover it.

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I guess I want it to cover the actual cleaning and it would also incentivize people to book longer stays…


Yes I get that but guests won’t! Most people have specific dates for their vacation and will not be in a position to book a few extra days to offset the cleaning fee. In fact, I can’t imagine any guests even figuring that out tbh.
Many hosts use the cleaning fee simply as a way of making one-night stays profitable, it has nothing to do with the actual cost of cleaning.

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Well we don’t typically allow one nights because it isn’t profitable for us really. I only made this one time exception (because she’s a super host and thought she’d be an easy guest) and I plan to never again.