Our guest rebooking and refund policy explained

Administrator in
Malibu, CA
Administrator
4,482 Views

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Hi everyone, 

 

We value the feedback about the rebooking and refund policy that we’ve heard from Hosts in workshops, here in the Community Center, and across Host Clubs. 

 

From your feedback, we understand that many Hosts aren’t familiar with the policy, and our update raised more questions than answers. We also know that you need more details about how this policy works. 

 

As a result of your comments, we are doing the following: 

 

  1. We’re removing the language about Hosts being responsible for rebooking costs from the policy. 
  2. We’ve also answered some of your most frequently asked questions about the policy that we’ve heard over the past week. 

 

You can read more about these changes here.

 

We hope this will help give you peace of mind, so you can focus on what you do best—providing amazing hospitality to guests from all over the world. 

 

Thank you for being a Host. We want you to know that we listen to your feedback. Please continue to tell us what you think so we can make sure we’re helping you meet your hosting needs. 

 

Best wishes,
Catherine 

125 Replies

Re: Our guest rebooking and refund policy explained

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Catherine-Powell 

 

Thank you for the clarification and for listening to the feedback RE this policy. I appreciate that you are taking the time to respond to our concerns.

 

I still have a couple of questions though.

 

1. You say that you're "removing the language about Hosts being responsible for rebooking costs from the policy," but, to my understanding, that doesn't mean you're removing the fact of it from the actual policy. You're just removing it from the wording. In the Q&A you link to, it says Airbnb doesn't apply these charges to hosts. So what is it? Does the policy of charging hosts for rebooking costs exist or does it not? Is it enforceable if an Airbnb CS rep decides to enforce it and charge the host? Under which circumstances would this apply, as it's still a bit vague in the Q&A, i.e. only gives double booking as an example?

 

2. You mention that guests are still asked to report the issue to the host first and give them a chance to resolve it, but does this mean the guests are REQUIRED to do this, or just encouraged to do so? How soon do they have to inform the host? Is there a deadline for this, e.g. 24 hours? If not, then what if the guest reports it to the host right before the 72 hours is up and then reports it to Airbnb, giving the host no time to resolve the issue? What if this happens with a short stay of one or two days and the guest has already checked out? In the Q&A, it says that the guest should inform the host 'whenever feasible'. What does that mean? Who decides if it's feasible or not? For example, how does Airbnb know if the guest is telling the truth about not being able to contact the host if the guest actually made no attempt to do so? Are they required to message the host via the Airbnb messaging system (and if so, please, please fix the really glitchy and unreliable notifications)? Sorry to be so picky about this point, but what I really feel is lacking in this policy is guidelines for the guest, other than they need to report it to Airbnb within 72 hours.

 

No doubt, there are more questions that could be asked, but these two are off the top of my head after an initial read through.

Re: Our guest rebooking and refund policy explained

in
Fountain Valley, CA
Level 3

Agreed. Removing the language of relocation is not enough to release and calm the uncertainty from the host side. Guests must report the issues and/or concern to host AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Not 72 hours. What take guests so long to report it so hosts have time to fix the issue, and/or arrange repairs, solutions in timely manner. It’s so unreasonable to apply this 72hr time frame report by guests to both short-stay (1-3 days) and long-stays, in which it causes more unforeseen damage to  hosts from fraudulent reports and/or scams. @Catherine-Powell 

Re: Our guest rebooking and refund policy explained

in
Pocono Pines, PA
Level 2

Yes I also have put in the house rules to report to me or my manager at the time of, not after the leave and decide to tweet what they are try to tell Airbnb. I had an issue with a guest the washer belt broke and my then manager fail to say something, end up the guest then went around my home and listed everything they disliked and after filed a complaint. I was out of the country and once I got back I took notice they moved my washer it looked push and rearranged my living room furniture. Airbnb gave them money back during heat season so in a sense they stayed for free on me, yes you must watch the language they are to follow.

Re: Our guest rebooking and refund policy explained

Administrator in
Malibu, CA
Administrator

Hi @Linh160 ,

 

Thank you for your post. That’s right, it’s part of our policy that a guest, whenever feasible, should first contact the Host with any issue. If guests contact Community Support first, we  remind them to get in touch with the Host directly, so that you have an opportunity to resolve the issue. Of course, there are some limited, urgent situations that could arise that require a guest to contact Airbnb directly to resolve the issue. 

 

Additionally, please know that we take false claims very seriously. We have a process in place to assess and investigate all guest claims to help protect Hosts from false or exaggerated reports. Our policy makes it clear that issues caused by guests are not covered and that submitting false or exaggerated reports can result in serious consequences for guests.

 

Thank you again for sharing your feedback with us here on the Community Center and do let me know if you have any other questions.

 

Warmly,

Catherine 

Re: Our guest rebooking and refund policy explained

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Catherine-Powell 

 

Would it be possible to supply a list of the types of situations that CS would consider "urgent situations that could arise that require a guest to contact Airbnb directly to resolve the issue"?

 

Sorry if I sound like a dog with a bone. I have not (yet) experienced these problems myself as a host (but I am sure I would have been totally blindsided had something like this happened when I first started hosting). Still, one reads enough reports here on the CC about hosts being suspended and penalised for something with no warning from CS and no response from CS when they desperately try to find out what has happened. It's all a bit cloak and dagger.

 

Okay, I'm going to repeat that. It's all a bit cloak and dagger, and that I think is one of the reasons that so many hosts are so concerned about this.

 

How about a clear and definitive list of what sort of 'travel issues' warrant this policy to be applied? Please don't include leaves in a pool. Hard working hosts should not lose their livelihoods due to one guest complaining about leaves in a pool.

 

I am all for truly bad, unscrupulous hosts being weeded from the platform, but please don't subject so many good hosts to these loopholes that allow unscrupulous guests to not only scam them but to destroy all their hard work.

 

This is still not good enough. It's still too vague to be reassuring to many of us.

Re: Our guest rebooking and refund policy explained

in
NY, NY
Level 10

@Catherine-Powell @Huma0  "Clear and definitive."  Hear hear Huma!  

 

I recognize how hard it must be to have one list that covers over 4 million hosts with unique listings.  But it still must be possible to give support personnel such a list.  We can't have them making judgment calls about every single complaint.  That wastes a terrific amount of time and money.

 

Just as we want them to uphold our cancellation policies exactly as written, and not prevail upon us to issue refunds when they're outside the policy, we need them to uphold Airbnb's rules about reporting and resolution, not giving in to screaming guests AND hosts.

 

Time and money.  Clarity saves both.

Re: Our guest rebooking and refund policy explained

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Ann72 wrote:

@Catherine-Powell @Huma0  

 

 

 

Time and money.  Clarity saves both.


Couldn't agree more.

Re: Our guest rebooking and refund policy explained

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Catherine-Powell wrote:

 

 

Additionally, please know that we take false claims very seriously. We have a process in place to assess and investigate all guest claims to help protect Hosts from false or exaggerated reports. Our policy makes it clear that issues caused by guests are not covered and that submitting false or exaggerated reports can result in serious consequences for guests.

 

 


@Catherine-Powell I would love to believe this, but can I please refer you to Airbnb's review policy, which states:

 

"If you feel a review is untrue

While we encourage and expect all community members to post reviews that contain objective and accurate information, Airbnb doesn’t mediate disputes concerning the truth of reviews. We expect the author of the review to stand behind the content of their review."

 

So, if Airbnb CS is not going to get involved in what is and isn't true in terms of reviews, because, I guess, it's impossible to tell who is telling the truth in a 'he said, she said' situation, how are they able to tell the truth in these 'travel issue' situations?

 

I'm not totally convinced, based on policies (like the above) that have gone before that CS is either willing or equipped to make these judgement calls. We have already been told unequivocally  that it doesn't matter who is or isn't telling the truth, false, revengeful, retaliatory reviews cannot be removed because, "It is the guest's experience." Full STOP.  It really doesn't matter if the host is able to prove otherwise.

 

So, how would it be different with guests' claims RE travel issues?

Re: Our guest rebooking and refund policy explained

in
Tappen, Canada
Level 5

@Catherine-Powell Our experience is that Airbnb does not take false claims seriously.  On the two occasions that we have had unhappy guests in our 5 years on Airbnb, with Superhost status from the beginning, Airbnb took the side of these two fake and exaggerated claims against us.  Given this most recent attempt to charge hosts for re-bookings, until we see big changes with Airbnb, it will now remain only a backup booking platform for us.

 

 

Re: Our guest rebooking and refund policy explained

in
Chicago, IL
Level 2

couldn't agree more.  I have 4 friends that will be moving to another platform at the end of '22 calendar yr.  and I will be joining them.   Hosts have zero leverage and no recourse,  with out inventory then maybe AirBnb will get the idea that the hosts need a stronger voice.  

Re: Our guest rebooking and refund policy explained

in
Mount Barker, Australia
Level 10

@Sherry418 

Sherry, I have used  2 other booking platforms over the past 6 years, the fact that I still do most of my business on Airbnb suggests that I find them better and more profitable than the other platforms I have used. They all have their strengths and weaknesses......there is no such thing as the perfect booking platform. Homeaway/Stayz have a faster payout system, better prospective guest identification and a better fairer review process. Booking.com have a simpler and much more flexible booking page options.

The fact that I have had success with Airbnb and, to this point have stayed with them, I put down to 3 things.

  1. Hosting is my business not Airbnb's. It's up to me to make sure that I have every aspect of my business covered, not expect Airbnb to pick up the pieces when things go wrong!
  2. I don't take any notice of Airbnb's promotional material, I don't even bother reading/watching it. I have found over the years it is in most instances designed to advantage Airbnb, not the host and all it does is lull the host into a false sense of security. Despite years of 'gloss' the issues we had 6 years ago, we still have today! It's not in Airbnb's interests to change them, the current formula works for Airbnb.
  3. I pay particular attention to the way my guests initially approach me. I have said this many times before Sherry, but prospective guests fall into two categories..... Passive/Complimentary......or Aggressive/Demanding. They either like what they see and want to pay and stay or, they will have a heap of questions each designed to strengthen their ground and weaken yours as the host! Hagglers don't make good guests Sherry....never have and never will.

So, I have a great relationship with Airbnb because I expect nothing out of them except to keep sending me guests and to pay me. I don't make damage claims, I don't make waves and it's up to me to filter those I accept, and those I suggest might be a better fit somewhere else.

And for that odd guest that does slip through the net, it's up to me to cover myself against the issues they may create, not Airbnb. To this point it has worked well, in over 550 Airbnb hostings I have only been caught out 3 times.....and I am prepared to accept that, no business is perfect!

 

Cheers........Rob

Re: Our guest rebooking and refund policy explained

Level 2

I agree with her. In other words for my understanding it was more like the guest can enjoy our places for 72 hours and then the host get ripped off.  Because of this decision I decided to list my place in other app. Let's see how it goes.

Re: Our guest rebooking and refund policy explained

Online Community Manager in
London, United Kingdom
Online Community Manager

Hi @Huma0 

 

Thanks for always sharing such constructive and well thought out feedback.

 

I’d like to clarify a little bit here; I hope it helps! Airbnb is not charging a rebooking fee under this Policy. We have removed the language from the Policy to reflect that. You can read the exact wording of the Policy here and see where it no longer applies.  

 

In the updated policy it mentions: “Before submitting a claim, whenever feasible, the guest must notify the Host and try to resolve the travel issue directly with their Host.” 

 

If guests contact Community Support first, we remind them to reach out to the Host directly, so that you have an opportunity to resolve the issue. Of course, there are some rare,  urgent situations that arise that require a guest to contact Airbnb so that we can provide the support the guest needs in that moment. But even in these situations, Airbnb will still try to contact the Host as well. 

 

I hope this has helped and please do continue to share your thoughts here, they’re extremely valuable both to Airbnb and your fellow Hosts.

 

Thanks,

Steph


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Re: Our guest rebooking and refund policy explained

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Stephanie 

 

Thank you for clarifying. So, that means hosts will no longer be at risk of being charged for the guests' alternative accommodation and that is very good to hear. Although I understand that was not a new policy, I think a lot of us were unaware of it before and will be relieved to hear it is gone.

 

RE 


@Stephanie wrote:

Hi @Huma0 

 

 

In the updated policy it mentions: “Before submitting a claim, whenever feasible, the guest must notify the Host and try to resolve the travel issue directly with their Host.” 

 

If guests contact Community Support first, we remind them to reach out to the Host directly, so that you have an opportunity to resolve the issue. Of course, there are some rare,  urgent situations that arise that require a guest to contact Airbnb so that we can provide the support the guest needs in that moment. But even in these situations, Airbnb will still try to contact the Host as well. 

Of course, that makes total sense. If a situation is urgent and the host cannot be reached, it makes sense for CS to go ahead and try to find a solution for the guest. However, I think a lot of the concern here is that we are hearing more and more reports here on the CC about CS NOT contacting the host when a guest makes a complaint or requests and refund, when it was easily possible to do so. Many of these hosts are being suspended. The hosts are often chasing CS for some kind of information on what the issue was. Even when the host is able to provide some evidence of the guests' claims being false, they are ignored by CS. They are either told that the decision has already been made or they just get radio silence.

 

For this policy to work fairly, CS needs to be much better trained and more objective, i.e. not automatically believing the guest (especially for things like undisclosed/hidden cameras which seems to have become a popular guest scam) and making a decision without consulting the host. CS also needs to take responsibility for its mistakes, not just say the decision can't be reversed.

 

From my own experience, I know how difficult it is to get fair treatment in some of these circumstances. I had CS wrongly refund two long term guests due to COVID-19. Not only were these refunds against the COVID-19 extenuating policy because the guests had already checked in, but the guests were refunded for nights they already stayed, a whole two week stay for one guest, and the guests had neither complained about anything nor requested refunds.

 

It took me a month of non-stop calls and emails to CS and a huge amount of stress to get my money back. I was repeatedly told that the actions were according to policy (NO, they were not) and also that, once the guest had been refunded, nothing could be done and that it was up to me to collect the money the guests owed me. What???!!!

 

I don't think anyone who has posted here or on other related threads believes that CS, in its current state, is capable of making these kinds of decisions. If you look at the very frustrating conversation that I posted with the rep who could not/would not even tell me what we were supposed to be talking about, you will see what a nightmare it can be dealing with CS, and that is just one example of many similar frustrating experiences I have had with CS over the past couple of years or more. Something is going very badly wrong.

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