Guest wants refund after checkout or will "take further action"

in
Buckhannon, WV
Level 2
564 Views

We are new at hosting Airbnb.  We had a couple of issues and would like some feedback from other Hosts.

A guest is requesting a refund after staying the full reservation time.  The guest made a threat to “take further actions” if I don’t refund.  Here are the facts:

The guest sent me an email early evening (5:57pm) with the following facts:

1). Somehow the guest’s teenager sleeping on the top bunk managed to cause the top bunk supports and twin mattress fall on their sibling on the bottom bunk.  In the email the Guest told me no one was hurt.

2). The guest also complained that the house was hot.  FACT: Our area is currently under a heat advisory. The local News said it is the hottest it has been in this area since 1985.  The temperatures are running about 15+ more degrees as usual plus high humidly.  The July average high here is 83, the temperature on the last few days has been 96 or 97.  Global warming I guess.   We provide a window AC unit in our Airbnb rental.  Because the temperatures are normally mild here the window unit has been adequate.  During this Heat Advisory not many AC in the area are keeping up, including at my house.  It’s just extremely hot here at this time. 

When I got the email I went down in person to check on the teenager and the hot house complaint.  We talked for 30 minutes.  I offered them a refund for that evening so they could go to a hotel if they wanted.  They chose to stay.  On that note I gave them suggestions (reiterating what was written in a binder left on the Kitchen counter titled:  “House Information”) that might help cool the house. 

3). At this time they disclosed they smelled a skunk.  We discussed leaving the outside lights on and that I there was a flashlight inside just incase they were walking around outside.  In my listing I make it known that there are numerous wildlife in the area skunk being one of them.  It just so happens that the little fellow has decided to take up residence close by; possibly under the porch.  I’m not sure where, but it has made it’s presence know. 

 

In the refund request the Guest was unhappy with all of the above.  She seemed to concede that we have no control of the heat wave or the skunk. But that I should have advised her prior to arrival skunk’s whereabouts, (which I didn’t know exactly) and could have figured out how to cool the temperature inside.   The last line of her refund request she threatens to “take further action” if I don’t refund her.  She is asking for more money than I received for her reservation; possibly what she was charged by Airbnb.  Airbnb has given me 72 hrs to reply.

 

I can’t help but wonder why she decided to stay both nights, not take me up on my offer to go elsewhere with a refund for the remaining night. Then the next day turn around and request a refund.  Incidentally she showed up with one more guest than was on the reservation. Any thoughts?  Should I just refund her requested amount? Should I refund what I actually received for her night’s stay?  It doesn’t seem fair to me that I offered, she turned me down, stayed another night now demands a refund?  Do I write her a bad review?  No other Host would want this to happen to them.  Please advise.

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Re: Guest wants refund after checkout or will "take further action"

in
Alberta, Canada
Level 10

Hi @Johanna-And-Paul0  So sorry you had such a difficult time with this guest. 

 

On the one hand:

1. You are correct, if she was truly that unhappy and uncomfortable, why on earth did she stay, especially as you offered a refund so she could leave and stay elsewhere. Sounds like she was just trying to play you for a free stay.

2. She brought an unauthorized guest. 

3. You do provide air conditioning and reasonable suggestions to keep the house cool, and cannot control the environment i.e. the heat wave, or wildlife. 

 

On the other hand:

3. You say you mention wildlife/skunks but I can't see it anywhere in your listing or photos. It's possible she missed it, as I did. Regardless, if I were coming to your house, I might like to know that the skunk is currently being a real 'stinker' at least. Not sure that any compensation is due for that though.

The bunk bed mishap may warrant some compensation. Do you think that claim is legitimate or fabricated?

 

I would message her through Airbnb saying something like 'despite the fact that I offered to refund you so you could stay elsewhere, you chose to stay. Therefore, your claims of discomfort do lose their validity. In addition, I provide a working air conditioning unit and cannot control the outside environment, i.e. wildlife and heat waves. There is also the fact that you brought an unauthorized guest that put your group over our stated occupancy limits. Considering the above, I will authorize a refund, but only in the amount of 'x', for the bunk bed mishap.

 

Definitely write her a review. " 'X' brought an unauthorized guest that put their group over our occupancy limit. She complained of various discomforts but refused my offer of a refund so she could stay elsewhere. X stayed for the entire length of the reservation and then later demanded a full refund. I cannot recommend her".

 

You might add something to your house rules reiterating your occupancy limit, and state 'no unauthorized guests', and perhaps make it more obvious about the wildlife. And if you ever have a guest do something like this again, tell them you will issue a refund but they MUST leave immediately. Help them pack and hold the door open. No free stays at your house.

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5 Replies

Re: Guest wants refund after checkout or will "take further action"

in
Alberta, Canada
Level 10

Hi @Johanna-And-Paul0  So sorry you had such a difficult time with this guest. 

 

On the one hand:

1. You are correct, if she was truly that unhappy and uncomfortable, why on earth did she stay, especially as you offered a refund so she could leave and stay elsewhere. Sounds like she was just trying to play you for a free stay.

2. She brought an unauthorized guest. 

3. You do provide air conditioning and reasonable suggestions to keep the house cool, and cannot control the environment i.e. the heat wave, or wildlife. 

 

On the other hand:

3. You say you mention wildlife/skunks but I can't see it anywhere in your listing or photos. It's possible she missed it, as I did. Regardless, if I were coming to your house, I might like to know that the skunk is currently being a real 'stinker' at least. Not sure that any compensation is due for that though.

The bunk bed mishap may warrant some compensation. Do you think that claim is legitimate or fabricated?

 

I would message her through Airbnb saying something like 'despite the fact that I offered to refund you so you could stay elsewhere, you chose to stay. Therefore, your claims of discomfort do lose their validity. In addition, I provide a working air conditioning unit and cannot control the outside environment, i.e. wildlife and heat waves. There is also the fact that you brought an unauthorized guest that put your group over our stated occupancy limits. Considering the above, I will authorize a refund, but only in the amount of 'x', for the bunk bed mishap.

 

Definitely write her a review. " 'X' brought an unauthorized guest that put their group over our occupancy limit. She complained of various discomforts but refused my offer of a refund so she could stay elsewhere. X stayed for the entire length of the reservation and then later demanded a full refund. I cannot recommend her".

 

You might add something to your house rules reiterating your occupancy limit, and state 'no unauthorized guests', and perhaps make it more obvious about the wildlife. And if you ever have a guest do something like this again, tell them you will issue a refund but they MUST leave immediately. Help them pack and hold the door open. No free stays at your house.

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Re: Guest wants refund after checkout or will "take further action"

in
Buckhannon, WV
Level 2

Colleen, I do list skunk in my listing (somewhere)  as a part of the wildlife that could be viewed in the area, but not to discourage guest but to entice wildlife lovers. I'm not sure that I would list a skunk as dangerous, just a nuisance. Our location is in the country and a large population of wildlife exist here.  In fact in trying to catch the skunk last night we caught a racoon instead.  

As for the bed, yes I do believe it's possible that the top bunk actually fell as the mattress and slats were on the floor.  I suggested in my email to them that they not use the bunk and use the sofa bed instead, I saw no evidence of that happening.  There were two previous uses of the same bunks in the last two weeks without mishaps.  I'm not laying blame, however teens can rough house and cause problems. Incidentally when cleaning I found a broken glass shelf (that had fallen)  in a bookcase/wall that is adjacent to the bedroom with the bunks, this seems to indicate some rough housing or at least slamming of doors. The guest threats seem to indicate that she will file suit or something beyond a bad review.  I have tried three times to call Airbnb on the telephone, holding for 45 minutes  until the system disconnects me.  Since this is only my 7th booking I don't need a law suit or bad reviews, jeopardizing the rest of the summer season as I'm book solid for the next two months. The guest stated in an email to me that "I'm glad my child wasn't hurt when the top bunk bed came down on her in the middle of the night because the boards were not put back with screws." This type of admission seems to leave room for physical harm, unless manufactured after the fact.  I also realize that she is laying blame on us for the slats not being screwed in.  I would just like this to go away, I realize a refund maynot be the end because of her threats.  Does Airbnb cover such a mishap? or do I need to talk with my own insurance company?  I'm not sure if she filed through the resolution center or just made the request from her page, I was given 72 hours to respond by Airbnb.

 

The guest were actually not over my house limit, but did bring more than on the reservation.    

Re: Guest wants refund after checkout or will "take further action"

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

Like @Colleen253 says, @Johanna-And-Paul0, there doesn't seem to be any mention of wildlife in the sense you suggest, however, it may be that folk heading your way should know this. 

I'd refund one night. Don't be threatened. 

Mentioning the unauthorised guest is tit-for-tat/churlish. Take the morale high ground.

Re: Guest wants refund after checkout or will "take further action"

in
Berlin, Germany
Level 10

@Johanna-And-Paul0  this is a sadly familiar routine from shady guests. The minute they figure out that you can be cornered into overlooking your own rules, that quickly graduates into demands and threats. Clearly these guests had every intention of bullying you into a free stay before they even arrived. It's possible that Airbnb will ultimately side with them, but you have nothing to lose by standing firm and refusing the refund. Even if you throw money at them, it's unlikely to buy you a better review.

 

While you could mention in your review that they brought an unapproved guest, this is unfortunately more indicative of your own error. If the guest count exceeds your occupancy, you can and should refuse them entry. And if you're willing to accommodate the extra person, you can check them in only under the condition that they first accept a change to the booking and pay any additional fees. This communicates straight away that you're not a doormat.

 

The stay began complaints about things beyond your control, and your offer to refund the unused night if they left was a reasonable compromise. But declining your offer needn't have been an option. I would have insisted that the guests vacate the property at the first sign of this behavior.

 

Im on the fence about the wildlife issue. I don't believe in putting it out there as a warning unless dangerous animals are known to make appearances on the premises. Otherwise, I'd frame it as a positive, with a list of the local fauna that nature lovers may have a chance to spot in your area (including skunks and other less popular creatures). 

Re: Guest wants refund after checkout or will "take further action"

in
Hermosa Beach, CA
Level 3

What happened to me is the guest complained AFTER staying their entire reservation and then asked for compensation! That is NOT ok. How can I  fix something if the guest doesn't inform me of the issue?! This is such unfair behavior by the guest. It is a helpless feeling.

 

After talking in person with the guest regarding the heat etc... is to follow up with a message in the message thread. Example: Dear name of Guest), It was my pleasure to meet you. As we discussed... 

Detail the conversation. Putting in writing on the message thread helps Airbnb know what transpired  BEFORE the guest makes a claim. A bit of a hassle, but at least you're covering yourself.

 

Regarding the bunk bed: was the teen too big for the bed? I have "adult" bunk beds - that can withstand a larger person versus a "kid" bunk bed. 

 

 

 

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