I had a guest cancel their stay 11 days after their check in date. In August I had a guest reserved for 6 nights for approx. $1300. I had been in communication with the guest, sent them check in directions and all. When their stay was over my maid service went to the house to clean and reported the house was clean. The maid service still charged me a trip charge because I had not cancelled the cleaning. I looked in my Airbnb account after their stay and there was no communication from the guest or Airbnb so I assumed they had cleaned up after themselves because some guests clean up pretty well or decided not to go. A few days went by and I checked again and I had received payment and there was no cancellation. Eleven days after their check in date I noticed it said an Airbnb agent has authorized a cancellation and authorized a full refund but nobody contacted me so I called Airbnb and was directed to an online messaging system where I left a message. About 3 days later an Airbnb agent replied to my message and told me they had cancelled because there were wildfires in Colorado. The closest fire was 45 to 60 minutes away and there were no evacuations nor road closures and nothing that prevented anyone from staying at the house. I asked that agent to call me so they set up a time for a phone call where I explained that Airbnb had authorized a cancellation 11 days after their check in date and authorized a full refund. He explained it was for extenuating circumstances because of a wildfire in Colorado. I explained there were wildfires in Colorado yet the closest wildfire was not close and did not affect the property at all nor were any roads closed that would prohibit anyone from the area or the property and the fact that the guest nor Airbnb contacted me and the guest cancelled 11 days after their stay was absurd. I asked the agent to escalate my case to a supervisor I could talk to about it. He did and another couple days went by before I received another message in Airbnb that had a link to the extenuating circumstances policy and said this is why they cancelled and the case was closed. I asked them to call me because that policy says, If a reservation has already begun (the check-in has passed) this extenuating circumstance does not apply. The agent replied they were too busy to call me and the case is considered closed. I again asked for the case to be escalated and to speak to someone in a phone call to which they closed the case without responding. Airbnb does not consider homeowners to be partners at all. They did not follow their own policy and refused to call or even respond to multiple messages I sent explaining the situation. The fact that no one from Airbnb or the guest told me they cancelled was absurd, we are really at their mercy, they can do whatever they want.
Has anyone else had a similar experience with Airbnb?
@Mike-And-Erin0 I would say this is unbelievable except that where Airbnb customer service is concerned I would believe any random outcome is possible.
I suggest that if someone like @Quincy can't get someone at Airbnb to properly engage with you then you raise a claim in your local small claims court. At least this will get Airbnb's attention and if they ignore it the verdict will automatically go your way. Hopefully @Catherine-Powell will find a way to sort out customer services but I fear it will not be any time soon.
Hi Mike and Jane0,
I appreciate the suggestions. I sent an email to Brian Chesky but have not received a response maybe I will try Catherine Powell. I thought by posting here someone else would have gone through a similar experience.
I haven't had the same circumstance as you but I did have two long-term guests who were wrongly refunded by Airbnb when the COVID-19 EC policy was brought in. Neither guest qualified as their stays had already started, but CS in its wisdom decided not only to ignore their own policy but to refund the guests for nights they had already stayed, in one case for two whole weeks already spent at my listing!
I would persist if I were you and open a new case if necessary, but it might take a while. I eventually did get my money back (and an apology), but it took a whole month of battling with CS to do so. What I found most effective was to repeatedly reply to them directly quoting their own policy. In the end, they just couldn't argue with it without looking like imbeciles.
On another point, I'm a bit surprised that you only discovered your guest didn't stay when the refund was issued. Do you not check in on your guests to make sure everything is okay with their stay or if they need anything? I always do this, usually the day after their arrival. It's really useful in helping to avoid issues that might result in a bad review or a guest trying to get some sort of refund after the fact, but it's also just good customer service and an important step towards happy guests.
PS I check in my guests personally but, if I had guests doing self check in, I would certainly be messaging them the same day to make sure they managed to check in okay.
I see it a bit differently. There was an extenuating circumstance, a real fire and probably poor air quality as a result, an excuse. Airbnb's 'sin' then was not to inform you along the way, true. Yes, frustrating of course, but that is the Achilles Heel with Airbnb, the dreaded EC 'escape option'. Obviously, the guest cancelled or made Airbnb aware they were not coming before the first day or on it, otherwise the payment would have gone through on the 2nd day of the reservation.
This begs the question - you weren't even aware that the guest didn't even show up even 6 days after they were suppose to? Even after not receiving a payment notice, after the 2nd day of the stay?
This is a non-monitored, self-check listing, right? So if the guest would have shown up with 3x the amount of people on the reservation, how would you have known, in time? And if they had trashed the place, who would have been responsible for it?
Airbnb spend all that time on the phone getting back to you, I find that commendable.
Hi Fred in Placencia, Belize,
I was paid by Airbnb a day after the check in date. I do not live in the same city as my Airbnb is located so guests do check themselves in. I am not sure the guest made Airbnb aware before their arrival. I was in communication before their arrival and sent them check in directions and answered their questions. I did not check in on them during their stay but I was paid out and Airbnb took the money back on the next payment that was due to me. I do have a friend who lives full time directly across from my Airbnb and does maintenance things and snow plowing for me. He is available to help out if I need someone at the property for any reason. If they had trashed the place they would have been responsible for it.
@Mike-And-Erin0 Ah, so they did pay you and then took back the money. That is why you assumed everything was cool. Now it all makes some sense.
And then Airbnb gave them a full refund by not showing up because the guest had a 'valid' excuse. That is the spooky side of doing business with Airbnb.
Mike, we are in a situation were Airbnb have an entire department that invents ways not to honour their obligation to hosts. The rationale given to you was just plain stupid, but these are the directives that are given to support......DO NOT HONOUR A HOST CLAIM! ...... and somehow or other they will close the case and leave you in limbo.
I really don't know how many of these agents actually leave work and go home with a clear conscience, they must feel devastated by what they are instructed to do to their bread and butter.
I have seen years of videos from Mr Chesky telling us how important we are and how we matter......but daily I see evidence from people like you that we patently don't.
I read from the new 'Global Head of Hosting' that Mr Chesky has issued a mandate that we must get back to the grass roots of hosting!
Sorry, I have been here too long and seen this too often, I hope you are not waiting for positive mail!!!!
@Mike-And-Erin0 are you truly telling me that you have a place where you have no idea if a guest has come or gone AT ALL?!? You don't communicate about their arrival, their stay, their departure?? If so, then this cancellation seems like the least bad thing that could have come out of that situation.
I'm utterly flummoxed.
And, yes, ABB can do whatever they like about EC and often do.
I do not live in the same city as my Airbnb is located so guests check themselves in. I was in communication before their arrival and sent them check in directions and answered their questions, I do not communicate with guests upon their arrival. I do communicate with them during their stay if there is reason to and I do have a departure time that my maid service arrives at after their stay and reports the condition of the property. I was paid out and Airbnb took the money back on the next payment that was due to me. I do have a friend who lives full time directly across from my Airbnb and does maintenance things and snow plowing for me and keep an eye on the house. He is available to help out if I need someone at the property for any reason.
@Mike-And-Erin0 While I think Airbnb's ever more increasing disrespect for hosts is despicable and that they should certainly communicate with a host if they are going to cancel a reservation, it's rather strange to me that you think a wildfire 45 to 60 minutes away isn't a valid reason for a guest to cancel. How close would it have to be for you to consider it a valid reason for a guest to cancel? 15 minutes away?
Fires can spread quite quickly, air quality can be health-affecting, and if I were a guest, I certainly wouldn't knowingly travel to an area like this.
And though a guest shouldn't wait until 11 days after check-in to cancel a reservation, they may have tried to do so right away, but CS is so non-responsive these days, that the guest may not have had a response from Airbnb until 11 days after the fact. And aside from COVID cancellations, which has a button guests can click, for other EC cancellations, the guest does have to contact Airbnb.
It's not that I do not think a wildfire is a valid reason for cancelling, that's not the point at all. I get that completely but the wild fire didn't just start right before their check in date. The wildfire had been going for approx 2 weeks before so they had plenty of time to cancel. The point is not the wildfire, that's just a detail used to explain how they used the Extenuating Circumstance policy. I am not posting this to argue with other homeowners we are all on the same team. The wild fire was in the mountains of Colorado away from any houses or anything with no road closures, evacuations or anything but that's all beside the point. The fire is not the issue, it's the lack of Airbnb following their own polices and saying homeowners are their partners yet treating homeowners as if they don't care if we use their platform
@Mike-And-Erin0 "The fire is not the issue, it's the lack of Airbnb following their own polices and saying homeowners are their partners yet treating homeowners as if they don't care if we use their platform".
Ah yes, well, you won't get any disagreement on that from me. And I see you're more or less new to the forum, but if you read through a few pages of posts here, you'll find that to be the foremost recurring theme among hosts. Airbnb's caring and sharing and "we're partners in this" rhetoric is just that- baseless PR. Hosts just have to either realize it's all BS, that it's basically just a listing service that controls its hosts by retaining control of all the money and decision -making power and make the best of it, or choose to take their business elsewhere.
Which isn't to say we shouldn't keep giving them feedback and pushback when their decisions and policies are outrageously wrong.
Regarding this particular cancellation situation- it's just hard to know these days if the guest was negligent in cancelling in a reasonable time frame or whether this was a result of the fact that Airbnb has fallen off a cliff. I've read many posts from guests here in the past month or two who sounded like quite responsible people who really weren't trying to screw their host over in any way, but were at the point of tearing their hair out because they couldn't reach CS at all, even for really important and urgent issues, or situations they found themselves in that were a threat to their safety.
Of course, this may not be the case at all with your guests, and good guests would have at least contacted their host to let them know they were going to cancel, which apparently these guests didn't bother with.