Cancellation Policy: Airbnb once again throws the host under the bus to fawn up to dishonest guest

Level 10
4,155 Views

Dear Community,

 

Yesterday I had an experience, where Airbnb customer service chose to punish the host (me) for playing by the book and rewarded the guest for lying to Airbnb and to me. While I'm used to Airbnb throwing the host under the bus in a different circumstance (https://community.withairbnb.com/t5/Help/Guest-damages-apartment-customer-service-refuses-to-grant/m...), I was shocked how readily Airbnb disregarded their own policies snug up to a deceitful guest.

 

A guest made a reservation over two months ago for 5 guests —let's call her Eve. As Eve was going to check in within a few days, I messeged her to see when she was planning to arrive at the location, so I can meet her. She didn't respond to my Airbnb messages and it appears she disconnected the phone number she had listed on Airbnb. Three days later, I still hadn't heard from Eve and she was about to check in within two days, so I involved Airbnb. When she saw Airbnb's message she immediately called me on a different phone number. When I asked her when would she and her friends would be at the apartment, she craftily slipped it in that all SEVEN of them would be arriving at 2:00 PM.

 

The building management has policies for the maximum number of guests we are allowed to have. I explained to Eve that they had made their reservation for 5 guests and I would not be able to accomodate 7 guests, even if I had agreed to it. Eve said should want to cancel, then, and hung up.

 

An hour later I received this threatening message from Airbnb customer support:

 

————————————

Greetings Gulay,

My name is Tahji and I am a case manager from Airbnb Trip Experience. I am reaching out to you about your reservation with Cijie with the utmost of urgency. This is an urgent time sensitive case and I must hear back from you by 24 hours. As a reminder, if I do not hear back from you, I will need to take the appropriate actions by canceling the reservation and providing a full refund to this guest; host penalties will be applied in addition to this. 

Please write back or give us a call at +1-415-800-5959 to discuss this further. 

Many thanks,

————————————

 

Eve had called Airbnb and told the agent that I had full knowledge that there would be 7 guests total from the beginning. She apparently said that we had a phone conversation, in which I had confirmed to her that they can bring 7 guests. Of course, I denied this baseless claim and pointed out that I wouldn't confirm their booking for 5 guests, if this was true.

 

It is prime time peak season where my listing is located. This booking had been active for over two months. Tahji decided to cancel Eve's booking with no fees or penalties, because she wasn't able to "Neither confirm, nor deny that [I] had spoken with [Eve] on the phone and said that they could bring 7 guests." I received no reimbursement.

 

Good luck, fellow hosts. I hope you never have to deal with Airbnb customer service.

 

TL;DR: The guest disobeyed Airbnb policies by intending to bring more guests than declared on the booking. Airbnb disregarded their own cancellation policy, based on the groundless claim of a guest, who had already lied about number of guests, that I had told them over the phone that it would be ok.

125 Replies

Re: Cancellation Policy: Airbnb once again throws the host under the bus to fawn up to dishonest gue

in
Zagreb, Croatia
Level 10

@Gulay1 

I am not surprised but I would also be angry the same as you are. Not because I would lose money (I have flexible policy anyway) but because guest's lie is worth more then host's proof.  Airbnb sides with guests to the point that it becomes really disgusting

Re: Cancellation Policy: Airbnb once again throws the host under the bus to fawn up to dishonest gue

Level 10

Just another day hosting with Airbnb 😞

 

Like you've mentioned, I'm also very upset that Airbnb is so readily willing to forgo it's own rules and policies. I feel so helpless and vulnerable in this platform.

Re: Cancellation Policy: Airbnb once again throws the host under the bus to fawn up to dishonest gue

Level 7

@Gulay1 I can completely understand how convenient it is for other host to sympathize with you, and give you the thumbs up, especially when Eve is not On this thread to present their side. How is this fair? There are many hosts that list their homes on several platforms like booking.com and 24-48h before arrival, pick up the most lucrative reservation and decline all others. Air is trying to discourage hosts by cracking the whip on anything that can cause a last minute cancellation. And while I don’t suggest that you are engaged in such practices. It is also possible that Eve is a new guest on the platform, and might thought for some reason that she could bring 7 guests. Why the prejudice against Eve? Why using insinuations like “slipped”?

Re: Cancellation Policy: Airbnb once again throws the host under the bus to fawn up to dishonest gue

Level 10

@Oad0, I'm not sure what you're on about other platforms or what "practice" you're discouraging me to engage in. I genuinely don't understand what specifically you're saying.

 

As you may know, Airbnb has several cancellation policies hosts can choose from. Mine is set to strict. The guest made a booking for 5 guests, but told me on the phone a couple of days before their check in that 7 are coming. I didn't insunuate anything. I didn't even ask her how many people would be in their group. That was already agreed upon when she made a booking. When I asked Eve when they would be arriving, she said all 7 of them would be coming at 2 PM. How would you describe what she did?

 

The scenario is simple. An Airbnb customer service agent issued a full refund despite it contradicting Airbnb's own cancellation policy. A second agent followed up on the case and amended the previous mistake.

Re: Cancellation Policy: Airbnb once again throws the host under the bus to fawn up to dishonest gue

Level 1

i feel the same way im hoping its a another platform we can use this is getting out of control airbnb use to be cool and helpful now its going down the drain!

Re: Cancellation Policy: Airbnb once again throws the host under the bus to fawn up to dishonest gue

in
Seattle, WA
Level 10

@Gulay1 

I am impressed that you did everything right. 

Through great effort on your part, you finally got ahold of your guest.

After finding out she overbooked, you cancelled her.

Many hosts (including me) would not have gone to the effort of demanding communication and demanding clarity. We would have found ourselves with an out of control situation

I hope you can find consolation in your ability to control a bad situation. 

 

Re: Cancellation Policy: Airbnb once again throws the host under the bus to fawn up to dishonest gue

in
Oregon City, OR
Level 10

Infuriating.

Re: Cancellation Policy: Airbnb once again throws the host under the bus to fawn up to dishonest gue

in
KCMO, MO
Level 10

Yep. Egregious.

Re: Cancellation Policy: Airbnb once again throws the host under the bus to fawn up to dishonest gue

in
South Korea
Level 10

@Gulay1 

I'd be so angry too. Airbnb is way too lenient towards guests and IMO they way they treat hosts is the same as promoting and encouraging guests to lie, cheat, steal and take advantage of hosts whenever possible. 

 

Too bad Airbnb doesn't seem to understand what they are doing is so totally wrong...... on so many levels. 

Re: Cancellation Policy: Airbnb once again throws the host under the bus to fawn up to dishonest gue

Level 10

Hi @Jessica-and-Henry0 ,

 

Thank you for sharing!

 


@Jessica-and-Henry0 wrote:

IMO they way they treat hosts is the same as promoting and encouraging guests to lie, cheat, steal and take advantage of hosts whenever possible.


I also think that Airbnb is enabling (and in cases like this, encouraging) guests to cheat —and dishonest people are catching on. They understand how easy it is to cheat Airbnb's 'rules'.

 


@Jessica-and-Henry0 wrote:

Too bad Airbnb doesn't seem to understand what they are doing is so totally wrong...... on so many levels. 


I partially disagree with this one. I do believe Airbnb is well aware of what they're doing. I think what customer service managers are doing are communicated down from higher management. They must be instructed to bend rules in favor of the guest. I've had two experiences with Airbnb customer service so far and they both played out the same. The guest lied with no tangible evidence and Airbnb chose to believe the lie, because they said they couldn't disprove. When a host makes a claim, however, Airbnb asks for an unending stream of very specific evidence and documentation. There's a pleathora of similar stories in Community by hosts. They all play out the same.

 

In history no company, government, or party stopped abusing their subjects until they were forced to do so. I'm afraid Airbnb will continue abusing their hosts until it's in their best interest.

 

Re: Cancellation Policy: Airbnb once again throws the host under the bus to fawn up to dishonest gue

in
Mountain View, CA
Level 10

@Gulay1  Yes, I agree with you. According to my experience, AirBnb favored guests more than hosts. And AirBnb also tries to put the fire on hosts when the guests complained.

AirBnb customer service tried to help a guest getting a full refund when she tried to cancel a reservation she booked two weeks ago. I had a strict cancellation policy. There are 48 hours period for a guest to cancel with full refund. But this guest wanted to cancel because her sister complained to her for booking an AirBnb instead of a hotel. Then she wanted to cancel the reservation two weeks after her booking. She called AirBnb and wanted a full refund. AirBnb customer service then called me and tried to persuade me for giving her a full refund even though the customer service knew that I have a strict cancellation policy. I replied to AirBnb that a rule is a rule. Then AirBnb customer service told the guest I did not want to give a full refund. And the guest was angry at me and bombed me with cursing words and messages. 

If AirBnb customer service were fair to both guests and hosts, it would have insisted on the rules setup on the listing instead of let the host to confront with the guest. It is AirBnb that encourages guests to abuse the rules.

 

Re: Cancellation Policy: Airbnb once again throws the host under the bus to fawn up to dishonest gue

Level 10

Hey @Mike1034. Unfortunately, we see time and time that Airbnb is very flexible on when and how they choose to enforce their policies. It really is up to the case manager's discretion to follow the policy or not.

Re: Cancellation Policy: Airbnb once again throws the host under the bus to fawn up to dishonest gue

Level 7

Air is a marketplace connecting between guests and hosts. You as a host is considered a small business owner, and it is up to you how to deal with the situation. Why bark up at Air? Have you even read the terms and conditions you recently signed with Air? That said, I would suggest to Air to consider offering a cancellation insurance, at a cost to guests, to cover such incidents (which IMO are rare), and to maintain high customer satisfaction

Re: Cancellation Policy: Airbnb once again throws the host under the bus to fawn up to dishonest gue

Level 10

@Oad0,

 


@Oad0 wrote:

You as a host is considered a small business owner


I don't understand what this has to do with anything.

 


@Oad0 wrote:

it is up to you how to deal with the situation.


Airbnb made the said decision, not me. I don't know what you're on about.

 


@Oad0 wrote:

Why bark up at Air?


Because Airbnb made the said decision. They even admitted to their mistake. Again, not sure what you're on about

 


@Oad0 wrote:

Have you even read the terms and conditions you recently signed with Air?


I have —all of it. It's a long read. Have you?

 

Sidenote: The company is called Airbnb

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