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-p/721157#M162527), 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

Level 10

It seems to me, @Ron274 , that you're definitely not alone. I hope you never have to deal with a case manager again. It seems those go badly for the host. We are king in the respect that Damocles' sword may swing down on us at any time at a case manager's whim. The most disturbing thing to me here is that the 'inproper treatment' by case managers are communicated down from higher management. All of our stories are so similar that case manager behavior must be based on the same instructions.

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

in
Kendal, United Kingdom
Level 10

AirBnb need to apply their own discrimination policy in dealing with hosts. They need to see and treat us as equal human beings.

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

in
Kendal, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Gulay1 

I might be wrong but... In the case of a cancellation like this where 'theoretically' the Host cancels - which is how this is being treated, won't the guest be able to review you too despite not ever having stayed?

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

Level 10

Is that right @Ian-And-Anne-Marie0 ? I've never cancelled on a guest and never had a problem with a guest in this manner. I guess I'll have to wait and see. If this guest is able to leave a review for this bookin I will definitely post an update. That would just be the cherry on top.

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

in
Kendal, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Gulay1 Not sure... I'm searching community at the moment. I'm sure I've seen it somewhere. The best thing would be to contact CS and get confirmation (hopefully not).

 

Lots of posts where guests have cancelled/not even turned up and still left reviews. 😞

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

Level 10

Thank you for the heads up, @Ian-And-Anne-Marie0. I certainly didn't cancel this booking, but I'm not sure how the case manager filed it on the system. I guess, if the case manager decided that I made the cancellation, I will be receiving a review from this guest too. Wonderful.

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

in
Kendal, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Gulay1 

The cherry on the top is that they block those cancelled dates too *%^&$$£@^^

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

Level 10

To be fair, @Ian-And-Anne-Marie0, they didn't block the dates. There is no difference, however, between cancelling a reservation two days before check in without any penalties and blocking these dates. They are virtually identical in how they affect the host.

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

in
Dublin, Ireland
Level 10

@Gulay1 @Ian-And-Anne-Marie0 

 

As the cancellation was made two days before arrival, it won't be possible for host or guests to review each other. I think that perhaps the posts @Ian-And-Anne-Marie0 are referring to, are probably relating to same-day cancellations where the guests haven't even checked in to the property, but reviews are still permitted. 

 

@Gulay1 Do you have Instant Book enabled for your listing? 

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

Level 10

That's a relief.

 

I do not have Instant Book, @Susan17. I cancelled it a few months ago, when I realized Airbnb purposefully pays a fraction of damages a guest inflicts on the host's property.

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

in
Kendal, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Gulay1  Good reason to turn off Instant Book. Have you noticed a drop in bookings during that period?

 

Also, just wondering... I notice that you have a £38 charge per extra person over 4 on your extra charges. Were you also providing free accommodtion to those extra guests as well?  If you were accommodating 7 you would be applying for extra fees - but didn't. Did you point this out to Airbnb CS?

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

Level 10

@Ian-And-Anne-Marie0,

 

The number of days I've had booked decreased slightly since, but that could also be attributed to decreasing the maximum number of guests I allow. When I had Instant Book on my capacity was 8 adults and about half of my bookings were parties of 8. I can't say for sure, but I feel that turning off Instant Book hasn't had a significant effect.

 

I did point that out! I said exactly that I doesn't make sense for me to accept a group of 7 for the price of 5, since I charge more for larger groups. CS did not care. All they cared was that the guest's claim of a phantom phone conversation (that never took place).

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

in
Kendal, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Gulay1  Cynical of me... and playing devils advocate... and in hindsight.. 7 guests instead of 5 and £38 extra per person (maybe $50 ea.) over 4, might have £152 or $200 been a worthy addition or were the vibes from this guest so negative that it wasn’t to be considered?

 

I like rules. This way you invest in yours?

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

Level 10

Actually, @Ian-And-Anne-Marie0, the guest didn't want to pay a cent more. She just wanted to bring more guests for the same price or cancel. Again, in hindsight, I'm actually glad a she never set foot on my property. Good faith is very important when doing business in general, I've come to believe. She definitely wasn't acting in good faith.

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

in
Kendal, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Gulay1 

Some people just don't want to take 'No' as a final answer!

 

 

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