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:
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.
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.
Hello @Gulay1 ,
Something similar happened to me with a guest recently. I was going to the community to see if I could write something about the situation but reading your story has helped me understand that we as hosts are not alone in these situations.
Airbnb should have a set rules or signs of red flags when it comes to guests cancelling at the last minute or making alterations without consulting the host. I understand Airbnb wants to make the guests to be happy with their stay but it doesn't mean the host or them as a company should be penalized or in jeopardy for the irresponsibility of the guest.