Hey All- I knew it was going to happen at some point, it was just a matter of when. So "Jane" (not her real name) had a reservation this past weekend. She messaged me on the day of her arrival and asked me to call, as "something had come up." I called, and she explained that they would not be showing up that day because her boyfriend had to work. The reservation was for her, the BF, and her cousin. She has 1 positive AirBnB review. I suggested that she and her cousin could come anyway, and the BF could join them the following day, but she said she wouldn't do that. They live only 1.5 hours away. So that's a CHOICE people, not some sort of extenuating circumstance. She asked for a refund. I told her as kindly as I could that I always try to be understanding and consider the circumstances, but I would likely not give her one as it was her choice to not come down. She indicated that they would be arriving the next day. I was uneasy but no particular red flags yet.
They arrived, I chatted a bit with them. Maybe not my types but who cares? They do their thing, I do mine. I did see the BF smoking and reminded him that there was no smoking inside. The and the cousin agreed that they would only smoke outside. I went about my business and left them to their stay.
Sunday- the day of checkout- I have plans all day. Check-out is at 12 noon. I came home at 5:00 and was shocked and horrified to find them still on the property. I immediately asked them to leave. They got cheeky and said they'd leave in a minute. I reminded them that check-out was at noon, and told them that they had 5 minutes to leave or I would call the police. They left several minutes later giving me the finger as they pulled out.
Luckily, they didn't trash anything. They obviously smoked in the house, and left cigarette butts and beer bottles scattered around outside. They used firewood they didn't pay for (payment is on an honor system and has never been a problem so far.)
I immediately called AirBnB and told them the situation. Useless, I know- but better to get it on the record. I then requested $75 in late check-out fees and $10 for firewood. They denied payment stating that I told them they could stay until 8-9 that night to make up for the missed day of their reservation. Why in the $#@@ would I do that? It flat out didn't happen. I've escalated it to AirBnB but have no expectations of prevailing. She obviously left a review within minutes of them leaving the property- likely to be all 1s.
As a Superhost with only 5 star reviews so far, it's going to be tough to stomach this. I will do my best to have her review removed- hopefully she's violated policy somehow- but I obviously haven't seen it yet. I'm going to wait until the two week mark as I'll likely have several better reviews in the interim, and it will knock hers down the page.
I need some advice on what I can write without violating policy on my end. I was thinking of this:
I cannot recommend XXXX as a guest under any circumstance. XXXX informed me on the day of arrival that she was unable to make the first night of her reservation, but would arrive the next day. She asked for a refund for the unused night. When told that would not be possible, she decided that she was entitled to late check-out, so she and her boyfriend and cousin did not leave my property until 5:00 p.m. on the day of check-out. Check-out is at noon. They broke house rules by smoking in the house, left cigarette butts and empty beer bottles on the property, and used firewood that they did not pay for. They finally left when I threatened to call the police.
Open to any and all edits and suggestions from you helpful community folks. Thanks
@Kia272 Your review looks fine to me. If they do leave a bad review for you your response is critical as its unlikely that Airbnb will take their review down.
Also its probably best to wait until just before the 14 days are up to post your review so that you don't prompt them to review you.
@Mike-And-Jane0 Thanks for your input. She has actually already left a review, obviously not posted until I post mine or after two weeks if I don't. I'm definitely waiting until the 2 week mark to post mine. Is it okay for me to mention that I threatened to call the police? I'm trying to make sure that I don't violate policy.
@Kia272 If she leaves you a bad review, try to have it removed. It's why we always keep communication on the platform (instead of phone or text) so we have documentation.
Make sure you leave her a 1 star review and simply state "unfortunately, I can not recommend this guest to future hosts. Better suited to a hotel." Most hosts will know right away what that means - but it's not inflammatory so Airbnb will allow it to remain.
If another guest has not checked out, you should "try" to ask for a late check-out fee in the resolution center. Imagine if someone needed to check in that day, she held the space preventing the cleaners getting in (etc.) So she was in the wrong.
If her review goes live you can leave a public response for future guests to see. Try to be objective (not inflammatory) but give the basic facts and say with regret you can not recommend them to other hosts.
People think we are all getting rich off Airbnb. I blame all those early stories from LLC hosts and investors who bragged about how much they were making. Those people ruined it for everyone else and helped attract needy rude people to the platform.
Okay, I'm still new here... If you don't review them, will their review still show up after the 14 days? If you don't review, will their review be blocked from appearing???
Ha, I'm no guru but here are the rules for reviews: https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/546/
Nothing there that I'd interpret as a violation if you mention threatening to call police, but I think the final sentence is unnecessary. It might come back to haunt you if the guests' review portrays you as an Amy Cooper type. The other thing I'd word more carefully is the smoking: if you didn't actually witness the smoking indoors, stick to the facts and report what you did discover (smoking odor and cigarette butts).
Some unsolicited advice: I knew with absolute certainty how this story was going to end when you said the guest asked for a refund (that word in itself is a huge red flag). Two things you can be sure of in hospitality:
1. People who are already dissatisfied with your service before they even arrive are not going to respect your property, honor your rules, or leave you a glowing review, even if they get everything they want during their stay.
2. People who arrive with the mentality they're getting ripped off - even though they're wrong - will look for ways to even the score by stealing or degrading your property.
It's a lousy dilemma you have as a host, as you're completely within your rights to uphold your cancellation policy, but when guests show any sign of wanting to cancel or shorten their booking you've got to either make sure they do so immediately or steel yourself for their petty revenge.
@Andrew0 thanks for your input. I was well aware that this was likely not going to end well, but I didn't have much choice, given the late notice. I always go out of my way to let people cancel (without regard to my policy), and even help and encourage them to get their fees back from AirBnB. I would always rather generate goodwill over dollars, but this was so late I didn't have much choice. Had there been some kind of emergency or extenuating circumstance, I might have returned some $$ but she simply didn't WANT to come, and I got stuck. She also did not want to cancel. Given how busy I've been, even with the 5 day's notice I would have been fine, but this was tough.
I will definitely change the wording about the smoking. You are correct in that I didn't observe it but made an assumption from the smell.
I can only hope that her review violates policy. Given her behavior, I'm thinking there's at least a 50/50 chance. My other 5 star reviews should reassure potential guests and make her look crazy and vindictive. Fingers crossed. I'm also hoping that the two weeks of not having her review go up will drive her nuts. Call me vindictive too....
@Kia272 wordy as I am in normal life, reviews are one area where IMO less words are better. No one ever knows what ABB will determine about things, but mentioning they wanted a refund they didn't get and that they did things that you're going to charge them for could possibly fall into the abb investigation category. So if it were me I'd say "difficulties with this guest in all possible categories, not recommended to future hosts" I'd return those likely 1* ratings.
and I definitely agree with @Andrew0 the only thing worse than a cancellation is a guest who comes and wishes they hadn't.
@Kelly149 Thanks. That's exactly the input I'm looking for. I'm too emotionally involved and pissed off right now. to be sensible and objective. I'd still like to mention the request for refund but I'll stew on that. Brief and factual seem to be good things to focus on. Cheers
@Kia272 I think your review is really good and I do think it is important to mention the severity of the 'do not recommend.'
I might condense to:
"I cannot recommend XXXX as a guest under any circumstance. XXXX informed me on the day of arrival that she was unable to make the first night of her reservation, but would arrive the next day. She asked for a refund for the unused night. When told that would not be possible, she decided that she was entitled to late check-out, staying 5 hours past check out time. Multiple house rules were broken and there was a complete lack of respect toward me and my property. I would not host again."
Thanks @Emilia42 . I do like your edit. I have lots of time to stew on perfecting this. I would hope that she'll never be able to rent through AirBnB again, but she'll likely just set up another profile. I just want to be clear to other hosts that "no" is the only option with this guest. Cheers