Hey everyone! We are trying to reach out to other hosts to help us with a situation we are currently dealing with. We are Super Hosts and have a strict cancellation policy in place due to several instances in the past where guests have canceled last minute and we were not able to re-book those dates. We are consistently 95% booked all year round, hence the strict cancellation policy. We had a guest book $1450 worth of dates but then cancel well beyond our strict cancellation window. The guest was refunded half of the reservation per our strict cancelation policy. He then reached out to me asking for a full refund. I told him that I would consider this request IF we were able to re-book those dates with other guests. The dates that he originally booked were the only open dates over a 3 month span and we were not able to re-book due to it being a last minute cancellation. So instead of being out $1450, we were out $725. The guest still requested we give him the remaining refund because he had to cancel this reservation because a continuous education class he was going to attend was cancelled. I appologized to the guest, but told him that I think it is fair that we split the difference because I was unable to book these dates, and was still ultimately losing money because of his cancellation. The guest then escalated the case to Airbnb.
I received a phone call almost 2 months after this reservation from an Airbnb representative stating the guest is still requesting the full refund. I stated that this was almost 2 months ago and had no idea this was even still an issue because 1.) the guest agreed that a full refund would be considered if I booked those dates, 2.) I was protected by the strict cancellation policy, and 3.) the amount of time that has passed. The representative (Hazzle) was extremely RUDE, unprofessional, arguementative, and tried to coerce me into refunding the guest throughout the entire conversation. She was trying to put words into my mouth the entire conversation and was using intimadation techniques stating that it is our obligation to refund the guest and repeating that a "real" super host would "do the right thing and issue the refund." Rather than trying to understand our point of view and hear both sides of the story, she was one sided the entire conversation even though we are the SUPER HOSTS and this guest had 0 reviews. Why would she only be concerned with making the guest happy and not a host that has been a super host for over a year?! I thought splitting the difference 50/50 was more than fair instead of 100% in either direction. I told her that I was willing to work with the guest even though I did not technically have to IF we booked those dates. She continued to put pressure on me throughout the conversation but ulitmately told me it was up to me, but that she had confidence that I would make the "right" decsision and do the "right" thing, as any other super host would.
A couple of weeks later I get an EMAIL stating that Airbnb had ruled in the guest's favor and issued the guest a full refund. I immediately responded asking Hazzle for an explanation, and she replied via email that the guest provided appropriate paperwork that fell into the extenuating circumstances clause (which supercedes the strict cancellation policy). This was the same documentation that was submitted weeks ago when the orignal case was open at the same time I spoke with her over the phone, and she did not mention anything at that time about the documentation qualifying for the extenuating circumstances clasue. Furthermore, the document provided by the guest was simply a generic letter stating the employer canceled the continous classes and apologizing for any inconveninces this may have caused the employees. The employer in this case is the Canadian government and the guest was traveling to Florida for the class. I immediately replied to Hazzle's response asking her to please call me to discuss the situation over the phone and at least offer me an explanation of why she felt it qualified as an exenuating circumstance. She replied that she is disengaging from this email chain and refused to call me stating that the decision was already made and was now irreversible. I replied back immediately asking her one more time to please give me a call and that it is extremely unprofessional to just make a decision via email and not honor my request to speak with her over the phone regarding the matter. I called the Airbnb superhost hotline right away requesting to speak to a manager/supervisor and was told nobody was around and that someone would call me back. Fast forward 5 days later and 3 call backs by me and I can not get a supervisor to even call me back. Keep in mind that the government paid for the guest's trip and the trip that he had to re-book at a later date so the guest was NEVER out of pocket for anything. The money that he received as a refund from this booking went directly into his pocket and then booked other dates at a future time that the government paid for. So the guest personally profited $1450 and we are out $1450.
I am absolutely appalled that this is how Airbnb is treating Super hosts, or any hosts for that matter. Why do we have cancellation policies? Why do we bother doing everything we can to go above and beyond for our guests and earn super host status when this company does not have our back? Why should someone that is employed by the government have special privileges and our cancelation polices do not apply to them. Does this mean I should never accept a government employee's reservation since they are above the law? Now, I feel as though their inadequate system is encouraging discrimination, which goes against my personal beliefs and the mission statement Airbnb has clearly laid out to all hosts across the world. It is not fair that government employees and military personnel get this special treatment. If I booked an Airbnb with a strict cancellation policy for a work conference in California for my job but I cancel a few days before because of a work conflict, would this too fall under their extenuating circumstances policy (if I was able to provide documentation stating that my employer changed the travel dates)? Or did this guest receive preferential treatment because he happend to be a government/military employee? I've read through the extenuating circumstances policy and the list of reasons that qualify does not include anything about work conflicts. The types of circumstances that they outline in the written policy and deem valid include (and are limited to): -Unexpected death or serious illness of a host, guest, or immediate family member, -Serious injury that directly restricts a guest's ability to travel, - Significant natural disasters or severe weather incidents impacting the location of destination or location of departure, -Urgent travel restrictions or severe security advisories issued after the time of booking, by an appropriate nation or internation authority, -Endemic disease declared by a credible national or internation authority, -Severe property damage or unforseen maintenance issues that directly impact the ability to host safely, -Government-mandated obligations issued after the time of booking (ex: jury duty).
We rely on this income to help pay our mortgage and it is absurd that AirBnb would do this to a host that has represented their company in a very professional and positive manner. I apologize for the lengthly post and we really appreciate any help or insight from other hosts. I am not going to give up until this matter is resolved. Thank you!
I have seen similar situations posted on this forum, the blunt answer is the issue is resolved, AirBnb have closed the case.
I have had a couple of cases, fortunately one night stays, where I have had serious doubts about the Extenuating Circumstance but nothing that you can do.
A canny guest can always get their money back.
@Eric-and-Brooke0 I've seen many similar stories here on forum and decided to have a flexible cancelation policy. The end result is the same but i get more bookings and less problems. But, our average stay is 3 nights...
Send a bill to the Government Department your guest represents, requesting payment in full and explaining your situation, if he has pocket the fee's as you suggest thats fraud and I'm sure the Government will act swiftly.
The Explorer's Club Krakow III
The Explorer's Club Krakow VIII
I am a fairly new host having started up in the spring of 2016. I have maintained super standards in how I operate my properties and have had many happy, satisfied guests from all over the globe stay in my tiny houses. Last fall the County decided to arbitrarily post a "stop work" order on my property which forced me to cancel several reservations. This was completely out of my control and has since been found to have been an unjustified action on their part. Airbnb automatically placed terrible reviews on my site that did not take into account the extenuating circumstances. Any thoughts how I can get Airbnb to consider its own "extenuating circumstances" policy and take the bad reviews off??
The conversation I had with them consisted of me pretty much pleading with them not to charge me some type of cancellation penalty or something to that effect. I have not been able to find any way so far to get the unjust reviews deleted. The reviews are not even generated by the guests whose reservations were cancelled. It seems like some kind of "auto-generated" standard response. Example, "Host cancelled reservation 48 hours before arrival". Completely unjust and should be taken off my otherwise excellent record.
@Jay47 Did you try Twitter? The responses there seem to be entirely contrary to the response one gets on the phone. In a few examples that I have seen on this forum the host has been successful in getting Airbnb to listen, and even change / reverse their decision. btw: I had thought Airbnb had introduced a means for the host to respond to the "Host Cancelled" message to provide details that would show under the message. Good luck!
It was Airbnb that placed the reviews but it was so long ago the negatives have actually fallen off my records. The situation was that the county codes inspector came out - without legal jurisdiction - and put up stop work orders on my property. My property is zoned agricultural and I am permitted by law to engage in agritourism activities. When the stop work orders were put up I had no alternative than to contact all of the guests who had bookings and explain to them why I had to cancel their reservations at the last minute. Each and every guest was completely understanding but Airbnb placed wording such as "host cancelled reservations the day before arrival" or other messages like that. It was horrible. By the way, the county continued to overstep and are now defending a federal lawsuit that I was forced to file against them.
It won't surprise me that one day someone will start a class action suit against this company for stupid things they do to us hosts.
Definately and I recently had this conversation with Airbnb.
Although without the hosts they would have nowhere for their guests to stay, they still favour the guests over the hosts. They think nothing of removing a long standing Superhost status etc yet there does not seem to be any repercussions for the guest.
I completely agree and I'm surprised it hasn't happened already. The worst is their completely fake $1m of damage protection. Just try filing a claim! We've hosted hundreds of reservationsand rarely have had a problem with damage. In the two cases where we did, we spent months trying to collect from Airbnb's ficticious insurance. We uploaded photos, receipts, etc. They refused to pay and refused to tell us why our claim was denied. I even went so far as to send a letter to Brian Chesky, the CEO. Nothing! VRBO/HomeAway/Expedia offers a similar policy of up to $1m in damage. I've never had to claim there so don't know if it's any better.
I really wish another company would take market share from Airbnb!