Here's how the scam works: intending guest books with a debit card with only enough funds to pay for the initial booking. Booking is confirmed and guest(s) arrive. Shortly, prior to check out - scamming guest sends an alteration to extend the booking X nights. Host accepts BUT the registered payment method fails as there are no funds on the registered payment method (here the debit card you can buy and load at any store). Air BnB does NOT get paid. Then the hosts does not get paid and the scheduled failed payment amount goes to pending payments in the host's account. AirBnB conceded to us orally and in writing they were contacting the "guest" first to secure their payment PRIOR to paying us- the host. This is a failure in the payments algorithm at AirBnB. In our case, the new guest was in town as a defendant in a criminal proceeding. we documented this to AirBnB Trust and Safety and had no reply. Caveat Emptor
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Well, if hosts start telling guests who may be trying to pull this scam (as well as those who aren't) that you don't do extensions through Airbnb, but privately, and they'll have to pay for extra days in cash, the scammers will then leave, and the good guests will pay you and stay. If a guest has been obviously great, it's not likely that they'll then start to cause trouble just because Airbnb is no longer involved. Although of course that's not guaranteed.
I (used to) host a lot of long-term stays because the majority of my guests were exchange students. Whenever there was a request to adjust check/checkout dates, if the difference was less than 1 week then we'd just ask to keep the original booking as-is, giving the reason that Airbnb system is glitchy and booking changes where weekly or monthly discounts have been applied have often led to exorbitant increase of fees or the discounts being applied incorrectly. We would do the math, agree on an amount either for additional payment or refund, summarize the terms we agree to on the airbnb messenger for evidence purposes. Then at the appropriate time (either at check in or check out), we'd send the request for additional payment or send a refund.
I've also had this problem in the past when making alternations to long-term reservations. I didn't even realise it was happening because the amounts were quite small, e.g. a guest extending for a day.
Then I had a guest book for a six month stay. She wanted to check in two days earlier than originally planned, so I altered the dates. Airbnb charged her nearly £1,500 for those extra two nights (for a room that was £38 a night)!! Of course, she was freaking out. Turns out the long-term discount for the entire six months had somehow disappeared and who knows what extra fees were added on top.
Since becoming aware of this 'glitch' in the system, I usually call CS when altering a long-term reservation to make sure the guest is charged the correct amount. You can of course try to adjust the amount from the alteration page, but you have no control over the fees and inevitably, some extra money seems to 'disappear' into Airbnb's coffers. It's not ideal...
@Huma0 It seems that everything breaks when extending dates. It's happened to me before that, when traveling with an Airbnb-issued travel coupon (for an Airbnb event no less), I had to add two nights to the stay and found it impossible to do so without wiping out the travel credit. In the end, the only option was to make the arrangement with the host offsite. Minutes later, I was at an presentation with Brian announcing all these new features (none of which is still active) and thinking, "man, why not get the basic ones working correctly first?"
Yup..... early on I had several guests contact me asking why the total suddenly increased by a couple hundred $$$ when they were simply trying to change the check in/out day by a day or two..... so after a while I made a point of mentioning this glitch to any long-term exchange student guest so they'd contact me directly instead of wasting time.
I think that Airbnb might have finally fixed this glitch (in terms of long-term stays, not sure about travel credit). The last two or three times I have extended a long-term stay, the prices came up correct with the discount applied. Today I sent a request to a guest to extend from one month to two and everything from my end looked spot on. I have asked her to have a look at the fees from her end this evening before accepting to make sure it's correct.
@Denise80 That's always an option, and probably the better one - I'd recommend that you ask them to send an Inquiry via "Contact Host" so that you can respond with a Special Offer waiving the Cleaning Fee.
To add onto what @Andrew0 has said, the host should point out to the guest that due to the set booking buffer (1, 2, or 3 days between reservations), they may not be able to inquire about the dates immediately after the end of the current reservation, and specify that the special offer amount will include the price for the entire period of the extension.
Would it not be an easy fix if Airbnb allows for the host to approve the reservation date changes but this is not confirmed to guests until payment is collected. So, it’s on a 24 hour standby only and defaulted to original dates as such when no payment is received- similar to how it works when originally placing a reservation...
Personally, I've never had payment issues with long-term guests. I have occasionally received messages that there was a problem collecting the monthly payment, and this message comes speedily, but that was always resolved by the guest (who also gets messaged I assume) before I even had a chance to ask about it. The only real issues I ever had turned out not to be non-payment from the guest, but Airbnb glitches (i.e. Airbnb had the money but was withholding the payout for no reason).
Of course, that doesn't mean this this 'loophole' can't be used by scammers, but I am not sure going off platform with no other protections is a great idea wither. You could easily end up with a squatter and o chance of help from Airbnb.
I think that if you're going to host, you need to vet all guests, and especially the long-term ones. I insist on verified Govt ID, profile photo, agreement to house rules and some info about the guest at the minimum. A lot of hosts seem to be willing to take any booking that comes along. My rules also say the guest will need to show their ID on arrival. I don't actually ask them to, but it's there as a deterrent. People will say my rules are far too long, but they can certainly also be a very effective deterrent to those planning to mess a host around.
Above all, it's important to know the tenancy laws in your location. If this guest stops paying and won't leave, do you have the right to kick them out and how? Is it straightforward, or do you have to go through the courts? I've only ever asked one (long-term) guest to leave and that was straightforward. Actually, I asked Airbnb to ask her. In my experience, guests take Airbnb far more seriously than an individual host.