Smoke refund

Level 6
Greensboro, NC

Smoke refund

Hi everyone! Looking for feedback on how you’d handle this situation ... A guest sent me an email today that she couldn’t stay at my condo because there was a heavy cigarette smoke smell, and that her family member has a medical condition and is extra sensitive. I don’t smoke and I don’t allow any guests to smoke. I just stayed at the condo myself 2 days ago and I noticed a very slight secondhand odor when I first walked in. Like MAYBE someone had come in with smoke on their clothes. But I thoroughly cleaned and vented the space - seriously from top to bottom; it was a deep clean since I’d just had a longer term guest  - and didn’t notice a smoke smell afterwards. Well this lady who cited the “heavy smoke” smell wants a full refund and says she had to book a very expensive hotel room at the last minute because of this. I contacted Air Bnb support and they’ve passed me onto another level of specialist for a THIRD time now, and I’ve been waiting several hours for a reply. I’m inclined to not do a refund since I don’t agree at all that there’s is a heavy smell that makes the place uninhabitable. If there was, I wouldn’t have stayed there myself this week.


I’ve already been in contact with the previous guest and asked her point blank if she smoked in there. While of course anyone could lie about it, I tend to believe her when she said no one in her family smokes but one night her son and girlfriend went out to dinner with the girlfriend’s parents who do smoke. 

8 Replies 8
Level 2
San Francisco, CA

I've been a guest in a detached cottage I booked for 3 nights and the living room, dining and kitchen areas smelled like stale smoke -- as though a smoker once lived in the place, and the smoke had seeped into the walls. The place itself was clean, furniture was clean, but the smell in the living room was bad. Unfortunately it was winter and airing the place out meant it was freezing in the Airbnb. I didn't want to ruin my Airbnb reviews and reputation by confronting the owner during our stay since we were only staying there briefly (he lived on the premises), but I did mention the smoke smell in the review. The owner was able to get Airbnb to delete my review (first time my review has been deleted). I wouldn't ask for a refund for a three night stay or under, unless it was really unbearable -- we made due. But I do agree, smoke smell of any kind is awful and will completely ruin the perception of a place regardless of all the positives it has. 

Level 6
Greensboro, NC

@Lori379 I agree with you. Whenever I stay at an air bnb I’m very understanding of stuff. I know how hard it can be to keep things perfect. I’ve never ever asked for a refund. After driving/traveling all day, I’m usually just relieved to have a place to relax/shower/sleep. 

Level 6
Greensboro, NC

I have a positive update on this. Air bnb support gave the guest a full refund but also funded me for 2/3 of the stay to help with my losses. They also cancelled the reservation and freed up my calendar. It took about 24 hours to get this resolved through air bnb, but things moved way faster when I called them instead of texted. 

Level 1
Zephyrhills, FL

Hi Rachael ,


I know this thread of old but I’m kind of in a similar situation, but worse. Airbnb automatically approved the guest’s cancellation request after he had already checked in that day. He claims there was a smoke odor which is a lie as I personally cleaned the property myself that day. I even asked for my neighbor’s opinion and they do agreed there was no evident smoke odor. Now the guest left a bad review on my profile stating there was an overwhelming smoke odor and that the neighborhood seemed unsafe. Mind you he only stayed for less than a hour and arrived at 5pm when there was still daylight out. In my opinion, he made up the smoke odor to get out of the reservation due to the fact he did not like the area of where the property was located. I’m trying to get Airbnb to at least refund me for at least 50% of the reservation as I have a firm cancellation policy, but they’re telling me it’s not possible. How were you able to get them to refund you ?

Yikes, I'm watching this thread.

Level 10
Leeuwarden, The Netherlands


They are Airbnb tourists, wanting a free stay. Do not bend for them but ask them to contact Airbnb to make there point

Best regards,


Level 10
Seattle, WA

Deny, deny, deny.

Deny there is smoke smell in unit.

Deny you will refund them.


Level 10
Kendal, United Kingdom


It's very true that Airbnb make it very difficult for hosts to claim for a smoke smell left by guests. I do wonder how they will substantiate a claim by a guest for the same? What evidence? Specifically?


Sadly, this will result in 'guns at dawn' over the attempted/failed/succesful refund demand and in all cases the guest will shoot with the dreaded retaliatory review.


A conflict such as this would warrant the cancellation of reviews I think.

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