Today I had to cancel a reservation due to arrive tomorrow - a first and hopefully last for me - but I found a review for the guest stating he was the worst the host had experienced and - very importantly for me as it's just me and my son in the house, no men - he had gotten angry with the hosts, gone to the police about them when apparently they had done nothing wrong but after he'd complained about a million little things etc. etc. He stormed off and then came back demanding to stay when he realised he couldn't get a refund. I was deeply concerned about having this man in my house, but when I talked to Airbnb they said that cancelling on the basis of a bad review would be "discrimination", that whenever I do this on an Instant booking I will have my Superhost status revoked, penalties to pay etc. etc. etc. I argued my case - I was trusting another trusted host, I am a woman on my own, the review was damning - and they eventually "made an exception" but the last minute cancellation is on my reviews.
I can handle that, and probably deserve it having only found this terrible review late in the day when I wasn't getting any response from him about check in times. My bad. But what's the truth about cancelling Instant bookings? It says you can have 3 without penalty and that bad customer reviews is one reason to use one of those 3.
I've turned it off now as I'm guessing superhost status is worth more than instant booking - any thoughts there???
But I feel I've been told two very different rule sets for Instant Booking for hosts.
Any feedback welcome,
@Aisling29 It would seem to be a no-brainer that you wouldn't want to host a guest with a review like that, and it's disgusting that Airbnb told you it wasn't a good enough reason but made an "exception".
Next time I would just tell them that you feel "uncomfortable" as a reason for cancelling and not go into detail.
I don't use IB myself, but did you not have your IB settings to require good reviews?
In my experience The free cancellation promise is deeply flawed - like many other things with airbnb.
I have IB and Very early on in my hosting late last year I encountered a guest who was frankly a bully. ( Complaining about how the house was set up, wanting me to rearrange furniture and rooms - this was before they arrived). I rang CS who suggested I cancel. I was assured - in writing - that' I would absolutely not be penalised in any way.
Cs cancelled on my behalf.
I then lost IB for over a month at peak season.
When I rang to query Cs said they couldnt' help me, it was a "known glitch" could not tell me when IB would be reinstated, did not call me back as they promised and proceeded to close every query I subsequently made without responding in any way.
When IB DID come back on I was not notified.
Apparently this has happened to many hosts.
I would therefore exercise extreme caution when cancelling., even if through CS. (Not saying you shouldn't have cancelled - just letting you know so that next time ( if there is one) you can be prepared....)
@Aisling29 I think your intuition is right here for many reasons!
You're a live-in host with a child as well as pets in the home, so Instant Book is not a good fit for you. It's of the utmost importance that you do some judicious screening before confirming bookings. For past reviews, for confirmation that they understand the nature of your household, and to be sure that their communication leaves you feeling safe.
The only area where we disagree is that "Superhost status" is worth anything at all. It's not. It's a manipulation tool with no tangible benefit to your business, and costs people far more in anxiety than it pays back in reward. Your judgment as a host and parent should always come before any concerns about those star ratings.
Shame on @Airbnb for telling you, incorrectly, that it's "discrimination" to refuse a guest on the basis of a bad review. Discrimination as it pertains to Airbnb terms is defined here: https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/1405/ . Relevant quote: "Nothing in this policy prevents a host from turning down a guest on the basis of a characteristic that is not protected under the civil rights laws or closely associated with a protected class. "
Obviously, people who have received extremely bad reviews do not constitute a "protected class" by any stretch of the imagination. What's the point of reviewing guests if hosts can't use them to make decisions?
I'm glad you got out of this booking and encourage you to escalate a complaint about the agent who handled your call (on social media, if necessary). Threatening a single mom with penalties for not accepting a man with a documented history of aggression to other another female host is a new low, and Airbnb owes you a serious apology.
I suggest calling back in order to request removal of the 'automated review' penalty. I don't think this should have been issued based on airbnb's own policy. You need to speak to a sagacious adviser to complain.
There was a thread lately on the community where a host was accused of discrimination, which has some slight echoes of what you experienced. Too many hair triggered advisers out there, or some faulty airbnb culture.
Honestly, go on to twitter or facebook, it is the only way to get a response. I feel for you, I have had a rise of beligerent men this year, one or two extremely intoxicated and destroyed property. Do you know what the support person said to me? "Do you have in your house rules that people can't drink alcohol?". I told her no, but it is against house rules to destroy the property, scream, and terrify a single female host who had to go confront four males at 2am! She backed down pretty quickly. Who the hell trains these people? I have no faith in airbnb support. I had to call them this weekend to tell them there was a glitch with a current guest extending their stay for a night. Got passed straight away to a manager who made me out to be stupid. They couldn't figure it out. The same problem has been happening all year, and their advice is not to use the app, well going through chrome doesn't work either, it is an airbnb problem. No way would I allow a guest with his review to stay. Last minute or not, it serves him right for not knowing how to behave. Hope you manage to get through to someone with some common sense. When they start playing with host safety for the sake of keeping a possibly dangerous guest happy, you know they have lost the plot entirely.