Airbnb not liable for host payout after guest cancels and refuses to pay what they owe?

Caroline1872
Level 2
London, United Kingdom

Airbnb not liable for host payout after guest cancels and refuses to pay what they owe?

I have a moderate cancellation policy. Guest has cancelled long term booking with less than a month's notice so is liable for first month's payment. 

 

Airbnb have emailed me to say the attempt to charge the guest has been unsuccessful - and that I should contact the guest to request they make payment! I thought it was airbnb's responsibility to deal with the payment side and that's why we pay host fees?!

 

Airbnb have said if the guest doesn't pay, they are not liable for my host payout. Again, why have cancellation policies and why pay airbnb as a platform if they do not honour host payments?

 

Has anyone experienced this issue before and have any advice please? Thank you

11 Replies 11
Kelly149
Level 10
Austin, TX

@Caroline1872 at least you didn't host this person already. Plenty of times if there is a problem then the host gets nothing.

 

I once hosted an ABB guest. They paid for reservation plenty ahead of time. Then day before arrival, added people to the stay & approved the additional charge. Came. Left. No payout. I call to ask why? The second additional payment didn't go thru, so abb was holding onto ALLLLL funds. How in the world does this make sense?

 

I later (after 14 day review period closed) got the guest to pay the remaining balance so that I got paid, but ABB did nothing and frankly would have pocketed the money happily if I'd not intervened.

Mike-And-Jane0
Level 10
England, United Kingdom

@Caroline1872 so plenty of time for Airbnb to collect the money. I wonder if they collected and then the bank told them it was fraudulent card. Given Airbnb terms and conditions sadly I don't think you can claim against them. I also don't think you have a contract with the guest so there is no way forward I am afraid

Caroline1872
Level 2
London, United Kingdom

I fear you are probably right @Mike-And-Jane0  - but I'm going to see if I can recover these funds, as it is a matter of principle apart from anything else. I think it would be unreasonable of airbnb to both refuse to chase the money, and also refuse to give me the guest's details so I can take legal action. I will post here again if I have any success in pursuing this. Thank you

Mike-And-Jane0
Level 10
England, United Kingdom

@Andrew0 How do you rate @Caroline1872 's chances? Principles are great but if it is clearly written in the contract that you cannot hold Airbnb responsible then you have little chance of success. 

Andrew0
Level 10
Berlin, Germany

@Mike-And-Jane0 I'd rate the chances of success at roughly zero.

 

 

Mike-And-Jane0
Level 10
England, United Kingdom

@Caroline1872 How long was it from the time the booking was made to the time it was cancelled?

 

Caroline1872
Level 2
London, United Kingdom

Hi @Mike-And-Jane0 - the guest booked on 29 June 2021 and cancelled on 6 July 2021 (so 7 days). They were due to check in on 5 September 2021. Thank you

Elena87
Level 10
СПБ, Russia

@Caroline1872 

 

It's detailed in the payment terms of service ( 4.2) where they cover themselves from this event.

 

https://www.airbnb.co.uk/help/article/2909/payments-terms-of-service

 

If airbnb can't collect the payment for whatever reason, they won't reimburse the host.

It's understandable commercially and to prevent fraud collusion.

 

It's unusual to see this prior to a booking, there are more examples of guests abusing the system when a reoccurring payment is due during a long term booking, which leads to the question, do hosts have enough protection for long-term bookings via airbnb.

 

One consolation, clearly this was a guest you'd prefer to avoid arriving.

Caroline1872
Level 2
London, United Kingdom

Thank you @Elena87 . You make a good point about recurring payments due during a long term booking, which fortunately I have not experienced. 

 

According to the airbnb terms (clause 5.2) https://www.airbnb.co.uk/help/article/2908/terms-of-service , I have entered into a contract with the guest. Therefore it should be possible, if airbnb says it is not liable for the host payout, for me to take legal action and pursue the funds myself directly from the guest. The only issue is that I do not have contact details for this guest; only airbnb does. Surely in this case airbnb must provide me with the contact details of the guest so I can pursue payment myself if they are unwilling or unable?

 

Thank you

 

Elena87
Level 10
СПБ, Russia

@Caroline1872 

 

The likelihood of airbnb disclosing guests details appear remote.

They may not even have full fruitful details based on the current criteria for opening an account.

There is a section on releasing data to law enforcement in the codes, but to be realistic to follow this up might not be an advantageous utilization of your time and money.

 

Looking at the timeline of booking and cancellation, maybe it's best to put it down to a limited inconvenience to your listing availability and an occupational hazard.

  

 

Caroline1872
Level 2
London, United Kingdom

Thank you @Elena87  - as the guest lives in the UK, and I also live in the UK, I am wondering about the possibility of going through the UK's Small Claims court - but the problem as you say is getting the contact details of the guest from airbnb.

 

Airbnb say that they have sent the guest an email alert with a direct way to pay the balance. They also say if I have questions about the payment problem, I can contact the guest. Do you think it would be worth me contacting the guest, and if so, should I do that right away today or wait a few days to see if they pay (very unlikely I know!) and then contact them? And what should I say to them if I do contact them?

 

Thanks

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