Airbnb Can Chose to Override STRICT Cancellation Policy!


I’ve been an airbnb host for four years with a total of 6 rooms for rent, so I’ve had hundreds of guests come and go, but I’ve never had an experience like this! Most of my rooms are rented several months in advance, and this case was no different. I had a nice couple message me a few months ago and ask to reserve my best room for a two month stay, beginning August 24th (a few days from now). I agreed, and the reservation was made without any incident… until yesterday when I received a message from the guest saying that they had a “family situation” and they would have to cancel their reservation. I immediately replied and said I was very sorry to hear that, but that I would try to find replacement guests for their long term stay right away and that I would refund them for each night that I was able to replace them with other guests (even though I have always had a STRICT cancellation policy set with Airbnb which entitles me to technically keep up to 100% of the guests money for up to one month if they cancel last minute like this). Granted I am a great host and have never actually taken a guests money or double-booked a room, but for the record I have that right when a guest cancels last minute. Well I never knew this was even possible, but somehow this guest contacted Airbnb directly and convinced them to OVERRIDE their own policy and my Strict Cancellation setting and give the guest a full 100% refund even though their move in date was only a few days away! How is that possible? What is the point of having a “Strict Cancellation Policy” with Airbnb if they can decide to override it at any time and completely screw one of their best and most loyal hosts?? At this point I should also mention that my wife is pregnant and due to have our first child on August 27th (of course he could come early or late) so now I not only have an empty room with zero money coming in for it, but I have to scramble around to find new guests to fill the same time frame when I should be focusing on my new family expansion!

The attached images show complete documentation of the messages I received, as well as my Strict policy and the crazy loophole that Airbnb has where they can just cancel any reservation at the last minute with a full refund without thinking twice about the impact on the host!

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to serious look into switching all of my airbnb hosting business to another service like VRBO or Roomorama etc.

SHAME ON YOU AIRBNB! Stick to your word and don’t screw your hosts.

Posted in Airbnb Host Stories and tagged , , , , , .


  1. Strict cancellation policy is strict cancellation policy! I have read here some strange comments that a host should always refund. I am 12 years in this business and learned that surely 90% of the cancellations are just frauds and therefore for small BB who depends on the income from booked accommodation where cancellations are a hard loss of income if policy is not strict. If people like to travel without an insurance then that’s their choice. If people choose to only book non strict policy accommodation then that fine to me. I rather use strict policy then no policy because now I have much less cancellations and maybe less bookings. No policy means a high cancellation rate and the industry knows that! But for a 20+ room – villa hotel that is most of the time no problem. AIRBNB and BOOKING.COM are bad rental booking providers if it comes to keeping the cancellation policy!

  2. Air B&B needs to stand up for the host! Strict means strict! If you don`t like the cancellation policy go somewhere else! I am really sick of the old saying the customer is always right! That is just what it is OLD! Today the customer is NOT always right! In fact most of the time they are wrong! People today are oh so entitled they actually have it come up on google! All you have to do is put in entitled and you get page after page. In other words its a sad sad world out there today! But I am a firm believer in what goes around comes around! Most of the people who cancel have there head up there you know what anyway! Other wise they would not be cancelling. I am for the small business owner—-the one that actually works at the business! Not the one who collects money and does not do one dam thing for that money! I could give example after example but I think you get the message. If not then you will be the next one cancelling your reservation because tha`ts just how you roll!

  3. I recently made a booking of local bus, flight MIL-LAX with American, Shuttle LAX-host, private accommodation with airBnB (HMM5XWBDW8), Shuttle host-LAX, motel with and flight LAX-TRN and taxi on return home for a one week stay in Pasadena in 10 days time. My wife was called up for an operation today during that week and I had to cancel the whole trip. The local bus, flight and shuttle all allowed me to “freeze” my ticket, e.g. not lose the money or pay any costs but use the ticket (bus, plane, shuttle) within a year. The and taxi I canceled with no charge. The accommodation part of the airBnB was canceled with no charge. The only charge I had no choice but to pay was the airBnB adminstrative charge – that in the scheme of things is the only service that has not in someway reserved something for me (e.g. a seat on the bus/plane a bed in the house). This also was not a throwaway $10 minor credit card or such like charge it was a $50 charge.

    Guess who I won’t be booking with next time.

  4. I think I’ll just go back to good old Booking. A tad bit more expensive but upfront and trustworthy. There seems to be too many palavers regarding air b&b it doesn’t seem worth it.

  5. Uuuuhm AirBnb does not talk about this policy when you make a reservation.. I booked a trip for 5 minutes and tried to cancel a $90 reservation and only got $10 back. BS… Better off going to a hotel where you can cancel. Greedy hosts and greedy airbnb. How do you charge someone cleaning fee and they haven’t slept at your place nor even gotten there?

    • A note from a guest. The refund policy is… 100% if canceled within 48 hours and 14 days from the reservation. I made this booking 13 days away and had a emergency that had me cancel trip. Now 12 days from booking will not do the full refund. Who would pay 500.00 for nothing? How is this legal?

  6. I stumbled upon this comment section while looking for more info on Airbnb strict refund policies. As a property owner understand rental risks and the issues when someone cancels, but as someone looking to rent out a place for a week for a family vacation, I understand the frustration I am reading with regards to strict cancelation policies. Overall I think the property opener, operating the property as a financial investment MUST be able t absorb the risk associated with their investment property and I think 100% rounds should be manditory

    • Sorry Tom but you’re way off. This works just fine for a Motel 6 or a Hilton that has 10 or 200 rooms. But for a retired person who rents a vacation flat and 80% of their income comes from 4 months in the summer time – if a person books 2 months and then doesn’t show, is this person supposed to lose 40% of their annual income so that someone can have 100% buyer protection?

      I suppose you think that the airlines should give 100% discounts for people who don’t show up for their flight too?

  7. Totally selfishness of airbnb host with strict cancellation policies . Who knows the guest might have some sudden circumstances and can’t be travelling .
    Yet the host kept insist on the polices and refused to refund the whole amount . The guest does not even stays in and yet the host still wants to keep the profits .
    Which is so unfair to the guest .

    • What a world of entitlement we live in. Selfishness? For small businesses that have only one or two units, having high booking rates is the difference between bankruptcy and surviving in today’s business environment. What’s next, 100% refunds for airline flights? Unreal.

      “The guest does not even stays in and yet the host still wants to keep the profits .
      Which is so unfair to the guest.”

      The policy was spelled out when the guest booked. If you don’t want to take the risk – don’t book with hosts that have a strict policy. it is a free world, spend your money where you want it but don’t cry when a host sticks to the contract when they have a guest who can’t show or chooses not to (because they’re flaky).

      • Sure. Agree. But I’ve been an avid user of Airbnb and I lost 2.5K Euro due to a strict policy rental. Needless to say, I will never use Airbnb again. Makes you wonder if it’s better financially to allow guests to change reservations and risk losing their money or leave permanent scars on loyal, affluent guests that will never use the service again…?

      • Never use airbnb! strict policy make these thirsty host to make more money. Hahah. Use some other platform that make u safe and not lose money in case of emergency/ cancel.

  8. Wow Reading these comments all I could think of is greed and selfishness. Someone had an emergency and can no longer travel and you want to keep their money for profit. I bet at the same time all of you “good hosts” claim they hate capitalism and hate corporate organisations and all that nonsense. Just think rationally and you’ll understand why “bad evil” airbnb refunded the guests, they didn’t occupy your room so you have no legal right to their money. God some people are truly egocentric.

    • greed and selfishness?

      how about dellusional?

      You want equality for everyone? I recommend N. Korea.

      Try having an emergency for your airline flight and see how much sympathy you get from American Airlines.

      Why no refunds for airline tickets? Because they will lose money if that seat is empty. No difference for a small hotel or BNB.

      I’m really shocked at all of the comments here of greed and selfishness. Recommend you folks stay at home, there is too much danger in the real world for you.

  9. I have used airbnb for 4 years and have always been loyal to airbnb. They honored me with the superhost status and even gave me a bonus when I reached superhost in 3 quarters in a row. My nightmare begin when airbnb cancel my guest reservation a few days before the arrival date. I have strict cancellation on all of my listing. As a condo owners, i was advised by airbnb to keep the reservation in low profile to. Avoid issue with condo property management. So i did wrote on the house rules for the guest to keep transactions discreet. Apperantly the rep told me that this is against airbnb policy and he gave 100% refund to guest. I find this very shocking as the rep responsible for this action never once spoke with me and i had already deal with another rep previously saying that if the guest cancel, i have the right to keep 1 month. The guest demands cancellation because he did not want to pay the extra guest fees of $10 per night. Representative at airbnb are not consistent and doesn’t take personal responsibility when making an error. I am now down of $6000 for a 2 months booking. Merry Christmas Airbnb!!!!

  10. I also just got screwed by Air Bnb. I have a moderate cancellation policy and had a guest cancel after check in because they didn’t like my apartment and didn’t properly read the description. Despite my policy and 5 star reviews, Air Bnb gave the customer a full refund. Now I have to struggle to fill 7 open days last minute. This killed my profit for the month. I am interested in hearing what recourse I have on Air Bnb violating my policy.

  11. While I understand the frustration of those of you who are renting your places, I would also ask each of you to consider the renter as well. Often something gets booked and unexpectedly someone can’t travel. I think AirBnB needs to provide a mechanism that allows a person to cancel – put your place back on the market – and refund the amount if your place does indeed rent out for that time period. This would help cover the needs of both constituents. I know my daughter has a reservation for a place in NOLA in April of 2017 during Jazzfest. A month ago, she requested a cancellation and the owner politely said no way. She knows the place would rent if put back on the market now.

  12. Sad unfair and inconsistent policy at airbnb!

    I have had a similar experience with VRBO. As a host we use online invoicing with VRBO and a “strict refund policy” . We just had a last minute cancelation which caused us 5 days of vacancy. The customer repealed the charge via the credit card bank, Chase, and Chase decided that VRBO does not disclose the refund policy enough and granted a permanent reverse charge for the traveler! We are out over $1700 of rent after paying VRBO the 9% fee to basically do much of nothing in implementing their own cancelation policy.

    I recommend that hosts do their own invoicing by checks, paypal, and
    You can then prevent this kind of unfair behavior if the website is not dealing with your funds.

    I am also curious if anybody has used Airbnb as a 1$ lead service. After you get the 5cent service fee you can do a real booking!

  13. Airbnb just over-rode my strict cancellation policy on my 11 sleeper unit. The guest has this reserved for 3 weeks and changed her mind. It is quite likely too late to re-book. Airbnb were unwilling to discuss and siad the case is closed. I have just checked and have a blank invoice so will be getting nothing. I too have been a good host, my property is 5* Gold awarded by the tourist board, so we clearly look after our guests. I am taking my listing down and hope as many owners see this message as possible. There are hundreds of places to list, don’t make Airbnb one of them!

  14. In this case I would have called the cops -said no problem ill call and done it there and then. We have been hosting as a professional B&B for 10 years and yes people loose stuff all over town in fact straight away I ring the police I know its not us so have nothing to loose and know they will need a crime number to claim if nothing else.

  15. Two words “Travel Insurance” comprehensive travel insurance protect your travel investments including your airfare, Airbnb cost, car rental and medical to name a few.

    • Hosts risk losing their property if Air B and B overrides strict cancellation policies. I pay my property taxes with vacation rental income. Guests can buy trip insurance with cover all situations. Air B and B is worth $38 billion. They can afford to pay all guests and have no right to override host policies. Airlines do not give refunds and no one overrides their policies. It is not right to have a contract that means nothing.

  16. I have already started my quest to phase out Airbnb. In the beginning I thought they were this great company who would stand behind what they said, but um…. no…. I quickly found out that this is not the case at all. My first negative experience was when I was contacted by a guest with no photo or profile about renting my apartment. In retrospect, I should have realized the reason for this could be a criminal record. This was about the 5th month that I had been using airbnb. So, she ask ed me if the dates she wanted were available and I told her yes. So, then she tells me, okay my friend is going to contact you with her account. The friend contacts me. Also, no photo, but a photo of something else. I asked her to fill out her profile and put up a photo, but she tells me she is just to busy with work for that. So, I tell her that everyone in her party will have to give me a photo ID. Then she asks me if they have to pay everything up front which for some reason gave me a weird feeling, and I said yes she did. She said she would email the IDs. Then she books and no IDs. She then tells me they will give them to me when they arrive.
    When they arrive they tell me that they went on Google Earth and search the area inch by inch to make sure it was safe. Again a strange feeling came over me, and then excuses about giving me the IDs later when the rest of the group arrives.

    So, next thing I know I am eating Thanksgiving dinner and I get a call from her with this fake hyperventilating sound asking me if the cleaning lady had keys to the apartment. The answer to that question was no, because the company I was using at that time did not allow the employees to have keys. I am sure she had pulled that scam before because she was shocked when I said no. So, I turn to my friends and I say, this girl is going to ask me for money, I guarantee it. Then after dinner, I call Airbnb to tell them what is going on and they tell me to go over there, but not to give them more than 5 minutes notice and not to go alone. I brought a camera because I was afraid they were going to steal my stuff and I wanted to document the condition of the lock.
    I get over there with the handy man from the building down the street in case the lock is broken. Upon arriving I see there has been no damage to the lock, and no evidence of a break in. When I get inside, there are piles of brand new merchandise and at least 10 wigs all over the apartment. At this point, I am really scared they are going to steal my stuff so I take photos of all my things in the apartment while they are boozing it up. Then they tell me their story which changed later, and I say okay lets call the cops so you guys can make an insurance claim(they had said they had travel insurance) suddenly the doom and gloom that had been hanging over their trip since this alleged $650 had gone missing was replaced by optimism that it would turn up. Then I remind them that I need their IDs and they tell me that they have decided not to give them to me.

    During the entire time they stayed I keep getting messages from her saying that the missing money has really put a damper on her trip. Which I could already tell meant give me $650 or you are getting a bad review. This was not the only hint foretelling the actual extortion attempt that was coming, but I do not remember all of what she said now.

    The first time I went there, I forgot to turn on my tape recorder which had a brand new tape in it, but the second time, I did not and the story of when and how the money went missing was changed. The handy man again was with me and he picked up on this as well. One thing I gotta say is these girls were very charming and impeccably dressed so watch out for the charming con artists.
    Anyway, she keeps emailing me with the subtle threats and about how I needed to help them solve the mystery and problem of the missing money, and how this missing money is putting a damper on her “experience in my apartment” I told her that I was not a detective and she needed to call the cops.

    The entire time I kept Airbnb apprised of what was going on and they told me not to cave and not to give her the $650. They expressly told me that they had my back. However, later they told me that she had told them that if I did not give her the money she would give me a bad review and they told her that was okay as long as she followed certain guidelines. What? They told her she needed to call the cops and not me about the money. She refused to call them, and then they tell her it is okay to give me a bad review. Way to go Airbnb.

    So, then she starts demanding to talk to me in person on the Airbnb message thread. This is when I knew the actual unveiled extortion attempt was coming. One of the days she demanded that I come, I could not come and she became belligerent about it. I told her I would come on check day to assist her in making a police report. I went on check out day and again she refused to make a police report. This time I had my tape recorder with a brand new tape in it going before I even got into the place so I got all of it.

    She proceeds to tell me that if I do not give her $650 she will give me a review that will ruin my reputation and destroy my business. Then she goes to lunch after check out time and leaves her friend there who will not pick up her trash. So, I start asking the friend questions which were also recorded. I asked to show me any proof that the money ever existed and she tells me banks in St. Lucia do not give receipts. Okay, how about a receipt from the money exchange here in America. Nope, we would not have kept that. Alright then, no proof this money even existed. So, by this time it is way past check out and the cleaning person is having to clean around this girl and their stuff. The extortionist comes back and I notice that they have not given me both sets of keys back, and I have to run down the stairs with her to make sure she gives me my keys and she starts screaming about Airbnb in the lobby of my building. After she is gone I call airbnb. The rep agrees that the messages leading up to the actual in person extortion attempt already look like extortion, but they cannot listen to the tape because it could have been altered. Really, this girl told your employee that if I did not give her the money she would give me a bad review, and they can’t listen to the tape? Not, to mention it was a brand new tape and could be examined forensically.

    After this my BF tells me probably nothing will happen and with the help of an airbnb rep, I decide not to give her a review unless she gave me one and if she did, I will do it at the last minute. I asked the rep when the last minute would be (and this is also in writing) and he tells me 11 am on a certain date. The morning of the date rolls around. I wake up and see she has given me a review, but I cannot see it. So, I quickly write one up and try to post before 11 am, but the system tells me it is too late. Then I see she has given me a pretty debilitating review. She has done this before I am sure. So, I call Airbnb and tell them that the time they told me was incorrect. Well, guess what? They did not care and would not change it, even though the time and date they gave me was in writing. They also would not delete the review even though they were the ones who told me not to cave and not to give her the money. The next guy I appealed to read the messages and said he did not get it and she did not have to call the cops. It was as if he had no idea what had transpired, and did not know that they told me not to cave and not give her the money. It was like he thought I was making the whole thing up because I got a bad review. I would have been better off to give her the $650 and I would have gotten a great review. I lost almost 2 months of business after that. So, the long and the short of it was that they told me not to cave and that they had my back, and it was really all just talk. One hand does not know what the other hand is doing over there.

    I was so disgusted I paid $1000 to get on VRBO. So far, I have had no problems with VRBO except their guests book a lot more in advance so it took awhile to start filling my place with their people. I actually have many more horror stories about Airbnb including being lied to over and over again by their employees, and I think their website is messed up and they will not admit it, but this is enough for now. I really cannot wait to completely phase them out.

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