How Airbnb Punishes Hosts for Cancellations and Otherwise

Hello hosts, has anyone else noticed how your ranking (listing rank on searches) dumps when you or Airbnb make any kind of cancellation Declining inquiries seem to be second on the list of items affecting ranking.

I was told by Airbnb reps (4-5) that there would be no “punishment for cancellations” if I called Airbnb customer service and they made the cancellation due to a guest that was not a fit for my cabin. These included smokers, pets, oversized groups, guests wanting events, guests wanting to film movies on the property, etc.

Has anyone also noticed a severe decrease in customer support (now called customer experience) on Airbnb since 2019? Do you get the “I am sick or leaving the office for two days and will call you back then” line over and over? Then they send a message a week or two later asking to close the case… with no efforts to help on the issue… or any kind of acknowledgement of the questions or exact issue you asked? Please let me know. I need to know it is not just me feeling more negative about Airbnb.

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13 Comments

  1. I was a host for 6days learning how things operate and I tell you I decided to just bail out oh customer service is a bunch of hillbilly high school drop outs. No integrity the manager Allan and Makany were absolutely terrible and the cancellation policy along with their other rules are unacceptable and not practical. Just because you don’t have a criminal record doesn’t mean a guest are host are in danger it’s just a plethora of concerns that made my radar go spiraling out of control. I had 3 wonderful great guest and then I had my account deactivated because it was unresolved matters that were not being addressed. It is going to take for someone to be brutally murdered are a kid abducted in order for change to occur it’s really a nationwide scam and scandal. After conversing with other and reading these reviews I’m happy to know I’m not in this nightmare alone. The money to me isn’t really worth it and my home is upscale elegant and nice. It isn’t worth it. You can get a hotel that’s worth it at the same price w/o safety concerns. I have never been a guest only a host and after this experience I will never in my life be guest there is no way I’m putting myself at risk. Air bnb is getting a percentage and just multiply that nationwide they are making a killing. I’m reside in Indianapolis, IN to each is his own but u are running a risk of too many variables I just got lucky with 3 great guest on 3 separate occasions it’s an experience alright. All these horror stories and even talking to people they aren’t happy it was awesome feedback. With so much going on in the world a digusting creep got caught videotaping a couple several years back and it made National news I’ll never forget that story. This is literally suicide without a gun. Be safe

    • Geneva, it is impossible to be safe as long as airbnb and hosts allow guests and their unregistered friends to continue to use their platform (and our properties and services) without serious consequences. My last (and final) airbnb guest had made reservations for 2 (one bedroom apartment with 1 bed) and tried to smuggle in 2 or more guests on top of that. She got caught when after numerous changes in check in times I refused to leave her a key and met her at the door when she informed me (and no, thus was not a request) that she was having some more people stay there. I had no idea who these people were other than that they were pushy and proceeded to occupy the apartment over my objections. I should have called the policense because my property is posted “no trespassing “. Because I was afraid of making a public scene and because I was concerned for my safety, I let it slide but immediately informed airbnb and I proceeded to write a very limited but negative review. There is nothing out there to say she has been banned as a guest, but even if she was, she can simply open a new email/facebook account and buy a burner phone and start guesting again. Hosts beware!

      Serious safety concerns with this platform. Not worth the risk.

      • Smh that’s absolutely absurd Edward. It’s literally no red tape and again it’s going to take for someone to be brutally murdered are sexually assaulted are a kid abducted for Air bnb to start being ran like a hotel literally. You know Edward I didn’t think of that. You right guests, guest aren’t screened it’s so much that after you thoroughly process it you constantly keep coming up scenarios that could go wrong and the guest know there aren’t any real consequences and u stated what a friend of mine said I guarantee so many people that have been banned can come back through with another credit card and bam same lousy behavior like a serial killer. I honestly went into to this just a virgin a week ago and now I’m out it just isn’t worth it money wise to a certain extent. Again it’s going to take to for something drastic to happen before air bnb will be shut down are now there are real authentic clearance measures like at the airports I mean even if u are a guest you could be going to stay at a rapist house I mean just like guest are bringing friends who haven’t been identified through air bnb same thing regarding hosts u honestly don’t know who is all in those homes. I’ve had guest tell me pretty horrendous stories. I just said I’ll find another way to generate extra income are maybe down the line if things change with air bnb but for now I’m not going to be a statistic when it’s just too many variables involved. I value my life be safe people we are living in a dangerous crazy nation where people literally have nothing to lose.

  2. I am so glad to read these postings. They all validate my feelings about Airbnb. I DEFINITELY think that they have made some big changes in their “customer service” and it just is not the company it used to be. Churn and burn is the name of the game. Investors buying homes just to do Airbnb. They do not care about the furniture, offending neighbors, parking issues, character/integrity of the guest(s). It is a numbers game for them. By making it difficult to get help when one has a crisis, Airbnb has probably figured out that people will solve their own problems and that they really can just take the money for being a “middle man” and not have to deal with the problems that can come up in these situations.
    Question for others that have become fed up with Airbnb. What now? Do you use another platform? Go to an annual, more tradtional lease model. If so, do you manage yourself or get a property manager?
    For us and our markets, I have read that they are some of the worse in the country to make money on short term renting. The main reason I have done it is to have more control over the property (Tenants have tons of rights in the SF Bay Area) and during slow months, it is easier to find a guest/tenant for short terms.
    After YEARS and over 50 five star reviews (between VRBO and Airbnb) and close to 80 reviews total (2 – 2 star and the rest are all 4 stars), I am leaving Airbnb after having nightmare experiences as both a guest and a host in the last 3 months. Read below about nightmare with VRBO/Home Away to protect yourself from what happened to us.
    Most recently I have had nightmare experiences as both a guest and a host. In both cases, I called “customer relations” to get much needed and immediate help only to be told that it takes an undetermined amount of time for your “case manager” to get back to you. They HIGHLY prefer doing all correspondence via email and there is absolutely no way to reach anyone with power directly by phone.

    I am a pretty tough cookie and have been self-employed for almost all of my adult life, but things are just getting ridiculous with Airbnb.
    Nightmare as a HOST. Most recently I had a “Trojan horse” guest where they claim there were 3 adult co-workers that were working “16 hours a day and just want a nice house by the ocean and near SF for RR after work and on the weekends.” I told them they could check into the home while I was away on vacation and that I would be by the day I got back to retrieve a few items I needed from the home and make sure that everything was ok. When I arrived at the home it turned out that there were DOUBLE the amount of people AND a DOG they didn’t even ask about having let alone pay the $150 pet deposit AFTER we discuss IF the can have a pet. Our policy regarding pets in negotiable but one has to ask and then get permission before a pet can be on our property. Of course, they didn’t want to pay for the extras they did not disclose.

    The 3 extra guests were 3 teenage boys. They were lying around the home and unsupervised. I would imagine there was not a lot of adult supervision and that they had been there for days due to the garbage can full of McDonald’s garbage. They had also constructed air mattresses in the living room ( moving furniture around to accommodate the mattresses) and were playing video games on our big screen TV in the living room. I asked where the adult “coworkers” were that I told were “renting” the place and they told me that they did not know what I was talking about and that their parent was at work.
    I went into my backyard to see the dog I heard barking (my neighbors are SUPER sensitive to dog barking and this is a very gossipy Coastside community) and found that they leaned a 10 ft x 6ft portion of a fence I removed recently to do a construction project in the back yard against a couple of fence posts and then rolled over a 200-250 lb planter to “hold” section of fence in place to create a dog run. Not only did they have a dog they did not ask for, but they also modified my property without permission.

    My blood was boiling. I wrote a lengthy email to “guest” and asked that she call me. That I was fairly upset at the lack of respect for my home and that she was not transparent or truthful. I told her that I would probably want to terminate the reservation due to the many lies and the level of disrespect for my home. I also called Airbnb.
    When I called Airbnb they told me that I would be called by a case manager.
    Me: “When?” Answer “I can’t tell you that.”
    Me: “Is there anyone I can speak to now? ” Answer “No, you will be assigned a case manager and they will get back to you by email when they get the chance to handle your case.” “If you WANT, they can call you. Do you want that?”
    Me: “Uh, YES!!!” “I want to speak to someone NOW!” Answer: “Ms. Tanya (the agent kept calling me Ms. Tanya like I am a preschool teacher) there is no one that I can get to talk to you and you are going to have to wait until your caseworker gets back to you.”
    About 20-30 min later I get a call from said Case Manager(CM). “I am ___ and I am your case manager. I have been told that you have a guest that has more people than what they told you and you want payment for those extra guests?” No mention of the dog, unsupervised teenagers, modifying my property. The CM had a tone that it all was no big deal and that by just ignoring the other red flag infractions I would just give up, let them do what they want and go away. When I repeated the list of infractions and told her I wanted to end the reservation and kick these people out of my home post-haste, she again downplayed everything and asked what did I “want to do?”
    She then told me that she was going to call the guest to get her side of the story. She “warned” me that the guest might deny the presence of teenagers and or the dog. She asked if we had pictures of any of our claims. I told her I had pictures of dog poop in my garbage can that is stored in my garage and the $6000 brand new fence that had been modified but no pictures of the teens. She told my husband and me that if we wanted to have Airbnb back us up on our claims, we would have to go back to and reenter the home to take pictures of the extra people.
    I was livid that after YEARS of doing business with this company, all my good reviews, multiple properties listed, etc that they were not going to believe me over the guest with a single review as a guest! Yep! It was “your word against the guests without photos.”
    My husband brought up an EXCELLENT point that we could be exposing ourselves to potential legal problems if we took pictures of minor children without their parent’s permission. I recently took my 8-year-old daughter to the dentist and had to sign a release for image taking and I made and paid for the appointment!
    I asked the CM if she was asking us to potentially put ourselves in legal jeopardy by having my 6’7″ 312 lb husband take pictures of a 14-year-old boy lying on a bed and how that could be a big issue if taken out of context and she replied with “if you guys want to prove your side, we need the photos to prove what you are saying to the guest.”
    We were dumbfounded. We demanded the people leave our home immediately and we did not pursue payment for extra guests, the dog, potential damage to the fence, etc if the guest would just get out of our home immediately. We were reassured that “if that is what you really want” that it would be done.
    We live 2 hours south of this property and cell reception is non-existent, so we just drove home and trusted Airbnb to handle everything. I planned to return to the home 48 hours later (I Had some business at our primary home). Guest never called or texted me to apologize, try and save reservation, nothing.
    2 days later, I am driving up to the property and I call in a spot where I have some cell reception to verify guests left. I find out that they are STILL in my home because the CM thought I would just “cool off” and not want to “break up a family” and that the guest agreed that the boys would “only be there until Friday.” It was Thursday and they should have been gone by Tuesday.

    I was worried they could trash my property when I terminated the reservation due to many lies, breaking the rules and not respecting basic policies/common courtesy.
    Airbnb has a “don’t call us, we will call you.” In fact, you can’t call them. They literally have to call you and there is no way to directly reach a CM when you have a pressing issue. They prefer to do EVERYTHING by email which is fine as long as you do not have an urgent or emergency issue but when you have a serious issue while on vacation or with a property you have your hard earned money invested in, this is anything but comforting. We were given $150 “extra” for the extra guests (we charge $26 per person, per day and our pet deposit is $150) but we were only given $150 for both the teenagers and dog.
    The company has really changed and is more of a “churn and burn” model that I am not comfortable with.
    Nightmare experience as a GUEST:
    I traveled to Bloomfield NJ for a family function and to take care of some business. I traveled with my 6-year-old son with my daughter and Hubby coming later that week from CA to meet up with us on the East Coast. I get to the property and it looked super shady even at night. I was tired so I drug our heavy luggage up a steep, narrow staircase with no railing. I have a prosthetic leg and am legally disabled. There was no mention of a lack of a railing in the reviews or description of the property.

    Even in the dark, I could tell the apartment was ghetto. Dirty, cheap everything. It looked like a youth hostel. The building had multiple units that someone created by locking some doors in strategic places with paddle locks. The windows were painted and sealed shut.
    The next morning I woke to find that the smoke detector was missing from the ceiling in the room I slept in with my son. I looked around and the entire apartment had no carbon dioxide or smoke detection! When I went down the stairs to get something out of my car, the smoke detectors downstairs had been removed from their bases. Basically, the place was a potential death trap in the event of a fire. There were weird druggy looking people. I think the place doubled as a halfway house.
    When I called Airbnb they told me that smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors are “optional” for the host to provide. That is right. Things like life and limb issues (the property had very dangerous issues that would render it red tagged by any Building and or Fire Dept official) are OPTIONAL. Also, short term renting is 100% illegal in Bloomfield NJ. Airbnb is keeping a listing of a known illegal operation up on their site even after I provided evidence that the town where the “host” had their property, short term rental is 100% illegal.
    The CM in this case even advocated for the host to “save” the reservation by telling me that the “host” “will call their landlord to build a railing and install smoke and carbon detectors “soon” in the unit.” WHAT?!?! These people are renting to rent? Who would pay if I had actual monetary damages? You cant get blood from a rock, so the “host” would have nothing to go after. We all know about Airbnb’s “Million dollar promise” would not be worth the paper it was written on if it was written on paper.
    Believe it or not, long story short (this is not ALL the details and history, just main points) we got our money back from the host. But, if I did not have money to get a room at a nice hotel, I would have been homeless with my young child in tow. If we didn’t charge it on our credit card we might not have gotten our money back. If short term renting wasn’t 100% illegal in Bloomfield NJ we might not have gotten back all of our money.

    Nothing gets me back my time and GRIEF. GRIEF is hard to deal with and Airbnb has been giving me it in spades as of late. I have worked so hard to build a good business but just do not feel like it is worth the risk anymore. I have already pulled my listing for Ocean property and as soon will do the same with our property in Silicon Valley once that reservation is up in August. We have had issues with that reservation too but at this point, I do not want to deal with any more drama than absolutely necessary.

    Sorry, this is so long but I just had to purge all the muck AND warn others of the kind of nonsense that is going on. Airbnb is a “CHURN AND BURN” model now and unless you also have that strategy, you probably will expose yourself to undo harm, liability, etc.

    The good old days are over and the joy and profit are not there to make it worth it anymore.

    Below is my VRBO nightmare. Hopefully, by my sharing it, I can save someone some grief?

    I do not do business with VRBO/Home Away since the company was sold to Expedia. VRBO/Home Away tried to “reclaim” over $6000 that was never paid to me. I had to close my business checking account to stop them. Their credit card company is separate from VRBO/HA and a completely different company. I have spent over 100 hours on resolving the issues and to keep them from stealing my money. VRBO/HA will claim one thing and the credit card company another. There is a whole going back and forth with one pointing the finger at the other and claiming they have no control over what the other company’s policies are. One will not help you resolve any issue with the other. It was a nightmare to be caught up in due to the credit card company could not give me any details about the reservations (call VRBO/HA for that) to try and get to the bottom of why they thought we owed. VRBO/HA has no info on what monies have been paid or not because that is what the credit card company is responsible for.
    When they were not successful in “reclaiming” the monies their inaccurate records showed as owed, they reported me to collections. I got a letter and phone calls from a “law firm” in FL (I Googled the company and found out they just lie and claim to be a law firm when they are not). Bogus Law Firm/Collection Co. threatened me with taking me to court for the funds they felt they were owed. When we asked for proof that the money they claimed was deposited in our account for reservations I did not host, we asked multiple times for proof of monies being paid. They just sent a weird inner-office spreadsheet that had names of guests that never stayed in our home and amounts that were never paid. They felt their own “documents” proved that we owed. When we asked for proof from a banking institution or other reputable source, they just re-sent the bogus spreadsheet. They couldn’t even tell us what bank let alone what account # these monies were allegedly paid to.
    We called their bluff because we KNEW without a doubt that we never were paid the money and therefore they had no right legal or otherwise to “reclaim” it. We also know that they would have no way to prove to a mediator/arbitrator/court-judge because the money was NEVER paid to us. The finally went away after the 2-year statute of limitations was up.

  3. From a guest’s perspective, I have had two hosts cancelling on me shortly before the rental started. Both of them wanted to adjust the price up for no valid reason; we had booked well ahead for festival periods, and the host did not realise until just before that they could have charged a higher rate.

    In both cases, we refused paying the higher price, which led to the host being blocked for the same dates and having a host cancellation in their reviews. We were rebooked to much more expensive housing (the only thing that was still available) at the host’s/Aribnb’s cost.

  4. The stories are too familiar. I am a host with Airbnb, just started about 1.5 ago. I had a perfect rating for 10 straight guests until a group complained. It was not a legitimate complaint. They only complained because they wanted money back. Then, another guest rented my house for a sweet sixteen party for her daughter. They rolled up in 2 commercial party vans. They assured me they were taking all the guests back after event ended at midnight. I only authorized 8 guests to stay overnight. My fire alarm went off 3 times and when I went to check on things there were more than 30 people sleeping on every sofa, chair, nook, and cranny. There was alcohol on the counter and my entire house smelled like pot. The guests boyfriend/father of Birthday girl got in my face and told me to leave that i was not suppose to be there after I questioned the people lying in my family room. He said, verbatim, “We payif our money and we stay and do what we do, then leave”. I told him that was not our agreement and we would have to let Airbnb mediate. He said he didnt play like that he was from the street and he would settle it. They left at 6AM…being there from noon the day before. They destroyed my house and every (30) expensive white spa towels were used for pool towels and looked like they been through sewage. My spa rugs destroyed. I had bloody semen on an expensive comforter. Furniture broken, etc. etc. The next morning I am cleaning up and accessing the damages, someone tries to open the front door. Shortly after I hear 2 male voices. It’s a big house so I can’t determine where coming it’s coming from. I then hear my dog going crazy. I call the police and later find out my dogs been stabbed. I had already contacted Airbnb about incident and now followed up with what occurred with the home invasion and my dog. Luckily, I have 2 German Shephards. If I had 2 toy dogs the deputies said it probably would have ended differently. I have yet to hear from this mystery security dept Airbnb speaks of. However, I did just find out that the guest was refunded 1/2 their money due to violation of my agreement. They agreed with guest that owner was not suppose to be on property. I’m doing the same as some of you. I’m cancelling all my reservations and will be very vocal about my experience. Oh, and heads up…they have deleted ALL my correspondence between me and Airbnb support. So, do screenshots of everything. Nothing speaks of….I messed up like deleting messages. Luckily, I got them all! I smelled a rat from day one. Marc was the case manager and he claimed he tried to reach me by phone but he did not. I got a couple calls that came through and hung up before answered. He immediately sent an email saying the case was closed and he had tried to reach me by phome…in favor of guest, despite my police report, pictures, and on going investigation and security concerns. I guess I broke the agreement by being there but the fact this was not a family oriented sweet sixteen party that was ending at midnight. With 8 female guests staying over was not. I guess Airbnb not only supports underage drinking, drug use, and sex parties, but rewards parents for throwing them! I’ve lost all faith in them!

    • Geneva, you made an informed, responsible choice that I (and others) support wholeheartedly. I’ve been a property manager for over 30 years and we’ve had an occasional probes with residents ( a hot pot that melted a hole in the carpeting, someone else not tucking the shower curtain in, etc.) but I didn’t have any real problems until I booked airbnb guests with “glowing” reviews. As a property manager, I’ve done extensive background checks on prospects but airbnb can’t do that because of their limited resources. The risk to property and to safety just aren’t worth a few extra dollars.

      • Thank you Edward I appreciate your feedback. Although I love the thought of compensating my income it just isn’t worth it financially are for the safety for yourself and family.

        Air bnb is great in the aspect of meeting new people but just give it time I guarantee I’m almost positive something dramatic will happen it will make national news and BOOM they’ll be shut down faster than ENRON. Host are subjecting themselves to squatters just really all walks of life. It’s frightening.

        Just give it time people because it’s a community based program that’s all the more reason it needs some red tape security clearances for the safety of everyone. I commend if it’s working for you. A guest told me that another host rents out her rental property which is a 3 bedroom house and that’s not a bad ideal. I mean idk if it works for you God Bless because unless FBI security measures are being implemented moving forward no sir. It’s just like playing Russian Roulette.

  5. So after I had to throw out a group who were in the process of wrecking my property, Airbnb adjusted the end date, refunded the balance to the guest, then tried to recover this cost from my future bookings. They got away with this once, until I spotted what they were doing. I cancelled every last booking and left the Airbnb platform. Appalling company. 1200 UKP out of pocket.

    • I did something similar when they charged me for cancelling a questionable guest. I blocked off every available date I had. Now I’m trying to cancel a booking scheduled for July but haven’t heard from the rep which is no surprise.

      Until THEY are the ones who have to take the losses, nothing will change.

  6. I would be very wary of any host who DIDN”T cancel reservations. As a host, I’ve sometimes found out at the very last minute that the person who booked with me did so with unethical/illegal/irresponsible intentions, and that those intentions may very well jeopardize the safety and security of my current guests and of me. I have been a rental property manager for over 30 years and unlike some hosts, I plan to honor my current reservations, but I will not be booking any new reservations because I believe very strongly, that airbnb’s policies encourage illegal and unsafe activities and my life, my guests lives, and my assets are just not the risk.

  7. Of course Airbnb will punish cancelations. Hosts are messing with people’s plans, do you expect to cancel reservations without extenuating circumstances proven and think you’ll stay top rank?
    You become less trustworthy.
    I have never and will never stay with a host that I’m not sure won’t cancel my reservation and fuck up my entire plans.

  8. Airbnb is a victim of its own success: grown too fast, struggling to stay ahead of local regulations, and increasing numbers of professional cheapskates that bog down customer service.

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