Very Unfair Airbnb Situation on Palawan

I just want to share my disappointment about the decision made by an Airbnb case manager. The decision was made without informing me. He promised us that yesterday morning he would inform us first. However, when we checked our account in the transaction history, the guest already had been given a full refund. Let me tell you what happened, so you can see the whole picture.

A guest checked in on November 15 at 5:15 PM. They called me on my phone at 5:23 PM saying that there was no electricity. We then explained them that the whole city was in total blackout (even our own house and our other listing on Airbnb had been affected). I explained to them that usually when it happens it does not last long. We were consistent in updating them. We also explained to them that they could use the emergency lights while waiting.

At 5:37 PM, they messaged me on my phone, saying that they wanted to cancel their reservation with a full refund. At 6:00 PM after contacting the electric company, I gave them an explanation: three electrical poles had fallen due to a car accident. We also assured her that the electric company was going to restore electricity. We also told them that there was no place to stay in Puerto Princesa with electricity except a hotel with a generator.

She messaged me around 7:00 PM saying they had found a place in Rizal (on the other side of the city) that had electricity. We thought it was their way of saying she didn’t believe us. Then I answered that if they have electricity, that hotel is probably equipped with a generator. After that I didn’t get any messages from the guest.

We messaged them around 10:00 PM to let them know that the electricity came back (after calling the security guards of the subdivision). They never responded to that, so we thought everything was settled. The guest never let us know that they left our place. We sent a message on their check-out day to remind them of the check-out time.

We got a surprise when a case manager contacted us more than 72 hours after the guest checked in. It was for the guest who wanted to cancel their reservation, right away. Why did they wait so long to cancel their reservation?

As an Airbnb traveler myself, we already encountered difficulties in some listings, and we called Airbnb right away. Airbnb called the host, and found an immediate and fair solution. In this situation, it took more than three days before we had been contacted by an Airbnb case manager, and it took four days, which was the last day of the stay before it was finally cancelled, giving them a full refund without our consent.

I don’t have any documentation that the guest really left our place that night. They had full access to the house during those four days; they had the keysafe code. The problem with the electricity was temporary and it came back that night since we had no power outage.

I’m reaching out to anyone here who can help us and give us a fair decision. We’ve been hosting here for years and we keep a good reputation as a Superhost. This is the first time in years that I was stuck in a very unjust circumstance here on Airbnb. I felt very upset. My husband and I are really affected. We felt hopeless. We as hosts strive to do our best for guests every time and this is what we’ve got in spite of all the hard work.

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  1. I can’t believe how nasty the people are in the comments section! This seems to be a fairly consistent theme on this site. Quick to condemn and be mean about it. Like trolls they are.

    It comes down to your cancellation policy. If it’s very flexible, then perhaps the guest has a case. If it’s not, then Airbnb has been remiss. If electricity blackouts are common, then note this in your listing, saying it is the case for the entire city. And supply torches in a basket on the table or a gas lantern or something. Be transparent about it so guests know what to expect – across the town/city/region etc.
    Don’t rely on Airbnb only. Spread your place as wide as you can across a range of booking sites and on Google.

  2. You made the poor decision when the guest said they wanted to cancel with a full refund. You should’ve just said OK at that time. Instead, you were greedy and didn’t want to lose the money. Now you lost it all anyway. Maybe next time you’ll be more responsive to your guests.

    Did the guest actually stay the night in your listing? If not, then it worked out exactly like it should have. If the guest actually stayed in your listing and didn’t leave and the electricity really did come back at 10pm and stay on, then I agree that a full refund should be given.

  3. The guest clearly text you saying they had found another property that had electricity, you chose to ignore this and continue to communicate with them despite their requests for an immediate refund. It sounds as though this is a regular occurrence in your area, perhaps you should invest in a generator to offset guest disappointment when these instances arise! As a super host myself we have to encounter set backs, you either learn and move forward to meet guest expectations or suffer the consequences of not being able to compete with others in the hosting industry. The guest clearly told you they were leaving that night and gave a specific destination that met the needs your property did not provide. Either provide contingency plans or lose your Superhost status.

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