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I have stayed at Airbnbs a couple of times over the years, but mostly when I’ve been traveling with just a part of our family. Historically, when we’ve been traveling all together as a party of 8, we’ve been traveling domestically in the United States, and we’ve typically used our stash of hotel points. But a few years ago my family and I went to Europe and with the strict occupancy limits in Europe, we didn’t really have a way to use our millions of hotel points, since we’d have to book 3 or even 4 rooms!

So we turned to Airbnb, and after a paralyzing search, we settled on a couple of different places for our stay in Lisbon and Barcelona. I booked them recently, and for the one in Barcelona, we paid about USD$480 for a week’s stay. The price was a little bit lower than surrounding units but I didn’t feel it was WAY lower than other comparable units. But then I got a disturbing message from one of the hosts:

Message from our Airbnb host

Here’s the message I got (roughly translated from the original Spanish via Google Translate)

Thank you for choosing our home for your vacation. However, I wanted to tell you that there is a problem with the rate, because we do not make such low prices, at least they should be € 500, they are equivalent to the price of our weekend rate (€ 400) plus cleaning (€ 100). I have to check the prices of your reservation. Can you tell me if you have received a discount?


Hello again Dan. As I mentioned before I do not understand why you get a price so low for my house.
My base price is € 59 / day in winter. The minimum weekly price is € 800, but in summer it increases depending on the week. Specifically, my June rates are € 1000 per week, in total. We apply a 10% discount for stays of 7 days or more. YOUR DISCOUNT IS APPLIED TO YOUR RESERVATION. I have not been able to verify in any way where the price of your stay comes from, what I do know is that it does not fit into our rates. All previous and subsequent reservations are for a price higher than yours, even if they are shorter and midweek. Regretting it a lot I have to reject your reservation for this amount. We could make you a 25% discount due to the possible error of the rates but not 75%.
For me it is a very embarrassing situation, I think that as a host you will understand, and I would not like to lose your reservation, you have good ratings and I would like to stay at our house. I propose to pay € 100 per day, cleaning included, in total € 700. For now, regretting it a lot I have to cancel your reservation.
I hope you get in touch with me to clarify this matter. I apologize for any inconvenience you may have caused.

a screenshot of a phone

What to do now?

I’m not naming or linking to the host because I don’t want to publicly shame him yet, but I’m not sure what to do. I don’t really want to pay an extra $400, but at this point I don’t feel like I can “force” him to take my reservation, since at that point there is so much the host can do to make things miserable for our stay (including just not letting us in). I guess he can take the black mark on his profile and cancel it. I will probably call Airbnb but I doubt their customer service will be much help.

Ever had anything like this happen to you? What would you do? Leave your thoughts in the comments


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