HELP! AC broke and guests slept in 80 degree house..refund or no?

26 Replies

I had a guest stay this weekend for two nights. $500/night. First night AC was broken. It was just fixed and they will have the second night in AC. Should I give them a full refund for the first night? Or partial? What would you do? HELP!

Thanks!

Depends on how bent out of shape the customer is. Sounds like you did your best to remedy the situation as quickly as possible which reflects well on you.

As a sign of good will, it may not be a bad idea to simply offer them $250 (half of one nights rent) for their inconvenience.

It means WAY more to me as a guest that the homeowner cares and we all know things can and will happen.

@Rebecca Cramer Why don't you ask them?

Just say I want to make this right what do you think is fair?

They might say don't worry about it we understand these things happen. Then offer them a discount on a future stay or a discount off this one.

If they ask for the whole day free I wouldn't be happy but I would do it to make them happy and keep your reviews intact.

Find out what would make them happy and do that. Don't rely on what any of us on BP might think would work as every situation is unique.

Full refund for the first night and credit for one night on an upcoming two night stay. Anything less and they could say their entire vacation was ruined. Giving them, in essence, 2 nights will leave them saying "wow, they really took care of us".

AC is only a portion of what they are paying for in regards to accommodations. Without AC the unit was still useable. I would offer them a discount of $50. In the event they had moved out the first night and did not return until the AC was repaired they would be entitled to a full refund on the first night. The fact that they did not indicates that the situation was in fact not that intolerable. $50 refund is warranted as a token appeasement.

Several months ago I had boilermaker superintendent, his foreman and his hand rent a place from me.  I charged them one weeks rent.  They stayed four nights and left.  I told them they had 3 free nights the next time they rent from me.  

They rented from me again on Tuesday, but there were 5 guys.  I let them have 2 nights free.  The air was working Tuesday and Wednesday morning.  It crapped out Wednesday evening.  I had it fixed Thursday and let them have the hot day for free.  

Superintendent told me "We'll always rent from you when we come to Coffeyville."

Thanks everyone! I decided to give a full refund for the night. It stinks it was a weekend and the amount was so much but the truth is, I would prob leave a bad review if I wasnt given a refund for the night so I need to "do unto others.." Thanks for all the advice!

I had brand new central AC go out last 4th of July. The washing machine went down that same week. The previous guests froze the compressor by setting temp to low, I suspect they broke the washer as well (but it was old and in the firsts weeks of a newly purchased home)

I picked up and delivered laundry for the second guests until new machine arrived. I then purchased and installed window units. Then I brought them a bottle of wine and fresh raked cape cod clams. 

By seeing the lengths we went through ,their annoyance turned to gratitude. They left us a glowing review and are booked to return this season.

Most people I have dealt with understand unforseen circumstances will pop up and respond positively if you show them effort. 

 I now keep a couple of old back up window AC units , just in case. You went above and beyond with a full refund, you probably would have been fine with a smaller gesture. But it's all about what your confortable with. I would say to learn from it and have some "party favors" in mind for guests when something doesn't go according to plan.(wine, gift certificate to local cafe, local choclates....etc etc)

I had that happen to me before and the host gave me a full refund for my hotel cost on the night of no AC. I would expect no less and would do the same. No AC is a huge inconvenience and that’s coming from someone who lives in Miami. It is sad that they had to sleep in that temperature while on vacation.

Thomas S. Not everyone can afford to book a new place last minute. Remember that the reason they picked your short term rental versus a hotel is more than likely because of cost.

Originally posted by @Thomas S. :

AC is only a portion of what they are paying for in regards to accommodations. Without AC the unit was still useable. I would offer them a discount of $50. In the event they had moved out the first night and did not return until the AC was repaired they would be entitled to a full refund on the first night. The fact that they did not indicates that the situation was in fact not that intolerable. $50 refund is warranted as a token appeasement.

too funny !!!  Airbnb is not landlording its hospitality completely different business.. and with the internet the way it is.. insulting a guest like that could cost this person huge amount of money in future revenue.

for me this is why I never stay at an Airbnb  I only stay at hotels. I don't want to risk things breaking and not having someone to talk to immediately. so if something I don't like I just tell them I was not happy.. no argument that night is removed from my folio..  I had the water go out at the Conrad in Chicago and got that night free plus 2 free nights in the future.. this is how you have to be in the hospitality business.. these are not your basic rental tenants.. were its your way or the highway. 

@Rebecca Cramer

How long have you been Airbnb-ing?

Brand new? No reviews? Experienced and 100+ Reviews?

If you are new, I would STRONGLY encourage just offering the whole first night for free. Reviews are the lifeblood of the short term rental market and I would take that cost to continue investing in my reputation as a host. Can you just imagine the review if someone put that a bad experience transformed into a glowing review? Also it prevents them from calling Airbnb and trying to get the whole stay refunded...

Now, if you are more experienced and have a ton of reviews, you might be able to take a little less of a hit and just flat out offer a $250/refund (half of the night). Regardless I would definitely take the proactive role and just offer them refund of some portion. It will show great good will as a host. 

If Airbnb  you are subject to a review be tactful how it is compensated. I will ask them a written promise not to bad mouth you on the internet as a condition for refund.


I'd get what they want in writing via a simple friendly email. Just ask them what you can do to make it right and go from there.

However no matter what they said I'd go above that ... But I'd lean on future credit vs refund. If they decline then it could be more than just the ac... 

@Jay Hinrichs   You are right it is hospitality and not land lording.   Most investors struggle with STRs because it requires more tact and putting the customer first versus dealing with a tenant.  Many STRs (AirBnB) owners have to learn the difference.  If my hot tub doesn't work then the night is free even if they do not ask for it.  If the A/C goes out for 2 days then a week stay becomes 1/2 price.  It has to be built into your business model and the cost of doing business. Very different than land lording.

What he ^^^ said. I had a central air unit go out on me yesterday at an STR. I let the guy stay free for last night because the repair people couldn't get there until today.

Has anyone taken the approach of listing out what refunds would be ahead of time?

Internet is out -- X dollars per day
AC out -- X% per night
Coffee Maker Broken - Credit on future night
Etc...

Obviously sometimes things are different than a list, but some things are common to happen.


Originally posted by @Scott Wyffels :

Has anyone taken the approach of listing out what refunds would be ahead of time?

Internet is out -- X dollars per day
AC out -- X% per night
Coffee Maker Broken - Credit on future night
Etc...

Obviously sometimes things are different than a list, but some things are common to happen.

 No I play it by ear.  Some of my guests do not care about some amenities and other things like spare coffee makers, new dishes, silverware, and other items I keep in my storage shed on property so a call to my caretaker/cleaner with a $25 service call charged to me and within an hour there is a new item at their door.  I even have a backup 2GB/month hotspot I pay $20 a month for just in case internet goes down to keep guests happy.  Actually had to use it today:)  I just double up on things and it keeps from having a crisis and provides piece of mind.

Originally posted by @Travis Rasmussen :

@Rebecca Cramer

How did it turn out?

 They were super grateful to have the night refunded. Very kind about it and really appreciative. I left them a really nice review and told them that. They didnt end up leaving me a review but I didnt ask them to since I didnt know how they would respond in the review. So I see it as a successful result! I am pretty sure they would have at least left me a 4 star or worse if I didnt refund them and no review to me is MUCH better than a 4 or less star review. 

At $500 a night you sound like you are a little more high end, with our 13 vacation rental units we are also going after the high end market.

I would a least compt them the first night. Yes the unit was usable, but they were also inconvenienced. No air for 1 night and I would imagine workers in and out the next day.

We worry more about our reviews, one bad review can scare off future customers.

Our Google business listing and reviews is sending us more customers than VRBO,HOMEAWAY, FLIPKEY and TripAdvisor combined. We don't use AirBnB