Guest threatening to post bad review unless get full refund
We have a guest who recently stayed almost 2 weeks. There is new construction that just started right before they got there and there was a wedding party next door. They want a full refund or will post a very bad review with trip advisor. They loved the house, the view and all things that we could control, however the noises were upsetting to guests. The construction noise and party noise were beyond our control and not sure how to handle the guest. There is also apparently a bar they could hear, several blocks away, again beyond our control. Need help
Ugh, I’m so sorry you have to deal with this. I have a few questions:
- Did they send this threat in writing, or just verbally over the phone? Do you feel comfortable sharing what they wrote? (please don’t include any personally identifiable info)?
- Are they dead set on a full refund, or has there been any mention of a partial refund?
- Do you have anything in writing that expresses that they liked the house, the view, and the things you could control?
A few thoughts:
Regarding 1), if they threatened you in writing (“give me a refund or I’ll give you a bad review”), it’s possible that you can show the listing site that you were blackmailed after the review goes up, and the review might be removed. I know other owners who had negative reviews removed in a similar situation.
Regarding 2), if there’s a partial amount that would satisfy them, I would consider it. I don’t think the noisy bar is your concern, but arguably construction schedules are publicly available (due to permitting needs) and could arguably be something that a guest could have been informed about. Not sure when they booked and if the construction had been planned by then.
Personal anecdote: I once stayed in a beach house vacation rental and there was beach dredging going on right behind the house on the beach - it was super noisy (day and night) and it was completely blocking the beach view, and we couldn’t access the beach behind the house. I was greatly disappointed the owners didn’t cut the rate during that or even warn us about it. The home was not worth what they charged that week and we wouldn’t have booked it at all had we known. It significantly impacted our trip. While it wasn’t within the owner’s control, they knew it was going on and could have told us along the way at some point. I didn’t pursue anything with them - I just wanted to move on and not be pained further - but I think we could and should have.
I’m not saying your situation is the same - it’s not. I’m also not saying that you were or should have been aware of the construction (again, I think the bar is not your concern), but if you were or could have been at the time of booking, I’d consider taking a renter’s point of view and asking yourself if what they paid was fair. A full refund isn’t reasonable, in my opinion, but I wonder if a 25% refund (or something like that) is enough for them to feel they were treated fairly, or will they still be angry?
Regarding 3, if you have any positive comments about the house itself, this will help with any response you post to the review. For example, you could post that it’s unfortunate that the bar had a wedding, and that it’s never happened before. You could also share what the guest wrote positively about the positives of the place, and that the negative experience was due to unfortunate, one-time incidents.
Lastly, I want to reassure you that everything is going to be ok. If you end up with the negative review, a carefully crafted response to it (which we can help you draft here) could potentially turn a negative situation into a positive. No one expects a business to receive 5-star reviews with each and every customer. It’s just not realistic. So, if you have a bunch of positive reviews and one negative one, it actually adds legitimacy to your reviews and likely has little negative impact. And, if you respond respectfully and fairly to a negative customer (rather than arguing with them publicly in your review response), you actually come out ahead and they just look like a bad customer. This is going to be ok if you handle it with kindness and fairness.
Let me know the answers to my questions above and we can discuss further.
I’m curious if they contacted you during their stay and told you about the noise and the construction?