Last Minute Cancellation

Nearly two months ago, my fiancee and I booked a beautiful apartment for a two-week stay in San Francisco. We spent a lot of time looking through listings, and found one that we thought was perfect. The host was well-reviewed, and there were many positive comments. We paid the full amount and thought we were on our way.

Fast forward to the night before we were to arrive. After several days of attempting to contact the host, she abruptly canceled our reservation with no warning and no explanation. We had only a few hours to find somewhere to stay.

Airbnb told us we’d be eligible for a mere $100 credit. We were able to find another apartment at the last minute, but it wasn’t nearly as nice as the one we booked originally.

I have had nothing but great experiences with AirBnB in the past. In fact, we are in a beautiful rented house for our second week here in the Bay Area, but have had to now pay the cost of moving to a second property (a second AirBnB fee and a second cleaning fee).

We also learned that you can’t leave negative feedback on AirBnB unless you stay at a property, so there is no other way for us to warn people about this on their site.

I believe that AirBnB is providing a great service, but this is an issue they need to address. They are very strict about renter cancelations, but to my knowledge, no penalty befell our host for canceling less than 24 hours in advance, besides a warning.

Posted in Guest Stories and tagged , , , .


  1. While it is true that you can’t leave a comment on a booking that is cancelled by the host, I think there is an automatic message left in review section when a host cancels and how many days before they did.

    Therefore, future potential customers do see that transparency of cancellation of past guest bookings and they can decide whether they want to trust the host or not.

    I do agree that AirBnB should offer more compensation, or offer an iron-clad guarantee if a host cancels, like a fully paid for booking at a 4 star or better hotel within 2 miles of the booking, where possible.

  2. >While it is true that you can’t leave a comment on a booking that is >cancelled by the host, I think there is an automatic message left in >review section when a host cancels and how many days before they did.

    My booking was cancelled by Host, there was an automatic post that booking was cancelled by host( there was at least 20 posts booking was cancelled by host) after 2 months this posts dissapeared and now i can see just positive reviews.

  3. This just happened to me for a business trip. I had booked well in advance because I knew it was a busy week in Geneva, Switzerland. My suspicion is that the host (highly recommended) figured out that a higher rate could be had. Because there’s no real way to review hosts for this sort of thing, no one will ever be the wiser. I’m increasingly of the view that Airbnb is not a solution for business travelers. Which is a shame because when it works, it is a welcome relief to have a nice apartment rather than a hotel. But it’s too risky. most business travelers are trying to take the stress out of travel not add an unknown element.

  4. I also made awful experience with airbnb. Booked an appartment in NY about two months ago. Booking was confirmed by host. Just 1 day before arrival, the booking was cancelled by airbnb! (not the host) because host has taken down the ad from airbnb web site.

    Effectively, it was airbnb who cancelled my reservation!!! This is not professional at all.


  5. We booked two months in advance with Neil Kay for a one bedroom South of Market apartment in San Francisco. Neil cancelled FOUR days before us arriving for a HUGE business conference. We are stuck
    scrambling to find a hotel room for 7 days at a super busy time. How does Air BnB get away with this?!? 2015
    And no help or compensation whatsoever. Unbelievable. We paid $1800 two months ago and now another $2000 to try to fix this situation. Anyone on a travel budget knows that laying out cash like this is unheard of and not acceptable! Buyer Beware!

  6. This just happened to me . I was literally in transit to the destination when the host cancelled the reservation . It just so happens I had chosen that specific rental because I wanted to be close to my daughter who was about to undergo surgery . The townhouse was familiar to me as I had seen the complex before and it was a mere 100 yards from my daughter’s apartment . I frantically searched for something suitable in the area only to find myself renting a room in someone’s home on the other side of town and in the hills. I was forced to rent a car and incur additional expenses. After one night at this location I cut my trip short by a week, my daughter was deprived of my assistance and I had to spend another $160 to change my flight home. Perhaps the most egregious aspect of this whole fiasco was the hours and the aggravation and stress i endured , living out of a suitcase while trying to comfort my daughter and attend to her needs. The host , in an effort to save money and face lied through her teeth about maintenance being done on the property describing it as a war zone of industrial paint equipment, and unfit for habitation . She went on a diatribe about the inconvenience to her and that she would have to block the listing for a least a month . Well lo and behold I walked by this townhouse and it was a peaceful , honey suckle scented oasis. No workmen or equipment anywhere to be found. Then doing a bit more research I discovered the listing on several other rental sites including VRBO. with the unit being unavailable for a month . Clearly she received a better offer elsewhere and cancelled my week stay without giving it a second thought. To make matters worse, after 4 days of hell my flight home was cancelled as well and i spent an additional 4 hours in the airport awaiting the next available flight. I am an experienced traveler have used Airbnb a number of times without incident. I have traveled all over the world since birth and this four day trip was bar none the worst travel experience of my life. Nothing short of a complete nightmare. Airbnb has plenty of regulations in place to protect hosts, and none whatsoever to protect renters other than to offer refunds based on cancellation policies of each host. I was fortunate enough that the second host , upon learning of my situation, altered his moderate cancellation policy to give me a complete refund. This was the only salvation in what was the trip from hell.

  7. I just accepted a last minute late night reservation..when I could see the guest’s full name after doing so, I looked them up on Google and saw they had a lot of smut and porn videos posted on their profile and as a single woman I felt it to be an unacceptable guest. They asked to book at 9:30pm, I confirmed at 9:45pm, and cancelled at 9:46 pm. So I cancelled by calling AirBnB….now I get a $100 penalty and lose my superhost status because I am trying to protect unsavory sex perverts from staying in my home. The female AirBnB customer service rep, Mary B. was lifeless and unempathetic and said there was no way she could reverse or waive this policy and that she had to help the guest. Go AirBnB! Keep sending sex predators, meth addicts and criminals into our homes and punishing the hosts for being selective!

  8. I had rented a house for 10 people for my son’s upcoming wedding last December. Yesterday, out of the blue, the host canceled. It turns out that he sold the house. How can he advertise on airbnb when he is trying to sell his house? At the very least, the host should honor his airbnb commitments prior to closing the sale on the house. Now I am stuck and stressed out looking for accommodations for 10 of my family members coming from out of state, into a small town with limited options. Prices are now at a premium. I will never book on airbnb again because of this experience. It is just too stressful and airbnb doesn’t make the situation right in any way. I believe cancellation stories like ours should be enough to make anyone change their mind about using airbnb for lodging purposes. One rotten apple ruins the entire basket, in my opinion.

  9. Just happened to me as well. Absolute rubbish. this dude cancelled mine and everyone else’s bookings 2 days before my flight. Because the booking was over super-peak period and for 8 nights, it’s been hell trying to find a decently priced accommodation at such short notice. Here is his sob story: “We are very sorry that we have to cancel your reservation as we now have legal problem with the house rent. We were inspected by police for illegal house rent to tourists. Honestly, we have been caught 2 times before for illegal rent to tourists and this morning we were caught for 3rd time.
    So, the house is being closed by police now and we cannot accommodate you anymore.
    If we rent house, we will be jailed…. hope you may understand our situation…..
    We don’t know how to say sorry about the cancellation and hope you can quickly find another place for your stay in seoul….. so so sorry……
    Kate and Jason”

    I’m half decided to expose his full details online – but I need to cool down first!
    AirBnB had better find some better way for poor users to flag rotten apples and receive feedback…. but this will be my last time on such a rubbish service.

  10. Wow, reading your stories do scary me about Airbnb. Thinking there should be a website where “unhonorable” hosts and tenants are listed. @Carol, Airbnb should have a policy where you can check out a potential tenants and cancel “guilt-free” within the first 15 mins. But then again, you do need to give newcomers a chance, otherwise you can just go with well-reviewed people and reduce chances of mishaps.

  11. Family of four had enough!
    I have been trying to book accommodation in Barcelona, along with other parts of Europe, I am methodically selecting accommodation in conjunction with booking flights, and selecting what works within my very tight budget! Our plan is to see a few countries while we have the opportunity. Most of my bookings have been through Airbnb however now I am finding after paying for accomodation I have had hosts cancell on me twice in Barcelona, the flights are booked I cannot secure accommodation within my budget at lower end as other listings previously avaible are no longer. I am being forced to look for much more expensive alternatives. My fear is the other bookings I have made doing the same, as I still 2 to 3 month wait until will go on our holiday. There should be more security for clientelle, as money back on a cancelled listing does not compensate for the affordiblity of a holiday been thrown into jepordy.

  12. Nadine,

    Barcelona has a serious problem with Airbnb, see this article:

    This is one of many articles about the city government’s position and rules about short-term rentals, and believe me they ARE NOT friendly towards Airbnb. In fact, I think there is a one-year ban (as of last fall) on any new accommodations, which may increase the chances you can find yourself in a bad or shady situation. There are huge fines for illegal subletters there, so hosts are probably running into trouble from the government. It becomes apparent that your best bet for Barcelona is with an established, tax-paying legal hotel or bed and breakfast, or to skip the city if those are not affordable.

  13. Hi ,
    I am in between of the either calling air bnb complaint centre at Singapore or just wait till my tenure of stay is over.
    The hosts had posted no smoking and no alcohol but in reality I just saw her husband smoking and drinking booze since three days in the living room with his friend who seemingly sleeps in living room at nights.
    I wanted to know from you people if I should let it go and wait for four days by which I will be out of the air bnb host house or call the Singapore complaint centre for Airbnb right away .

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