Host Cancellation Policy Not Worth Paper it is Written On

Just a warning for you hosts out there. Airbnb can refund 100% of the rate you have agreed upon with guests, and will not even inform you about it. The first you will know is when you receive a statement saying they have taken the money from your bank account, or deducted it from a future booking (which is what happened to us). It does not matter if you have a strict cancellation policy; Airbnb’s terms and conditions allow them to override this and “steal” (there really is no other word for it) your money and give it back to the guests, and not even inform you about it.

We had a booking in August – our peak period, and so we spent time, money and effort preparing our property for these guests, including purchasing food for their stay, paying for staff (our villas are serviced), and arranging cleaning, only for the guests not to turn up at all. As people fly to Bali, such a late cancellation left us no chance of finding other guests to take their place. When we contacted the guests, we found out that their grandmother had unfortunately died, and so they had decided not to travel.

While we had sympathy for the guests, we assumed that they had travel insurance (as we recommend for all guests) and so would claim on that, and so we offered to provide whatever paperwork they needed to do so. This is our business and our only source of income, and so we have a strict cancellation policy, as losing an entire week of income would be a big blow to us. We thought because of our cancellation policy that we were protected by Airbnb.

If guests contact us we normally work something out, and have in the past. For example, we have let guests stay later in the year for free. However, instead of claiming this on their insurance, the guests just went directly to Airbnb, and the next thing we knew, 100% of the amount paid had been taken from us. No warning or discussion from Airbnb. No discussion or message from the guests. We had had no argument or difficulties with the guests, just minimal conversation as we assumed they were busy with the funeral arrangements.

We are left here with all the costs of setting up the villa for the guests and yet zero income, and no ability to get other guests to stay or to recoup the income we had expected. We complained to Airbnb and they told us that when using Airbnb, we have to follow a policy called Extenuating Circumstances. In Airbnb’s view, their policy is evenhanded as it allows hosts to cancel at the last minute, as can guests for reasons outside of their control. However, if a host cancels due to some unforeseen emergency, then the money is repaid to the guests, and if the guests cancel due to some unforeseen emergency, then the money is also repaid to the guests. The host loses out in both cases.

Guests can also insure against unforeseen emergencies, but there is no such insurance to cover hosts for last minute cancellations leading to a significant drop in forecast income. With no discussion, notice, message or anything we were given zero opportunity to challenge or question this. Airbnb did not even check if the guests had travel insurance, and could have claimed that; they just quietly took the money without telling us. Not only is this policy grossly unfair to hosts, it is totally unethical to implement it without any discussion at all, and tells you that trusting Airbnb as a company is a very dangerous thing to do. A massive warning to Airbnb hosts: you are not who Airbnb cares about.

Airbnb Host Not Informed of our Reservation

My husband and I along with two other couples reserved a house in Camden, Maine for a week this past July. Airbnb charged the entire week to our credit card, half when we made the reservation and the other half a few days before our week started. We got numerous emails from Airbnb about our upcoming trip and how they hoped we had a great time.

When we got to the house, the owner had no idea we were coming and said he hadn’t dealt with Airbnb for over a year. Customer service was worse than useless. We were told that we could get a credit on a different place but there were none available and no help in obtaining alternate housing was offered.

After a couple of hours on the phone, we were able to get them to say they would credit our card but the amount they agreed to was over $200 less than the amount we were charged: probably a service fee. We waited a week and the amount wasn’t credited so I turned the matter over to Mastercard and of course was credited for the entire amount immediately while they investigated. It defies the imagination how a booking can be confirmed and credit card charged without the owner knowing we were coming. Never again Airbnb.

Blocked Toilet and Freezing Shower Make a Bad Stay

I have been trying to get in contact with Airbnb for days to resolve an issue. The only time I got to talk to them was the day I decided to cancel my booking. The only person at customer service was a lady who was really hard to understand; it seemed like she had a muffin in her mouth, or was talking under a pillow. Her instructions were not clear; they left me even more confused and disappointed.

I made a booking for six days in one place. The toilet was blocked and every time I flushed it, it overflowed. It was the first day and first time entering in that toilet; it was supposed to be my private bathroom but it was dirty. I really needed to use it and felt uncomfortable telling the hosts the toilet was dirty. When I flushed everything just came back out. It was very uncomfortable because my host accused me of blocking in up when I had just arrived.

It was late and I took a shower before bed. The hot water was off and the shower was freezing cold. Coming out of the bathroom, I had to go through the baby’s room. He started to cry, and then the host said I was not allowed to use the shower or toilet at night because the baby would wake up very easily. I started to feel really annoyed.

The next day, due to jet lag, I slept all day. However, I woke up to eat something in the middle of the night since I was also very thirsty. The host’s mother came to the kitchen to say I was making noise, when in fact I was as quiet as a mouse. Again, I could not take a shower so I decided to cancel the booking the next day. In the morning, while getting dressed, their baby bumped my door open when I was practically naked. I notified the host and Airbnb about the cancellation and left the place.

Airbnb told me when the booking was completed they were going to refund me for the days left. I have been trying to reach them without any success, only to have them direct me to the host. I asked the host for a refund but she decided to insult me, saying that my change to the booking didn’t work. When I cancelled the booking, Airbnb didn’t get back to me at all. They paid the host the full amount.

What is going on? Where is the guarantee and protection for the guest? This is not fair.

Worst Airbnb Host Ever Almost Ruined My Vacation

I stayed with a host who is quite literally one of the most unpleasant human beings I have ever encountered. How she has any good Airbnb reviews is beyond me. Her communication skills are beyond deplorable. The following review is for this listing in Tokyo. I noticed that she was very rude when I first asked her if it would be possible to check in early. A simple “no” would have sufficed; instead, she went on a rant. Given that she is Japanese, I brushed this rudeness off as her not being familiar with the English language and maybe she didn’t understand the underlying connotations of the words she was using. That was a mistake.

We arrived at the apartment, which looked like an absolute pigsty. See the attached photos. It was absolutely disgusting and not even the same apartment that was listed on the website. The host lied, in that it was not her apartment. I say lied because the key was in a specific mailbox with a code that she had given us, so it was practically impossible that we “by chance” got the wrong key and went to the wrong apartment. She kept lying and trying to blame us for her mistake. She also never offered to come help us. In fact, in the beginning we couldn’t even get in touch with her. Instead her husband who spoke no English was answering the phone.

Eventually, after a 21-hour flight I was fed up and went to a hotel. Then I proceeded to call Airbnb for a refund. It took over an hour to get my refund but finally the Airbnb case manager discovered that it was her apartment and that she had double booked it. Because it was her fault, Airbnb forced her to give me a refund. Afterwards, she left me a negative review. Why she was able to review me when the reservation was cancelled is beyond me. I had to call Airbnb to get that fixed as well.

Needless to say I will never use Airbnb again. Just realize that if something like this happens they pretty much leave you high and dry. The host should apologize for what she did but is such a horrible human she never will. She is lucky I didn’t leave a review on Airbnb and ruin her obviously fake reviews.

Worst Customer Experience, Fake Airbnb Fees

I booked an Airbnb about a month in advance of my trip to San Sebastian, Spain. I had a few messages with the host and felt good about the booking (good location, all good reviews). My last comment to the host was that I had to arrive late: about 10:30 PM due to traveling all day from another city in Spain. I sent this 24 days in advance, yet four days before my trip he replied saying that he will have to collect a 40 euro “late check-in fee” at the door.

I immediately contacted Airbnb to voice my concerns and to find out if this was something he had the right to do. This “late check-in fee” was nowhere on his listing. After three phone calls and a lot of being put on hold, customer service at Airbnb said the host is not allowed to charge an extra fee that’s not clearly on the listing for all to see. They said they would reach out to him right away to “resolve” this as they did not want to cancel the booking without hearing his side of the story.

I called Airbnb for three consecutive days begging for some sort of answer up to the point that I had passed the cut off for cancelling without a penalty and no one could help. Finally I had to beg and plea the night before my trip to escalate to a case manager. She attempted to assist, but literally said she was hamstrung and they do not issue refunds or reimbursements – ever – without at least letting the host respond. Since it was past the cancellation period, she said there was nothing she could do now that they should have reached out to the host sooner. She also said they could issue a coupon for a future stay, but that the max they could ever issue is $200 USD. I don’t know if any of this is true, but it sounded like complete BS to me.

I called my credit card company. They said I was not the first to dispute an Airbnb charge, that it’s not a problem, and they would take care of me. How dare Airbnb take the side of the host. He had three weeks to reply to me and towards the end I bet he was dodging the calls and emails from Airbnb. Airbnb needs to get their act together.

Airbnb Fisherman’s Hangout Unbearable without AC

We booked a fishing trip via Airbnb at a very quaint cottage on a canal just off the lake we were going to fish. To start off the nightmare, on Monday before the Friday we were scheduled to arrive, the weather report was forecasting a tropical storm “Cindy”, making a direct b-line to the location on the very day we were to arrive. We contacted the host and he acted as if he would work with us if the forecast was correct. Luckily it hit the night before our arrival a little east of its expected path.

We continued with our plans and got to the location on Friday and the weather was not as bad as it could have been. The cabin was very well kept and we were very excited to be there. We unloaded or stuff and while going in and out of the cabin I noticed the three AC units but only two were on. I promptly went to each of the two that were on and turned them down because it was not at a comfortable stage yet in the cabin. I also turned on the one in the bedroom. I also noticed a box fan in the living area pointing into the bedroom which raised my suspicions that something might not be right.

After we got settled down and got our boat docked, we were going to cook steaks, but after looking at the grill it was full of water from the rain. I decided to cook them on the stove. After going into the kitchen I noticed there was no vent hood and with the temperature being already at an uncomfortable level, I told my wife we better eat sandwiches instead, to give the AC time to cool the place down. I went into the bedroom to find it rather warm and after feeling the air coming out of the AC unit in the bedroom I could tell it was not working. Since it was rather late by that point I did not want to bother the host. I was hoping the other two ACs would catch up and with the help of the fan, they might have been able to.

I now knew the purpose for the box fan was there to help blow AC into the bedroom to help cool it down. We spent a very miserable and restless night sweating and experiencing back pain from the very small, very hard, full size bed. It was so bad I went into the living room at 4:30 AM in front of the AC and tried to get some rest on the couch, to no avail. I waited until 9:00 AM to call the host and told him of our issue. When I did I was greeted with the claim that I was complaining without a legitimate reason; the last guests had no problems and the AC was not having issues then, nor did he think there was a issue now. My question to him was then why was there a fan in the living room pointing into the bedroom. He said it was just for circulation.

He would never admit the AC issue and I even offered to help him install another window AC if he would go buy one. His reply was: “I can tell you are fishing for a refund.” I then told him we had planned this trip for a long time. Coming even in the shadow of a tropical storm should have shown him we wanted to stay at all costs. He never offered to fix the problem. Afterwards, I offered to go buy an AC unit and put it in another window; he did accept that offer, of course.

We then left to see if we could get some fishing in. The more I thought about it, the more I decided we should just go back, pack up, and go home. His lack of concern ruined the trip we had so looked forward to, and if he had at least tried to fix the problem or come over to the cabin to verify that the unit was in fact not working, I would have done whatever I could to help him get it resolved. He did not come by because he already knew that it was not working.

The bottom line is he did refund $198 of the $270 for the three nights, less our cleaning fee and the $39 Airbnb fee. I opened a case over three weeks ago and Airbnb keeps telling me they are going to help. So far I have not received any resolution. All I am asking for is the $72 left off my three nights, excluding my $50 cleaning fee and $39 Airbnb fee. All this and if the stupid host would have just shown a ounce of concern and fixed the AC. He would not have had to refund anything.

I am not at all impressed wit my overall experience at Airbnb, but I do think I will give it another chance.

Horrible Host and Pathetic Customer Service

I checked into an Airbnb on June 12th, 2017. There were a few issues that I realised were not advertised on the Airbnb listing. The “The Chinese spa style bathroom” advertised in the listing was just an old bathtub with no shower handle, meaning you had to use just the hose to take a shower. Furthermore, the bedroom did not have any curtains, just decorative tulle over the windows that did not even cover the whole window. As there was construction going on next door and there was a scaffolding, it was uncomfortable to sleep and get dressed in the bedroom without the windows being covered.

Finally, the listing stated: “Your bedroom is situated upstairs with the living room, the bathroom and the toilet that are only shared with me” which led me to think that she had a bedroom upstairs too. When I went to collect my keys she told me I would be staying in her room and she would be sleeping on the couch in the living room, which was not advertised. She did not stay in the house for the duration of my stay. I did not complain about these at the time because of the cancellation policy. I thought I could just get on with it.

I did contact Airbnb to say I felt uncomfortable at the property, and wanted to talk about my options. I left the property on the morning of June 20th, and did not come back until the next night. When I entered the house, the bathroom was a complete mess, and the bathtub was under construction and not usable. Even the sink was blocked with heavy furniture so I did not have access to any water. I’ve added photos from my first cancellation request; however, if needed, I can provide more photos.

This was a week in which the temperature was over 30 degrees in London. Since I work full time, not being able to take a shower or even wash my face in the bathroom sink was extremely inconvenient. If the construction started after I left on Tuesday, then she or the flatmate had more than 24 hours to let me know about the construction. If it had started on the morning of Wednesday, they had a full day (12 hours) to let me know about the construction. Yet no one informed me.

When I went to the property to pick up the keys on June 9th, the host had told me that there could be some quick work going on in the bathroom during my stay, but she told me she would give me notice. This was not ideal either, as if I had known this I would have not booked the property. This should have been told to me before the booking process.

After I left for work not having taken a shower, on Thursday, the host told me I could use her flatmate’s shower. However, the flatmate had strictly marked her own areas in the house and was not friendly at all, so I would have not been comfortable using her shower. I am sure the flatmate would not be happy with it either. More importantly, there was also work being done in that bathroom with tiles missing and dust around. Therefore, there were no clean usable shower amenities in the house. This is contrary what was advertised and I believe constitutes a Travel Issue under Airbnb’s Guest Cancellation Policy: “The listing booked is misrepresented (ex: number of bedrooms, location, lacks promised amenities).”

On Friday, June 23rd, I messaged the host, asking to shorten my stay and leave on Sunday. She immediately agreed and gave me the option to deal with the refund through Airbnb or directly with her. She gave me a calculation of how much my stay had cost with the weekly discount rather than the monthly discount, and agreed to refund me for the nights after my checkout. We then agreed that I would leave on Saturday, June 24th, making my stay 12 nights. However, I had not stayed in her house since Thursday, the 22nd, meaning that I only stayed at hers for 10 nights.

In short, from the first moment she agreed to refund me. All this is documented in our messages (not on Airbnb but if required I can provide screenshots of the conversation). If she had not agreed to refund me, I would not have left the property and would have stayed there until the end of my tenancy, July 10th. I immediately contacted Airbnb on what to do, yet I was kept being promised a call back from my case worker but I never received one. After calling Airbnb many times over the week I was advised to cancel my reservation and then ask for a refund.

I was advised to ask for a refund starting from the night I stopped staying at the property due to the bathtub construction, so I calculated my stay only for 10 nights. I cancelled my reservation and asked for a refund based on 10 nights, however the host declined my request. I imagine you can see her reply – she said that it was my responsibility to know the refund policy. I was aware of the refund policy; that’s why I wanted to confirm that she would refund me for the nights I did not stay. When she confirmed she would refund me through our messages, I cancelled. So I feel victimised now that she is saying she won’t refund me after I left the property. Like I said, if I had known, I would not have left.

Secondly, in her response she said that the construction had been finished in two days. When I went to collect my belongings on Saturday, the bathroom was still a mess; the bathtub was not finished and unusable, there were still construction equipment, and there was dirt and a mess all around the bathroom. There was no one working on the construction and since it was Sunday the other day no one would have been working on it the whole weekend. This means that the construction was going on for four days, and was probably going to go on for the next two days. Her claim in her response is simply untruthful.

Finally, in her response she said that I stayed 12 nights (even though it was 10 nights in reality), and that I should submit a refund request for the remaining nights after my stay. This is against what Airbnb advised me to do, but I just wanted to be done with this whole process and get my money. I requested another refund for 12 nights as she said. It has been more than 72 hours and she hasn’t replied. I’ve sent her another reminder message and she hasn’t replied to that either. I have been calling Airbnb every single day for he past week, and I can never reach my case manager. I don’t know what to do.

Airbnb Cozy Modern Studio Over a Dumpster

We were super excited to stay at this property because all of the photos on the Airbnb ad showed a lovely walk and beachfront condo. Little did we know that none of the exterior photos were of the unit being advertised. All of the exterior photos showed views of a beachfront unit with a patio and grill, when in fact this unit was in a separate building, facing the other direction, over a wall and an alley. There was no view, and no patio.

The only furniture near the patio (which was between the beach view units) was walled off with a sign that said: “owner only, no trespassing.” There was no view and no outdoor space, and it was the opposite of beachfront property; it was dumpster alley front. The inside was tiny, with no fans or air conditioning, only a tiny bed you had to climb a ladder to reach that faced an alley. There was not even a window that opens, just a tiny crank window in the bathroom that opened about two inches. We couldn’t sleep because there was a window (that does not open for air flow) right next to the bed with no shade. Cars drove down the alley all night with lights shining in our faces. It was also extremely loud due to all the drunk people fighting and running up and down the alley all night. It turned out, the bed was actually over the alley dumpster. Good luck sleeping with drunk people throwing bottles in it all night.

There was also a sunken shower that extended into the middle of the walkway – super dangerous and not at all family friendly. The Airbnb booking included TV. There was a TV, but it was mounted about nine feet off the ground, had no working remote, and was not actually hooked up even for local channels. For $250 a night, most people would think things like TV and air conditioning are standard. This is clearly a professional investment property. No one lives here – or could – full time. It is a tiny closet-sized box in an alleyway.

Airbnb did not care that the place was not as advertised. Simply not advertising them doesn’t relieve the host of his responsibility to be accurate. Accuracy includes divulging information, not withholding it. There should be a map showing that this is a back wall-facing unit with no views, no air conditioning, no TV, and no patio. I paid $978 and the place was so bad that we packed up and left at 7:00 AM, and moved to a hotel. I immediately messaged the host and agreed to pay 25% of the total price, so $734. He messaged me back and said he would refund me in accordance with the moderate cancellation policy. I thought that meant we had an agreement (which is more than fair, considering that we only stayed one night).

I didn’t hear from him again until I had arrived back in my hometown and he messaged me saying I would be refunded only $195. This really made me mad and I am sure it was tactical. He then told Airbnb that because I didn’t click “cancel” on my reservation, he couldn’t rent out the place for the remaining three days. He never told me that I had to do anything other than notify him. I am sure that this guy is out for the maximum return on his investment and doesn’t care about the comfort of guests. He also clearly was comfortable crossing the line into false advertising because he knew Airbnb wouldn’t do anything about it. They didn’t. They even acknowledged that some of the photos could be misleading, but have done nothing about it.

Crazy Host and Terrible Customer Service for Beach House

My family went to South Haven, MI for a weekend trip. We reserved an entire house. Everything started feeling a little strange the day of arrival. The host sent my wife incessant messages regarding the names and ages of all the guests. Even after we gave this information to her, she kept asking the same questions over and over. She sent a rulebook to us and quizzed my wife on it when she arrived. We were planning on having local day guests for beach access. Once the host heard about this, she forced us to add them to the guest list and wanted more money. My wife’s parents brought a guest with them we didn’t know about.

We were happy to pay the host for this guest, but she freaked out and started taking pictures of everyone with her phone, without their permission (including two boys under the age of eighteen and my ten-month-old daughter). She ran to the house and locked the door, refusing to talk to us. I can’t comment on the quality of the house, as I never made it inside. My family drove seven hours and had no place to stay.

I wasn’t aware of Airbnb’s policy that didn’t allow bad reviews when a trip is canceled and I couldn’t request a refund unless I canceled the trip. That was where I messed up. I asked the host for a refund (about $2000), which, of course, she ignored. We contacted Airbnb for arbitration and it was initially agreed that we would eat the first night’s rent and be refunded the rest. This was acceptable to us. Airbnb cowardly called my wife at 11:18 that night to tell us the decision was reversed. Of course, she was asleep. She has since called back 12 times. Every time our case manager is conveniently unavailable or the bastards simply hang up on us when they get tired of listening. As of this moment, we haven’t gotten anywhere.

Here is the listing for anyone who wants a great place to get screwed over in Michigan.

Downtown Dreamer Airbnb Nightmare with Trains Blaring

We took a job in Biloxi and had to find accommodations for two months. Of course, the day we got the job was the day that the summer rates kicked in so we struggled to find something in our budget that was within ten miles, had a kitchen, and was available for the full two months. We’d never used Airbnb before but after relentlessly searching for the traditional extended stay hotels without any luck, we found a property on Airbnb that was available, fit into our budget (barely) and advertised a full kitchen. Here’s the listing and description:

This spacious 900 square foot two-bedroom apartment is nestled on a side street just off of Washington Ave across from a city park. Private parking and walking distance to shopping, dining and all activities in the downtown area.

The space: Close to everything, downtown Ocean Springs.

Other things to note: We hope your visit to Ocean Springs creates wonderful memories that will last you a life time.

Further down the page there was a section called “House Rules.” Here’s how it looked as I scrolled down:

No smoking, no parties or events, check in time is 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM, prices subject to special event pricing and all local and state taxes. Listed price is for weeknights with a two-night minimum. Pets possible, deposit required. Possible sleeping arrangements for children. No more than four adults. Rules can change without being written on this site. However, the rules will be acknowledged by parties prior to completing the reservation. Cancellations must be made one week prior to stay for a full refund and three weeks prior on special event pricing nights. Enjoy your stay in beautiful downtown Ocean Springs.

You must also acknowledge the potential for noise – a train runs through the city of Ocean Springs.

This “acknowledgement” about trains running through Ocean Springs is the absolute last thing on this long list of “House Rules” and something that would be more appropriately listed under the “Other Things of Note” section, wouldn’t you think?

If you’ve ever used Airbnb, you will know that when you’re looking for the place, they don’t give you an address. They just provide a circle on a map and the property is somewhere in that circle. We didn’t notice the “acknowledgement” about trains until we were about to pay, but it seemed rather innocuous. I suppose we assumed that if the host had to warn us about noise, the warning had to adequately reflect the noise level. The fact that a train ran “through Ocean Springs” which covers about 12 square miles didn’t seem like the property would be close and based on the description that the property was right across from a city park, it sounded like the property was across from the only city park in that area; that was about as far southeast from the train tracks as you could get.

We booked it. Our job started, as did our reservation, on July 5th. We couldn’t check in until 5:00 PM, and we started work at 7:00 AM, so we didn’t actually get to the property until 4ish, which is when we discovered that the “city park” described in the listing was actually the railroad easement that runs along the tracks. The property was directly adjacent to the easement, separated only by a residential street, less than 100 feet. Being optimists, we thought, well, surely the trains don’t run at night because the host would have had to disclose that.

At 8:00 PM, the first train came blasting through. The whistle was earsplitting, and the entire property shook. However, we thought 8:00 was manageable. The next one was at 10:30 PM. It woke us both up and I thought maybe that was it. The next one was at 1:30ish. I almost laughed out loud because it was right out of “My Cousin Vinny.” The next one at 3:30 wasn’t even a little bit funny, and the 5:00 AM one would have been fine, since we had to get up anyway, if it hadn’t been for the three prior.

I immediately notified the host (at 5:30 AM) and Airbnb that there was no way we could stay there with the trains. We are working 10 to 12 hour days with heavy equipment, and we would either get hurt or hurt someone else if we weren’t able to get enough sleep. Airbnb sent an automated reply almost immediately assuring me that someone would be reaching “very soon.” I didn’t hear anything from our host until 4:00 that afternoon, and still hadn’t heard from Airbnb.

In the meantime, we were on the job starting at 7:00, and didn’t get off until 5:00, a short day. We were exhausted, but had to return to the property because we had no other place to go. We started looking for another place and actually found one that was available starting the next day. I reached out to that host and they preapproved us, but I was still waiting to hear from Airbnb about our refund. Our host had essentially not responded in any meaningful way so I knew we were in for a fight.

The second night the 8:00 PM train rolled through right on time. Then there was another one at 8:40, then another around 10:30, then another at 2ish. I was so tired I could not make myself get up for the 2:00 AM one, but I did record the 8:00 and 10:30 ones. Here’s the link to the video of the 8:00 PM one, and as you listen, keep in mind that the loudest part of the train has already past by the time I started recording.

I had not heard back from Airbnb by the next morning, so I called. I explained to my case manager that we could not stay one more night because we were exhausted and that was a problem at work. I needed to book something ASAP. She asked me to hold off for a couple of hours so that she could complete my claim and transfer any refund to my next booking. Four hours later, I had not heard from her and we lost the other booking by that time. We had to drive home, exhausted, and would have to drive back again tomorrow, though we have been able to book another place, just not through Airbnb.

Airbnb had nothing for us by the time the case manager got around to trying to transfer our refund. As for the refund, it’s pretty obscure what it would be. She said that the host was refunding half the fee we paid. However, her numbers didn’t add up. Here’s what she said: “As we’ve talked over the phone, I will now process the refund amounting to $3662: $1022 will be from the host, and $2640 will be from the nights not spent in the listing just for us to use the money for another listing that you want to book.”

The problem with her math is that we paid $2,428 for the first month of the reservation. We have not paid for the second month. A refund of $1,022 from Jeffrey amounts to less than half of what we paid. The remainder of the refund appears to be for amounts we haven’t paid yet (and won’t) so that’s not a refund. I was very suspicious of that garbled reference to using the refund “just for us to use the money to another listing that you want to book.”

I have written her back and asked for clarification, but I am already drafting a complaint to file in small claims court in Ocean Springs against this host. If I have to add Airbnb, I will move the case to federal court. The case manager was nice enough and definitely knows how to handle irate customers, but she told me things that were misleading at best, or flat out lies at worst. She told me that she had to negotiate with our host, and if he didn’t agree to refund us, then her hands were tied.

According to Airbnb, they have the final say in resolving all disputes. Since I have objected to this particular resolution, it is unclear if I will receive any kind of refund at all. I guess we’ll find out. At this point, I see no point in using Airbnb except that to rip off both legitimate hosts and guests by hiking up prices as a go between service without offering anything of value except a website. Rather, call a local realtor and check local listings for vacation rentals. Maybe it’s less convenient, but at least you won’t get ripped off. Because we cancelled, we are not even allowed to give a review of the host.

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