Ripped Off After Last-Minute Cancellation in Milan

Early in the day when we were due to leave for Italy, our host sent an email advising she could no longer host us. Whilst she offered five other accommodation options through her booking agent (I presume a group that handles a number of bed and breakfasts in the Milan area), we simply had no time to try and communicate with those hosts to get a booking confirmation and arrange a meeting before our departure as we simply would not have access to any communication tools whilst travelling. Because of this, we had to urgently try to find alternative accommodations, settling on a hotel in Milan so we knew we would have reliable accommodations upon arrival, in 24 hours’ time. Since our host cancelled, I have been unable to get a refund of the $418 we paid for our booking. The host’s email no longer works and she will not respond to SMS messages sent to her phone. She has also removed our booking from the Airbnb site so we cannot contact her via our “Trips and Reservations” area of the website. Airbnb has no way of offering help on their website, instead referring people to Q&As on their website, which are useless. As a first time user of Airbnb, this has been a really bad experience and I will never use it ever again. I will do all that I can to persuade others to stay away from Airbnb. I feel totally ripped off.