Airbnb and Host Misrepresented Cancelation Policy — I Lost Over $2200

I appreciate this website as a voice to expose Airbnb’s dreadful behavior. At the end of my missive, I have two questions, and would appreciate any advise.

This last fall, my wife and I wanted to rent a house in Florida, while we considered buying a condo. Before booking, I wrote the Airbnb host and asked about the cancellation policy, as we didn’t want to lose our deposit if we ended up buying a condo. The host wrote: “Please check the cancellation policy for my listing on Airbnb for the exact details, but it’s basically you get a full refund if you cancel five days or more before your check in date.”

Before booking, I searched the Airbnb website for the cancellation policy and was directed to a page that said, “on Airbnb, hosts can choose which cancellation policies to offer to guests, and guests can review them before booking.” The web page even mentioned five days — I have a screenshot. I booked. We ended up buying a condo, and I immediately wrote the host and let her know we would not need the rental, and to please return the advanced deposit, since we were still 31 days from the check-in date. The host refused.

On appeal to Airbnb, they told me there is a clause in the terms and conditions that says for stays longer than 28 days (mine was planned for two months), the host does not set the cancellation policy, and they will not return my deposit. Classic bait and switch. Then the host lied and said “When you asked about my cancellation policy, I did not realize you were making a long-term reservation.”

The truth is I told the host my length of stay was two months, in the very first communication. Airbnb and the host both continued to keep the money, and refused to honor what was clearly promised. I have formally appealed to Airbnb management and they will not consider returning my money unless the host agrees. Dead end. I have complete records of all communications, receipts and screenshots.

I’d like to post a review of the host on Airbnb website to alert others, but Airbnb does not allow reviews unless you physically stayed at the rental. Does anyone know how to leave a review in my circumstances? I also plan to post on BBB. Any other suggestions for recourse?

Posted in Airbnb Guest Stories and tagged , , , , , .

6 Comments

  1. The cancellation policy is on the confirm and pay page before you book. You didn’t read it.
    Also the policy is stated in your trip details tab in your Airbnb in-box.

    The host quoted to you their short term policy. I hate they made a mistake. If the host doesn’t frequently do long term rentals they may not have known.

    The text follows- I couldn’t post a screenshot.

    You had the information provided to you before booking & immediately after. You can’t blame Airbnb or the host if you clicked through the screens.

    That was expensive mistake.

    Btw did you ask the host to consider refunding you for any nights they were able to rebook?

    ————————————
    Cancellation policy
    Cancellation policy Free cancellation for 48 hours. After that, cancel before 3:00 PM on Oct 24 and get a full refund, minus the first 30 days and the service fee. Learn more
    Make sure this host’s cancellation policy works for you. Our Extenuating Circumstance policy may not cover travel disruptions caused by known events, like COVID-19, or foreseeable events, like common severe weather. Learn more
    By selecting the button below, I agree to the House Rules, Safety Disclosures, Cancellation Policy, Airbnb’s social-distancing and other COVID-19-related guidelines, Guest Refund Policy, and to booking with Airbnb Stays, Inc. I also agree to pay the total amount shown, which includes Service Fees.

    Confirm and pay

    • Hey Airbnb shill, I noticed you don’t respond to the nightmare stories that don’t involve “VIOLATING AIRBNB POLICY” and are just Airbnb being terrible… why not? I do kind of enjoy reading the bs you come up with. Think of it as a creative challlenge!!

  2. Damn, I’d had paid another 2200 dollars for someone to rent that same Airbnb for a week and burn it to the ground so that idiot host gets a bit of the karma he deserves.

  3. That seems very much a case of buyer beware. Unfortunate for you, and you have my full sympathy. Airbnb is dodgy to say the least! It seems your only recourse would be legal action. Spread the word re airbnb far and wide!!!

    • A buyer should always “beware,” of course. The buyer was vigilant. What’s not mentioned is that after the refund was refused, Airbnb changed the website so that the long-term policy was unburied from a back page in small print (and had been overridden by the woman host in her personal email to said buyer when he asked her because he could not clearly determine the return policy from the site) was CHANGED/moved to the front and made visible. This is also documented. It did not matter. Airbnb and the woman decided to be dishonest probably knowing in their “bigness” they could get away with it because going Small Claims would have cost the buyer even more and he’d give up. At the end of the day, they live with their shoddy integrity, and we’ve found a different B and B to work with!

      • Such ‘transparency’ would not surprise me in the least. For some reason, online companies seem to think they can dick people around even more than high-street. Best of luck!

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