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?