We reserved a property with Airbnb last November for Comic Con 20 in July. On April 17, Comic Con was cancelled due to the World Health Organization gathering guidelines dated March 11 and California Governor Newsom stating that group gatherings in California before August could not happen.
When I tried to rebook the property for Comic Con 21 next year, I discovered the property had been marked up $10,000 for our five-day stay. Instead of costing $6472 like it did this year, it was marked up to $16,879 for a stay of the same duration and for the same reason, a 180% markup.
I cancelled my reservation and requested a full refund of the $3264 I had made on the first of two installments. On April 9, Airbnb had said their COVID-19 full refund only applied through May 31 and despite having an extenuating circumstance policy for epidemic disease, it did not apply to COVID-19 cases.
Since my COVID-19 case was after May 31, then neither the COVID-19 or epidemic disease policy would cover my cancellation refund. This is also when I found out that the Airbnb 50% refund policy is not a 50% refund of what you pay, but 50% of the total bill, so instead of about $1500 back from my initial payment, I got $62.
I appealed to the property owner. Their response was to talk to Airbnb. I appealed to Airbnb, and they told me to talk to the property owner. So when I paid last November, my money was effectively gone after 48 hours. I had at least three different conversations with Airbnb and the host, but they insisted that the COVID-19 policy to May 31 was the end all and be all policy and did not apply to the Comic Con COVID-19 cancellation in July.
The COVID-19 and epidemic disease policies for Airbnb deny the reality of the pandemic after May 31. Ironically, this same property is listed on VrBO with a full refund policy through May 22, 2020. I am moving on to arbitration via the American Arbitration Association.