Airbnb Denies Refund for Hotel and Laundry Expenses as Promised

I booked a hostel on Airbnb in June 2022. It was my first experience at a hostel and I did not know Airbnb allowed hostels on their website. Based on the number of good reviews of the place and the high prices of the city I was traveling to (Copenhagen), I decided to give it a try. My travel there was in August and just as I checked in I was offered a shared room with a pretty bad smell. I went straight to the reception, without even bothering to contact Airbnb about it, and they manage to change me and all seemed fine.

My plan was not to spend that much time at this hostel as I was taking an intensive summer course there. I am a person who can easily fall asleep even if there’s noise around so in that respect the hostel did not represent a bad deal for me. During my second night, I encountered some small bugs running around on the bed sheets and bed cover. I could grab one and after googling and asking people I realized they were bed bugs. Immediately I panicked and because it was quite late in the night I decided to call Airbnb.

The person who I talked to was really friendly and seemed they had the intention to help with my case. The different people I talked to asked me for photos and videos of the bed bugs, which I provided. They told me they would help me as in I could not continue to sleep in that place and it was important for me to sleep to continue attending my course.

After a night without sleep and just waiting until it was 8:00 AM I called again Airbnb just to see how they would help me. I also contacted the hostel reception and they just told me: “Oh, sorry for that. Send us an email and we can help you with a refund.” They also offered to launder my clothes but I did not want to give them my clothes thinking that whatever they have will just make it worse.

Airbnb finally called me and accepted the photos and videos I sent (they even asked me for photos of bites on me and bed bug blood on the bedsheets). Eventually, I asked them what I could do now. As in, they promised to help me find a new place and would take care of it, but that wasn’t the case. They just said to go to a hotel and stay there. They were aware I had four more nights but their policy only allowed them to refund three, so I should book a hotel and they will reimburse me, same with the laundry expenses.

As I had to attend the course I just checked out from that horrible place and went back to my course with all my luggage and hoping Airbnb will refund me as they promised. When I was booking that afternoon I realized there were almost no hotels available, except for expensive hotels and really expensive hotels. I wrote them a message asking for the price, waited couple of hours, and without anything else to stay I just decided to book.

I am aware the hotel I booked was more expensive than what I paid but also I was promised I would get a refund and they did not tell me they could only refund a certain amount or anything. If I had known about it, it probably would have been better for me to have returned home on a last-minute flight as I could not afford this. I am a student.

Airbnb customer service replied just after that day, meaning that no matter if I would’ve waited I wouldn’t gotten an answer, and unfortunately I did not have enough credit to call them again one more time to check if that was alright. When they replied they told me the price of the hotel was too high and they would only refund 50% of my original reservation. Meaning, literally nothing. If they were to refund so little then why they would tell me they will refund hotel and laundry expenses? Obviously, last minute hotels don’t come cheap and adding laundry will never be the amount that someone going for that bad experience expects.

I am beyond sad that I had to experience this situation with Airbnb. I’ve been staying at their listings in many cities since 2014 and had always good reviews and experiences but this was really bad. I can’t see myself trusting Airbnb because not only did they fail to put a listing up that was not up to okay standards but they failed me as a platform and promised something that later was denied.

It’s been two weeks since that happened. I am broke and have literally no way to get this to court as I don’t know who I can go to and if that will just cost me more money. I am a student in Norway who went on a study trip to Denmark and Airbnb is an American company so I really don’t know what the process is here. I just saw few posts of Airbnb customers who had similar experiences as I did and I really wish this would stop. Hope no one had to live through what I experienced with them.

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