Airbnb Keeping Money Despite Full Refund Promised

This text was also submitted to the Florida Attorney General and other sites. I made several Airbnb reservations for an extended trip, and made sure the cancellation policy for each allowed for a full refund up to 14 days ahead.

Then coronavirus struck, and as a senior citizen we decided to cancel. I have two complaints. The first is that despite very clear words on the reservation page and confirmation email that I would get a full refund, Airbnb is keeping their service fee. They provided a rule that only three are refundable per year, and my trip involved seven, so I would lose four service fees or about $210 of my $950.

My complaint is they practiced deceptive advertising: the reservation page said “full refund until September 1”, but users would have to click a link for full details, then from that page a second link with more information let someone find this rule in the “fine print”. An exception that overturns my ability to get the full refund promised on the checkout page should be clearly stated on the first page and as part of the checkout process, not requiring the user to click backup “info” links and searching through backup webpages.

The second and bigger issue is that I settled for losing these four service fees to get the bulk of my money back. I cancelled the reservations and have emails stating they are refunding me $740 of my $950, but after ten days I called and they said my refund failed with no explanation, and any attempts to resolve this have been not only unsuccessful, they will not even talk to me or reply to my messaging.

When I call, I can talk to their first-line clerk but they know nothing and cannot help. They say they “will elevate” the call but nobody ever gets back to me. When I message them, they ignore me and do not reply. Airbnb is deceptive and in my opinion criminally keeping my money but there is nothing I can do.

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


  1. Feb 27, 2021
    I made the mistake of booking overlapping reservations not knowing that it wasn’t allowed. I booked a reservation and cancelled within 48 hours, however, had booked something else to ensure I wouldn’t end up with no place to stay. I have been going round and round with their chat service. Currently, I am requesting a credit in the amount they are choosing not to refund, for future bookings. I even could have just booked it under my husband’s account but did not realize it was against policy and therefore would lose the service fee.

    Has anyone had any success disputing the credit card charge with your CC company? I just like everyone else saw FULL REFUND until about 2 weeks prior to our reservation date…which is 4 months out.

  2. I have also not received a refund for an Airbnb cancellation due to covid. I canceled my reservation with the host in Arizona one day prior to the Airbnb covid policy announcement even though I explained that I had to drive from there to Vermont to pick up my college student since the dorms were closing. The host gave me a partial refund. Airbnb kept 100 percent of their fee.
    The only thing that I plan to do is vote with my wallet going forward and will not ever book with this company as well as discourage everyone who listens to me to be very wary when planning their travel. They want to collect very hefty fees from the traveler with zero customer service, In the past year i have booked over 30 night stays with Airbnb in 6 different states. I am sure that the hotel industry would love those dollars back.

  3. You should have read everything before canceling. This 3 times per year exists a long time ago and it’s not something new Airbnb came up with.

    For the ignoring part, as you may know they are receivend a lot of demands due to Covid-19 so maybe you can be a bit more patient, I’m sure there is not only you that they need to deal with.

  4. Since 2 weeks I have not receive my money à made a reservation for a house in Berlin and the host canceled the deal so am unable to receive my money I don’t know what to do .. I have nobody in Berlin and I am outside when I text them they don’t reply .. I need my 2400€ back please am still a student

  5. This is a totally unregulated industry relying on the greed of its Hosts to make profits for their company. Sadly you’ve found out the hard way …… simply don’t use them

  6. Welcome the the reality of dealing with Airbnb. Hosts have long-standing issues like this and more, and yes, they are falsely advertising promises they negate in other parts of the “fine print” …globally.

    The geographic scope expands it exponentially, and the profits they are taking in are in the billions…because they’re also keeping their cut from the host…we are both charged service fees.

    The “$$million host protection policy” is likewise an empty and very expensive disappointment for hosts. Some have sustained over $10k in damages with no support from Airbnb, and then there are the safety issues/shootings/etc that harm all demographics they weasel out of because they don’t really check IDs…just a “random sampling” where other booking services do.

    COVID is revealing a lot of corruption in thus forum and otherwise.

    The only way change will happen is if we join forces and get organized.

    Right now, be sure all of your communication is in writing in the messaging section of your account and save screen shots so you have evidence for whenever the legal system resumes work.

    I’ve heard Twitter posts get faster results than phoning as well.

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