Airbnb Refused Refund Despite Published Policy


My husband and I booked with Airbnb to go to our annual beach vacation in Lewes, Delaware. Unfortunately, we had to cancel due to severe weather conditions that made it unsafe to travel. According to Airbnb policy, that is an “extenuating circumstance” which allowed us to receive a full refund. The Airbnb manager agreed that it was unsafe for us to travel and we were entitled to a full refund.

However, our host was completely insane. She was rude to me despite the fact that I was always polite to her. She refused to “agree” to the refund. Why she needed to agree when there is published policy is beyond me. Airbnb published the policy and its up to them to enforce that policy with their hosts whether their hosts like it or not.

We are still owed over $500. I have provided Airbnb with the detailed weather warning and report from NOAA. Their own manager agreed it was unsafe for us to travel based on the weather warning from NOAA which the manager verified. Airbnb policy states that I’m entitled to a full refund based on “extenuating circumstances” in this event. I’m still waiting.

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


  1. You have given a very rational, succinct and considered account with hard evidence. So you should be able to undertake legal process yourself for it appears that may be your only option.

    It appears AirBnB has made it very difficult for them to be sued but you could proceed against the host as you’d have their name and address in America. I am not familiar with legal process in America but you could initially serve upon the host by mail a Final Demand giving notice of your intent to sue for claim if not settled within 7 days from the date of receipt of the Notice. Your post office may offer an Advice of Receipt service. This will cost you very little and hopefully may be sufficient for the host to refund your money.

    Should that not be successful, you may be able to apply to the court for a default summons yourself, solicitors being too expensive to do it on your behalf for a small claim. Courts usually are very helpful too. Alternatively, you may have a Legal Advice Centre or equivalent in your area which offers free legal advice to the public. Searching the web should also turn up information for the correct procedure in your state for small claims actions.

    In any event, it is safer in the future to always book holidays and accommodation through a reputable travel agent or directly with a reputable hotel or motel.

    • Your contract is with Airbnb, not a host, and you paid Airbnb. So, I would venture to say that you can’t pursue the host. The best bet is to pursue Airbnb, and eventually they will relent, as you noted that the evidence is pretty clear. I would withhold the credit card payment first to get their attention.

  2. “Airbnb published the policy and its up to them to enforce that policy with their hosts whether their hosts like it or not.” Totally agree! Certain people in the comments of this site tend to side with hosts against guests in favor of ridiculously strict refund policies, but where are these same commenters if the policies are ignored when a guest should rightfully get a refund?!? Airbnb seems to conveniently enforce policies only when it benefits them, which means they are not trustworthy and won’t be getting my business anymore…too risky and unreliable!

    • The forecast states: “A storm system will impact the region on Tuesday. Storms will be capable of producing damaging winds, tornadoes, large hail, and heavy rainfall that could lead to localized flash flooding.” Seems very definitive to me, Bill, it states ‘will’ and not may impact. I would presume the Bureau would recommend against travelling during that time also. Only a fool would travel when tornadoes, large hail,and damaging winds were predicted with such certainty.

      In any event, the guest said that AirBnB had accepted the weather report and agreed it was unsafe to travel.

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