Airbnb Refuses Refund Amidst COVID Measures

In February 2020, our family booked an Airbnb in Capetown, South Africa checking in on July 12 and checking out on July 19. The pandemic hit in March and we still held out hope that we would be able to take this dream trip in July. At the end of May, Delta cancelled our flights to Johannesburg.

At this point, it was obvious that we were not going to South Africa because we could not get there and the country has not opened its border. At this time, Airbnb’s policy would allow us to request a refund but 100% was only guaranteed for travel through June 30. You could cancel, get a portion back, then fill out an extenuating circumstances form and request the rest back.

I cancelled at the end of May because we could not get there and South Africa will not allow us to enter the country due to a pandemic which is an extenuating circumstance. At the time I cancelled, I reached out to my host who said he would review it and I have never gotten a response.

The Airbnb rep at the time told me they would probably extend the travel dates because of the pandemic. Well… the dates were extended to accommodate people checking in during July but then they said if you cancelled prior to June 1, you could not be considered in the extenuating circumstances policy. This is ridiculous. I cancelled as soon as Delta cancelled our flights.

At that time, I wanted the host to know we couldn’t come. Airbnb rep’s tell me they were “sorry” and “their hands are tied”. This is BS. They owe us $1,000. I only got a portion back from the host. Airbnb said they reached out to the host to no avail. Again, BS. Airbnb can let them know that they need to refund us or they will no longer be allowed to be a host.

A worldwide pandemic is an extenuating circumstance. I didn’t cancel this trip of a lifetime for the hell of it. I cancelled because we cannot get there and are not allowed in the country. I have emailed the CEO of Airbnb who publishes his email address so you can always get in touch with someone. We should get the rest of the “rent” and all the fees back from Airbnb and then they can fight with the host that is clearly not an ethical business person not refunding us our money.

Thank you for having this forum to express the stories.


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