Airbnb is Scamming Hosts During this Crisis

I’ve been a host with Airbnb for about seven or eight years. We’ve had our differences but nothing too bad. Mainly, after the first couple of years, getting help from them for a situation was difficult, then they got better, but really, it was for minor things.

I’ve been a Superhost now for a couple of years so I take my role as host very seriously. Well, I had a guest that I was in communication with the whole time and she had to cancel at the last minute because of travel restrictions back in March due to the virus.

As per my cancellation policy (100% if a week, 50% if less than that), I received half of my expected fee and she got her half. Just last week, we get this email with great fanfare from the CEO about how they were putting five million dollars into helping the Airbnb community. I thought that was nice.

I have one guest who is here because he’s working on a job for an essential industry. When I received my payment, Airbnb had deducted my 50% from the cancelled guest and had returned the entire fee to the guest.

I don’t object to that given all the money Airbnb has but to take it from me, who is a small business person who relies on this income and works hard for it  — in Massachusetts we register as small businesses and pay business taxes — seems very unfair, especially because they are giving a false narrative about how they are taking care of the whole “Airbnb” community. Three hundred and fifty dollars is nothing to a corporation like theirs. They should be able to take care of the guest and me.

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


  1. We are accumulating screenshots of guests and Airbnb customer service conversations which show that Airbnb is simply refunding guests in violation of its extenuating circumstances policy. Feel free to contribute here.

    We are also representing hosts in arbitration agasint AIrbnb for COVID related refunds agasint eh strict cancellation policy of hosts. You can get on our arbitration update list and receive more information here.

  2. AirBnB failed to help me with a guest whom I let stay for an additional few weeks during the COVID19 crisis and I had asked them to help her find a new place—they had told her that I complained about her. When I had explained the situation to them such as her cursing and her threats to get me evicted from my own apartment. I really have to say, AirBnB does not care for human life.

    Now the guest has threatened me with squatters rights and wants me to take her to housing court

  3. I completely agree in fact I wrote my own article hoping to get it featured I don’t see it. It was in regards to how unfairly they have treated hosts and yes just as another host I recently lost my super host status and they could care less. I lost over 14k last month in cancellations now my business is in shambles and they have done nothing.

  4. I lost my superhost status because of the virus. I didn’t make the 10 stays per year due to cancellations and no travel. I am so disgusted by that.
    Now I have to claw my way back to that.


    • Have you not read any of the other posts, Jessica? With respect, how anyone could continue collaborating with a company that treats people so badly in the wake of an ‘inevitable’ emergency/problem is beyond me! If I were you, I would avoid the hell of having to deal with Airbnb by seeking income elsewhere.

  5. I am a SuperHost with Airbnb. I have always found the site to be less than professional and the customer support even worse. I never get more than a form letter answer and they push off any issue onto the Host. NOT once has Airbnb handled it.

    I had only one cancellation in March and it was 2 WEEKS before the cancellation policy went into effect for the virus. I received my 50% payment 4 days AFTER the guest was supposed to arrive and 10 days after the cancellation. This was still BEFORE the new cancellation policy as the guest did not state it was cancelled because of the Corona Virus.

    Now, after having received my payment a few weeks ago, Airbnb sends me a message about how they are doing their best to accommodate the guests in these hard times and have set aside millions of dollars to compensate the Hosts OUT OF THEIR POCKET.

    Of course in the same message to me, one paragraph under this magnanimous announcement it continues on to say they were taking the money BACK from the Host (me) to cover the refund they are giving the guest.

    So, they are making the HOST take money out of their pockets so that this billion dollar company doesn’t actually lose any money. I make a few thousand dollars a year hosting. This means always being on call, cleaning, replacing, changing sheets. It means buying new sheets, new toiletries, ammenities, replacing things broken, taken, used up. Buying new towels, soaps, coffees, etc OUT OF MY POCKET and Airbnb makes money off every reservation with absolutely no out of pocket of their own.

    This Virus cancellation policy is only for the benefit of Airbnb. It is NOT partnering with the Host to help with the lost income.

    • I am a host as well as a guest. As a host, I think the guests should get full refund because they are the ones actually losing money out of pocket when it is no fault of theirs. They’re losing money due to canceled flights (airlines are not immediately refunding as per my knowledge) and if they already started the journey, having to book new flights at very high costs to get back home safe. The purpose of charging the guest under general cancellation policy is to compensate the host for the lost opportunity (some other guest might have booked the place). But with COVID-19 when almost nobody can travel, this reasoning is not valid. As a host, the cost of towels, tea, soaps etc can not be compared at all to the costs that the guest has to bear.

  6. AirBnB is charging me over $6k for what ended up being a 2 week stay in a small, grimy apartment. So yeah, $350 is nothing.

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