Airbnb Steals My $550, Then Host Ghosts Me

I am planning a trip to NYC in mid-November. I usually book with VRBO but wasn’t finding exactly what I wanted, so I tried Airbnb. Being my first time on their site, I wasn’t aware of the “Instant Book” feature. When I pressed the button, I thought I was only contacting the host as I hadn’t read the listing fully yet, but my card was charged immediately. I realized also in that moment by reading a few reviews that it was a room in the house with many other random boarders and that had not been made clear. I canceled within minutes but only received half back. I contacted the host in all manner of ways and he did not respond. I contacted Airbnb and they said they would contact the host for me. Five days later, they told me the host refused to issue a refund and there was nothing they could do on their end. I asked to speak to a manager but no one ever called back.

$550 was literally stolen from me and there’s nothing I can do? This host lost no booking time because of my mistake; he is just collecting free money. I have written to him now five times over the course of a week and he is ghosting me. Airbnb won’t take responsibility for the host. Isn’t this supposed to be a hospitality business? The only thing I can think of is to threaten this host with eviction by telling his property management company that he is illegally profiteering on their property (I looked up the address and called the realty company to inquire about subletting). Any ideas?

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


  1. But in the first place you simply shouldn’t have booked it! Book instantly means book instantly.

    If you book a hotel on with the no-cancelation pricing because you believed you were contacting them they won’t found you either, even if you cancel 1 min after!

    Everything is written, read first click after!

    Now about the Airbnb host yea he’s definitely a greedy person and saw the opportunity to make easy money, if it was a booking made long time ago and canceled with a too short notice I would understand him but if it’s just minutes after the booking he’s an asshole.

    Just never in life click on something without being sure of what you do otherwise you’re at fault too.

  2. Almost all Airbnbs in NYC are illegal

    For now, interested parties can report illegal Airbnbs by dialing 646-979-4117 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays. There will also be an after-hours message forwarding service.

  3. “$550 was literally stolen from me and there’s nothing I can do?” Rubbish! Take responsibility for your own actions and learn how to read or don’t do business transactions online. Why blame a platform that has millions of happy customers for your own stupidity?

  4. Airbnb doesn’t care so you should qrite the host and tell him that you are going to contact the landlord. Tell airbnb the same thing. And then do it.

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