Airbnb Strict Cancellation is not as Strict as it Seems

Airbnb gives you the opportunity of choosing a cancellation policy. I have chosen a strict cancellation policy which, per their terms, means a ‘full refund’. A woman booked my house many months ago at a heavily discounted price for this week. I received a message from Airbnb today stating that they cancelled her reservation today as she didn’t complete the payment. When I called (the email had zero explanations and was automatically generated) they stated that they would pay me only $800 (payment due was $2450) as she didn’t pay in full. Essentially, even if you have a strict policy and no privity of contract with the ultimate guests, Airbnb asks the hosts to carry the burden of their credit risk. Of course, customer service is anonymous and miserable and they refused to connect me to their legal team to explain to them why their cancellation policy is currently wrong and misleading.

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  1. 1. Getting paid $800 out of $2450 is not a “full refund”.
    2. The cancellation policy only applies to money the guest has paid. If the guest pays in installments and doesn’t pay them all, then what is there to “keep”? Do you expect Airbnb to take the guest to collections? Do you expect Airbnb to pay you the rest out of their own pocket?

  2. “I will bet there is a post soon by a guest about how Airbnb ruined their vacation by cancelling for non-payment.”

    Good prediction, Anne.. Look over today’s Guest Stories!

  3. Please get the facts and details correct and complete! Strict airbnb is NOT always full refund. Infact there are only 2 cases for that. In the 48hr period (also 14days before stay) and with “extenuating circumstances “like a death in your family. If cancelled more than 7days before stay … you still get 50%. Payments of travel side are typically 50% upfront and 50% after 24hrs of checkin. I am guessing that $800 is rounding things off a bit …. and maybe this was a cancellation more than 7days of stay less all airbnb fees …. about $400 on a $2450 stay.

    The one thing that seems accurate here is that AIrheads stopped most customer service and have started a more automated platform since 2019. It is more like ebay with no explanations for a new user not reading the policy. The other thing that changed with this new automation is any invoicing NOT based on the original reservation or basic room/cleaning fees. Things like additional guests and services are “optional for guests to pay volunteer” and not invoiced by airheads any more!

  4. I was bitten by this one time too. Now that Airbnb allows guests to break up their payments into 2 payments, if their 2nd payment doesn’t go through the reservation is cancelled and you receive what Airbnb has collected less fees.

    Be glad the guest defaulted on payment instead of cancelling due to extenuating circumstances. Even strict cancellation polices receive NO payment if the cancellation is due to extenuating circumstances and they can cancel up to the day before arrival.

    I will bet there is a post soon by a guest about how Airbnb ruined their vacation by cancelling for non-payment.

    Leon—asked “why ask me (the host) to give a full refund…already selected the cancellation policy?” Many hosts, including me, will refund part or all if they are able to re-book the reservation.

    The second Airbnb payment is due 2 weeks (I think) before the reservation. I can usually rebook with 2 weeks notice.

  5. You should at least get the amount the guest has already paid -minus the Airbnb fees.

    My problem with the cancellation policy is Airbnb always asks you to give a full refund to the guest…even under circumstances where the customer is clearly in the wrong. I asked the Airbnb customer service person what was the use of a cancellation policy if Airbnb was always going to undermine the host by asking them to provide a full refund anyway. The response was that Airbnb would respect the wishes of the host…but why ask me to give a full refund in the first place when I’ve already selected the cancellation policy?

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