Airbnb Tries to Rip us Off with Last-Minute Cancellation

I work at a mid-sized property with many rooms up on Airbnb. Last Friday we had a customer that had a $550 booking for the weekend and they didn’t come. It was University of Virginia graduation weekend and if we had known the guests were not coming we could have rented the cottage in a second. The guest did not let us know they weren’t coming until after the office closed for the night.

On Airbnb we had selected the strict policy for cancellations. The guest had agreed to those terms when they booked so we expected to get paid. The funds for the stay were deposited in our account on Monday so even though we had wasted quite a bit of money on food, flowers and perishable gifts for the guest room we were fine because at least we got paid. Then at 8:00 PM on Monday night we got the following email:

We’re just getting back to you with an update regarding your guest. She gave us documentation to show they did indeed have a valid extenuating circumstance. So, we’ve cleared your calendar for these dates, and refunded your guest in full. This means you won’t get a payout for this reservation. You can review our Extenuating Circumstances Policy and we really do apologize for the inconvenience caused, thanks for understanding. Let me know if you have other questions. 

Do you see the last sentence? “Let me know if you have other questions”. Within a few minutes of receiving this email we responded with questions. Since then we have followed up a dozen times by email and phone (thanks to Airbnb Hell, as even as a Superhost you can’t find a phone number) and never gotten a response from Airbnb. The money was deposited in our account and the Airbnb website shows they are trying to take their money back through EFT.

I have responded that each day we will deactivate one unit and move it to Expedia until we hear from Airbnb customer service. So far they have lost three of 21 listings. I have also told them if they do withdraw any money from our account I will delist every unit permanently. The world is full of bad customer service but with the phone, electric or internet providers at least I can speak to someone and get an answer. With Airbnb there is no customer service at all. Honestly the worst company in the world.

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


  1. Do yourself a favour… Read the entries on this site and STAY FAR AWAY from airbnb. They don’t deserve the business.

  2. I agree w Annie, it sucks to be screwed by Airbnb when you think theyve got your back – now you know they do not. I too have been screwed by them and have found that their customer service has been less so, since their IPO.

    • The hotel group I work for will still sell the same amount of rooms regardless of whether or not they are on Airtbnb. The American Historic Trust Property runs virtually 100% occupancy and we were just sharing our income with Airbnb. By dropping them the $6100 we paid Airbnb in commissions goes into our pocket not theirs. Even worse for Airbnb, because of Airbnb screwing over one GM they may lose over $100,000 in commissions if the Board votes to drop them for all hotels.

      They won’t notice some guy quitting that rents his couch. but if Airbnb doesn’t provide access to customer service for superhosts that bring them thousands of dollars in conglomerate transient lodger commissions…..well they will be overtaken by the billions in debt they need to service to stay afloat.

  3. 1. Airbnb has millions of listings. You cancelling one a day means nothing to them.
    2. You agreed to the Airbnb terms of service which includes refunding under the extenuating circumstances policy. You are angry at Airbnb for following the policy you willingly agreed to.

    I hate you lost a rental however This is a lesson learned, suck it up buttercup moment.

    • Wrong on so many levels.

      We just won in Charlottesville Small Claims Court just by filing. Within one day day of delivery of the certified letter with the court docs I got a call from their legal department arbiter and they asked would $800 satisfy my claim?

      We got our money refunded plus $250 to cover my court filing and certified delivery expenses plus $35 based on the one hour of work I missed, and a $500 travel certificate, that I will never use.

      The guest did not meet any of the criteria for extenuating circumstances. That is why Airbnb wouldn’t provide any information and they got caught.

      Anytime a corporation like Airbnb screws you and you have demonstrable financial loss you simply file in small claims and to avoid paying an attorney to show up on their behalf they will settle ever single time.

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