Australian COVID-19 Refund Roundabout

We cancelled an Airbnb booking two weeks into a one-month booking, due to increasingly urgent travel advisories from our (Australian) government. We advised Airbnb twice by email that we were checking out: once on the day before we checked out, and once on the day of checkout. Not good enough apparently.

A week after our return to Australia, and after having repeated Groundhog Day experiences with website requests for a refund, we noted that our booking was still active. It was then that we found the ‘cancel’ procedure on the website. Airbnb said ‘no refund’ because of the host’s refund policy. The host said he couldn’t cancel a booking because of Airbnb’s policy. We believe him.

Trying to move beyond this point on the Airbnb website is an exercise in futility. There is no avenue for engaging in effective communication. We eventually negotiated a refund with our host for 50% of the unused period of our booking.

We accept that Airbnb has had to respond to a global pandemic. Their response seems to be focused on their financial immunity from the pandemic, and not on their guests.

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


  1. It’s not rocket science. Your booking confirmation has a button on which you click to cancel the reservation and the procedure for doing so is clearly explained on the Airbnb website. That you couldn’t perform this simple task is no one’s fault but your own.

    Your host was exceedingly generous in giving you a 50% refund. Your inability to follow a very, very simple procedure and actually cancel the booking meant that the dates were blocked on the host’s calendar and the host was therefore prevented from offering those dates to other potential guests.

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