COVID Refund Nightmare Over France Airbnb Cancellation

My family of four was supposed to travel to France at the end of June. Clearly with the state of things we can’t go. I cancelled the reservation.

On my host’s page, it clearly says that I am entitled to a 50% refund minus the Airbnb service charges. When I talked to Airbnb, they told me that the host had refused the refund due to her “strict policies”. The host told me (albeit with a language barrier) that it was Airbnb. I also received a message after cancellation stating the amount I was to receive back. I have verified this with a lawyer in my family.

Now Airbnb won’t answer my messages and I am totally stuck. There’s no way that anyone will be travelling to France anytime soon, but I am so angry that I want my money back on principle. We even offered to take a full credit to use another time but they refused that as well. The blame game going on is astounding. This is the worst customer service I have ever received, and we are both in the hospitality industry so know a thing or two about this.

Any suggestions?

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Unable to Get a Full Refund Due to Airbnb Policy

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Airbnb customer service was unable to approve or give out a 100% refund due to me cancelling the reservation before their policy updates on April 1, 2020. I made the cancellation at the beginning of March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now my country Malaysia has to prolong the country lockdown until June 9. Airbnb said my criteria met their policy, but because I cancelled the reservation and got a 50% refund before April 1, I’m not eligible for the 100% refund.

It’s not right; it’s not logical. This policy should be amended, and not be biased.

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Not Impressed with Airbnb Experiences Overall

I stayed in a few Airbnbs over the world in 2016. I decided to try Airbnb because I wanted the experience of living as a local would. I wanted the experience of getting to know the culture and lifestyle of the places I was visiting on an authentic level.

I wanted to stay in places that had some character and didn’t look like generic corporate beige. I wanted to stay in residential neighborhoods rather than in the middle of a tourist trap. More importantly, I wanted to save money on staying in hotels/motels and also on food by being able to have access to a kitchen and prepare my own meals. These are all things Airbnb advertised at the time and I was very interested in being able to travel that way.

The first thing that I was struck by when deciding to rent an Airbnb was how expensive they were, even in comparison to local motel rates; many were the same and some even more. The second thing that I was struck by was how inaccurate the descriptions were on the majority of the listings. The third thing that I was struck by was that many of these listings were places other people lived most of the time but were just renting out when they were not there, and were not designed with the guest’s comfort and enjoyment in mind.

The first place I stayed at was in the U.S. and it consisted of a bedroom in a house with half a bathroom. Again, the price was about the same as a local motel. The washer and dryer didn’t work, the floor was chipped and cracked and the window screen was broken. The floor was stained and dirty. It wasn’t like I had access to the entire house — just the room. The owner was not available most of the time and didn’t answer or address any of my needs the entire time, even though they got paid.

The second place I stayed was a room in another house. The lady who owned it was actually super nice. I went to an ecstatic dance event with her and we had a great time. She had children and one of her kids was in camp, so I was staying in her son’s room. Again, she was a lovely woman but it was weird sleeping in a kid’s room with kid’s sheets. It was clear she was a struggling single mom who was trying to make some money for her mortgage, so I felt like overall it was something I didn’t have a problem with. However, I wouldn’t ever stay there again.

The third place I stayed in was in Denmark. That was the only Airbnb where I had access to the entire apartment that was clean, orderly, and as described on the listing. The owner was helpful in helping me rent a bike. The price was also reasonable and I was able to actually save money with food because all the kitchen equipment actually worked. That was the only place that I would ever stay again.

The last place was in Germany and that was the last time I ever rented an Airbnb. The description was completely inaccurate; the apartment was located way on the other side of town. I had to walk two miles to with my luggage. The owner met me and he seemed nice. He gave me the key and talked about the town for a few minutes before he left.

The apartment didn’t have much working in the kitchen and not even a working microwave. The bathroom was filthy, with a piece of dirty duct tape on the floor holding it all together. The sheets I’m pretty sure had not been washed and the only appliance that worked was the TV.

The day that I left I got locked into the building and wasn’t able to leave since I had given him back the key. I knocked on some random apartment for someone to let me out. After that experience, I checked the local hotel and motel rates in the city itself and found that they were comparable and in some cases even less than what the Airbnb host was charging.

For the same price, you can get a hotel room with clean sheets, clean towels, a clean bathroom, a safe, and someone to clean your room. A hotel will generally be up to standards and have good customer service, but this is not the case with Airbnb.

You just get the feeling that many of these Airbnb hosts are far more interested in making additional income to pay their bills than they are in providing a valuable, guest and customer service oriented, hospitable experience. They aren’t obligated like hotels are to abide by certain hospitality industry standards. They aren’t even obligated to abide by certain safety codes and are not subject to inspection.

According to some of the reviews I have read on this website, many Airbnb listings are not even required to actually exist. Many of them are fake or are dishonest in their listing description.

I’m posting this because everyone talks about how great Airbnb is, but that has not been my experience overall. You really are not saving any money and you’re really taking a gamble on whether or not the place you are renting from even exists. If it does, will it be up to code, or is it a fire trap? Is it going to be clean? Will your host cancel your reservation right before you arrive? Is the host an ex-con, a rapist or murderer? Of course, this can go for the guests too.

Airbnb has some potential but it needs much more oversight. The listings should be subject to certain local laws to ensure they are complying with safety standards. They should be subject to inspections and paying fees to local governments so that they do not displace local residents.

As it is practiced today, it is a bad idea and really should be banned. Many people can’t access affordable housing and it is largely due to Airbnb being turned into short term rentals which can charge a higher rate. Guests coming in and out of the neighborhoods are not required to register their status if they are ex-convicts or sex offenders.

Is it really worth any of the savings if you don’t know if your valuables will be safe or if the host is safe? If the kitchen equipment doesn’t work, and you have to dine out anyway? Are you really “living as a local” if the place you are renting is on the other side of town?

In short, think about it before renting an Airbnb. Is it really worth the risk? Maybe have a back up plan like a hotel booked which has a 24-hour cancellation policy just in case. Or just stay in the hotel and forget Airbnb.

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Disappointed Airbnb Guest in the Time of COVID

We booked our family holiday with a $4000 deposit. We talked to our host. Under his policy, he wouldn’t give us a refund or travel credit.

As our borders closed, we contacted Airbnb. We saw on the company’s social media on March 19 that guests would be compensated. After emails back and forth to Airbnb and phone calls we had no luck with my refund or travel credit.

We kept stating we booked in August 2019 and our travel was for May 11, 2020. We followed social media and websites stating this policy was extended until May 31. Again, we were asking where our deposit was. Airbnb staff said they would give our deposit to the host 24 hours after check in. I then questioned why are you going to do that? Airbnb seemed to be supporting the host.

However, now the host is telling us to cancel our booking. Why would the Airbnb contact centre not give us a manager to speak with? As I continue to read the wording of the COVID cancellation policy, it states guests will get a refund.

Again, I contacted Airbnb with no help except a customer representative stating that they would hold our deposit. Their system will be giving our money to the host and this is out of their control.

I am in tourism. I have worked with other booking channels and never had such a bad experience. As I said, we cancelled our booking as the host told us we would get our money back after the announcement of the COVID-19 policy that changed in regards to refunds. We canceled on March 20. Airbnb put out a statement for refunds on March 19.

I hope this reaches management. It seems that booking.com, Agoda, Expedia are not making money on guests. It was hard enough having to cancel flights and tours then have Airbnb not listen to you and say they’re following policy. Why would Airbnb make a social media announcement to the pubic about refunds but when it comes to getting a refund tell is a different story?

I work as a tourism ambassador in New Zealand and I know for sure my company will not be using Airbnb again.

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Refund or Credit? Make up your Mind, Airbnb

On March 5, I made a reservation to go to Prince Edward Island using Airbnb for mid-May. In April, my conference was canceled, and in fact the province was closed to non-residents so I could not even enter the jurisdiction to use my Airbnb reservation if I wanted to.

When I went to the Airbnb site to cancel, I was offered a choice between a 50% refund or 100% credit at that time. I did not know that that was out of step with their COVID-19 policy which should’ve offered me a 100% refund on April 16 when I was trying to cancel. Because they were incorrectly offering me a 50% refund, I clicked on the “100% credit” button.

Later on, they sent me a notice saying that they were giving me a 100% refund and not a credit. The refund never showed up on my credit card. It’s been almost a month and I’m trying to track it down. First their chat function told me that I should take it up with my bank and then stopped responding. Then I noticed their own records changed from showing a refund to showing a totally non-refundable cancellation.

I called the toll-free number that I got through Airbnb Hell and spoke to an actual person who sounded nice but said that my account was “blocked” and that I could only have a credit not a refund because I had clicked on the refund button. I explained the situation of having only been offered a 50% refund which is why I clicked on the other button. Under their own policy, I would’ve been entitled to a 100% refund which is what I know I wanted.

The customer service agent asked me if I had taken a screenshot of the page where I was given the choice of 50% refund or a hundred percent credit. I said no but I was not making that up. She then lectured me that I should have taken a screenshot or called Airbnb on the spot when I was confronted with that choice instead of trying to rectify it now.

Basically they tricked me into clicking on a button for a credit instead of giving me the option for a proper full refund in accordance with their own policies, and now are blaming me for making this all up… or that I didn’t contact customer service early enough. I’m tearing my hair out and I really don’t ever want to use Airbnb again. For the moment, they have hundreds of dollars of my money.

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Coronavirus Refunds in Short Supply with Airbnb

I had a really bad experience with Airbnb. In January 2020 I booked a reservation for August 2020 in Croatia. As I am 57, on April 5 I decided to cancel the reservation because I was afraid that I couldn’t travel and because I was afraid about COVID-19 as well. I am about to lose my job as well. It has been two months since I have received any wages. Because of COVID-19 I did not want to but I had to cancel. I paid 460€ but I got back just 168€. That’s a shame because I cancelled but it was not my fault.

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No Reservation Fee Refund for July Travel

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic closing events and the related travel restrictions we are unable to travel to Croatia this July. We had paid the large reservation fee at this point.

I spoke to my host to cancel the reservation and discuss refund options. She seemed to sympathise and said she had changed her cancellation policy and hoped I got all my money back. However, when I tried to cancel the booking there was no refund indicated as due.

I contacted my host who basically stalled me. I have tried to go via the resolution centre but cannot as it states I have not paid the full fee. I am prepared to negotiate a fair number with the host but she continues to stall. I am concerned that it now looks like I’m paying a large reservation fee for an apartment that I cannot stay in for no fault of my own.

I cannot take it to resolution as I have not paid a fee. The help centre is absolutely no help at all. I’ve sent multiple messages with no response. Is there anything I can do or have I lost all the money?

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First and Last Time with Airbnb, Never Again

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Our family trip was scheduled for June 15-19, 2020 in Orlando. We live in Michigan, the third highest in deaths and sixth highest in COVID cases with the most aggressive stay-at-home order.

On April 26, I saw an announcement on the Airbnb website stating hosts could cancel all 2020 trips booked before March 15 and cancel by April 30. I confirmed with Airbnb that all 2020 trips canceled before April 30 could be cancelled with a full refund with no penalties to the guest and host. I have two confirmations of the conversation.

Again, I confirmed with Airbnb that no penalty would be charged to hosts and guests for a full refund. They told me to cancel with the host. The host said to submit the cancellation, and he would override the normal refund for a full refund. This was completed by the host, except the refund was missing $237.10.

I contacted Airbnb and it was more hellish than prior interactions. Long story short, despite confirmations to cancel without penalty and provide a full refund, Airbnb has refused to refund the difference for its operations.

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Complete Disbelief Over Airbnb’s Reaction to COVID-19

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I am requesting to speak with personnel in Airbnb upper management concerning the situation that involves my first Airbnb experience and stay. Our booking and travel dates were April 27 through April 30. I believe the situation is deserving of a full refund and or an upgraded trip for the length of our original stay.

We are outraged that Airbnb allows properties to conduct business and continue to allow the public access to environments like the one we encountered, especially during the worst pandemic the world has ever seen. Our documentation will show and support our claims of the unsanitized, unattended and false advertising of this particular property. I will provide the timelines and the supporting documents backing our claim.

My family and I have been inconvenienced and put at risk by the direct result of Airbnb’s untimely and insufficient customer support resources along with the unprofessional, irresponsible attitude and commitment level of our host. Not only did he fail to communicate on a timely basis, he allowed another reservation to show up with the same exact issues; even worse, without ever having a cleaning crew show up. That is a total of three different guest reservations that entered the property without it being professionally cleaned.

According to the guidelines stated in Airbnb’s refund policy — having verbal confirmation of the first CSR we spoke to — are valid and we followed proper steps to ensure full and detailed investigation by staff to validate our request. Due to our inexperience and unfamiliarity with Airbnb and the mobile app we acted as anybody would have in the event that technical difficulties prevented us from gaining access to our account allowing us to proceed accordingly and timely to any and all response from the Airbnb staff from the beginning of this complaint.

We find it very odd that for no reason we were unable to gain access once we reported and sent photos of property. We have had several reasons given to us for why we would not receive a full refund and have had valid and supporting information to disprove those to be invalid reasons. The latest one is that by the unintentional act of deactivating the account due to the fact we could not access it and we’re trying to troubleshoot the issue because the several calls to Airbnb were not productive and were unable to fix that issue.

We remain confused as to why after the cancellation on Airbnb account that we were not told of any of this conditions or cancellations or informed by any of the CSRs we spoke to or question as to why we were still on the property. We had no idea that the reservation was canceled by the accidental deactivation of our account. I have now spent numerous hours and pages upon pages of emails corresponding with customer care representative agents that are supposed to help. They’ve expedited and done all that they can with no avail.

We’ve received several emails sent from Airbnb stating that they are sorry that our experience was like this on our first reservation and travel stay using their company but yet their actions show the exact opposite.

The situation continued to get worse while on the second day of our reservation at 4:00 PM when another family showed up with six children with nowhere to go. Being put in an uncomfortable and stressful situation, I allowed the family to enter the property so that they would have some place to reside well we tried to work this situation out we contacted the host immediately with no response.

There are so many supporting factors as to why this is outrageous. Not only did the hosts not have a cleaning crew come prior to their arrival, but we were still there and he did the same thing to us during this COVID-19 pandemic. I cannot believe that Airbnb supports and allows individuals to host properties in to put their customers in jeopardy like this.

Another reason why we were told that we would not receive a refund was due to the fact that we did not qualify under the host cancellation policy at that time we are given this excuse we had no idea that the activity of the account was actually what induced the refund but we were told that it was because we cancelled it on our behalf. We did not; it was canceled on the company’s behalf.

We spent several hours on the phone with customer service agents after that. We were never told anything different. They were confused and did not know how the reservation was cancelled. They were putting it on us.

In the meantime on our side we were keeping our lines open doing what the CSR we first spoke to told us to do. Unable to gain access to our account after several different CSR’s attempted to fix this situation, we could not find the pertinent information we needed in a timely manner.

I would like to speak to Airbnb upper management on the phone. This email and messaging system is not sufficient and is not producing favorable results. The property is not as it is listed and the host did not communicate with us in professional manner.

My family and I deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. It seems that this company just wants to take advantage of its patrons, and put our safety and health at risk by taking the host and his blatant carelessness above our complaints and health.

Airbnb Refuses to Give Refund due to COVID-19

I am a relatively new guest to Airbnb. I booked my second trip to Cape Town to give my family a holiday that they never could afford themselves. Excited, I made a booking on January 22 for a home from April 18-25. Some of my family members live in Ireland and South Africa. I live in Dubai.

Our borders and flights were already shut down in March due to COVID-19. I received an email March 14 from Airbnb stating I could cancel my holiday and receive a full refund. I then contacted my host via email on March 18 and requested a cancellation.

Not hearing anything from the host for four days, I got worried and cancelled my booking on the website on March 22, with the reason being COVID-19. Airbnb gave me a 40% refund and a lousy voucher.

I have been battling with Airbnb staff who have no authority and can’t help me with a full refund which I’m honestly entitled to. Case managers answering emails for Airbnb haven’t approved the Extenuating Circumstances Policy for my booking dates when my booking was cancelled.

This is total fraud and they would rather steal my money than just pay back a honest client. I also requested a refund with the resolution centre and directly with the host. It’s been days now and he has totally brushed me off. I am so disappointed with Airbnb to say the least.