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.

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.

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?

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.

Airbnb Denies Comic Con Cancellation Refund

We reserved a property with Airbnb last November for Comic Con 20 in July. On April 17, Comic Con was cancelled due to the World Health Organization gathering guidelines dated March 11 and California Governor Newsom stating that group gatherings in California before August could not happen.

When I tried to rebook the property for Comic Con 21 next year, I discovered the property had been marked up $10,000 for our five-day stay. Instead of costing $6472 like it did this year, it was marked up to $16,879 for a stay of the same duration and for the same reason, a 180% markup.

I cancelled my reservation and requested a full refund of the $3264 I had made on the first of two installments. On April 9, Airbnb had said their COVID-19 full refund only applied through May 31 and despite having an extenuating circumstance policy for epidemic disease, it did not apply to COVID-19 cases.

Since my COVID-19 case was after May 31, then neither the COVID-19 or epidemic disease policy would cover my cancellation refund. This is also when I found out that the Airbnb 50% refund policy is not a 50% refund of what you pay, but 50% of the total bill, so instead of about $1500 back from my initial payment, I got $62.

I appealed to the property owner. Their response was to talk to Airbnb. I appealed to Airbnb, and they told me to talk to the property owner. So when I paid last November, my money was effectively gone after 48 hours. I had at least three different conversations with Airbnb and the host, but they insisted that the COVID-19 policy to May 31 was the end all and be all policy and did not apply to the Comic Con COVID-19 cancellation in July.

The COVID-19 and epidemic disease policies for Airbnb deny the reality of the pandemic after May 31. Ironically, this same property is listed on VrBO with a full refund policy through May 22, 2020. I am moving on to arbitration via the American Arbitration Association.

Even with Roaches, Guest not Sure Who to be Upset with

blankThis isn’t a clear cut black and white Airbnb horror story. There are some things I should have been more aggressive on, but in the middle of a pandemic I feel it fair not to be too aggressive because for all I know this could have been my host’s only source of income.

To begin, I walked in and the place was very much not clean. I was given a warning by my boyfriend, to which he felt the judgement call up to me. To be honest, my mind was on their cute little pig that met me at the door; he was so sweet.

I quickly looked around and noticed maybe one or two critters. It was no big deal; it’s getting warm and in Mississippi the critters start coming out. My boyfriend is definitely a city boy so he freaks out about everything. I messaged the host telling her exactly that.

However, I was wrong. It wasn’t until really late into the night that more started coming out and they were huge. That’s when I really looked at the place. The kitchen sink wasn’t cleaned (why did I pay a cleaning fee?) and under the bed/chairs/sink there were enough either droppings or roach body parts. I was disgusted.

We couldn’t find a place to book that late at night so we were stuck one night. I kept joking that my cat would defend us from the roaches while we slept (I couldn’t sleep that night). The next morning we were trying to get out to the Marriott that I booked. The pig says good bye on the way out (he really was a sweet pig and I’ve never seen a pig run to me until that day).

The host at least refunded me for the other days, and as for the cleaning fee I wasn’t very aggressive because as I’ve said before I’m not sure if this is their only source of income. They also let me bring my cat without putting in a pet deposit.

I contacted Airbnb later about the service fee (possibly the cleaning fee) that night because trying to get settled into a new place last minute had its own issues. I will admit I wasn’t very aggressive with it; maybe it’s because during all this pandemic I feel like that isn’t what the world needs right now.

Airbnb basically told me to f&%k off on the service fee and I definitely wasn’t getting the cleaning fee refunded. I should have checked with VBRO or nearby hotels, because most times with all the fees it ends up being more expensive than a Marriott. This was one of those times.

I’m not sure if I should be upset with the host, Airbnb, myself or anyone really. It’s up to you, are you willing to take the risk? Is the pig worth it?

Missed an Airbnb COVID-19 Refund by Six Hours

blankIt was a complete nightmare trying to get this COVID-19 refund. Our check in was March 13th and California issued a state of emergency on March 4th while the WHO declare it global pandemic on March 11th. I canceled on March 12th and only received 50% of my money back.

Airbnb’s extenuating circumstances state that any reservations made on or before March 14th were covered under the extenuating circumstances for COVID-19 blanket. They are now claiming it would only be covered if I had cancelled on March 14th (a day after my check in?).

My check in time was 6:00 PM Friday, March 13th, six hours before the 14th. I even would understand if they won’t give me the money for the night of the 13th but they are refusing all of it which makes no sense; they wrote the publication and nowhere does it state they will only cover a refund if a reservation is cancelled on or after March 14th.

Yet their publication on March 13th said “any reservations before March 13th through April 1st are covered!” They then went and changed their policy on March 30th to “any reservations made before March 14th through May 31st with check in dates on or after March 14th are covered.”

Don’t get me wrong: I’m really glad they extended the time frame for people but I’m sure there are a handful of people that fall into a tiny crack like me with check in dates of March 13th.