Charged over £1,000 for a 16-Minute Booking

We were the victims of a double booking at our first property. It actually wasn’t Airbnb’s fault, but the subsequent events had everything to do with an Airbnb host. This was not an individual, in fact, but a faceless and greedy property management company. After the double booking fiasco, seven of our group were stranded in the remote Tuscan countryside in rural Italy with, realistically, a couple of hours to sort it out and find somewhere to sleep. I was the eighth member of the group, travelling by train to meet the group. It was up to me to find an alternative at very short notice through Airbnb as I’d made the original booking and the money immediately reimbursed by Airbnb for the double booking mess up was allocated to my account. Network coverage on the train was very patchy.

Looking at alternative accommodation for suitability and availability on a mobile device was extremely difficult. It was hot. The train was packed. Going from Milan to Florence, you pass through an enormously long tunnel. Meanwhile, I was trying to converse with the group who were also wrestling with poor phone signals and trying to assess alternatives and report back to me.

Long story short: the circumstances were extremely difficult. Partway through this process I made another booking. It was a mistake caused by confusion and fat fingers. I take full responsibility for making an error but in the circumstances you can perhaps understand how it happened. I realised what I’d done and cancelled the booking within 16 minutes. Once we’d finally sorted out alternative accommodation, I contacted the host and asked for a refund. I figured he’d been put to no trouble; he could not have lost a booking in 16 minutes and could not have incurred any cleaning fees. He refused.

Of the £1953 we paid for the 16 minute booking, the host chose to refund only £842, citing his Strict Cancellation Policy. The 16 minutes cost us £1,111. This is the villa – beware if you’re booking it. The host was within his rights according to his and Airbnb’s policy. Is this fair? Reasonable? In the spirit of the Airbnb community? Someone you would like to trust with your holiday? Those are questions you might like to consider before making a booking with Airbnb.

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7 Comments

  1. Well I’m not gullible enough to blame everybody else for my issues. The second sentance even states whos fault it is. Accept you f’d up and move on. Ranting online about it isn’t going to change the fact you made a mistake.

    Super duper caring and compassionate here, to those deserving.

  2. The listing you linked in fact has a Super Strict 30 Day Cancellation Policy. Airbnb only permits hosts to have this policy if they aren’t likely to get another booking if they get a cancellation.

  3. The spirit of the airbnb community??? It’s a capitalist venture with people wanting to get good money for their room, legally or not.
    I really advise you to ditch them.

  4. Another reason why Airbnb will self destruct- greedy, opportunistic hosts and a corporate culture more focused on an IPO than customer service

  5. Totally fair and totally reasonable. You made a confirmed booking. The policies are listed right there. You knew what you were getting into.

    And yes, the host could have missed a booking in 16 minutes but even if he didn’t it’s none of your business.

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