COVID-19 Double Standards of Airbnb

I booked accommodations in Brasilia, Brazil for a longer period, from February 24 to April 20. I am a PhD student and visit Brasilia once a year for my research work.

This time, unfortunately, four weeks into my stay, I had to return to Germany due to the travel advisories from the government. However, Airbnb’s COVID-19 policy doesn’t cover me only because I checked-in before March 14.

The policy is extremely flawed as it would cover me if I had made two separate bookings: one from the end of February to March 13, and another from March 14 to mid-April. Because I made one long booking, I’m not covered.

I definitely learned a lesson. Never book a longer stay with Airbnb. Now due to this policy not helping me, I am at the mercy of my host who has refused to refund me.

The funny part is that the accommodation that I booked was sold by the host to me with certain amenities — gym, pool, and sauna — but all those facilities are closed since March 16 due to COVID-19. The host still kept all the money and is not willing to reduce per night price.

Ironically, someone from the Airbnb support team replied that it was not the host‘s fault that the facilities in the building are closed. It is due to COVID-19 that the host won’t refund me.

Now the host is suddenly entitled to rip me off in the name of the coronavirus even though the host is not willing to accept my situation — canceling due to coronavirus — as an extenuating circumstance. If Airbnb or the host is not willing to refund me on the grounds that I have to cancel due tot the coronavirus, how can they use it as an excuse for not providing me the amenities that I paid for? If I do not get what I paid for, am I not entitled to a refund?

One support team member at Airbnb also told me that the host‘s financial situation doesn’t allow her to refund me. I feel as if I’m not a student but a charity organization who has to provide money to a host in need. So the new development in this coronavirus crisis is that the financial situation of a host entitles them to rob people of their money and Airbnb sides with them.

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