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?

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


  1. Try to get coupon code, I got this after cancellation host had cancellation possible until 5pm until changed her mind but at least got a coupon as refund but no money back to bank account.

  2. My problem exactly. The French government has clearly stated that foreign nationals will not be allowed to enter until July 24, at which time anyone entering will be required to quarantine for fourteen days. We were to spend four days in Lyon (July 13-19). When I contacted the host and requested either a refund or a voucher for a stay at a later date, I too was told that the cancellation policy was “stricte” and that a voucher was not negotiable. Having contacted Airbnb, I was given lip service regarding a refund. Airbnb ultimately deferred to the host’s cancellation policy (they really don’t have the power to do anything else). It is clear that the organization is unable to rein in the rogue hosts playing fast and loose with policies that apply in non-Covid 19 times, as these hosts are keeping this money for services they know they are unable to provide. Why Airbnb does not hold deposit money in escrow until the services have been rendered is beyond me. This lack of oversight merely plays into the hands of unscrupulous and dishonest hosts such as Camille and David. They are hiding behind policies that simply cannot apply to the current unforeseen situation, turning the blame upon the unsuspecting customer while providing nothing in return. “You should have purchased insurance” or ” the extenuating circumstances policy of Airbnb does not apply here” are the flimsy and cheap pretexts used to deny the return of something they (the hosts) know well they ought to render under the circumstances.

    If you are planning a trip to Lyon in the future and still inclined to use Airbnb, avoid hosts Camille (profile picture is a person engaged in an equestrian activity) and her partner in nefarious negotiations, David. They oversee several properties in the greater Lyon area.

  3. Exactly the same has happened to me! Just happy for 100% refund Airbnb day because I cancelled too early I won’t get the full amount! Ridiculous.

  4. Had to cancel our Tasmanian holiday in April due to coronavirus I was informed we would get full refund they hav taken full payment after the cancellation and we still do not have our refund do not know what to do to get money back

  5. I sympathise with you as I am a host in South Africa and I am struggling to get Caronavirus relief that has been offered. It has been two months and I discovered the difficulty of trying to get hold of their offices, the contact of which is not readily available.

    • I’ve also just found out that I don’t qualify for a full refund ( approx $1000 out of pocket) as I cancelled to early. I don’t understand how I can cancel to early during a pandemic that shut down the borders and there was strictly no travelling. After reading a few of these experiences I’m obviously not alone. Seems morally corrupt to be keeping money based on something that is completely out of our control. I had a host look into it and she replied with a lengthy email that seemed to come from Airbnb. Her concern was gone and there was some blame being put onto me for cancelling early. I was unaware of that policy and as I’ve said to them it makes no sense and doesn’t change the outcome. Very disappointed in Airbnb and their responses.

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