Guest Ripped off by Host’s False Promise to Refund

I booked accommodation advertised on AirBnb on October 19th, 2017 for our nieces and nephews attending our daughter’s wedding from February 18th to 21st, 2018. It wasn’t possible to see the exact location as Airbnb only provides a circle in which the property lie, no address.

The property was very nice and within a few minutes of our house. The full amount needed to be paid immediately and the host required a 50% non-refundable deposit. After the full payment had been taken off our credit card by Airbnb, we received the address, and realized that there were safety concerns. The property was on the other side of the railway line from us and our guests would need to use a subway to get to our house. We contacted the host immediately explaining our concerns and asking if she would consider waiving the 50% deposit. As it was immediate, she agreed in writing and we cancelled with Airbnb. Airbnb’s portion was refunded quite soon, but they said the host had to give permission for them to release her portion.

Sufficed to say, over 20 emails to the host and seven months later, we have not managed to get a penny from her. I am handing this matter over to a debt collecting firm, as I have it in writing that she agreed to pay. She has had a long term rental on the property, our dates falling in that period. Unfortunatey, this will be an expensive business, as one is only given a client custom email address by Airbnb. So there will be tracing fees involved. Feeling ripped off and sad. Make sure you have someone who is conversant with the pitfalls of Airbnb when you book.

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


  1. “The property was … within a few minutes of our house ” … ” we received the address, and realized that there were safety concerns. The property was on the other side of the railway line from us and our guests would need to use a subway to get to our house”

    So when you booked, you were aware that within minutes of your own house there was an aera not safe enough, the railway was obviously indicated in the circle but you decided not to wonder on which side of the railway was the property and you blind book it. it would only have cost 1 question before booking to avoid the trouble.

    but I also belive immediate cancellation should be refund completely, mistakes happens

  2. First of all, Airbnb does NOT collect deposits. They charge the full amount of the reservation up front. Secondly, it’s very obvious that you did NOT read the Terms of Service or cancellation policie of the host, that you checked a box agreeing to on the payment page. If you had, you would have seen that with a Strict cancellation policy you will only receive 50% back minus the guest service fees. As well as the part in the TOS that states with out a court order and proof of intent to defraud (which any messages in the message thread are not a binding contract) no information will be released about a person’s identity to another person by Airbnb. You have one option, that is to try a charge back with your bank, which they will probably give you the money back at first, but as soon as they see the agreement made on your behalf and agreeing to the TOS you obviously didn’t read, they will more than likely take the money back, you’ll be banned from the site and will have gone through way more than its worth and spent way more than the refund for nothing. Moral of the story? Do some research, tread the TOS fur everything, take responsibility for your own actions. Especially on any site that states it is a self service site!

  3. Sadly you won’t have any luck getting her info out of Airbnb. If the cities of the world can’t get it then you won’t be able to either.
    A good hotel or reputable bed and breakfast would NEVER do that to anyone.
    But it was probably cheap in comparison to a legitimate business…………………………….

  4. Why didn’t you contact the host BEFORE booking and asked to share at least the street name and/or zip code?

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