Host Cancels – and I Lose the Fees!

This is a very simple story like most of those you read. My host cancelled at the very last minute (while I was at airport on my way to Bali). She told me she did not have the accommodations after all, and offered an alternative which was much less suitable. So I ask her to cancel, thinking (like all standard hotels) that if the provider cancels then naturally all fees will be refunded. Not so in this case. No matter what I did, Airbnb takes a cut from their guests. So a host can cancel under any circumstances and it costs the guest. This is not professional at all.

So, when it works, Airbnb is great. I have had some cool stays through the site, but this experience has just been gouging: taking money wherever you can, trying to navigate their website and so-called resolution process. It is circular and guarantees you either fall over from boredom or fatigue trying to recover small amounts (in my case $150), which is probably half the intent. I realize now: they are more about making money than “providing great experiences”. The brand presents wonderfully but there is a dark side. Hopefully more will realize this: every time they book they take a chance that a host will cancel at the last minute (tolerable) but Airbnb wont refund your guest fee (intolerable and dodgy). Imagine charging a guest anything when they didn’t initiate the change.

This has been a hard lesson but a good one. Bye bye Airbnb! Comfortable in cyberspace and outside international law!

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


  1. Call the Airbnb helpline 855-486-2434. They were great at resolving my situation when my host cancel on me. Very responsive. Good luck

  2. Alison, how did you contact Airbnb because the same thing happened to me, booked a room and a few hours later the host told me it’s not available anymore after accepting the booking and airbnb charging, now i have a hard time making the host respond to my messages while he still didn’t canceled my booking. if i cancel i loose money… i have no ideea what to do now.

  3. This just happened to me!! I booked with the host, paid the money. And two hours later she messages me to say she has put the flat up for long term let, but will let me know if she rents it out before I’m due to stay. So even though I had booked, I still might not have anywhere to stay. I told her I will cancel and started to go through the on line process and I was charged £11 Airbnb fee and £5 cleaning fee. So before continuing with the process I got onto Airbnb who were great actually and gave me a full refund for the whole lot plus a 10% voucher to use against my next booking 🙂

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