Hosts Have a Big Say in Your Refund

In the middle of a global pandemic, this host was incredibly uncooperative, rude, arrogant, and kept reiterating that my refund was up to Airbnb. In addition to keeping in contact with the Superhost, I was also in touch with Airbnb. I got the runaround, until finally, I spoke with a decent human being.

I sent a link showing my state’s stay at home orders. I had to jump through many hoops and talk to a variety of people at Airbnb before anyone acted on it. To make matters worse, the Superhost was completely uncooperative.

Airbnb’s policy is unclear and dishonest as guests do not truly have an option for a refund during the COVID-19 crisis. You only get a refund if your host has updated their cancellation policy. It is ridiculous.

Keep in mind that the host does have a say. I am a host with a strict cancellation policy. When the guest cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis, I thought that was it. Several days later I had to approve his request for a refund. Why should I have had to approve it? Shouldn’t Airbnb automatically do it?

I don’t even get paid until the host is scheduled to check in. Airbnb is holding that money, and probably making money on it. Of course I approved his request, as in my eyes it would have been unethical to do anything else.

We are in the middle of a global crisis and nobody should be traveling, let alone haggling with unethical hosts and Airbnb. So, keep in mind that when a host tells you they don’t have anything to do with the cancellation policy, it is a lie. Hosts set their own cancellation policy, based on choices Airbnb provides.

All hosts were contacted and encouraged to alter their cancellation policies due to the pandemic. As some of you have experienced, many have not done it. I encourage you to write reviews naming your hosts and as much details about their rentals, as possible. This way, for those who dare to continue using Airbnb, potential guests can at least find out who was unethical during the pandemic — and avoid booking with them at any cost.

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


  1. I am in the exact same situation. My mom runs an Airbnb out of her house so I know the hosts have the power to refund with 1 button. My host hasn’t even responded to any of my messages, and Airbnb help center says all I can do is contact the host. Now I don’t believe Airbnb holds the money, I’m pretty sure it goes right to the host, but I’m not positive. Either way, following a situation like this they’re going to need to review this policy. I did part now part later payment for a house that was going to be $7000, and did $4059 up front. I so far have seen $0 refund, and Airbnb even told me that not paying the rest would be my refund. I have had 3 cases closed with no help actually happening, just me spending hours on the phone to finally have them tell me there’s nothing more they can do

  2. As hosts we must be a little thoughtful. Yes it is feeding mouths or paying bills, but the person through no fault of their own is not using any resources of yours, so why must they suffer?
    I have only had 2 cancellations as a host. One because they mistakenly booked me thinking it was the next island over. AirBnb gave me the option of refunding or not. I refunded everything minus $10 for the work that went into preparing the unit and the emails and calls etc. Then I had a guest who paid 3 weeks and then the shut down started and they had no choice but to leave catching the last flight out. They had only spent a week. We MUTUALLY agreed (after they initially declined any money at all because I offered up front) that I would refund one week and keep the other week for utilities used, cleaning etc. But as hosts we have to do the right thing by our guests or are we only in it for the money? A host keeping the entire amount when the person did not step foot in your place is highway robbery if it is no fault of their own.

  3. “All hosts were contacted and encouraged to alter their cancellation policies due to the pandemic.”

    This is 100% untrue. Where’d u get this from?
    I know I wasn’t.

  4. I cosign every point the Angela made.
    Specifically as hosts we were not asked to or consulted about changing our cancellation policies. I too advise a strict cancellation policy for my listings, and they were simply overridden by AirBnB.
    Please do not take this as a challenge but if you don’t mind please state your source for the information you’ve asserted in your post, if only to entertain my curiosity. Thanks!

  5. Hi there, I too am a Superhost and have refunded every single one of my guests up to July, losing earnings of over £24,000 and just like you I feel it it the moral thing to do. However, you are wrong about the hosts changing their cancellation policies, Airbnb have been over riding these policies since the outset. Their rules have also constantly changed, there are two ways for guests to get a full refund. The first is to go through the cancellation procedure on line and provide written evidence as to why they are cancelling under the COVID-19 circumstances. This has worked for guests who are booked into July for me. The other way is to contact them directly through the help line. This has worked for every single booking that has cancelled and each and every one of my guests have received a full refund with my blessing, but the point is it is Airbnb that has cancelled not me. The reason for this is that it is not clear, even after their re-assurances elsewhere that the host will not be penalised and there is warning to that wording on the on-line host cancellation form. You should be angry at Airbnb for making the process so difficult and incomprehensible. I have a strict cancellation policy and have kept it strict and all guests have received a refund if going through the above method. So you do not make it clear….did you get a full refund? If you did then what is your beef? For the reasons stated above your host probably was unsure that they would be penalised if they did it themselves as it is very unclear. Also you have stated yourself…”Why should I have to cancel it”….”Shouldn’t Airbnb do it?” That is exactly what your host was doing, perhaps not very eloquently!

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