How do I get a refund on a last minute booking?

I’ve never really paid attention to Airbnb cancellation policies as I’ve always been able to cancel bookings (have actually only canceled one so far) but usually far in advance. This one though was made today and I requested a cancellation 15 minutes later, after getting the address and realizing how far it was from downtown. I rented a car that I was planning to return the following day and get a Uber back to this place but then I realized the place was about 40 minutes away. That was going to eat up all my transportation money.

Right away I requested a refund but the host was not budging. I contacted Airbnb and they’ve asked me to wait until tomorrow since the host hasn’t responded to them yet. The host has a strict cancellation policy and she already told me she won’t refund me. I want to get a full refund, not even half, otherwise I’m fighting this with my bank. I mean this is not a situation where the host was waiting and expecting me for weeks or days. I asked her if she was unwilling to refund me because she needs the money.

Has anyone been through this? What are my options?

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


  1. If you make a reservation less than 2 weeks before booking and the cancellation policy is “strict”, then you’re kinda screwed. You really should’ve read it before committing to the reservation.

    Just remember that if you ask the host for a refund before check-in, they will probably say no. Why? Because they don’t get your money from Airbnb until at least 24 hours AFTER your scheduled check-in. Any host that refunds a guest’s money before the host actually gets paid is naive. A guest’s best recourse is to cancel with Airbnb and politely ask the host refund all days of the reservation that get re-booked by other guests, and the host should not pay any refund to the guest until AFTER the scheduled check-out of the cancelled reservation.

  2. I am going through this right now. I made a reservation and tried to cancel 45 min later. I have been fighting with Airbnb about this for 4 days. They told me its basically my fault for not reading the cancelation policy. I didn’t even know they had a “strict policy” I always have reserved places where you get a full refund if you cancel within 48 hours. When trying to get in contact with the host, they refused to answer me and Airbnb yet somehow it’s still “my fault”. I have threatened to sue them and they will not budge. There was a ton of miscommunication where one of the case managers said if the host doesn’t answer within 24 hours they’ll give me a full refund. The host agreed to a 50% refund after not responding for several days but I want my full refund back. I know they purposely didn’t answer because the longer they wait, the more money they get to keep from me. I am disputing this with my bank as well. Good luck!

    • hmmmm what?
      I recently joined this site and enjoy it. I am a professional short-term accommodation provider who listed with AirBnB when it first appeared in Australia but soon cancelled my association with them once bad reports surface here. The time difference allows me to sharpen my wits whilst I wake up with my coffee.
      I notice Nat P does not have much to say on here….hmmmm?

    • I also consider it more beneficial that I freely give the benefit of my 40 years’ experience in the industry and law in two countries than to cast open ended comments with innuendos, Nat P

  3. Your only option is to grin and bear it I’m afraid and learn to read or ask about booking conditions in the future.
    The onus is on the guest to make adequate enquiries before booking to satisfy themselves if the property is suitable for their purpose.
    You have a contract which apparently states no refunds and those terms were made available to you before you booked. If you didn’t read them, just assuming you could get a full refund, well, silly you. Just because one establishment allowed you to cancel without penalty does not mean the next one will. Learn from your expensive laziness and pay attention to the booking conditions in the future.
    It is none of your business if the host needs your money or not and it’s beside the point how long the host was or was not waiting. Your bank will not help nor will suing the host or AirBnB as you broke the contract. The terms and conditions prevail and they state no cancellation, pure and simple.

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