Hurricanes just aren’t in our Airbnb Policy

I loved Airbnb and thought it to be an amazing thing. Like many, I’d often browse the app for cool places to stay, daydreaming of my next opportunity to get away.

I’ve just returned home from a road trip with my partner and we had booked Airbnbs along our way out to east coast Canada. Due to a severe weather issue, we had decided to cancel our booking with one of the hosts. Before we cancelled, I was sure to make contact with them so we could talk it all over and come to a mutual decision of what would be best and safest.

After the call, they agreed it would be best we not take our chances in travelling out to where the stay was supposed to be, and they said they would consider what refund would be comfortable for them. They had also offered a free future stay in exchange for the cancellation, but now they have offered a future 15% discount in place of that offer.

After a few days passed, I contacted them again to see if they had thought more about a refund. They said they would contact Airbnb to see what they thought about my request, which later they then said that Airbnb didn’t take the weather seriously as it didn’t appear on their “weather radar”. In turn, they had no intention of refunding me at all.

Not being satisfied with the outcome, I contacted Airbnb myself in hopes of conveying the situation perhaps a little clearer from my position. I was put in touch with someone who asked if I could link them with some resources online that showed the weather conditions I had mentioned.

I linked her with the first article I could find, which came up right away when I searched “October 17th 2019 Nova Scotia weather” which mentioned the “weather bomb” my partner and I experienced and chose not to risk driving in. In the article there were plenty of videos and pictures from locals showing trees being ripped out of the ground, cranes falling into buildings, etc.

The article also mentioned the winds which had been blowing at 60-100 kph. They said it was “hurricane like conditions” and I was expected to drive through that in order to make my stay. I have family who lived an hour away from where I was staying before the storm, that said even if I had nowhere to go after cancelling the Airbnb, I shouldn’t drive to them to stay at their home because even that drive would not be safe. The reservation I had cancelled was a five and a half hour drive away. We even had our host contact us about the storm, asking if we had heard about it and what our plans were in case we needed help navigating that out last minute.

The customer service rep said there was nothing Airbnb could do and that if I were to get a refund it would need to come directly from the host, which the host clearly did not want to do and keep the money. After trying to explain my situation further, she then said that “the decision is final” and that I would be compensated nothing.

This is all coming after she apologized on behalf of Airbnb and said that Airbnb wants to treat their customers with respect and make them feel valued. It’s such a shame how ridiculous this situation became and how poorly this was handled. Clearly, the customer is not valued or respected and our safety and well-being was in no way a concern.

Airbnb would rather have my $200 then a valued user/guest who had once loved this service. I regret to say, I have decided to never again use the Airbnb service and have deleted my account. I will never be able to recommend anyone using Airbnb after all of this.

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