Long term cancellation policy disaster

I consider myself someone who researches things thoroughly before going through with them. I reserved a space on Airbnb for 30 days. On the page, it said a “moderate” cancellation policy applied. If I cancelled before 5 days before the check in date, I would get a full refund.

So I ended up doing just that, and got absolutely no refund. Apparently for reservations over 28 days, a “long term cancellation policy” applies. There is no mention of it anywhere. On inspection, it was mentioned on the email AFTER I reserved. If you dig deep into the site you can find it… however as a first time user, I had no reason to dig deep into the site. The listing said for the dates I reserved, a Moderate policy would apply.

This is completely a mistake on their end. After haggling with their customer reps, and learning that it was up to the host to refund me, I ended up losing $400 and getting refunded the rest. Not worth my time to press charges but honestly it was a total mistake on their end… never use this site unless you want to take a gamble.. once they have your money, they really don’t care.

Posted in Airbnb Guest Stories and tagged .


  1. I am in the same boat – I will check with the lady who I rented from and see what she says. I have not cancelled the reservation yet. I am very disappointed this is not made more explicit before your click “request to book”. I selected 29 nights and there were no bells or alerts that the policy discretely changed on the listing. WTF?? This is a major difference – I would not have reserved if the policy was to be locked in. If I had reserved 27 nights then the moderate cancellation policy would apply – what a pain in the arse! I hope she will be willing to refund according to her moderate cancellation policy which she has for all other reservations. If not, I dunno what I am going to do. AIRBNB I LOVE you but this is crazy!!! You need to make this very apparent once you change the dates to be 28 days or more – BEFORE the client clicks “Request to book!” Why is this not indicated super clearly as an alert??? Sheesh!!! Crazy

  2. I think you are fine if you cancel before they “accept”.. I am not an expert on
    Airbnb.. Like you, I was about to book a place for December.. but I thought I would
    just double check.. & was very surprised to learn all this. I would expect a small penalty,
    cancelling out over a month prior.. but definitely not paying the full amount.

    • I want to add that I have used Airbnb dozens of times..with a few “long term” rentals..but
      was unaware of this.. until recently. All my experiences thus far have been positive.

  3. Airbnb states on their Long Term Reservation policy page.
    “The Long Term cancellation policy is automatically applied to all long-term reservations of 28 nights or more and requires a 30-day notice of lease termination.” “If you cancel prior to 30 days you will be refunded accordingly”. This is all they say.. and you need to research further to find out what this means.. There is no hyperlink for “refunded accordingly”

    This would still leave a reasonable person to think that there is a reasonable refund given to cancelling over 30 days prior. They are deliberately vague..and therefore misleading. You have to dig a little to confirm what should be very clear before entering the “agreement”. which is .. HEY!! BEFORE YOU CLICK YES, to any 28 day or longer reservation, you need to know YOU ARE STUCK FOR THE FULL PAYMENT (1 MONTH)… YOU HAVE GIVEN ALL POWER OVER TO THE HOST TO REFUND. doesn’t matter if it is 1 month or a year in advance. (terrible policy)

    THEREFORE… If someone has made this error and falls out of their “extenuating circumstances” I would still advise NOT clicking the cancellation button… What this does,
    is cancels your reservation and you’re STILL STUCK FOR THE MONEY. It would be best to feel out the host, with some questions regarding refund or changes to see if they would be in agreement & to determine whether they are a shit or not. If they answer with “too bad” or “buyer beware” bull, you may as well keep the reservation, so at least they cannot rent it out again to double their income. And you can at least warn others of their behavior with a review.

    • Rob

      I did send a reservation request just awhile ago to a host but I cancelled straight away after I saw “long term policy” applied eventhough it was clearly stated “moderate refund policy” on the page. I gave almost no time for the host to accept my reservation but am I safe? I was not taken to the long term policy that I have to agree to before clicking Request to book! I have never doubted Airbnb until what I have just encountered!

  4. I just became a victim of this Airbnb scam – losing alomost AUD3000! This policy is probably against the law in many jusrisdictions including Australia. I will take the site and the host to court if a refund was not given.

  5. I has almost the exact same thing happen to me. I tried to work with their customer service, but they were useless. They tried to charge me $734 to cancel a double booking that was created by an error on their app.

    Eventually, I called my credit card company to dispute the charge and got all the money back. If you have a problem like this get your credit card company involved.

    • Hey Emily,

      I am in a similar situation with $3500 on the line. Was yours a long term rental and no refund? I called my credit card company and they are saying that if that’s the cancellation policy, there’s nothing they can do.

  6. For this situation the long term cancelation is completely unfair and it is baffling as to why AirBnb has left it unchanged for so long.

    It would make a lot more sense to create something like a “semi-long-term policy” for stays less than 60 days or so to be based on weeks not months. For example, if you cancelled on a 28 day stay a couple weeks before checkin you would pay one week, not cost the entire stay! And if you cancelled during your 28 day stay you would pay the next week, not the next month (which wouldn’t even be possible if you were staying for another three weeks). The reality is that no one really wants to cancel, but if the place is just unlivable for some reason and the owner is a jerk AirBnb still puts them in the drivers seat to take all your money.

    I think everyone understands that if they cancel last minute there is a lost opportunity cost to the owner, but it is rarely ever a 100% and it is ignorant for AirBnb to treat it this way. I personally like AirBnb for a lot of reasons, but this issue definitely makes me look elsewhere for month long stays.

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