No Solution to Accidentally Using Instant Book

This is only the second time that I have used Airbnb. I understand the process to be: I message the host and the host returns the message and you both decide if there should be a booking. I thought I was messaging Dorothy, based in Washington DC. There is a new feature to automatically book. So that’s what happened; I didn’t want to automatically book. She has been a host since January 17th. I messaged her instantly that this had been a mistake, and requesting that she return my funds. I called Airbnb to return my funds. There are no features on Airbnb to correct this mistake. I cancelled the booking, but both Airbnb and Dorothy are refusing to give me the money back. The charge was $3389. Then I got a message after my multiple calls to Airbnb over a week and a half later that I would get a partial refund of $2477. Then I received another email from an Airbnb representative saying I would only get $2161. I said this was unacceptable. I did not agree to a partial refund, which is what he was trying to state in his email. I said I wanted a full refund. They insinuated that I couldn’t get a refund. They will not return even a partial refund if I don’t agree to their terms. This is how they trick you.

The thieving host and I texted a lot. She was trying to convince me she had nothing to do with the transactions, but as I found out later the hosts have the power to issue a complete and full refund; she is just refusing to do so. She lied and the amount she can steal from me is over $600. All because there is no recourse for correcting the automatic booking process. This is wrong and it’s stealing. I think this new feature is a scam on Airbnb’s part and the hosts (at least my thieving host) don’t care if they harm customers financially. Airbnb’s customer service is not helpful and difficult to reach. The representatives will not speak with you or hear your complaints. Then if you don’t agree with the resolution, they threaten you with getting nothing back. Dorothy from Washington DC is a scam artist because she knew this was a mistake. I tried to send her a message. I told her the second it happened because there is no feature to undo the automatic booking. She made a fast $600 with no regard to the harm she caused. I’m a hard working woman with four children, two in college. For Airbnb to have unhelpful and threatening customer service agents and thieving hosts keep these funds and not correct this mistake immediately is egregious. Beware of the instant booking. Thieves like Dorothy use this as a means of stealing your money and customer service representatives will not help you. If anything, they will actually threaten to withhold partial payments if you don’t agree with the resolution. I don’t agree with their resolution. I want and need all of my money back.

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7 Comments

  1. We made that mistake of refunding non refundable bookings and because we did it for a guest we kept on refunding others.
    The last straw was a refund we did at the the insistence of airbnb’s customer service who pleaded with us.
    The guest didn’t even had a valid reason, she sent a booking request, I approved it instantly over the smart phone and a few minutes later she was invited to stay with friends so she decided to cancel her request. Because it all happened within a few minutes she thought she was entitled to a full refund.
    It wasn’t a death in the family or a natural disaster in her home town or a zombie outbreak.
    We told airbnb it was the last time we’ll make an exception from our cancelation policy for absolutely anyone because it feels like if we make one exception for someone, we feel guilty about not making an exception again for someone else.
    So nope, read the cancelation policy before sending a booking request or instant booking the same way you feel sorry for your money, us hosts too have operating costs and cancellation fees cover small incidentals like a $50 missing remote control, lost keys, a cpl of missing towels, broken plates, missing silverware that guests probably threw in the garbage by mistake, or daged furniture that we don’t always get to have a successful claim for.
    Be careful what you click accept on, as Judge Judy always says, by clicking accept it becomes a binding contract just like putting your signature on paper.

  2. You should dispute the charge with your credit card company and never use airbnb again – it is draconian policies like this, and greedy and unscrupulous hosts hos are transforming a once decent idea into a laissez-faire nightmare –

  3. Instant Booking is not a new feature. I’ve been a host for three years and I have always accepted Instant Booking. Also, you don’t seem to understand that under no circumstances will Airbnb refund their fees which range from about 6% to about 12% so the host is not keeping $600.00.

  4. Wow. Accusing everyone of wrongdoing when it’s obviously completely your fault. You certainly have some “personal issues” don’t you.

  5. You should read the refund terms before you agree to the terms and conditions… If the host cancels the booking, they will be punished by AirBnb. You made a mistake, you pay the price.

  6. You made the mistake, not Airbnb or the host. In theory, she should give you some back but she is not obligated to. Also, Service fees are never refunded.

    I had this happen with a guest as well, I am a long time host. He made the error and out of the goodness of my heart I returned all but a $100 cancellation fee. (and the service fee or the commission charged to me by Airbnb, why should I pay that?)

    I could not return it until the time of his trip or I would be refunding out of MY next payout. No way that was going to happen.

    Instant Book is not a new feature. And it’s very clear that when you book, you are buying.
    You have to learn to book carefully. No one owes you anything, so you were lucky to get half after cancellation. And no service fees are EVER refunded.

  7. It clearly states it’s an instant booking. This is solely your fault. It’s unfortunate you didn’t read what you were doing but that’s nobody’s fault but your own.

    And having a “recourse to correct the instant booking” defeats the entire process of an instant booking.

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