Penalized for Cancellation due to COVID Exposure

My friend and I booked a week in a New York state lake house for August. Five days before the vacation was to begin, her roommate was exposed to COVID, and said roommate wasn’t aware of her exposure until three days before our trip, at which point she informed my friend.

Out of an abundance of caution, concern, and unwillingness to potentially spread COVID, we made the painful choice to cancel our trip. The host was immediately rude, behaved like we’d set out to screw her out of money intentionally, and mocked us for believing COVID to be a concern. Airbnb was zero help, and didn’t seem to give a damn about the fact that we were operating under extenuating circumstances while trying to be good members of our national community.

We managed to get half our money back after extensive time spent publicly confronting Airbnb on various social media channels, but the entire thing was disgraceful, and cemented the distrust I’ve always had for Airbnb (I mean, what with destroying rental markets, pricing locals out of their communities, and the racism far too prevalent on their platform). I will never book through them again.

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


  1. I am a host in New Orleans, and am very sympathetic to your plight in terms of being responsible to not be spreading the virus; your concern for the “national community” is certainly shared by my wife and I. However, one question about your post: what observations or evidence can you share that leads you to make the accusation of racism? Do you mean the AirBB company, or individual hosts? This also is of great concern to us, so if you could be clear, it would be appreciated. I really believe that those of us making renewed efforts to address systemic racism in the US refrain from simply throwing such accusations around loosely; I will go so far as to say such statements, without stating actual facts in support, take us backwards rather than forward, and give the other side ammo for their complaints against BLM, etc. Thank you

  2. Airbnb states that reservations made after May 2020 are subject to the host’s published cancellation policy and the Airbnb Extenuating circumstances policy. After May 2020, we should all have been aware of the potential for shutdowns, cancellations & quarantines. The extenuating circumstances policy has specific items that are covered.

    You must provide documentation of the reason for the cancellation and supporting documentation like a doctors statement.

    Sounds like you got 1/2 back which is more than I would’ve expected. In general to refund a cancellation after the cancellation period, the host must agree to it. It was a gift. Sounds like under the policies you shouldn’t have been refunded.

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