Ransomware Attack Doesn’t Qualify as Extenuating Circumstances?

My family booked a trip in the mountains for North Carolina. Three days before our trip, the Colonial Pipeline was hacked and held for ransomware. This lead to a gas shortage and state of emergency that was declared in the state. We contacted Airbnb customer service to see if we could cancel our trip due to the state of emergency and the fact that we wouldn’t be able to make it to our destination. They told us they would look into it.

We reached out to them every day for five days, and continued to be told they were looking into it. Finally, after our trip was scheduled to be over, they came back and said it wasn’t covered under the extenuating circumstances policy but wouldn’t tell us why, even though a government-declared state of emergency is clearly listed as part of the policy. We asked for a manager to give us a call, so that they could give us a better explanation.

Instead of a call, a manager that was based in Europe emailed us to let us know that the decision was final and that she couldn’t call us in the U.S. because of the time zone difference. We asked for a manager located in North America or more specifically in the eastern time zone. She came back and said if we want to talk to someone, we can call the customer service line again and start over with a new ambassador. We still believe that our claim falls under the extenuating circumstances policy and would really like to talk to someone that understands why the decision was made to deny the claim.

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


  1. I agree with Annie.

    If gas was available, you just had to wait, your just trying to cancel last minute.

    In the 70’s I had to go to three gas stations (gas rationing) to get enough gas to get to Mammoth to ski, Yep it took me 5-6 hours, got it done. Oh, and I had to buy a car wash…

  2. Really simple. It WAS a state of emergency and so it does not matter what airbnb says.

    Do what I did. File in small claims court in your home town, send supeona by certified mail as required by the court and expect to be contacted immediately and get ever penny back.

    Most importantly, if you don’t get a settlement in full, show up to your court date. If airbnb doesn’t show you win automatically. If you present proof of an actual state of emergency as declared by NC you win. But it never gets that far. Airbnb backs down 100% of the time against small claims because its too small for them to fight, especially when they’re wrong!

  3. I live in NC. There was gas available in most areas. Sometimes a wait was necessary. In general Costco & Truck stops didn’t run out. 5 days after the hack gas started becoming more plentiful. The state didn’t shut down.

    Airbnb’s extenuating circumstances policy is clear what qualifies. The host cancellation policy is in the rental description and on the reservation summary/confirmation.

    Sounds like you booked with a rental with a strict cancellation policy and you decided not to travel.

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