Ridiculous Airbnb Service Fee Never Refunded

I wanted to reserve a room in Bar Harbor so I did a search and some places came up that said Winter Harbor, which I assumed – yes, I know – was a neighborhood around Bar Harbor. After booking, I went to a map to see where the place was. It was close to Bar Harbor, but only if you had a boat. Within a few minutes I called the owner and he immediately agreed to allow me to cancel. He tried to cancel, but emailed me saying that I had to. After figuring out how to do that, Airbnb stated that I wouldn’t get any money back because the owner had a strict cancellation policy. I wrote him back and he did agree to refund my money, thank goodness. However, Airbnb still wanted to charge me their service fee, which is significant. All this trouble for a mistake or error caused by them because they listed a home more than an hour away from where I was requesting and I realized what had happened within two minutes of them taking my booking. I have used Airbnb quite a bit before and this kind of thing has never happened before. I guess I’ll have to be extra careful with them before I book another place or use them again.

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


  1. Extortionate stunts like this alienate not just guests, but the five or ten or more family members and friends the guests tell their story to

  2. if you make a mistake you just have to suck it up. airbnb or the host isn’t ‘stealing’ the money if you booked something you didn’t research enough.

  3. It seems idiocy is the systemic problem and nothing else. It’s clearly laid out how to use the site (and that’s coming from somebody who is VERY anti-Airbnb)

  4. If I run a stoplight, I can’t undo that. It happened and I endangered people’s lives. If I press the wrong button on a start up site for an apartment over 2 months away and correct the mistake in 5 minutes, who is hurt? This is simply fraud.

    Sure, it was our mistake. If I drop a $500 bill on the ground that is my mistake, but if you pick it up and say finders keepers, you are in the wrong. Airbnb is in the wrong. This is standing up for a systemic problem that is only going to grow and affect more people.

  5. The service fee is clearly listed. Read what you’re booking and confirming.

    And the the commentor above … Instant Book is clearly identified and obvious. You made a mistake that’s you’re problem. Yeah the right thing for the host to do would be to refund you but some people are dicks. Still doesn’t change that it was your fault.

  6. No ridiculous fee here: you made a mistake and simply have to pay for it. Do you whinge like a spoiled little child when fined for ignoring a traffic light?

  7. Hi!
    I am going through the exact same thing right now. It was my first time on airbnb (I use VRBO normally) and I wasn’t aware of the “instant book” feature. I thought I was contacting the host but my card was charged immediately. I realized also that it was a room in house with many other borders and that was very unclear. I canceled within minutes but only half back. I contacted the host all manner of ways and he did not respond so I contacted Airbnb and they said they would contact the host for me. 5 days later they tell me the host said no and there was nothing they could do on their end. I asked to speak to a manager but no one ever called back. $550 dollars was literally stolen from me and there’s nothing I can do? This host lost no booking time because of my mistake he is just collecting free money and airbnb won’t take responsibility for the host.

    The only thing I can think of is to threaten this host with eviction by telling his property management company that he is illegally profiteering on their property.

    Any ideas?

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