I reserved a duplex in Las Vegas for a business trip. I used a corporate credit card to make the reservation and paid the full amount for one receipt (almost two months out from reservation). The host has a strict cancellation policy, but I was okay with that because I had no intentions of cancelling the trip (already paid for the conference I was attending). I read through the policy as best I could.
The next week I found out I violated the company travel policy and was told to cancel the reservation ASAP. I did. I got back half the total amount, minus service fee, since it was past 48 hours, but well within 14 days.
I contacted the host for mercy on the refund policy, since it was extenuating circumstances. Initially the host said I could either re-book another date, or she would refund two thirds of the price if the place was re-booked. I asked again for mercy that I could not afford to just leave $450 out there. My complaint was that if I had only paid the down payment, I would have only been out half of that amount (a quarter of the total). I was stupid enough to pay the full amount, not expecting any problems. I stated that I would pay the service fee plus another $100.
The host cut off all contact with me. I got a case worker involved and another case worker when the first was awful, then a manager of the case workers involved. Now I can’t even get the two-thirds refund that was stated in the host’s message, and Airbnb has told me they can mediate no longer with the host since she wishes to stop all communication. So I get screwed, while Airbnb and the host profit off of half of a six-day rental that I never took… and the place did re-book. What is Airbnb’s responsibility to the guest?
The last message said this: “We can no longer continue to assist you, as a final decision has been made on this case. I’m truly sorry for all that has happened, and I believe the host should be accountable, but we can no longer mediate anything from them as they are not willing to mediate with us any longer. We have a final decision already made by the last agent, so there would not be any further discussion about the refund.”
Apparently the host can decide when the case is shut, even more than a month before the reservation date. How is this even legal? Thankfully it wasn’t a super expensive place that would’ve cost me thousands instead of hundreds. Lesson learned: never pay the full amount up front and never rent from hosts with a strict cancellation policy.
I have a lakefront property that I was considering renting through Airbnb and wouldn’t ever do this to a renter. How do people sleep at night, knowing they essentially stole money from someone? I basically donated $450 to the host and Airbnb for a few email exchanges and phone calls. I should get a donation receipt.