Superhost Status is a Joke for Cancellations

I had booked an Airbnb in Sydney well in advance for my wife’s significant birthday in April. Exactly two months before check in, we made the difficult decision to postpone our trip from New Zealand due to the Australian bush fires (smoke which was polluting Sydney’s air) and the worsening worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

We advised our Superhost, believing that we were doing the decent thing by letting them know well in advance. Because we had passed the free cancellation period, the Superhost refused to refund any of our money (we’d paid for half the stay), saying she’d refund us if she secured a replacement booking for the same dates. Despite our pleas, she was immovable and wouldn’t listen to reason.

By the time Easter arrived, Australia and New Zealand were in lockdown so we wouldn’t have been able to travel anyway. We contacted Airbnb to get their help but initially there was confusion as both parties (Airbnb and the Superhost) said it was the other’s decision whether to refund me. Neither wanted to make a decision. As I had no luck with the Superhost, I turned my attention to Airbnb Support to try to have them refund me from Airbnb’s not insignificant funds.

They’ve so far refused to, citing in email after email their Extenuating Circumstances policy and that I was not covered by this (since I’d had the decency and foresight to cancel before the policy was introduced). I’ve also emailed senior management at Airbnb to ask them to help but no one has replied to my emails, preferring to pass my request onto the Airbnb Support team, who keep giving me the corporate line about not being able to help. They do apologize each time though.

The senior Airbnb staff I’ve contacted repeatedly — most recently on all correspondence with all the different “Support Ambassadors” assigned to my emails — have included Brian Chesky (CEO and Founder); Susan Wheeldon (Australia & New Zealand Country Manager); Tara Bunch (Global Head of Operations) and Derek Nolan (Head of Public Policy, Australia and New Zealand). But. Not. One. Response.

I’m not sure where to go from here. Guess I’ll keep emailing them so they have to assign another Support Ambassador to me. Or maybe by some miracle Brian or Susan or Tara or Derek will get in touch. Or I’ll get that refund I asked for months ago.

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