Beware of Airbnb’s Cancellation Policy

Airbnb is great as long as nothing goes wrong. But the whole process is too complex for nothing to go wrong. In our case we were not able to travel to our booking in Yosemite National Park because of a national weather service advisory about a winter storm which clearly mentioned “not to travel unless in a emergency”. When we contacted Airbnb they suggested that we need to first cancel the booking and then claim a refund under their extenuating circumstances policy. After we cancelled the booking we filed a claim. The entire customer service experience was horrible. First of all, Airbnb could only be reached by email, which was slow. It took almost three days for Airbnb to reach a conclusion: they will not refund a single penny. When I asked for an escalation, a blunt email arrived stating that this was their final decision and they would not entertain any further communication.

Cancelled Bahamas Reservation, Could Not Request Refund

We booked a reservation for our Christmas vacation in the Bahamas three months in advance. I requested the host send me the agreement and instructions on how to get into the house no fewer than either times. He would not send it. The day before we were to fly from Michigan to the Bahamas, he cancelled (I highly suspect he rented it for much more money or a longer period of time). We could not find another place on the island. We had to pay to rebook our airfare and cancel deposits for fishing and diving trips. We lost $1500 and could not even contact Airbnb to request any type of resolution.

Airbnb’s Policy with Children Leaves Much to be Desired

Upon arriving to a home which was promised to be cleaned and ready for use, we found many items that could have potentially hospitalized or kids or worse. Prescription drugs (EpiPen in paper box) were left on an open shelf on a nightstand and picked up by my three year old. Used razors in the shower were also easily accessible by a toddler, along with melted bars of soap to add to the grotesqueness. Open containers of alcohol were in the refrigerator on the bottom shelf. Used tissues were stuffed into a seemingly new box, discovered by my 13 year old who needed a tissue and discovered a box full of dirty used tissue trash. Expired food (some from October) was in the fridge we were supposed to be able to use. The oven was greasy with stains that looked like they hadn’t been cleaned in years. Snow and fog prevented us from leaving the same night since we arrived late and discovered these issues late. Upon requesting resolution from Airbnb, they said the host had a strict cancellation policy and everyone has different opinions of what is considered safe/dangerous and clean. So they were suggesting we pay for something that we didn’t use and could have killed my kids. Airbnb needs to know their contracts should include verbiage that covers basic child safety requirements when hosts offer homes to families with children. Their staff should be instructed how to read and understand their own cancelation policy, which states if a home is unclean and unsafe that is concerned a legitimate reason for initiating a refund. How that is pushed as a matter of opinion or open for interpretation I don’t understand.

Host and Guest Agree, Still Shorted on Refund

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My story starts off in Athens, Greece on September 28th, 2016. I went into my Airbnb account and booked a stay with Konstantinos for $244. For some reason, the app stated the property was not available for my dates, and I would have to search and find another property. I did find another property for the same dates but for $318; this was a bit more but I needed somewhere to stay. Shortly after I received a message from Konstantinos stating that the property was not yet clean and it would take three more hours to be ready. I immediately contacted the host and bought the glitch in the system to their attention and that my credit card had been charged. My credit card should not have been charged because the dates were not available, so I had to rebook with another property for the same dates. Konstantinos asked me to please go and cancel the request and they would refund my full amount back to me. Konstantinos stated this made their ratings look bad and please go into the app and cancel the transaction and all my money would be refunded back to me. Here is a copy of the Airbnb messages between the two of us:

Konstantinos: Good morning! I am very happy that you will stay in my house! Can we set an appointment there at 14:30, because the house has to be cleaned and ready for you. Is it ok with you? Also consider that you need about two hours to get to the center from the metro. Waiting for your response and I will send you all the information about how to come here and check in! All the best, Kostas.

Me: I am sorry but my credit card didn’t go through and we booked with someone else.

Konstantinos: Okay, but I still see that you booked with me. Are you sure you cancelled? Because if not, your credit card is going to be charged. All the best, Kostas.

Me: Can you please release the charge? We tried to book with you and an error stated I could not book because the dates were not available.

Konstantinos: I cannot cancel the charge because I have penalties on my status from Airbnb. You have to cancel the reservation. Please try to do it and message me. Thank you.

Me: I will call Airbnb.

Me: I will text you back with an update.

Konstantinos: Okay, but please try to do it quickly to avoid charges and also it looks like the place is booked now. It is not good for me. Thank you.

Me: Yes, I know it is showing booked; that is why the system said my dates were not available to book, and my credit card was still charged. I did cancel but my money has not been released. My bank said you can release the authorization hold on my credit card.

Konstantinos: As i told you, you have to cancel. If I cancel, I will have penalties on my Airbnb status. After you cancel I will refund you, don’t worry. But if you don’t cancel ASAP I will lose money because the place looks like it is booked. Please cancel ASAP. Thank you.

Konstantinos: Did you contact Airbnb?

Me: No. I did go in and cancel the booking, so I will go back and recheck.

Me: Okay, see if it is canceled now.

Konstantinos: I just refunded the whole amount, 170 euros. Thank you and maybe next time!

You canceled this reservation

You will receive a full refund of $216 based on Konstantinos’s Strict cancellation policy.

You should expect to receive this amount in your VISA 9205 account by Thu, Oct 06.

However, I was only refunded $217.00 (didn’t include the service fee) and the very next day I was charged another $244.00 on my credit card again. I have tried endlessly to have the wrong corrected but haven’t had any success. Can anyone help or give me some suggestions on this matter?

Airbnb Cancellation Policy is Unfair to Hosts

I accepted a three-night rental in our one-bedroom apartment. In doing so, I blocked off those nights so that I could not accept any other inquiries for those dates. Then, the very day of check in, I received a message from the guest that he wanted to cancel, presumably because of a sick relative. They used their “extenuating circumstances” excuse to waive my cancelation policy. No other hotel or vacation rental site would allow a guest to cancel only 5-6 hours before checking in. And this is not an isolated situation. In the past several months, I have had three other cancelations, all at the last minute. So, I have resigned to the fact that Airbnb is not at all reliable. I don’t want to accept a rental for any length of time for fear that it will be canceled at the last moment and I will lose the rental income for that time period. What I am doing is blocking off all the future dates in my calendar and then only unblocking two or three nights ahead for last-minute, last-resort bookings. Since TripAdvisor and VRBO do not have such a policy, I will depend on them for virtually all my future rental bookings.

Last Minute Cancellation at Chic Apartments in Miami

Don’t trust this person for booking your holiday weekend; they are unreliable and untrustworthy. Anyone who cancels a booking to accept another offer for more money because it is a holiday weekend should get treatment a million times worse than what they have just done to us.

I had been planning a trip from NY to Miami for Art Basel for months with my closest friends, working around everyone’s busy schedules and of course the expensive and difficult task of booking somewhere to stay on a holiday weekend. After careful planning, we thought we had selected the ideal Airbnb: the place looked decent, the price was good, and the location was perfect. Because we had already been confirmed, approved, and billed, of course we thought we were safe with our choice of accommodations and had nothing to worry about. We are now less than two weeks from the start of our trip, and our host sent us a pathetic message to us explaining that there was “some glitch in their booking system with another site so actually someone else booked the same listing already and they didn’t notice.” As a result, they would be cancelling our reservation. The host was so rude he even suggested that “it’s not really [his] fault so we can’t be mad at [him].” In other words, this is a holiday weekend in Miami and they found someone to pay more.

Now, we are completely out of any other halfway decent options and have nowhere to stay. Not a single option that is still available on Airbnb is even close in comparison, and we have been completely screwed by this host. The best part is that Airbnb has done absolutely nothing to help us remedy this problem, and offer no help or suggestions as to what we can do when we call. Their feedback is that they are sorry, but not sorry enough to actually help.

Guest Cancels? 50% Charge. Host Cancels? Scot Free.

In summary: how on earth does Airbnb continue to do well? I think they lack integrity. I know they lack sincerity.

Just the facts:

1) We made a reservation with Airbnb three months ago, for seven days over Thanksgiving in a specific neighborhood in LA. We have three dogs, so we wanted a standalone house with a fenced-in yard. That’s hard to come by; that’s why made the reservation three months in advance.

2) The cost of the place was $1,800 for the week. It was a “STRICT” cancellation policy on our end, meaning we would have been charged 50% of the total stay, $900. It was a totally cool policy, as we are also hosts in northern california. We were certain of our plans, so we accepted their “strict” terms.

3) The host canceled on November 2nd, 17 days before we were to arrive, three months after they agreed to rent us the house. The host pulled their listing, so they are gone.

4) We couldn’t find another place on Airbnb in that neighborhood that took dogs, was a standalone house, and wasn’t a dump, so we scrambled to find another place. We did find one using Homeaway, but to the tune of $2,800 for that week, $1,000 more than original place. That is what happens when you are forced to wait until the last minute to book a place. That is why we did what we did three months ago, to prevent from over paying 2 1/2 weeks before the holiday week.

5) We asked and got a full refund from Airbnb for the $1,800, seeing as we couldn’t find a place through them at this late date.

6) The Airbnb case manager assigned to this oh-so highly complicated matter offered us a voucher for $100 for our troubles.

7) I asked him for a voucher of $900 because they canceled on us, and caused us to spend $1000 more than what we wanted to spend. Had we been the ones to cancel, we would have been charged $900 immediately, no questions asked. That is how I came up with the $900 figure.

8) Our double-talking case manager came back and would not give a penny more than $200. A shuffle in the right direction, but hardly a step. He talked and wrote in a very professional and seemingly sincere manner, no doubt, highly trained and polished. But there are many things you can’t polish, and one of them is Airbnb.

No Show Host, No Bad Reviews Allowed

I am a double-lung transplant recipient. I go to Duke Hospital in Durham every six months for a check-up. I decided to try Airbnb, since my stays are only one night, and I could save $30-40. This host had all 4-5 star reviews. After arriving at the airport and taking my rental car to her house, she was not at home. I gave her the benefit of the doubt and texted her. No reply. I was forced to scramble to find a hotel for $30 more. While I was communicating with Airbnb, I got a text saying the host had canceled the reservation, which I was about to do. They quickly refunded my money, but really should have reimbursed for my more expensive hotel. When I went to write a bad review about the host, I discovered I was not able to do that. I called today to ask why (after jumping through hoops to find Airbnb’s actual phone number), and was told it was because the reservation was canceled. That’s not what the text I received said, and before I was able to cancel. I feel I was deprived of the chance to leave a bad review, in an effort to protect the host. None of it is acceptable. I await their return phone call, which I’m very skeptical about getting.

No Vacation in Sydney: Last Minute Cancellation

Do not book on Airbnb if you want to be certain you have an apartment waiting for you when you arrive. We are a family of five from Europe – Finland – and we are traveling to Sydney at the end of December. We started to plan our trip a year ahead and already made all of our bookings by January. We booked our flights, then eight nights through Airbnb at a two-bedroom apartment right on Bondi Beach, then seven nights in Cairns in a hotel, and then back to Finland. Everything was booked and paid for. Two and a half months before our trip would take place, our Airbnb host informed us that our reservation for the apartment had been canceled. We were shocked.

Guess how easy it is to find an apartment with two bedrooms for five people for eight nights just before and during New Years in Sydney? I can tell you it is not easy and the prices were totally different when compared with what they would have been if we had chosen a reliable apartment or hotel in the first place. I really cannot recommend Airbnb. We were offered a small discount if we booked other accommodations through Airbnb. However, what if that host would also have cancelled the new booking? We will never find out because the risk was to0 great; therefore, we booked accommodations through booking.com. I wonder how many people have been fooled since the feedback system at Airbnb is not good for the customers. Our host was given a small notification which will be removed in a couple of months and we lost our dream apartment probably because the host wanted to get a little more money from someone else…

Cold-Hearted Airbnb Hosts after Traumatizing Death

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I received some money for a gift for my birthday which was a few weeks ago and was planning to use it for my first, short solo trip to Seattle. I found Cory and Amanda’s cute place and was so excited to stay there. After booking my reservation I was getting ready to take my mom and our family friend to the airport, who had come to visit for the weekend. Suddenly I heard my mother screaming like I’ve never heard before. She yelled that her friend was not responding and to immediately call 911. When I saw her I knew that we were too late: she was cold, purple and stiff. I’ve seen dead bodies before but nothing like this. I will truly be traumatized for a long time. A couple hours after making the reservation I told Amanda and Cory what had happened and asked for a refund since they had a strict cancellation policy. My reservation was still two days away and they refused… several times actually. They informed me that I should have known better and was aware of their policy when I booked.

Had I been aware that a loved one was lying dead in the next room I would have never booked the trip. Airbnb was actually very nice to me. I talked to two individuals who tried to get a refund on my behalf and were unsuccessful. I was floored by how cold and rude these people were to me. I even asked to just change dates for a time in the future and wasn’t able to. I hope that I never make someone feel as lousy as Amanda and Cory made me feel. You hope that most people are compassionate and good but this is just an example of how horrible some people can be. It’s also a little about the money for me: I make about 30k a year and have student loans, so trips like these are rare for me. I lost all of my birthday money and will not get to go on a trip. My advice would be to book a place without a strict cancellation policy because if something happens to you you’ll probably be screwed.