Airbnb’s Cancellation Policy Leaves Guest Out $1.6K

I am planning on relocating to San Miguel de Allende so I booked a one week stay in a darling casita in January. When I realized the pandemic wouldn’t allow me to travel in January, I changed my reservation for the entire month of April. Now it looks like April is too soon to travel also so I wanted to cancel until we get the all-clear travel advisory.

I was told that I could cancel for a full refund up to 24 hours before my reservation. Now Airbnb is withholding all my money for the first 30 days (my entire reservation) and only refunding me $25 out of almost $1,600. This company sucks and I will never use them again. I will post warnings to others wherever I can. This company needs to be replaced with one that actually has customer service.

Reservation Cancelled for No Reasonable Reason

I made an Airbnb reservation at certain price for five days. The same day I made the reservation I contacted the host with some doubts and she asked me for an increase per night on my reservation and an increase of days; if I didn’t agree, she asked me to cancel my reservation. I didn’t cancel, so she did.

It’s been disappointing that I can’t complain on a review for this specific host because the booking is cancelled. The cancellation policy for hosts is ridiculous; it’s so significant that they can cancel whenever they want, assuming no consequences. On the other hand, customer service does nothing. They even responded offering a discount on another reservation (which I don’t have). They don’t know even what they’re taking about.

I hope that Airbnb’s headquarters cares about its clients (as customers service clearly doesn’t) and I get at least the simple request I’m making: to be able to write a review on the person who did this to me, as I actually had an experience with the host, even if the reservation got cancelled. I have all the WhatsApp conversations with her asking me to pay more and increase the dates.

Take care of your clients. I’m now afraid of using Airbnb as hosts can cancel on me whenever they want. I hope I finally find someone who can actually hear me.

Booking Cancelled Suddenly Without Any Reason

I booked an apartment in London in mid September. According to Airbnb, the host was new; she joined Airbnb recently, and the platform showed that she replied to messages in an hour. We liked her apartment so we wanted to give it a try.

As instant booking was available, we booked her apartment and told her the time we would come to London. Unfortunately, we waited for a week and she did not reply. We sent her another message asking for her confirmation. Again, there was no reply from her.

Then, we started to contact Airbnb support and finally they were able to contact her. She explained to us that her mobile was not working so she was not able to reply to us. More importantly, she confirmed that her apartment would be available and would give us more information tomorrow.

However, again, we have waited for another week and we received no information from her. When we almost wanted to send her another message and ask Airbnb for help again, I suddenly saw a message in my mailbox from PayPal that I received a refund from Airbnb. However, there was no other formal notifications from her or Airbnb telling me that my booking has been cancelled and explaining why.

I had to log in to my Airbnb account, check my booking and see a message that my booking has been cancelled. I feel like I am serving Airbnb but paying them a service fee at the same time. I took responsibility for confirming with the host that the apartment would be ready and I spent a lot of time checking and sending her messages to ask for her replies.

Eventually, my booking was cancelled without any reason and formal notification and I was forced to look for another apartment myself. Many apartments are not available anymore or became much more expensive.

Host Refuses to Communicate About Cancellation

We had plans to travel to the U.S. in October that were cancelled due to COVID. Alternative bookings were made for a property in Australia from Oct. 3-10 (we had stayed in this property 12 months ago with a great review from the host).

The cancellation policy on the listing at the time of booking was a 50% refund up until Sept. 25. We raised the question of flexibility to change dates if restrictions applied at the time of booking. The host responded “let’s talk about this in September.”

Flights cancelled by the airline, borders closed by our state governments and penalties (both financial and potential jail sentences) for breaching COVID quarantine restrictions forced our decision to request a change of dates to April 2021 to give us time for recovery post COVID. There was no response from the host.

We reached out to the Airbnb Support team who promised to look into the matter. We reached out to the host in September who advised that this property would no longer be available after February 2021. We were unable to take leave before February so pushed the “cancel” button and requested a refund. The host’s response was a “$0.00 refund.”

We reached out again to Airbnb Support who asked for evidence to be uploaded. They advised they were in contact with host. We were frustrated at how long it took to respond to a message. It would be great to actually speak to someone about this. I have been a very frequent user, supporter and promoter of Airbnb but the lack of real time support has left a very disappointing mark.

Promised a Full Refund, Only Received Half

Anticipating the craziness of a parents’ weekend lodging nightmare, I made a reservation right away on September 19 after we got home while my hubby was still dragging bags from the van. The reservation was for October 1-4. At matriculation day on August 15, I received an email from my son’s school that the weekend was cancelled due to COVID-19.

I went online on the 16th to cancel my reservation. The instructions stated I should call my host to ask for a full refund. If she agrees, I would get my full refund. She did. I got an email back that I would be refunded the full amount of $200.98 but in reality, I only got half: $100.74.

I called the host back. She said that she gave me a full refund of $170 and sent me the receipt with a note stating it was a “penalty free” refund. I told her I did not get the $170. Instead I have $100.74 and I do not need the $170, just $100.74. She said that I should take it to Airbnb now since it is between me and Airbnb. Her partner explained to me that when I booked, the money went to Airbnb; they get paid after the guests stay. I compared her refund receipt number and the Airbnb refund receipt number; they were the same.

What happened to the $170? Where is my money? Their cancellation policy on COVID-19 is quite confusing because it states that they will give a full refund if the cancellation is due to COVID-19 and the hosts agree, which I qualify on both. But, it has also a window of dates that they consider “emergency dates” which my reservation and cancellation did not fit since I booked before COVID-19 and cancelled past their end of emergency date. Thus only a 50% refund.

Why would I be penalized for something that is out of my control? I made the reservation in good faith, paid in full for an accommodation I wouldn’t be using until a year later, and I did not cancel for whatever silly reason. I cancelled because due to COVID-19 our son will be “secured” in the barracks until his December holiday pick-up.

I called the number for help but of course there is no option about my situation because they do not entertain refunds (only current reservations). Instead, they encouraged me to read the link they sent me which is more or less the explanation again of their outrageous and unfair cancellation policy.

My son has two years left to complete his degree; I guess we will have to stay at Howard Johnson then. At least it gives me a clear option to book securely for an extra $10 and get a full refund in case of cancellation. I will continue to fight this to the end and will inform my son’s school’s alumni office which helps parents with accommodation information. We certainly do not need this degree of aggravation due to unfair policies. Thank you for providing this space where we can express our angst of injustice.

Airbnb Hung up When I Asked for a Refund

My daughter and her friend were going to go to Santorini and I paid for the reservation. We fit right into the COVID-19 extenuating circumstances policy with all of the dates. I tried to get a refund through AMEX because I could not get through to Airbnb in early April.

I tried again today but could not get through. I called this afternoon. I had tried through my daughter’s account to find the cancellation button but could not. There was a 45-minute wait. I asked the rep if should could refund the amount. She would not give me a simple yes/no answer.

I asked for a manager per this site. She said I had to be verified. Then she said I had to go through my daughter’s account. I told her I wanted a manager as I had paid for the trip. She said she would need to hangup on me. I again asked for a manager as I had the reservation number dates, etc. She hung up on me. That is not customer service.

I went back online and found the cancellation button. The only option was a refund on half or full travel credit. Never again. Airbnb is the worst. This is our second horror story.

Being told ‘No matter what, I cannot get my money back‘

We are four senior women (over 70) who booked a friend’s vacation back on January 29 for travel beginning on May 11. We paid in full, looking forward to the vacation. Then COVID-19 hit. We contacted the host and explained we were concerned: two ladies had frail husbands and one lady had respiratory problems. We contacted the hosts on March 31 to express our concerns and ask about our options.

The hosts were very understanding but asked that we waited until at least May 1 to cancel. We agreed, but on April 20 we received an email from Airbnb talking about possibility of getting a 100% refund due to COVID-19.

At that point we reached out to the hosts, who said to try and cancel using the Airbnb website. I did but could not find a way to get a 100% refund. It said I would get a little more than 50% back or I could accept a travel voucher for 100%. We opted for this, because we did not believe we could get our money back.

I talked again with the hosts, who said they were going to try and help. When they got back to me, because I had accepted the travel voucher, they didn’t think there was anything they could do to help.

Since then, we have spoken with several hosts who indicated they were refunding their customers 100% of their money without documentation, and I needed to pursue this by calling Airbnb. They gave me a number to call. I called on May 7, explained the situation, was told my case was being escalated to case management and I would get a call back.

I did not get a call back. We pursued calling Airbnb again, explained our situation again, and again we were told we would get a call back. Again nothing… we called back again, waited on hold about 1.5 hours then was told over and over again that they were sorry , but there was nothing they could do.

There was no one that could help me get my money back. Because I had agreed to take a voucher then I could not get my money. I find the entire refund policy unacceptable. I will not be paying Airbnb ever again to stay at one of their properties. I will make sure everyone I know also hears the same story. Shame on Airbnb for stealing some people’s money. How dare they accept stimulus loan money.

Host and Airbnb Contradicting Each Other

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I booked a five-month reservation with a Superhost through Airbnb. After 24 days, I cancelled the reservation for multiple reasons: the dirty TP in the bathroom; my food being eaten; and when the host said one of his employees had been exposed to someone with the virus.

The host said there was a 30-day cancellation penalty, which would be about $1100. Airbnb says that the amount of the remainder of four months’ time cut in half is how their system calculated the cancellation, for roughly a $3200 cancelation penalty.

I messaged the host who said, and I quote, “Again: you are not responsible for any cancellation fee. If they try to pay it, we will refuse it.”

After two months of trying to get Airbnb to respond to my calls the host is now saying they are charging a cancellation fee. This comes down to the host directly lying to me and to Airbnb. Airbnb refuses to even read what the host says or respond to me.

Thankfully I have had legal advice that said to save all messages and if Airbnb tries to do anything, I am completely covered. Airbnb says the original case manager is no longer with the company, and a new one is assigned but still not responding.

I have reached out over a dozen times over the past two months and still am being ignored. A representative the other day said that when a case is opened it could not be closed without a resolution. The helpbot closed my case the other day, after two months of being open and no resolution.

Not a good place to stay and Airbnb is hiding reviews on them so they can remain a Superhost.

Airbnb Refused to Give Full Cash Refund

Airbnb’s COVID-19 cancellation policy says I will be offered a full cash refund, as my situation fits the criteria. I am eligible for a full cash refund. Was I offered a full cash refund? No.

I was offered less than half my money as a cash refund, or I could accept a credit of the full amount. As I was confident Airbnb would fix this error, I took the credit. I was living in a dream world. They have all been rude, dismissive, disdainful, from the juniors to the ‘senior’ consultants. One was decent enough to tell me the truth, but did nothing.

They have completely ignored the topic that the system made a mistake to not to offer a full cash refund. They say they will never give me the full cash refund. They have the gall to quote the policy to me saying that I took the credit, so I should shut up and crawl back under a rock.

The next indignity is that someone fraudulently used my credit. Who or how they used my credit, I don’t know. There were no apologies, just a new credit reinstated, but not the full value. They decide to ‘round down’ the credit amount.

Isn’t that theft, to take money off someone without their permission? Yes, they let someone steal my money, then they stole some of my money. Unbelievable. How do they feel about it all?

I asked the ‘senior’ consultant to ring me. He completely ignored me, and sent me one of the endless generic emails saying the same thing as the last fifty emails. Thankfully it didn’t contain the ‘slap-in-the-face line,’ that they will now close the case as they feel it has been dealt with sufficiently. They sent that one to me one too many times.

I have asked the NSW Fair Trading department to help. They are kind and supportive. As yet we have had no success in getting Airbnb to abide by their own policy. They have shown themselves to be incompetent, but worse than that, dishonest and completely dismissive and disrespectful of their customers’ feelings and rights.

The true test of customer service is how the company responds when things go wrong. When things go well it all looks good, but my situation has tested these people and they fail in so, so many ways.

I am sorry to all the lovely hosts who have made our Airbnb stays so memorable. You make Airbnb look good, but it is rotten to the core. There are plenty of other accommodation websites that offer the same style of accommodation and service. I hope you will all join me there, and we can again enjoy our carefree holiday travels.

Not Happy About Airbnb’s Cancellation Policy

My son was due to be married in NY in August. I had paid $3800 to secure an Airbnb accommodation. I am in Australia. The wedding has been postponed for one year and travel is not allowed.

The host has been lovely. However, as I cancelled, Airbnb is holding $901 in fees. They say this is fair, as my cancellation is not covered by extenuating circumstances. The host is also angry, but it doesn’t seem to matter. I regret not asking her to cancel the booking as I feel perhaps I would have been better situated? Message after message, case manager, phone call but no refund from Airbnb. I am devastated.

Any suggestions?