Airbnb Travel During a Worldwide Pandemic

VRBO

The Airbnb website says if your travel is before May 31 you are entitled to a full refund. However, when I tried to do my cancellation it charged me the cleaning fee. I have sent repeated messages to our host and she has not responded to what kind of documentation is required for a refund.

I would think that with a worldwide pandemic and stay at home orders everywhere that further documentation would not be necessary but I cannot get a response and I have not received any confirmation of the cancellation or the refund.

This booking was for 11 days in the UK so it is a lot of money I am out if they do not follow through. If they fail to refund, I am hoping the attorney general will take action to ensure we are not cheated out of this refund.

VRBO

Hosts Have a Big Say in Your Refund

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In the middle of a global pandemic, this host was incredibly uncooperative, rude, arrogant, and kept reiterating that my refund was up to Airbnb. In addition to keeping in contact with the Superhost, I was also in touch with Airbnb. I got the runaround, until finally, I spoke with a decent human being.

I sent a link showing my state’s stay at home orders. I had to jump through many hoops and talk to a variety of people at Airbnb before anyone acted on it. To make matters worse, the Superhost was completely uncooperative.

Airbnb’s policy is unclear and dishonest as guests do not truly have an option for a refund during the COVID-19 crisis. You only get a refund if your host has updated their cancellation policy. It is ridiculous.

Keep in mind that the host does have a say. I am a host with a strict cancellation policy. When the guest cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis, I thought that was it. Several days later I had to approve his request for a refund. Why should I have had to approve it? Shouldn’t Airbnb automatically do it?

I don’t even get paid until the host is scheduled to check in. Airbnb is holding that money, and probably making money on it. Of course I approved his request, as in my eyes it would have been unethical to do anything else.

We are in the middle of a global crisis and nobody should be traveling, let alone haggling with unethical hosts and Airbnb. So, keep in mind that when a host tells you they don’t have anything to do with the cancellation policy, it is a lie. Hosts set their own cancellation policy, based on choices Airbnb provides.

All hosts were contacted and encouraged to alter their cancellation policies due to the pandemic. As some of you have experienced, many have not done it. I encourage you to write reviews naming your hosts and as much details about their rentals, as possible. This way, for those who dare to continue using Airbnb, potential guests can at least find out who was unethical during the pandemic — and avoid booking with them at any cost.

VRBO

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Can’t Stay at Airbnb if There’s Nowhere to Park

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I saw this website. I discovered it was impossible to stay at the “cottage” I reserved on Airbnb. I could not park anywhere for blocks (possibly miles) around. It turned out to be located in a very congested neighborhood where cars lined the streets on both sides.  I felt misled as to the listing.

The attached picture is not what I saw. It was inaccessible; the directions said to enter the “cottage” by going through the yard of a “different house” — the one that was facing the street. The driveway of this “other home ” had a sign posted that said “do not park”.

I was  a nervous wreck, as I contemplated what on earth I was going to do if I couldn’t even park my car. Impatient drivers behind me kept honking their horns. One car was able to barely squeeze his way between my car and the row of cars to his left. He leaned into my car and said, “Get out of the way!”

I had nowhere to go but forward. As soon as I was able, I called the “host”, who did not answer. So I left a voice message saying, “I can’t stay at your house if I can’t even park my car. I expressed that I didn’t know what to do. I never got a return phone call.

I went to the Airbnb message center and chose the red highlighted area that said “contact Airbnb”. In between each four-way street traffic stops I wrote my complaint.  It took several attempts at explaining why I wanted to cancel. The site didn’t like “because I had nowhere to park” and it didn’t like “because the ad was misleading”, so I entered “because I don’t feel safe”.

Apparently it is some sort of preset answer/question format that has to see a certain reason as being acceptable before it comes back with the response I was looking for. Finally the response came back as “you will receive a full refund”.

At that, I headed home, all the way from Queens, New York (where the coronavirus had practically become an overnight pandemic) to Conway, Arkansas. I had not slept in over 24 hours because the other reservations I had made through Airbnb had to be cancelled when I saw that it was in a very high crime area. At least that reservation was cancelled without a problem.

Well, I arrive home three days later. I booked motel stays along the way (did not want to bother with Airbnb anymore) and guess what? I got an email from Airbnb that I was not entitled to a refund because of my host’s policy.

Boy, was I mad. My husband was furious. He jumped down my throat about booking with that company instead of just getting a motel. I immediately tried to complain. But, for some reason, I don’t recall why — I could not get a person to talk to.  I had to write my complaint out and waited for a reply.

When someone did contact me, after explaining all of the reasons I cancelled, I was told I had no supporting facts: no pictures, no correspondence.

How am I going to get that question/answer form that is on their end only? How am I supposed to get a picture of that sign in their driveway which said “do not park”?

As of now, I am out $260. I know that is not a lot of money, especially in comparison to some of these other unfortunate victims. If I were rich, I would pursue this with an attorney just for the principle  of the matter. I have submitted a third request for the refund I was promised.

VRBO

COVID-19 Scam Over Bali Cancellation

I booked an Airbnb in early February 2020 with a host in Bali, Indonesia from May 15, 2020 through May 28, 2020. Well, sure enough, because of the coronavirus, my flight got canceled and both Singapore, where my layover was, and Bali are no longer accepting non-essential travel. This can be proven on both governmental websites.

I decided to cancel on March 25, 2020 and called Airbnb to speak to a representative. The representative informed me that because of their extenuating circumstances policy, I would be able to get refunded since I booked in early February.

Due to her negligent misrepresentation about the company’s policy, I cancelled my trip only to be refunded $0 and my cancellation had to be accepted by the Airbnb host. I immediately called back and was informed now the host had to accept my cancellation.

Well, the host never accepted my cancellation, told me he basically “had mouths to feed”, and I wouldn’t be seeing my $560 deposit. I immediately called Airbnb and told them I was impossible to go to Bali and it is unconscionable to take my money due to the first representative’s misrepresentation and the fact the government isn’t allowing me to travel. She informed me to submit documentation for internal review.

After this, Airbnb informed me he’d be eating my money too since I cancelled before the policy updated to extend to May 31st even though I cancelled five days before the extenuating circumstances policy updated.

I am advising everyone not to book with this Superhost who should have this status revoked and never to book with Airbnb. I have filed a complaint with the BBB since this is unconscionable and is a complete scam.

Even people who are covered under the extenuating circumstances policy still have to go through the same runaround and get the host to accept their cancelation. Airbnb is a scam.

COVID-19 Airbnb Cancellation not Refunded

I have never experienced customer service as terrible as this. I had a house booked in a couple weeks just outside the full cash refund bracket but that was fine; I was still entitled to a full credit refund which I could use in a future trip.

When I had realized the current state of emergency wasn’t getting any better, cancelling the Airbnb booking was a must. I went through the app to cancel and was shown two options. The first was a “receive a $0 refund from host” as it had surpassed her cancellation date, and the other option was “receive $320 travel credit for next trip.”

Part of this was my mistake, as I didn’t realize I needed to select an option. I had thought it was giving me the details of my refund rather than giving me the two options I had. As far I remember I don’t think there was anything that said I needed to select an option either.

Straight after that I had contacted Airbnb, first through messages and then a call. I was on hold for about 50 minutes, which is understandable during this period. Once I got through I explained my details to a very uninterested lady. She asked if I was looking for a full refund to my credit card, I said I was more than happy to accept travel credit.

I explained I think I had accidentally selected the wrong option as I didn’t see any travel voucher/credit to my account after that cancellation. She had told me she didn’t have the power to do the refund and that she’d speak to someone higher up and contact me later.

One week later, I hadn’t heard anything back. I sent them another message in case she had forgot. At that point I decided to call back, this time with a different person. I explained the whole situation again, and told him I had been waiting to be contacted by Airbnb. I asked if he could help me but once again he said he could not but will speak to somebody that can.

He then sent me a message after the call and said: “Thanks your patience, somebody will get in contact with you within 24 hours to resolve your issue.”

Six days later… nothing. So now I’m wondering if they’re going to refund my money or just tell me there’s nothing they can do as it is my fault for selecting the wrong option. Is it common for these guys not to contact you when they have promised or do they just try getting out of giving your money back?

Prague Airbnb Nightmare During State of Emergency

I’ve been wrangling with Airbnb since March 13 when I canceled my reservation in Prague. On March 12, Prague went into a minimum 30-day state of emergency. That increased over time.

My reservation was from April 29 to May 2. The host refused to come off his strict cancellation policy and would not return my last 50% payment, even suggesting I request one under extenuating circumstances. I did; he still refused.

Since then I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time messaging Airbnb, dealing with front line people who have been instructed to just pass the buck and stonewall. Delta/KLM has cancelled my flight to Prague and are willingly going to fully refund me in cash, not eticket. Clearly everything around my reservation screams extenuating circumstances.

I keep reaching back to Airbnb even after they deemed my case closed. We’re talking $265 owed to me. I asked them if this amount was really worth it to Airbnb to screw with me. Apparently very much so.

Be wary and keep fighting if you’re owed money. I’ve been an Airbnb Superhost in Florida. As I stated to Airbnb, I’ve never been out to make a buck on a legitimate cancellation. It’s just unethical and dirty.

Partial Refund for Traveler from Korea

I booked a stay, paid the deposit, and everything was fine, and then… COVID-19. Our stay was from May 7 until May 9. My husband is stationed in Korea. He was coming home to see our son graduate. The government stopped travel from March 16 until May 11. I cancelled our reservations.

They sent us a $50 refund out of a $160 deposit. I have been going back and forth with customer service for a week. I’ve sent them the document showing that travel was cancelled and that isn’t formal enough for them. They won’t budge.

COVID-19 Double Standards of Airbnb

I booked accommodations in Brasilia, Brazil for a longer period, from February 24 to April 20. I am a PhD student and visit Brasilia once a year for my research work.

This time, unfortunately, four weeks into my stay, I had to return to Germany due to the travel advisories from the government. However, Airbnb’s COVID-19 policy doesn’t cover me only because I checked-in before March 14.

The policy is extremely flawed as it would cover me if I had made two separate bookings: one from the end of February to March 13, and another from March 14 to mid-April. Because I made one long booking, I’m not covered.

I definitely learned a lesson. Never book a longer stay with Airbnb. Now due to this policy not helping me, I am at the mercy of my host who has refused to refund me.

The funny part is that the accommodation that I booked was sold by the host to me with certain amenities — gym, pool, and sauna — but all those facilities are closed since March 16 due to COVID-19. The host still kept all the money and is not willing to reduce per night price.

Ironically, someone from the Airbnb support team replied that it was not the host‘s fault that the facilities in the building are closed. It is due to COVID-19 that the host won’t refund me.

Now the host is suddenly entitled to rip me off in the name of the coronavirus even though the host is not willing to accept my situation — canceling due to coronavirus — as an extenuating circumstance. If Airbnb or the host is not willing to refund me on the grounds that I have to cancel due tot the coronavirus, how can they use it as an excuse for not providing me the amenities that I paid for? If I do not get what I paid for, am I not entitled to a refund?

One support team member at Airbnb also told me that the host‘s financial situation doesn’t allow her to refund me. I feel as if I’m not a student but a charity organization who has to provide money to a host in need. So the new development in this coronavirus crisis is that the financial situation of a host entitles them to rob people of their money and Airbnb sides with them.

Disappointed with Airbnb During COVID-19 Response

I’m very disappointed with Airbnb. As a result of the coronavirus, I was forced to cancel my reservation as everyone is in lockdown. To cancel my reservation using the coronavirus selection for canceling, two choices were provided to me: to have half of the money I already paid for the reservations credited to my credit card; or take a credit for Airbnb with tons of rules to use the Airbnb property another time.

This is unacceptable as they suffer no hardship for the current environment — only the host and guests pay the price. At worse, they should have at least provided me with half of the money back to my credit card and credit for the other half for the next stay using Airbnb.

It is impossible to speak with customer service and their online materials are so confusing and in no way help you to understand the enormous amount of rules and inflexibility. They barely had my business, but no more.

Airbnb is Scamming Hosts During this Crisis

I’ve been a host with Airbnb for about seven or eight years. We’ve had our differences but nothing too bad. Mainly, after the first couple of years, getting help from them for a situation was difficult, then they got better, but really, it was for minor things.

I’ve been a Superhost now for a couple of years so I take my role as host very seriously. Well, I had a guest that I was in communication with the whole time and she had to cancel at the last minute because of travel restrictions back in March due to the virus.

As per my cancellation policy (100% if a week, 50% if less than that), I received half of my expected fee and she got her half. Just last week, we get this email with great fanfare from the CEO about how they were putting five million dollars into helping the Airbnb community. I thought that was nice.

I have one guest who is here because he’s working on a job for an essential industry. When I received my payment, Airbnb had deducted my 50% from the cancelled guest and had returned the entire fee to the guest.

I don’t object to that given all the money Airbnb has but to take it from me, who is a small business person who relies on this income and works hard for it  — in Massachusetts we register as small businesses and pay business taxes — seems very unfair, especially because they are giving a false narrative about how they are taking care of the whole “Airbnb” community. Three hundred and fifty dollars is nothing to a corporation like theirs. They should be able to take care of the guest and me.