No Refund for State of Emergency in LA

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On Tuesday evening I decided to spend two days in LA and booked with Airbnb. Wednesday morning, LA County declared a state of emergency. I’m not afraid of the virus, but deliberately going to an area where the state of emergency was declared because of the virus doesn’t make any sense either. I decided to cancel.

Unfortunately, the state of emergency because of the deadly coronavirus is no reason for cancellation and therefore the host doesn’t want to refund my money. I called the customer service on Wednesday early afternoon and they promised a call back from a supervisor.

Now it is Thursday at 11:00 PM (PST) and I called again. This time it was someone who promised a call back from a supervisor. No callback so far. I also filed a claim after I cancelled but I haven’t received any response here either.

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Airbnb Exploitative Policies During an Epidemic

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This was my first and last time using Airbnb. I live in Nagoya, Japan and wanted my parents to visit me this summer, from April 17th to May 17th. I booked an apartment for four people in Nagoya for more than $3000. I booked early in January thinking that the summer time would be the peak season of travel here in Japan owing to the Golden Week holidays.

Then last week the coronavirus struck the whole world and within days the situation in Japan also got worse. As a result of discussions with my family we decided to cancel the trip and the reservation two months prior to the actual check-in date.

Airbnb lists “epidemic disease or illness that suddenly affects a region or an entire group of people” as an extenuating circumstance and we are eligible for refund. Hence, we cancelled the reservation and surprisingly I only got $70 as a refund when I paid more than $3000 to book this place.

We decided to file a refund claim under extenuating cancellation policy. I called Airbnb customer care and was initially disconnected two times when I told my story and asked for a refund (I know the names of the representatives who disconnected me as well).

Finally the third time I got in touch with an Airbnb representative who was hellbent on proof of the coronavirus spread in Japan even though the whole world is aware of the situation in Asia. Hence we submitted links to the various government websites, travel advisories, and my parents’ travel itinerary to prove that they were traveling form India.

Still Airbnb asked for more proof, saying there was no ban in Japan. The epidemic is spreading and it’s in the news. This is apparent to the whole world but Airbnb will not consider it unless someone really dies or gets infected. They want to exploit people out of their hard-earned money even at the time of an epidemic.

Even after paying more than $3000 I got a joke of $70 back, which is completely unacceptable and unfair, whether there is an epidemic or not. This depicts a perfect picture of exploitation by Airbnb and their poor host cancellation policies which are screwing with people’s mental health and robbing them of their money.

The host says that he doesn’t know how the refund came down to $70, while Airbnb says they cannot override the host cancellation policy. Who knows which side is telling the truth.

I initially thought that they would settle this on humanitarian grounds considering the coronavirus situation in the world right now but they want more proof. What more proof do they want, when the epidemic has already spread to all parts of the world? There is no regard or respect for human life.

I work hard for my money and the fact that I am being exploited for money in the wake of an epidemic and constantly asked for proof of it as though I am making up the situation is causing me so much stress and sleepless nights. I reluctantly used Airbnb for the first time knowing that as a first time user and reading other guest experiences, I might run into some trouble and, as expected, had the worst experience.

I will not be using Airbnb again. When they do not have any morals or values even in the time of a crisis or an epidemic, no one can expect them to resolve your issues when the times are less tense.

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Insensitive Attitude by Host and Airbnb to Corona

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I have made bookings for my trip to Singapore through Airbnb. Considering the orange alert declared by the Singapore government and current health advisory situation, I requested Airbnb cancel my booking.

They have left me to the mercy of host. Obviously, the host is not interested in giving me a full refund as it is a loss to him. Instead, the host is suggesting me to roam around in Singapore with a mask on. That is their idea of a holiday – have more stress. The host is saying he won’t get a replacement guest if I cancel as if I am responsible or the situation is in my control.

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China Coronavirus Farce = Flight Cancelled, No Refund

I live in Shanghai, China and made a booking last year for a place in Manila, Philippines which was fully paid for at the start of January. About ten days ago, in mid-January, 2020 the Coronavirus ‘lock down’ in China occurred. As a result of this, the flight that I booked from Shanghai to Manila was cancelled four hours before departure, meaning it would have been impossible to arrive at the property.

Whilst the host has on the face of it seemed very understanding about this, I have been advised to “cancel at my end” and “don’t worry as I (the host) will refund the money”. This sounds dubious and is a bit concerning if the host actually has access to the payment details I used to book the place. If I trust this so-called advice and proceed to cancel, it states that I am due to be refunded nothing and I know which outcome I think will be more likely to happen.

Airbnb, despite saying they will ‘usually respond within 24 hours’, so far have not. This was my first ever booking with Airbnb and it has not exactly filled me with confidence to ever use it again. If you, like me are also in China at the moment during this Coronavirus paranoia trip and have booked overseas accommodation, it might be a good idea to change it in case the same thing happens to you.

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Sudden Construction at Airbnb House in Miami

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This report is about a host who spontaneously thought he could cancel our reservation four days before our arrival because there were (suddenly) renovations that were not “foreseeable”. My husband and I wanted to rent a condo from this host for about one month (mid-December 2019 until mid-January 2020). The pictures were breathtaking and promising. Also the testimonials of other guests had convinced us to spend a little bit more money than usual and to get in exchange an accommodation where we could live well for about one month.

We paid about 1950 Euro for the accommodation and quickly got the confirmation with the instructions. On November 27, 2019 I received a message via Airbnb from the host that he still needed copies of our passports, as he wanted to send them to the administration so that we could check in without any problems. November 27th was a good two weeks before the arrival date – that’s going to play an important role in a moment.

I sent the host copies of our passports via email the same day. After that, there was no further communication. On December 7th, I received a message via Airbnb from the host. He wrote that there was a problem with the apartment and that we could not stay. However, he would cancel the reservation and he was sorry. I answered him promptly that this was very unpleasant and if he cancelled, we would charge him the difference to the new accommodation.

His answer was that this was not what Airbnb policy says and that he can only refund me the apartment fees. He further explained that there was supposedly a large construction site or extensive construction work going on in the building, but it will not be finished in time – at least not at the time of our stay.

With effort and distress and under great temporal stress we were able to cancel the reservation (on the part of Airbnb) and found a new accommodation, which nevertheless gave us a nice holiday experience. The new accommodation was about fifteen minutes away from the original one (North Bay Village) and so we decided to drive past the building complex in question and see what the status of the construction work might be.

Well, who did not suspect it yet: There was no construction site, no construction noise, no construction vehicles, nothing. We drove past several times on several dates to rule out that it might have been due to the holidays, but even after several visits there was nothing to see of a construction site. Well I ask myself, if there really was a construction site or work, it should have been known at least on November 27th.

For me (and not only for me) this means that our host either didn’t have an apartment there anymore, it was rented twice or maybe he was warned by the administration. Whoever finds an offer from a host in North Bay Village anywhere should be careful. By the way, all communication between him and me was very slow.

Had to Cancel due to Air Quality in Australia

Our Airbnb host is not honoring the stated policy of 60 days’ notice for a cancellation. We gave him notice today. Our check in date is April 22, 2020. That’s over 80 days’ notice.

I have health issues (asthma) that do not allow me and my wife to travel to Sydney, Australia because of the air quality; it is the worst it has ever been. According to the Australian government, these brush fires will continue through May. We are in our late 60s and our doctor has advised us not to travel to Sydney.

There is now the second concern of the Coronavirus. Many airports are not allowing unrestricted travel. The host wants to charge us $1800 for cancelling, based on a $3300 total. This seems to be excessive based on the requirements of a 60-day notice that was given to the host. Further information will be given when Airbnb contacts me at my email.

Airbnb a Totally Unreliable Service for Long-Term Stays

I booked my accommodation for a long-term stay of four months via Airbnb because I am a working professional in Berlin and my permanent flat was not yet ready. I was very clear about my plans and respected German policy (meaning the need to register at a flat if you stay for more than two months).

The host initially agreed to everything but then all of a sudden had a dispute with his landlord about my stay (my guess: he was dishonest to him about it) and decided to abruptly cancel my reservation three weeks before the end of the agreed period.

Airbnb literally did nothing about it except refunding the nights not spent in the apartment. No compensation about the mess or the double moving costs. I am never going to use Airbnb in the future and I advice you to be very careful when booking with them.

Airbnb is a Scam to Guests as well as Hosts

Airbnb supposedly gives you the opportunity of choosing a cancellation policy when you list your property. I have chosen a strict cancellation policy. A woman booked my apartment in Cap Cana three months ago for Christmas and New Years, a 14-day stay. I gave her a discount price for the two-week stay.

Six days before checking in, I received a message from Airbnb stating that they cancelled her reservation and fully refunded the client due to extenuating circumstances. Apparently the client lives in Venezuela and one of the guests needed a visa to visit Dominican Republic.

First of all, I did not know that the guest was coming from Venezuela since in her verified information she said that she lives in Miami. Secondly I never receive any call nor was contacted by Airbnb staff before they decided unilaterally to cancel and full refund her.

They said that she provided evidence to them. Airbnb had her rental money for three months and then cancelled and left me without any rental in the high season. They did not try to help at all. They even lied when confronted, saying that they contacted me, which was not true. If we were the ones cancelling in order to forfeit the penalty under extenuating circumstances we would have to have a lot of paperwork in order for them to consider it.

I asked them to reconsider. They rejected my plead. I asked them to at least give us a partial refund, but they did not. Airbnb does not consider hosts; they do not care about us at all. It seems they do not realize that without our properties they are just a mere application. Their customer service is the worst. They charge a fee for nothing.

Airbnb Host Nightmare: Cancellation Penalty for Hosts

A few days ago I relisted my two properties on Airbnb. I was not able to link my channel manager to Airbnb and had issues logging in to the Airbnb system. I kept requesting a password reset and never got any reset link. I contacted my channel manager and they were not helpful, saying I had to log in to Airbnb to sort the problem.

I finally logged in. To my horror, I had 14 booking received within a few days, all confirmed with dates and availability that were not correct. I had the nightmare of contacting all these people and be ashamed to say we had technical issues. To my horror, for each booking that I cancelled, I had to pay a penalty of 50 dollars. Do the math for 14 booking and see how much I had to pay Airbnb for cancelling.

I had no email confirmation for any of these bookings and no notification or any chance to accept or deny any of these bookings. Some of the guests were very helpful and some just pain and unhelpful. Airbnb technical issues turned into nightmare and Airbnb has no compassion to not change the penalty when you have a genuine problem. I had no idea about any booking or how to fix the problem. Not happy at all.

30-Day Stay Cancellation Policy: Host in Wynwood, Miami

I made a 30-day reservation on Airbnb for my daughter who moved closer to home. The reservation was about two weeks before the arrival date. Well, long story short, she was not able to stay at the place, so I cancelled seven days before arrival. I only got back approximately $60 out of the $495. Why?

Because it was the host’s cancellation policy, which was not clearly mentioned before making the reservation. It was hidden apparently at the end (after making the reservation) and not very obvious. The $60 was for cleaning and admin fees. I contacted the host and Airbnb intervened too but the host declined to refund the money.

Apparently, there is a loophole in this policy, which Airbnb has not addressed. If you do not cancel a month before a long-term stay like a 30-day or longer stay, then you forfeit the money paid. But this does not account for reservations made a week or two before the arrival date. In theory, this policy should be null and void.

Talking to an attorney, most courts would not enforce this policy. From the advice of an attorney, the best route is pursuing it via the credit card company. There was no service received, it was cancelled timely, and the ad was seemingly misleading (since it was not clear it was a shared room from the site I initially went on, which was not an Airbnb site but directed me to Airbnb). I do not expect any help from this since it seems most people have lost this same cancellation issue too.

My advice: do not book long-term stays at all. Make sure they are one-week stays. Two weeks is cutting it close and apparently it appears to default to the long-term stay policy.

Note: if this has happened to you per a host’s cancellation policy, an attorney said if there are enough of people impacted by this, we could sue Airbnb and the individual hosts together. Airbnb’s practice is arguably similar to the fine print tactics but they hide the policies after booking. It is considered unfair and deceptive business practices under Florida state laws and federal consumer protection laws, with not making it clear of these policies.

Sites like Priceline and other sites make it very clear that the reservation is either nonrefundable or refundable. Why doesn’t Airbnb do the same?