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.

Australian COVID-19 Refund Roundabout

We cancelled an Airbnb booking two weeks into a one-month booking, due to increasingly urgent travel advisories from our (Australian) government. We advised Airbnb twice by email that we were checking out: once on the day before we checked out, and once on the day of checkout. Not good enough apparently.

A week after our return to Australia, and after having repeated Groundhog Day experiences with website requests for a refund, we noted that our booking was still active. It was then that we found the ‘cancel’ procedure on the website. Airbnb said ‘no refund’ because of the host’s refund policy. The host said he couldn’t cancel a booking because of Airbnb’s policy. We believe him.

Trying to move beyond this point on the Airbnb website is an exercise in futility. There is no avenue for engaging in effective communication. We eventually negotiated a refund with our host for 50% of the unused period of our booking.

We accept that Airbnb has had to respond to a global pandemic. Their response seems to be focused on their financial immunity from the pandemic, and not on their guests.

Airbnb Host from Hell During Pandemic

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We booked through Airbnb for an event in DC that was supposed to happen the weekend of April 16-19. Well, the event was cancelled due to the global pandemic.

Airbnb instituted a policy in which they would provide a full refund to anyone with a check-in date on or before April 14. Since our check-in date was two days after that, it was completely up to the host to approve our refund. She denied it.

We messaged constantly for days on end. She wanted us to put the money we had already given Airbnb for this reservation toward a reservation on another one of her properties that was smaller, had fewer beds, and less space… but cost the same. We of course did not want to do that for the obvious reasons, but also because we were no longer traveling to the area in the near future.

After several phone calls with Airbnb, and several unanswered messages to them, we were told we had to submit documentation that the United States government had warned against travel during our travel dates. When I asked what that documentation had to be, I was told it had to come from, and I quote: “The government website.”

To which I replied, “There is no unitedstatesgovernment.com so you’re going to have to be more specific.” Of course there was no actual answer to that.

We are still in the middle of this battle, having provided documentation for an “extenuating circumstance” and are waiting to hear back if it has been approved. I am attaching a screenshot of the host’s profile so that you can avoid this heartless wench at all costs.

Airbnb Trip Around UK cut Short due to Virus

My husband and I booked an extensive trip around Devon and Cornwall, before COVID-19 meant that we found ourselves in lockdown. All other hotels we have booked with have refunded us 100% but because Airbnb have stated that they will only offer 100% refunds up to April 14th, we find ourselves in a tricky situation.

Do we wait to see if they update their policy to include the dates we have already paid for? If we cancel now, we are only entitled to a fraction of what we’ve paid… through no fault of our own. Obviously we will not be travelling unnecessarily. Understandably we are really cross right now.

Racism from a Superhost over Airbnb Cancellation

I am writing this message on a serious issue of racial discrimination by a “Superhost” on Airbnb. I require Airbnb’s support or I will report this to mainstream media and trigger a public discussion on the Internet.

I made a reservation with this host for a trip March 29 – April 3. The host contacted me after the reservation had been confirmed, and asked me to cancel: “If you are traveling from China, just so you are aware, our government has imposed a 14-day quarantine upon arrival in the country.”

I told him that I was not traveling from China and have been staying in Canada for over three weeks. He insisted I cancel the booking. I found the official guidance on Airbnb: the host should initiate the cancellation on his end, otherwise the guest will lose half of the refund and service fees.

I followed this official guidance and asked the host to do so since it is his intention to cancel this booking, or he can contact Airbnb for help. Soon the host became rude, and said if he cancelled he would lose his “Superhost” status.

On the refund, he said: “It’s Airbnb that will take your money. We don’t handle the money.”

On the confirmed reservation, he said: “You will not be allowed to check in.”

On the cancellation policy, he said: “Let Airbnb take your money. I’m not cancelling.”

He keeps sending me messages like: “You need to start taking this pandemic seriously! For the health and safety of everyone.”

I am very confused. He accused me harming “the health and safety of everyone” just because I have an Asian name. My family and I are all German citizens.

Are such racist opinions from a “Superhost” tolerated in the Airbnb community? This kind of racist speech will damage the reputation of Airbnb and the trust from all its members. All the messages are on Airbnb as proof.

I ask for your support. I need a full refund because it is the host who wants to cancel but refuses to do so on his end. This host should not keep his “Superhost” status for his dishonest intentions. For that status, he blamed and pushed a guest to cancel a confirmed reservation.

Lastly, but the most dangerous issue: racism on Airbnb, a global community, should not be encouraged. I have been a member of Airbnb for five years and traveled a lot using it every year. I meet wonderful people and have good memories.

I treasure their work to build up a global platform to communicate with people around the world, to let people know each other better. So, please, do something to stop racism on it.

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Airbnb Hosts Fighting Back: Unlist Your Account on April 1

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Calling all Airbnb hosts: Anyone who wishes to participate in the #HOSTSFIGHTBACK initiative please read onward.

On April 1st, 2020 at 9:00 AM we will delist all of our properties from the Airbnb platform in an effort to communicate to Airbnb Corporate that we are not in agreement with their cancellation and refund efforts made during the coronavirus outbreak.

To date, I have lost 65 reservations and almost $48,000 in revenue across my short-term portfolio from Airbnb for the months of March through May 2020. Some of which were guests who received a full refund without falling under the extenuating circumstances policy.

Reading some of your comments on this Facebook Page, it appears that hosts’ cancellation policies are not being upheld and instead of finding creative and fair ways to offer guests and hosts a fair solution during this pandemic, Airbnb has almost completely sided with guests offering full refunds during this difficult time, leaving hosts completely out to dry.

Other short-term rental platforms like VRBO are upholding cancellation policies entirely, and booking.com and corporate hotels are offering travel vouchers to use to be used at a later date. Why are we being treated differently by Airbnb?

Aside from the total disregard of our cancellation policies, I find it appalling that Airbnb is still collecting its host fee on these cancellations they are processing in-house. I have confirmed via the payout transactions page on my personal account that Airbnb collected $79.29 worth of host fees on cancellations from my end, which means they have collected $158.58 total, including the guests’ cancellation fees.

It might sound like a small number, but multiply it by 150 million users on the platform to find out how much Airbnb has taken from you. Go into your “transaction history” page and download a CSV of your transactions. You will see the “host fee” column once you download it.

It appears that the “host fee” is being still being charged or collected on Airbnb’s part and split with the account owner. As you will notice when you check individual reservation details, the service fee is clearly being taken out of your payout (see screenshot).

I believe as hosts and as property owners who are risking our most precious assets, we have a right to be heard. Without us, the platform would cease to exist. Let our voices be heard by delisting your property on April 1st starting at 9:00 AM to trigger an Airbnb meltdown, forcing Brian Chesky and the other decision-makers at Airbnb to hear our concerns and pay attention to our policies.

You do not have to deactivate your account. We are asking that you un-list. How do you unlist? Sign into your Airbnb account and click “listings”. Scroll down to “listing status”. Click “edit” and then “unlist”. This will temporarily unlist your Airbnb listing from the platform which will in turn trigger a response from Airbnb Corporate.

Airbnb vs VRBO: Host on Both Platforms Offers Thoughts

As a host with properties on both platforms, my policy is simple: I offer a lower rate with non-refundable options. I suggest that the guest obtain travel insurance if they are concerned about unforeseen events. If a guest does not get insurance and can’t travel, it’s like someone buying a car and not having insurance. When an accident happens, and I don’t have coverage, I want someone else to pay. This is what insurance is for to offer coverage and benefits in unforeseen situations.

I am a host on both platforms and agreed to the initial terms. Airbnb unilaterally changed the terms on me as a host, and offered full refunds against my policy and suggestion to obtain travel insurance coverage.

VRBO gives us the discretion to make the decision for refunds and suggests we do, but it’s at our suggestion and the reason why I stay with VRBO. I have worked with guests to provide win-win solution and am happy. I will change all my listings to VRBO while avoiding Airbnb at all costs as they screwed us by going back on our agreement on strict refund policy with the guest to obtain travel insurance.

What’s next? A regular flu, or there’s a accident that the guest gets into to fully refund them because of an unforeseen tragedy? Or should they encourage travel insurance vs unilaterally changing terms on a host?

If hosts don’t list on Airbnb because they screwed them, then guests wont be able to rent a good place… or not the better places at least. I won’t list my upgraded properties at low prices on Airbnb ever again.

Unilateral Change of my Cancellation Policy by Airbnb

Airbnb has overridden host cancellation policies in response to the coronavirus outbreak. This allows guests to cancel at any time without any penalty and without any justification. I have just had a cancellation for £2500 with just three days’ notice and there is nothing I can do about it. I was not consulted and the guest did not have to provide any proof or justification about the virus. Guests have travel insurance for genuine cases but hosts have no fallback provision. Airbnb does not care about their hosts. They bite the hand that feeds them.

Airbnb Cancellations: All Corona, Hold the Virus

In the middle of February I booked a trip, before this pandemic was announced. I booked an Airbnb with a strict no-refund policy: “refund applicable except the first 30 days.” My booking was for 34 days total.

Fast forward to the pandemic announcement and the panic that ensued by mostly everyone. Personally, I did not want to deal with self-quarantines, airport security measures, and quite frankly the risk of putting myself in a situation that could be avoided by simply not traveling so I proceeded to cancel my flights with no issues. I have cancellation insurance on my credit cards, so it was easily done.

Now the Airbnb host who happened to be from the same country as me but whose listing was in another one — pretty standard I’d think — said he would not refund my money due to a global pandemic. I read that and understood his rule, but he told me to contact Airbnb because they have some extenuating circumstances policy. I read something about an epidemic and being sick but documentation is needed: a doctor’s note or obituary when a global pandemic is announced.

I contacted Airbnb support via their magical robot, which had me wait 24 hours for a person, and proceeded to cancel my reservation. I thought I would be entitled to a refund due to a global pandemic, which to me fell into the “epidemic” category. Wrong. They said they needed documents such as a doctor’s note saying I was unfit for travel, not because it is in the public’s best interest to avoid crowded airports and in my case a crowded destination, with lesser health care, to avoid spreading COVID-19.

This was on March 9th. I continued to message Airbnb back and forth for the next couple days, eventually losing contact altogether because my messages became colourful.

Fast forward to March 14th. Airbnb announced (probably after most people panicked and cancelled reservations with certain cancellation policies in place) that anyone with a booking made before March 14th is entitled to a full refund via “manage my trips.”

Because I cancelled on March 9th and not March 14th I did not have this option anymore as my booking had already disappeared. I am now currently waiting for the same magic robot to let me know if I am entitled to any sort of refund, or if Airbnb plans on keeping my money altogether — which by reading some of these stories, would not shock me one bit. I have been waiting now 8 hours with only 16 left to see if I will get any money back .