Airbnb Fails to Follow Its Own Guest Refund Policy

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I rented an Airbnb for a four-night, five-day stay at a cost of $1906.76. On the host’s Airbnb primary webpage, there was nothing listed about the host having dogs that frequently barked, and one described that ‘may’ bite. Nor was there anything to indicate that the host might not be present at the property during the stay (as we had assumed).

The dog disclosure was only evident when one clicked on ‘show more’ in the ‘Health & Safety’ information, at the bottom of the web page. This is deceptive, as there are four or five health and safety issues listed at the bottom of the first page, but apparently the other more significant issues don’t ‘fit’ on the page, hence the need to ‘show more.’ How creative of Airbnb to do that. At any rate, the hosts are not fully transparent about having pets, as nowhere in the listing’s primary description page does one read anything about pets being present, let alone pets that bark and ‘may bite.’

The evening before the rental was to begin, the host messaged us that they were delayed coming back from Portugal, and that their ‘house sitters’ were leaving the property earlier than scheduled, resulting in them having to place their two dogs in a garage (directly above the area that we would be occupying during the rental), and that we might hear some barking. The host suggested that if we were disturbed by this, to simply turn on a TV, a stereo or a white noise machine (they’ve tested them – indicating this has been a problem for prior guests). It is our opinion now, that the host did this as a CYA [cover your ass] tactic, specifically so she could deny a refund should a request be made due to this issue. And congratulations, it worked.

We messaged the host that this new situation was not okay, that we did not know they had dogs that barked and might bite, and that, given the new information which had the dogs staying in the garage and barking, we did not want to stay at the property. I messaged her that we wanted to cancel and receive a refund. The host ignored this request, and refused a refund. We were scheduled to fly to Colorado Springs very early the next morning, and since it was already 10:00 PM, we made arrangements for another booking with Airbnb.

We had to get up at 5:30 AM to go to the airport the next morning, and did not want to continue a back-and-forth message session with the host, as the host also indicated that they would be flying international back to the USA, and could easily be out of communication with anyone. The host messaged us at 3:00 AM that morning (which we did not see until the next day) indicating that she would be able to get someone else to take care of the dogs. For us, this was too little, too late. This was her problem, but she made it our problem. We value our peace, security and safety, and did not want to risk a stay at a property without the hosts being present and with two dogs that might be kept with no supervision, barking.

We escalated this issue to Airbnb on the evening of the 7th (before the booking was scheduled to start), and spoke with seven representatives by phone and three by Airbnb messages over the course of the rental period. The first Airbnb representatives we spoke with on the phone told us about the dog disclosure under ‘show more.’ He was almost proud that he could do that, as if he had practiced doing it and had done it before. It made his day to be able to prove that we had been advised of the health and safety condition in advance, even though it is not immediately apparent that one has to do this in order to be fully informed.

However, we had also read Airbnb’s policy for hosts who keep ‘potentially dangerous’ animals on a rental property, and found that it stated that a secure enclosure had to be provided for such animals, so that they could not get out and threaten a guest’s safety (i.e. bite them). We shared with the Airbnb representative the host’s own ‘check in’ instructions (now curiously removed from the host’s website, but a screen shot has been added to this review). The photos in the ‘check in’ instructions show the guest being directed right by the area where the dogs are kept outdoors (yellow arrow), and more importantly, show the type of ‘enclosure’ provided by the host.

This ‘enclosure’ is nothing more than a portable ‘puppy’ fence, only two feet high (see attached photos). We did not believe this enclosure to be secure, and did not want to risk having my wife bitten by one of the dogs, who in our opinion, could easily knock down, jump over or escape the flimsy outdoor ‘enclosure’ (see photos). Not to mention we did not want to risk staying there, and having new issues arise with the host not being able to get home from overseas, or not being able to have a third party come to the property to ‘quiet’ down the barking dogs.

One has to wonder about the ‘intelligence’ and ‘foresight’ of any host who would own a dog that has a propensity to bite, place that dog in a non-secure enclosure, and then direct guests to walk immediately by that same enclosure every time they were coming and going from the property. This particular host is asking to be sued by a family with a small child who is bitten, and with the type of arrangements indicated by the host (in writing no less), they would easily lose that lawsuit. It was our opinion that the host lacked good judgment, and we did not want to risk discovering additional areas of poor judgment on the part of this host. This was a safety issue.

All of this was clearly explained to the Airbnb ‘investigative’ representatives and case managers/ambassadors/supervisors assigned to review our case. Screenshots were taken of everything. The host’s check in instructions were shown to an Airbnb representative. We were repeatedly told by Airbnb not to cancel the rental. When we asked one of the representatives if we should check in to the property, given the safety issues we had identified, the response was, “No you need to wait until the rep gets back to you with instructions.”

Their only messages to us were that they were in the process of communicating with the host, and then were escalating the issue (again) to a supervisor. Meanwhile the host had been told to message us ‘check in’ instructions, no doubt so she could claim us as a no show, and claim she had done ‘everything possible’ to accommodate us. The money was more important to her. Remember that about these folks, and wait until you see what she does at the end of this.

The time to check in came and went, and we were already staying at another Airbnb. It was not until the last day of the rental that the Airbnb supervisor indicated that we would not get a refund, and he added insult to injury by stating that we were denied a refund because we had not stayed at the booking.

I actually asked one of the Airbnb representatives this question on the day prior to the rental. Specifically, we asked if we would be considered a ‘no show’ if we did not cancel or check in, and were told, “No please do not worry, we have escalated this to the investigation team. They will contact you and let you know the status of this.” This was deliberately deceptive on the part of Airbnb.

I then requested that the decision be appealed, thinking that it would be viewed by another Airbnb management team member, higher up than the supervisor. No, it was the supervisor reviewing his own decision. And he did what he is good at: he lied to me a second time. I had been requesting all along that I speak via phone, directly with the rep and then the supervisor. Each time I requested this on the phone with Airbnb reps I was told that the rep and then the supervisor would be calling me. Neither of them ever called. We know our phone works, because we have received calls from Airbnb reps before, on the same phone we have in our profile, the same phone that is verified.

The supervisor lied and said that he was going to call but could not, because the phone listed in our account was not verified. The supervisor really should be fired for that. At any rate, the supervisor denied the appeal of his own decision. We hope his supervisor read this review.

We followed the advice of Airbnb customer service, and requested a partial refund from the hosts. They denied the refund. We were amazed that they simply ignored our original request to cancel the booking on Oct. 7. The hosts must be having a hard time paying the rent on their $800,000 home in Colorado Springs, that or their trip to Portugal must have been very expensive. The host was told that, in our opinion, what she did constituted ‘theft,’ specifically as a breach of contract, and a form of ‘unjust enrichment.’ She should have done the right thing and realized that they as hosts:

  • Deliberately do not state anything about the dogs on the first page of the rental. They don’t want you to know about the dogs because that might negatively impact their cash flow. It’s great to have dogs. But you know what, you really need to tell people about them on the first page of your rental description. Why are you hiding that information? Has one of your dog’s already bitten someone? That would be our guess.
  • Deliberately direct guests to walk to and from the entrance to the rental immediately by the non-secure ‘enclosure’ (that she says is a fence) every time a guest walks to and from the required entrance to the rental, subjecting the guests to barking and a potential dog bite each and every time. Why don’t you take some of that rental money you are making a build a proper enclosure? What would happen to one of your dogs if their head got stuck in that puppy gate when you weren’t there? Answer, they would likely strangle themselves or at the very least become injured. Ever hear of animal cruelty?

The final insult came after the host was told that it was our opinion that what she had done (not refunding the money) was wrong (i.e. theft), and that we would be posting a review of the experience online. Airbnb had removed our review of her property because they indicated we had not stayed at her rental. How convenient for the hosts. Remember, it was Airbnb’s own customer service representatives who said we should not cancel and not occupy until the safety issue was resolved and we received a call from the rep.

The host then threatened us in her final message, indicating that we should be careful because, “You don’t know us or who we maybe connected to.” We filed an extortion/threat complaint against her with Airbnb, which was summarily ignored by Airbnb, and the ‘investigation’ (if there ever was one) promptly closed.

We have utilized Airbnb six times in the past eight years. Every rental was a joy and a treasure, and we always had a wonderful experience at every property we stayed at. Every host we stayed at was very complimentary of our behavior as guests at their property. And most of those experiences were us travelling with our own dogs. Keep that in mind. We are excellent guests and excellent dog owners.
Probably why it is so easy for us to spot ‘bad’ dog owners. But this final experience with Airbnb was a true eye-opener for us.

Airbnb management did not have our back on this, and was deceptive and untruthful. We will never use Airbnb again.

‘Last-Minute’ Reservation Cancelled and Future Reservations Blocked

I tried to make a reservation nine days ahead of time. I got a message from Airbnb saying it was cancelled citing “last minute booking of large houses” and also restricted my account from making any reservations. I don’t know what system assumes nine days as last minute. I usually book the same day.

I believe it’s part of the new program at Airbnb to prevent parties. This is broken since I never party. I had a false bad review about my leaving a place dirty recently that Airbnb might have assumed to be a party, but I never party. The last host’s place was dirty when I checked in. My most recent review from a host of a big house is extremely positive, and so are all other reviews.

Airbnb is a way of life for me. I work remotely and book at the last minute. It is who I am. I have a history of reservations and history of great reviews. How does Airbnb just restrict such an account?

I would like this to be resolved and call on more attention how Airbnb is taking advantage of its monopoly. If there was another service with as many listings as Airbnb, Airbnb would be out of business simply because of terrible policies and customer service.

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Airbnb Implied We Should Risk our Lives and Health for Booking

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My family is living in Vancouver, Canada, and we had an Airbnb booking from Aug. 18 through 22 in Penticton for our vacation. I had to cancel it two days before our booking because of wild fires and consequent air quality issue.

Wild fires were literally burning every route from Vancouver to Penticton. If we were going on our vacation, we literally had to drive through the road on which wild fires are burning. Consequent air quality was also an issue. Wild fires were not burning in direct vicinity of Penticton, but multiple wild fires were burning within a one-hour drive of the area. The air quality in Penticton was extremely unhealthy.

Airbnb implemented a new extenuating circumstances policy in January that states: “When this Policy allows for cancellation, it controls and takes precedence over the reservation’s cancellation policy.” I believe my case was definitely an extenuating circumstance as no one would go on a vacation in such circumstance risking the health of my children as well as that of myself and my wife.

I contacted Airbnb’s Online Support, but they rejected my refund request. They said my case was not an extenuating circumstance. They didn’t consider my case as an extenuating circumstance, and that automatically means that they think I should have risked my family’s life and health to honor my Airbnb booking. They never said it directly, but what else could it mean?

I asked them: Would you go on a vacation in that kind of situation? I asked multiple times, but they never answered this question.

I almost gave up on getting the refund, but I thought that I at least deserved an answer. I asked them to explain why my case was not an extenuating circumstance and explain why the extenuating circumstances policy can not be applied to my case. They never answered these questions, and they closed down my session. Now they are completely ignoring me.

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Greedy Host Working for Tourism Company in Area

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After a year of lockdowns in Melbourne our two families decided to book a holiday on the Gold Coast. Due to another outbreak, our lockdown has been extended and I approached the host for a refund or a credit.

The host has replied saying there was no refund or credit but I could reschedule. I communicated that due to the current escalation of the lockdown we don’t have a date available and appealed to his good will. I then tried to reschedule four times for available dates on the Airbnb website, and called Airbnb for assistance. That’s when he turned and started threatening me, abusing me over email and declining all rescheduling attempts while bullying us to cancel.

Only later did I learn that he was trying to get the 50% cancellation fee and enough time to rebook the property. I also learned that he works for Gold Coast Tourism and the properties he works for offer flexible terms for customers. He has no empathy for hard working Australian families. SeaWorld and JetStar were very easy to offer credit for future use.

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Airbnb and Host won’t Accept Weather-Related Cancellation

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I had my flight cancelled twice due to hurricane conditions while travelling overseas. I contacted Airbnb and the host in Tokyo more than 24 hours before the check in time. I was told they would do everything to help me. I didn’t hear back from either for more than 46 hours despite constant attempts to contact. Even though their policy clearly states if notified 24 hours you will get a free refund due to travel disruptions caused by weather I was given the runaround and avoided by both staff at Airbnb and the host.

I have been waiting 15 hours now for an update. I have lost the funds from the entire five-day booking and both the host and Airbnb continue to avoid their responsibilities. I will be filing a complaint with Consumer Affairs Association.

Save the headache and just get a real hotel. This company has no honesty or integrity towards guests or hosts in my opinion. I was able to get in contact with Airbnb customer service and they told me the storm had not registered on their system so only the host can provide a refund. The host has been completely dishonest through the whole process.

I wonder why Airbnb allows this type of activity. I have attached a picture of the host so if anyone is traveling to Tokyo steer clear of this agency because the host on Airbnb is not actually the host or owner just a front for the agency.

Airbnb Made Me Homeless After Guests Refuse to Leave

I made a big mistake when I used Airbnb. I have had three tenants staying in my apartment for two months. While I know Airbnb is offering a very bad solution and not protecting its hosts when it comes to actual long stays , I took tenants who I made sure needed to leave the apartment within a time frame.

Towards the end of their stay, I was shocked one day to discover by accident that Airbnb cancelled the reservation and refunded the guests $12,000 without contacting me — not a single email. They gave them back the money for their entire stay, despite the fact that they stayed two months without even approaching me.

I went to the apartment to check what was going on, and I was in shock to discover that the tenants were still in the apartment, despite the fact that the reservation has been cancelled a few days ago. They immediately called the police on me and I was kicked out of my own apartment by a team of the police, a complete shock. I contacted Airbnb and have been on the line for hours. Calls are disconnected, transferring me from one representative to another. I realized it is a s%$t show.

Airbnb created basically a situation where I have people using my apartment for two months without paying a dime. I have no protection from this terrible company and I need to take out of my pocket money for lawyers to evict the tenants and rectify this situation.

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Rude Host Refuses to Take Lockdown Under Consideration

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When lockdown hit in Bondi Beach and surrounding areas, it was physically impossible for me to travel to and from Bondi. Informing the host of this, she refused a refund, and Airbnb’s extenuating circumstances does not offer refunds for anything COVID related. I never actually ended up staying at this property, but still had to pay 100% of the cost.

I am a part time student and this was a lot of money that I lost. A little empathy in an unforeseen situation that none of us could have helped would have been appreciated and ensured I would have stayed with this host again. However, because of this situation I will never consider it, and I actually won’t consider Airbnb again in the future.

Think to yourself: would you want to lose all your accommodation costs with no chance of a refund if you are forced into another lockdown? Definitely not. Book a hotel. Understanding the importance of reviews and always written with the upmost respect to any business operations especially supporting small business practices but in the instance there is nothing positive to pass on with the experience.

Due to the sudden COVID outbreak in Sydney, I requested a reschedule date. Concerned I may have got stuck with no way of getting home if there were a lockdown to take place, I was well aware of being inside the cancellation timeframe so prepared to forfeit a fee under the cancellation policy in hope to reschedule so I wouldn’t lose the full amount that had already been deducted. However, the host was not accommodating nor was she prepared to compromise in any way other than suggesting to contact Airbnb directly for further information, which I did.

Airbnb said I could still request a refund or a partial refund from the host even if the policy stated otherwise. Desperate, I reached out to her again requesting some kind of resolution explaining so I could come to Sydney to celebrate a close friend’s birthday. Otherwise, I would not have planned to travel during such uncertain times. I was simply hoping to reschedule the trip for one month later aligning for when the birthday celebrations had been rescheduled. Further to this, I was happy to pay a fee for the inconvenience, only to receive a devastating response without even considering my request.

The Big Lie Airbnb Hosts are Allowed to Push

This isn’t the first time this has happened to me on Airbnb. In fact, I quit using Airbnb a few years ago, because of this BS and other nonsense. However, recently out of desperation (no hotels available) I booked a room for two nights at a “charming” home in Prescott, Arizona. I got a notification that my requested reservation was not accepted. That’s okay: her house, her choice. Then the host sent me a message telling me that it was already booked.

I’m a former Airbnb host. If a space is booked, it doesn’t show up in the listings. That’s how this whole thing works. That’s how reservation systems work. I think hosts should be able to deny requests at any time for any reason. It’s their house. What I don’t like is being lied to. All this host had to do was deny the request. It would’ve been inconvenient, but now its inconvenient and insulting. It’s also happened with confirmed reservations.

I once got a message from a host telling me to cancel my reservation with them because the city they were in (Las Vegas) no longer allowed Airbnb. I wasn’t going to cancel it and eat the service charge. She finally cancelled it and she got dinged. Which she deserved because she freaking lied. Airbnbs are alive and well in Sin City. Twice in the Bay Area I had reservations either cancelled or denied with little warning.

There’s too much drama making lodging plans at Airbnbs. I’m just always waiting for them to pull the rug out. Which, admittedly, it’s their house so its their right. But it’s a crappy way to do business. I have never in all my years of staying in hotels have had to deal with this BS. I make a reservation at a hotel. I show up. I pay. I have a place to stay.

Who needs the Airbnb cloak and dagger mystery theater, “will they/won’t they” drama? I’m over it.

Airbnb Stole My Refund — No Results for a Month

This matter is super easy, for a normal company. Of course for the spawn of hell, Airbnb, it is impossible.

I checked into an Airbnb. The apartment had construction in progress that was not disclosed. I immediately cancelled with the host in line with their cancellation policy. We stayed two nights and the host agreed to refund the rest. Airbnb confirmed on June 2 that the refund was paid.

It is now 32 days later and there has been no refund. Airbnb has taken the money from the host and this refund has now been misappropriated by Airbnb. Never in my life have I dealt with a more incompetent and horrifically inept service team than at Airbnb. They lie and lie without taking any action to resolve anything. I have escalated this over five times and very single time the consultant says they don’t know where the refund is, then transfers me to an “expert” who I assume is the same person with a different persona. Then after that they suddenly never respond again.

Airbnb has already agreed to the refund? So why not pay it? What is Airbnb hiding? All I want us to know where my refund is and then for Airbnb to make immediate payment. Airbnb is hands down the worst company I have ever had the displeasure of using. I will pay more to stay directly with hotels in future in order to receive actual service.

Airbnb Refusing to Refund Service Fee Despite Cancellation Policy

My wife and I booked an Airbnb property that stated it had a full cancellation policy if we cancelled by August 15. I went to cancel on June 21 (two months ahead of the date where the policy changes) and the website refused to refund the $500 service fee. I contacted customer support and they stated if we cancelled that day and ahead of August 15 we would receive the $500 service fee.

Customer support has been a nightmare and then later said the cancellation policy states the service fee is non-refundable. My wife and I both checked the cancellation policy ahead of time and it was a full free cancellation. In addition, the previous customer service person agreed that the service fee is refundable. The property is no longer showing on the site so I’ve asked them to produce the actual cancellation policy tied to the listing and show it to me. They’ve failed to do this. This is horrible customer service. $500 may be a small amount for a company like Airbnb but this is a huge amount for a family. Extremely disappointed by their level of service here.