Host Cancels Four Days before Arrival in Norway

Tripping

Two months before our trip, I booked a full apartment rental for four nights in Rjukan, a small town in southwest Norway. Nine days before our arrival, our host informed us that he was planning to go on a ski trip, but his partner was injured. He was wondering if he could share the apartment and sleep on the sofa bed of the small apartment.

While I pondered the decision of sharing an apartment with a stranger, he cancelled the reservation. The town is fully booked due to a climbing festival and there are no available homes or rooms during these four days. Airbnb customer service assured me that “they are with me every step of the way.” However, they have only managed to find rooms 1.5 hours away and offered no reimbursement. They used the phrase “rest assured we’ll have this taken care of” three times, and taken over 24 hours to respond, which sort of undermines it. At this point I’m just trying to get them to admit that they can’t help.

Tripping

Careful Booking Close to International Borders

Tripping

I was trying to book a weekend getaway with my husband, sister and brother in law to celebrate our anniversaries. I was looking in Niagara, NY but somehow the site was showing me places in Canada too. I did not realize this.

I found a place that looked great for the price we could afford, and the address said Buffalo, NY. I booked it and as soon as I did it the confirmation said Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada. Since none of us had our passports current I cancelled it immediately (about two minutes had gone by since I booked and cancelled). Airbnb refunded me $350 of the cost and the host was supposed to refund me the remaining $200.

You have to put a request in for the money so I did and contacted the host. I messaged her explaining what had happened and she told me she had already made plans to go away for that weekend (apparently in the two minutes it took me to cancel) so she couldn’t possibly refund me my money. She said her strict policy on cancellations allowed her to do this. I had already read that policy and it said I had a 48-hour grace period to get my money back as long as it was at least 14 days before the booked date. It was in fact 30 days before the reservation date.

I messaged her several times explaining to her that if the money was not refunded we could no longer take our trip which we had been saving for, not to mention the hassel of getting the kids and animals looked after we were gone. She kept citing the policy, but ignored the part about the 48-hour grace period when I would remind her. Then she stopped returning my messages on the app.

I contacted Airbnb directly, explained the situation, and they refunded me. This is not a complaint about them except for the fact that they were showing me properties in Canada when I was looking in New York.

 

Tripping

No Help with Refund One Hour After Reservation

Earlier this evening I made a reservation on the Spanish Airbnb site for myself and five other friends to go to La Coruña in March. Having made the reservation, we were given the address (I cannot understand why this is not available before payment is made) and now according to my friends the apartment is not where it appeared to be from the photos uploaded. Therefore, it is too far away from where they wish to be. I have been asked to cancel.

When I try to cancel I am told that the amount I have paid (50%) will not be refunded as the payment policy is strict. I am stuck I have tried to cancel one hour after making the reservation and cannot possibly understand how I can be charged 50% now when the reservation is for mid-March and only one hour has gone by. The host says she is new to Airbnb and cannot as intervene “because she will be penalised.” As you can imagine I am not happy at all about this and have emailed Brian Chesky requesting him to please intervene and authorise a full refund as I cannot speak to anyone – every time I try the Help Centre telephone number it cuts out. As you can see I am not a happy bunny

Two Last Minute Cancellations and a Noisy Apartment

Six weeks ahead of our family Christmas vacation to Peru, we booked two Airbnb listings. One was to be the same place twice for a total of five nights (with a short excursion to another place in between) and the others for a single night in Lima before leaving to go home. Fortunately, I had the sense to book a hotel for our first night in the country after getting off our international flight late at night and the hotels for our excursion were handled by our local guide.

Four days before our trip, our first reservation was cancelled. The host messaged me and said that he is new to Airbnb and didn’t know how the system worked, that he shouldn’t have confirmed the booking in the first place because he would be away leading a tour that week. Four days before our trip, we had no place for our family of seven to stay in a popular tourist destination during the holidays. The host was very unsympathetic to our situation.

We managed to find two separate bookings for the stay on either end of our stay, both at a higher rate than we’d originally had, and neither was an entire apartment like we had booked before. There were not any places left that were a single unit for a family. The first booking turned out to be a small local B&B that was nice and friendly, but not what we’d been planning on originally and at a higher cost.

While we were packing up to leave for our excursion, I got a message from our next host on the other end of the excursion that just said, “I’m sorry. Family emergency,” and the booking was cancelled. When this second one canceled for New Year’s weekend, I began to believe that they had found other folks willing to pay more or were giving the space to family or friends instead. I could be wrong. Maybe I’m just that unlucky. However, it was highly suspect.

Fortunately, the little B&B we were just preparing to leave had room for us and we were able to book privately with them and just take a refund from Airbnb on that second reservation, even though on their Airbnb page, it didn’t look like they had space that weekend. When we arrived to our last night’s location, I was very gun-shy about the whole Airbnb thing after the last minute cancellations. I had a little more hope for this place because the host was a “superhost”.

The host (who was listed as speaking English and Spanish and with whom I’d had conversations in English on Airbnb messaging) had informed me that he would be out of town while we were there and his sister would meet us and let us in. I called the sister immediately when we landed to confirm that were weren’t going to be left high and dry again. Both the host and his sister were very sweet, but his sister’s English was about as good as my Spanish, so we had a difficult time communicating.

The apartment was neat and clean, and we even had one more bed than expected. The neighborhood was a little sketchier than we expected and we had trouble finding a restaurant or grocery store because of our communication gap with the host’s sister. (Again, not her fault, but if the listing says the host speaks English, the host’s representative should too.) We managed to figure that all out, but our kids were shot by the end of the day and walking around trying to find food with three cranky kids in a foreign country is not exactly relaxing, to say the least.

That night, we decided to turn in early to reset for our last day in Lima. And at around 8:30 PM, a party started in the apartment downstairs. It seemed to be a child’s birthday party or something. There was little to no sound protection between apartments, and there were no fewer than a dozen loud voices loudly shouting and talking, including small children running around and screaming until just before midnight. I can certainly understand and tolerate some amount of kid noise. We knew there was a family downstairs in the apartment below us. But after spending the whole trip reminding my own kids about manners when there are other people in the building, the screaming children downstairs until midnight was inexcusable.

Our kids were crying because they were tired and couldn’t sleep with the noise. Our host was out of town, so I couldn’t communicate through messenger. My only recourse would be to call his sister at night and try to explain to her in my terrible Spanish what was happening and ask what to do about it. Since we were, admittedly, trying to turn in early that day, I figured I’d give them a little time. By around 10:30 PM, they quieted and we all breathed a sigh of relief… until a half hour later when they started back up. At this point, I didn’t want to call the host’s sister that late at night, so I went to Airbnb customer service who basically said, “Sorry. Should have video taped it. Hope you have a better experience next time.”

Next time? That’s cute, guys. After two last-minute cancellations on a family of seven over a holiday and a night of no sleep because of noisy neighbors at what was listed as a “quiet apartment”, there is no chance of there being a “next time”. In my tired, sleep deprived state, trying to comfort my kids to get them to sleep, video taping a party downstairs wasn’t exactly something that occurred to me to do.

There is no way Airbnb was worth the few dollars we saved. Save yourself the trouble and the headache of trying to book things last minute or the chance of getting super noisy neighbors and just book a hotel. Buy a Lonely Planet Guide for where you are headed, and check out TripAdvisor. That is how we always traveled in the past and that is how we will always travel in the future.

No Penalties for Airbnb Hosts Increasing Rates

My mother is visiting me in Sydney from Canada this February. She booked her trip months ago after we told her of our news that my husband and I will be expecting our first child. She is visiting for close to three weeks and we wanted her to be comfortable and within walking distance from our place in Coogee.

Having lived in the eastern suburbs of Sydney for almost five years and a host on Airbnb myself I know how quickly places near the beach book out especially in summer, so I started my search in September as soon as she booked her flight. I was thrilled when I found her a two-bedroom apartment close to the beach within ten minutes walking distance from us. Not only that but the price was reasonable; it seemed perfect.

I contacted the host prior to sending through my booking request letting him know I was booking on behalf of my mother visiting from Canada and asking if I could go ahead with my booking request. As an Airbnb host myself, I always appreciate receiving a message from potential guests finding out a bit more about them and feel it is important to do the same as a guest. He replied right away, agreeing and advising that he was “flexible with check-in times so to let him know what time she arrived.”

This was great news, so I proceeded to book and pay for her accommodation. However, while my husband and I were overseas on holiday over Christmas I received a notification from Airbnb that I had been refunded my booking fee for my mom’s stay. I received no other communication from Airbnb or the host explaining why this had been cancelled. I contacted the host as soon as I found out, asking him why he had cancelled my booking and did not receive a reply. I still haven’t over a week later.

I soon discovered he had rebooked his apartment on Airbnb for double the original asking price he initially listed for my exact dates. I contacted Airbnb right away and was informed by a member of their customer service team that the reason for the cancellation was that I was in breach of their “third party booking” policy and that I should not have booked on behalf of my mother. My mother is 70, not particularly tech savvy, and has never booked with Airbnb before. Not to mention I would be staying with her some of the time, I was making the payment in AUD, and I had checked with the host.

I screenshotted my correspondence with the host to Airbnb and the customer service representative merely offered an apology that the host had not informed me he was “uncomfortable” booking on behalf of my mother. They did not address my concerns that he had subsequently relisted his apartment at double his original asking price for the same dates I had booked. I also asked the representative if the host had been in contact with Airbnb to which he replied: “No. I have yet to speak to him.”

The customer service member also sent me several links of new places to check out. Out of the four links he sent me, none were remotely in the location I wanted and were well over what I had paid originally. In one case, a rental was almost $1500 more. I did a quick search myself and there was less than 3% availability left for our dates in my area. To add insult to injury, on my Facebook, Instagram and Airbnb app the apartment I booked is advertised everywhere as a place to book. Seriously?

On the Airbnb website it states: “Because cancellations disrupt guests’ plans and impact confidence in the Airbnb community, the following penalties will be applied for host cancellations: unavailable/blocked calendar. Your calendar will stay blocked and you won’t be able to accept another reservation for the same dates of the cancelled reservation.”

However, when I asked customer service why this has not applied to the host involved in my case, this is the reply I got: “Hosts and guests do have the ability to cancel a reservation for whatever reason they choose on our platform and in this situation, he will not be penalized for wanting to cancel this reservation.”

The bottom line is Airbnb safe guards the host’s right to make more money should they decide they listed a property at a bad price. There is no booking protection for guests. None. You can pay for accommodation and think you’re secure but you’re not. Airbnb presumes to know why a host has cancelled a booking despite never having been in contact with them. Hosts don’t need to have a reason to cancel your reservation. I have advised Airbnb that I want to escalate this matter further, to which I haven’t received a reply.

Airbnb Cancelled Without Reason in Long Beach

We had booked a home from Airbnb for the first time. We were to stay at a house in Long Beach, CA. We have used VRBO many times in the past without any issues from us or our hosts. My husband was graduating from Biola. We had married at a young age and never got to have a honeymoon, so we were excited for his graduation and time together alone. We booked the home months in advance.

We pulled up to the Airbnb and the owner was very aggressive, wanting to know who we were. When we explained we were the people supposed to be spending the week at her home, she stated Airbnb cancelled our reservation without reason. Because we were in Long Beach it was just 0.5 miles to the Westin (very nice) where we stayed.

Multiple attempts were made to reach Airbnb to find out what happened. This was a month ago. We have not received a response, though we did get our money back in full. I will never rent an Airbnb again. I tell anyone who will listen not to either. We will go back to our trusty VRBO. My family and I live in the southern outer banks of NC. Let me say that if you paid for an Airbnb here in the summer, and they cancelled last minute you would be sleeping in the sand. Luckily for us, we were in a large urban area with many options. Someone else might not be so lucky in a smaller area.

Host Took Over $2000 for Immediate Cancellation

An Airbnb host is stealing over $2000 from me (50% fee) and there has been no answer from Airbnb for days. A “dedicated case manager” is just a waste of time and a way to make time thinking you can “forget” or maybe settle for much less. This must be a scam in which both Airbnb doesn’t care (makes a profit too) and some hosts steal from customers (especially first time users like myself) on a regular basis.

I am a first time user coming from a difficult situation where a host had just canceled a rented property (still waiting for a refund on that too) and needed a house ASAP for seven people including seniors and children. I explained this to the host and he agreed that I needed more than two beds for seven people (his information said sleeps “up to 16”). He then claimed that because of the five minutes from when my transaction occurred between booking, texting, and canceling, as per his claim, he was free to charge me for a cancellation. That five minutes’ processing time is now going to cost me over $2000 right before Christmas. I’m filing a BBB complaint and I want to start a class action lawsuit against Airbnb after reading lots and lots of complaints.

Avoid Hosts who Leave you out in the Cold

We arrived to be left on the doorstep for 45 minutes. It was damp, the gutter was dripping on us the whole time, someone was obviously in the room (they looked through the curtain of the room we had booked and paid for). We continued to knock until eventually I banged on the door saying that if the door was not answered I would be calling the police. By some miracle, the host came to the door and asked, “Why are you banging on my door?”

I asked, “Are you [host]?”

She said, “No, who are you?”

I explained that we had booked and paid for the room for six nights. She then said “You will get your money back. I am cancelling your booking.”

We had been travelling all day, starting early that morning from Spain (she knew this). There was someone in the room we had paid for (probably why the door wasn’t answered). This person, who resembled the picture on the site, was the host, proof of which was clear when she said she would cancel.

We are both getting on for 68 years of age, my husband wasn’t well, we both received extremely bad colds, mine resulting in bronchitis due to standing on the doorstep in the cold night air, getting wet. We had nowhere to sleep that night and ended up sleeping the first night in our hire car, as there wasn’t anything available in the vicinity. The rest of the time sleeping on the floor of our daughter-in-law’s. As we had paid over a month in advance, and this was obviously double booked without giving prior notice, I find this appalling behaviour.

What were we supposed to do? Just disappear into the sunset after paying for the privilege of standing on the doorstep for the better part of an hour knocking on the door? Avoid Airbnb like the plague.

Valid Cancellations Don’t Mean Instant Refunds

Yesterday I booked a condo in South Padre Island and got a message from Airbnb to call a number. I called the number and it was the property management guy. He told me that Airbnb did not charge me for the cleaning fee and that I needed to pay him for that. Well then, I see that they charged me $100 per night and the host told me he would charge $90 a night. Then I realized Airbnb had overcharged me by about $150. The property management guy told me to cancel my reservation through Airbnb and then rebook through him. Well it was within thirty minutes that I cancelled my reservation and then had to contact Airbnb to get my full refund back. They authorized the refund but now it can take up to 15 days before I get it. This is such BS since the cancellation policy stated I had 24 hours and I cancelled within thirty minutes. Does anyone know who I can contact to get my refund ASAP?

Left Homeless in Mexico City when Airbnb Host Cancelled

I’ve used Airbnb several times without issue. However, last week I had a horrific experience that Airbnb completely failed to resolve. My host canceled a three-night booking in Mexico City on my day of arrival two hours before check-in. Airbnb did not phone to alert me to this significant last minute development, but rather sent an email. In the email, various “alternatives” were proposed – none of which were in remotely the same area of Mexico City, a massive metropolis – that I could book directly, or I could request my money back.

The alternatives were not comparable. I had guests arriving within two hours, and did not have time to research, communicate and rebook (hoping that there would not be another last minute cancellation). In lieu of availing myself of a non-comparable alternative that would have taken time and effort (and luck – there was very little time to pull all of this together) on my part to reserve, the only option that I was left with was to request a refund. I was forced to book two hotel rooms at the last minute, incurring a cost $300 greater than my Airbnb booking. Airbnb offered no further assistance or recompense for the stress and extra expense that resulted from using their platform.

Subsequently, I received a phone call purportedly to learn more about my point of view regarding what happened. When I said that Airbnb failed in its customer service, and that it did not provide me with assurance, as a paying guest, that I could depend on pre-booked and pre-paid accommodations, I was informed that it wasn’t their fault. Problems happen, but Airbnb’s management of the situation and subsequent follow-up was pathetic. I will not be booking with them ever again, and urge other travelers to be cautious as they also may not know that Airbnb hosts can cancel prepaid bookings at the last minute, with no excuse and no assurance from Airbnb that you will be relocated to comparable accommodations.