Last-Minute Cancellation Leads to Airbnb Nightmare

We were due to fly to Florida from the UK on March 23rd. We’d heard nothing from the host and she didn’t respond to messages or a phone call. We reported it to Airbnb and they cancelled our reservation 14 hours before we were due to leave for Florida because the host had problems with payouts.

We were told we could have compensation of £221. Because the agent took two hours to get back to us, we lost the next 18-day reservation and could only book ten days. He took our £221 away because the price was less than the original booking, but we still needed somewhere for the first eight nights.

He told us that we couldn’t have the £221 off the next booking. I complained and he gave us a £100 voucher. Again, because he took so long, we lost that booking and the £100 voucher. By this time, with only five hours to go and having been up until 3:00 AM, I couldn’t take it anymore. We just booked a hotel through another company. Please refer to my messages as proof of what a complete and utter nightmare we have been through by using Airbnb.

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Never a Full Refund for this Cologne Apartment

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We arrived to this apartment on Monday afternoon, from the airport. We got video instructions from the host where we could find the keys and we could go in without any problems. I am presenting the situation with the uploaded photos.

The place looked like had not been inhabited for a long time. There was possibly puke on the wall, and dirt everywhere, not to mention the air inside. Unfortunately it around the time of IDS and we could not find another place, so we limited our stay to only sleeping.

We could not meet in person with the host until Wednesday morning, when we could finally found him at his workplace. We discussed that we did not intending to stay until Friday, instead we were leaving Thursday morning. Since the apartment was posted with a flexible cancellation policy, and we also we made clear that we were leaving the next morning, I modified the departure time on Airbnb, to avoid the fee for the last day (cancellation option was available, but with a 42 USD difference).

The host didn’t react to the modification request since that day. I have contacted Airbnb regarding the issue after we got home, and after a week the response was: “I noticed in relation to this, that you contacted Airbnb after the check out time for your reservation had passed, the Guest Refund Policy therefore would not apply to the reservation. I will need to negotiate with your host, in order to secure any partial refund. I will make you aware, that as the host already received the payout for this booking, any refund issued would be at the host’s discretion. However, I will do my very best to help!”

My conclusions regarding Airbnb: I had a choice to cancel the reservation on Wednesday with a refund of 200 USD, but I went for the date modification which offered 247 USD (apartment price + Airbnb fee + tax) when the host agreed. I know that this choice was my fault, but since I made it clear that we were leaving the apartment (and the request time is visible on the website), I feel it is very shady that the hosts’s behavior was not to react to the request. Furthermore, if the host already received the payment, there is only the option to ‘negotiate’ for whatever happens during our stay? If that is the case, everyone should avoid this filthy service.

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Last Minute Cancellation Justified, but still Frustrating

We booked our Los Angeles Airbnb property several months ahead of time for a February 2019 stay. We had booked the entire place (three bedrooms) for a full week with a Superhost who had many five star ratings.

24 hours before we were scheduled to arrive, we received a notification that there was a minor roof leak and that we’d be offered a free night if we agreed to go ahead with our stay. The leak story was believable as Los Angeles had received over nine inches of rain the day before (that is a lot of rain). We agreed to go forward and went about our day.

Two hours later, we received a full cancellation. I actually believe the story and have empathy for the host. Fortunately, everything worked out for us as we found another property in a better location for less money.

Now, having said that, I am hugely frustrated by the process; Airbnb takes zero ownership. Sure they offer help and minuscule financial assistance, but in the grand scheme of things we were completely on our own trying to find a place to stay on 24 hours’ notice – talk about vacation stress.

My second issue is that the system is completely one sided. If a guest cancels at the last minute, for any reason, we have to pay a huge penalty. If the hosts cancels, they are held blameless. This is not an equitable situation and the absence of balance can and does lead to abuses of the system. Even though we had a good Airbnb experience in the end, I am not sure we will ever use them again… who needs the stress?

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Airbnb Automated Cancellation Problem

I made a reservation through Airbnb for my upcoming spring break along with my friends and booked it at the start of January. The policy stated two divided payments, but when I checked back on March 11th, five days before the check-in date, it was stated that my reservation was automatically canceled.

I tried calling Airbnb and they said that the second part of my payment didn’t go through, so they tried to reach out to me through my email address. The problem here was that I’ve never received an email regarding this problem. So the first option they offered me was that they were going to contact the host of my reservation and talk with them to refund the first part of the transaction and make me re-reserve the place for the exact same date with same amount of money.

Since it was hard for me to find another place within five days and I didn’t want to lose out the money, I requested they contact the host. However, they came back to me saying that the host already was filled with another guest staying at his/her place so it was hard for the host to give me the refund.

I decided to talk with Airbnb about why their notification wasn’t delivered. They investigated the issue, but later came back to me saying that they sent out the notification. I double-checked all of my emails, but wasn’t able to find any single mail that was sent from Airbnb. I tried to ask them to compensate me for this issue because clearly, I did nothing wrong and I was the one who was going to lose out on approximately a thousand dollars without any clear reasons behind it.

It wasn’t my fault that Airbnb’s notification didn’t reach me, and so I asked them “wasn’t there another way to reach out to me to help make the second payment go through?” All they replied was that all they can offer me is a 100-dollar coupon for my next stay, and they just decided to close this case by themselves.

I was so outraged at their customer service and ended up losing 1000 dollars without doing anything wrong. Is this something normal that happens? Why isn’t Airbnb being responsible for the mistakes that they clearly made?

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Unhappy About Airbnb’s Refund Policy

We reserved a place seven months ahead of time and our credit card were charged for half of the total cost. Five months before the original arrival date, we found that we no longer needed the accommodations due to an unexpected medical event, and proceeded to cancel.

To our dismay, we were charged with a service fee of $130. This seems to be exorbitant as there did not seem to be any significant service provided. It was indicated there would be a full refund if you cancelled and we assumed there would be a full refund for such an early cancellation (they will have no trouble whatsoever in getting a new renter).

Needless to say, we are unhappy with Airbnb and will think twice before using them again. The service fees are outrageous.

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30 Minutes of an Overwhelming Fume Experience for $500

I found what looked like the perfect Airbnb. It was an automated check-in, but I still reached out to the owners. I didn’t get a response, which I chalked up to it being a business trip and auto check-in/auto accept. The reviews were on point and recent.

I got to the location easily enough and was suddenly overcome with a stench; it was like a toxic fume. My eyes began burning. I thought, “Maybe I just need to give it a few minutes.” In the interim, I speed tested the wifi and it was awesome. I thought “This place could really work.”

Meanwhile, my eyes were on fire and the smell didn’t seem to dissipate. I reached out to the owners and said essentially: “Great place. Thanks for sharing your home with me. The fumes are overwhelming. I’m opening the windows and doors.”

I was super polite in every interaction. There was no response from the owners. I reached out to Airbnb and got a canned reply. Then I was able to chat with a real person who basically said that I need to cancel if it was unbearable.

I reached out to the hosts and said something to the effect: “Thank you, I can’t bear it. I need to cancel”. Again, no response. I canceled… and then the host finally responded with “open the windows and doors” – it was winter time, mind you. Anyway, that was the fastest $500 dollars I ever lost.

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Airbnb Quick to Charge, Slow to Refund

I currently live in Australia and made a booking for a property in Somerset West, South Africa From September 28 to October 12, 2018. I paid 50% of the total booking fee, but a month before the check-in date I was informed by the host (who appears to be living in Sydney) that he had to cancel the booking as he was in a dispute with his Body Corporate about using this property for Airbnb accommodation.

I immediately took this up with Airbnb and in the meantime I hastily looked for alternative accommodations for our family reunion, rebooked, and paid the fees as required (again through Airbnb). A few days later Airbnb advised me that they had difficulties in cancelling the reservation – something which I truly do not understand. I was assured, however, that they are looking into my case and that the matter will soon be resolved.

Since then I have had four different caseworkers, made numerous phone calls during which I was promised quick action, received generic emails expressing their sympathies and apologies for the inconvenience caused to me, was given a false promise that my refund was processed, received notification that my case was closed, was ignored for weeks on end, and have yet to see my refund…

I am at my wits’ end in dealing with Airbnb. This huge company is so unapproachable and seems to not care one bit about small fish like me. It has cost me way too much time and energy trying to receive fair and just treatment and on top of that it has caused me a great deal of stress. It feels to me that the whole issue is drawn out deliberately to try and force me to just abandon my hopes of receiving my refund. Any ideas how to proceed further will be most welcome.

After Cancellation, Never Again Airbnb

I have had misleading and conflicting responses from Airbnb support since I cancelled a booking I made for an Airbnb listed property in South Hobart, Tasmania in late August this year.

The cancellation was made in early December, due to non availability of a stove for cooking; I only became aware of this just before I cancelled. This included amenities, pots and pans. Why would these be needed if there was no stove?

I should have checked more carefully before making the booking, but the inference I got from the pots and pans, led me to believe there was a stove, I believe this to be false or misleading advertising. We were supposed to be staying for ten nights and cannot afford to be eating out for every meal; we also prefer the option of home cooked meals occasionally.

This host has a strict (with grace) cancellation policy which means you only get 50% of the accommodation costs refunded if you cancel before 48 hours of booking and seven days before arrival. I paid $768 (AUD) as part payment, Airbnb has now concluded, after I escalated this matter through one of their “case managers”, that I will receive $177.81 refund, which is three nights’ accommodation (which they state was graciously agreed to by the host since he has now received a booking for three nights of the period I originally had booked).

My understanding of the strict cancellation policy is that I should be entitled to a 50% refund of the accommodation payment I made, of $592.65 + $175.40 Airbnb service fee. (Airbnb has refunded 30% of the accommodation fee ($177.81 (not $296.32 which is 50%) and they kindly retain the service fee.

I responded to the Airbnb “case manager’s” communication regarding the refund that they were arranging, as I did not agree with their conclusions. I asked for an explanation regarding the pots and pans inferences in the kitchen facilities as I thought this to be misleading, and asked for proper refund according to the cancellation policy.

Airbnb has now marked the case as closed and have not responded to my message. If anyone can offer some advice on pursuing this matter further with any regulatory authority or otherwise I would be most grateful as I have not been able to find anything suitable to date in Australia.

Cancellation Three Days Before Austin City Limits

I made a reservation three months in advance. I also noticed that the host had cancelled two booking in the past about five days before arrival. If you ever see that pattern, beware. I foolishly booked the place and about three days before arrival she cancelled, using the excuse of a “family death.” It was just way too coincidental, being on the same exact weekend when Austin City Limits festival was happening, to be believed. Those weekends the locals gouge room rates of 200-300% of normal. The next cheapest room I could find was $100 more expensive. Airbnb gave me $12 to offset the difference. I wrote them, asked for a callback, and got nothing. They have completely erased the listing and booking from my history.

Screwed Over and Stranded After Host Cancelled

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I booked a place in New Orleans a month ahead of a music festival we were going to attend. The night before our reservation, the host cancelled our reservation without any explanation. We needed to search for a new place, and during the search, I saw our original rental available for the very same dates, but for 2.5 times the rate we had originally booked a month prior. The host must have not have known that the festival was occurring, but upon realizing it, decided to callously screw over three people by stranding us with less than 24 hours before our flight to New Orleans.

Throughout the ensuing discussion with Airbnb customer service and our frantic search for lodging, Airbnb handled this situation incredibly poorly. I was repeatedly promised call backs within timeframes that were not met, and I waited well into the wee hours of the night trying to resolve our lodging situation for the flight the next morning. Airbnb admitted as much as this sort of practice by hosts is not tolerated, and yet they allowed the host to get away with this scot-free.

The major reasons we booked the original space was due to its cheap price (as the entire trip was already stretching our budgets) and its close proximity to the festival venue. When trying to book places with similar proximity, Airbnb refused, stating that the prices were not comparable. Well of course they weren’t; we were now forced to make a last-minute booking during a very busy weekend. Airbnb refused to take responsibility in this case and provide us with an equivalent replacement without tripling our original booking rate. At one point, they even suggested we rebook our original place at the surged rate. They encouraged this extortion that they attempted to claim was not tolerable.

In the end, after hours of countless messages and calls well into the night and the next morning right up until we had to leave for the airport, we were left with a house miles farther than our original place (which ruined many of the plans we had made, including being able to walk to the venue, causing transportation costs to further inflate the trip’s budget) at hundreds of dollars more. I understand that cancellations will happen, but if the risk exists that these cancellations can occur so last minute and solely due to the greed of the host, and that Airbnb will refuse to take responsibility and even encourage hosts from extorting guests, than I must refuse to use this service ever again. An example of the utterly callous communication with Airbnb customer service is attached. They could not care less about unsatisfied and frustrated customers. If you are visiting New Orleans in the future, do not book here.