Host Refuses to Communicate About Cancellation

We had plans to travel to the U.S. in October that were cancelled due to COVID. Alternative bookings were made for a property in Australia from Oct. 3-10 (we had stayed in this property 12 months ago with a great review from the host).

The cancellation policy on the listing at the time of booking was a 50% refund up until Sept. 25. We raised the question of flexibility to change dates if restrictions applied at the time of booking. The host responded “let’s talk about this in September.”

Flights cancelled by the airline, borders closed by our state governments and penalties (both financial and potential jail sentences) for breaching COVID quarantine restrictions forced our decision to request a change of dates to April 2021 to give us time for recovery post COVID. There was no response from the host.

We reached out to the Airbnb Support team who promised to look into the matter. We reached out to the host in September who advised that this property would no longer be available after February 2021. We were unable to take leave before February so pushed the “cancel” button and requested a refund. The host’s response was a “$0.00 refund.”

We reached out again to Airbnb Support who asked for evidence to be uploaded. They advised they were in contact with host. We were frustrated at how long it took to respond to a message. It would be great to actually speak to someone about this. I have been a very frequent user, supporter and promoter of Airbnb but the lack of real time support has left a very disappointing mark.

Frustrating Lack of Response from Airbnb

I have really liked the Airbnb platform and had a great response so far with them. However, I now have a problem, finding it a little the opposite. I am getting quite frustrated with the lack of help from the Airbnb team in relation to a booking during the festive season that I feel needs to be cancelled.

A booking was made before March 4, but travel is for later in the year between Dec. 20 – Jan. 21. I have a family who have booked our home for four weeks over the Christmas period and are travelling from the U.K. to Australia. Our government currently has Australia in lockdown from overseas holiday travellers unless they are returning citizens or permanent residents. No tourists are permitted.

Our government has stated that they can not see any overseas travel allowed until the end of the year or until next year as of Sept. 3. I have been in touch with the guests and they do not want to cancel as they will be charged over half of the booking by Airbnb. If I cancel, the dates are blocked and I also get a cancellation review and get charged a cancellation fee. It defeats the purpose of cancelling as I want to have the dates open for local guests to book or I will ultimately miss out both ways.

I’m feeling very disappointed with Airbnb response to this matter. I have messaged through their portal and had very limited if any response: all generic and have asked for documentation. What documentation? Is there anyone else feeling this frustration and does anyone have any other way of contacting Airbnb? They really are not very helpful at this time. I feel they should be extending their extenuating circumstances cancellation policy. Any helpful suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Airbnb Cancellation Issues Part of their Business Model

I fully understand that Airbnb is not a hotel service and that the hosts state their cancellation policy on the their page. That being said, I have had some issues with them. I booked a four-day stay on July 3rd at an oceanfront studio condo in Daytona Beach for October 26-30. When my boyfriend, who I added onto the reservation, looked at the dates he advised that I booked the wrong days.

I looked at the available dates for when we needed the Airbnb (October 18-22); the host’s place was not available. I contacted her the second I realized I would not be able to stay there, which was July 7th. She was very reasonable at first. She stated that because I cancelled months in advance that she would offer me a full refund and that I would need to cancel and then send a request. I did as she requested and Airbnb was fully aware of it. I cancelled and then sent the request.

After five days of her not accepting the request for the refund, I messaged her and asked if she would go and accept the refund. I then contacted Airbnb for a week and they stated there was nothing they could do at that point. It has now been five weeks since I sent the request and she has not answered even though I have sent messages. I have months before I would have even checked in for the reservation but she is unable to communicate.

I understand fully that I made the mistake, but by accidentally choosing the wrong dates and cancelling months in advance, I do not believe I should lose hundreds of dollars over this issue. I understand Airbnb is a way to save money but it would have been much easier to just get a hotel if it is going to be this difficult.