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.