Vacation Rental in Charleston Goes Wrong

We had a poor experience with an Airbnb in Charleston. In the midst of COVID-19 and the challenges of traveling at this time, we were disappointed that neither the host nor Airbnb would refund (nor give us a credit for) our $670 deposit.

My friend and I booked our trip to Savannah/Charleston back in October 2019. Our original dates of travel were for March and April 2020. With the onset of the pandemic and our optimistic belief that we would be able to travel again, in early March, we contacted our Airbnb hosts and changed our reservations to September. They both agreed and extended the reservations until September.

In June, we cancelled our Airbnb reservation for both Savannah and Charleston. We did this for several reasons: instances of COVID-19 and resulting deaths increasing in our country; restrictions put on place by our governor for travel to New York from South Carolina; nothing in the data indicating that the pandemic would be over (or a vaccine/cure would be ready) by September; and my personal health issues of diabetes and hypertension.

Advice from the CDC and my own physician indicated that individuals with these conditions are more vulnerable for serious health implications from COVID and should not travel. In good faith, we wanted to give our hosts plenty of notice and the opportunity to rebook if possible. Our Savannah host did refund our money except for $81.45 in fees which we appreciated. However, our host in Charleston refused to refund us our $670.

When we reached out to the Airbnb Resolution Department, the representative was not able to resolve this issue for us. He was professional and kind but simply quoted standard cancellation policy. At his request, we provided him my personal health information and a letter from my doctor. Bottom line, no refund.

We have written to Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky as well and are awaiting a reply (so far two certified letters have gotten lost). We find this unacceptable and unethical. Our Charleston host has $670 of our money for services we are not receiving due to the pandemic. Airbnb’s own extenuating circumstances policy was recently extended to the end of September.

In good faith, we gave plenty of notice of cancellation. We feel strongly that an exception should be allowed for this pandemic. Airbnb has stepped up to provide assistance to their hosts in this financially difficult time. We are shocked that they are not supporting their customers in the same fashion. Be aware if you are booking through Airbnb.

No Refund for $2600 Due to COVID Circumstances

We cancelled our rental on March 21 for our stay in Austin scheduled for October 22-27 through Airbnb with a deposit $2,581.62 due to COVID-related complications. We booked in January. Neither the host nor Airbnb will refund our money due to their strict policy of “no cancellations” unless there are extenuating circumstances. COVID falls under that clause.

We have been fighting with them since March to get a refund. Our business was shut down due to COVID on March 13. We are now hiring an attorney to recoup our money. Do not use Airbnb. They have no compassion for the current climate or what people are having to endure. These are huge businesses which are not interested in the welfare of the clients. Losing $2,600 is a big deal to us, especially now.

Unfair Treatment by Airbnb Over Honolulu Booking

On Jan. 3, we booked an apartment in Honolulu for five days and paid the requested 50% payment, 1451.45 NZD. When COVID arrived, we assessed the situation on this booking for May 13-18 but as the airline we had booked on was no longer flying, we cancelled the booking with the hostess on March 19 assuming we would get at least the 50% back — 725.70 NZD, as stated on the booking rules.

Sadly the host only refunded 43.39 NZD… why? There was no explanation at all. What I cannot understand is that she would not even refund the cleaning fees of 372.68 NZD as we had never been there. On top of all that, the service fee of 341.69 NZD will be a coupon waiting to be used. The CEO Brian Chesky also sent a letter to say that Airbnb would repay the hosts the full amount that they would lose, so why would the host not pay us back?

Cancellations During Pandemic Mean No Refund

In January we booked an Airbnb in Bath for two nights. The venue was booked so family and friends could celebrate an uncle’s 70th birthday. We paid £1,960.85 including an exorbitant service fee of £262.85 (for what we have no idea).

Due to circumstances beyond our control, i.e. COVID-19, we had to cancel the booking and did so in May. The guest of honour who lives in Ireland was not able to fly to England for the party due to flight restrictions caused by the virus. Consequently, we cancelled when we did in order not to lose the full amount. Had the coronavirus not happened, our party would have carried on with the booking as planned.

We received a refund of only £849 from Airbnb (50% minus the service charge). Our party of 10 had hoped under these unusual circumstances, the host would have given us a full refund. The owners did say that if their Airbnb was rented during the weekend we booked, then a refund would be issued. No surprise that this did not happen so we didn’t receive the other 50%.

Losing this amount of money through no fault of our own was devastating for our financial situation which, because of the lockdown, is precarious at best. We appealed twice to the owner’s sense of fairness and compassion by asking them to send the other 50% refund (£849) realising that the hefty service charge Airbnb charges is likely beyond their control. This did not happen nor did we ever hear from them. Consequently, they have £849 of our money for doing absolutely nothing at a time they couldn’t have rented their place anyway.

We also appealed to Airbnb but they were useless in resolving this issue. This Airbnb in Bath did not act in good faith and if you are looking to book this venue in the future, buyer beware — the owners have no scruples and will take your money and run if given the opportunity. Our advice is not to book this place now or ever.

Nine Months of Holiday Plans Ruined by Host

Our host cancelled our nine month pre-booked reservation just two weeks prior to our arrival. Although our planned stay met all of the many restrictions this host listed as conditions for occupancy and without acceptable communications, this person abruptly terminated our long-awaited vacation plans stating she was uncomfortable with our plans due to COVID-19.

Our travel plans met all health guidelines and moral practices of this pandemic. As a volunteer leader of an organization of medical professionals providing humanitarian assistance to people around the world, I of course fully endorse and practice the most strict standards in response to the current pandemic and our anticipated travel plans did not in any capacity conflict with regional health guidelines or rules.

As a courtesy I informed the host that our upcoming plans would include my spouse and I occupying the three-bedroom (maximum of six guests allowed) home with friends, a family of four joining us for three nights of our week-long vacation and upon their departure another family of four would join us for three nights, never exceeding the six-person maximum.

Upon notification of our plans the host responded with, “she had concerns of the large group of people” even though we would never exceed the host’s maximum six-person restriction. Without any further allowance to communicate to discuss concerns and a resolution just 20 minutes after the host’s initial message of concern, she abruptly and arbitrarily cancelled our reservation. This host displayed a lack of compassion and understanding of the impact of such an action.

We of course have made many plans in anticipation of our once-a-year summer vacation. We had paid for ferry reservations and other financial commitments based on this nine-month commitment.

There has been a complete absence of support by Airbnb. As a former Airbnb host, we understand the rights a property owner requires to operate their rentals. However, there is a moral obligation to meet your commitments to guests when they are willing to follow regional rules and Airbnb guidelines and the host’s very own restrictions. There is also an expectation with such important life plans, especially during these challenging times, to communicate honestly and provide an opportunity to resolve any issues that can sometimes arise.

Absolutely zero allowance or opportunity was given by this host to responsibly discuss a concern that arose so close to a long awaited vacation. We and our friends are now scrambling to find alternative plans. Shame on you for your insensitivity.

Promised a Full Refund, Only Received Half

Anticipating the craziness of a parents’ weekend lodging nightmare, I made a reservation right away on September 19 after we got home while my hubby was still dragging bags from the van. The reservation was for October 1-4. At matriculation day on August 15, I received an email from my son’s school that the weekend was cancelled due to COVID-19.

I went online on the 16th to cancel my reservation. The instructions stated I should call my host to ask for a full refund. If she agrees, I would get my full refund. She did. I got an email back that I would be refunded the full amount of $200.98 but in reality, I only got half: $100.74.

I called the host back. She said that she gave me a full refund of $170 and sent me the receipt with a note stating it was a “penalty free” refund. I told her I did not get the $170. Instead I have $100.74 and I do not need the $170, just $100.74. She said that I should take it to Airbnb now since it is between me and Airbnb. Her partner explained to me that when I booked, the money went to Airbnb; they get paid after the guests stay. I compared her refund receipt number and the Airbnb refund receipt number; they were the same.

What happened to the $170? Where is my money? Their cancellation policy on COVID-19 is quite confusing because it states that they will give a full refund if the cancellation is due to COVID-19 and the hosts agree, which I qualify on both. But, it has also a window of dates that they consider “emergency dates” which my reservation and cancellation did not fit since I booked before COVID-19 and cancelled past their end of emergency date. Thus only a 50% refund.

Why would I be penalized for something that is out of my control? I made the reservation in good faith, paid in full for an accommodation I wouldn’t be using until a year later, and I did not cancel for whatever silly reason. I cancelled because due to COVID-19 our son will be “secured” in the barracks until his December holiday pick-up.

I called the number for help but of course there is no option about my situation because they do not entertain refunds (only current reservations). Instead, they encouraged me to read the link they sent me which is more or less the explanation again of their outrageous and unfair cancellation policy.

My son has two years left to complete his degree; I guess we will have to stay at Howard Johnson then. At least it gives me a clear option to book securely for an extra $10 and get a full refund in case of cancellation. I will continue to fight this to the end and will inform my son’s school’s alumni office which helps parents with accommodation information. We certainly do not need this degree of aggravation due to unfair policies. Thank you for providing this space where we can express our angst of injustice.

Host Agrees to a Refund, but Can’t Contact Anyone

blank

I can’t travel to Spain from Australia due to COVID-19. I tried to contact the host, to no avail. I left a negative Google review, and the host made contact with us by email and said if we removed the negative review they would refund our money. Since then, no contact.

Airbnb originally sent a request for the host to reply with authorization for us to cancel but the host didn’t respond to them. So we are stuck in the middle with no one to talk to. Airbnb won’t deal with us anymore as their system email to the host ‘timed out’ and so they say our case is closed. I have an email from the host confirming they will refund us and can’t put it in front of anyone at Airbnb because they won’t deal with me.

Airbnb’s Facebook chat tells me my case is closed as the ‘system timed out’ with no response from the host. Airbnb’s resolution centre just says my case is closed. When I try to phone Airbnb the message is that they won’t deal with anyone unless it’s just before your booked stay. I’ve tried emailing the host through other accommodation sites. I’ve tried to contact the host on Twitter and Facebook — no response. What can I do? Nobody will talk to me.

Airbnb is holding our money and their business partner, the host, is blackmailing us over our Google reviews and then not responding to anyone. Airbnb should refund our money and sort out the host who is messing their customers around.

Is COVID-19 Not an Extenuating Circumstance?

How is anything related to COVID not an extenuating circumstance, after the government put in place a stay at home order after having everything open, preventing anyone from traveling into the island?

Our trip to the USVI got cancelled, per the governor shutting down travel, and in contacting the airline about this (they gave us our full refund without question by the way) the airline told me that if the island was shutting down they would not be flying in — so we could be stuck there.

Now the host had told me that I would need to cancel for reasons including COVID and I should get my full refund because it was out of their hands. Airbnb only refunded us half and it would’ve been less had I not done it sooner. The host said she is unable to do anything about refunding us because she hasn’t been given the money.

Airbnb stole thousands from me. Neither myself nor the host has been able to actually get in touch with anyone at the company, all I get is a phone recording that just hangs up on me. Never again. Do not use this company.

Avoid Airbnb in Bath That Refuses Refunds

In January we booked an Airbnb in Bath for two nights. The venue was booked so our family and friends could celebrate an uncle’s 70th birthday. We paid £1,960.85 including an exorbitant service fee of £262.85 (for what we have no idea).

Due to circumstances beyond our control — i.e. COVID-19 — we had to cancel the booking and did so in May. The guest of honour who lives in Ireland was not able to fly to England for the party due to flight restrictions caused by the virus. Consequently, we cancelled when we did in order not to lose the full amount. Had the coronavirus not happened, our party would have carried on with the booking as planned.

We received a refund of only £849.00 from Airbnb (50% minus the service charge). Our party of ten had hoped under these unusual circumstances, the host would have given us a full refund. The owners did say that if their B&B was rented during the weekend we booked, then a refund would be issued. No surprise that this did not happen so we didn’t receive the other 50%.

Losing this amount of money through no fault of our own was devastating for our financial situation which, because of the lockdown, is precarious at best. We appealed twice to the owner’s sense of fairness and compassion by asking them to send the other 50% refund (£849) realising that the hefty service fee Airbnb charges is likely beyond their control. This did not happen nor did we ever hear from them. Consequently, they have £849 of our money for doing absolutely nothing at a time they couldn’t have rented their place anyway.

We also appealed to Airbnb but they were useless in resolving this issue. This Airbnb in Bath did not act in good faith and if you are looking to book this venue in the future, buyer beware – the owners have no scruples and will take your money and run if given the opportunity. Our advice is not to book this place now or ever.

More than $10K in Damages, Airbnb Paid $510

An Airbnb guest held an unauthorized party during the pandemic lockdown. We never allow parties, even before they became illegal.

This guest said she was coming alone. The police estimated that there were at least 100 people in the two-bedroom home when they arrived. The neighbors told us that there were several fights that spilled into the street before the police arrived. There was a stabbing. The damage to the unit was more than $10,000.

After three weeks of back and forth with Airbnb personnel who changed on a daily basis and would only communicate via email, they paid us $510 for painting and damaged walls and then they went dark. They refused to explain why all the other proof of damage and proof of value of the damages were being declined.

There was no explanation, just an email saying our case was closed and they would not reply again. They were very demanding about proving the value of items damaged and it was so difficult to comply that we did give up on certain items. We still were able to document more than $10,000 and supply the required proof of value. They simply said they would not discuss the reason for the low compensation.