Australian COVID-19 Refund Roundabout

We cancelled an Airbnb booking two weeks into a one-month booking, due to increasingly urgent travel advisories from our (Australian) government. We advised Airbnb twice by email that we were checking out: once on the day before we checked out, and once on the day of checkout. Not good enough apparently.

A week after our return to Australia, and after having repeated Groundhog Day experiences with website requests for a refund, we noted that our booking was still active. It was then that we found the ‘cancel’ procedure on the website. Airbnb said ‘no refund’ because of the host’s refund policy. The host said he couldn’t cancel a booking because of Airbnb’s policy. We believe him.

Trying to move beyond this point on the Airbnb website is an exercise in futility. There is no avenue for engaging in effective communication. We eventually negotiated a refund with our host for 50% of the unused period of our booking.

We accept that Airbnb has had to respond to a global pandemic. Their response seems to be focused on their financial immunity from the pandemic, and not on their guests.

Airbnb Host from Hell During Pandemic

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We booked through Airbnb for an event in DC that was supposed to happen the weekend of April 16-19. Well, the event was cancelled due to the global pandemic.

Airbnb instituted a policy in which they would provide a full refund to anyone with a check-in date on or before April 14. Since our check-in date was two days after that, it was completely up to the host to approve our refund. She denied it.

We messaged constantly for days on end. She wanted us to put the money we had already given Airbnb for this reservation toward a reservation on another one of her properties that was smaller, had fewer beds, and less space… but cost the same. We of course did not want to do that for the obvious reasons, but also because we were no longer traveling to the area in the near future.

After several phone calls with Airbnb, and several unanswered messages to them, we were told we had to submit documentation that the United States government had warned against travel during our travel dates. When I asked what that documentation had to be, I was told it had to come from, and I quote: “The government website.”

To which I replied, “There is no unitedstatesgovernment.com so you’re going to have to be more specific.” Of course there was no actual answer to that.

We are still in the middle of this battle, having provided documentation for an “extenuating circumstance” and are waiting to hear back if it has been approved. I am attaching a screenshot of the host’s profile so that you can avoid this heartless wench at all costs.

COVID-19 Cancellations due to Government Directive

I booked accommodation for my family travelling to the UK from a few countries. Due to COVID-19 they are all not allowed to travel to the UK (government directive).

I have sent multiple message to Airbnb support through the website around cancelling my booking as the host will not cancel and said I needed to contact Airbnb. It has now been five or six days since I did this but there has been no response yet.

My final payment is due at the beginning of April which means I will be out of pocket for a substantial amount of money. The Airbnb website advice has also not been updated since March 19th. A lot has changed since then but there has been no change to their policies.