Being told ‘No matter what, I cannot get my money back‘

We are four senior women (over 70) who booked a friend’s vacation back on January 29 for travel beginning on May 11. We paid in full, looking forward to the vacation. Then COVID-19 hit. We contacted the host and explained we were concerned: two ladies had frail husbands and one lady had respiratory problems. We contacted the hosts on March 31 to express our concerns and ask about our options.

The hosts were very understanding but asked that we waited until at least May 1 to cancel. We agreed, but on April 20 we received an email from Airbnb talking about possibility of getting a 100% refund due to COVID-19.

At that point we reached out to the hosts, who said to try and cancel using the Airbnb website. I did but could not find a way to get a 100% refund. It said I would get a little more than 50% back or I could accept a travel voucher for 100%. We opted for this, because we did not believe we could get our money back.

I talked again with the hosts, who said they were going to try and help. When they got back to me, because I had accepted the travel voucher, they didn’t think there was anything they could do to help.

Since then, we have spoken with several hosts who indicated they were refunding their customers 100% of their money without documentation, and I needed to pursue this by calling Airbnb. They gave me a number to call. I called on May 7, explained the situation, was told my case was being escalated to case management and I would get a call back.

I did not get a call back. We pursued calling Airbnb again, explained our situation again, and again we were told we would get a call back. Again nothing… we called back again, waited on hold about 1.5 hours then was told over and over again that they were sorry , but there was nothing they could do.

There was no one that could help me get my money back. Because I had agreed to take a voucher then I could not get my money. I find the entire refund policy unacceptable. I will not be paying Airbnb ever again to stay at one of their properties. I will make sure everyone I know also hears the same story. Shame on Airbnb for stealing some people’s money. How dare they accept stimulus loan money.

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Complete Disbelief Over Airbnb’s Reaction to COVID-19

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I am requesting to speak with personnel in Airbnb upper management concerning the situation that involves my first Airbnb experience and stay. Our booking and travel dates were April 27 through April 30. I believe the situation is deserving of a full refund and or an upgraded trip for the length of our original stay.

We are outraged that Airbnb allows properties to conduct business and continue to allow the public access to environments like the one we encountered, especially during the worst pandemic the world has ever seen. Our documentation will show and support our claims of the unsanitized, unattended and false advertising of this particular property. I will provide the timelines and the supporting documents backing our claim.

My family and I have been inconvenienced and put at risk by the direct result of Airbnb’s untimely and insufficient customer support resources along with the unprofessional, irresponsible attitude and commitment level of our host. Not only did he fail to communicate on a timely basis, he allowed another reservation to show up with the same exact issues; even worse, without ever having a cleaning crew show up. That is a total of three different guest reservations that entered the property without it being professionally cleaned.

According to the guidelines stated in Airbnb’s refund policy — having verbal confirmation of the first CSR we spoke to — are valid and we followed proper steps to ensure full and detailed investigation by staff to validate our request. Due to our inexperience and unfamiliarity with Airbnb and the mobile app we acted as anybody would have in the event that technical difficulties prevented us from gaining access to our account allowing us to proceed accordingly and timely to any and all response from the Airbnb staff from the beginning of this complaint.

We find it very odd that for no reason we were unable to gain access once we reported and sent photos of property. We have had several reasons given to us for why we would not receive a full refund and have had valid and supporting information to disprove those to be invalid reasons. The latest one is that by the unintentional act of deactivating the account due to the fact we could not access it and we’re trying to troubleshoot the issue because the several calls to Airbnb were not productive and were unable to fix that issue.

We remain confused as to why after the cancellation on Airbnb account that we were not told of any of this conditions or cancellations or informed by any of the CSRs we spoke to or question as to why we were still on the property. We had no idea that the reservation was canceled by the accidental deactivation of our account. I have now spent numerous hours and pages upon pages of emails corresponding with customer care representative agents that are supposed to help. They’ve expedited and done all that they can with no avail.

We’ve received several emails sent from Airbnb stating that they are sorry that our experience was like this on our first reservation and travel stay using their company but yet their actions show the exact opposite.

The situation continued to get worse while on the second day of our reservation at 4:00 PM when another family showed up with six children with nowhere to go. Being put in an uncomfortable and stressful situation, I allowed the family to enter the property so that they would have some place to reside well we tried to work this situation out we contacted the host immediately with no response.

There are so many supporting factors as to why this is outrageous. Not only did the hosts not have a cleaning crew come prior to their arrival, but we were still there and he did the same thing to us during this COVID-19 pandemic. I cannot believe that Airbnb supports and allows individuals to host properties in to put their customers in jeopardy like this.

Another reason why we were told that we would not receive a refund was due to the fact that we did not qualify under the host cancellation policy at that time we are given this excuse we had no idea that the activity of the account was actually what induced the refund but we were told that it was because we cancelled it on our behalf. We did not; it was canceled on the company’s behalf.

We spent several hours on the phone with customer service agents after that. We were never told anything different. They were confused and did not know how the reservation was cancelled. They were putting it on us.

In the meantime on our side we were keeping our lines open doing what the CSR we first spoke to told us to do. Unable to gain access to our account after several different CSR’s attempted to fix this situation, we could not find the pertinent information we needed in a timely manner.

I would like to speak to Airbnb upper management on the phone. This email and messaging system is not sufficient and is not producing favorable results. The property is not as it is listed and the host did not communicate with us in professional manner.

My family and I deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. It seems that this company just wants to take advantage of its patrons, and put our safety and health at risk by taking the host and his blatant carelessness above our complaints and health.

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Airbnb not Paying Hosts, Even for Normal Reservations

In the last two months Airbnb raised $2 Billion to survive on the coronavirus outbreak. It seems they are running out of cash. I have a group with several Airbnb hosts who are reporting the same problem: Airbnb is not paying the guests’ reservations to the hosts. The guests are paying, but the hosts are not receiving this money, because Airbnb is holding the money without a reason.

Their customer service is evasive, and they can’t explain why the payments are not being made. After ten days and several phone calls and DM’s, they said the problem was “with my bank”, but they refuse to give the transaction ID to the bank. I called my bank and Airbnb hasn’t sent anything there.

It’s a unfair lie. It’s a scandal. They used exactly this same narrative in 2015, as this Forbes article explains. This is a police case. They are running out of cash and holding the hosts’ money hostage. I know several hosts who are facing the same situation, and would like to collect more stories to publish an article to explain this cash flow scandal.

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Sour from Airbnb Cancellation Gone Wrong

I have been online and on the phone with Airbnb all day. I cancelled a cottage I rent every summer at the same time I annually attend a workshop at a college. The college cancelled all workshops last Friday. I canceled my Airbnb on Saturday.

My agreement stated I could have a full refund by June 28: “After 3:00 PM July 7, full refund minus service fee.” So 80 days out from July 7, Airbnb is keeping a service fee of $97.78 for what the case manager basically said, tough luck. That’s the the agreement I made when I hit the ‘reserve’ last July 2019. Greedy.

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Airbnb Asks for Proof Pandemic is Real

My two-week trip to the UK with my family had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The country is in lockdown so domestic travel is prohibited, restaurants and tourist sites are closed, my return flight was cancelled by the airline, hotels I had booked are closed, and my own country (Canada) would require a 14-day quarantine if I did make it home. So it was pretty obvious that the trip couldn’t happen.

Airbnb is refusing my request for refunds for two bookings that were part of the trip, allegedly because I don’t qualify under their Extenuating Circumstances policy, although I clearly do qualify under any rational reading of the policy.

Initially, they asked for ‘proof’ that the trip had to be cancelled in spite of virtually everything mentioned above being all over the press and in various government announcements. Within about 24 hours after making that demand, while I was considering how to respond to it, I received another email advising me that my claim was closed, presumably because I hadn’t responded in time (although no time limit was specified and 24 hours is ridiculously short). When I complained, I was told that the decision was ‘final’. I’ve rarely seen such heavy-handed, arrogant treatment.

Adding insult to injury, Airbnb directly lied to me the first time they denied my refund request, claiming that it was actually the hosts who denied the request. I contacted one of the hosts directly and was told that they had nothing whatsoever to do with the decision and they fully expected that I would receive a refund from Airbnb.

I learned at that time that it is Airbnb that holds reservation deposits and not hosts, so hosts actually have nothing to refund. It is completely disingenuous to blame hosts for Airbnb’s decision, undoubtedly motivated by greed. That they are doing this during a major global health and economic crisis is truly reprehensible. They are pretending to have a sensible, fair, customer-friendly policy to deal with current conditions but this is just smoke-and-mirrors. They just want to keep the money.

That will prove to be a very short-sighted decision for them. I have been a regular Airbnb customer and am in my prime travel years. They are not the only private rental platform out there. What a disgraceful company.

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Partial Refund for Traveler from Korea

I booked a stay, paid the deposit, and everything was fine, and then… COVID-19. Our stay was from May 7 until May 9. My husband is stationed in Korea. He was coming home to see our son graduate. The government stopped travel from March 16 until May 11. I cancelled our reservations.

They sent us a $50 refund out of a $160 deposit. I have been going back and forth with customer service for a week. I’ve sent them the document showing that travel was cancelled and that isn’t formal enough for them. They won’t budge.

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Dance Around Extenuating Circumstances Refund

I made a reservation on Jan. 15 for a stay in Kent April 25-May 9. My international flight from the U.S. to the U.K. was booked for April 1. All hell broke loose in March with COVID-19. With a travel ban, cancelled flights and looming domestic restrictions, I cancelled my Airbnb.

I was told I would get a partial refund, basically my first payment minus the reservation fee. Then I was told I would get the service fee back as a coupon, with many restrictions. I tried to print a copy of my refund amount; it stated zero. My host said I should be getting a refund from Airbnb. They said I need to get it from my host.

The extenuating circumstances policy for COVID-19 dated March 30 states reservations made before March 14 with a check-in date before May 31 are covered. Contacting Airbnb again, I was told it doesn’t apply to my booking as it was cancelled before March 30, despite my reminding them my flight was cancelled and no one could travel anywhere.

Are you confused yet? I have an English degree yet this has me frazzled. If my host cannot come through with a decent refund, then my next step is to try my credit card company and my travel insurance but this should not be necessary. Neither should my host have to carry this burden. I will not be risking Airbnb again.

No Response After Long-Term Guest Cancelled

My guest cancelled her one-year reservation on Feb. 26 after staying just one month, sent an email, and was gone the next day. I’ve contacted Airbnb and they promised to contact my guest.

Since then I haven’t received any messages from Airbnb. I did call twice myself (since I live abroad, it’s an expensive phone call) and got the same message: “We will contact the team involved and they will be back with you asap.”

I also wrote three emails asking about any kind of update. So far I haven’t received anything. I put my apartment on hold at Airbnb, and told them in an email that I would have a look at Booking.com. Now thanks to the coronavirus madness everything is on hold anyway, but boy I am disappointed about the attitude of Airbnb.

Disappointed with Airbnb During COVID-19 Response

I’m very disappointed with Airbnb. As a result of the coronavirus, I was forced to cancel my reservation as everyone is in lockdown. To cancel my reservation using the coronavirus selection for canceling, two choices were provided to me: to have half of the money I already paid for the reservations credited to my credit card; or take a credit for Airbnb with tons of rules to use the Airbnb property another time.

This is unacceptable as they suffer no hardship for the current environment — only the host and guests pay the price. At worse, they should have at least provided me with half of the money back to my credit card and credit for the other half for the next stay using Airbnb.

It is impossible to speak with customer service and their online materials are so confusing and in no way help you to understand the enormous amount of rules and inflexibility. They barely had my business, but no more.

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.