Cancellation for Employee Working on COVID-19 Response

Airbnb claims to be compassionate and supportive of people impacted by COVID-19 but my situation is quite the opposite. One of my staff was scheduled to attend the CSTE conference at the end of June in Seattle. However, she was pulled into the public health response to COVID-19 in our county.

We have been fighting with Airbnb for months about this and it’s still not resolved. All over $400+ dollars. Not only have there been numerous communications with Airbnb where they have refused to refund the money but my organization has also spent considerable time trying to resolve the situation. It’s spread like wildfire in our organization and we will no longer be using Airbnb for work and for personal travel.

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Airbnb Hung up When I Asked for a Refund

My daughter and her friend were going to go to Santorini and I paid for the reservation. We fit right into the COVID-19 extenuating circumstances policy with all of the dates. I tried to get a refund through AMEX because I could not get through to Airbnb in early April.

I tried again today but could not get through. I called this afternoon. I had tried through my daughter’s account to find the cancellation button but could not. There was a 45-minute wait. I asked the rep if should could refund the amount. She would not give me a simple yes/no answer.

I asked for a manager per this site. She said I had to be verified. Then she said I had to go through my daughter’s account. I told her I wanted a manager as I had paid for the trip. She said she would need to hangup on me. I again asked for a manager as I had the reservation number dates, etc. She hung up on me. That is not customer service.

I went back online and found the cancellation button. The only option was a refund on half or full travel credit. Never again. Airbnb is the worst. This is our second horror story.

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Disappointed Airbnb Guest in the Time of COVID

We booked our family holiday with a $4000 deposit. We talked to our host. Under his policy, he wouldn’t give us a refund or travel credit.

As our borders closed, we contacted Airbnb. We saw on the company’s social media on March 19 that guests would be compensated. After emails back and forth to Airbnb and phone calls we had no luck with my refund or travel credit.

We kept stating we booked in August 2019 and our travel was for May 11, 2020. We followed social media and websites stating this policy was extended until May 31. Again, we were asking where our deposit was. Airbnb staff said they would give our deposit to the host 24 hours after check in. I then questioned why are you going to do that? Airbnb seemed to be supporting the host.

However, now the host is telling us to cancel our booking. Why would the Airbnb contact centre not give us a manager to speak with? As I continue to read the wording of the COVID cancellation policy, it states guests will get a refund.

Again, I contacted Airbnb with no help except a customer representative stating that they would hold our deposit. Their system will be giving our money to the host and this is out of their control.

I am in tourism. I have worked with other booking channels and never had such a bad experience. As I said, we cancelled our booking as the host told us we would get our money back after the announcement of the COVID-19 policy that changed in regards to refunds. We canceled on March 20. Airbnb put out a statement for refunds on March 19.

I hope this reaches management. It seems that booking.com, Agoda, Expedia are not making money on guests. It was hard enough having to cancel flights and tours then have Airbnb not listen to you and say they’re following policy. Why would Airbnb make a social media announcement to the pubic about refunds but when it comes to getting a refund tell is a different story?

I work as a tourism ambassador in New Zealand and I know for sure my company will not be using Airbnb again.

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First and Last Time with Airbnb, Never Again

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Our family trip was scheduled for June 15-19, 2020 in Orlando. We live in Michigan, the third highest in deaths and sixth highest in COVID cases with the most aggressive stay-at-home order.

On April 26, I saw an announcement on the Airbnb website stating hosts could cancel all 2020 trips booked before March 15 and cancel by April 30. I confirmed with Airbnb that all 2020 trips canceled before April 30 could be cancelled with a full refund with no penalties to the guest and host. I have two confirmations of the conversation.

Again, I confirmed with Airbnb that no penalty would be charged to hosts and guests for a full refund. They told me to cancel with the host. The host said to submit the cancellation, and he would override the normal refund for a full refund. This was completed by the host, except the refund was missing $237.10.

I contacted Airbnb and it was more hellish than prior interactions. Long story short, despite confirmations to cancel without penalty and provide a full refund, Airbnb has refused to refund the difference for its operations.

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Airbnb Refuses to Give Refund due to COVID-19

I am a relatively new guest to Airbnb. I booked my second trip to Cape Town to give my family a holiday that they never could afford themselves. Excited, I made a booking on January 22 for a home from April 18-25. Some of my family members live in Ireland and South Africa. I live in Dubai.

Our borders and flights were already shut down in March due to COVID-19. I received an email March 14 from Airbnb stating I could cancel my holiday and receive a full refund. I then contacted my host via email on March 18 and requested a cancellation.

Not hearing anything from the host for four days, I got worried and cancelled my booking on the website on March 22, with the reason being COVID-19. Airbnb gave me a 40% refund and a lousy voucher.

I have been battling with Airbnb staff who have no authority and can’t help me with a full refund which I’m honestly entitled to. Case managers answering emails for Airbnb haven’t approved the Extenuating Circumstances Policy for my booking dates when my booking was cancelled.

This is total fraud and they would rather steal my money than just pay back a honest client. I also requested a refund with the resolution centre and directly with the host. It’s been days now and he has totally brushed me off. I am so disappointed with Airbnb to say the least.

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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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Airbnb Punishes COVID-19’s Most Vulnerable

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My mum booked the whole family a weekend away for May and paid half of the cost of the accommodation up front. On March 16, the UK Government announced that all over 70s and anyone with an underlying health condition should self-isolate due to COVID-19. This was quickly followed by a further announcement on March 20 for a full lockdown of the country.

As three of our party are considered part of the vulnerable group (my mum included), we decided to cancel our booking. We made it clear that this was a COVID-19 cancellation and the host stated that he understood our position. My mum received a notification on her account stating that she would receive a refund of £240. All good – we were happy because this is all we had paid so far so would be getting a full refund.

After we didn’t receive the funds my mum got in contact with Airbnb. It turned out that this £240 was a refund of the whole cost of accommodation and not what we had paid so far, in short, we would get nothing back. Of course we questioned this as we believed we qualified for a COVID-19 refund but apparently we cancelled ‘too early’ despite our reacting to government guidelines.

What’s worse is we could have applied for a refund under the Extenuating Circumstances policy but because our position wasn’t made clear for sometime, the 14-day appeal period had long since expired. Airbnb told us we would need to rely on our host to give us a refund, which he, of course, refused. Turns out he’s not so understanding after all.

We made this cancellation in good faith that we were covered under the COVID-19 policy (our date is included in it now) but because of the miscommunication and not only confusing but ever changing policies we are to lose our money. An example of Airbnb penalising those who fall in the vulnerable category but outside their policies. Shady to say the least.

Our host has now ghosted us as we tried to appeal to his better nature. Obviously we will be getting my friends and family on TripAdvisor to give him the review he deserves.

Getting Refund from Airbnb Employee like Talking to a Robot

I had to return from Cozumel because of a family illness on March 29. I had scheduled a week-long stay at an Airbnb on March 28. My hotel was closing. My stay was supposed to be from March 29 through April 5.

I contacted the host as soon as I reserved my flight back to the states. The host was very courteous. I explained that I would like to return as soon as Cozumel tourism resumes. Airbnb deleted all my contact information with my host so I’m unable to return to the unit I paid for nor will they refund my stay.

My last message from the customer service robot was I needed to contact the host… which is impossible since Airbnb has blocked any contact information. I’ve contacted my credit card company.

No Refund, First and Last Time with Airbnb

Unfortunately, this is my first and last time booking with Airbnb, due to terrible customer service and criminal practices against consumers. The fact that there is a website created to voice complaints says a lot about a company. I just wish I had seen this website prior to booking.

I booked my reservation on February 9, which met their March 14, 2020 “booked on or before” requirement. I paid my down payment. My check-in was April 10, checking out April 13.

On March 11, the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic and our trip was canceled. I canceled my reservation on March 12 on their website with my host. I was told then my host was covered and I would receive a partial refund. I clicked on the link to get my refund because something is better than nothing.

I never received my refund and when I followed up, I was told they decided my reservation does not meet the COVID-19 Extenuating Circumstances. When I called Airbnb they could not tell me the exact reason. The reasons kept changing, and they put me on hold most of the conversation.

The initial reason they gave was that I did not cancel with Airbnb. I told him I canceled on their website and when I pressed for him to show me where it is posted on their website that I need to contact someone other than the host and trip reservation on the Airbnb website he put me on hold for ten minutes, never giving me the location, just the COVID-19 Extenuating Circumstances.

Next I was told the host was paid out and declined my refund. I am reading the hosts are not getting paid and have a class action lawsuit against Airbnb, so I’m not sure I believe that. Finally I was told I waited too long to reach out to the Resolution Center about a refund, which was only two and a half weeks.

In summary, initially I was told due to my host’s cancellation policy I would get a refund. Then when I got back on the website after not receiving the refund, and tried to request the refund again. After no payment was sent again, I reached out to the Resolution Center. Since then several of my communications with my host were deleted and I was not allowed to request a refund any longer. Now I am given the run around with several fluff excuses that you cannot validate when asked for specifics. When I told Airbnb most companies during this unprecedented time are giving a monetary refund or equal voucher for another stay, they said nothing.

I realize the impact this has on businesses and Airbnb is doing everything they can to keep money in their pockets, but they are taking advantage of both guests and hosts. However, in the end, a business that takes a customer’s money for a service they don’t provide or offer anything in return is criminal. At this time, I will be happy to join a class-action lawsuit against Airbnb.

Airbnb Nightmare: Can’t Leave Australia for UK Airbnb

I am trying to get Airbnb to refund my $3000 deposit for a house booking in London for July 3, 2020. The last of my 50-odd attempts to contact Airbnb was through its support email. It bounced back: “We’re writing to let you know that the group you tried to contact (support) may not exist.”

I had my four children at home at Christmas and as a gift I booked a house in London through Airbnb in order to give all my family a well-earned holiday after years of hard University study. As I am 64 years old, when the WHO declared a pandemic, I got scared and cancelled the booking on March 20 thinking I would get my deposit refunded.

Apparently according to Airbnb, the coronavirus pandemic is not an extenuating circumstance and I should toddle off to London in July with all of my family. We may all die; however this apparently is not a problem. Dealing with Airbnb for a refund has been the most frustrating experience of my life .

The information below is the gist of my submissions to Airbnb:

I am having great difficulty phoning or contacting Airbnb. I am receiving zero support and zero resolution.

In a nutshell I booked and paid for an apartment in London in December 2019 for July 3-8, 2020. I recently cancelled the booking because of the extenuating circumstance that the Australian government has banned overseas travel and because of my age I will probably die if I contract coronavirus.

The host has written to me and declined to pay back my deposit. She is “deeply sorry”. However, my $3000 deposit should ease her sorrow particularly in view of the fact that it is money for nothing. I would like to know where my money is and when it is being transferred to the host.

Although we are not directly covered by the specific COVID-19 policy we are clearly covered by the general extenuating circumstances policy on the following grounds:

  1. Government-mandated obligations – there is an indefinite ban on Australians travelling abroad under the Biosecurity Act 2015 and my son and daughter are government employees who cannot travel under order of government directives. We face imprisonment and other penalties if we breach the Biosecurity Order.
  2. Travel restrictions – the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has the following specific advice for the UK “We now advise you to: do not travel to the United Kingdom.”
  3. Transportation disruptions – at this time it is impossible to secure travel to the United Kingdom that is reliable. There have been endless cancelations and rescheduling. There is not a reliable way to book travel to the UK at this time
  4. Epidemic disease or illness – the WHO declared a pandemic; the Olympics have been cancelled for the first time since WWII and children in the UK are saying goodbye to their parents via video link as they die. The policy at the time of our booking clearly states that an epidemic declared by a credible organisation is sufficient as an extenuating circumstance.

The booking was for a house in Kensington. We chose this so our entire family could attend. The purpose of this accommodation was for my family to have a holiday together after my daughter’s wedding in Scotland.

Included in our party to arrive was my son and daughter. He is a medical practitioner and junior House Officer at Cairns Base Hospital. He is employed by Queensland Health, a state government department in the pediatric department while she is a teacher employer by the Department of Education.

At the time of lodging this request for a refund, both of them have “indefinite” bans on international travel. According to a COVID-19 team brief he has received, he has been requested by the QLD government health authorities not to go on leave, while schoolteachers are also banned by the Department of Education.

Please note that although our travel was for July, Australians are legally banned from travelling abroad indefinitely at this time. The Prime Minister announced a ban on Australians travelling overseas under the Biosecurity Act 2015 and this is in addition to the standing advice to not travel overseas by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. This is effective indefinitely and our family risks imprisonment, fines and potentially quarantine on a remote island on our return.

This means that at this time we are legally prevented from travelling. The only logical way to read this policy is that if someone is banned from travelling to the country right now and indefinitely into the future they have an obligation not to travel and have an extenuating circumstance under this possible. Any alternative to this reading is not workable.

For example, if a person was not allowed to travel because they had been charged with a crime it is possible at some point in the future the charges may be dropped and the ban lifted. However ‘possibilities’ are besides the point. We are legally barred from travelling by the law right now. The Australian government has advised multiple times Australians should expect these measures to be in place for at least six months.

According to this news article, the following applies to international travel :

Thousands of Australians have been left stranded overseas as airlines cancel flights and countries across the globe shut their borders entirely in an effort to contain the spread of Covid-19. 

Australians caught by closed borders, airport shutdowns, cancelled flights or soaring ticket prices say they are trying to heed the government’s advice to return home for the duration of the pandemic, but can’t. 

At least 100 Australians are isolated in Peru after the government in Lima closed all borders and land crossings and stopped international flights in and out.

At this time it is impossible from any practical standpoint to book travel as international travel at this time is completely unreliable. This is further backed up by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade which advises:

If you’re in the United Kingdom and want to return to Australia, check your route carefully with your airline or travel agent as a number of key transit hubs, including the UAE (Dubai and Abu Dubai), Hong Kong and Singapore are suspending flights, including transits.

Please note that our claim clearly meets the epidemic disease or illness under the current policy. However, the policy as it existed at the time of our booking in January was much more clear. It is this policy that formed a part of our contract, in which valid circumstances include:

  • Urgent travel restrictions or severe security advisories issued after the time of booking, by an appropriate national or international authority (such as a government office or department)
  • Endemic disease declared by a credible national or international authority (such as the US Centres for Disease Control or the World Health Organization)

The Australian Government has now advised every Australian not to travel overseas in light of the Coronavirus Pandemic. The WHO has declared this a pandemic. This happened after we made our reservation. Under the clear policy in place at the time we booked we clearly meet this circumstance. There was not a special review policy at the time of our booking.

The current policy, Epidemic disease or illness that suddenly affects a region or an entire group of people. This doesn’t include existing diseases that are associated with an area—for example, malaria in Thailand or dengue fever in Hawaii is also clearly met by the current circumstances.

My wife and I are over 60 and this places us in the most vulnerable group for overseas travel. The American Centre for Disease Control CDC has advised people over 60 and those with underlying health conditions that make them more vulnerable to the coronavirus to stock up on supplies and avoid venturing out of their homes, except when necessary.

The Coronavirus Pandemic has made it impossible for my family to travel to London to take up accommodation in Kensington in July. I booked the house in order to give my family a well-earned holiday after years and years of hard University study.

My daughter (a state school teacher) was going to be married in Scotland and then we were travelling to London. The Queensland Government has now banned all State School Teachers from overseas travel. My son is a doctor and Queensland Health Department have banned him from overseas travel also. My youngest son was going to travel from Canada however he cannot get there as Canada has closed its borders. My eldest son is an Immigration Agent and Australia has now closed its borders and ended his business.

The Australian Prime Minister has made a statement listing new measures to protect Australians from Coronavirus. The Prime Minister says, “Australians should expect these measures to be in place for at least 6 months”. As of this writing there have been 472,529 cases and 21,305 deaths from Coronavirus.

Because of  the danger, the travel bans and all the listed extenuating circumstances I am asking Airbnb to reconsider the $0.00 AUD refund and have my full deposit returned.

We were really looking forward to this holiday and I realise that Airbnb’s business will be badly affected on a worldwide scale. We have used Airbnb many times and may look at a new booking at a later date when it is safe.