This is a very simple story like most of those you read. My host cancelled at the very last minute (while I was at airport on my way to Bali). She told me she did not have the accommodations after all, and offered an alternative which was much less suitable. So I ask her to cancel, thinking (like all standard hotels) that if the provider cancels then naturally all fees will be refunded. Not so in this case. No matter what I did, Airbnb takes a cut from their guests. So a host can cancel under any circumstances and it costs the guest. This is not professional at all.
So, when it works, Airbnb is great. I have had some cool stays through the site, but this experience has just been gouging: taking money wherever you can, trying to navigate their website and so-called resolution process. It is circular and guarantees you either fall over from boredom or fatigue trying to recover small amounts (in my case $150), which is probably half the intent. I realize now: they are more about making money than “providing great experiences”. The brand presents wonderfully but there is a dark side. Hopefully more will realize this: every time they book they take a chance that a host will cancel at the last minute (tolerable) but Airbnb wont refund your guest fee (intolerable and dodgy). Imagine charging a guest anything when they didn’t initiate the change.
This has been a hard lesson but a good one. Bye bye Airbnb! Comfortable in cyberspace and outside international law!