Airbnb and Host Misrepresented Cancelation Policy — I Lost Over $2200

I appreciate this website as a voice to expose Airbnb’s dreadful behavior. At the end of my missive, I have two questions, and would appreciate any advise.

This last fall, my wife and I wanted to rent a house in Florida, while we considered buying a condo. Before booking, I wrote the Airbnb host and asked about the cancellation policy, as we didn’t want to lose our deposit if we ended up buying a condo. The host wrote: “Please check the cancellation policy for my listing on Airbnb for the exact details, but it’s basically you get a full refund if you cancel five days or more before your check in date.”

Before booking, I searched the Airbnb website for the cancellation policy and was directed to a page that said, “on Airbnb, hosts can choose which cancellation policies to offer to guests, and guests can review them before booking.” The web page even mentioned five days — I have a screenshot. I booked. We ended up buying a condo, and I immediately wrote the host and let her know we would not need the rental, and to please return the advanced deposit, since we were still 31 days from the check-in date. The host refused.

On appeal to Airbnb, they told me there is a clause in the terms and conditions that says for stays longer than 28 days (mine was planned for two months), the host does not set the cancellation policy, and they will not return my deposit. Classic bait and switch. Then the host lied and said “When you asked about my cancellation policy, I did not realize you were making a long-term reservation.”

The truth is I told the host my length of stay was two months, in the very first communication. Airbnb and the host both continued to keep the money, and refused to honor what was clearly promised. I have formally appealed to Airbnb management and they will not consider returning my money unless the host agrees. Dead end. I have complete records of all communications, receipts and screenshots.

I’d like to post a review of the host on Airbnb website to alert others, but Airbnb does not allow reviews unless you physically stayed at the rental. Does anyone know how to leave a review in my circumstances? I also plan to post on BBB. Any other suggestions for recourse?

Pointing out illegal Airbnb gets me kicked out

Earlier this month I rented a studio in Boca Raton, Florida. After numerous discussions about the unsatisfactory conditions of the rental, I was evicted at 9:30 at night from the property and Airbnb refunded the unused portion of the rental. A police office who was called to assure a quiet resolution to the dispute told me the short-term rentals in Boca Raton are illegal. Subsequently I filled a complaint with the Boca Raton department of zoning compliance, since the rental was illegal in that community. The department caused the owner to agree to no longer offer his house for short-term rentals.

The owner then sent me several threatening, vulgar, unspeakable texts. Coincidentally, after a very difficult exchange with an Airbnb associate, wherein my review was expunged because I said the rental was illegal, I cited the sections of the code that apply to short term rentals In Boca Raton. The associate said someone from management would get back to me; I have heard nothing in over two weeks.

Furthermore I filed a complaint with the Florida Better Business Bureau which is pending and I sent copy of my terrifying, embarrassing and traumatic experience to the Los Angeles Times. Clearly I am very disappointed and angry at the cavalier manner in which my problem has been handled by Airbnb. Please note I have complete documentation of all communications regarding this matter. Recently I read an article discussing Airbnb and its concerns with discriminatory practices and their desire to minimize any such incidents. In that vein seems to me that illegal rentals that violate public policy should be of equal concern.

Disney World Christmas Turned into Airbnb Hell

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My story doesn’t have any funny part at all. Actually it’s a disappointing and shocking one. This December my family and I decided to go on vacation to Orlando for Christmas because we thought it will be nice to go to Disney World for the holidays; we were looking for places to stay and I had heard about Airbnb before. This was not the first time we traveled; we have had the chance to do it often. In any case, we decided to make a reservation through Airbnb with Glasstone Vacations, from December 17th to the 28th, but the reservation was made from November 17th to the 28th. We made a mistake and we accept that, due to the excitement and everything I didn’t realize the month said November and not December. We didn’t realize that the dates were wrong until I got an automatic message the 28th asking me about my experience. You can imagine my surprise when I got that message because my reservation was meant to be from December 17th to the 28th.

As soon as I got that message I messaged the host and told her that my reservation was meant to be in December, not November. I got no reply, then I tried to call her. I called around five times and no one answered the phone, so I decided to call Airbnb. I kept calling Airbnb for at least an hour until someone finally picked up, but I didn’t get any solution. What I was told by my case manager was that he was gonna talk to the host to help me. This is the second week already and I still don’t have any solution, but it actually gets worst. The reservation was for 11 days at a house, the price of the house is more than 2500 dollars, and among my family there is a kid (my brother) and a pregnant woman (my sister). I needed to get this fixed because we had no place to stay. I was waiting for an answer about the money but no one was giving me a solution.

I kept calling Airbnb. Their answers so far have just been “we are sorry, we will contact you soon”, “wait for an answer”, “you have to wait for your case manager”, and a bunch of other excuses. I talked to my case manager on Monday (last week) and he told me he was going to be out of the office for two days. Of course I was supposed to get an answer by Wednesday, but I called Airbnb again and he was nowhere to be found. I don’t know if anyone has had the same issues with case managers but honestly he was no help. On Thursday I got an email from him saying that he will contact my host again. It had been four days, but I was trying to be patient and fix this so I agreed. I also talked to my host from Glasstone Vacations and she said that she needed to talk to the people from Airbnb.

The thing is that I still haven’t had an answer from Airbnb and it turns out that the host sent me a message saying: “We are just going to give you the cleaning service money back because you didn’t use the house, but the rest of the money you are not getting it back.” So you are telling me that you are just gonna take more than 2500 dollars from someone just like that! Without me using the house or anything? I was trying to find a solution that will work for both parties so I proposed that my host reschedule the visit; I didn’t want my money back, I just simply didn’t wanna lose all my money. I even told Airbnb and the host that if I have to pay a fee and don’t get 100% of my money back it’s ok, but I can’t just lose more than 2500 dollars. However, my host didn’t agree to any of this. She clearly wasn’t interested in trying to help me. Honestly, I feel like I’ve been robbed face to face.

I called Airbnb again and talked to a different person. I just keep explaining my case to every single person I talk to and I am not getting any real answer or help. Glasstone Vacations is definitely a horrible company to rent from and Airbnb is not helping at all either. I already asked for a different case manager but they look like they don’t care and just want the case to go cold. Well, I am not going to give up. I need my money back and I am telling my story so people don’t fall into this situation. I will never in my entire life recommend Glasstone Vacations and Airbnb. The first one just robbed me and the second one is no help at all. Glasstone Vacations said that “they already paid the owner.” Clearly they just don’t wanna give me my money back or provide any other option. They just care about their own benefits and that means to get money from someone who didn’t even stay at the house.