Airbnb Asked Me to Cancel Non-refundable Booking

I booked an apartment for a week in London through Airbnb: $2,800 non-refundable because I knew I had to be there that week under any circumstances. About eight hours later, the host messaged me asking for my phone number and clarifying that the listing was for private rooms in a shared space and not an entire apartment. Then he called me explaining in detail how to cancel and request a refund via resolution center. He refused to cancel on his end because of the penalties.

I contacted Airbnb support instead of cancelling (I am not that dumb) to resolve this. They verified that canceling was the only way for me to request refund. So I cancelled even with the text ‘$0 refund’ staring at me (I am that dumb). Now I have no reservation, no refund, and can’t leave a public review against the host since I have no reservation. I am down $2,800 within eight hours — not sure about my mistake or a listing created for a scam. The host has 14 listings running in parallel for the exact same room… how many rooms does this house have?

This was his first message to me to after about eight hours:

1. You booked two private bedrooms in a shared apartment with strangers you do not know (other guests/ my co-host/ family/ friends ). There is no private entrance to the listing.

2. You will share the bathroom and other common areas with others, not from your group.

3. Shared kitchen/living area/balcony are only accessible during daytime, as written in “other things to note” and are occupied by the host.

I want to make sure you are 100% satisfied with my service, even if you change your mind about this reservation, so please tell me if you have any questions.

From Free to Strict Cancellation Policy Before Stay

I live in London and I needed to book a house for my family in the same borough. My family was supposed to come here for my wedding. I found one house for them on Airbnb last October. I booked it accordingly with the cancellation policy, which reported a total refund if you cancel by 15 days before the check in date. This was perfect for me as I wouldn’t have booked a house with a strict cancellation policy in October for May given these strange times, the COVID issues related to many aspects of life and travels, as well as the age of my parents.

I even put this deadline in my agenda to remember it and not risk losing my deposit. Moreover, I remember a strange fact: I wrote to the host because when I was trying to pay to book it, the system was stuck. After a few minutes, it worked normally again. Unfortunately, my family cannot come in May as the situation with COVID is still risky and they are older people. In any case, I did not need to explain the reason to cancel the house as I was supposed to be on time to get back the whole deposit.

On March 2 when I was cancelling my reservation, I noticed a different cancellation policy in the house page on Airbnb. This ‘new’ policy said that you can have the whole deposit back only if you cancel 48 hours after the reservation. Or you could have 50% back by May 3.

I immediately wrote to both the host and the Airbnb Help Center. The host was upset, writing me back that she didn’t have my money that I had to ask Airbnb for it. The Airbnb Help Center asked for my money back from the host but she declined it. So, again, no money back for me.

Airbnb said that the booking confirmation email in my inbox reflected the correct policy. I noticed that it showed the ‘changed’ policy, not the one that caused me to book the house. It’s my fault for not having checked it properly when I received it but I was sure that it was alright. If I saw it, I would have cancelled immediately.

I also tried to get back at least 50% of my deposit, asking for it from the host. She declined, saying “I understand your frustration but it’s policy.”

Given the circumstances, this was gratuitously unfair. For this reason, I have been asking Airbnb to send me some evidence that shows what happened while I was booking, if it is possible that the host changed this policy while I was booking. My belief is based on what happened when I wanted to pay to book the house. The system was stuck for a few minutes. Is there anyone here that had this kind of experience?

Booking Cancelled Suddenly Without Any Reason

I booked an apartment in London in mid September. According to Airbnb, the host was new; she joined Airbnb recently, and the platform showed that she replied to messages in an hour. We liked her apartment so we wanted to give it a try.

As instant booking was available, we booked her apartment and told her the time we would come to London. Unfortunately, we waited for a week and she did not reply. We sent her another message asking for her confirmation. Again, there was no reply from her.

Then, we started to contact Airbnb support and finally they were able to contact her. She explained to us that her mobile was not working so she was not able to reply to us. More importantly, she confirmed that her apartment would be available and would give us more information tomorrow.

However, again, we have waited for another week and we received no information from her. When we almost wanted to send her another message and ask Airbnb for help again, I suddenly saw a message in my mailbox from PayPal that I received a refund from Airbnb. However, there was no other formal notifications from her or Airbnb telling me that my booking has been cancelled and explaining why.

I had to log in to my Airbnb account, check my booking and see a message that my booking has been cancelled. I feel like I am serving Airbnb but paying them a service fee at the same time. I took responsibility for confirming with the host that the apartment would be ready and I spent a lot of time checking and sending her messages to ask for her replies.

Eventually, my booking was cancelled without any reason and formal notification and I was forced to look for another apartment myself. Many apartments are not available anymore or became much more expensive.

Stay at Airbnb Once, Shame on You. Twice, Shame on Me.

I booked a room in London for myself and my boyfriend for one night because we were going to look at a gallery or museum and I also had an appointment. I paid online and turned up in Pimlico where we were meant to stay. I rang the host and then rang a few times after but there was no reply at all.

We walked a long way; my partner has a very painful knee and I had an injury. We walked to a block of flats and not only was it a long walk from the tube but also a long walk inside an estate that looked the same for hundreds of blocks. No map in sight. We walked and asked, asked and walked, and a woman we met who lived there was even a bit outraged on our behalf.

I tried to ring Airbnb many times but there was a wait and also in some parts of London there was no signal. Hours went by and it was very hot weather. We had to buy a cold drink and snack in a cafe and still had no room for the night.

Airbnb was very unhelpful and suggested I pay for another room. I protested that I did not have the funds for that but that also there was no signal at times for the phone (not the internet, which I have data for ). The very relaxed rep did not seem able to get any contact from the host I had paid.

After walking round the estate for a long time we realised we would have to find another room for the night and we had to stay due to an appointment I had. After many calls with Airbnb, in which I tried to get a refund, I managed to get them to agree to give me enough to get another room, but it was nearly evening by then.

We found a room that seemed nice online and went there. It looked okay, a bit scruffy for the price, but the bed looked clean enough. We went out for the evening nearby and slept there. The next morning there was no breakfast which had been advertised as part of the price nor was there any light in the bathroom then or the night before. This made things difficult of course.

The woman who owned the flat was okay but did not bother with us at all: really and clearly just wanted the money. Her boyfriend was not clothed in the sitting room where they were sleeping. I did not write a review of the awful experiences on Airbnb because I forgot. I wish I had.

The second host had the cheek to message me on the site and tell me I was lucky to have gotten a room and that I should be grateful. I was disgusted with the whole process but was given a voucher for a few pounds to put towards another room. I know some people have great experiences, e.g. my daughter abroad somewhere, but if this is the standard in London… what a rip off.

I am trying to book a room with my voucher now but have found out that guests need to verify their identity nowadays on the site by sending a copy of an official document such as passport or driving license to the host using a link that has not worked for me. Customer service has rung me back twice to try to help but the woman on the phone was laughing at what I told her.

It’s not inspiring but hopefully I can get somewhere better this time (if I can work out how to send the document and I need to send a ‘selfie’. A nice little – I mean big – earner for some hosts who just provide a bed or mattress and not much else sometimes it seems. Good luck out there.

Creepy London Accommodation Above Indian Restaurant

I am basically a new user of Airbnb and beginning to have trust in their booking system. This is my fourth booking. I would like to bring to your attention what I experienced. I have no issue for Kuala Lumpur, Paris and Manchester. However, Airbnb in London was the nightmare which almost cost me my holiday.

It was a Europe and UK adventure which started in Paris. I stayed using Airbnb for five days (December 16-20). Continuing the journey to Manchester, I trusted Airbnb (December 20-22) then went down to London (December 22-29) via Airbnb too.

My nightmare started when I booked a place in Hammersmith (London). The whole family was moody when we checked into the Airbnb The place was old and gloomy: creaky floor panels, faulty locks, and lighting. The pots and utensils were dirty. Just imagine bringing a family to London and checking into this old creepy house. Even the backyard balcony made me shiver.

You may not understand the feeling until you have to experience it yourself. Even reaching Tesco was a big problem. We were hardly in the mood to eat at night after having to walk for 25 minutes to the nearest Tesco at Hammersmith Station on a cold winter night with young children. The description in the listing was deceiving.

As it was getting dark and everyone was moody and tired, we reluctantly stayed for the night. The following morning, we called Airbnb and relayed our concerns. We were answered by one of their case managers. We told her about our uncomfortable stay here in the apartment and that we were planning to move out and book another apartment.

She was helpful and I also told her about the next Airbnb host who didn’t respond. She tried calling but up until noon there was no reply. She managed to cancel the booking while we looked for another apartment.

We manage to secure a place in Shoreditch. She advised us to forward all the photos of the apartment in Hammersmith, which I left in the message section before she went on leave. We stayed at the place in Shoreditch from Decemeber 23-28. It was a nice duplex apartment near town.

When we came back home to Singapore, there was still no reply from Airbnb. She wrote that she would be on leave during the holidays. When we checked the Airbnb messages, the case was closed and resolved. To our dismay, there was no follow up from her.

We had to call the Airbnb team and explain the whole story again. We were guided on how we could click on the “Request Refund” option. We had to wait for the host to respond within 72 hours. The weekend passed, and the host did not respond.

We called into Airbnb and were guided to click on the “Involve Airbnb” option. It was too much hassle. After a frantic nightmare in London, we had to go through the process again. A case manager contacted us via email asking for details. It’s really frustrating having to attach photos again and again. After reviewing them, he claimed we were not entitled for a refund following the terms and conditions.

I guess he wasn’t tactful in addressing the case. If you put yourself in our shoes – staying in a foreign land where the house is not in a liveable condition; no lifts, faulty locks, dirty and old premises, and heating elements and lights not working – what would you do? Bearing in mind the mood of the holidays were all down because of this apartment?

We were not cancelling for fun. We paid for it; however, the apartment turned out otherwise. Airbnb should somehow provide exceptions for this kind of case. We are traveling with a family of five with young children. Safety, comfortability and convenience are definitely our top priority. Airbnb management should take this into consideration and carefully weigh the resolutions, not bluntly say ”no”.

Bear in mind we stayed straight from December 15-28 using Airbnb. We had no problems with our previous bookings before the exception with this property in Hammersmith. Airbnb should pay a site visit to understand more of what I meant. I recommend the listing be taken down until they fix up their filthy apartment. This doesn’t only tarnish the image of London on the whole but Airbnb as the agent to promote such homes.

On a personal note, I am beginning to trust Airbnb more since my last holiday went quite smoothly with the exception of London’s accommodation. This is just my sincere feedback as I do not wish to see other travelers share the same fate as me.

Airbnb Host Cancelled the Booking on the Day we Arrived

An Airbnb host whose house is located in Notting Hill, London canceled our booking (four nights) on the day we arrived, and it was after the check-in time. There was no message or phone call from him, so I called and tried to figured out why he did this to us. On the phone I was told his place was “mess” at that time, “not safe” to stay, and most importantly, “the policemen were at his place”.

He didn’t say sorry or apologize to us; we think he didn’t feel sorry at all, as I could sense that he was in a good mood by the way he talked on the phone. We didn’t want to rebook any Airbnb, as we didn’t see any good Airbnb on that day, the “good” ones were all pre-booked a couple weeks ago; we didn’t want to get cancelled again on the same day.

We decided to stay in a hotel. A US Airbnb staff member said she would reimburse us the price differences between this Airbnb in Notting Hill, London and the hotel. She needed us to send her the receipts. After I sent the receipts, this staff member disappeared until five days later I called Airbnb China and they had her reply to me promptly. Then she disappeared again. This reimbursement process seems to take forever.

Let me talk about the sneaky host. Since he mentioned there were policemen at his place and it was damaged, he should have had a Crime Reference Number from the policemen. If he had no Crime Reference Number, then he was lying about the policemen. We demanded to know the Crime Reference Number several times, but the Airbnb staff member just ignored our request.

Our Airbnb host should have had a planning permit. He has used his place on Airbnb between 60 and 90 days, which can be seen from his calendar and reviews. We didn’t know how seriously this would be until several days later we called the police about a stolen wallet and were asked for our address. We were staying in another Airbnb we booked months ago but luckily I think that Airbnb got a planning permit. The police were really checking that Airbnb. I couldn’t imagine that one was illegal. We asked the US Airbnb staff member for the host’s Airbnb planning permit; she ignored this too.

You know if a host cancels a booking before the check-in time, there will be a negative review about the cancellation, which can’t be removed. He canceled the booking after that, so there was no irremovable review about his behavior. On his page, he is still a Superhost with 5-star reviews, while he can cancel bookings hundreds of thousands of times as long as he does them with just the right timing.

Just for your reference, hotel prices, like Holiday Inn Express in the centre of Zone 1 in London, are around 600 USD per night, five times that of this Airbnb; even if you are willing to pay, most of the nice hotels are sold out. Thanks to this host, we had to stay one night at a hostel in a disgusting basement as rooms in Holiday Inn Express and IBIS were all sold out. That hostel ranked 7.5 on, around 150 USD per night. It was still better that this Airbnb, as the host didn’t even care if we slept on the street.

Super Entitled Host Convinces Guests to Leave

My wife and I booked a place for a week plus that was described as “usually booked” (probably a trick of the website). The place looked great in the photos, in Islington, London. When we arrived, the place was hotter than Hades, not aired out, and not well cleaned (even though of course we had paid for cleaning). There were two rolls of toilet paper for a week but it gets worse.

The couches in the living room were lumpy and basically unusable; one reason we booked the place was it had advertised a washer/dryer behind a door which was locked. Although the agent kept insisting the door could not lock, after we went back and forth a couple times, she sent someone over to check – guess what? It was locked. So one of the main reasons for booking was gone. The agent did offer to let us have cleaning at a dry cleaners’ done for free.

On the second to last night we were there the owner tried to have the agent make us to be there at a certain time to let a gardener in before other guests arrived the following weekend. We said no. Finally, having been totally fed up I asked for one night’s rental back as a refund which we received. The host was either new, uncaring or both.

Host Cancelled Less than 24 Hours Before Arrival

Our host cancelled on us less than 24 hours before we were due to stay. This left us with no accommodation in London and our travel was all booked to North of London. It was difficult getting in touch with Airbnb and once I finally got through a person, he was just reading from a script and only offered £27 to help us which I felt was completely unacceptable. They showed us five alternative properties and four were so far south of London they were unacceptable. The final one we tried to get but were rejected due to it being so last minute. After we got rejected, we tried to contact Airbnb again. We got no reply until the next day, which was too late as we were traveling. We had to book alternate and much more expensive accommodation through another website and have been offered no other apology or compensation. The host has removed the property from Airbnb.

Last Minute Cancellation, No Response From Airbnb

Our first ever Airbnb booking was cancelled this morning, two days before we were due to land in London. Airbnb sent a text message saying they had emailed us with an offer of 10% off an alternative booking. No such email arrived. I called them; they said a Case Manager would call me to assist. I called back again two hours later and there was no Case Manager to speak to. I was told a refund could take more than two weeks.

When I made this booking, had I cancelled it even an hour after having made it, I would have been charged 50% of the fee I paid but there is no meaningful compensation for the host having cancelled at the last minute. I have now had to book a hotel in London, costing a lot more, and Airbnb cannot even be bothered speaking to me about what is literally a breach of contract. I have other bookings with Airbnb for this trip throughout Europe and now don’t know whether we will even have accommodation when we get there. This is thoroughly unprofessional, skewed in the hosts’ favour and I will never, ever use Airbnb again.

Stranded With Young Children At Night In London

I booked a three-bedroom flat in Limehouse Basin on Airbnb about two months in advance of the stay. We were taking the three children to London as their Christmas present to visit Hamleys and do some sightseeing. We were in the taxi on our way to the flat when host suddenly cancelled the booking without warning, claiming the place had been ‘trashed’ by the previous guests. Amazingly this was only discovered at 4:00 in the afternoon. Airbnb did nothing whatsoever to help; they left me on hold for 15 minutes with a fast draining battery and wouldn’t answer messages or ring me back. You can imagine how we felt being stranded in central London, with three children under ten and the best Airbnb could do was offer an extra £30 and a link to the app. Be very very wary booking with Airbnb – their support and help has been non existent. I also discovered I couldn’t leave a review for the host (she has ten properties listed on Airbnb) to warn others.