I was living in the UAE and made a purchase for an Airbnb in Australia, as I was moving there for one year. Before I left the UAE, I closed my bank account.
A few days before we were meant to check into our Airbnb in Australia, the building caught on fire. Since this was out of everyone’s hands, the host agreed to give us a refund. I told Airbnb that my bank account in the UAE was closed, and asked if they could instead refund it to my current bank account in Australia.
They said as per their policy, the refund had to go back to the original card that made the purchase. They told me not to worry, as if my account was closed, the money would bounce back to them. Seeing as I had no choice in the matter, I reluctantly agreed.
I waited for one month to see if the refund would be bounced back to them, and upon following up twice Airbnb told me the refund was successfully processed. This couldn’t be possible.
I made multiple long distance calls to my bank in the UAE who confirmed my account was already closed and this was not possible. When an account is closed, it’s impossible any money would enter the account. I relayed this to Airbnb who then told me that it was actually Visa who had my refund. I was confused, but contacted them anyway.
Visa told me they only deal with lost or stolen cards and had no idea what I was on about. Again I went back to Airbnb, and they gave me a ‘payment code’. They said this code would only be generated if the refund was processed and that any bank in the world would be able to use this code to locate my refund.
After more international calls to my UAE bank, they said that this code was useless to them, particularly because I have no account. After more back and forth, Airbnb then told me the refund was actually with PayPal. Again I was confused because I’ve never even used my PayPal, and why was Airbnb giving me so many different answers as to where my refund has gone?
Just to be sure, I contacted PayPal, and gave them the payment code. They told me there has been no activity on my account and no refund received. I went back to Airbnb, who now said it was actually in my bank account and if my UAE bank doesn’t have it, they will need a letter issued from my bank that declares that they are not in possession of the money.
I called my UAE bank again, and they said they don’t issue such requests but I can get some documents to help but would need to come in person to get them. Airbnb at this point just said basically sorry that they couldn’t help me.
I waited an entire year before coming back to the UAE and it was the first thing I did. It was just my luck the coronavirus has started, the phone lines were down, and banks were temporarily closed. So again, I waited.
My bank then told me I needed to request an MT letter or swift from Airbnb which is basically a letter or any kind of proof that this refund was in fact sent to my bank. Airbnb support said they didn’t have access to such information and don’t provide this. Instead they referred me to their help center page where I could request my data.
How is this relevant? Why can’t I get any kind of proof that this refund was sent to my bank, under my name? It’s ridiculous. An MT or swift is an internationally recognized request. It’s also fishy that they said they don’t have access to this. How do you have no record?
I have been to my bank again and raised hell, where I paid to receive my bank statement from the last year as well as a proof of account closure letter. The bank would have a record of any kind of refund even being attempted to go into my closed account and they showed me there was no record or proof the refund was sent to my account.
This is a good sum of money and these are hard times. I’ve gotten absolutely no help from Airbnb other than three different answers as to where my refund is, and “Sorry, we don’t have access to that information.”
I have been robbed, and I am pissed. With the documentations I have as proof and over a year of conversations with Airbnb support via messages, I will be getting a lawyer if this is not resolved after the final and last phone call I am about to make to them as of tonight. Wish me luck guys.