Non-payment of Cancellation Fee to Guests

A guest made a booking with our establishment on June 2nd, 2018. On June 27th, due to unforeseeable circumstances, I had to cancel the booking. I received the following message from Airbnb:

“You canceled ………… reservation ……… has been fully refunded. Learn more about host cancellation.”

On June 28th, I received an email from Airbnb pausing my listings as well as a message informing me that a penalty fee of $50 would be deducted from my next booking. So they acknowledged my cancellation.

On July 5th at around 15:00, the guest and her husband arrived at our premises. Apparently they had received no notification of the cancellation and furthermore had most certainly not been refunded as had been advised by Airbnb on June 27th. The guests double checked their banking records and reconfirmed that no refund had been made by Airbnb.

We tried to find them alternate accommodation in the area, but unfortunately could not find anything available that was decent and affordable at short notice. Since my tenant had to delay her occupation date from July 1st to July 8th due to handover issues at her work, I was thankfully in a position to accommodate the stranded couple.

What we are trying to establish from Airbnb is the following: will the guest be refunded as should have happened through Airbnb, and if so when, so that guest can pay me directly? I was still liable for a cancellation penalty of $50. Will Airbnb reinstate this booking so that I may expect payment from Airbnb today, since the guests checked in yesterday (penalty fees will obviously be waved)?

I find this entire debacle extremely frustrating as the guests were totally unaware of the cancellation and therefore stranded on arrival; from my side I did everything correctly in terms of cancelling the booking and I accepted that I would be liable for penalty costs, but my heart goes out to this couple who were totally left in the dark. Where is Airbnb’s commitment to guests and where is the follow through in terms of cancellations?

Surely refunds should be made immediately so that guests have the funds available to make an alternate booking? One would assume that the $50 penalty fee borne by the host would cover the extra admin involved in refunding the guest as well as covering commissions lost to Airbnb. I have tried to email Airbnb’s CEO, COO, Operations Manager as well as First Line Contact and all emails have bounced back as their server considers my email address to be spam. I most certainly do not have the time or financial resources to sit on a telephone for hours at international rates to sort this matter. The entire system is email based, so we can’t speak to a live body through emails where we will also obviously have a paper trail.

No Water in Bathroom Not Grounds for a Refund?

We arrived in Paris for a three-night stay at a “cozy, cute apartment with panoramic views” to find a cozy, cute apartment with a balcony. 15 degrees of the view did show Montmartre but the other 165 degrees was a perfect panorama of the adjacent apartment building, maybe 20 years away. Fine – we weren’t going to be spending much time in the apartment.

Exhausted and somewhat stinky from the overnight flight from the US east coast and battling the Parisian strikes affecting transportation in from De Gaulle airport, I was ready for a shower, to brush my teeth and take a quick nap. Mon Dieux! There was no water in the bathroom at all. The kitchen sink had water, but la toillette, shower, and sink, as well as the washing machine, lacked any water.

We turned a few knobs, my husband checked my work to make sure I had somehow failed to remember how to turn on water at the age of 63, and I contacted the delegated Airbnb host, since the official host was not available. I contacted him through the Airbnb website and then he reminded me that he preferred to use WhatsApp.

Problem #1: the Airbnb customer service person later informed me that because I used WhatsApp it was impossible to be absolutely sure I was communicating with the right person, despite the back and forth conversation over several hours, the ability to look up the phone number, the screenshots, and the Airbnb website communications.

The host asked for a photograph of the plumbing in the bedroom which we took on our iPhone and sent to him. He responded, “Voila – just turn the nozzle to the washing machine and all will be wonderful… not.”

I reminded him that that nozzle went to the washing machine, not the shower, toilet or sink and that we had tried several times. He assured me it would get fixed. Stinky and exhausted, we napped for a couple of hours, blissfully uninterrupted by any further attempts by the host to settle our problem. After our nap, I called, messenged, and sent him and the owner notes asking for a resolution.

About six hours after arriving, unable to go out because we were (stupidly) expecting someone to come to fix the problems, we decided to cancel and go elsewhere. I let the host know, secured alternative housing, and returned the key five blocks or so to the secure key drop (he was very good about sending me the key code so he wouldn’t have to come to pick it up elsewhere). The host even had the nerve to say that no other guests had ever had this problem, insinuating that perhaps this was our fault.

Since returning home, I’ve contacted the Airbnb customer service folks and as I saw written in the intro on the Airbnb Hell website, found them wanting. Several apparent problems: I should have communicated only on the website; I should have contacted Airbnb central; I need to prove that I didn’t have water.

Proving the absence of water is quite difficult, actually. I couldn’t get a response as to how I was supposed to do so. Apparently having no water in the bathroom is not a reason for looking for a different situation, nor is a complete lack of results by the host in improving the immediate situation and my assumption that the host would know the rules and use the website only (not WhatsApp) is incorrect and absolutely no protection even though it works well for the host.

The customer service agent has refunded me about half of the cost. I have asked him or her to provide me the contact information to make an appeal and he/she simply ignores that request in our communication. This has been incredibly frustrating and I am asking for a full refund. Until this time, I have had only good experiences with Airbnb and my thought is that this host may just have a bunch of hotels he rents out without any real attachment. He’s not a host; he’s a short term lender. Just a hunch.

Barcelona High Rise Not Accessible to Handicapped

I booked a room in Barcelona through Airbnb in February, but by the time I traveled in late May, I had developed back and leg problems (sciatica). A couple days before arriving, it occurred to me that I didn’t know whether I would need to climb steps or if there was an elevator.

I contacted the host, who was willing to be helpful, but he was on the third floor without an elevator. I was able to see the building from the outside and could determine I would not be able to climb the stairs, or if I got up there, I would not get back down. The host declined to refund me because I cancelled too late (which I get), and he was generous in offering the same reservation for a future time (I will not get to go back to Barcelona to claim the offer).

At the time of booking, my fee went from the posted $47.00 per night to $125.00 because there was a big music festival in town that weekend. I hoped he would be able to book guests in, but he chose not to open up to a new Airbnb booking. My total fee was $420.00. So far I have received a refund of $18.96.

I contacted Airbnb to request a full refund. I had a case worker who asked for a doctor’s letter by June 14th. On June 10th (I had not yet received the doctor’s letter) I got this email message:

“Thank you for providing me the details. Please feel free to contact us when you have the letter from the doctor and we’ll be happy to analyse it in order to help you. You don’t have a time frame to provide this documentation. However, I’m forced to close this consult for the time being. It will re-open once you provide the doctor’s letter. Keep in mind that the letter is the only way we can help you. Please contact us when you need to. We’ll be glad to help you.”

The next day I sent the doctor’s letter. My case worker had disappeared. All I got were automatic responses saying they received my request. I have complied. Since I have a medical reason for the cancellation, I expect Airbnb to honor my refund request or least to acknowledge and act on it now that the documentation is in place. I have used Airbnb other places and had good experiences. Of course, it just takes one bad meal to keep me out of a restaurant.

Refund of $7.55 for $450+ Airbnb Booking

Planning trips are my absolute favourite and I have loved using Airbnb to do it. At the beginning of May, I started planning a trip to Seattle for a weekend. I decided that I wanted to stay downtown even though it was pricey. I found a cute apartment and booked it.

A few days later reality kicked in and I realized that spending $450 a night wasn’t worth it, so I started looking for a cheaper alternative. Five days after my original booking I cancelled the reservation. However, this booking has a “strict (grace period)” cancellation policy, which apparently means you can only get a full refund if cancelled in 48 hours. On Airbnb’s website it says if the booking is cancelled within 48 hours or 14 days prior to check in you are eligible for a full refund.

A month went by. I checked my visa statement and realized that Airbnb hadn’t refunded me. I contacted them asking why I have only received $7.55 back instead of the full $459 paid. They said, “you only paid half of the full fee so you don’t get any money back because you are only eligible for 50% of the full amount”. This policy would make sense if the host couldn’t rebook the space in time, but she’s already got it rebooked.

Why am I spending $450 when she’s got new guests in the space? She has rejected my request for a partial refund of $309 and a full refund of $459 because “that’s her cancellation policy”. Airbnb has been a nightmare trying to get a hold of to request a refund and I am lost as to what to do. This was a splurge in my budget already and now I’ve wasted $459.

Airbnb Break-in after Few Hours… No Refund, No Review

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I organised a trip last year that I will surely remember. I’m getting married in September and I organised a hen-do in Barcelona with my Italian friends who were flying from Rome and Bologna. Lots and lots of preparation. A nice flat with a terrace to enjoy our precious (and rare) time together. What could possibly go wrong?

We were all so excited. The area was Hospitalet de Llobregat. Not central, but not that far from it; we just wanted to spend time together. From the beginning, we realised how dodgy that place was, and this was confirmed by many people we spoke to after the break-in, police included. Some taxis refused to take us there on Friday night, and the policemen said that in particular the street where we were was very dangerous, so extra care should have been taken when someone has to stay in that building. Were there any mentions from the host? None whatsoever.

After few hours after our arrival, we had a break-in in the flat as soon as we went for dinner. They stole iPad tablets and glasses. The terrace (i.e. the major selling point of the flat) was extremely exposed and not safe. We discovered the following day that it was easily accessible through other communal terraces and the police forensic expert confirmed that this is what happened for our break in. The window of the bedroom facing the terrace where the thieves entered was faulty; it was not possible to secure it properly.

This should have been sorted by the host before we entered the flat, given how dangerous the area was known to be and how accessible the terrace is. It is not possible that the owner did not know both of these things, and yet (again) there was no warning or thought given to our safety or the security of our valuables in the flat. We had to spend our Saturday (the only day we could have been together) dealing with Forensics and Police statements and searching for another place to stay for the night.

Airbnb completely refused to give us any compensation for the accident, not even of the items stolen. This was all host’s fault and it was very preventable. The holiday with my friends that we dreamed so much about it? That opportunity is gone forever and there will not be another time to do this. I kept phoning the complaint department who kept saying that they were re-opening the case, to then discover that the original department, Trust and Safety, kept closing it.

Did someone check into the flat after the break-in? They just “recommended” the host to repair the window. Trust and safety? A lot of trust for the reckless host and zero safety for me. The host begged me to not post any reviews and I was holding until the case was closed. Discovering what? That for a hidden policy you’re not allowed to write any review on the place you’ve visited after 14 days. This is not mentioned in any email they send you or on the website at all. It is buried in one of the forum posts. I felt I completely lost on every angle.

I was a great fan of Airbnb, but this completely changes my perspective. Security is not contemplated at all in any of the flats they list, and this is shocking. Something goes wrong and they don’t take any responsibility, they don’t refund you and you cannot even share the experience with the others. A total disgrace.

Airbnb Blocks Legitimate Negative Reviews

I’ve used Airbnb at least 15 times but never again. A host screwed me over (warning: do not stay here). I had never been to New Orleans and was so excited. Six of my girlfriends and I planned a fun weekend getaway. I booked us a house that was listed as “3 miles from French Quarter” on Airbnb and paid over $1000 upfront (included $130 cleaning fee, $113 service fee, and $45 in taxes). I was boarding the plane to NOLA when I got a phone call from two of the girls saying they aren’t staying at the house.

Their Uber driver said it’s a very dangerous part of town and is considered the projects. I Googled it later and found out it was the second largest housing project in the city. There were boarded up houses on the street (something I could not have known). When they arrived at the house, two men drinking from paper bags across the street started catcalling them and made them feel very uncomfortable.

There was only one other review posted before me and the guy said that the neighborhood was “worn down”. I didn’t want to base my stay on one review, but looking back I should have. I immediately contacted the owner and said we did not feel comfortable staying there and we would be staying somewhere else. I ended up paying a fortune for a hotel last minute.

Usually a hotel would make you pay for that first night and give you the rest of the money back. Nope… not this host. She wouldn’t even give me back the $130 cleaning fee. She blamed the boarded up houses on hurricane Katrina which happened 13 years ago. She also had Airbnb block me from leaving a review because I was never inside the house. My friends did not enter the house, just parked the car in the driveway and then left after being harassed. After two months of arguing with Airbnb’s customer support, they blocked me from messaging them and closed the case. I lost over a grand and was blocked from leaving an honest review. Save your time: don’t stay here or use Airbnb.

Family Vacation Ruined Over Airbnb Cockroaches

I had never stayed in an Airbnb before. My sister and I planned a trip to the Smoky Mountains together. She got a cabin through Airbnb and I stayed in a hotel in Pigeon Forge. We got to enjoy one family day together. The second night they were in their cabin they came in to find roaches everywhere. If they didn’t have young children sleeping they would have just left that night. They got up in the morning, packed everything up, and drove back home, which is an 8+ hour drive.

They only got refunded two of their nights and still got charged for cleaning. They were told that they use pest control but can’t control those this time of year; that is unacceptable. Now they are home and don’t even want to take their bags inside because they are afraid they brought them home. Their vacation was ruined and our family vacation was ruined. I will know to not use Airbnb if this is how problems like this are handled.

Unprocessed Refund from Cancelling Airbnb Host

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Around February, I booked a house for March 14th. On the day, I was informed by the host that the house was not available due to the radiator breaking down, which would need a few days to fix. So, I asked for a full refund because the house was the only one at which I really wanted to stay and other listed houses that the owner recommended as substitutes were not really fancy or worth the price that I paid for. I was not aware that the host has to process the cancellation if a guest wants to get a refund, which he did not process at all. After several weeks, I messaged him to check if he sent me the money back and he said: “Has it not been processed? Can you send me your bank details?”

After roughly one month from receiving this reply, I asked him again and then he said “Can you double check again?”

This was the last reply that I received. Since then, Intentionally or unintentionally, he is not answering my messages or phone calls. Is there any way that I can get a full refund with the proof that I have?

Worst Travel Experience Keeps Money in Airbnb’s Pockets

Worst travel experience so far with Airbnb . My host canceled my booking in Tel Aviv, yesterday, two days before my flight there. I had to call up three different support agents to be able to find someone willing to help me with the issue. They told me they would call other hosts to see what they could offer me instead. Note that flats that are available two days before the actual check-in date are obviously flats that nobody wants. I did not hear anything about them calling any hosts or finding any solution or compensation.

Last night at 1:00 AM I decided to book a place on Airbnb as it was only one day before my flight there. The place was booked and confirmed. This morning I received a message from the host telling me that I could only check in on the 1st of May. I paid for 19 nights. I booked a flat that I would never get in a normal instance, 30 minutes away from the center of Tel Aviv and the host tells me that I can’t check in on the 25th.

I had to call up Airbnb again. They canceled that stay and they “accidentally” refunded me instead of keeping the funds on the account, which will take “5-10 days” to clear out. I now don’t have any place to stay in Tel Aviv, lost two days trying to get in touch with support, lost a 360€ flight, and don’t have access to my 2600€ that I paid for the 19-night stay.

How Can I Get My Money Back from Airbnb?

I booked an Airbnb house in Bournemouth for the nights of May 4th – 7th because I have a course to attend, linked to how I earn my living. I made this booking on December 4th, 2017 and the amount of just over £68 was taken out of my account by Airbnb on December 6th. On April 23rd, I was contacted by my host to make sure that all was still on the go for the dates I had booked only to be told that she had taken herself off Airbnb and informed them accordingly, assuming that Airbnb would contact me with this information.

Well, they didn’t. She hasn’t received the money either… so I want my money back. However, there is no way this can be done on the site itself: each link takes me back to a page I have previously visited. Therefore, in my book, Airbnb has stolen £68 from me. That is neither ethical or acceptable. I have just sent an email to the CEO of Airbnb, requesting that he please refund my money to me since I am not in a monetary position to ‘lose’ £68 and definitely not in one now to pay for another Airbnb on such short notice in a place like Bournemouth.

I cannot believe that this type of practice is allowed. Airbnb, where has that £68 gone to, if not to the host? It’s certainly not been returned to me. I look forward to their reply to my queries. Morever, I am waiting for anyone to tell me how I can get my money back.