Airbnb Keeping Money Despite Full Refund Promised

This text was also submitted to the Florida Attorney General and other sites. I made several Airbnb reservations for an extended trip, and made sure the cancellation policy for each allowed for a full refund up to 14 days ahead.

Then coronavirus struck, and as a senior citizen we decided to cancel. I have two complaints. The first is that despite very clear words on the reservation page and confirmation email that I would get a full refund, Airbnb is keeping their service fee. They provided a rule that only three are refundable per year, and my trip involved seven, so I would lose four service fees or about $210 of my $950.

My complaint is they practiced deceptive advertising: the reservation page said “full refund until September 1”, but users would have to click a link for full details, then from that page a second link with more information let someone find this rule in the “fine print”. An exception that overturns my ability to get the full refund promised on the checkout page should be clearly stated on the first page and as part of the checkout process, not requiring the user to click backup “info” links and searching through backup webpages.

The second and bigger issue is that I settled for losing these four service fees to get the bulk of my money back. I cancelled the reservations and have emails stating they are refunding me $740 of my $950, but after ten days I called and they said my refund failed with no explanation, and any attempts to resolve this have been not only unsuccessful, they will not even talk to me or reply to my messaging.

When I call, I can talk to their first-line clerk but they know nothing and cannot help. They say they “will elevate” the call but nobody ever gets back to me. When I message them, they ignore me and do not reply. Airbnb is deceptive and in my opinion criminally keeping my money but there is nothing I can do.

Airbnb Not Honoring Policy, Screwed out of $1017

I was not given the refund outlined by Airbnb’s COVID-19 Extenuating Circumstances Policy at the time of cancellation. When I cancelled, my host instructed me to go to Airbnb customer service.

I went round and round with my customer service agent for several weeks when he would take 24 hours between responses. He gave me three different excuses for not getting my rebate.

The first excuse was that the booking dates/location were outside of the policies in place at the time of the cancellation. This was not true since my reservation was made before March 14th and for March 17-20, well within the COVID-19 affected dates.

The second excuse was that the cancellation occurred before March 14th. However, Airbnb posted a note on my reservation saying this was in a COVID-19 affected area and they would honor a refund.

The third excuse was that they said they needed to see a message from me asking for a refund within 24 hours of canceling. I asked to have this policy shown to me but they refused to do so.

At this point, I think customer service was making up stuff to get rid of me. I paid $1836 for a reservation that was not fulfilled because of the virus shutdown. My host gave me a partial refund of $820 based on the standard cancelation policy set in place before the policy. I am owed $1017 from Airbnb.

Airbnb Travel During a Worldwide Pandemic

The Airbnb website says if your travel is before May 31 you are entitled to a full refund. However, when I tried to do my cancellation it charged me the cleaning fee. I have sent repeated messages to our host and she has not responded to what kind of documentation is required for a refund.

I would think that with a worldwide pandemic and stay at home orders everywhere that further documentation would not be necessary but I cannot get a response and I have not received any confirmation of the cancellation or the refund.

This booking was for 11 days in the UK so it is a lot of money I am out if they do not follow through. If they fail to refund, I am hoping the attorney general will take action to ensure we are not cheated out of this refund.

Can’t Stay at Airbnb if There’s Nowhere to Park

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I saw this website. I discovered it was impossible to stay at the “cottage” I reserved on Airbnb. I could not park anywhere for blocks (possibly miles) around. It turned out to be located in a very congested neighborhood where cars lined the streets on both sides.  I felt misled as to the listing.

The attached picture is not what I saw. It was inaccessible; the directions said to enter the “cottage” by going through the yard of a “different house” — the one that was facing the street. The driveway of this “other home ” had a sign posted that said “do not park”.

I was  a nervous wreck, as I contemplated what on earth I was going to do if I couldn’t even park my car. Impatient drivers behind me kept honking their horns. One car was able to barely squeeze his way between my car and the row of cars to his left. He leaned into my car and said, “Get out of the way!”

I had nowhere to go but forward. As soon as I was able, I called the “host”, who did not answer. So I left a voice message saying, “I can’t stay at your house if I can’t even park my car. I expressed that I didn’t know what to do. I never got a return phone call.

I went to the Airbnb message center and chose the red highlighted area that said “contact Airbnb”. In between each four-way street traffic stops I wrote my complaint.  It took several attempts at explaining why I wanted to cancel. The site didn’t like “because I had nowhere to park” and it didn’t like “because the ad was misleading”, so I entered “because I don’t feel safe”.

Apparently it is some sort of preset answer/question format that has to see a certain reason as being acceptable before it comes back with the response I was looking for. Finally the response came back as “you will receive a full refund”.

At that, I headed home, all the way from Queens, New York (where the coronavirus had practically become an overnight pandemic) to Conway, Arkansas. I had not slept in over 24 hours because the other reservations I had made through Airbnb had to be cancelled when I saw that it was in a very high crime area. At least that reservation was cancelled without a problem.

Well, I arrive home three days later. I booked motel stays along the way (did not want to bother with Airbnb anymore) and guess what? I got an email from Airbnb that I was not entitled to a refund because of my host’s policy.

Boy, was I mad. My husband was furious. He jumped down my throat about booking with that company instead of just getting a motel. I immediately tried to complain. But, for some reason, I don’t recall why — I could not get a person to talk to.  I had to write my complaint out and waited for a reply.

When someone did contact me, after explaining all of the reasons I cancelled, I was told I had no supporting facts: no pictures, no correspondence.

How am I going to get that question/answer form that is on their end only? How am I supposed to get a picture of that sign in their driveway which said “do not park”?

As of now, I am out $260. I know that is not a lot of money, especially in comparison to some of these other unfortunate victims. If I were rich, I would pursue this with an attorney just for the principle  of the matter. I have submitted a third request for the refund I was promised.

Partial Refund for Traveler from Korea

I booked a stay, paid the deposit, and everything was fine, and then… COVID-19. Our stay was from May 7 until May 9. My husband is stationed in Korea. He was coming home to see our son graduate. The government stopped travel from March 16 until May 11. I cancelled our reservations.

They sent us a $50 refund out of a $160 deposit. I have been going back and forth with customer service for a week. I’ve sent them the document showing that travel was cancelled and that isn’t formal enough for them. They won’t budge.

Airbnb is Scamming Hosts During this Crisis

I’ve been a host with Airbnb for about seven or eight years. We’ve had our differences but nothing too bad. Mainly, after the first couple of years, getting help from them for a situation was difficult, then they got better, but really, it was for minor things.

I’ve been a Superhost now for a couple of years so I take my role as host very seriously. Well, I had a guest that I was in communication with the whole time and she had to cancel at the last minute because of travel restrictions back in March due to the virus.

As per my cancellation policy (100% if a week, 50% if less than that), I received half of my expected fee and she got her half. Just last week, we get this email with great fanfare from the CEO about how they were putting five million dollars into helping the Airbnb community. I thought that was nice.

I have one guest who is here because he’s working on a job for an essential industry. When I received my payment, Airbnb had deducted my 50% from the cancelled guest and had returned the entire fee to the guest.

I don’t object to that given all the money Airbnb has but to take it from me, who is a small business person who relies on this income and works hard for it  — in Massachusetts we register as small businesses and pay business taxes — seems very unfair, especially because they are giving a false narrative about how they are taking care of the whole “Airbnb” community. Three hundred and fifty dollars is nothing to a corporation like theirs. They should be able to take care of the guest and me.

Australian COVID-19 Refund Roundabout

We cancelled an Airbnb booking two weeks into a one-month booking, due to increasingly urgent travel advisories from our (Australian) government. We advised Airbnb twice by email that we were checking out: once on the day before we checked out, and once on the day of checkout. Not good enough apparently.

A week after our return to Australia, and after having repeated Groundhog Day experiences with website requests for a refund, we noted that our booking was still active. It was then that we found the ‘cancel’ procedure on the website. Airbnb said ‘no refund’ because of the host’s refund policy. The host said he couldn’t cancel a booking because of Airbnb’s policy. We believe him.

Trying to move beyond this point on the Airbnb website is an exercise in futility. There is no avenue for engaging in effective communication. We eventually negotiated a refund with our host for 50% of the unused period of our booking.

We accept that Airbnb has had to respond to a global pandemic. Their response seems to be focused on their financial immunity from the pandemic, and not on their guests.

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Airbnb Host from Hell During Pandemic

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We booked through Airbnb for an event in DC that was supposed to happen the weekend of April 16-19. Well, the event was cancelled due to the global pandemic.

Airbnb instituted a policy in which they would provide a full refund to anyone with a check-in date on or before April 14. Since our check-in date was two days after that, it was completely up to the host to approve our refund. She denied it.

We messaged constantly for days on end. She wanted us to put the money we had already given Airbnb for this reservation toward a reservation on another one of her properties that was smaller, had fewer beds, and less space… but cost the same. We of course did not want to do that for the obvious reasons, but also because we were no longer traveling to the area in the near future.

After several phone calls with Airbnb, and several unanswered messages to them, we were told we had to submit documentation that the United States government had warned against travel during our travel dates. When I asked what that documentation had to be, I was told it had to come from, and I quote: “The government website.”

To which I replied, “There is no unitedstatesgovernment.com so you’re going to have to be more specific.” Of course there was no actual answer to that.

We are still in the middle of this battle, having provided documentation for an “extenuating circumstance” and are waiting to hear back if it has been approved. I am attaching a screenshot of the host’s profile so that you can avoid this heartless wench at all costs.

Boycott Airbnb After Coronavirus Response

I have several friends that were screwed over because Airbnb isn’t refunding deposits to people who can’t travel because of corona. This is some terrible corporate policy. I never use Airbnb because I think the whole concept is disgusting. Yes more disgusting than a motel.

But they are taking money from people who are already screwed because of the quarantine. They are not showing much solidarity with Americans who are all of us struggling. I have posted on Instagram and I hope we can encourage a boycott until they agree to refund peoples monies.

Airbnb Trip Around UK cut Short due to Virus

My husband and I booked an extensive trip around Devon and Cornwall, before COVID-19 meant that we found ourselves in lockdown. All other hotels we have booked with have refunded us 100% but because Airbnb have stated that they will only offer 100% refunds up to April 14th, we find ourselves in a tricky situation.

Do we wait to see if they update their policy to include the dates we have already paid for? If we cancel now, we are only entitled to a fraction of what we’ve paid… through no fault of our own. Obviously we will not be travelling unnecessarily. Understandably we are really cross right now.