Strong Arm Robbery, Never Stepped Foot in Airbnb

I made an Airbnb reservation a couple days in advance in Oakland for a work-related stay that the host was aware of. I cancelled within the 48-hour timeframe due to a job termination. The stay was for Sept. 21 to Oct. 19 for $1281.27. I waited the 15-day grace period for my refund and it never arrived.

I wrote to the host inquiring where my refund was and she never responded. I never stepped foot in her home and she pocketed my $1281.27. I am a single mother with four kids that are still dependent on me. The Airbnb help center was of no help — they do not hold their hosts accountable.

I would never recommend Airbnb to friends or family; it’s been a terrible experience. Unfortunately common courtesy and hospitality are not in this host’s nature.

Airbnb Returns Payment 17 Days After Stay

Airbnb support wrote to me:

Good morning and thank you so much for patiently waiting regarding on this matter for that payout adjustment. I regret to inform you that it was certainly a reservation that is illegitimate and did not pass the verification process and for security purposes the guest was not able to contact you about it. Please understand that this was all about your safety too regarding on your property and because of that adjustment has been made and that payment was returned to that guest. We apologize for the inconvenience, I know that it makes you feel unfair on your part since it was a past reservation but there were also information on that case that were too sensitive and cannot be disclosed as well but in general it was about your security and safety too. I hope you would understand and thank you so much for that.

My response:

Nonsense, Airbnb permitted that guest to make that reservation; that means he was properly vetted by you. Neither the guest nor Airbnb contacted us whatsoever with so much as a cancellation or otherwise (refund of the guest’s money 17 days after the last day of rental) and for no specific reason Airbnb refunded his money, unannounced nor approved by us. Nor did Airbnb properly notify us. For these reasons both parties failed and refused to abide by our cancellation policy, failed and neglected to follow the terms and conditions and are failing and refusing to provide adequate reasoning behind the return of the guest’s money.

This is wrong and Airbnb should pay this guest’s stay for mistakenly returning the guest’s money long after the stay ended. After all, we could have re-rented our property, but, as a result of Airbnb and the guest’s actions we were not notified and nor did Airbnb clear the calendar for the days the guest did not show up. I am not satisfied with the resolution to this matter. Please contact me. Furthermore, Airbnb stole $189.15 that did not belong to them. That was the cancelled guest’s money and Airbnb took it without authorization.

Airbnb Support:

Thank you for taking the time to share your perspective and again we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. After gathering and carefully reviewing all related documentation, we decided to close out this case, and we are not able to provide that payout back to you since it was just refunded back to the guest, and we did not keep that. Since we have provided all related information and explanation about this case, we will be closing out this ticket for the time being. We consider this decision final. Thank you very much.

Vacation Rental in Charleston Goes Wrong

We had a poor experience with an Airbnb in Charleston. In the midst of COVID-19 and the challenges of traveling at this time, we were disappointed that neither the host nor Airbnb would refund (nor give us a credit for) our $670 deposit.

My friend and I booked our trip to Savannah/Charleston back in October 2019. Our original dates of travel were for March and April 2020. With the onset of the pandemic and our optimistic belief that we would be able to travel again, in early March, we contacted our Airbnb hosts and changed our reservations to September. They both agreed and extended the reservations until September.

In June, we cancelled our Airbnb reservation for both Savannah and Charleston. We did this for several reasons: instances of COVID-19 and resulting deaths increasing in our country; restrictions put on place by our governor for travel to New York from South Carolina; nothing in the data indicating that the pandemic would be over (or a vaccine/cure would be ready) by September; and my personal health issues of diabetes and hypertension.

Advice from the CDC and my own physician indicated that individuals with these conditions are more vulnerable for serious health implications from COVID and should not travel. In good faith, we wanted to give our hosts plenty of notice and the opportunity to rebook if possible. Our Savannah host did refund our money except for $81.45 in fees which we appreciated. However, our host in Charleston refused to refund us our $670.

When we reached out to the Airbnb Resolution Department, the representative was not able to resolve this issue for us. He was professional and kind but simply quoted standard cancellation policy. At his request, we provided him my personal health information and a letter from my doctor. Bottom line, no refund.

We have written to Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky as well and are awaiting a reply (so far two certified letters have gotten lost). We find this unacceptable and unethical. Our Charleston host has $670 of our money for services we are not receiving due to the pandemic. Airbnb’s own extenuating circumstances policy was recently extended to the end of September.

In good faith, we gave plenty of notice of cancellation. We feel strongly that an exception should be allowed for this pandemic. Airbnb has stepped up to provide assistance to their hosts in this financially difficult time. We are shocked that they are not supporting their customers in the same fashion. Be aware if you are booking through Airbnb.

No Refund for $2600 Due to COVID Circumstances

We cancelled our rental on March 21 for our stay in Austin scheduled for October 22-27 through Airbnb with a deposit $2,581.62 due to COVID-related complications. We booked in January. Neither the host nor Airbnb will refund our money due to their strict policy of “no cancellations” unless there are extenuating circumstances. COVID falls under that clause.

We have been fighting with them since March to get a refund. Our business was shut down due to COVID on March 13. We are now hiring an attorney to recoup our money. Do not use Airbnb. They have no compassion for the current climate or what people are having to endure. These are huge businesses which are not interested in the welfare of the clients. Losing $2,600 is a big deal to us, especially now.

Not Happy After Leaving Airbnb in an Hour

It’s been a long time since my little family and I had gotten away. We chose a home in Lantana, FL through Airbnb to rent for the Labor Day Weekend. As soon as we got there, there was a very strong mold and mildew odor and of course my oldest daughter has allergies. That smell triggered her in less than five minutes.

The house has changed since their pictures had been posted: the reading room is something to be said for; the couch cushion was torn and sewed; the dining room chairs were all stained (who was gonna get blamed for that?); the bunk beds in both rooms said use at your own risk; the master bed literally sat on the floor; the back shower now looked like a jail walk-in shower (not that I know about that, seen on TV); the home was hot as hell and we turned the AC down to give it a chance; and the water was coming out yellow.

We felt so uncomfortable that I realized none of us would sit down. In less than an hour, I said we should go find a hotel. We found one finally about 10-15 minutes away and rented there, went back to the Airbnb, and collected all our items. I contacted the host and out of everything I had an issue with his response was it was cheaper to stitch the couch than to replace it and to try turning the AC down. I informed him that we had done that. He also stated that he went by and saw nothing wrong.

I have requested a full refund because we did not cancel. We showed up and his home was not okay to stay in. The mold and mildew smell alone was too much to handle. Of course there was no refund to give per the host or Airbnb (as if they actually go out and check things). His pool table room is a whole different color now (this is not a problem). They should update their pictures to match all the changes they have made and give someone a fair chance to say this is or is not the home for them (people have gotten too comfortable with ripping others off). I’m definitely not done with this.

Charged for Two Airbnb Stays in One Night

The Airbnb unit we were staying in developed a water leak from the upstairs apartment. We called the host and tried to get in touch with Airbnb, but could reach neither. It was getting late and so we panicked and booked something else nearby.

We drove over to the new booking and it was just a rundown residential suite. It didn’t even have an outside window — not what we wanted for our vacation in the mountains. I promptly cancelled but the host would not return my money. He had done nothing at all and lost nothing in the brief interim between my booking and cancellation.

We ended up staying at the original place once the leak was repaired, but there were drying mats down and two dehumidifiers for the remainder of our trip. Airbnb never did respond to our initial plea for help and sided with the host of the apartment we panic booked. Surely there must be some negligence on their part for not responding.

Promised a Full Refund, Only Received Half

Anticipating the craziness of a parents’ weekend lodging nightmare, I made a reservation right away on September 19 after we got home while my hubby was still dragging bags from the van. The reservation was for October 1-4. At matriculation day on August 15, I received an email from my son’s school that the weekend was cancelled due to COVID-19.

I went online on the 16th to cancel my reservation. The instructions stated I should call my host to ask for a full refund. If she agrees, I would get my full refund. She did. I got an email back that I would be refunded the full amount of $200.98 but in reality, I only got half: $100.74.

I called the host back. She said that she gave me a full refund of $170 and sent me the receipt with a note stating it was a “penalty free” refund. I told her I did not get the $170. Instead I have $100.74 and I do not need the $170, just $100.74. She said that I should take it to Airbnb now since it is between me and Airbnb. Her partner explained to me that when I booked, the money went to Airbnb; they get paid after the guests stay. I compared her refund receipt number and the Airbnb refund receipt number; they were the same.

What happened to the $170? Where is my money? Their cancellation policy on COVID-19 is quite confusing because it states that they will give a full refund if the cancellation is due to COVID-19 and the hosts agree, which I qualify on both. But, it has also a window of dates that they consider “emergency dates” which my reservation and cancellation did not fit since I booked before COVID-19 and cancelled past their end of emergency date. Thus only a 50% refund.

Why would I be penalized for something that is out of my control? I made the reservation in good faith, paid in full for an accommodation I wouldn’t be using until a year later, and I did not cancel for whatever silly reason. I cancelled because due to COVID-19 our son will be “secured” in the barracks until his December holiday pick-up.

I called the number for help but of course there is no option about my situation because they do not entertain refunds (only current reservations). Instead, they encouraged me to read the link they sent me which is more or less the explanation again of their outrageous and unfair cancellation policy.

My son has two years left to complete his degree; I guess we will have to stay at Howard Johnson then. At least it gives me a clear option to book securely for an extra $10 and get a full refund in case of cancellation. I will continue to fight this to the end and will inform my son’s school’s alumni office which helps parents with accommodation information. We certainly do not need this degree of aggravation due to unfair policies. Thank you for providing this space where we can express our angst of injustice.

Cancelled in July, Still no Refund in August

I made two Airbnb reservations for this summer in December 2019. I cancelled them both on July 6. There was no question at that time of whether I was allowed a refund or not — both hosts agreed to give me a full refund. I got the full refund for one of the cancellations on July 10. I got billed a “cancelation fee” for the other reservation on July 10, but I haven’t gotten any money.

I called July 6 to ensure that this would work out since I had changed my credit card, and the customer service person assured me there was no problem. And indeed, I got the other refund without a problem. They said to wait 7-10 days.

I called again on August 17 and talked to a customer service person who said it looked like there was a problem and “an expert would contact me.” But here it is August 24 and no expert. Today I tried calling, and got a phone tree that explained: if the reservation was made before March 15, no refund is allowed. If the reservation was made after March 15, no refund is allowed.

If this is not about a cancellation 72 hours from now or less, nobody can talk to a person, just leave a message and an expert will contact you. Based what I am seeing from other people, I think my mistake was not insisting that I talk to a manager last week when I had a live person on the phone. This is pretty terrible.

Avoid Airbnb in Bath That Refuses Refunds

In January we booked an Airbnb in Bath for two nights. The venue was booked so our family and friends could celebrate an uncle’s 70th birthday. We paid £1,960.85 including an exorbitant service fee of £262.85 (for what we have no idea).

Due to circumstances beyond our control — i.e. COVID-19 — we had to cancel the booking and did so in May. The guest of honour who lives in Ireland was not able to fly to England for the party due to flight restrictions caused by the virus. Consequently, we cancelled when we did in order not to lose the full amount. Had the coronavirus not happened, our party would have carried on with the booking as planned.

We received a refund of only £849.00 from Airbnb (50% minus the service charge). Our party of ten had hoped under these unusual circumstances, the host would have given us a full refund. The owners did say that if their B&B was rented during the weekend we booked, then a refund would be issued. No surprise that this did not happen so we didn’t receive the other 50%.

Losing this amount of money through no fault of our own was devastating for our financial situation which, because of the lockdown, is precarious at best. We appealed twice to the owner’s sense of fairness and compassion by asking them to send the other 50% refund (£849) realising that the hefty service fee Airbnb charges is likely beyond their control. This did not happen nor did we ever hear from them. Consequently, they have £849 of our money for doing absolutely nothing at a time they couldn’t have rented their place anyway.

We also appealed to Airbnb but they were useless in resolving this issue. This Airbnb in Bath did not act in good faith and if you are looking to book this venue in the future, buyer beware – the owners have no scruples and will take your money and run if given the opportunity. Our advice is not to book this place now or ever.

Host and Airbnb Contradicting Each Other

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I booked a five-month reservation with a Superhost through Airbnb. After 24 days, I cancelled the reservation for multiple reasons: the dirty TP in the bathroom; my food being eaten; and when the host said one of his employees had been exposed to someone with the virus.

The host said there was a 30-day cancellation penalty, which would be about $1100. Airbnb says that the amount of the remainder of four months’ time cut in half is how their system calculated the cancellation, for roughly a $3200 cancelation penalty.

I messaged the host who said, and I quote, “Again: you are not responsible for any cancellation fee. If they try to pay it, we will refuse it.”

After two months of trying to get Airbnb to respond to my calls the host is now saying they are charging a cancellation fee. This comes down to the host directly lying to me and to Airbnb. Airbnb refuses to even read what the host says or respond to me.

Thankfully I have had legal advice that said to save all messages and if Airbnb tries to do anything, I am completely covered. Airbnb says the original case manager is no longer with the company, and a new one is assigned but still not responding.

I have reached out over a dozen times over the past two months and still am being ignored. A representative the other day said that when a case is opened it could not be closed without a resolution. The helpbot closed my case the other day, after two months of being open and no resolution.

Not a good place to stay and Airbnb is hiding reviews on them so they can remain a Superhost.