Complete Disbelief Over Airbnb’s Reaction to COVID-19

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I am requesting to speak with personnel in Airbnb upper management concerning the situation that involves my first Airbnb experience and stay. Our booking and travel dates were April 27 through April 30. I believe the situation is deserving of a full refund and or an upgraded trip for the length of our original stay.

We are outraged that Airbnb allows properties to conduct business and continue to allow the public access to environments like the one we encountered, especially during the worst pandemic the world has ever seen. Our documentation will show and support our claims of the unsanitized, unattended and false advertising of this particular property. I will provide the timelines and the supporting documents backing our claim.

My family and I have been inconvenienced and put at risk by the direct result of Airbnb’s untimely and insufficient customer support resources along with the unprofessional, irresponsible attitude and commitment level of our host. Not only did he fail to communicate on a timely basis, he allowed another reservation to show up with the same exact issues; even worse, without ever having a cleaning crew show up. That is a total of three different guest reservations that entered the property without it being professionally cleaned.

According to the guidelines stated in Airbnb’s refund policy — having verbal confirmation of the first CSR we spoke to — are valid and we followed proper steps to ensure full and detailed investigation by staff to validate our request. Due to our inexperience and unfamiliarity with Airbnb and the mobile app we acted as anybody would have in the event that technical difficulties prevented us from gaining access to our account allowing us to proceed accordingly and timely to any and all response from the Airbnb staff from the beginning of this complaint.

We find it very odd that for no reason we were unable to gain access once we reported and sent photos of property. We have had several reasons given to us for why we would not receive a full refund and have had valid and supporting information to disprove those to be invalid reasons. The latest one is that by the unintentional act of deactivating the account due to the fact we could not access it and we’re trying to troubleshoot the issue because the several calls to Airbnb were not productive and were unable to fix that issue.

We remain confused as to why after the cancellation on Airbnb account that we were not told of any of this conditions or cancellations or informed by any of the CSRs we spoke to or question as to why we were still on the property. We had no idea that the reservation was canceled by the accidental deactivation of our account. I have now spent numerous hours and pages upon pages of emails corresponding with customer care representative agents that are supposed to help. They’ve expedited and done all that they can with no avail.

We’ve received several emails sent from Airbnb stating that they are sorry that our experience was like this on our first reservation and travel stay using their company but yet their actions show the exact opposite.

The situation continued to get worse while on the second day of our reservation at 4:00 PM when another family showed up with six children with nowhere to go. Being put in an uncomfortable and stressful situation, I allowed the family to enter the property so that they would have some place to reside well we tried to work this situation out we contacted the host immediately with no response.

There are so many supporting factors as to why this is outrageous. Not only did the hosts not have a cleaning crew come prior to their arrival, but we were still there and he did the same thing to us during this COVID-19 pandemic. I cannot believe that Airbnb supports and allows individuals to host properties in to put their customers in jeopardy like this.

Another reason why we were told that we would not receive a refund was due to the fact that we did not qualify under the host cancellation policy at that time we are given this excuse we had no idea that the activity of the account was actually what induced the refund but we were told that it was because we cancelled it on our behalf. We did not; it was canceled on the company’s behalf.

We spent several hours on the phone with customer service agents after that. We were never told anything different. They were confused and did not know how the reservation was cancelled. They were putting it on us.

In the meantime on our side we were keeping our lines open doing what the CSR we first spoke to told us to do. Unable to gain access to our account after several different CSR’s attempted to fix this situation, we could not find the pertinent information we needed in a timely manner.

I would like to speak to Airbnb upper management on the phone. This email and messaging system is not sufficient and is not producing favorable results. The property is not as it is listed and the host did not communicate with us in professional manner.

My family and I deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. It seems that this company just wants to take advantage of its patrons, and put our safety and health at risk by taking the host and his blatant carelessness above our complaints and health.

Airbnb Illogically Refunded the Cancellation Fees

I had a booking from a couple of guests from China back in mid-January. On January 30, they decided to cancel the booking saying: “Sorry, my friend wants to stay at another place. We shall meet next time!” Hence a partial refund was returned.

Then a few weeks later, Airbnb took that partial refund away saying the guest couldn’t travel and qualifies for the full refund because of extenuating circumstances. I do understand that it is unfortunate that the two couldn’t make the trip. However, the point is that the guests cancelled the booking because they chose to stay in another place.

Had they decide to stay in my place and cancel, I would fully respect that. Logically, I should get to keep the cancellation fees.

Am I being irrational? I had months of long messages with Airbnb support and their supervisor, who then abruptly said the decision is final and closed the case without allowing me to ask for the reasoning for their decision. The responses were expectedly slow because of the situation.

What’s interesting is that in the conversation, I asked for the contact for someone beyond the support supervisor level and the supervisor said that there is no one above him/her and closed my case. I went on Twitter about it. They asked me to DM my case.

Within five minutes, I got a response saying that he “thoroughly reviewed” my case and that the decision is final. How can you thoroughly review a case in five minutes including coming up with a response? At this point, I am tempted to just send the CEO a tweet since he stresses that he love feedback.

Airbnb Denies Comic Con Cancellation Refund

We reserved a property with Airbnb last November for Comic Con 20 in July. On April 17, Comic Con was cancelled due to the World Health Organization gathering guidelines dated March 11 and California Governor Newsom stating that group gatherings in California before August could not happen.

When I tried to rebook the property for Comic Con 21 next year, I discovered the property had been marked up $10,000 for our five-day stay. Instead of costing $6472 like it did this year, it was marked up to $16,879 for a stay of the same duration and for the same reason, a 180% markup.

I cancelled my reservation and requested a full refund of the $3264 I had made on the first of two installments. On April 9, Airbnb had said their COVID-19 full refund only applied through May 31 and despite having an extenuating circumstance policy for epidemic disease, it did not apply to COVID-19 cases.

Since my COVID-19 case was after May 31, then neither the COVID-19 or epidemic disease policy would cover my cancellation refund. This is also when I found out that the Airbnb 50% refund policy is not a 50% refund of what you pay, but 50% of the total bill, so instead of about $1500 back from my initial payment, I got $62.

I appealed to the property owner. Their response was to talk to Airbnb. I appealed to Airbnb, and they told me to talk to the property owner. So when I paid last November, my money was effectively gone after 48 hours. I had at least three different conversations with Airbnb and the host, but they insisted that the COVID-19 policy to May 31 was the end all and be all policy and did not apply to the Comic Con COVID-19 cancellation in July.

The COVID-19 and epidemic disease policies for Airbnb deny the reality of the pandemic after May 31. Ironically, this same property is listed on VrBO with a full refund policy through May 22, 2020. I am moving on to arbitration via the American Arbitration Association.

Missed an Airbnb COVID-19 Refund by Six Hours

blankIt was a complete nightmare trying to get this COVID-19 refund. Our check in was March 13th and California issued a state of emergency on March 4th while the WHO declare it global pandemic on March 11th. I canceled on March 12th and only received 50% of my money back.

Airbnb’s extenuating circumstances state that any reservations made on or before March 14th were covered under the extenuating circumstances for COVID-19 blanket. They are now claiming it would only be covered if I had cancelled on March 14th (a day after my check in?).

My check in time was 6:00 PM Friday, March 13th, six hours before the 14th. I even would understand if they won’t give me the money for the night of the 13th but they are refusing all of it which makes no sense; they wrote the publication and nowhere does it state they will only cover a refund if a reservation is cancelled on or after March 14th.

Yet their publication on March 13th said “any reservations before March 13th through April 1st are covered!” They then went and changed their policy on March 30th to “any reservations made before March 14th through May 31st with check in dates on or after March 14th are covered.”

Don’t get me wrong: I’m really glad they extended the time frame for people but I’m sure there are a handful of people that fall into a tiny crack like me with check in dates of March 13th.

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 Host Refusing to Refund Seattle Deposit

I filed a complaint with the BBB requesting assistance in getting a full refund ($520.74) for an Airbnb booked with a host in Seattle for July 25th and July 26th, 2020, due to canceled travel plans, directly relating to COVID-19.

The rental was described as a “downtown designer’s condo with amazing courtyard view, free parking, hot tub, pool (99 walk score).” I initiated a full refund request with the host through the Airbnb message service on March 25, 2020.

On March 26, the host stated I needed to contact Airbnb directly, which I also did that day. Airbnb customer service informed me that it would be up to the host since our travel was before the April 14 deadline that Airbnb had imposed (with the federal government currently requesting quarantine until April 30).

I again wrote to the host on March 26, again requesting a full refund for the $520.74 deposit paid on Feb. 18. I have not heard back from the host since our communication. I did hear from a new Airbnb Resolution Agent on April 1, stating she would look into things further.

On April 4, she informed me that she had not heard from the host and that since my reservation is more than a month away, I should just wait to see if the Airbnb policy covering extenuating circumstances changes, which would then cover rentals after the April 14 deadline they have set.

I am writing to request a resolution and a full refund of $520.74 for a canceled trip and July rental with Airbnb.

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.

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Long-Term Trip Cut Short by Coronavirus

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These are unfortunate times for all of us. Upon hearing the news that nobody could leave their houses, I read this message and realized it applied to me during my stay in downtown San Francisco. The government issued orders that meant I should stay indoors and would be better off at home than raising concerns for other Airbnb residents or hosts by staying in an Airbnb room.

In this case, I took the most reasonable decision to return home only 10 days or so into 30-day reservation. I am seeking a refund for a portion if not all of my stay due to this inconvenience and to maintain goodwill in Airbnb going forward.

I’m disappointed that upon reading a detailed policy and not seeing the refund, I am not sure if I was approved for a refund. I am asking Airbnb to reconsider my case. It’s my first time using the extended stay option and I’m now very hesitant to use in the future if a fair refund isn’t possible.