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.

Pensacola Letdown Leads to Three-Year Battle for Refund

I have been a long-time customer of Airbnb. In December 2017 we booked a place in Pensacola. When we arrived the place was a mess, and obviously not clean from the previous occupant. I phoned the host and she offered to rush over and clean it.

At this point my husband refused to stay. We left and stayed at a nearby hotel with free breakfast.

The host offered a full refund. Over the next two years and after countless emails, she refunded what she was given from Airbnb in March 2020. I had a stroke in January 2018 and again in November 2018. Needless to say, this slowed down my efforts to obtain my refund.

When I explained my situation to Airbnb support, they said I waited too long. Well, the host dragged it out to her advantage; I couldn’t even leave a review at that point. I’m not talking about a lot of money here; it’s the principle. Guess I’ll stick to hotels — at least they feed you and give points for free stays, and are usually ready for your stay.

No Refund for State of Emergency in LA

On Tuesday evening I decided to spend two days in LA and booked with Airbnb. Wednesday morning, LA County declared a state of emergency. I’m not afraid of the virus, but deliberately going to an area where the state of emergency was declared because of the virus doesn’t make any sense either. I decided to cancel.

Unfortunately, the state of emergency because of the deadly coronavirus is no reason for cancellation and therefore the host doesn’t want to refund my money. I called the customer service on Wednesday early afternoon and they promised a call back from a supervisor.

Now it is Thursday at 11:00 PM (PST) and I called again. This time it was someone who promised a call back from a supervisor. No callback so far. I also filed a claim after I cancelled but I haven’t received any response here either.

Just Another Airbnb Nightmare Experience

Below is the letter I sent to all the Airbnb contact emails I found online. There has been no response.

To whom it may concern, I have been an Airbnb client and host for years. This is the first time that I have encountered the problem that is far beyond your regular support team can solve it fairly. I hope that this email would be received by someone who cares, really listens, and reads every detail professionally.

We rented a room in Bangkok and the client wanted to leave earlier. Your team shortened the booking dates and refunded him without our permission. Our payment is now -‪19946.95‬ Baht plus the unit being empty for weeks during high season.

All of a sudden, the guest reported on the second week of stay that he felt insecure as there was an Airbnb prohibition sign in the lift. We explained and provided legal evidence to the guest to confirm that his one-month rental period was legal as it was long-term.

The support team did not care about our opinion on this, refunded the guest, and never answered us again. We have been ignored several times by your support team staff and we are reaching for help now with great hope for justice. We hope you will listen to us. If not, we have no choice but to reach for help outside Airbnb; somewhere justice is still in practice. Thanks in advance.

Here is the review I left to the client:

I am sacrificing my time to write this long review to remind all hosts to be very careful in accepting [this guest’s] booking. It’s difficult to explain everything in print as it tortured us mentally, physically and financially.

Case (1): [The guest] booked the room for one guest and refused to adjust the booking for two guests. Finally, we gave him an approximately 60% discount to end the lengthy discussion and hoped to let him keep his travel plans smooth and trouble-free. Anyhow, we only received less than half of what had previously been agreed upon.

He rejected the idea of paying more. Two guests stayed at our place since day one. He said it wasn’t his business and we should talk to Airbnb ourselves. I spent days attempting to reach Airbnb and no one was there to answer. I was abroad and I had to use international calling. I couldn’t enjoy my New Year’s trip but spent the whole time talking to him and constantly messaging the service team.

Airbnb finally paid for him as the missing amount was the service fee which I also previously told him to make sure the amount we should receive is after the service fee. He didn’t care. Anyhow, the first issue was resolved. Now, the second one went far beyond what we could stand.

Case (2): Things went well for a week or so. Then, [the guest] mentioned about getting checked by local police late at night on the street on his tuk-tuk Bangkok tour. He wanted to travel somewhere else besides Bangkok but his tailor-made suit could only be finished on January 7th. Please remember this date well.

After almost a two-week stay, he got me by surprise by telling Airbnb that he just saw an Airbnb prohibition sign in the lift and felt insecure. He wanted a full refund for his “uncomfortable nights”. Yes, this happened a day after January 7th.

Even though the sign against Airbnb has been there since his arrival. Even though we sent him the government confirmation documents stating that 30-day rentals are legal in Thailand (he wanted the official one so it’s in Thai) and told him where he could get a quick translation service around the corner. He succeeded in persuading Airbnb to refund all of his uncomfortable nights and left our place (with the AC on) with no notice.

We tried to reach Airbnb and they only said that it was their final decision on the case. There was no further reply and no attention to our messages. This made our room empty for weeks during high season and if you are a host you may know what that means. Airbnb agreed to refund [the guest] and repeatedly ignored our messages, simply because the support team agreed that this application was illegal in Thailand.

We still feel very much disappointed in being treated unfairly when we have tried our best to provide all guests with maximum comfort and joy in our home country. Along the way, Airbnb did contact us once. That was when [the guest] asked the service team to talk with us about the missing money from case (1) but never again.

This made us realize that we are not welcome here. After this post I will terminate my account with Airbnb. It was more than disappointing to receive his booking. If I could go back in time, I would rather keep my room vacant.

Cancelled after Four Minutes with Moderate Refund Policy

I booked an apartment in New York. I made sure there was a moderate refund policy. I immediately realized I had mixed up the dates and within the space of about four minutes, I cancelled the reservation (sending an apology and explanation to the host).

Now, this was a bit of a last-minute thing and the booking was for two days in the future (I actually had meant to book the day after, hence the mix up). I only received the cleaning fee back. No other refund was given. My request for a refund via the site was ignored. I called their customer service, who extremely patronizingly ‘explained’ to me that I hadn’t read the rules properly and I should be more careful in future to read the rules.

The rule listed is: “Free cancellation for 48 hours. After that, cancel up to 5 days before check-in and get a full refund minus the service fee.” I’m aware that I booked leaving only two days before checking in, but I’m pretty sure that the words “after that” signify that there are no strings attached so long as it is within 48 hours. Surely the “5 days” part of the rules only apply after 48 hours?

Worst Experience with Airbnb in Arlington

We booked an Airbnb to share with friends in Arlington, VA. It looked great and the host was responsive when we asked questions before booking. When we arrived at the complex and called the host, his number was disconnected. He did not respond on the Airbnb App and no one at the complex knew anything about an Airbnb listing. In fact, the management told me that owners were not allowed to list on Airbnb.

I called Airbnb (thank you Airbnbhell for the number) and got someone. He tried to contact the host with no luck either. After an hour of this, he said he would refund my money and help me find a place for us to stay. It took nearly three hours to find a place and I had to pay an additional $995 on top of what we had budget to get this place. When I pushed Airbnb to pay the extra they said all they could do was give me 10% of my original payment of $104.50. This was a terrible experience for me and my guests.

Hospital Stay Prior to Hosting Questions Policy

I recently applied for a refund within 24 hours of booking. I spoke to the host to explain the situation but Airbnb refused to give me more than a 50% refund because I had visitors coming to my home for a week. The week before their arrival, I broke my ankle and was in a cast and wheelchair.

When I got home from the hospital I realised that in two days I was not going to be ready to host guests in my home so I took a lovely little apartment for them to stay in which I booked in the middle of the night. The next day, my guests decided that because I wasn’t well, they would not visit.

I applied for a refund to Airbnb with this story which of course I am prepared to present proof of hospitalization, documentation, etc. From a 700+ Euro booking cancelled the next day, they refused to refund me more than 300 Euros because it was not my guests who were staying in the apartment who had the accident. They were healthy enough so this did not apply.

I find this quite far removed from the community-based hospitality concept that started out with Airbnb. I wonder who gets that 400 Euro difference, Airbnb or the host? Someone needs to come up with a new Airbnb-like concept.