Cancellation for Employee Working on COVID-19 Response

Airbnb claims to be compassionate and supportive of people impacted by COVID-19 but my situation is quite the opposite. One of my staff was scheduled to attend the CSTE conference at the end of June in Seattle. However, she was pulled into the public health response to COVID-19 in our county.

We have been fighting with Airbnb for months about this and it’s still not resolved. All over $400+ dollars. Not only have there been numerous communications with Airbnb where they have refused to refund the money but my organization has also spent considerable time trying to resolve the situation. It’s spread like wildfire in our organization and we will no longer be using Airbnb for work and for personal travel.

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.

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Unable to Get a Full Refund Due to Airbnb Policy

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Airbnb customer service was unable to approve or give out a 100% refund due to me cancelling the reservation before their policy updates on April 1, 2020. I made the cancellation at the beginning of March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now my country Malaysia has to prolong the country lockdown until June 9. Airbnb said my criteria met their policy, but because I cancelled the reservation and got a 50% refund before April 1, I’m not eligible for the 100% refund.

It’s not right; it’s not logical. This policy should be amended, and not be biased.

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.

No Refund, First and Last Time with Airbnb

Unfortunately, this is my first and last time booking with Airbnb, due to terrible customer service and criminal practices against consumers. The fact that there is a website created to voice complaints says a lot about a company. I just wish I had seen this website prior to booking.

I booked my reservation on February 9, which met their March 14, 2020 “booked on or before” requirement. I paid my down payment. My check-in was April 10, checking out April 13.

On March 11, the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic and our trip was canceled. I canceled my reservation on March 12 on their website with my host. I was told then my host was covered and I would receive a partial refund. I clicked on the link to get my refund because something is better than nothing.

I never received my refund and when I followed up, I was told they decided my reservation does not meet the COVID-19 Extenuating Circumstances. When I called Airbnb they could not tell me the exact reason. The reasons kept changing, and they put me on hold most of the conversation.

The initial reason they gave was that I did not cancel with Airbnb. I told him I canceled on their website and when I pressed for him to show me where it is posted on their website that I need to contact someone other than the host and trip reservation on the Airbnb website he put me on hold for ten minutes, never giving me the location, just the COVID-19 Extenuating Circumstances.

Next I was told the host was paid out and declined my refund. I am reading the hosts are not getting paid and have a class action lawsuit against Airbnb, so I’m not sure I believe that. Finally I was told I waited too long to reach out to the Resolution Center about a refund, which was only two and a half weeks.

In summary, initially I was told due to my host’s cancellation policy I would get a refund. Then when I got back on the website after not receiving the refund, and tried to request the refund again. After no payment was sent again, I reached out to the Resolution Center. Since then several of my communications with my host were deleted and I was not allowed to request a refund any longer. Now I am given the run around with several fluff excuses that you cannot validate when asked for specifics. When I told Airbnb most companies during this unprecedented time are giving a monetary refund or equal voucher for another stay, they said nothing.

I realize the impact this has on businesses and Airbnb is doing everything they can to keep money in their pockets, but they are taking advantage of both guests and hosts. However, in the end, a business that takes a customer’s money for a service they don’t provide or offer anything in return is criminal. At this time, I will be happy to join a class-action lawsuit against Airbnb.

How do I get a refund on a last minute booking?

I’ve never really paid attention to Airbnb cancellation policies as I’ve always been able to cancel bookings (have actually only canceled one so far) but usually far in advance. This one though was made today and I requested a cancellation 15 minutes later, after getting the address and realizing how far it was from downtown. I rented a car that I was planning to return the following day and get a Uber back to this place but then I realized the place was about 40 minutes away. That was going to eat up all my transportation money.

Right away I requested a refund but the host was not budging. I contacted Airbnb and they’ve asked me to wait until tomorrow since the host hasn’t responded to them yet. The host has a strict cancellation policy and she already told me she won’t refund me. I want to get a full refund, not even half, otherwise I’m fighting this with my bank. I mean this is not a situation where the host was waiting and expecting me for weeks or days. I asked her if she was unwilling to refund me because she needs the money.

Has anyone been through this? What are my options?

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Never a Full Refund for this Cologne Apartment

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We arrived to this apartment on Monday afternoon, from the airport. We got video instructions from the host where we could find the keys and we could go in without any problems. I am presenting the situation with the uploaded photos.

The place looked like had not been inhabited for a long time. There was possibly puke on the wall, and dirt everywhere, not to mention the air inside. Unfortunately it around the time of IDS and we could not find another place, so we limited our stay to only sleeping.

We could not meet in person with the host until Wednesday morning, when we could finally found him at his workplace. We discussed that we did not intending to stay until Friday, instead we were leaving Thursday morning. Since the apartment was posted with a flexible cancellation policy, and we also we made clear that we were leaving the next morning, I modified the departure time on Airbnb, to avoid the fee for the last day (cancellation option was available, but with a 42 USD difference).

The host didn’t react to the modification request since that day. I have contacted Airbnb regarding the issue after we got home, and after a week the response was: “I noticed in relation to this, that you contacted Airbnb after the check out time for your reservation had passed, the Guest Refund Policy therefore would not apply to the reservation. I will need to negotiate with your host, in order to secure any partial refund. I will make you aware, that as the host already received the payout for this booking, any refund issued would be at the host’s discretion. However, I will do my very best to help!”

My conclusions regarding Airbnb: I had a choice to cancel the reservation on Wednesday with a refund of 200 USD, but I went for the date modification which offered 247 USD (apartment price + Airbnb fee + tax) when the host agreed. I know that this choice was my fault, but since I made it clear that we were leaving the apartment (and the request time is visible on the website), I feel it is very shady that the hosts’s behavior was not to react to the request. Furthermore, if the host already received the payment, there is only the option to ‘negotiate’ for whatever happens during our stay? If that is the case, everyone should avoid this filthy service.

“Superhosts” from Hell in Los Angeles

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The arrangement at our Airbnb was of the kind where you let yourself in. This means that there is no one on the premises to talk to, and if something is wrong, there is no one who can set it right. Although we paid for two people, the apartment was set up for only one. There was a solitary towel in the bathroom and one on the floor, and bedding for only one bed. The owner did not answer the phone and communicates only by texting, so there was no way of remedying any problem in real time.

Although this was supposed to have been a non-smoking apartment, the air was stale and it was reeking of cigarette smoke. The apartment was superficially cleaned. The floor was not quite washed (there were unwashed spots), there was dust on some furniture, and there was junk behind appliances in the kitchen. There were fruit flies in the kitchen and the living room.

Although it was advertised as an air-conditioned apartment, I was not able to find any air conditioning (only a floor fan). This was a problem because the house faces a major traffic artery and it is impossible to keep the window open because the soundproofing is poor, so there is continuous traffic noise and noise from the neighbors, especially from upstairs. The area under the sink was all rotten, with mildew on the floor and the pipes, and as a result, the garbage can was left outside the cabinet, open, and without a lid.

In general (unrelated to this particular apartment), I think that properties where guests let themselves in without meeting the owner should be advertised as such. I would not have taken an apartment if I knew that there was no one on the premises to talk to. If there had been, I would immediately have declined this place, if only because of the fact that it had been smoked in and the area under the sink is rotten and mildewed, which is a health hazard for people with allergies.

I was charged $45.16 for the second person. After a lengthy correspondence with Airbnb, I found that the cost of an additional guest for two nights should be $22. I requested a refund, since the place was set for one. The “superhosts” refused. I think these people are beyond belief: dishonest and greedy, they both overcharged and did not deliver the service.

Finally, Airbnb (hopefully) issued a refund of $30 (why this particular amount?). I haven’t seen the money yet, as it takes them up to 15 business days. A normal service provider should take responsibility, issue a refund, and then solve the problems with the hosts. Airbnb… never again!

Airbnb Refunds 100% of Hosting Charges but not Service Fee

I have used Airbnb a couple of times but recently discovered a few things while booking accommodation for our North America trip. Normally we would set a price range to search and compare accommodations. You are ready to pay what is shown while comparing but this is not the case with Airbnb. With Airbnb, you have to pay a charge for accommodations + cleaning fees + Airbnb service charges + city tax. It adds up very quickly; make sure you have compared prices properly.

What is a fair service charge for a broker/middleman or platform provider? I booked accommodation in Beverly Hills. The accommodation charges were less than $2000 but Airbnb’s service charges were around $200, which is a shockingly large fee to facilitate a deal. What was the $200 service charge even for? There was no reception, no room service, no linen changes when staying for multiple nights. On top of that, we also had to pay cleaning fees.

What pissed me was after booking I had the option to cancel and get a 100% refund for all the charges from the poor host but Airbnb didn’t want to refund the service charges after just 48 hours. That is a total rip off.

Now comes my worst experience of getting in touch with their customer support. Even though I run an IT company, I had to struggle to reach to a screen where I could write a complaint in my words and the robot didn’t try to take over my session. I literally had to go on their Facebook page to get some attention.

Finally, Airbnb gave me a refund but with the caveat that they could refund me only once or twice in a year; this was not acceptable to me. I asked to speak to a supervisor or manager in charge of policy to present a case for everyone, but no joy. There are a lot of such stories which I came across only because of the situation. My intention here is to highlight and inform everyone to be aware of Airbnb’s service charges, refund policies, and customer service. I am better off paying a little more for a hotel and get proper service provided by a human.

Host didn’t answer the door when I arrived at midnight

I booked a ferry set to arrive at an island at about 8:00 PM. I noted this when booking my reservation. Two days before I was supposed to arrive, the host asked me to confirm my arrival time. I thought that my message went through, but apparently the wifi didn’t load and the message didn’t send. Regardless, the host didn’t ask for a follow up and I assumed that he knew and all was well (the listing noted that the check-in time was flexible).

My ferry ended up running three hours late. I let my host know as soon as I could… and then I realized that my initial message didn’t go through. There was no response from the host during the three-hour ferry ride. I got to the apartment at midnight, but no one was there. I had to show up at a random hostel to find a place to stay. It was not a great situation to be in as a young solo female traveler. My host said that he assumed I was no longer coming because I didn’t respond to the message. I asked the host if he could refund my stay. He hasn’t responded. Is there anything I can do about this or do I just have to cut my losses?