Ridiculous Airbnb Service Fee Never Refunded

I wanted to reserve a room in Bar Harbor so I did a search and some places came up that said Winter Harbor, which I assumed – yes, I know – was a neighborhood around Bar Harbor. After booking, I went to a map to see where the place was. It was close to Bar Harbor, but only if you had a boat. Within a few minutes I called the owner and he immediately agreed to allow me to cancel. He tried to cancel, but emailed me saying that I had to. After figuring out how to do that, Airbnb stated that I wouldn’t get any money back because the owner had a strict cancellation policy. I wrote him back and he did agree to refund my money, thank goodness. However, Airbnb still wanted to charge me their service fee, which is significant. All this trouble for a mistake or error caused by them because they listed a home more than an hour away from where I was requesting and I realized what had happened within two minutes of them taking my booking. I have used Airbnb quite a bit before and this kind of thing has never happened before. I guess I’ll have to be extra careful with them before I book another place or use them again.

Beware Airbnb Service Fees: Refunds are Impossible

This isn’t terrible, but I feel like a lot of people are probably getting ripped off right now without realizing it. I booked a place that was covered under the 100% refundable policy. This policy clearly states service fees are refundable up to 24 hours before your trip, and the Airbnb refund policy in general says service fees are refundable for guests up to three times a year. See the attached pictures, screenshots from the Airbnb website. When I cancelled and requested a refund, it was not automatically given. After drilling down through multiple levels of their help center clearly intended to prevent you from talking to anyone, I finally go to chat with someone. He told me it was against Airbnb’s policy to refund service fees, but he would do me a ‘favor’ this once because I had booked another place. I thanked him for the refund, but afterwards I pointed out that it said in two places that the fee was refundable. He said, “That’s right, our service fees are not refundable” along with some other wholesome crap about Airbnb being a community. At that point, I moved from classifying customer service representatives as humans to examples of a failed Turing test, and I just hope their developers look at this and at the very least clarify their policy.

Airbnb Customer Service Can’t Decide What To Do

My family and I tried to book a house through Airbnb for a vacation together. I found the house on my account and my sister-in-law logged in to pay for it. Airbnb would not authorize the payment, and kept sending emails saying our reservation would be cancelled if we did not resolve it. We tried to resolve it with customer service but they could not help us. We spoke with the host and we decided to cancel and book through a different account in order to make sure our reservation was not in jeopardy. After cancelling Airbnb told me that I had an outstanding service fee charge for cancelling. I have yet to talk to an actual person through customer service who can actually help me. We should not have to pay two service fees for the same booking. All of the sudden they charged my sister-in-law’s card for the service fee today. Now Airbnb can charge the card for a service fee but when we tried to use it for our booking we were unable to. It’s ridiculous. I’m still trying to talk to someone with authority but we are beyond mad. Any suggestions or help from anyone would be greatly appreciated.

No Solution to Accidentally Using Instant Book

This is only the second time that I have used Airbnb. I understand the process to be: I message the host and the host returns the message and you both decide if there should be a booking. I thought I was messaging Dorothy, based in Washington DC. There is a new feature to automatically book. So that’s what happened; I didn’t want to automatically book. She has been a host since January 17th. I messaged her instantly that this had been a mistake, and requesting that she return my funds. I called Airbnb to return my funds. There are no features on Airbnb to correct this mistake. I cancelled the booking, but both Airbnb and Dorothy are refusing to give me the money back. The charge was $3389. Then I got a message after my multiple calls to Airbnb over a week and a half later that I would get a partial refund of $2477. Then I received another email from an Airbnb representative saying I would only get $2161. I said this was unacceptable. I did not agree to a partial refund, which is what he was trying to state in his email. I said I wanted a full refund. They insinuated that I couldn’t get a refund. They will not return even a partial refund if I don’t agree to their terms. This is how they trick you.

The thieving host and I texted a lot. She was trying to convince me she had nothing to do with the transactions, but as I found out later the hosts have the power to issue a complete and full refund; she is just refusing to do so. She lied and the amount she can steal from me is over $600. All because there is no recourse for correcting the automatic booking process. This is wrong and it’s stealing. I think this new feature is a scam on Airbnb’s part and the hosts (at least my thieving host) don’t care if they harm customers financially. Airbnb’s customer service is not helpful and difficult to reach. The representatives will not speak with you or hear your complaints. Then if you don’t agree with the resolution, they threaten you with getting nothing back. Dorothy from Washington DC is a scam artist because she knew this was a mistake. I tried to send her a message. I told her the second it happened because there is no feature to undo the automatic booking. She made a fast $600 with no regard to the harm she caused. I’m a hard working woman with four children, two in college. For Airbnb to have unhelpful and threatening customer service agents and thieving hosts keep these funds and not correct this mistake immediately is egregious. Beware of the instant booking. Thieves like Dorothy use this as a means of stealing your money and customer service representatives will not help you. If anything, they will actually threaten to withhold partial payments if you don’t agree with the resolution. I don’t agree with their resolution. I want and need all of my money back.

Absurd Cancellation Fees One Day After Reservation

I was just planning a trip to Italy in June (their high season) for a wedding and I wanted to talk to some of the hosts to be sure the place where the wedding was being held was close enough. Some of the places had automatic reservations, which means that if you wanted to ask the host anything, you first needed to reserve the place. I booked two places, because in the cancellation fee policy it said I could cancel them any time until 30 days before my arrival. Once I got answers from the hosts and determined which place was better for us to stay (a day after) I went ahead, canceled one, and kept the other. When I saw my account I was reimbursed but for 190€ less. Now they say that there’s a new policy for multiple reservations where they will keep the Airbnb service fee even if you cancel a reservation an hour after making. But this is not shown anywhere unless you look at the really fine print. Does anyone have any thoughts or recommendations on how to recover this 190€?

Dreadful Refund Policy, No Way to Speak to Airbnb

We had used Airbnb three times with no difficulties, until we made a reservation to stay in a log cabin at Christmas. We made the reservation in September and immediately after we made it we received a notification from the host that the rates that were posted on the Airbnb website were incorrect and that we owed a substantial amount more. The host recommended that we cancel and find something else if the additional cost was not acceptable. We went ahead and immediately cancelled the reservation. However, we didn’t receive a full refund. Airbnb retained $118 as a service fee! A service fee? They had done nothing! The host was very upset and tried to contact Airbnb without success. We tried repeatedly to contact Airbnb without success. We learned that if you need to cancel, the host must do the cancellation and then you get a full refund. If you try to do it as a guest, then Airbnb will keep a portion. Today again I have tried to find a phone number for Airbnb as a last ditch effort to express my frustration, with no luck. So I am writing on this site instead in the hopes that others will read it and not fall into the same trap that we did. We are done with Airbnb. We will never use them again.

Host and Guest Agree, Still Shorted on Refund

My story starts off in Athens, Greece on September 28th, 2016. I went into my Airbnb account and booked a stay with Konstantinos for $244. For some reason, the app stated the property was not available for my dates, and I would have to search and find another property. I did find another property for the same dates but for $318; this was a bit more but I needed somewhere to stay. Shortly after I received a message from Konstantinos stating that the property was not yet clean and it would take three more hours to be ready. I immediately contacted the host and bought the glitch in the system to their attention and that my credit card had been charged. My credit card should not have been charged because the dates were not available, so I had to rebook with another property for the same dates. Konstantinos asked me to please go and cancel the request and they would refund my full amount back to me. Konstantinos stated this made their ratings look bad and please go into the app and cancel the transaction and all my money would be refunded back to me. Here is a copy of the Airbnb messages between the two of us:

Konstantinos: Good morning! I am very happy that you will stay in my house! Can we set an appointment there at 14:30, because the house has to be cleaned and ready for you. Is it ok with you? Also consider that you need about two hours to get to the center from the metro. Waiting for your response and I will send you all the information about how to come here and check in! All the best, Kostas.

Me: I am sorry but my credit card didn’t go through and we booked with someone else.

Konstantinos: Okay, but I still see that you booked with me. Are you sure you cancelled? Because if not, your credit card is going to be charged. All the best, Kostas.

Me: Can you please release the charge? We tried to book with you and an error stated I could not book because the dates were not available.

Konstantinos: I cannot cancel the charge because I have penalties on my status from Airbnb. You have to cancel the reservation. Please try to do it and message me. Thank you.

Me: I will call Airbnb.

Me: I will text you back with an update.

Konstantinos: Okay, but please try to do it quickly to avoid charges and also it looks like the place is booked now. It is not good for me. Thank you.

Me: Yes, I know it is showing booked; that is why the system said my dates were not available to book, and my credit card was still charged. I did cancel but my money has not been released. My bank said you can release the authorization hold on my credit card.

Konstantinos: As i told you, you have to cancel. If I cancel, I will have penalties on my Airbnb status. After you cancel I will refund you, don’t worry. But if you don’t cancel ASAP I will lose money because the place looks like it is booked. Please cancel ASAP. Thank you.

Konstantinos: Did you contact Airbnb?

Me: No. I did go in and cancel the booking, so I will go back and recheck.

Me: Okay, see if it is canceled now.

Konstantinos: I just refunded the whole amount, 170 euros. Thank you and maybe next time!

You canceled this reservation

You will receive a full refund of $216 based on Konstantinos’s Strict cancellation policy.

You should expect to receive this amount in your VISA 9205 account by Thu, Oct 06.

However, I was only refunded $217.00 (didn’t include the service fee) and the very next day I was charged another $244.00 on my credit card again. I have tried endlessly to have the wrong corrected but haven’t had any success. Can anyone help or give me some suggestions on this matter?

Airbnb Canada Does Not Have Your Back

We paid the full cost of renting (or rather, trying to rent) a condo in Toronto. After delays – hours after the check in time – we were told via text to proceed to the unlocked condo. It was immediately obvious that the condo was not fit for occupancy: there was wet paint still on the walls, splattered paint over most floors, painted wall light switches, and painting around wall pictures. The stove was filthy, there was dirt in several corners, closet doors were missing, and the list goes on. Airbnb had to intervene and finally stated that we could have given the owner time to fix these deficiencies. The owner refunded part (less than half) of the rent. There was no further refund from the owner and a refund from Airbnb for the service fee, about $95 Canadian and a whopping $50 Canadian for future bookings. Pathetic!

Airbnb Almost Ruined our Honeymoon

My wife and I wanted to go to the Virginia mountains for our honeymoon. We had never used Airbnb before but thought that we would give it a try and rented a cabin. When we arrived we found the place to be only partially cleaned from the previous guests, we couldn’t get any of the heaters to work, and there were parts of the cabin completely off limits due to renovations (that was not stated anywhere in the listing). We spoke with the host and they said that they were sending over the maid. After waiting for 45 minutes we felt like we were being robbed of the first day of our honeymoon. We hadn’t seen the maid yet, and we couldn’t help but think about what else might not be clean in the house that we haven’t yet discovered and can’t be easily seen (like bed sheets).

A few more phone calls to the host and finally I was offered to either get a full refund or to find another one of their cabins to be set up. Although we thought the offer for a refund was considerate, we found ourselves in an unfamiliar secluded mountain town with night approaching. We had no idea where we would stay or even how far the next hotel was. We opted to take a look at the other cabins they had available but we had issues with the wifi and barely had any cell phone reception. After a road trip looking for somewhere we could sit to get some Internet connectivity, we browsed their listings but couldn’t find anything comparable to what we had except for one. However, it was slightly more expensive and would have cost a total of about $100 more total for our stay there. We called the host back to inform them of our selection but explained that we weren’t interested in handing over more money, even if it was only $100; we weren’t very confident in their hospitality thus far.

The host was not willing to work with us on the extra cost, so we opted for a full refund and spent the rest of our night searching for where we would stay during our trip. Luckily we still had a great time, but never got our refund until our entire honeymoon was over and we had made several more phone calls. Even then we didn’t receive a full refund, as it was short $124. The host explained that this was because Airbnb’s cut of the deal was $124 and that I would have to take it up with them to get that back. So a few back and forth emails happen and eventually, I’m offered the $124 refund from Airbnb. However, they were sure to let me know that this was a one-time courtesy and not to expect it in the future because these funds are “what Airbnb uses to cover their business expenses.” I’m glad I got the refund, but I’m astounded that they believe that it would be acceptable to justify charging any amount of money to a client when the only service they were provided was absolute inconvenience. Save your money and your time and use another service.

Nest of Thieves: Airbnb’s New Policy Costs Me

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions expressed by AirbnbHell.com users do not necessarily reflect those of the Airbnb Hell staff.  That being said, we will continue to provide a free and uncensored platform for all of our contributors to share their Airbnb related stories, opinions, and experiences.

I’m a pensioner, an old lady who can’t afford to be ripped off by Airbnb. I had booked a holiday in the UK. I paid for it in full and was due to take it in November 2016. Then I received an email from Airbnb saying that everyone who uses their website will need to sign their Equality Commitment. I could agree to almost all of it, but though I have no property to let out, I could not agree to let out a room in my home to a gay couple. I have no problems renting from a gay couple. But as gay marriage is against my religious principles, I just cannot sign it. I was able to get a refund for the actual holiday but not for the service charge. I’m an old lady and can’t afford to lose that service charge. I would understand if they had told me before I paid my money out, that this is the way it’s going to be. That would have been fair. But this isn’t even legal! Never mind fair. They state that any bookings I already have will be cancelled if I don’t sign. You can’t do that! But they have done that. They have ripped off this old lady and robbed her blind. Why are they allowed to get away with it?