A guest made a booking with our establishment on June 2nd, 2018. On June 27th, due to unforeseeable circumstances, I had to cancel the booking. I received the following message from Airbnb:
“You canceled ………… reservation ……… has been fully refunded. Learn more about host cancellation.”
On June 28th, I received an email from Airbnb pausing my listings as well as a message informing me that a penalty fee of $50 would be deducted from my next booking. So they acknowledged my cancellation.
On July 5th at around 15:00, the guest and her husband arrived at our premises. Apparently they had received no notification of the cancellation and furthermore had most certainly not been refunded as had been advised by Airbnb on June 27th. The guests double checked their banking records and reconfirmed that no refund had been made by Airbnb.
We tried to find them alternate accommodation in the area, but unfortunately could not find anything available that was decent and affordable at short notice. Since my tenant had to delay her occupation date from July 1st to July 8th due to handover issues at her work, I was thankfully in a position to accommodate the stranded couple.
What we are trying to establish from Airbnb is the following: will the guest be refunded as should have happened through Airbnb, and if so when, so that guest can pay me directly? I was still liable for a cancellation penalty of $50. Will Airbnb reinstate this booking so that I may expect payment from Airbnb today, since the guests checked in yesterday (penalty fees will obviously be waved)?
I find this entire debacle extremely frustrating as the guests were totally unaware of the cancellation and therefore stranded on arrival; from my side I did everything correctly in terms of cancelling the booking and I accepted that I would be liable for penalty costs, but my heart goes out to this couple who were totally left in the dark. Where is Airbnb’s commitment to guests and where is the follow through in terms of cancellations?
Surely refunds should be made immediately so that guests have the funds available to make an alternate booking? One would assume that the $50 penalty fee borne by the host would cover the extra admin involved in refunding the guest as well as covering commissions lost to Airbnb. I have tried to email Airbnb’s CEO, COO, Operations Manager as well as First Line Contact and all emails have bounced back as their server considers my email address to be spam. I most certainly do not have the time or financial resources to sit on a telephone for hours at international rates to sort this matter. The entire system is email based, so we can’t speak to a live body through emails where we will also obviously have a paper trail.