Hoped to Go Back to Paris, Ended Up Out $400

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Like most folks, we were feeling lockdown blue in the late fall of 2020. Our family has traveled to Paris a few times over the years, so we thought we’d give it shot for a late March trip in the hope that the world would be a bit more open. We went big this year and planned a two-week trip and found a small apartment in Montmartre. A couple of airplane tickets and a great room booked, we felt a little light at the end of the lockdown tunnel.

Fast forward to this week. We had decided to start checking out things and making new arrangements, as needed, a month out. When I researched France’s current travel restrictions, it seemed obvious that we couldn’t go. With a bit of a sigh and consolation that we’d stay stateside, we proceeded to cancel our airline tickets (full value in an e-credit through Delta with no problems) and attempted to cancel our room.

I expected and would have been fine with a reasonable cost related to cancelling the room. No luck. Airbnb stated it was up to the host to refund the $400+ we had paid. The host denied the request and Airbnb (even after reaching out on Twitter) deferred to the original support contact.

Did Airbnb offer or suggest any other solution? No.

Did they agree to refund their fee (25% of the deposit)? No.

While many travel companies are working hard to care for people who are willing to travel, Airbnb imposes a policy that protects them and their hosts with no consideration for the travel restrictions. Perhaps the host will decide to show us some consideration and agree to some of his share being returned. Airbnb seems to be happy keeping their money and losing another customer after 10 trips since 2014.

Airbnb Host Will Not Allow Us to Reschedule

My family and I booked a home for five days in Sedona, Arizona through Airbnb. We were so excited to go and learned, after our booking, that our sons, who serve in the United States Army, could not travel due to COVID restrictions. We asked Airbnb to reschedule our date (they were very nice) but the policy, as they explained eventually — six emails and three calls later — states that the host ultimately decides if you can reschedule your trip or not. He would not allow us to reschedule our trip under any circumstances and thus we are out $2,800.

It amazes me that we were not informed of this policy prior to our booking and that we were told, due to COVID, we would be able to reschedule if needed. Ten of us are out of a family vacation, one that we were really looking forward to. Disappointed to say the least.

Airbnb Allows, Maybe Even Assists, in Fraud

I booked a place via Airbnb to stay at Shawnee Village Resort. I booked through Airbnb instead of via Craigslist, because I felt Airbnb would reduce my risks and provide assurances against anything irregular such as fraud. Even though I could have booked a lake front home near the Shawnee Village Resort for the same amount of money, I just felt uneasy booking with someone on Craigslist — does the house even exist? What guarantees do I have that they won’t pull a fast one and take my money or ruin my weekend? Booking through Craigslist, I have nothing to support me.

S0, I booked this two-bedroom place for three nights in order to get away for the long weekend. I booked it on Oct. 1 and it was confirmed for Oct. 9-12 by the host via Airbnb the same afternoon. Then on Oct. 8, he contacted me and said that “due to COVID restrictions” he was unable to provide us the first night and our RSVP needed to be amended to arrive on Saturday, so only giving us Oct. 10-12. That is not a long weekend get away.

He said that I could phone the resort and enquire about the COVID restrictions, which I did. I spoke with the property manager, who told me that no new restrictions have been put in place; they are operating under the same rules as when they reopened in July. She also told me that they have been “booked to capacity (which was limited to 75% since July) for this long weekend for more than two weeks.”

My point is, the host advertised and accepted a reservation from me for a property that he did not have at his disposal. It wasn’t available to be rented on Friday night, and instead of telling me that on Oct. 1 or any day in the last week (when I may have had better options) he waited until the last minute, knowing that I would be stuck and have no choice but to accept the shortened stay. He screwed me.

As if that’s not bad enough, Airbnb has done nothing to make this right by me. In trying to get a hold of anyone, their answers were late and didn’t even provide an answer as satisfactory as the solution (a discount) that I had already worked out with the host on my own.

What exactly am I paying Airbnb for? I would have been better booking on Craigslist. I hope they make some attempt to correct this. The host advertising a property that is not available is fraud. Airbnb enables him in committing that fraud.