Although it’s written in the small print, this crazy wasn’t obvious as the time of booking!  Here’s the story:

I found a collection of cottages/barns for a family New Year’s Eve celebration for 20 people in late December, 2016. As we are such a large group, an early booking had to be made to guarantee the properties. What I didn’t realize was that rather than taking a deposit for confirmation (as has been the case with EVERY other booking I have ever made), the entire sum was collected immediately!  I certainly wouldn’t have completed the booking had I known that nearly £4000 was going to be absorbed into the Airbnb coffers almost a year before the holiday date. It’s disgusting that as well as their [undeserved % of total] fee, this sum is earning Airbnb interest, – the funds aren’t sent to the property owner until the date for which the holiday is booked, unbelievable!

So, unless you are ready to part with your hard earned cash, be aware that no deposit is taken and you’re liable immediately for the full sum.