Let me start by saying I am a host and other people have cancelled on me before. I also use Airbnb to travel to other sites. It is currently April. I booked a trip for July for work back in January. However, funding for my trip was cancelled and I am no longer able to go on the trip. I wrote to the host and asked if she would be willing to cancel my trip and issue a full refund. She said, “Yes of course! Let me just figure out how!” So I waited and waited and later got notification that she acknowledged my cancellation and issued a refund of about 3/4 of the money she said she would. Meanwhile, Airbnb kept $70 of the original amount I paid, citing that they were “service fees” and, therefore, nonrefundable. A service rep wrote to congratulate me that the host refunded the room outside of the strict policy (less than she said she would refund). I responded asking to be refunded the $70 services fees. Back and forth, back and forth. And still the answer was “no, the service fees will not be refunded.” Note that it is early April and there are still over three months before my planned check-in date. As a host, I KNOW that the likelihood of re-booking is high. Airbnb has a valuation of billions of dollars and now I understand why: keeping money for services NOT rendered and unethically keeping any money they are able to process… simply because “you agreed to” when this caveat is written in fine print somewhere. The attitude reminds me of street vendors in 3rd world countries. I’m not opening a dispute with my credit card company and hoping to find an alternative to Airbnb to both host and locate other go-to destinations.
I had a guest who first said she was “uncomfortable”, then changed it to she “feared for her personal safety”.”She ended up saying she was about to have a panic attack and said she ran out of my house because she was “afraid for her personal safety”. She also said the last host who she told that she was “uncomfortable” just handed her money for a refund, and she wanted me to hand her cash, which I did not even have yet. These days if you’re lucky they pay on time, which means 24 hours after the guest checks in. Then I had to deal with an Airbnb “arbitrator” named Kevin T who did not seem to know what “Guest Refund Policy” was and kept dismissing what I was saying, and only listened to her side without giving me a chance to defend myself. In the end, he circumvented my cancellation policy, and yanked nearly $1500 from me. He told me on a recorded phone call that he would pay me for 3 days and paid me for less than 1. Now, the case is closed. I love the way they do something unconscionable and then say the case is closed. Oh yeah, their legal team was supposed to contact my lawyer but never did. No way to contact their legal team. I am thinking of contacting the American Arbitration Association. I wonder if Airbnb will ban me if I do that. I guess transparency and honesty will go out the window at that point.