I am here to share my experience I had with Airbnb today. Firstly, my reservation was cancelled and I found out that it was cancelled on the day I landed in Japan. The day before my departure, I had checked the Airbnb app and the status was still confirmed. I didn’t expect that it had been cancelled nor did the host tell me upon my arrival; it showed it was cancelled after checking with the host.
Here is where the problem starts to get worse. I did not know that there is a policy that forbids a third party to book on behalf of someone (my reservation was booked by my brother). Please note that for my Japan trip I had also booked two different places and the other hosts had no issues with my brother booking on my behalf. My brother had called, checked with the Airbnb support team, and was told that the reservation was cancelled by them because of the typhoon.
Their only means of informing to us was just an email that indicated that the amount was refunded. Everyone might be wondering why no one checked the email. The reason is simple: everything was done on the Airbnb app. In the app the reservation was still confirmed and the host had not messaged or informed us in regards to the cancellation.
Because of this predicament, we were desperate to find another place to stay as it was already late at night. My brother and I did not know about the third party booking and proceeded to find another place to stay on the day itself. This is where my brother’s RM 5,200 (approximate 1,200 USD) was flushed down the drain as the booking was made without knowing that the host rejected it and insisted that we had violated the Airbnb rules.
The host asked us to cancel the booking on our own (my brother was very suspicious of the host’s unwilling-to-help behaviour) and read the cancellation policy. Needless to say, once my brother clicked “cancel”, it would be another reason for the host to use it against us, because the guest cancelled the booking. We did asked the host to refund us back the amount since we had not even stayed and explained our predicament to the host. However, the host chose not to refund us at all, knowing our predicament and the fact I have never even set foot at his home. We checked with Airbnb support and all they can do is to try to convince the host to refund the money to us; still, the host does not want to.
The violation here is because my brother is the one who booked on my behalf, and the information given to the host is accurate (passport picture, passport number, name, age, occupation, home address), if they want to they should only suspend or terminate my brother’s account. They refused and the host refused to refund my brother the full amount for a place that we did not stay. The host also confirmed the reservation before my brother was able to communicate about our predicament to allow me to find a place to stay; then he only told us that it was a violation, refused to refund anything, and stopped communicating with us.
Please do not hate me for posting this. My intention is to let you know what I faced using Airbnb and how the policy could be a loophole that could cause you to waste your money. Once you are booked, the payment will be immediately sent to the host, which I really find ridiculous – the host should check everything about the guests who are staying then proceed to confirm the reservation.
The refund policy was not even protected, especially in my case where there should be a policy or a means to get my refund. All in all, there is definitely a way to at least get my brother to stay in the place, maybe by getting me to create an account and book it again, but the host and Airbnb support did not even bothered to assist, but would rather see my brother’s money go down the drain. I will not use Airbnb anymore and I would strongly suggest using another platform.