Unhappy About Airbnb’s Refund Policy

We reserved a place seven months ahead of time and our credit card were charged for half of the total cost. Five months before the original arrival date, we found that we no longer needed the accommodations due to an unexpected medical event, and proceeded to cancel.

To our dismay, we were charged with a service fee of $130. This seems to be exorbitant as there did not seem to be any significant service provided. It was indicated there would be a full refund if you cancelled and we assumed there would be a full refund for such an early cancellation (they will have no trouble whatsoever in getting a new renter).

Needless to say, we are unhappy with Airbnb and will think twice before using them again. The service fees are outrageous.

Posted in Airbnb Guest Stories and tagged , , , , , .


  1. I canceled my Sedona AZ reservation “Casita De Burch” 30 days prior to arrival. I was told by Barbara that if she rented it out she would refund my money. She was able to successfully re-rent and when I asked for a refund, even just 50% she said she had to go through a lot extra work to rebook it so screw me. When I called them a gentleman explained to me that I don’t get 50% of my deposit, I would get 50% of the entire amount; thereby negating my deposit so I get nothing. Yep, I didn’t read the fine print. It’s not clearly stated on her listing. I learned the hard way. The hosts can steal your money and have no integrity and no one cares but you. Bottom line, read the fine print and don’t believe anything Barbara at Casita De Burch in Sedona Arizona says.

    • Hello Lisa,

      I am currently investigating if Airbnb broke any consumer protection laws in this instance. Can you contact me at my personal e-mail please (phlin@sfu.ca)?

      Thank you

  2. The fees associated with cancelling a reservation are stated. In general, Airbnb will refund the service fees if you cancel within the first 48 hours after making the reservation. The host also pays a 3% Airbnb service fee.

    Also if you book a rental with a strict cancellation policy (no refunds), if you cancel your reservation within the first 48 hours after making the reservation, you will receive a refund of the rental.

    If you must cancel under a strict or moderate cancellation policy, always communicate with the host that you hated to cancel & would they consider a partial refund if they are able to re-book the rental. Some hosts will work with you. The host can’t do anything about the Airbnb fees.

  3. They advertise 100% refund, but charged me $25 for a reservation made 4 months ahead and canceled within 2 weeks. That is NOT 100%. Deceitful advertising.

  4. I had the same experience recently. I rented a house in Bishop, California for the last week of March. Because there is 40 feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada Mountains water is being released from all resivoirs at a very high rate in anticipation of snow melt.

    I canceled my reservation 4 weeks in advance of the stay because the river will be overflowing its banks by the end of March.
    I made a down payment of $581.44. At the time of cancelation I received $448.57. That left $132.87 that I was not refunded.

    I contacted AirBnB. Through a series of email messages I was informed that if I did not cancel within 4 days of my initial reservation I would be charged an administative fee.

    OK. I asked how the $132.87 fee was calculated. I was directed to information in there help pages that states they can charge from 2% to 29% of the total fee.

    My total fee was $1030.00. So a fee of $132.87 = 13%. There is no explanation of how they decided that 13% was what I should be charged.

    So as the person above stated I will be very careful if I ever use Airbnb again. I will be using VRBO.COM from now on.

    • Hello Joseph,

      I am currently investigating if Airbnb broke any consumer protection laws in this instance. Can you contact me at my personal e-mail please (phlin@sfu.ca)?

      Thank you

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