Unreasonable Deposit Taken by Airbnb Host

I have had two Airbnb experiences. Both were a nightmare, but the second was the worst. I cancelled an Airbnb eight weeks prior to my stay and the host still kept my deposit. It is the most unfair practice ever. Even hotels allow you to cancel up to 48 hours prior to your stay. Eight weeks. The host had plenty of time to re-rent the suite, so he basically stole $300 from me for the deposit. He was unresponsive and I think that Airbnb should be shut down.

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


  1. We found out the hard way as well that some AirBnB hosts are dishonest and will pocket deposits for cancellations while re-renting the place.

    Unfortunately AirBnB is complicit in this crooked behavior.

    We no longer use it and have dissuaded many friends and associates from using it as well.

  2. There are NO DEPOSITS charged or taken on the Airbnb platform. You agreed when making your booking that you had read, and agreed with, the Host’s Cancelation Policy.

  3. BTW calling BS on the full disclosure of “provided 8 week notice”.
    1. Cancellation notice should always be done through Airbnb FIRST then the Management company.
    2. Airbnb cancellation policies are strict, moderate, flexible. Strict offers no refund, moderate refund if cancelled more than 5 days prior, flexible if more than 24 hours prior. There isn’t one that only provides 50% refund at 8 weeks. You either signed a supplemental agreement with the property management company or cancelled less than 5 days prior to your reservation. The third option is you booked under strict and the host gifted you a partial refund.

  4. Yet again, another guest on Airbnb assumed it worked like a hotel. It is not. Each host can have different rules for their rental (again NOT a hotel). The host cannot keep your deposit. Due to the cancellation policy, Airbnb paid the host the amount of the rental to which they were entitled with a last minute cancellation..

    Also you don’t know how long it takes to rebook a listing. It depends upon the market and if the rental is in a “fly to” destination like Hawaii (almost no last minute rentals there). I have a beach property that I probably couldn’t re-book with less than 7 days notice

  5. It is obvious that this anonymous posting is more of an attack on AIrbnb than an attempt to tell the story or even warn people of a real problem. As a host I always wonder how many guests are illiterate, or maybe just so lazy that they refuse to read anything before entering an agreement and then complain it is not what they thought? Some how they expect that an unknown agreement will meet all their expectations that are not even defined in their own mine other than “reasonable things”.

    An example of this kind of lazy, pathetic behavior was with a Swiss guest I had a couple years back. This guest somehow had “expectations” that I was located on an open beach with no trees or shade. My listing title actual lists Redwoods (at type of forest) and all of the outside pics on the listing show these amazing tress. Even the inside pics show these trees in the windows, as we try to show the views. So even an illiterate (maybe using another language) person should be able to figure this out! Even after I pointed out his error he refused to correct his review or call airbnb since “he expected a different type of landscape”.

    Most of our guests are amazing people from all over the world ….. but there will always be idiots and people that are just miserable ( relationship, self, or not able to be with family) and blame the host for it!

    Lessons to learn:
    1.)Do not expect to have your special expectation satisfied on an international platform used by many countries/cultures for services!

    2.)AIrbnb is a rental platform and not like a standard hotel (if that exists globally). Actually you pay a huge fee for any branded service that might give you “consistent, standardized boring services” on the corporate level. Airbnb is more about meeting locals and learning what it is like to live in a particular place or culture in the world, as well as one individuals home.

    3.)Basic concepts like deposit vs booking fee are confused by the airbnb user. Deposites are more for damage deposits and completely refundable. Booking costs (prepayed) are only refundable depending on the type of “refund policy” as in flexible, strict and other types. This would require that you be able to read those policies as you book, that are listed on the “purchase page” as you press the button.

    4.)This review is questionable, since they blame a host for AIrbnb policy/setting and appear to have never stayed with the host! They mention nothing about the “1st experience” as to why it was a “nightmare”.

    5.)Remember a host is reserving dates for 1 house or room. They typically lose all the money for that date even if you cancel 30 or 60 days before. It is not like a hotel where that might just lose 1% of accommodations for that night, and pickup a last minute stay at a higher price. The host still takes a big loss even with “strict” refund policy of 50% for 7day before stay date cancellations. If host happens to be able to re-book it just mean they are covering some of the 50% cancellations! They also have to cover for the guests that abuse the system by putting holds on funds for 2-3months using “dispute process rights” when they are defaulting on the agreement!

    I almost understand how airbnb has removed much of customer service when having to deal with a guest/user like this. The problem is when a real issue happens that is NOT in the listing or how airbnb explains the 48hr cancel period to appear like a 14day before reservation date 100% refund. Both of these items started in the last couple years.

    Airbnb has many problems … lets focus on the real ones!

  6. Hotelerie is a profession. If you choose this hosting site , you are being most likely welcomed by amateurs. Although hotels/motels are more expensive at times compared to Airbnb, you are protected by jurisprudence that are overseen and inspected often with high standards of professionalism. Even a rating system which can be changed yearly.

    I was also ripped off. Sorry, for your stressful situation.


  7. I have several hotel bookings for the next months that will not be refunded if I cancel. If I get ill, my travel insurance will cover them.

    All Airbnb bookings list the cancelling policies cleaarly, you have to acknowledege that you have read and understood them to complete the booking.

  8. A host’s cancellation policy is well stated in listing. I suggest you read it in the future before booking.

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