AirBnB Cancellation & Refund

Old May 7th, 2020, 07:20 AM
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AirBnB Cancellation & Refund

Per the AirBnB article published on May 1, 2020, AirBnB is giving refunds for reservations made before March 14, 2020 with a check-in date between March 14, 2020 and June 15, 2020.
Due to pandemic, our flights have been cancelled for our central Europe trip starting on June 3, 2020. American Airlines provided full refund for all 7 travelers in our group.
I have an AirBnB Plus reservation in Vienna, Austria for June 7-9., with a strict cancellation policy. When I contacted the host, he said that he doesnít provide refunds due to the strict cancellation policy. Instead only changes are allowed or lost amount can be used for future bookings at the same place until Dec 2021.
Did anyone experience this situation? How would I go about this?
I paid half the amount and the rest is due on May 22.
I was able to cancel 3 other AirBnB stays, in Prague, Budapest, Salzburg, and received full refunds as they didnít have strict cancellation policy.
The article doesn't mention about strict policy:https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/...avirus-covid19
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Old May 7th, 2020, 08:23 AM
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AirBnB has made a few changes to their policy since I had to cancel reservations for April, but in my reading of their criteria, you should be able to get a full refund, provided you booked before March 14. As the host is not giving you a refund, you may need to ask AirBnB customer service to resolve your problem. I’ve marked the section of their policy which I believe supports your right to get a full refund. They aren’t distinguishing between categories of reservations (ie, flexible vs strict).

2 of the hosts I had booked with gave me refunds without the service fees, but AirBnB did take card of these fees after the initial refunds from the hosts came through. I did have to follow up th AIrBnB; the service fee refunds from Airbnb weren’t automatic.


Last edited by progol; May 7th, 2020 at 08:38 AM.
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Old May 7th, 2020, 08:45 AM
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Airbnb, of course, prefers that you accept a credit voucher. However, they will provide the refund so long as you provide some sort of documentation (their way of discouraging you). We provided our governor's stay at home order, but you should be able to provide your inability to travel, flights cancelled, borders closed, etc. As soon as we provided the document, we immediately received a full refund that one of our three hosts declined to provide. It is my understanding that if you go via airbnb customer service, your host will be provided a partial compensation from airbnb for their loss (which they probably would not get by providing you a refund directly). ◊
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Old May 7th, 2020, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by whitehall View Post
Airbnb, of course, prefers that you accept a credit voucher. However, they will provide the refund so long as you provide some sort of documentation (their way of discouraging you). We provided our governor's stay at home order, but you should be able to provide your inability to travel, flights cancelled, borders closed, etc. As soon as we provided the document, we immediately received a full refund that one of our three hosts declined to provide. It is my understanding that if you go via airbnb customer service, your host will be provided a partial compensation from airbnb for their loss (which they probably would not get by providing you a refund directly). ◊
@whitehall, Thanks so much for the info. Just now I called customer service. Waiting time to reach the rep(staff) was only 3 mins. I was asked the reason to cancel and recorded my voice for documentation. Then the rep cancelled my reservation and processed full refund which will reach back my credit card in 5-15 business days.
BTW, I contacted customer service by messaging earlier, but didnít get response. Calling on phone helped.

@progol, I reserved in Nov 2019..
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Old May 7th, 2020, 10:29 AM
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Interesting, I wonder under what legal grounds Airbnb can force people who supposedly are independent and just "sharing" their home to give refunds. Airbnb has always claimed they are not a hotelier nor in the housing business to escape legalities, they are just a "tech platform." I thought Airbnb was the one giving out refunds out of their own funds, of course, they could do that if they wanted to refund people. I suppose they could tell an owner who didn't refund that they weren't allowed to list on Airbnb any more.
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Old May 7th, 2020, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Christina View Post
Interesting, I wonder under what legal grounds Airbnb can force people who supposedly are independent and just "sharing" their home to give refunds. Airbnb has always claimed they are not a hotelier nor in the housing business to escape legalities, they are just a "tech platform." I thought Airbnb was the one giving out refunds out of their own funds, of course, they could do that if they wanted to refund people. I suppose they could tell an owner who didn't refund that they weren't allowed to list on Airbnb any more.
Airbnb doesn't pay hosts until after a guest checks in. So Airbnb is holding payments made by guests & can therefore give them back. Airbnb makes it's money on the booking fees which I suspect they're refunding, but it's a small percentage of the total paid.
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Old May 7th, 2020, 10:56 AM
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<<@progol, I reserved in Nov 2019..>>

Then you should have no problem.
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Old May 7th, 2020, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Christina View Post
Interesting, I wonder under what legal grounds Airbnb can force people who supposedly are independent and just "sharing" their home to give refunds. Airbnb has always claimed they are not a hotelier nor in the housing business to escape legalities, they are just a "tech platform." I thought Airbnb was the one giving out refunds out of their own funds, of course, they could do that if they wanted to refund people. I suppose they could tell an owner who didn't refund that they weren't allowed to list on Airbnb any more.
Airbnb, as with all travel brokers, has policies that apply to hosts and guests. As part of that, it has had an extenuating circumstances policy. That policy allows for cancellations and full refunds in the event of such things as death (of guest or host), necessary court appearances, even jury duty. Additionally, transportation disruptions where itís impossible to get to your destination have qualified. They even have a proviso related to natural disasters, terrorism and widespread epidemics, but these are considered on a case by case basis. So, arguably, hosts and guests have been covered by these policies all along, but airbnb put all bookings after March 14 on notice that Covid-19 would no longer qualify.
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Old May 7th, 2020, 02:01 PM
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In days gone by I've found Airbnb to have remarkably good customer service. In 1 instance my granddaughters & I arrived at our destination town & found the area engulfed in smoke from fires. I called Airbnb before going to our cabin & both they & the owner (ironically a firefighter) agreed that we should have a refund & head home. The company even reinstated a host bonus I'd used for partial payment. When hosting once I had a guest from China who'd booked for weeks & was causing difficulties. They arranged to relieve me of him for which I was very grateful.

So from my experiences I've found them to be an honorable company & suspect they'll do what's right to the best of their ability. I sincerely hope they survive this year. I suspect they will.
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Old May 7th, 2020, 03:20 PM
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Air BNB does have excellent customer service. They are operating like this in hopes that people will remember and consider rebooking with them.
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Old May 7th, 2020, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Lois2 View Post
Air BNB does have excellent customer service. They are operating like this in hopes that people will remember and consider rebooking with them.
They always operate like this in hopes that people will be regular users of the site, good for business always, not just in hard times. That's my point.
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Old May 7th, 2020, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by MmePerdu View Post
They always operate like this in hopes that people will be regular users of the site, good for business always, not just in hard times. That's my point.
Well I think most of the time the owners' penalties are enforced...but given the crisis situation they are going above and beyond and refunding it. It is in my opinion way beyond what they have to do...it will bring new customers...as someone who is sitting with a small hotel that refuses to refund I really appreciate the Air BNB business model as well as Booking.com. Sometimes booking direct backfires.
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Old May 7th, 2020, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Lois2 View Post
Well I think most of the time the owners' penalties are enforced...
Yes, true. When the reason for cancelling is no fault of the host. There was a sign in a small town lumber yard I once frequented that said, "Failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine." That kind of covers all kinds of faux emergencies that failures to plan may generate and Airbnb hosts should not have to refund a too-late cancellation in normal times. Unless a guest arrives and finds a dump, contrary to photos & descriptions. Then the company has the right & will step in & override hosts' chosen cancellation policies.

But at the moment we aren't talking about normal times. And the emergency isn't faux.
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Old May 8th, 2020, 04:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Lois2 View Post
Well I think most of the time the owners' penalties are enforced...but given the crisis situation they are going above and beyond and refunding it. It is in my opinion way beyond what they have to do...it will bring new customers...as someone who is sitting with a small hotel that refuses to refund I really appreciate the Air BNB business model as well as Booking.com. Sometimes booking direct backfires.
I am all for airbnb; they helped us get full refunds on three non-refundable deposits. But when it comes to hotels, there are many advantages to booking direct. In our case, we had two reservations for hotels through booking.com. One was non-refundable, but we noticed the hotel was providing full refunds to all customers who booked direct with them. The hotel told us we had to go through booking.com, and, initially booking.com balked, but we finally got them to make a request of the hotel. For the other one, a fully refundable one, booking.com passed us off to the hotel. The hotel ignored us. Booking.com then promised to make good on the refund within five days, and then booking.com stopped responding to us. After several weeks, they simply said we needed to contact the hotel. We resolved it by filing a successful chargeback request with our credit card, but I could have done that without wasting my time with a third party. Having owned a hotel, we are fully aware that ultimately the hotel expects you to go back to the third party agency to make sure that they won't make a refund AND still have to pay a commission as well. Sometimes the third party shows a lower price than the hotel may want to advertise on its own website. However, the hotel usually pays 10% of your room fee to the third party, so many hotels will match a price you see online from a third party and still come out better. So, for us, going forward, airbnb yes, booking.com, no.
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Old May 8th, 2020, 05:27 AM
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I am 100% direct booking traveler for airlines, hotels or any tour guide arrangements. And history has shown you are in a much better position to make changes, request certain room/location etc. The reason I mention Booking.com is that people on forums have posted excellent experiences in general (above is one exception) with Covid 19 and getting smaller hotels to refund. Many have reported booking.com going to bat for them and getting the money back. My own experience is small hotel refusal (am still working on this) and they admit if I have booked with booking.com they have had to refund those people. It was a refundable booking too. Have used Air BNB as some non hotel bookings are just simpler that way in terms of payment etc. and so far had good experiences.
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Old May 8th, 2020, 06:24 AM
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Originally Posted by MJJoe View Post
Did anyone experience this situation? How would I go about this?
I paid half the amount and the rest is due on May 22.
I was able to cancel 3 other AirBnB stays, in Prague, Budapest, Salzburg, and received full refunds as they didnít have strict cancellation policy.
The article doesn't mention about strict policy:https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/...avirus-covid19
Yes we experienced something similar. We had an AirBNB reservation in the Caribbean this past March which was booked sometime last year. The AirBNB host cancelled and refunded the full amount even though only cancelled a week or so before arrival date. The host ignored her own cancellation policy due to the extenuating circumstances. But if she didn't offer a refund and we lost money, I would not be asking the credit card company to intervene (my credit card company does not want anyone to contact them at the moment unless it is essential) nor AirBNB, I would claim through travel insurance. Voucher would have been fine too, with many businesses suffering losses and cashflow issues, a voucher would be helpful for them. If they go under and the voucher is lost, travel insurance might cover it else it would be a small loss to me.

We have another reservation end of July for another AirBNB, I'm not cancelling at this stage, the flights are still showing as operational, so we'll wait a bit longer to decide what to do.


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Old May 8th, 2020, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Odin View Post
Yes we experienced something similar. We had an AirBNB reservation in the Caribbean this past March which was booked sometime last year. The AirBNB host cancelled and refunded the full amount even though only cancelled a week or so before arrival date. The host ignored her own cancellation policy due to the extenuating circumstances. But if she didn't offer a refund and we lost money, I would not be asking the credit card company to intervene (my credit card company does not want anyone to contact them at the moment unless it is essential) nor AirBNB, I would claim through travel insurance. Voucher would have been fine too, with many businesses suffering losses and cashflow issues, a voucher would be helpful for them. If they go under and the voucher is lost, travel insurance might cover it else it would be a small loss to me.

We have another reservation end of July for another AirBNB, I'm not cancelling at this stage, the flights are still showing as operational, so we'll wait a bit longer to decide what to do.
Most of us have insurance that do not cover pandemics...so that is not an option. You are far more understanding that I might be if my cc company told me that during this critical time they don't want to be contacted???? That to me is strange. Both my AX and Visa have reassured me they are here for me right now should I need any help with hotel or airlines and Covid 19.
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Old May 9th, 2020, 06:18 AM
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I had an Air BnB reservation for next weekend (long weekend here in Canada) in Toronto with a strict cancellation policy. When I tried to cancel, the host refused to refund my deposit (over $500) stating that she was trying to keep her business afloat. I contacted customer service at Air BnB and they assigned me a customer service rep. At first I was having no luck as they required documentation. Well, all of the government websites stated that international travel and cruises were not recommended, but they never actually banned domestic travel, even though all their advertising, etc. said stay at home whenever possible.

Then, our Alberta government came out with their gradual re-opening plan, and it stated "Travel not recommended". I sent that to the Air BnB rep, and it did the trick. I was approved for a refund the same day. I still haven't seen a refund on my credit card, however.

The Air BnB extenuating circumstance policy currently goes to June 15, so I will have to wait a while to see if they extend it to October as I have reservations in Paris and Provence with strict cancellation policies. I may be out of luck for those deposits.
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Old May 9th, 2020, 09:13 AM
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I want to let you all know that I received full refund back to my credit card today. That's within 48 hours after I talked to customer service!
I'm very satisfied with AirBnB customer service that I received. Will use AirBnB for future travels. But, I'll try to avoid places with strict cancellation policy.
For other AirBnB stays, I had reservations with moderate/flexible cancellation policy. So, I was able to cancel easily & received full refunds without contacting customer service.
I also had hotel reservations in Germany through Expedia which I received full refund as I had reserved with flexible cancellation policy by paying $25 extra/night.
So, all cancellations are done & received full refunds.
1. American Airlines flight (from PHL to PRG, returning from MUN)
2. AirBnB stays
3. Hotel stays
4. Road trips
For the last several months, I've been meticulously planning our road trip in central Europe to visit Czech, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia & Germany. But Coronavirus had a different plan!
For me, planning a trip is as interesting as experiencing it. Even though this trip didn't materialize, I feel like I have been there.
Cheers!
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Old May 9th, 2020, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by MJJoe View Post
. . . I'm very satisfied with AirBnB customer service that I received. Will use AirBnB for future travels. But, I'll try to avoid places with strict cancellation policy. For other AirBnB stays, I had reservations with moderate/flexible cancellation policy. . .
I've found that often Airbnb hosts follow the lead of other hosts in their area/country in choosing their cancellation policies. For instance, in California where I live the more liberal policies tend to be prevalent, whereas in visits to Mexico often "strict" is the rule which narrows down the posibilities considerably for those of us who prefer the more lenient options. I've also found that because of a prevalence of "strict" in those places it has the unfortunate effect of seeming to give hosts permission to stretch the truth a bit when describing their property. I'm thinking of one in Oaxaca who described hers as quiet when in fact it was anything but. So I abandoned about 2 weeks-worth of rent to escape. As I left & told her why, her response was "Mexico is noisy!"

It's also remarkable to me that guest reviewers seem very reluctant to give negative feedback which would help in such circumstances. So now I add a survey of the neighborhood via Google Streetview to my due diligence when selecting where I book. Live & learn.
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