AirBnB COVID-19 cancellation policy

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Apr 6, 2020
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My problem is that it seems that I cancelled my trip too early to qualify for AirBnb's "extenuating circumstances COVID 19 policy" which offers a full refund for qualifying trips.
This expanded policy was announced March 30 and covers from March 14-May 31 travel. Prior to that, the policy announced March14 only covered trips with check in dates after May 31, 2020. That just doesn't seem right! I have been communicating with AirBnb's support team (last message was from a manager). I am seeking help with knowing how to escalate this further to AirBnb, or opinions about whether to pursue it. Has this happened to anyone else? (Trip details below)
Thanks in advance!
Julianne
:cool:

I booked a property in Colorado Springs on January 12, 2020 and paid $551.10. for travel dates April 24-28, 2020 to attend an event at the Air Force Academy. I cancelled March 14, 2020. The event I was attending at the US Air Force Academy was cancelled on that date due to Covid 19--in fact the entire base was/is closed to visitors at this time. I received a refund of $85.64 on March 14 (the AirBnB fees) and was issued a coupon for credit for $115.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
The airlines are doing the same thing - if you canceled before they changed policy, they are charging cancellation fees. Too many people rushed instead of sitting out and waiting to see what would happen.

We have company contacts on our Company Contacts page. You can try contacting them with those contacts and here is how to write:

 
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Nov 22, 2019
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It is not your right to get a full refund so I would suggest not using any of these words (you should refund me, it is my right, etc...) and write a polite email asking for a favor clearly and explaining your situation.

I succeeded with Spirit Airlines (to get a voucher with no fees for 1 year instead of 60 days with fees) but AirBnB is different, they didn't rent you anything. I guess a full refund would mean that the owner of the home you rented should agree to refund the money. Can you work with him/her directly to get a partial refund, or a credit for a future stay? The reason I don't like AirBnB is that it is not a "nice owner sharing a room for a local experience", it is mainly what I call illegal undeclared hotels so they might not care at all and just want the money.
 
Sep 23, 2019
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What was the cancellation policy for the property you booked?
They all vary depending on the host/owner.
The strictest policy provides a 10% discount but is non-refundable no matter what the circumstances.
 
May 5, 2020
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Prior to Airbnb announcing their COVID-19 specific Extenuating Circumstances policy on March 14, they had a regular EC policy already in place. That EC policy offered full refunds for such things as travel restrictions and epidemics. The only difference is that pre March 14, it was supposed to require documentation and post March 14, it was supposed to cover everyone. I had a trip booked for April 3-10. I cancelled my trip on March 13, not knowing that they were coming out with a "new" policy the next day. Therefore, my trip should have been covered under "epidemic" because the WHO declared a pandemic on March 11. Airbnb is still fighting me on this saying my cancellation fell outside the "COVID" policy. However, the travel dates clearly fell within and the original EC policy should have covered an epidemic for a cancellation on March 13. They are making it extremely difficult for their guests who have been impacted by this virus.
 

Dwayne Coward

Administrator
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Director
Apr 13, 2016
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St. Louis
Prior to Airbnb announcing their COVID-19 specific Extenuating Circumstances policy on March 14, they had a regular EC policy already in place. That EC policy offered full refunds for such things as travel restrictions and epidemics. The only difference is that pre March 14, it was supposed to require documentation and post March 14, it was supposed to cover everyone. I had a trip booked for April 3-10. I cancelled my trip on March 13, not knowing that they were coming out with a "new" policy the next day. Therefore, my trip should have been covered under "epidemic" because the WHO declared a pandemic on March 11. Airbnb is still fighting me on this saying my cancellation fell outside the "COVID" policy. However, the travel dates clearly fell within and the original EC policy should have covered an epidemic for a cancellation on March 13. They are making it extremely difficult for their guests who have been impacted by this virus.
This falls under their "Special Review" provision of the normal extenuating circumstances provision. The result of this review is the COVID19 extenuating circumstance policies they came out with, starting March 14th. Unfortunately, they are sticking to these provisions and only providing relief based on those policies.

All you can do is ask for an exception, but so far we have not seen them agree to one in this case.

 
May 5, 2020
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This falls under their "Special Review" provision of the normal extenuating circumstances provision. The result of this review is the COVID19 extenuating circumstance policies they came out with, starting March 14th. Unfortunately, they are sticking to these provisions and only providing relief based on those policies.

All you can do is ask for an exception, but so far we have not seen them agree to one in this case.


Looking on the Airbnb Community forum for hosts, there are numerous messages posted similar to the one below where they did issue refunds to guests caught before their special March 14 announcement. Of course, the hosts are complaining about it. But, it has been done. I am not sure how Airbnb is deciding who is worthy of a refund.

From the host forum:

Until yesterday it was bad, now it is getting worse. Guests who canceled their trip (check-in between March 14th - April 14th) BEFORE March 14th were still subject to the regular cancellation policy, in my case strict. These cancellations were still paid out normally, in my specific case a booking for about EUR 2,200 with check-in date on March 15th, canceled on March 13th. As mentioned, I have received the full payment, but now I discovered in my transaction history that I have to repay this money. New payouts are simply retained until the amount is reached.



Meaning: airbnb has now also begun to refund legal cancellation fees to guests retroactively.



PLEASE CHECK YOUR TRANSACTION OVERVIEW



I wrote my concern to the airbnb support with an urgent request for clarification. I have not received an answer in days.



Does anyone know if that is legally possible? How can I defend myself?



Thank you for your help.

Per this article linked below, it seems like they are responding when the media gets involved:
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/07/airbnb-guests-complain-its-hard-to-get-coronavirus-refunds.html
 

Dwayne Coward

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Apr 13, 2016
848
1,343
93
St. Louis
Looking on the Airbnb Community forum for hosts, there are numerous messages posted similar to the one below where they did issue refunds to guests caught before their special March 14 announcement. Of course, the hosts are complaining about it. But, it has been done. I am not sure how Airbnb is deciding who is worthy of a refund.

From the host forum:

Until yesterday it was bad, now it is getting worse. Guests who canceled their trip (check-in between March 14th - April 14th) BEFORE March 14th were still subject to the regular cancellation policy, in my case strict. These cancellations were still paid out normally, in my specific case a booking for about EUR 2,200 with check-in date on March 15th, canceled on March 13th. As mentioned, I have received the full payment, but now I discovered in my transaction history that I have to repay this money. New payouts are simply retained until the amount is reached.



Meaning: airbnb has now also begun to refund legal cancellation fees to guests retroactively.



PLEASE CHECK YOUR TRANSACTION OVERVIEW



I wrote my concern to the airbnb support with an urgent request for clarification. I have not received an answer in days.



Does anyone know if that is legally possible? How can I defend myself?



Thank you for your help.

Per this article linked below, it seems like they are responding when the media gets involved:
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/07/airbnb-guests-complain-its-hard-to-get-coronavirus-refunds.html
I could just depend on the individual circumstances of each case. Not knowing the details of what the individual consumer provided as documentation, it is impossible to determine why the company found in their favor. For example, if someone actually contracted COVID19, then that could be grounds for an exception.
 

Dwayne Coward

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Apr 13, 2016
848
1,343
93
St. Louis
Per this article linked below, it seems like they are responding when the media gets involved:
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/07/airbnb-guests-complain-its-hard-to-get-coronavirus-refunds.html
Yes, they were at the beginning, but as they are receiving thousands of these requests now, they are responding by directing media to their COVID19 policies. Michelle and Chris have written a number of stories to help consumers on this:

https://www.elliott.org/answers/coronavirus-travel-questions-guide/
https://www.elliott.org/answers/coronavirus-fears-cancel-your-vacation-guide/
https://www.elliott.org/travel-tips/coronavirus-will-travel-insurance-cover/
https://www.elliott.org/answers/coronavirus-panic-dont-cancel-future-travel-now/