Airbnb Deposit Refund

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May 23, 2020
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On December 26, 2019, our family booked an Airbnb reservation for a family wedding at Secluded Cabin with Breathtaking Views-Pool Access in Sevierville, Tennessee, hosted by Pamela for 4 nights (Thursday, July 16, 2020-Monday, July 20, 2020). Confirmation code: xxxxx. Because of Covid, the vendors for the wedding have cancelled, thus the wedding has been cancelled. I messaged Pamela the circumstances, and she said that she had a strict 48 hour cancellation policy (after reservation is made) so she would not agree to a refund of our deposit of $895.35. In one of her communication emails on 5/1/20, she stated "It is not in the written Airbnb policy, however if your time of cancellation allows for your reservation dates to rebook I always submit a full refund on my side". (I have the full response saved but didn't know how to copy it onto this form. I am 63 and very technologically challenged.) On 5/3/20, I looked at her site and saw that she had re-booked, July 16, 17, 18. I contacted her for a refund since she has obviously received a deposit from another family for those nights, but she refused and has now stopped communicating with me. At the time of cancellation, Airbnb allowed me to request a $650.00 refund from her, but she denied it. I offered to just take the $650.00 instead of the entire deposit of $895, but she refuses to respond.


*moderators note: added narrative from submission.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Sep 23, 2019
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Is the message where she agrees to a partial deposit refund in your AirBnB messages so an AirBnB Customer Service person could see it?

I looked up the Listing and if I found the same one, it appears the Host has only rented out 2 of the 4 nights in question.
So technically the Host would only be refunding you 50% at this time if she stuck by her own stated policy.

The $895 "deposit" you paid appears to be a split payment which was offered to you when you booked. AirBnB gives the option to split a payment when you book or pay the full amount in advance. If you did split the payment, the first one would be Higher than the second payment due as the first payment would include AirBnB's Service Fee as well as any Taxes. If you were entitled to a 50% "refund", or even a full refund, it would not include the Service Fee or the Taxes.

The fact that she only re-booked 2 of the 4 days may be why she is not refunding as she stated. Also you should not expect to get a refund before the new Guests have stayed and the Host has been paid. Those "new" Guests may also cancel for some reason which would mean the dates would remain unbooked. For that reason I think you should sit tight and wait for now.

This cancellation occurs JUST outside of AirBnB's current COVID-19 cancellation policy which ends July 15.
That being said, it may be worth it for you to save your records and check back to see if AirBnB extends their cancellation policy again, if they do, you would have better recourse for a full refund.
AirBnB has been extending their COVID-19 cancellation policy roughly every 2 weeks now since sometime in April. It is entirely possible they will do it again and when they do, that would mean your cancellation would fall under their new guidelines. You may just have to wait a bit and see what happens.
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May 23, 2020
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This is regarding Confirmation:xxxxxxxx
7/16/20 - 7/20/20 in Sevierville, TN

I have contacted Airbnb regarding the cancellation of this booking again. Their extenuating circumstances policy has now been extended through 7/31/20. My trip was scheduled for 7/16-7/20. Additionally, the host has now re-booked all of the dates of my original reservation. But I received the following response from Airbnb. I do not understand why I do not qualify for a refund of my deposit. I would really appreciate your help.



This is Hazel from Airbnb, and I hope that you are keeping well. Apologies for the delay in getting back to you. We are currently experiencing an unusually high volume of requests.

Thank you for taking the time to contact us. Our current COVID-19 extenuating circumstances policy covers hosts and guests who have eligible reservations and takes into account official guidance from relevant governmental and health authorities, including the World Health Organization.

At this time, your booking is not covered under our COVID-19 related extenuating circumstances, and the host’s cancellation policy will apply as usual.

Any refund outside your host’s cancellation policy would be at their discretion, and if you haven’t already, we strongly advise you to reach out to your host through the message thread and explain your situation. If your host agrees on additional refund, you can directly request it in the Resolution Center. I'll reach out to your host to communciate about the full refund and will update you afterwards. You can read more regarding canceling a reservation due to coronavirus (COVID-19) here: airbnb.com/help/article/2728

Airbnb will continue to monitor the official guidance, and will be updating our policy to ensure the safety and well-being of our community. You can continue to check for updates to our COVID-19 extenuating circumstances policy page here:

airbnb.com/help/article/2701

I highly appreciate your understanding and patience in regard to this matter and if you have more concern or clarification do not hesitate to contact us again.

All the best

Edited by moderator to remove confirmation number
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Last edited by a moderator:

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,469
23,434
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
When did you book this? Did you cancel your reservation before the Covid policy was extended? What was the cancellation policy when you booked- as it nonrefundable?

If you canceled before Airbnb extended the Covid policy, you aren’t due a refund. And they aren’t necessarily refunding even for those within their policy- they are issuing future credits.
 
Sep 9, 2018
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In one of her communication emails on 5/1/20, she stated "It is not in the written Airbnb policy, however if your time of cancellation allows for your reservation dates to rebook I always submit a full refund on my side".
Did she write this via the Airbnb platform? If so, I would pursue this avenue instead of the extenuating circumstances/Covid-19 one.

As others have said, you are not due a refund because you cancelled before their policy went into effect. But, if you have in writing that the owner would grant you a refund if she rebooked your dates (and it appears that she did), perhaps that is the angle you should pursue?
 
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May 23, 2020
3
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This is regarding Airbnb reservation at Secluded Cabin with Breathtaking Views in Sevierville, Tennessee, hosted by Pamela for 4 nights (Thursday, 7/16/20 to Monday, 7/20/20) Confirmation code:xxxxxxxx. Reservation was booked on 12/26/19. Because of Covid, the family wedding we were attending was cancelled by vendors. I contacted both Airbnb and the host for a refund of my $895.35 deposit. The host said I could cancel the reservation, and if she re-booked it, she would refund my deposit (see attachment with her email). I cancelled on 5/3/20, and carefully watched the reservation calendar for this location. All nights were subsequently booked (see attachment). Airbnb had also communicated to me that their Covid policy at the time of cancellation only extended through June 1, 2020, but that I could continue to monitor for extensions (see attachment from Airbnb). When the Covid extenuating circumstances was extended to 7/31/20, I reached out to Airbnb again, only to be told that I cancelled the reservation too early. Now, had I ‘gambled’, hoping that the policy would have been extended, I would have had to have paid the additional $895.00 and not have given the host very much time to have an opportunity to re-book. Airbnb said I could request a $650 refund again from the host, but she declined and told me I was harassing her because I was requesting a refund before the check-in date. I explained to her that Airbnb suggested that I request the refund, but I told her I would not contact her again until the check-out reservation date. When I requested, she declined again. I am truly devastated to have lost this money, but I am also confused as to who has pocketed my deposit. Does the host get the deposit plus the money for the rental from the new guests? Does Airbnb just get to keep all deposits of guests who cancel? This is Covid, an extenuating time, not a convenience cancellation.

Edited by moderator to remove confirmation number.
 

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Last edited by a moderator:

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,469
23,434
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
Unfortunately, you canceled too soon. If the Covid waiver at the time you canceled only was up to June 1, thats all they were waiving. They won’t retroactively apply it.

Regardless of what the owner told you, whatever the cancellation policy was when you booked was what your contract is for. Covid or not, there are thousands of others in your shoes who canceled too soon. We even writteabout several times:



Airbnb is simply not much more than an online want ad.

I would suggest asking the property owner if you could have a credit to stay at a later date.
 
Sep 23, 2019
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... I am also confused as to who has pocketed my deposit. Does the host get the deposit plus the money for the rental from the new guests? Does Airbnb just get to keep all deposits of guests who cancel?
The first payment you made included 50% of the Rental Fee, that goes to the Owner/Host.
Yes they keep that Rental Fee even if they re-rent the place.
The "Deposit" also includes the AirBnB "Service Fee". That goes to AirBnB.

If you have evidence that the Owner/Host offered to refund if the place was re-booked, but did not follow through, you have the option to sue them in Small Claims Court.
 
May 21, 2020
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near Charlotte, NC
If your initial payment included a cleaning fee, you should ask for that back. If you ever see yourself booking that cabin again, you could request credit for a future stay.

Your frustration is understandable but you booked a cabin with a strict cancellation policy so after the first 48 hrs, you were not eligible to get a full refund, regardless of the reason. Any refund is at the discretion of the host. Airbnb is not likely to get involved even if you have it in writing that she agreed to a refund outside of her cancellation policy in the listing. In that case, you can sue her in small claims court.