Airbnb refund declined by host

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May 18, 2020
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Due to COVID 19 travel restrictions, i needed to cancel my LA reservation. The host declined to refund my deposit, half the price of my stay. I went to the Resolution Center, the host declined a refund again. Are there any other steps that i can take?
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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What are the terms of your rental? Do you fall within the guidelines that airbnb has posted on their site regarding covid-19 cancellations? Please give us some more information so that we can assist you better.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
This is an unregulated industry and when push comes to shove, Airbnb is really only a want ad site and can’t force an owner to refund your money.

Please read this, it might help you understand where you stand, see #5.


You should try out company contact on our page for Airbnb and try writing to the executives, one at a time.

This is how to write:

 
May 18, 2020
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I do fall within Airbnb’s extenuating circumstances due to COVID19, travel dates were mid-April. Host has a strict cancellation policy. She declined the refund twice.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,052
23,012
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www.promalvacations.com
And you booked before March 13?

Did you follow these instructions?

How it works

If you’re a guest, you can find cancellation and refund options by going to the Trips page and choosing your trip—find out how. If you’re a host, you’ll find information in your hosting dashboard.
 
May 18, 2020
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My trip was confirmed on Feb 24, 2020.Travel dates were 4/20-4/25 I did follow the instructions. Then I asked for assistance through their Resolution Center. My question is, when the host declines to give you a refund, even after meeting the extenuating circumstances, is there anything else that I can do?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,052
23,012
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
Did the host offer you a credit to be used another date?

Their refund offer is really not a guarantee of anything when reading through what they say. They say you have to cancel due to an “extenuating “ circumstance and this is what extenuating means (this pandemic is not considered an extenuating circumstance)

-Death of a host, guest, or their co-host,
-Unexpected serious illness or injury affecting a host or member of the traveling party
-Government-mandated obligations including jury duty, travel restrictions, court appearances, and military deployment
-Unforeseen property damage, maintenance, and amenity issues
-Transportation disruptions that make it impossible to travel to your destination, including road closures and flight cancellations where there are no alternative methods of travel.
-Train, bus, or ferry cancellations where no alternate trips were available on the same day.

If your flights weren’t canceled, the epidemic falls into the Special Review category -

Circumstances that require special review

There’s no required documentation for these circumstances, but our specialized team will review each case to confirm that you’re directly affected.

Epidemic disease or illness that suddenly affects a region or an entire group of people. This doesn’t include existing diseases that are associated with an area—for example, malaria in Thailand or dengue fever in Hawaii. Any updates to our policy regarding the outbreak of a disease, and the scope of policy application, will be determined based on announcements by the World Health Organization and local authorities.

So, did Airbnb do a special review of the owners refusal?
Were your flights canceled so you couldn’t get there?

They tell you to cancel your booking and then file with them using a claim form. Did you do this within 14 days of canceling?

“If your reservation doesn't qualify automatically, continue canceling your reservation and then contact us to file a claim. We’ll walk you through the next steps, which will include submitting any required documentation and waiting for our team to review your case. Claims must be submitted within 14 days of cancellation.“

 
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Sep 23, 2019
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My question is, when the host declines to give you a refund, even after meeting the extenuating circumstances, is there anything else that I can do?
as an AirBnB host myself, I am going to say “No”.

Let's say you wanted to cancel for some reason under "normal" circumstances. With a "Strict" cancellation policy you might be entitled to only 50% of the rental fee be to be returned. AirBnB keeps their Service Fee, the Host keeps the other 50%.

AirBnB DOES have an "Extenuating Circumstances" Policy for... extenuating circumstance that a Guest might encounter. (see Post just above this one)
But the Guest GENERALLY needs to provide some kind of documentation to back it up. I have never had a Guest cancel using the EC Policy, so I am not sure if the Host needs to approve or not. In other Host groups, they are furious that Guests are able to "just cancel" using the EC policy so I have assume that under those circumstances, the Host does not need to approve and AirBnB over-rides the existing Cancellation Policy once the Guest has provided documentation.

Now, if you were canceling under the COVID-19 EC Policy that AirBnB introduced during that period of time, Hosts needed to APPROVE the request to cancel.
(see attached pic for example from March 14 of what the Host sees)
If you were cancelling under that Policy and the Host refused to go along, I'm not sure what other options are available to you.

Without knowing the date you initiated cancellation, it is difficult to determine what other options were available to you, but I will tell you at this point you are looking at a very uphill battle finding anyone at AirBnB to help you in anything approaching a timely manner. They have laid off 25% of their employees and I personally have waited for 10 days to speak with a "specialist" about a Cancellation issue with a Guest (it was supposed to take only 24 hours). I managed to resolve it on my own without their intervention.
air.jpg
 
Jul 13, 2016
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So devil's advocate here, but would local/state government SIP restrictions meet the following requirement:
-Government-mandated obligations including jury duty, travel restrictions, court appearances, and military deployment.
For example, I live in the Silicon Valley. We are in SIP restrictions until end of May, so I should not fly to LA. Would that count as a government-mandated travel restriction?
 
Sep 23, 2019
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So devil's advocate here, but would local/state government SIP restrictions meet the following requirement:
-Government-mandated obligations including jury duty, travel restrictions, court appearances, and military deployment.
For example, I live in the Silicon Valley. We are in SIP restrictions until end of May, so I should not fly to LA. Would that count as a government-mandated travel restriction?
Note the Phrase: “should not fly”.
It is a recommendation only. Flights are not grounded. “Essential Travel Only”.
who defines “Essential Travel”?
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
1,912
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I believe Patina's point was that what's "essential" is up to the state/local government to decide and some may have put rentals in the essential category and therefore the rental could have still been open. Afterall the Florida governor made the WWE an essential service.
Isn't wrestling essential?!?!!!! So funny what made the cut and what didn't in some states. Like in Michigan, you could shop at Home Depot but were not allowed to buy paint. Some states allowed for alcohol sales while others did not. I am in the camp that alcohol is essential ;)
 
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justlisa

Feb 12, 2019
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Isn't wrestling essential?!?!!!! So funny what made the cut and what didn't in some states. Like in Michigan, you could shop at Home Depot but were not allowed to buy paint. Some states allowed for alcohol sales while others did not. I am in the camp that alcohol is essential ;)
The alcohol actually makes sense to be essential. If you're a hard core alcoholic and are forced into a detox it could be deadly and would then send people to the hospital for all the nasty detox symptoms - which is the exact opposite of what you want during a pandemic. Though as a non-alcoholic I am glad I can still buy some. ;)
 
May 18, 2020
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Happy to report that I resubmitted a request to the Airbnb Resolution Center and today was told that I would be receiving a full refund. They took another look and realized that I was eligible under their extenuating circumstances policy. I only needed to email and attest that the reason for canceling my trip was due to COVID-19. Many thanks for all of your suggestions.
 
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