Trouble Contacting AirBnB regarding Covid-19 reimbursement

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May 4, 2020
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Hi folks,

I am trying to file a claim with AirBnB under their Covid-19 extenuating circumstances exemption (for which I qualify) but none of the links that they provide go anywhere.

Does anyone have a good link to a page/form on the AirBnB website that allows for someone to file a Covid-19 claim?

Other than that, it seems like my only other option is to contact executives which the Elliott Advocacy suggests to use as a last measure.

Any help would be appreciated
 
May 5, 2020
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Best of luck. I have been trying for a month. I have also written 5 emails over that period to Aisling Hassell, then Brian Chesky and gotten no response. I have been caught in the "customer support" loop where they respond with a suggestion to work it out with my host and then nothing again for days. I have filed complaints with the BBB and Attorney General in California (Xavier Becerra). You can find a link on line to register a complaint there. It is truly unethical the way they are making it impossible to get these refunds.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,380
23,350
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
Hi folks,

I am trying to file a claim with AirBnB under their Covid-19 extenuating circumstances exemption (for which I qualify) but none of the links that they provide go anywhere.

Does anyone have a good link to a page/form on the AirBnB website that allows for someone to file a Covid-19 claim?

Other than that, it seems like my only other option is to contact executives which the Elliott Advocacy suggests to use as a last measure.

Any help would be appreciated
Use our contacts. That’s the best way to contact.
 
May 5, 2020
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Neil: FYI, I reached out to Belinda Johnson as your site suggests and got the following response.
Thanks for your email. I have transitioned to the Airbnb Board of Directors and this email address is no longer being monitored .
For urgent matters, please contact Shauna Lam ([email protected]) who will direct your message to the right person.

Belinda
 
May 4, 2020
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The following page shows how to cancel the reservation and direct you on how to apply the extenuating circumstances policy available at the time you cancel.

Thanks Dwayne - but we are in a sort of no man's land.

We canceled our trip before Airbnb put up the link and directions for reimbursement at the time of cancelation. The language about the COVID-19 Extenuating Circumstances reimbursement was all over their website at the time, but none of those links went anywhere! So when we canceled our trip, we were not automatically sent anywhere to file for reimbursement.

We are now in some sort of limbo, where we qualify for reimbursement but cannot access any type of form/email help/person/link or anything to get help. There is ZERO customer service available.

If someone could at least get me the link that canceling a trip would have triggered, that may be helpful.
 

Dwayne Coward

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Apr 13, 2016
857
1,373
93
St. Louis
Thanks Dwayne - but we are in a sort of no man's land.

We canceled our trip before Airbnb put up the link and directions for reimbursement at the time of cancelation. The language about the COVID-19 Extenuating Circumstances reimbursement was all over their website at the time, but none of those links went anywhere! So when we canceled our trip, we were not automatically sent anywhere to file for reimbursement.

We are now in some sort of limbo, where we qualify for reimbursement but cannot access any type of form/email help/person/link or anything to get help. There is ZERO customer service available.

If someone could at least get me the link that canceling a trip would have triggered, that may be helpful.
We have actually had many submissions on this, and have directed folks to that page. They have been able to cancel through their trip detail, at which time they are offered what the current policy allowed, or to submit documentation to apply for the extenuating circumstances policy in place at the time they cancel the booking. We can't provide a specific link, as it is done within your online account.
 
May 4, 2020
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I'm sorry for the confusion, our trip is already canceled. A link to "How to cancel my reservation" is not the answer here.

The problem is that the trip was cancelled before there was a platform on the Airbnb website that automatically redirected/directed qualifying customers (who were canceling trips) to any forms, or any kind of directions about how to apply for a refund due to the Covid-19 extenuating circumstances. I simply received an email confirming the cancelation.

Oh and by the way - I called their customer service line at 1-855-424-7262. I was greeted with an automated voice directing me that "if this is related to a Covid-19 issue" then I was to enter my cell phone number and they would text me instructions. I did that, and then...

The instructions? A link back to the Covid-19 Extenuating Circumstances page with links that go nowhere.

AirBnB has covered every single portal to resolution with fake leads to nowhere. Website, phone, emails lead to blank pages, and loops back to pages with links that go to other useless pages, or worse yet - completely blank pages. Nothing.

The only safety net that I have is that I emailed a reply (explaining my inability to file for refund) to their email confirming the cancelation. I did that with the intention of getting a date stamp to prove that I attempted to file for reimbursement within the allotted timeframe (which I now forget what it is).

But I cannot make any kind of contact.
 
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Sep 23, 2019
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When were you supposed to check-in and on what date did you cancel? Unfortunately, their policy isn't retroactive.
In addition, what was the Cancellation Policy when you originally booked?
They vary according to what the Host has selected.
Look in your account at your Resevation or in the confirmation email you should have received when you booked.
Look for one of these terms: FLEXIBLE, MODERATE, STRICT, or other variations of “Strict”.
Here is a link to an explanation of those different Cancellation Policies:

If the existing Cancellation Policy at the time of booking allowed you to receive a full or partial refund, I would say you have a better chance with a chargeback on your credit card. But if you were not eligible, then a chargeback will probably not help.

I am a Host on both AirBnB and VRBO. I have been unable to get anyone at AirBnB to assist with a Guest who is trying to cancel under NORMAL circumstances. They are entitled to a 100% refund ( including Service Fees) under the Cancellation Policy they booked with (Moderate), but there is some problem and I’ve been waiting for 10 days now after being told it might take 24 hours.

Ah, the old days. When sometimes it took 24 hours to get an answer. Or an email to the right executive got them to pay attention.
 
May 4, 2020
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When were you supposed to check-in and on what date did you cancel? Unfortunately, their policy isn't retroactive.
We made our reservation on January 22nd.
We canceled on March 13th.
Our check-in was for April 2nd.

The listing had a "strict" cancelation policy but the email confirming the cancelation provided a link for extenuating circumstances:


Screen Shot 2020-05-09 at 9.22.31 AM.png


The only problem is that this is where the link took me:


Screen Shot 2020-05-09 at 9.20.53 AM.png

** Under normal circumstances (non-coronavirus times) I would not expect a refund.

But Airbnb made specific provisions to allow for a refund for trips affected by the coronavirus. My reservation and cancelation dates qualify for the refund as described in their policy:

Screen Shot 2020-05-09 at 9.40.18 AM.png

Thanks everybody for your thoughts here.

I fear there will be no resolution if I cannot get in contact with Airbnb.
 

Dwayne Coward

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Apr 13, 2016
857
1,373
93
St. Louis
Unfortunately, they are going by the policy in place at the time you canceled. This is probably why the option wasn't provided when you canceled.

You canceled one day too early. On March 13th, their policy only allowed refunds "with check-in date of April 1, 2020 or earlier."


They updated the policy on March 14th, to "a check-in date of April 14, 2020, or earlier".

You can try to appeal to the company using our company contacts for an exception or further goodwill. They may be more open to future credit.


Here is a link to their normal extenuating circumstances policy.

 
May 5, 2020
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We made our reservation on January 22nd.
We canceled on March 13th.
Our check-in was for April 2nd.

The listing had a "strict" cancelation policy but the email confirming the cancelation provided a link for extenuating circumstances:


View attachment 3426


The only problem is that this is where the link took me:


View attachment 3427

** Under normal circumstances (non-coronavirus times) I would not expect a refund.

But Airbnb made specific provisions to allow for a refund for trips affected by the coronavirus. My reservation and cancelation dates qualify for the refund as described in their policy:

View attachment 3428

Thanks everybody for your thoughts here.

I fear there will be no resolution if I cannot get in contact with Airbnb.
I am in the exact same boat! I made my reservations in October for a stay April 3-10. I was to visit my two daughters who were living in Spain. One was on US diplomatic assignment and was told by the State Dept on March 12 to get out of Spain ASAP. The other was on a study abroad semester and told by her university on March 12 to get home immediately. After making arrangements to get them home on the 12th, I cancelled on March 13.

I have had several of the BOT exchanges through their resolution center which has made no progress. I filed a complaint with BBB and the CA District Attorney, Xavier Becerra. When they got the complaint from the DA, they responded to through their automated system giving me the same response that the BOT send. They keep telling me that I don't qualify for a refund under the "COVID-19 EC" policy which they rolled out on March 14.

My contention is that I understand that I cancelled a few hours too early to qualify under their blanket exemption but I should still be covered under their general EC policy that was in place on March 13. That policy clearly includes epidemics as a justifiable extenuating circumstance. Since the WHO declared a pandemic on March 11, there is no disputing that everyone who cancelled between March 11 and March 13 should be also eligible for full refunds. However, just like you, I have not been able to get anyone to acknowledge that. When I respond as such, they just don't answer.

If I had simply cancelled for convenience I would fully expect to be held to the hosts' standard cancellation policy. However, these are truly extenuating circumstances. Airbnb's policy at the time of my booking and the time of my cancellation allowed for cancelling under such a circumstance with a full refund. It is criminal that they are now not honoring this.
 

Dwayne Coward

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Apr 13, 2016
857
1,373
93
St. Louis
I am in the exact same boat! I made my reservations in October for a stay April 3-10. I was to visit my two daughters who were living in Spain. One was on US diplomatic assignment and was told by the State Dept on March 12 to get out of Spain ASAP. The other was on a study abroad semester and told by her university on March 12 to get home immediately. After making arrangements to get them home on the 12th, I cancelled on March 13.

I have had several of the BOT exchanges through their resolution center which has made no progress. I filed a complaint with BBB and the CA District Attorney, Xavier Becerra. When they got the complaint from the DA, they responded to through their automated system giving me the same response that the BOT send. They keep telling me that I don't qualify for a refund under the "COVID-19 EC" policy which they rolled out on March 14.

My contention is that I understand that I cancelled a few hours too early to qualify under their blanket exemption but I should still be covered under their general EC policy that was in place on March 13. That policy clearly includes epidemics as a justifiable extenuating circumstance. Since the WHO declared a pandemic on March 11, there is no disputing that everyone who cancelled between March 11 and March 13 should be also eligible for full refunds. However, just like you, I have not been able to get anyone to acknowledge that. When I respond as such, they just don't answer.

If I had simply cancelled for convenience I would fully expect to be held to the hosts' standard cancellation policy. However, these are truly extenuating circumstances. Airbnb's policy at the time of my booking and the time of my cancellation allowed for cancelling under such a circumstance with a full refund. It is criminal that they are now not honoring this.
Unfortunately, they state in the EC that they will do a special review of those circumstances, which is what the COVID19 policy provides. I'm afraid all you can do at this point is to write the company to ask for consideration using our company contacts. Unfortunately, due to the financial situation this event has had on both consumers and the travel industry, getting exceptions to policies for refunds is not easy. A good compromise would be to ask for a future credit, which we are seeing as the outcome in many of these cases.
 
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May 4, 2020
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Honestly, none of this makes sense. Just because the trip was canceled short of the revised policy - for the reason that the policy covers - the extenuating circumstances refund should apply.

If a trip was canceled for a reason other than coronavirus, I would understand Airbnb's reluctance to refund.

Thanks for your help.
 
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Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,380
23,350
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
There has never been an event like this in travel history and it took awhile for companies to figure out what they were doing. But you are still dealing with an unregulated industry with these home rentals and Airbnb and others who rent these type of accommodations don’t have your money to refund- it comes down to the charity of the homeowner and some have not been willing to budge.

People need to read the rental agreements and take these type of things into consideration when you choose a strict cancellation policy vs. a more liberal one.

Unless this industry becomes regulated, there really are no protections for renters or owners in situations like this.

These issues could very well change the public perception of using these type of rentals and force the public to only rent from owners with more liberal refund policies. Many who rented accommodations that with more liberal cancellations policies were able to get refunds.
 
May 5, 2020
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There has never been an event like this in travel history and it took awhile for companies to figure out what they were doing. But you are still dealing with an unregulated industry with these home rentals and Airbnb and others who rent these type of accommodations don’t have your money to refund- it comes down to the charity of the homeowner and some have not been willing to budge.

People need to read the rental agreements and take these type of things into consideration when you choose a strict cancellation policy vs. a more liberal one.

Unless this industry becomes regulated, there really are no protections for renters or owners in situations like this.

These issues could very well change the public perception of using these type of rentals and force the public to only rent from owners with more liberal refund policies. Many who rented accommodations that with more liberal cancellations policies were able to get refunds.
You are right Neil. I have been using Airbnb for several years and have come to enjoy the stays far more than hotels. But, this experience has changed that for me. It's not just the hosts keeping money for services they did not render which leaves the consumer with a very bad taste. It is Airbnb who is also keeping my service charges. They have far deeper pockets than I do and this is just very poor customer service and bad karma.

Any logical person would look at these cases and agree that our bookings, though cancelled on March 13, and not 14th, were impacted the exact same way. There was nothing new that happened with regards to the pandemic overnight. Once travel restrictions started being implemented, schools/universities. restaurants and gatherings, streets etc were all being closed it should be obvious to all players: guests, hosts and Airbnb that a universal extenuating circumstance had arrived. We should not be left a month later fighting to get our deposits refunded. It is a very poor business decision to alienate so many.
 
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Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,380
23,350
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
I agree but the reverse is that the owners also didn’t cause this either and they have lost money as well. What would be fair in an ideal world? A 50/50 split. Many owners pay their bills by renting so they are harmed as well.

mrjohnson who posted above is an owner and offers insight into the other side of the equation.
 
May 5, 2020
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I agree but the reverse is that the owners also didn’t cause this either and they have lost money as well. What would be fair in an ideal world? A 50/50 split. Many owners pay their bills by renting so they are harmed as well.

mrjohnson who posted above is an owner and offers insure into the other side of the equation.
Neil: A 50/50 split is what happens on a strict listing cancelled because you simply changed your mind. I put down 50% deposit and lost it all. The host gave up nothing that they wouldn't have if COVID-19 didn't happen and I simply decided I wasn't going. Because of COVID-19, I lost my chance to travel--a trip I had been planning and looking forward to for 6 months. In addition, I am out quite a bit of money paying for a service I never received. The hosts lost a chance to make more money (the 50% they ultimately won't collect). I am sympathetic to them and every other person who has lost their ability to make a living during this time, myself included. But, I simply don't think that hosts should be entitled to keep 50% of the cost of a rental which never took place as a result of an extenuating circumstance. Prior to COVID-19, if I had a reservation and a death in my family, I would have received by deposit back. The pandemic is no different in hindering my ability to travel and should be covered under the original EC policy.