My dad died and right afterward, I needed to make accommodation reservations. I called and spoke with the "superhost" 2 minutes after making the booking. I told her I didn't want it and she said she'd speak with Airbnb. Well, she did. She told them not to give me a refund. She was going to make me pay the full cancellation fee. And Airbnb said she had the right to do so.
After a day of pleading my case with her, while mourning the death of my dad, she made me pay $250 and Airbnb charged anther $150 an said there were no refunds! $400...for a 2-min booking! Neither cared. They stood firm on the fact that they had a cancellation policy. No regards that my dad had just passed and I had just spent days in hospice with him!!! I even asked that the case be escalated and they just closed the case on the chat. This case has been closed is all it said and no room to escalate as I had asked!
Both the superhost and Airbnb didn't care that my sister had a breakdown right after I booked it and wouldn't budge, even for a late booking in the afternoon, so she wasn't going to get a later booking. Her words, when we were "negotiating" - no one really books late in the day so she counted the first day that I called back minutes after the reservation and then wanted a 2nd day. Airbnb took their money as well with NO regard that my dad had literally passed earlier that day and that I had just left the funeral home, with nowhere to stay.
The booking also was misleading and it wasn't even close to White Bear Lake, where I needed to be near my family, restaurants and a town. Instead, it was miles away in a secluded neighborhood - no restaurants and far from family who needed me at a moments notice...including my dad's wife in her late 80', who had just lost her husband. I would never have booked it if I had known it was in Mahtomedi - on the other side of a 10 mile lake!
My condolences, but no. It's not heartless, it's just not within the policies to refund you. Since he passed away and then you booked, there's no extenuating circumstance.
I am so sorry for your loss, and while I would like to think the host would have refunded you, considering the very minimal amount of time between the actual booking and request to cancel, not all host are flexible or compassionate in bad situations. In the end the host has the right to deny the refund based on the cancellation policy in place.
That being said, Airbnb deals with 1000's of people daily who wish to cancel, alter, or get refunded some portion of their stay, The reasons range from valid to false to downright outrageous. So from their POV they don't know if your reason is true, or just an "excuse" to get out of a booking that was a mistake.
I would urge you to gather one of the forms of acceptable proof that falls under the EC clause and try to reach out to AirBnb again validating your claim with the documentation. They might be a little flexible after providing proof. At the least they may refund you the service fee. If the host is unwilling to budge, I am not sure how much can be done there.
Yes, call them again, or simply email them with all your proof in writing of what was said and etc. Airbnb also has all email correspondence saved, so they can also back track what was emailed etc. You can also write on Facebook - those comments are also public. Not to make it ride, but more to get the attention to what the issue was and to maybe have some kind of support and help from Airbnb. If the host doesn't want to give the money back - well then she will have another loss elsewhere and then she will have to deal with it. (KARMA...) You do what you think is right for yourself.
I'm really sorry you had to go through all this during your dad's passing. But it is also as the others have said - if you make a booking after the passing of your dad, and you want to cancel it, the EC legally has nothing to do with this case, unfortunately. That would be the case with an Airline, Hotel booking, etc... But, in addition to that, if you were to have made a booking and realised the error 2 minutes after and called immediately to cancel, I would have thought that alone would be enough to get at least a partial refund... I hope this soon will come to a positive end. Wishing you all the best for this difficult time! No one deserves to go through something like this... ❤️.