Extenuating Circumstances Policy - not covered under any?

Barrie, Canada
Level 2

So, wonder if anyone else has experienced this.


Back in January we booked a trip to Spain in August.  We booked with a number of hosts.  


Then the pandemic hit.  We didn't cancel anything, as we were hopeful that a corner would be turned and we would be able to travel by August in some capacity.  


THEN our airline announced that they were resuming flights July 23, however our route had been cancelled.  They have cancelled our flight and all Toronto-Barcelona flights for the remainder of the summer.


I have managed to work out with the airline a future travel credit (because we WILL be taking this trip when we can) and all of our hosts were very lovely and understanding people and we will definitely be rebooking with all of them when we reschedule this trip.  Except one.  This host is NOT a small family type of business  - they own an entire building and have a number of apartments and have for years.  They flat out refused our refund saying they were open as of July 1 and we could still go, completely disregarding the fact that our flights have been cancelled.  


SO, I cancelled so that


1.  The host would still have time to rebook with someone else (I was still hopeful at this point that something could be worked out eventually) and didn't want to prevent a room from being rebooked that I knew we could not use; and

2.  I could not escalate to Airbnb until my request for a refund was officially rejected.


The past few days have been crazy.  AirBnB says that my booking was caused by Covid - however I wasn't covered under that policy because it expires on July 31 and my stay wasn' t until August 26.  So I then asked about the regular policy for extenuating circumstances regarding flight cancellations.  They say I'm not eligible for that either because the cancellation was caused by Covid (even though my airline is still flying to many other places - just not this route).  I guess I am not eligible for ANY type of extraordinary circumstance policy?  They also say that if the covid policy is extended they will not revisit it.


Is Airbnb trying to get guests to hold on to rooms they cannot use because nothing is covered?  I could have held on to the room preventing the host from being able to rebook it until the very last minute - likely resulting in any empty room.  


Because that is what I will do from now on if a host rejects a perfectly reasonable refund request like this.  I was not saying I didn't *want* to come and choosing not to stay, I frankly had no choice as my flight was cancelled with no option of rescheduling it.


Has anyone had any experience with this?  It is beyond frustrating - and I'm sorry for all future hosts I will book with because I will hold on to my booking until the last minute from now on.





2 Replies

Re: Extenuating Circumstances Policy - not covered under any?

Florence, Canada
Level 10

You can do that, @Lori2103 , but the real solution is, in future, to pick a listing with a cancellation policy that works for you. 

I'm not into the whole corporate host thing either, but, really, they are just asking you to abide by the policy you agreed to when you booked. I know! No one expects a pandemic! But they do have a leg to stand on.

That said, I think those family-place hosts who refunded you did the right thing, and I think you did the right thing by cancelling quickly so they could at least try to rebook to locals. 

The corporate host wasn't technically wrong, but did us all a disfavour because now, as you say, you have turned into the kind of guest who will leave the rest of us hanging. 

Look at you, though, a nice musician who doesn't want to be that guest. : )

Instead, would you consider booking places with moderate or flexible cancellation policies? Those hosts (full disclosure: I'm one of them) have signed up to refund everything with no fuss. One click. No calls to customer service. 

Re: Extenuating Circumstances Policy - not covered under any?

Barrie, Canada
Level 2

Thanks for your response @Lawrene0 🙂


The funniest thing is, I am not a new Airbnb user and I usually NEVER book listings with a strict cancellation policy - especially when I'm booking 8 months in advance.  If I look at their listing today their cancellation policy is flexible.  However, AirBnB says that at the time I booked it they had a strict cancellation policy and have only just recently changed it.  I have no way of proving that I did not agree to that.  It is also possible that it was an oversight on my part, however flexible policies are usually one of my criteria for booking listings, but it's also possible that I just messed up.  Again, no way to confirm one way or the other on my end.


My airline is resuming regular operations on July 23 and have only cancelled certain routes (mine being one of them), so I thought that the regular extenuating circumstances policy would apply as I have no control over my flight being cancelled and, if they hadn't cancelled it, we would probably have still gone.  Airbnb says technically its due to Covid so therefore I'm not covered under ANY policy.  Their policy of NOT revisiting the issue if their policy changes is probably causing a LOT of people to hold on to bookings they can't use so I expect there will be a lot of cancellations one way or the other once they decide what they are doing after July 31.  To be honest, if I had known the stance that AirBnb would take with regard to my flight being cancelled, and taken more time to do more research, I probably would have held on to it until I knew what would happen after then.  No one wins in this situation.


Live and learn - although this has been a very expensive lesson as this was NOT a budget accommodation - my deposit was $1,000 and I was only staying 3 nights. I would have even compromised for even 50% as I know this situation has hit hosts hard as well.  Oh well, they lost the rest of my booking and the bookings of anyone I know who might be going to Barcelona.


I hope everything gets better for everyone soon!

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