I have only had great experiences with airbnb but today I am a very frustrated and sad due to a terrible experience with a host.
My partner and I, and our couple friends live in Texas and we recently booked a cabin in Louisiana for a 3-night stay. Everything was great during booking and went as expected. No issues. About 5 days before our stay a Tropical Storm developed in the Gulf and looked like it might develop into a Hurricane and hit Louisiana. Because storms are unpredictable and we've been through some major ones in Houston, we messaged our host and asked what we could do about canceling if the storm grew and threatened our trip. He responded without giving any information on cancelling. He only said that he didn't think it would be an issue.
It was an issue. Just over a day before our trip, the now Category 3 Hurricane Delta, was set on a path directly through the county we were going to stay in. If we were to attempt to go, we'd have a few hours driving through severe storms to get there, be staying on the very edge of a lake that could be flooding, off a dirt road that could flood, and the state of Louisiana issued an emergency evacuation which meant thousands of people would be heading INTO Texas as we were attempting to leave. Also, this trip was for fishing and outdoor hiking and we were bringing dogs. It was completely unreasonable and even dangerous for us to consider making this trip. We understood that this was a bad situation for everyone, so after the host responded the first time, we had messaged again to get clarification on canceling if we could not safely make the trip. He never responded. We called, too. 4 days passed.
Two days after the trip was supposed to start (this was Saturday and we were supposed to check in on Thursday night) he finally called us back to tell us that there was nothing he could do. We were very disappointed and pleaded with him to consider a refund so that we could rebook. At this point, we would even consider rebooking with him. But he then told us that he did not own the property (what?) and he "would have to check with the owners." This is where things got really shaky and shady.
After that we didn't hear from him for several more days until he sent a message saying that he refunded us the $75 cleaning fee but would be keeping the rest of our over $500 payment. We feel very taken advantage of. We know it was not ideal for a host, but hurricanes are hardly ideal for anyone. We have spent over a week trying to recoup our losses so that we can rebook a trip and that is not happening. Is there anything we can do to report him or make sure other people don't have at the same problems. This has caused us too much time, money and worry.
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.... I see the EC policy only covers unexpected catastrophic weather events... Not predictable storms in hurricane season where you're going....
@Kimberly605 All hosts are entitled to uphold their cancellation policies & not refund, if the guest has failed to cancel a booking in time that was booked under a moderate or flexible cancellation policy. Your host has done nothing wrong! Things were not 'shaky & shady'; You did not cancel (in time), so you did not get a refund! - Your fault, not the host's!
Here are the Airbnb cancellation policies. Whether you get all your money back, minus the first night & booking fee which Airbnb keep, or just 50% depends on whether you cancel in sufficient time: 24 hours under a 'flexible' policy, 5 days under a 'moderate' policy, or 7 days under a 'strict' policy. 'Strict' only grants 50% refund, & only if you cancel 7 days before.
https://airbnb.co.us/home/cancellation_policies - click the tabs for 'moderate' & 'strict'
You are totally right! We should have just cancelled right when we felt hesitant about the weather (when it was 5+ days out and we were due a refund). We've never been to that part of the U.S. and it's in a more northern part of Louisiana, so we messaged our host to ask about how his home handles storms instead of cancelling right away. A friend of ours had worked with him before and so we probably felt too familiar with him and trusted his "it won't be an issue" response. That is on us.
And as a guest it's your responsibility at time of booking to be sure you're fully aware of all policies you're agreeing to. This host is not a 'bad' host nor are they 'scamming' you (some of your tags).
It also behooves you to be aware of the risks in travelling to a certain area at a certain time of year. As far as I know, hurricane season isn't even over yet in Louisiana. Please stop blaming this host for your mistakes.
After the time for a refund lapsed, we learned from a local Twitter account that there was actually bad flooding near the house, and the host stopped responding to us. We just felt dumb, frankly, for taking his word that it would be safe just because we were excited to go.
All of our exchanges were polite and friendly on both sides but I still stand by that he should not have ignored our texts and calls for almost a week. That was the "shadiness" I was referring to. I also think him suddenly claiming that he didn't own the home after stating on the listing that it was his house, seemed off. Oh, well. We paid him and rebooked with someone else. I admit my post was a little more of a venting session than it should have been for a community post.
@Kimberly605 So the host was preparing for a major hurricane and experiencing bad flooding near the house. Could that possibly have been what he was otherwise preoccupied with when he stopped responding?
The fact remains you should have been aware of the details of the cancellation policy of this listing at time of booking, as you are supposed to have read and agree to all policies when you hit 'book now'. You should also be familiar with Airbnb's extenuating circumstances policy. You were supposed to have known all that. Your responsibility as a guest. Instead, you messaged the host asking 'what can be done about cancelling'. You could have just taken it upon yourself to cancel and received something back according to the policy you booked under. You come across as rather entitled, and interested more in passing blame than in taking any responsibility for your part in all this. jmo.
@Kimberly605 just to clarify, it doesn't seem to me that you canceled, right? You left the reservation alone but then didn't go. If so those are 2 very different things.
If you cancel and don't go, then you have room to argue with a host or abb or your cc or all of the above. But if you simply don't go, then there isn't quite as much that can be done. You took the time on the host's calendar and that is what you paid for. You can't be refunded for a stay you don't cancel.