Full refunds are happening everywhere, not just Airbnb

in
South Korea
Level 10
1,695 Views

I know a lot of people are upset about full refunds being given to guests based on the EC clause but it's not just Airbnb and I do not think Airbnb "threw hosts under the bus" when they decided to allow penalty free cancellations and full refunds. Even without an EC clause, majority of business are making an exception and refunding. 

 

And if Airbnb did throw hosts under the bus it was by not bothering to check dates or get appropriate documentation if/when necessary or checking if the refund amount is correct before issuing refunds. Like many things, the way Airbnb handled/processed refunds was sloppy and irresponsible. 

 

 

Henry and I had vacation plans to go to Vietnam in April~May for 2 weeks (we booked everything in January~February) - we contacted the 3 hotels we had booked in early March to ask "what are our options?" because the Vietnam government has completely banned all no-visa entry till June and we had non-refundable bookings. 

2 of the 3 hotels (which were small, family run boutique hotels (that are also on Airbnb, but we booked with them direct) replied the next day, that they will just take it upon themselves to cancel and refund our bookings, and they hoped we would choose to book with them once things calmed down and we re-schedule our trip, whenever than may be. The other hotel (large resort) said they were currently issuing full refunds for bookings up till end of April, so to please wait 2~3 weeks and contact them again. Similar situation with our non-refundable flights - we were asked to wait till end of March~early April for our refunds to be processed. We were informed all flights to/from S. Korea were in the process of being cancelled. 

 

I have friends that had concert tickets or dinner cruise tickets which were of course non-refundable. They were all fully refunded since the government has been asking people to please cooperate with  "no large gatherings" and to stay home and refrain from any nonessential activities/errands/local travel. Along with schools, all after-school sports and activities have been cancelled and fees have all been paid back to the parents. Henry has a friend who is a piano teacher and she stopped all lessons since January because her hubby is high-risk with a compromised immune system. 

 

We also have a friend who works in event planning - you can guess what his work schedule is like for the remainder of this year. Same for a lot of my fellow interpreters who work freelance - no seminars or international meetings or conventions. And our friend who recently opened a new shop end of last year, just when business was starting to pick up. 

 

Regarding any cancellations/refunds due to covid-19, the general approach from everyone in Korea has been, to refund as if the booking never even happened (unless certain expenses were already made and money was already spent). 

 

So I know a lot of hosts are going to attack me for this, but imo, for bookings that haven't happened/started yet, I think issuing full refunds and allowing penalty-free cancellations is the right thing to do in light of the covid-19 pandemic. People should not be travelling. Period. 

 

In Korea, we haven't had to implement city-wide shutdowns or curfews because people take "recommendations" seriously. Most people I know don't want things to get so bad that the government has no choice but to FORCE bans on us - which is why we choose to stay close to home except for a quick grocery run once or twice a week, and choose to spend Friday night at home, and cancel the weekend picnic we've been planning with a group of our friends. 

 

Just because there aren't any *bans* or *restrictions* (in your area) doesn't mean you're safe and it's okay to travel. It's not. 

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Re: Full refunds are happening everywhere, not just Airbnb

Level 6

@Jessica-and-Henry0 @Marta557 

 

Thank you for beginning this thread and for the information you shared.

 

Common sense, empathy and a clear worldview are in short supply on this community center at the moment.

 

It looks like panic, fear and a very narrow view based solely on self interest is what 's driving the panic, anger and frustration in the community center.

 

It seems people who are in panic over losing money can't see the larger picture. The, "can't see the forest through the trees "syndrome".

 

But that money is gone and they won't be seeing it. It would be better to focus on planning how you are going to ride out the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

 

I wouldn't count on AirBnB for anything: they've always been an uneliable partner.

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58 Replies

Re: Full refunds are happening everywhere, not just Airbnb

in
South Korea
Level 10

I just found this article and think the visual guide 

"How confirmed cases have spread outside of China" 

is probably the best I've seen yet. 

 

 

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-51235105

Re: Full refunds are happening everywhere, not just Airbnb

in
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Level 10

 

I have always valued your opinion and great posts @Jessica-and-Henry0 !  Sorry... I can NOT agree with you now.

 

For God´s sake @Jessica-and-Henry0 

 

I am going to copy and past @Ute42 comment

The best protection is to stay at home and not travel. A guest who stays at home and gets a 100% refund is just as protected as a guest who stays at home and pays cancellation fees.

The protection happens by not traveling, not by not paying."

https://community.withairbnb.com/t5/Airbnb-Updates/A-Message-From-Our-Founders/m-p/1261464/highlight... 

 

@Irene879 

IMO, If there is a contract ( even the ones that involves cancelation policy), since I was a child I have been told that I have to accomplish with whom I have a deal with. If there is a contract, there are clauses that must be accomplished, even in case of cancellation or interuption.
It is a business between HOST and GUEST. Both have agreed with the cancellation policy.

I want any guest and any host in safe conditions.
It is not necessary to overule a contract to be safe.
Anyone can be safe and also acommplish with their obligations.
Hosts and guests are adults, and know that the strict cancellation policy involve loss of money for both parts, not for only one part.

Re: Full refunds are happening everywhere, not just Airbnb

in
Jasper, CA
Level 2

I'm totally with you on this. 

 

I'm a host, and I have a pre-existing condition that could make catching COVID 19, the very last thing I ever catch in my life. I just cancelled a reservation for guests coming end of May who had booked last year. 

 

It kind of bugs me when people are upset at government (like Florida, or the US in general) for not taking action and looking out for the all mighty dollar over safety, but then get mad at the idea of loosing money for bookings that haven't happened yet, in the midst of this unprecedented world event.

 

Money schmoney. How about staying alive? I'll take that over a few thousand dollars this summer any day. 

 

Greed is part of the reason this pandemic has gotten as far as it has, and it saddens me that many haven't seen the pattern and continue to move down the path of greed instead of common sense. Every business is taking a hit right now. Every industry. Nobody loosing money is special at this point. 

 

Stay safe everyone. And stay at home.

It's a very small price to pay to stay alive.

 

Peace. 

Re: Full refunds are happening everywhere, not just Airbnb

in
Ensenada, Mexico
Level 3

I fully understand the idea that it is better to stay at home, to cancel reservations and see for your health, but I regret to inform you that not in all countries we have government support, I have a complex of 2 houses, my March and April agenda was Of 45 nights reserved between the two houses, I am really in trouble today, I have to pay electricity, water and workers, and I have stayed with income, perhaps in many countries the government will support them, but in Mexico it is not like that.
I think airbnb was able to find a way to help the host and not just the guest, perhaps with coupons that they could use later, or by changing the reservation date, or leaving 15% for the host to have a flow of money, I think that that is to help each other, I believe that no guest would have refused to give 15% of their reservation and return on another date, there are many alternative measures to support us all and airbnb did not do it, simply all the easier decision.

Re: Full refunds are happening everywhere, not just Airbnb

Level 6

@Jessica-and-Henry0 @Marta557 

 

Thank you for beginning this thread and for the information you shared.

 

Common sense, empathy and a clear worldview are in short supply on this community center at the moment.

 

It looks like panic, fear and a very narrow view based solely on self interest is what 's driving the panic, anger and frustration in the community center.

 

It seems people who are in panic over losing money can't see the larger picture. The, "can't see the forest through the trees "syndrome".

 

But that money is gone and they won't be seeing it. It would be better to focus on planning how you are going to ride out the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

 

I wouldn't count on AirBnB for anything: they've always been an uneliable partner.

View solution in original post

Re: Full refunds are happening everywhere, not just Airbnb

in
Jersey City, NJ
Level 10

@Jessica-and-Henry0  It isn't so much the idea of guests getting full refunds, I mean, if the borders are closed then it is an extenuating circumstance that could not have been foreseen, it is that airbnb makes that the first and only option, That they did it without consulting hosts or even informing them in an organized and prioritized manner, and not even trying to promote the idea of a travel voucher and that their public statements totally downplay that this is a catastrophe for small hosts.  And that so far, they have done their usual zero to help hosts weather this storm.

 

I  have a feeling though that some of the more sanctimonious hosts who are happy to criticize others for worrying about losing thousands of dollars they had on the books may find that money is quite helpful in times of trouble and disaster. 

Re: Full refunds are happening everywhere, not just Airbnb

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Mark116  Since when has Airbnb ever consulted hosts before taking a decision? Since when have they ever informed us of any changes to the platform or policies until after it was a done deal? Even policies they come up with after supposedly soliciting host feedback always fail to address the most important parts of the feedback and end up being some sort of watered down version that is almost always guest-centric.

I just don't see that the way they handled the coronavirus refunds is anything anyone should be surprised about- Airbnb has been operating like this for a long time. Those of us who've participated in this forum for some time are well-aware that Airbnb has been screwing hosts right and left, long before this pandemic, even if it hasn't ever personally happened to us before.

Re: Full refunds are happening everywhere, not just Airbnb

in
Hastings, GB
Level 2

I have felt compelled to issue refunds regardless of whether or not covered under the extenuating circumstance policy. I do think that those who booked after it was rolled out, under the non refundable option gaining a discount perhaps should not be given the option to request a full refund. It rather makes a mockery of 'non refundable'.

 

I would have hoped that by now Air bnb would have stressed the meaning of non refundable. Hopefully in the future they will and also recommend guests have travel insurance.

 

Stay well everyone, this will end many lessons will be learned by us all x

Re: Full refunds are happening everywhere, not just Airbnb

in
Seville, Spain
Level 10

@Jessica-and-Henry0  hi, no

Full refunds are not  happening everywhere, VRBO give us the choice.

Re: Full refunds are happening everywhere, not just Airbnb

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Jessica-and-Henry0 

 

I always value your opinion and considered judgement. From my perspective, it is not so straightforward. Airbnb are acting outside of any of their policies and doing stuff that other companies don't do (as far as I am aware).

 

Until a few days ago, I had three long-term guests staying, who were very happy with their stay. The first one left because her university cancelled her classes and requested she return to the US (this was before the travel ban being announced). She would rather have stayed, but the university confirmed they would cover any lost accommodation expenses (they paid for her flights, paid for them again when those were no longer feasible, paid for the car to the airport etc. etc.) Said guest was very happy to pay me according to the long-term cancellation policy she had signed up for even if she did qualify for the new extenuating circumstances because she thought it fair and was getting her money back anyway. Both the guest and I confirmed this with Airbnb. Despite this, and despite the fact that she did not qualify because she had already been here two months, Airbnb issued a complete refund and told the guest she would need to make a new booking, which she was going to do but then realised she would be charge twice for Airbnb fees. She can no longer claim the refund from her university because she has been refunded by Airbnb, so she can't pay me the money she wanted to.

 

That is case No.1.

Re: Full refunds are happening everywhere, not just Airbnb

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

Case No.2

 

Guest had already been here a couple of weeks and was due to stay another 2.5 months. She left not because she had to, but because she did not want to work from home, which she would have had to for a few weeks. I understand, it was not ideal for her work. She also did not qualify for the extenuating circumstances and, anyway, told me umprompted that she did not want me to suffer and would prefer to pay me for the following month, as per the long-term cancellation policy.

 

Both the guest and I separately informed Airbnb this was the case but, after a lot of back and forth, numerous mistakes from their end (including overcharging the guest), they advised her they would cancel the entire reservation, including the two weeks she had already stayed, and told her she could pay me if she owed me anything.

 

At this point, the guest changed her tune completely, decided to take the refund and pay me for the nights she stayed at a later date when she got all the money back from her Airbnb refunds, which included refunds for other properties she had cancelled.

 

Sorry, what???

Re: Full refunds are happening everywhere, not just Airbnb

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

Case No.3.

 

Guest, when asked what her plans were for her imminent stay (not covered under the current COVID-19) policy, told me she would either have to cancel or delay her stay and confirmed she knew she was not covered by extenuating circumstances. What would I prefer she do?

 

After deliberating, I told her it was better she cancelled given that it was pretty unlikely she would come on the new dates suggested by her employer, but asked what she would rather do. She then spoke to Airbnb...

 

Guess how that went? Airbnb told her to hang on to the reservation and cancel it last minute as they were likely to extend the extenuating circumstances so she would probably get a refund by doing that. So, she is now holding my room to hostage (her booking is for 1.5 months) and is angry with me, because she thinks that a host loses nothing while they have empty, unbookable rooms for months, but gains everything if they get partially paid for a cancelled booking.

 

 

Re: Full refunds are happening everywhere, not just Airbnb

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

So, this is all in the last few days, where most of my income has disappeared for the foreseeable future (and no, I was not solely relying on Airbnb income. I lost my job as a consequence of COVID-19 as well, but I am not trying to shift that loss onto others).

 

I don't expect my guests (nor my cleaner, who I will still employ for as long as I am able) to compensate for losses I have endured through other avenues. I just expect for Airbnb to honour their current policies, nor refund guests in full that fall outside of their new extenuating circumstances, nor refund guests for nights they stayed and enjoyed my accommodation and hospitality, nor encourage guests to take the unethical approach of keeping my rooms reserved until the last minute when they know full well they are going to cancel!

 

My guests are telling me, "But I have lost money on flights, other Airbnbs, theatre tickets... so I really can't afford to pay you anything," because, unlike some of the examples you list, a lot of companies are not refunding. Either that, or they are not being truthful about the refunds they are receiving elsewhere.

 

Airbnb are actively encouraging guests to grab whatever they can from hosts. Are other companies doing that?

Re: Full refunds are happening everywhere, not just Airbnb

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

PS @Jessica-and-Henry0  as you know, like you, I host long-term guests, so each cancellation = a lot of loss to me. Case one was supposed to stay two more months, case two 2.5 more months and case 3. was booking for 1.5 months. 

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