Payless Upfront refund "Claims" from Airbnb

in
Jonesboro, GA
Level 2
880 Views

What Airbnb are doing to people that are using the Payless Upfront is FRAUDULENT in regards to refunds eligibility.

 

On February, I booked a trip to with a group of friends for October with the Payless Upfront feature, because why not? In theory its a great idea, you save a little money while booking your reservation. Our reservation was a Strict Cancellation Policy, we didn't mind because we knew we were planning this trip since the end of last year and we were not backing down…at least until COVID-19 spread further.

 

We knew the premises of the Strict Cancellation Policy.

-"For a full refund of the nightly rate, the guest must cancel within 48 hours of booking and at least 14 full days prior to listing’s local check-in time (shown in the confirmation email)."

-"For a 50% refund of the nightly rate, the guest must cancel 7 full days before the listing's local check in time (shown in the confirmation email), otherwise no refund. If only 50% of the reservation has been paid, no refund will be issued and the remaining 50% will simply not be charged.

If the guest cancels less than 7 days in advance or decides to leave early after check-in, the nights not spent are not refunded."

 

This is what is shown to guests when they book reservations and hosts when they decided to use the Strict Cancellation Policy. This is also posted on the website as information for guests and hosts.

 

During this COVID-19 pandemic, myself and a couple of my friends have been unemployed. We decided it was financially best to cancel the trip, because we didn't know when we were going to go back to work. Currently we are now dipping into our savings to pay for bills. I noticed that Airbnb was offering full refunds for “Reservations for stays and Airbnb Experiences made on or before March 14, 2020, with a check-in date between March 14, 2020 and June 15, 2020, are covered by the policy and may be canceled before check-in.” (https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/2701/extenuating-circumstances-policy-and-the-coronavirus-covid1...). Seeing that we are currently unemployed, and needed all the help we could get, this meant money that was paid for the reservation would help us. We knew we didn't qualify yet for the full refunds under the policy currently. But we also knew, that if the host approved, we could receive the full refund of the partial that was paid to make our reservations. I've reached out to the host, because that's the first step in the process if you desire a full refund. Airbnb LEGALLY cannot refund the full amount during a Strict Cancellation Policy without consent of host. When I reached out to the host, the host declined the full refund of the partial, even though we are months out into check-in. Of course we understood. But still we will not have the money to travel this year because of the pandemic,  so we decided that if we weren't able to get approval from the host, we decided to either wait until the COVID-19 policy extends to us, or last resort, we would just simply pay the 2nd half and wait until the "14 day prior" period to be able to qualify for the full refund. Side-note, We don't want to do this, because I do not want the host to scramble to find someone to take our place in 14 days. When they could of approved the full refund of the partial to have time to find someone to take our place if the pandemic lets up, or if other people just don't care about what’s going on and still travel. Because either way, if they would of have to refund us when we use the “14 days prior to checkin” full refund. Again, we are simply not traveling because of our finances, even if the pandemic dies down by October. Missing 2 months of work is slowly putting us into debt. Then, I was researching how hosts felt about incidents like this, I saw hosts stating that when they approve refunds to guests, that it comes out of their pockets when Airbnb have not released the funds into their account to refund guests, so I assumed that's the hesitation with why my host, currently declined. Which I was shocked to even hear that that is happening to hosts. I wanted to get some clarification directly from Airbnb to gain more insight on this matter and asked them if that was true. Airbnb then told me over the phone that those claims were false and that my host hasn't even received even my partial and that the funds are held until check-in, and refunds are from Airbnb that are held upon cancellations. So at that point I didn't understand why my hosts declined the full refund of the partial if they don't have my funds anyways, and when we cancel during the "14 day prior" period, they will still not have the payments. (We definitely did not want to go this route, because, I don't want the host to scramble to find someone to take our place last minute and losing out on money that could of been rebooked months ago). Well, so we thought we were eligible for the "14 day prior" once we make our last payment, at least so we thought. I reached out to Customer service to confirm that I read the Strict cancellation policy correctly. That’s when Airbnb claims that Payless Upfront (PU) guests are not eligible, although on the Airbnb website, it states otherwise and those “claims” are not in Airbnb’s Terms of Service, Payment Terms of Service, Payless Upfront page, nor its Cancellation Policies. Nothing on Airbnb's website states that those who Payless Upfront are not qualified for 14 day prior refunds under any cancellation policy, in my case, the Strict Cancellation Policy.

 

Airbnb agents have directed me to their “Help Center Article”, under “How do payment plans work”, which states the following under “if you cancel”:


https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/2143/how-do-payment-plans-work

 

"If you cancel your reservation, or the second payment can’t be completed by the date it’s due, you’ll receive a refund according to your reservation's cancellation policy."

 

So below, I have mapped out refunds, "according to your reservation's cancellation policy." as a PU guest:

 

-Flexible:

https://www.airbnb.com/home/cancellation_policies#flexible


“For a full refund of the nightly rate, the guest must cancel at least full 24 hours before the listing's local check-in time (shown in the confirmation email). The service fee will not be refunded unless the guest cancels within the free cancellation period for their reservation.”

Free cancellation statement:
“Free cancellation until 14 days before check-in (time shown in the confirmation email).If booked less than 14 days before check-in, free cancellation for 48 hours after booking, up to 24 hours before check-in.”

 

-Moderate:

https://www.airbnb.com/home/cancellation_policies#moderate


“For a full refund of the nightly rate, the guest must cancel at least 5 full days before the listing's local check-in time (shown in the confirmation email). The service fee will not be refunded unless the guest cancels within the free cancellation period for their reservation.”

 

Free cancellation statement:
“Free cancellation until 14 days before check-in (time shown in the confirmation email).”

 

-Strict:

https://www.airbnb.com/home/cancellation_policies#strict-with-grace-period


“For a full refund of the nightly rate, the guest must cancel within 48 hours of booking and at least 14 full days prior to listing’s local check-in time (shown in the confirmation email).”

 

Free cancellation:
“Free cancellation for 48 hours, as long as the guest cancels at least 14 days before check-in (time shown in the confirmation email)”

 

-Long Term:

https://www.airbnb.com/home/cancellation_policies#long-term


“For a full refund, cancel within 48 hours of booking and at least 28 full days prior to listing’s local check-in time (3:00 PM if not specified) on the day of check-in.”
“Reservations are fully refundable for 48 hours after the booking is confirmed, as long as the cancellation occurs at least 28 days before check-in (3:00 PM in the destination’s local time if not specified)
More than 48 hours after booking, guests can cancel before check-in and get a full refund, minus the first 30 days and the service fee”

 

-Super Strict 30 days:

https://www.airbnb.com/home/cancellation_policies#super-strict-30


Basically 50% refund up to certain time frame and then if canceled less than 30 days, no refunds.


“For a 50% refund of the nightly rate, the guest must cancel 30 full days before the listing’s local check-in time (shown in the confirmation email).”
“Guests can cancel at least 30 days before check-in and get a 50% refund of the nightly rate and the cleaning fee, but not the service fee”

 

-Super Strict 60 Days:

https://www.airbnb.com/home/cancellation_policies#super-strict-60


The same as the (30) days, but instead of canceled less than 30 no refunds, its less than 60 no refunds.


“For a 50% refund of the nightly rate, the guest must cancel 60 full days before the listing's local check in time (shown in the confirmation email).”
“Guests can cancel at least 60 days before check-in and get a 50% refund of the nightly rate and the cleaning fee, but not the service fee”

These are everything that guests see before, during, and after booking. These are pulled directly from Airbnb’s website on the timeline graph that is shown during the times previously mentioned.

 

Upon those agreements, nothing during booking states that, if a guests decides to choose the Payless Upfront payments, they are not qualified for full  refunds (meaning guests completed all payments, and now reservations are paid in full) that include the “days prior” policies.

 

Now, since I did the PU on a strict cancellation policy, on the first line under Airbnb’s “Help Center Article”, Airbnb states in the 2nd and 3rd clause clause under “If you cancel”:

 

“or the second payment can’t be completed by the date it’s due, you’ll receive a refund according to your reservation's cancellation policy.”

 

This implies that if I could not make my 2nd payment, you’ll receive a refund according to the Strict Cancellation policy (which is correct; that is the contract I signed between me and my host). So in this case, the PU guest only paid 50%; they can either get a full refund within the 48-hour grace period or they will get 50%, aka nothing, after the 48-hour grace period.
Since the second payment is way past the 48-hour grace period, they will only receive the 50%, again nothing.

 

Now the first clause used in conjunction with the 3rd clause of the “if you cancel” statement:

 

“If you cancel your reservation…” “you’ll receive a refund according to your reservation’s cancellation policy”

 

Meaning if I were to cancel once I made my 2nd payment; before the “14 days” takes affect, I would get the 50% from the total as a refund. If I canceled by utilizing the “14 days prior” I would then receive the FULL REFUND.

 

Again, Airbnb states “you’ll receive a refund according to your reservation’s cancellation policy”.

Strict cancellation policy follows as: Within 48-hour free cancellation, full refund. After 48-hours, 50% refund. 14 days prior to checkin, full refund.

 

Throughout the entire process, on all agreements, nothing on the website states that PU guests are ineligible for any full refunds for the “prior days” or the “grace periods”, like the Airbnb agent tried to force.

 

Airbnb’s agent tried so hard to tell me that PU guests are not qualified, they even tried to use the examples given under those clauses:

 

“For example, if you’ve booked with a Strict Cancellation Policy and cancel within time to receive a 50% refund, if only 50% of the reservation has been paid, no refund will be issued and the remaining 50% will simply not be charged.”


This is only IF the PU guest has only has the 50% payment.

 

Now lets break this example down. Total reservation is $100, which is under the Strict Cancellation Policy. Guest uses PU payment and pays now $50. If guest cancels within time to receive the 50% refund, and only the $50 has been paid. Then no refund will be issued, and you get to keep the other $50 not paid, because Airbnb will not charge you.


This fall under the “you’ll receive a refund according to your reservation’s cancellation policy.” Because the guest canceled according to the Strict Cancellation policy.

 

However, the guest pays off the reservation balance ($50) and decides to cancel during the “at least 14 full days prior to listing’s local check-in time (shown in the confirmation email).”


Under the third clause “you’ll receive a refund according to your reservation’s cancellation policy.”, the PU guest should now receive a full refund as stated under the Strict Cancellation Policy and Airbnb's “Help Center Article”. That is because all payments are fulfilled and fall under the 14 day prior checkin refund.

 

Where on Airbnb's website, clauses, terms of service, contracts, does it state that PU guests are not eligible for those refunds, and is not legally binding PU customers to what Airbnb “claims” is there.

 

When Airbnb's agent contacted me via phone May 1, 2020 at 4:09 pm, they have informed me that yes, nothing states on the above mentions, and nothing to inform guests and hosts that PU guests are not qualified for “14 day prior” full refunds, but it’s just what Airbnb ONLY tells the agents to tell us. This is on a recorded call. Again, nothing legally binding to prevent PU guests from receiving their full refunds when they make their second payment.

 

So what she just exposed to me, is that Airbnb runs its business and enforce invisible policies because “you said so”, and not because your legal documents said so.You’re telling me that your guests and hosts are BLINDLY signing and agreeing to contracts and terms not made available to them to review. You’re telling me that simple the PU guests not receiving full refunds when following the cancellation policies DO NOT EXIST, but because it’s what you JUST tell your agents it’s concrete?

 

Also, I don’t understand how those that have lost their jobs, because of COVID-19 does not qualify for “extenuating circumstances”. You’re going to make them pay for something they don’t have for an experience they can’t make. I’ve seen people are getting denied full refunds for the COVID-19 Policy, even with the proof of documents you guys asked for. Its laughable. And I hope in the future, Airbnb finds out how to properly update documents that covers newly implemented ideas. For example, updating Airbnb’s terms of service, to reflect Airbnb’s INVISIBLE claims. I really do feel for the hosts that are going through tough times because they aren't getting any bookings, or Airbnb is issuing full refunds. But I am not going to receive a payout like the hosts, if October comes and the COVID-19 policy does not cover me. I don't blame the agents either, as Airbnb has given them fraudulent information to give to hosts and guests. Without documentation, Airbnb cannot tell PU guests they are not eligible for something that was never there to enforce to begin with.

 

I hope that in the future,  creating non-refundable deposits no matter what policy is in place, to ensure that hosts get some type of pay for any and all cancellations.

 

This is a shot to  Airbnb's poorly written polices and their invisible, inaccessible policies they are trying to enforce.

 

Link to Airbnb’s Terms of Service
https://www.airbnb.com/terms

 

Link to Airbnb’s Payment Terms of Service
https://www.airbnb.com/terms/payments_terms

 

Link to Airbnb’s Refunds
https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/544/what-is-airbnbs-guest-refund-policy-for-stays

 

Link to Payless Upfront Terms
https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/1696/pay-less-upfront-terms

 

Link to Cancellation Policies
https://www.airbnb.com/home/cancellation_policies#flexible

 

 

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions

Re: Payless Upfront refund "Claims" from Airbnb

in
СПБ, Russia
Level 10

@Sarah3377 

 

''we would just simply pay the 2nd half and wait until the "14 day prior" period to be able to qualify for the full refund''

 

I think you misinterpret the strict cancellation policy.

 

To get a full refund, two conditions need to be met - to cancel within the 48 hour period after booking - AND - there must be at least 14 days before the check-in date. Note the AND part because I think you are overlooking this.

 

After the 48 hour cooling off period has passed, then a cancellation means you forfeit 50% of the total booking fee.

If you have paid 50% of the booking upfront, then cancel - this portion goes in whole to the host, you won't receive anything back unless the host waives their chosen cancellation policy.

 

What you have written, to me it looks like you read the policy as if a full refund is given up to 14 days before check-in - it's not.

 

 

 

 

View solution in original post

14 Replies

Re: Payless Upfront refund "Claims" from Airbnb

in
СПБ, Russia
Level 10

@Sarah3377 

 

''we would just simply pay the 2nd half and wait until the "14 day prior" period to be able to qualify for the full refund''

 

I think you misinterpret the strict cancellation policy.

 

To get a full refund, two conditions need to be met - to cancel within the 48 hour period after booking - AND - there must be at least 14 days before the check-in date. Note the AND part because I think you are overlooking this.

 

After the 48 hour cooling off period has passed, then a cancellation means you forfeit 50% of the total booking fee.

If you have paid 50% of the booking upfront, then cancel - this portion goes in whole to the host, you won't receive anything back unless the host waives their chosen cancellation policy.

 

What you have written, to me it looks like you read the policy as if a full refund is given up to 14 days before check-in - it's not.

 

 

 

 

Re: Payless Upfront refund "Claims" from Airbnb

in
Jonesboro, GA
Level 2

Ugh, I definitely see that now! Thank you! It was just frustrating, because even when I was speaking to CS they couldn't even really explain it to me. I kept asking about what if I made the second half would I qualify, and they kept saying no because you're in the 50% refund stage.

 

So to just clarify, so I know in the future. Let me know if I used it correctly.

 

 I book a place May 1 with a check in date on May 17. Now I decided to cancel the trip, from May 1-2, I would be eligible for the 48 hour refund or if I decided to cancel on May 3, I would be eligible for the 14 full day prior refund? Or would the 14 full day prior refund meaning if I booked May 1 with a check-in date on May 15 and anything less than 14 days are just subjected to the 50% refund.

 

If it is the latter (May 15 check-in) then they shouldn't even put the 14 full day prior cancellation at all, seeing that the guest basically have to cancel immediately but then the 48 hours is still an option.

 

Thank you so much again! Like I said they couldn't even tell me I was overlooking the AND part. Because good lord, I just misinterpret both. Honestly, you explained this quicker than CS ever did! This is the first time I ever did a partial payment, going forward I definitely will not ever use that feature again.

 

It's sad to see that they won't approve people losing their jobs as part of EC COVID19 Policy. Even if this COVID19 dies down, some people still will not be financially sound to do anything but trying to pay down their bills.

 

I hope Airbnb is helping you and other host. If not I hope in your country, they are doing something to help the citizens that are being impacted. Sending you my light and love.

Re: Payless Upfront refund "Claims" from Airbnb

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Sarah3377  " I would be eligible for the 14 full day prior refund? Or would the 14 full day prior refund meaning if I booked May 1 with a check-in date on May 15 and anything less than 14 days are just subjected to the 50% refund."

You are still making it really complicated- you have to cancel within 48 hours AND 14 days before the check-in date to get a full refund. Both. Not one or the other. 50% refund after that, up to 7 days before check-in. If less than 7 days before check-in, no refund.

I don't know if you read my other response, but whether or not you pay for the entire booking up front, or only half upfront, that doesn't change the percentage of refund you get. The percentage is based on the total cost of the reservation, regardless of how much you paid up front. If you're owed a 50% refund, and you paid in full, you'll get back 50% of the total you paid. If you paid half up front, you won't get anything back, because you only paid 50% to start with.

But the half-up-front option has been discontinued anyway. Unless it gets changed again, you'll now have to pay the full amount for any booking at the time you book.

 

 

Re: Payless Upfront refund "Claims" from Airbnb

in
Jonesboro, GA
Level 2

@Sarah977So then it would be the May 1st booking with a check-in date of the May 15th. Because then that would make it 48 hours AND 14 days before, correct? I was just saying that to even state that is unnecessary and they should keep the 48 hours. And thank goodness they are changing it back, because that's the LAST time I'm doing that. I hope they do some type of nonrefundable deposit in its place though on any cancellation policy. That way hosts aren't losing money no matter what and are covered when something like this happens. 

 

Re: Payless Upfront refund "Claims" from Airbnb

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Sarah3377  Yes, it would have to be cancelled May 1st if the check-in date was May 15.

The reason the 14 days is there, in addition to the 48 hours, is because if someone booked on May 1st, with a check-in date of only 5 days later, it wouldn't be fair to the host for the guest to be able to cancel that close to the check-in date and still receive a full refund. If the host has 14 days from check-in, they hopefully have time to get it rebooked by another guest. 

Re: Payless Upfront refund "Claims" from Airbnb

in
Jonesboro, GA
Level 2

ah ha. That makes total sense. I just wished that CS explained that better. Because you guys have basically did a WAY better job than them. But I can't really blame them either, it's not like they spent a semester learning every term, every policy, every fine print. It's just whoever is on the corporate end...really threw them, hosts, guests into a burning room and said figure it out.

Re: Payless Upfront refund "Claims" from Airbnb

in
England, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Sarah3377 

I am afraid I haven't read all of your post as it made my head hurt. I did read the first bit however and I am afraid you are not understanding the Strict cancellation policy.

Where it says:

-"For a full refund of the nightly rate, the guest must cancel within 48 hours of booking and at least 14 full days prior to listing’s local check-in time (shown in the confirmation email)."

The full refund is ONLY available when you cancel within 48 hours of booking AND ONLY THEN if the check in date is at least 14 days away.

So I am afraid you knew what the policy was when you booked and so the host does not have to refund your money. It is highly unlikely that the EC Covid policy will extend to October but who knows - you may get lucky and your host may get nothing.

 

 

Re: Payless Upfront refund "Claims" from Airbnb

in
Jonesboro, GA
Level 2

Thanks for taking the time to try and read my post as much as you can. @Elena87 was great at explaining it. But I must disagree that I didn't fully understand it at the time of this post, so that's why this was posted.

 

And I don't know, because the US is definitely not taking real precautions of social distancing. We are literally the only country that I see right now that's protesting quarantine (in mass groups), including a Vegas Mayor wanting to use their citizens as a control group to see if social distancing and stay at home works, while not participating herself. (yikes, pray for us). But I hope the UK gets better and that when this is all over that your listings get booked up and is better than before! Many blessings.

 

Re: Payless Upfront refund "Claims" from Airbnb

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Sarah3377 I also couldn't plow through your unreadable post, but I don't know what you think the Pay Less Upfront option has to do with the cancellation policy. The cancellation policy is based on the full cost of a reservation- not on what you paid up front. The option to pay half when you book and half later is simply a convenience to guests, so they don't have to come up with the full amount at once. But it has nothing to do with the cancellation policy. If you are due a 50% refund when you cancel, that means you are due a 50% refund of the total booking fee, so if you only paid 50% to start with, then you wouldn't be owed anything back.

Re: Payless Upfront refund "Claims" from Airbnb

in
Jonesboro, GA
Level 2

Unreadable? I don't know. Long as heck, yes. But thanks for reading as much as you can. If you want to, I replied to @Elena87 if you want to chime in and make sure I understand it fully.

 

And to you as well as any other hosts that comments, I hope Airbnb or your country is helping you during these trying times.

Re: Payless Upfront refund "Claims" from Airbnb

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Sarah3377  I did, I must have been writing it at the same time as you were writing yours 🙂  Yes, posts that are super long and with one huge long paragraph are hard to read. Hosts and guests here on the forum often have complicated issues, but the ones who can state the issue succinctly get more responses.

And thanks for the supportive words for hosts. So many guests right now are just mad about not getting 100% refund and don't express any sympathy for hosts. No, I haven't received any help from Airbnb, or anywhere else, but for me, it's not so bad. I just rent a private room/bath in my home for 1 guest at a time- it's not a huge source of income, and I have another part time job. But I do miss my guests- I've hosted peole from so many countries over the years and they''ve all been lovely, lively, and interesting.

Re: Payless Upfront refund "Claims" from Airbnb

in
Jonesboro, GA
Level 2

This is making me cry, haha. This all sucks because it's literally no ones fault! I miss traveling and this was supposed to be for my 30th birthday. Wait so Mexico doesn't have anything like unemployment? I'm happy you have some type of income! I'm just really praying for hosts that fully rely on Airbnb to get help from them, and if not Airbnb, wherever they are from. =[

Re: Payless Upfront refund "Claims" from Airbnb

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Sarah3377  No, Mexico doesn't have much of a social/economic safety net. I don't imagine many non-first world countries do. I'm sure many of those hosts are really hurting now. 

Re: Payless Upfront refund "Claims" from Airbnb

in
Jonesboro, GA
Level 2

Wow, well I hope once this is over, you get all your bookings again and more. Something has to give, a vaccine a breakthrough, some type of speedy recovery. But I know that's just wishful thinking. =[ I've been told that traveling will not be the same until 2022. I hope not. But thank you for your help. xo.

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