AirBnB overruled strict cancellation policy due to weather
A guest cancelled his reservation in early March 2023 several hours after check-in due to weather and the 395 being shut down to get into Mammoth Lakes, CA (happens frequently due to snow in winter). AirBnB overrode our host strict cancellation policy and refunded the guest in full, despite us advising our guests to purchase travel insurance for frequent weather events during winter. I thoroughly read AirBnB's extenuating circumstance policy and it appears that the extreme weather extenuating circumstance provision was removed in the May 31, 2022 update. It appears that the customer service representative violated Airbnb’s policy when overriding our cancellation policy by refunding the guest in full.
Reference second sentence in AirBnB policy: "Natural disasters. Natural disasters, acts of God, large-scale outages of essential utilities, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and other severe and abnormal weather events. This does not include weather or natural conditions that are common enough to be foreseeable in that location—for example, hurricanes occurring during hurricane season in Florida."
Natural disasters are covered by the extenuating circumstance policy, but weather that is common and foreseeable in that location are not covered.
Airbnb customer service had called several times on behalf of the guest and asked if we would be flexible with the cancellation policy and we reiterated that we cannot because we get less reservations with a strict cancellation policy and urge our guests to purchase travel insurance, or book with a credit card that provides trip cancellation/ interruption insurance, in our listing disclaimer and house rules.
Furthermore, AirBnB did not notify us that they were refunding the guests. They had already issued the payout, then subtracted the payout from a future stay. We only discovered this when viewing our transaction history that the payout was deducted from another payout. We did not have a chance to provide documentation showing that weather events (snow) are common in Mammoth Lakes or that the road reopened later in the stay, which would have allowed the guest to check-in later.
I requested that the decision is appealed with customer service agent. **
How can this be taken up the chain? I submitted the “feedback” link, but there must be something else… any success with writing to Airbnb? Emailing executives?
Am I missing something? Does this mean that guests no longer need to purchase travel insurance because Airbnb will always automatically refund guests in full if weather is poor (or any of the other “extenuating circumstance” reasons)? Or does this sound like the customer service representative did not follow policy? Any other experiences with this?
@Veronica869 As with so many things in life Airbnb Customer Support does seem to be a bit random I am afraid. Wether the weather is expected or not does seem to be a difficult thing to quantify so I am not surprised this policy is throwing up conflicts.