Host refuses to honor cancellation policy!!!!

Host refuses to honor cancellation policy!!!!

We rented a large house in NC for July 4th week 2024, unfortunately we had a family medical emergency and needed to cancel.
When booking, the cancellation policy stated “100% refund if you cancel at least 30 days before check in” but when trying to cancel the booking,the cancellation policies were different. It now states that we needed to cancel 48 hours after booking to get the full refund.
Even though we have the proof of the original policy and this information was shared with both the host and Airbnb, we’re being given a run around and only being offered 50% of our original deposit. Can anyone help with this or know how to fight this???

5 Replies 5
Level 10
Bristol, United Kingdom

What cancellation policy did you actually book under - hard to comment without knowing this. @Ronald729 . If you booked under a flexible or moderate policy you can cancel and get a full refund less the Airbnb fee.  

if one of your party has a medical emergency now which means they won't be able to travel a few months later you can claim on your travel insurance.

Level 10
Orono, ME

@Ronald729 What does the cancelation policy say on the booking confirmation you got via e-mail immediately after making the reservation? Cancellation policies cannot change once a reservation is confirmed. The host has no control over that. 

Level 10
Takoma Park, MD

@Ronald729  The 48 hour threshold is for getting your AirBnB fees back. So any cancellation beyond 48 hours means you won't get a FULL refund. AirBnB will take their share. 


Also, the cancellation policy can't be changed after you book. It just can't be. For example, if you book my place and my check-out time is 11:00 am, and a week later I change it to 10:00, your reservation still shows a 11:00 check-out time. Same with the cancellation policy, the details of which should be right there in your booking confirmation. 


Since we can't see that, this is the best info I can offer. The cancellation policy can't be changed once you've booked. 

Level 10
Copenhagen, Denmark

Hi @Ronald729 

When you cancel via the reservation the system is set up to automatically refund you according to the cancellation policy you agreed to when the reservation was made. Your host is not paid until after you were supposed to check in. On your confirmation email you will be able to see what cancellation policy you agreed to. You will only get the Airbnb fee back if you cancel within 48 hours after booking. 
What does it say when you try to cancel? 

Like all the other host replies, I too do not understand how this can happen. What you are saying just does not sound possible?


Yet Airbnb are offering you some fees so there must have been booked a different policy to what you expected (perhaps 'moderate'?)?


As a host of a large property though, it does irk me when I lose a booking 4-6 weeks out. I used to have moderate policy cancellation, because I will not get a replacement booking. It's why I moved back to strict policy post COVID.


It doesn't matter the reason for cancellation, sorry, but everyone's definition of a family medical emergency is different, and not sure why the host should be penalised, so they should at least get some compensation. I understand you want your full amount returned, but given the situation, I don't see how you can. Nor, if the cancellation policy is correctly applied, whether you should (and maybe 50% is the fairest outcome for the hosts). Airbnb only takes a service charge. The host loses out most here in large properties in my experience. IF it was a small property, completely different story. 


Have you considered just moving the date instead? I'm sure the host would rather you at least come at some point? They'll still have a gap on that weekend but I'd rather my guests have a positive experience than no experience or a negative one. And it shows the hosts that at least the guests were genuine in intent, and not just shopping around for another property. 


Just some thoughts from the other side,

Kind regs