Santa Barbara, CA Level 1
I'm posting this to genuinely understand from a host's perspective why my host strung me along this incomprehensible refund journey instead of just telling me "no refunds".
I made a booking for 1 night for a group. Turns out my group had already secured lodging, there was miscommunication in my group. The booking has a no-refund policy, which is fine, my fault, I'm not expecting any refund.
I figure it doesn't hurt to ask, worst I can get is "no". I've stayed with some extremely kind, considerate, and flexible hosts. Within 3 hours of booking, I let the host know of the situation, ask if he'd be willing to do a refund. I'm fine if he's not, that's life. Even if I can't get a refund, I cancel anyway to be courteous so the place can be available again for him to book. I mean, I could just keep the place so my group has a spare place in case anything goes wrong with the current lodging, but I'm just being considerate.
AirBnB says his response time is generally 1 hour; he doesn't respond to me until 2 days later, after I follow up twice, which felt a little weird. He tells me to contact AirBnB, that they'll assist in processing the refund. Awesome, thanks so much, wasn't expecting that at all!
I contact AirBnB support, they tell me that they can process the refund, but they'll need the host to authorize the refund, they will contact him. I let the host know that support is going to contact him for authorization. He says ok, he'll wait to talk to them. Sweet!
AirBnB support gets back to me; "I just got an update from your host, and unfortunately he has decided to uphold his cancellation policy." ... wtf? Shocked, I tell support that I'm confused -- they tell me "When I reached out to the Host he informed me that it won't be possible for them to provide you with the refund as they wont get any other bookings." If he was never going to refund me, why did he send me to support instead of just telling me that he won't refund me?
I contact the host again, asking for clarity.
He simply says: "Hi Joshua, I understand, we abide by Airbnb policies, we have to talk to Airbnb because it is a strict no refund policy."
...what does that even mean??? Why isn't he just saying yes or no??? I tell him that support told me that they are able to process a refund given his authorization, and the issue is that he did not authorize the refund. Maybe it was a misunderstanding? I ask him if it's a misunderstanding.
He says: "Joshua, We are unable to refund due to strict cancellation policies. It is not possible for us to do so."
I'm just sitting here completely dumbfounded having gone through the emotional rollercoaster of this thing, the confusion, and the time wasted going back and forth between him and support.
I'm honestly confused. I can't find the logic in it. The only thing I can think of is that he wanted to pretend that he was the saint who wanted to refund me, but big bad AirBnB wouldn't let him refund me, but the wrench in this manipulative scheme was that he didn't anticipate that AirBnB support would literally just tell me that he didn't authorize the refund and what his explanation was.
Does this behavior make sense to any host? What is the incentive for this weird avoidance to simply saying "no refunds, sorry"?
@Joshua911 It makes no sense to me. Perhaps the host would have refunded if they had got another booking but if so why not just say so. All very weird I am afraid.
Mike you have hit the nail on the head......once again!
We only ever get one side of the story.
The booking must have been within a short time of the stay because if it had been more than 14 days out, the booking would have been subject to the automatic 48 hour free cancellation rule and the guest would have got their money back, particular as this cancellation issue came up with the host within 3 hours of booking.
There is absolutely no reason for a host to string a guest along for a refund.....particularly if the host has a Strict cancellation policy. Most of us try to be accommodating and it is probable that the host, in a gesture of goodwill said to @Joshua911 ......"If I get another booking for that date I will offer you a refund"! And Joshua has forgotten about the 'IF' bit!
But, as luck would have it, no alternate booking came so, the host had to change his stance and stick by his/her cancellation policy.
That is the only reason I can think of why this should drag out!
Joshua, there are reasonably flexible rules about guest cancellations but guests have to realise hosts are running a business and are in a similar position to most other businesses. You can't book airline tickets for specific dates and when you find out circumstances have changed expect to cancel just like that and get a refund.
And I know you appreciate that because you said you were not seriously expecting a refund, that wasn't your problem, just the amount of time and policy change that brought you here.
I am sorry this has happened to you Joshua but it may not be that the host was trying to confuse you, in fact just the opposite, but maybe on this occasion it didn't work out!
I am sorry to hear about your situation, and I completely understand your frustration. I thought it would be useful to share this article with you to provide more information about 👉Airbnb's refund policy.