Is Airbnb following its own coronavirus cancellation policy? Kimberly Chong doesn’t think so, and she’s about to lose several nights in Madrid and Paris because of it. Can she get a refund or is she stuck with the bill?
Airbnb does not appear to be following its own extenuating circumstances policy for coronavirus refunds. The company denied my refund request for upcoming stays in Madrid and Paris. Both currently fall under the Airbnb policy for cancellation and refunds.
Airbnb sent me an email that said after reviewing my booking details, “We confirm that this booking is not within the scope of our special situation policy for the new coronary pneumonia epidemic.”
The company also included a link to the policy, which confirmed that reservations for stays made on or before March 14, with a check-in date between March 14 and May 31, may be canceled before check-in. Airbnb offered an option of a travel credit or a full cash refund.
I would like a full cash refund. Can you help me? — Kimberly Chong, Mill Creek, Wash.
Here we go again. Last week I helped Elena Lopez, who had a similar problem. You’d think that Airbnb would get its act together. But no, it hasn’t.
Airbnb’s “extenuating circumstances” policy is simple and unambiguous. If you made your reservation before March 14 for a stay that begins anytime on or before May 31, you can cancel the reservation and get a full refund or a travel credit if you’re affected by COVID-19 and can’t travel.
You can review the entire policy on the Airbnb site.
What’s Airbnb doing with its coronavirus cancellation policy?
As I mentioned last week, Airbnb has been asking for copies of government warnings relevant to your cancellation. So to request a refund, you would need to fill out the form with a link to the appropriate government warning, such as the U.S. State Department’s recent “Level 4” advisory to stay home.
I’m starting to believe Airbnb’s coronavirus cancellation policy — and specifically its refund form — is designed to generate the maximum number of rejections. Just like our reader last week, you didn’t include the correct documentation (a link to that “Level 4” advisory). By the way, travel insurance wouldn’t have helped in this situation. It doesn’t cover coronavirus cancellations.
Had this dragged on, you could have contacted one of the contacts at Airbnb which I list on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org.
I recommended you resubmit your claim with the correct link. You did. A few days later, Airbnb refunded your money.