Huge AirBNB Cancellation Charge

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jbuzolich
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Re: Huge AIrBNB Cancellation Charge

Post by jbuzolich » Sun Apr 07, 2019 10:37 am

The negative comments about AirBNB here have made me sad. We're hosts for our cabin on that platform and it has mostly been a good experience. If anything it feels like the rules from our view are mostly in favor of the guests. We selected the option for the flexible cancellation policy taking the view that if someone doesn't want to be there then we as the owners really don't want them there. The long term cancellation policy though does not have any settings to adjust so is set by AirBNB directly. We have had a number of cancellations and as the host are not asked anything about what will happen. I just get a system message saying guest on certain date cancelled and no payment will be received.

We just did our first stay ever as AirBNB guests this past week. Also mostly positive although I see that we maintain things and do upgrades more than some other hosts. My wife laughed at me tapping a couple walls and she could see me thinking through renovations on a place not even ours.

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8foot7
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Re: Huge AIrBNB Cancellation Charge

Post by 8foot7 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 10:53 am

Even the airlines let you cancel with 24 hours unless you are within a 7 day window prior to departure.

You could even defend a $250 administrative fee for the hassle.

$1,200 for a mistake resulting in no damages for anyone realized in 120 minutes defies conscience.

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leeks
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Re: Huge AIrBNB Cancellation Charge

Post by leeks » Sun Apr 07, 2019 10:55 am

jbuzolich wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 10:37 am
The negative comments about AirBNB here have made me sad. We're hosts for our cabin on that platform and it has mostly been a good experience. If anything it feels like the rules from our view are mostly in favor of the guests. We selected the option for the flexible cancellation policy taking the view that if someone doesn't want to be there then we as the owners really don't want them there. The long term cancellation policy though does not have any settings to adjust so is set by AirBNB directly. We have had a number of cancellations and as the host are not asked anything about what will happen. I just get a system message saying guest on certain date cancelled and no payment will be received.

We just did our first stay ever as AirBNB guests this past week. Also mostly positive although I see that we maintain things and do upgrades more than some other hosts. My wife laughed at me tapping a couple walls and she could see me thinking through renovations on a place not even ours.
So maybe Airbnb is pocketing all of the $1200 not the host, that would be even more ridiculous!

staythecourse
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Re: Huge AIrBNB Cancellation Charge

Post by staythecourse » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:05 am

A contract is a contract is a contract. If it says x and you signed off then its an expensive lesson to learn. I don't think your son did anything wrong, but a quick lesson in the real world NO ONE cares about anything other then $$$. That lesson will serve him well more then anything he will learn in his internship year.

The only thing you can try is dispute with the help of the credit card company. Maybe, mention that the advertising on the site was NOT clear. If it advertised as 48 hour cancellation policy there should be an asterik next to it any exception and then small print on the bottom of page. That is good faith. Almost like a bait and switch. I would also call states AG office and BBB (if they enrolled in it) and let them know as well for shady business practice.

Good luck.
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tibbitts
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Re: Huge AIrBNB Cancellation Charge

Post by tibbitts » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:07 am

8foot7 wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 10:53 am
Even the airlines let you cancel with 24 hours unless you are within a 7 day window prior to departure.

You could even defend a $250 administrative fee for the hassle.

$1,200 for a mistake resulting in no damages for anyone realized in 120 minutes defies conscience.
That is a relatively new policy for airlines; there used to be no 24-hour refund period, although then some change fees used to be slightly more lenient (but usually still prohibitive.)

As I said the question becomes if not within 120 minutes then how long until the policy should take effect? And if you end up with a huge sliding scale then will people will complain it was too difficult to understand?

Jags4186
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Re: Huge AIrBNB Cancellation Charge

Post by Jags4186 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:11 am

8foot7 wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 10:53 am
Even the airlines let you cancel with 24 hours unless you are within a 7 day window prior to departure.
Yes, because there is a law that says they have to.

PoppyA
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Re: Huge AIrBNB Cancellation Charge

Post by PoppyA » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:13 am

I read this post with interest.

I booked a week in November, then thought I had until 14 days prior to cancel. I didn’t. I had 48 hours. As suggested above, I requested to change my dates (to 1 day from 7) and was approved. Then I requested to cancel. It all worked. Bottom line, I am paying $170 for the mistake instead of $2,200.
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edudumb
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Re: Huge AIrBNB Cancellation Charge

Post by edudumb » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:31 am

letsgobobby wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 10:17 am
Jags4186 wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 10:00 am
letsgobobby wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:52 am

Sure, he will learn a life lesson. But he would learn it even if owner refunded him all but $100-$200. Instead he will learn that some people are real jerks, and that gig companies like rideshare and the VRBO crowd like to have all the advantages of a single brand when it suits them best (VC funding, political leverage, legal maneuvering) but claim non employer status when taking more responsibility would hurt their bottom line (rental disagreements such as this, rogue drivers who assault their passengers, etc).

Tibbits, your experience with Chase wasn't quite the same, as the car rental company furnished proof that "you" had rented. Ultimately it was they who made you whole.
It’s not the AirBnB host’s responsibility to teach an appropriate life lesson to the person who cancels. Perhaps the AirBnB host would charge more for rentals if there were no fee cancellations on these types of bookings.
Given the 2 hours, a $1200 (one month) fee is unreasonable. Other than, “that’s the policy,” there is simply no cogent argument for reasonableness. Host has every option to return the fee, reduce the fee, etc., Instead is playing hardball just because he can. He hasn’t suffered any damages unless he wants to claim, in that 2 hour window, he booked a nonrefundable airline ticket to Tahiti.
If I were the host, I'd take the whole $1200. People keep saying there's no damage to the host if OP's son cancelled just 2 hrs later. But, there's also no damage to the host if he doesn't refund. Reasons: The OP's kid can't leave a review after cancelling the reservation, so it won't hurt the business. The OP's kid won't book the same place again, so it won't hurt the business for losing one potential customer.

If the situation is reverse, let's say 2 hr after the room is booked, the host regretted and wanted to cancel, would Airbnb let the host cancel without penalty just because he regrets only 2 hr later and that the guest can easily book something else?

letsgobobby
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Re: Huge AIrBNB Cancellation Charge

Post by letsgobobby » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:40 am

Let's think about that. Let's say the host realized he had posted the wrong dates, and the room wasn't in fact available, and he realized this a couple hours later. I'd hope the renter would say, hey, no problem. I haven't made any plans yet. Stuff happens. Thanks for letting me know right away as opposed to a week later.

Airbnb and VRBO are dealing with small time hosts and renters. Human beings, not faceless corporations. Let them act it.

dknightd
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Re: Huge AIrBNB Cancellation Charge

Post by dknightd » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:46 am

I admit, I did not read the whole thread.
But it seems to me your Son made the mistake, not you.
He did not read the terms before he clicked "buy".
I'd consider this a learning opportunity. Next time perhaps he'll not click buy so fast.
His problem, not yours.

middistancerunner
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Re: Huge AIrBNB Cancellation Charge

Post by middistancerunner » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:47 am

curiouskitty wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 5:56 am
Rainier wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 5:50 am
My problem with these sites is the ability for the host to cancel for any reason with very short notice.

In this case are there state contract laws that could help you? For example, I know in CT you have the right to cancel certain contracts within three days. Might be worth looking into. AirBnB cant make up policy that violates state laws.
If the host cancels they get a bad automated review saying they canceled and how many days before. They get charged $50-100. They can’t get superhost status. After 3 cancellations in a year, the listing is suspended. Pretty strict to discourage cancellations.

Then Airbnb gives you a discount and helps rebook you. Really not so bad IMO considering it’s rare since people won’t book if your reviews are full of cancellations.

Yes if state law says otherwise then you may have a longer refund window.
Respectfully, I think you’re dramatically overstating the consumer friendliness of the host cancellation policy.

Last time I rented an AirBNB, I booked a room over a month out, to stay for four days leading up to a conference. The place was very highly rated. It was in Los Angeles, so it’s a huge city, and I’d planned my entire stay around the precise location of the booking.

About 1 week out, I got an automated notice from the platform saying “Host wants to change your reservation - you will be charged an additional $400.” I was completely weirded out as there was no explanation - I’d already paid $500 and it’d been debited from my account - so this was nearly doubling the price I’d already paid. I declined, and the host got in contact, telling me a story about his landlord and how their rent is going up so I need to consent to pay double what the agreed price originally was, and asking me to accept the change. I said I wouldn’t do that, and in the end he canceled the reservation about 3 days before my trip.

I think what was going on here was he realized he could make more that week than I was paying, and raised the price in the hopes I’d either take the increase because moving the location where I was staying would be too much of a hassle for me, or that I would cancel on my end so he wasn’t the one penalized for the cancellation. It’s not hard to see a host could implement this strategy a fair amount, and as long as most changes result in the renter cancelling, their AirBNB status won’t be terribly harmed.

With me out of a place to stay 3 days before my trip, AirBNB offered to help me rebook, and offered me a $50 credit for my troubles - if I rebooked using AirBNB. (If I didn’t, I would get no compensation for the experience of being unexpectedly without a place to stay 3 days before my trip.) Now, of course, this is Los Angeles in the summer, so AirBNB prices were at that point considerably higher than +$50 from my original stay price. And the neighborhood where I’d planned to stay had filled up. The end result is that I would have had to book an inferior AirBNB at a greater net price than I’d originally paid, all for absolutely no fault on my end. I ended up finding a place to stay outside of the AirBNB platform.

This is *not* my first bad consumer experience with AirBNB - about half of my ~10 AirBNB experiences have either been extremely mediocre or actively bad. I can’t say the same thing about staying in hotels (mostly positive, and in 99% of cases they’ll make you whole if something goes wrong) or other sharing economy companies like Lyft (which do have bad actor drivers, but the proportion is just much much lower).

I also think you’re overstating how uncommon this is - when this happened, I ended up hearing a bunch of other commiserating stories from other people. One was about a long-planned family vacation in the height of summer that was cancelled at the last minute.

I’ve also heard some horror stories on the flip side of the coin, of ethical hosts being screwed over by unethical guests. My theory is that AirBNB has a really serious platform problem, like a vicious cycle, that seems to begat further problems. Guests get screwed by hosts, and then feel more ok screwing over hosts the next time. And so on. Either the business model itself is fundamentally flawed, or AirBNB has not invested what it needs in customer service to police its platform. As someone else said above, they like to benefit from the single brand when raising money, but seem happy to wash their hands of scammy behavior on the platform.

michaeljc70
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Re: Huge AIrBNB Cancellation Charge

Post by michaeljc70 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:00 pm

middistancerunner wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:47 am
curiouskitty wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 5:56 am
Rainier wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 5:50 am
My problem with these sites is the ability for the host to cancel for any reason with very short notice.

In this case are there state contract laws that could help you? For example, I know in CT you have the right to cancel certain contracts within three days. Might be worth looking into. AirBnB cant make up policy that violates state laws.
If the host cancels they get a bad automated review saying they canceled and how many days before. They get charged $50-100. They can’t get superhost status. After 3 cancellations in a year, the listing is suspended. Pretty strict to discourage cancellations.

Then Airbnb gives you a discount and helps rebook you. Really not so bad IMO considering it’s rare since people won’t book if your reviews are full of cancellations.

Yes if state law says otherwise then you may have a longer refund window.
Respectfully, I think you’re dramatically overstating the consumer friendliness of the host cancellation policy.

Last time I rented an AirBNB, I booked a room over a month out, to stay for four days leading up to a conference. The place was very highly rated. It was in Los Angeles, so it’s a huge city, and I’d planned my entire stay around the precise location of the booking.

About 1 week out, I got an automated notice from the platform saying “Host wants to change your reservation - you will be charged an additional $400.” I was completely weirded out as there was no explanation - I’d already paid $500 and it’d been debited from my account - so this was nearly doubling the price I’d already paid. I declined, and the host got in contact, telling me a story about his landlord and how their rent is going up so I need to consent to pay double what the agreed price originally was, and asking me to accept the change. I said I wouldn’t do that, and in the end he canceled the reservation about 3 days before my trip.

I think what was going on here was he realized he could make more that week than I was paying, and raised the price in the hopes I’d either take the increase because moving the location where I was staying would be too much of a hassle for me, or that I would cancel on my end so he wasn’t the one penalized for the cancellation. It’s not hard to see a host could implement this strategy a fair amount, and as long as most changes result in the renter cancelling, their AirBNB status won’t be terribly harmed.

With me out of a place to stay 3 days before my trip, AirBNB offered to help me rebook, and offered me a $50 credit for my troubles - if I rebooked using AirBNB. (If I didn’t, I would get no compensation for the experience of being unexpectedly without a place to stay 3 days before my trip.) Now, of course, this is Los Angeles in the summer, so AirBNB prices were at that point considerably higher than +$50 from my original stay price. And the neighborhood where I’d planned to stay had filled up. The end result is that I would have had to book an inferior AirBNB at a greater net price than I’d originally paid, all for absolutely no fault on my end. I ended up finding a place to stay outside of the AirBNB platform.

This is *not* my first bad consumer experience with AirBNB - about half of my ~10 AirBNB experiences have either been extremely mediocre or actively bad. I can’t say the same thing about staying in hotels (mostly positive, and in 99% of cases they’ll make you whole if something goes wrong) or other sharing economy companies like Lyft (which do have bad actor drivers, but the proportion is just much much lower).

I also think you’re overstating how uncommon this is - when this happened, I ended up hearing a bunch of other commiserating stories from other people. One was about a long-planned family vacation in the height of summer that was cancelled at the last minute.

I’ve also heard some horror stories on the flip side of the coin, of ethical hosts being screwed over by unethical guests. My theory is that AirBNB has a really serious platform problem, like a vicious cycle, that seems to begat further problems. Guests get screwed by hosts, and then feel more ok screwing over hosts the next time. And so on. Either the business model itself is fundamentally flawed, or AirBNB has not invested what it needs in customer service to police its platform. As someone else said above, they like to benefit from the single brand when raising money, but seem happy to wash their hands of scammy behavior on the platform.
As I stated far above, the ability of hosts to cancel with little penalty is one of my biggest issues with Airbnb. If you book something during an event or at a peak time, they (the host) can cancel leaving you in the lurch with little penalty. You may have to pay double or triple to find another place. It is very one sided. Why isn't the host obliged to pay me if they cancel like I have to pay them if I cancel? If I book a hotel and they are out of rooms when I arrive or I book a flight and there are no seats, I get compensation.

edudumb
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Re: Huge AIrBNB Cancellation Charge

Post by edudumb » Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:23 pm

letsgobobby wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:40 am
Let's think about that. Let's say the host realized he had posted the wrong dates, and the room wasn't in fact available, and he realized this a couple hours later. I'd hope the renter would say, hey, no problem. I haven't made any plans yet. Stuff happens. Thanks for letting me know right away as opposed to a week later.

Airbnb and VRBO are dealing with small time hosts and renters. Human beings, not faceless corporations. Let them act it.
If the host canceled, Airbnb would impose penalty -- can't have superhost status, auto review publicly saying that host canceled, host have to pay a penalty to Airbnb as well (beyond certain number of cancels). So be fair to the host too.

edudumb
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Re: Huge AIrBNB Cancellation Charge

Post by edudumb » Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:27 pm

middistancerunner wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:47 am
curiouskitty wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 5:56 am
Rainier wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 5:50 am
My problem with these sites is the ability for the host to cancel for any reason with very short notice.

In this case are there state contract laws that could help you? For example, I know in CT you have the right to cancel certain contracts within three days. Might be worth looking into. AirBnB cant make up policy that violates state laws.
If the host cancels they get a bad automated review saying they canceled and how many days before. They get charged $50-100. They can’t get superhost status. After 3 cancellations in a year, the listing is suspended. Pretty strict to discourage cancellations.

Then Airbnb gives you a discount and helps rebook you. Really not so bad IMO considering it’s rare since people won’t book if your reviews are full of cancellations.

Yes if state law says otherwise then you may have a longer refund window.
About 1 week out, I got an automated notice from the platform saying “Host wants to change your reservation - you will be charged an additional $400.” I was completely weirded out as there was no explanation - I’d already paid $500 and it’d been debited from my account - so this was nearly doubling the price I’d already paid. I declined, and the host got in contact, telling me a story about his landlord and how their rent is going up so I need to consent to pay double what the agreed price originally was, and asking me to accept the change. I said I wouldn’t do that, and in the end he canceled the reservation about 3 days before my trip.

I think what was going on here was he realized he could make more that week than I was paying, and raised the price in the hopes I’d either take the increase because moving the location where I was staying would be too much of a hassle for me, or that I would cancel on my end so he wasn’t the one penalized for the cancellation. It’s not hard to see a host could implement this strategy a fair amount, and as long as most changes result in the renter cancelling, their AirBNB status won’t be terribly harmed.
That's bad. But if the host canceled your reservation, I believe that the days would be blocked so the host couldn't take in new guests (at least on Airbnb) for those dates.

middistancerunner
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Re: Huge AIrBNB Cancellation Charge

Post by middistancerunner » Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:36 pm

edudumb wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:27 pm

That's bad. But if the host canceled your reservation, I believe that the days would be blocked so the host couldn't take in new guests (at least on Airbnb) for those dates.
I don’t know exactly how the host penalties work, and whether this is correct or not, but I think a big part of this scammy behavior has to do with incentivizing the guest to hit “cancel,” which I bet works a lot of the time. In that case none of those penalties would apply to the host.

The fact is that being cancelled on at the last minute in hot markets is a common experience on AirBNB. It isn’t rare despite whatever penalties are in place. It’s not clear to me exactly how the hosts have figured out how to do this profitably, but it’s clearly a profitable tactic in many cases.

Again it’s not the case that all AirBNB hosts are unethical. But it was pretty obvious in my particular story that that specific host has probably made a habit of profiting from this kind of unethical behavior. Nothing in the language in his communications with me was particularly apologetic, or indicated that this was a bizarre one time occurrence that he felt horrible for. It seemed like no big deal to him.

I’ve come to see AirBNB as a crapshoot, at best. I think that if a person needs some certainty around their travel plans, that they should not go the AirBNB route. And a fundamental problem is not only the high proportion of bad hosts relative to other sharing economy platforms, but the fact that you just can’t expect to be made whole by the company if something bad happens.

michaeljc70
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Re: Huge AIrBNB Cancellation Charge

Post by michaeljc70 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:43 pm

edudumb wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:23 pm
letsgobobby wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:40 am
Let's think about that. Let's say the host realized he had posted the wrong dates, and the room wasn't in fact available, and he realized this a couple hours later. I'd hope the renter would say, hey, no problem. I haven't made any plans yet. Stuff happens. Thanks for letting me know right away as opposed to a week later.

Airbnb and VRBO are dealing with small time hosts and renters. Human beings, not faceless corporations. Let them act it.
If the host canceled, Airbnb would impose penalty -- can't have superhost status, auto review publicly saying that host canceled, host have to pay a penalty to Airbnb as well (beyond certain number of cancels). So be fair to the host too.
Sounds like they get multiple breaks before being hit in the pocket book while guests don't.

Jags4186
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Re: Huge AIrBNB Cancellation Charge

Post by Jags4186 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 1:05 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:43 pm
edudumb wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:23 pm
letsgobobby wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:40 am
Let's think about that. Let's say the host realized he had posted the wrong dates, and the room wasn't in fact available, and he realized this a couple hours later. I'd hope the renter would say, hey, no problem. I haven't made any plans yet. Stuff happens. Thanks for letting me know right away as opposed to a week later.

Airbnb and VRBO are dealing with small time hosts and renters. Human beings, not faceless corporations. Let them act it.
If the host canceled, Airbnb would impose penalty -- can't have superhost status, auto review publicly saying that host canceled, host have to pay a penalty to Airbnb as well (beyond certain number of cancels). So be fair to the host too.
Sounds like they get multiple breaks before being hit in the pocket book while guests don't.
That is SOP for these types of services. You cancel an Uber you pay. Driver cancels a pick up and they can be given internal review, low priority for scheduled pick ups, kicked off platform, etc.

gwe67
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Re: Huge AIrBNB Cancellation Charge

Post by gwe67 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 1:56 pm

It's possible that the host lost bookings during that two hour period because it was already "booked".
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letsgobobby
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Re: Huge AIrBNB Cancellation Charge

Post by letsgobobby » Sun Apr 07, 2019 2:15 pm

gwe67 wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 1:56 pm
It's possible that the host lost bookings during that two hour period because it was already "booked".
If in that high demand then it should be no problem to relist and rerent, even taking a reasonable fee from renter.

J295
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Re: Huge AIrBNB Cancellation Charge

Post by J295 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 2:18 pm

Just as a reference point. We and family members have stayed at Airbnb and VRBO in the United States and in other countries. We have only had one host cancel on us. That was in Spain the day we were leaving the United States, and Airbnb was extremely prompt in providing us with other accommodations at no additional cost.

TravelGeek
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Re: Huge AIrBNB Cancellation Charge

Post by TravelGeek » Sun Apr 07, 2019 2:35 pm

letsgobobby wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:52 am
Sure, he will learn a life lesson. But he would learn it even if owner refunded him all but $100-$200. Instead he will learn that some people are real jerks, and that gig companies like rideshare and the VRBO crowd like to have all the advantages of a single brand when it suits them best (VC funding, political leverage, legal maneuvering) but claim non employer status when taking more responsibility would hurt their bottom line (rental disagreements such as this, rogue drivers who assault their passengers, etc).
That sounds like a great life lesson to me. Life can be harsh. Read the T&C for life and purchases.

My bottom line:

1. The cancellation rule seems unnecessarily harsh for long term rentals far out into the future, but it's AirBnB's prerogative to set up those rules and live with the consequences (it might discourage bookings or create bad PR as in this case; I have never rented on AirBnB and this thread doesn't make it more appealing).

2. Read the T&C carefully before committing to a purchase, especially if it's thousands of dollars. Not everything can be undone later with a click of a mouse or a smile.

letsgobobby
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Re: Huge AIrBNB Cancellation Charge

Post by letsgobobby » Sun Apr 07, 2019 3:47 pm

edudumb wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 3:35 pm
There should be a price to pay. Whether the price was too high is a different topic.
No, this is exactly the topic. Are we reading the same thread?

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stats99
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Re: Huge AIrBNB Cancellation Charge

Post by stats99 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 3:50 pm

OP here. Thanks again for all the thoughts. Just wanted to add, along the lines of the host experiencing any type of loss, the stay was scheduled for June 2. The reservation made at 4 pm on April 1 and cancelled at 6 pm on April 1.

As far as reviewing the website, I reviewed the listings as well and just saw the 48 hour notice. As a college student I am sure his parent will handle this loss. :annoyed

Thanks all I think we can end this discussion.

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Re: Huge AirBNB Cancellation Charge

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Apr 07, 2019 4:04 pm

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