DEAR TRAVEL TROUBLESHOOTER: My husband, son and I are scheduled to live on Airbnb in New York City. In March, we had to cancel the rental because of the coronavirus outbreak. I have concerns about our health, including my husband who has asthma and my 2-year-old son.
Christopher Elliott, Travel Troubleshooter
Our date is included in Airbnb’s refund policy. However, Airbnb seems to submit our cancellation to the host, who has ignored our message and requested a refund. Airbnb does not support the policy of offering refunds. We lost $ 497, the first part of the payment we made when ordering, and didn’t receive help from Airbnb. Can you help us?
– Jill Caruana, Waxhaw, North Carolina
ANSWER: You should receive a full refund from Airbnb. Why? Because it promises one. See the company emergency policy, which is published on its website, which covers your stay. Airbnb says for bookings made for stays between March 14 and May 31, 2020, you can cancel and receive all your money back.
It seems like the host is trying to persuade you to keep your reservation. That’s very understandable, because allowing you to cancel will be a total loss for your host. But Airbnb should go in and process the refund as promised.
I have dealt with this problem many times during the plague. The travel industry rests against a wall and does not want to return tickets, rent reservations, or stay at a hotel, even when required. And even when promised to return money.
I have said it before and I will say it again: If you offer a refund, submit the money. If you are required by law to do this, such as an airline, you don’t need to waste time. Because the only thing worse than someone like me who asks for a refund as soon as possible is the government regulator that regulates you.
I publish the name, number and email address for the Airbnb manager on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org. Before getting involved, I ask you to contact Airbnb in writing to give them one last chance to do the right thing. You do it. Airbnb representatives contact you and explain that you failed to follow the correct procedures to cancel your rental and need more documentation.
“However, I understand there is some confusion about the initial cancellation message, which adds to the delay in your communication with us,” the representative said. Airbnb offers a $ 378 refund and a $ 119 coupon to cover the service fees, which you receive.
If you need help with a coronavirus-related return, please contact me. You can send details through my consumer advocacy site or send me an email at [email protected]
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