Airbnb has shown themselves to be just another petty, greedy multi-million dollar corporation with little to no compassion or concern for their hardworking customers who are now suffering financially due to the Coronavirus pandemic. In February I booked a stay through Airbnb for my mothers 60th birthday in early July. Her older brother and his family live in Florida, and I thought it would be nice for our entire family to go there so she could spend her birthday surrounded by all of the people who love her. Unfortunately, the Coronavirus pandemic has derailed those plans completely. My mother has Multiple Sclerosis which makes Covid-19 far more dangerous for her than many others. On top of that I live in NYC, the epicenter of the pandemic in the US, and do not want to possibly carry a fatal disease home to my mother and extended family. She and I discussed what she wanted to do about our trip, and under the circumstances she felt we should cancel or go later in the year. I, of course, thought that canceling this reservation would be fairly simple. I assumed Airbnb, being a reputable and well respected company, would be doing the honorable thing during so many peoples time of need. I was wrong. I paid the first installment payment of $930.84 to Airbnb when I booked in February, and my second payment of $823.30 would be due soon. I checked Airbnbs site first, and was directed to the host for my stay RealJoy Vacations. I called RealJoy Vacations, explained my situation, and was told that I needed to talk to Airbnb because Airbnb had not released my payment information to them yet. I reached out to Airbnb via their online messaging platform, and was told that while they have not transferred my payment to my host and will not do so until 24 hours before my check-in time, they cant refund my money to me because they have to negotiate a cancelation through the host (RealJoy Vacations). I then tried to change the dates of our stay to October hoping that it would be safer for my mother to travel at a later date, but that request was denied! Currently, Airbnb has extended their Coronavirus refund coverage to reservations with check-in dates before June 15th, and our check-in date is July 9th. When I first started on this task to cancel they were only covering check-in dates before May 31st. Heres my biggest problem with what Airbnb is doing to me, and I am sure countless others. They are showing themselves to be just another greedy corporation with little to no care for their customers. Their websites about us page states An economic empowerment engine, Airbnb has helped millions of hospitality entrepreneurs monetize their spaces and their passions while keeping the financial benefits of tourism in their own communities. Thats all well and great, but now Airbnb is just another multi-million dollar corporation monetizing working peoples pain and hardships. 30 Million people in the United States have filed for unemployment in the last 6 weeks, many who have lost their entire livelihood due to this pandemic. Why does Airbnb see fit to penalize those suffering people further? Why are they making it nearly impossible for anyone to receive a refund for a Summer trip that would be too dangerous and now, due to lack of work, too expensive to take? How many people do you think booked a stay for the 4th of July, paid for half of the booking, only to find out they are in the exact same boat that I now find myself? If I dont cancel I will likely lose another large chunk of money that I cant afford to go without right now, and if I do cancel I will lose the $930 I have already paid! I have read that this is a defining moment for companies and corporations. That their business practices during this global pandemic will either be lauded or derided for many years to come. I know this experience with Airbnb will certainly make me think twice about booking with them in the future, and I will be telling this story to anyone who will listen for years to come urging them against booking through Airbnb. Multi-million dollar companies like Airbnb should be ashamed of their lack of compassion and common decency in a time that is so difficult for their customers.
User's recommendation: Don't book with Airbnb. They don't care about their customers.