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Review: Airbnb

Accommodation - Apartment

Airbnb first timer - beware strict cancellation policy

  • By SilverTraveller Hardyplant

    43 reviews

    Ribbon Ribbon

  • 2021

35 people found this review helpful

In January 2020 I booked a 2-bedroom apartment in Liverpool for myself, my husband and my son so my son could go to see a Genesis concert later in the year as I’d bought him a ticket for his 50th birthday. I noticed that the host had a Strict Cancellation Policy and was fully aware of the conditions so have only myself to blame, which is why I’m bringing this to the attention of other Silver Travellers.

I still went ahead because I could see no reason why we wouldn’t be able to go; my thought being that if my husband or myself couldn’t go then at least my son could, and vice versa. Then Covid-19 hit and everything changed. The concert was postponed. I contacted the host, and he very kindly agreed to a change of date to April 2021, the new date for the concert, and I paid the extra amount (it was a more expensive time of the year). Then the concert was cancelled for April, so again I asked if I could transfer the date to the hoped for concert in October 2021. I had checked on his site that there was a vacancy for the dates I wanted, and there was. However, he responded that this wouldn’t be possible because he might want to do some work on the flat at this time. He suggested I request a change through Airbnb, which he would agree to and then when the time came and he wasn’t able to host us he would cancel the booking his end. I’d get a refund, and we would still have time to find somewhere else to stay. Up until this time Airbnb’s Covid-19 rules did not allow me to cancel at no loss to me. I contacted Airbnb and requested a change of date but I never had a response from them or from the host. I waited a couple of months to give them a chance but eventually decided to cancel while I still could, up to 7 days before the booking, but luckily my husband checked Airbnb’s new Covid-19 cancellation policy: basically the Government was not allowing anyone to stay away from home (apart from purposes of work) unless it was in totally self-contained accommodation. We were able to cancel through Airbnb by sending details of the Government’s policy and proof that the apartment had a shared entrance and corridors. I got my full refund. I am not blaming anybody for this – the host was completely within his rights – but it has taught me a lesson for the future.

35 people found this review helpful

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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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Other Members' Thoughts - 8 Comment(s)

  • Sologirl
    11 days ago
    Thanks for sharing this. I’ve only used air bnb once for a last minute booking, which was very successful, but will certainly double-check cancellation policies if booking again in the future. Very helpful.
  • Lin
    11 days ago
    Thanks discerning traveller- that’s helpful to know
  • discerning-traveller
    11 days ago
    Lin - I try to look for a super host and have only been delighted with standard of accommodation
    They have to have good reviews and fit certain criteria
  • Lin
    11 days ago
    this is very useful; I have often thought of using Airbnb but have been put off by the lack of consistency, support and backup if things go wrong. of course this is to be expected really as it is merely a platform for any individuals or organisations who have all their own terms and conditions and, possibly more important, their own particular standards of accommodation.
  • Hardyplant
    14 days ago
    Yes, it all depends on the policy that the individual host adopts - in my case it was a Strict Cancellation policy - but probably most hosts don't use this. I don't want to put people off Airbnb but just make them aware of the difficulties they might encounter if they choose a property that has a Strict Cancellation policy in place.
  • discerning-traveller
    14 days ago
    Interesting.i might not have the read the small print if I booked now as have cancelled with Airbnb in the past and had full refund. A neighbour has had to postpone , and then cancel same Airbnb booking due to Covid, and again - no charge, maybe it’s worth checking this with the host as time of booking. I’ve been lucky as have only positive things to say about Airbnb
  • Hardyplant
    18 days ago
    Yes, I was fortunate it wasn't a self-contained property. My heading should have read Strict Cancellation Policy so I hope readers realise that not every host adopts this policy.
  • ESW
    18 days ago
    Food for thought there. I've read negative stories about Airbnb and their cancellation policy on other review sites. At least you did manage to get a full refund.