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We booked Christmas vacation yesterday and today the Airbnb host called to ask us to cancel the trip with the excuse that the trip is too far in time. The room has full refund cancellation policy, so the host told me that there should not be any problem with the money I paid (which yet have not been charged in the bank, but I guess because the payment is too recent).

Airbnb says:

If your host lets you know that they can't accommodate your stay anymore, don't cancel for them. Instead, send them a message asking them to cancel. That way, you'll be eligible to receive a full refund.

It seems that Airbnb advices that when full refund is an issue, which theoretically will not be for my case. What should I do?


On one hand I think that if I insist that my reservation is valid and they should cancel, what will I achieve except from wasting my time (which I should be focusing on booking another room apparently)? Best case scenario, the host changes her mind and keeps the room, but then I am afraid she might not be that hospitable when we get there.

On the other hand I think that this kind of hosts harm the Airbnb community and the idea that can you book mind-free holidays cheaper than a hotel, so I should not allow this behavior to go unreported.

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    Beware: in some cases you get a full refund of the amount paid to the host, but no refund of the AirBnb service fee. Point the host to what AirBnb says. If they didn’t want to accept bookings this far in advance it’s up to them to correctly set up their calendar (they probably just “forgot” to hike prices for that period…).
    – jcaron
    Aug 2, 2023 at 15:04
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    Or the host advertises their property on multiple websites and has (inadvertently) double-booked.
    – Traveller
    Aug 2, 2023 at 22:05
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    Do NOT listen to the host; call AirBNB and explain the host has said they can't accommodate you, but you refuse to cancel on your end even if you'd get a full refund. I've been there before
    – Crazydre
    Aug 3, 2023 at 14:11
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    @Crazydre I agree with you and all the others contributors here. Unfortunately the host "threatened" my gf that the cancellation must be made quickly in the interest of the refund (which was a lie since we had months until the free cancellation option was due). Gf panicked, I was at work and couldn't talk at that moment, and my gf cancelled on our end. Now of course the host updated their calendar as jcaron predicted. The host contacted my gf via telephone, so I don't have any evidence (apart from our booking and our cancellation) to report her to Airbnb now. :/
    – gsamaras
    Aug 4, 2023 at 6:55
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    @gsamaras - I'm afraid you fell for the scam, which was what they were aiming for all along :\
    – Tetsujin
    Aug 4, 2023 at 18:35

2 Answers 2

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On the other hand I think that this kind of hosts harm the Airbnb community and the idea that can you book mind-free holidays cheaper than a hotel, so I should not allow this behavior to go unreported.

Exactly, and that is why the host wants you to cancel. If a host accepts bookings and cancels many of them later, he will eventually get into problems with AirBNB and may not be allowed to use their platform anymore.

You are fully entitled not to cancel the booking from your side. Depending on local legislation, if the host cancels your booking, it may even be concidered a breach of contract, which makes the host liable for any additional costs you may have, if you for example now must pay more for an alternative accomodation as was the case at the time you booked with the original host.

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This is a standard "mini-scam" used in all sorts of social transactional platforms like this. They want to trick you into initiating so you are responsible socially and costwise.

For instance another popular one is when paying via PayPal they will ask you to flag it "as a gift to friends and family" and not a purchase. That deprives you of any purchase protection and affects fees too. Never do this sort of shady thing. Or if you must, check with the platform and take their advice seriously - it's there because others got ripped off.

They want you to cancel because it puts them at advantage over you if you do. It affects their reputation vs affecting your reputation, and may also affect fees and deposits.

Fair chance they will also communicate with you off-platform and offer you the room anyway at a slightly lower price. This cuts out AirBnB's fees, but also deprives you of purchase protection.

When you communicate via the official website or app, that is logged by AirBnB and customer service will use these communications to resolve disputes. So another mini-scam is to try to communicate with you off-platform.

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