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Trying to Get Refunded for Potentially Illegal AirBnB Listing

Trying to Get Refunded for Potentially Illegal AirBnB Listing

Old Feb 21, 2022, 9:22 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2018
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Trying to Get Refunded for Potentially Illegal AirBnB Listing

My wife has a bit of an Airbnb puzzle which I'm hoping for some help resolving.

A few weeks ago she booked a non-refundable Airbnb for a getaway with her sisters. While we usually have a policy of only booking Airbnbs with reviews, inventory was slim so we made an exception. In the intervening weeks she noticed that several reviews have popped up (there are currently 3). One is a simple one-liner that says the stay was great. The other two are alarming. One says that check-in was fine, but that they received a call within the first 24 hours from the building management telling them that they were trespassing and that they needed to vacate the premise immediately. The final review tells a similar story, except that in the middle of the night they received an email from Airbnb saying that Airbnb had cancelled their stay because the listing was illegitimate. They left the next morning.

After seeing those reviews my wife tried to contact Airbnb to cancel and refund the listing. The people she's been able to contact have been completely unhelpful, telling her that they can't do anything until she's actually checked in. Obviously, she'd rather not do that, as it would be akin to knowingly trespassing and would leave her family without a place to stay. Of course, she could double-book, but in the off chance we don't end up getting the money back that's nearly $1,000 that we'd end up eating. After that conversation with Airbnb she contacted the host, who was initially friendly and referred her to the written refund policy. She replied that she knows the listing is illegal and hasn't heard anything back since.

What's really the kicker is that Airbnb is aware the listing is illegitimate (if the review is to be taken at face value). Currently, inventory is zeroed out for the rest of the calendar, which could have been done either by Airbnb or by the host. My wife's current plan is to call the apartment complex tomorrow and see if she can get a contact there to verify the illegality of the listing. Armed with that she plans to call Airbnb back and, if needed, escalate up the chain of command (she didn't think to do that tonight). Failing that, I'm curious if anyone has any suggestions? Is there any hope in contacting my credit card company and disputing the charge or will they just say the same thing as Airbnb? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

Oh, by the way, here's the listing: Nice 2 bd apartment in Marina Del Rey free parking
dfw88 is offline  
Old Feb 22, 2022, 8:45 am
  #2  
 
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Originally Posted by dfw88
Failing that, I'm curious if anyone has any suggestions?
In order to get anywhere with Airbnb, you are most likely going to need to wait until your check-in time and for your fears to be realized. At that point, you'll want to reach out to Airbnb and submit a claim right then and there that the host has not fulfilled their responsibilities. In preparation for this, I suggest you book alternative accommodations. You could book something fully cancelable with a hotel. Whether Airbnb gives you a refund or a credit, only time will tell. With this being said, reaching out to the apartment complex ahead of time sounds like a good preemptive step.
ihispanic is offline  
Old Feb 26, 2022, 11:48 am
  #3  
 
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Theoretically you are allowed to use a charge back to assert any defense that you would have against the merchant directly. Illegality is such a defense. But even though the facts are obviously in your favor here (the key fact being AirBnb's apparent admission that the listing is illegitimate), it isn't an open and shut case... who knows the veracity of the other reviews etc.

Illegality is also a pretty high bar... if, say, the reason for the illegitimacy here is something like a dispute between a landlord and a tenant on whether the tenant has the right to rent the space on AirBnb, that might not rise to illegality.

Personally, I would do the chargeback to get Airbnb's attention, but be aware that you might lose... and that a consequence of the chargeback might include a permanent ban from Airbnb regardless of whether you win or lose.

I would also book a backup hotel, but I don't think there's a way to get a truly refundable booking at most places these days... even the standard rates at most joints require canceling the day before. It's the rare exception that allows canceling the same day of arrival anymore.
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platbrownguy is offline  
Old Feb 26, 2022, 1:23 pm
  #4  
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To wrap this up, my wife ended up having a long chat with the apartment complex, which sent her their lease documents which specifically ban Airbnb from the property. She uploaded these to her case with Airbnb, then called back. She got a much better rep who escalated her case to a supervisor. She checked back the next day and they verified that they were processing a full refund, which hit our credit card within 24 hours.

Frankly, I'm somewhat surprised it was that easy, but we're not complaining!
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Old Feb 26, 2022, 5:00 pm
  #5  
 
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Thanks for following up with the result.
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