I’ve had a similar problem with AirBnb and won’t be using their system again beyond current reservations in early 2017. I recently changed my cancellation policy to strict as a few guests cancelled last minute leaving me out of pocket. After changing to strict I had a cancellation 3 days before guests were due to stay for 7 nights. I immediately called Airbnb to explain situation and given the reason for the cancellation I explained I was happy to refund half their fee and would refund more if I was able to get further bookings during the time they were supposed to stay (which was unlikely given the fact they cancelled just 3 days before arrival).
Airbnb staff assured me that due to the late cancellation and my strict cancellation policy I would receive the full amount as usual (to be paid on the date of move in as usual). I said that the guest was chasing me to send the half of his fee back the staff talked me through this also. I even received an email shortly afterwards from AirBnb confirming that the funds I sent back to the guest had been sent and would be deducted from my next payout.
A few days after the guests that cancelled were due to arrive I notice their monies which Airbnb had promised would be sent to me hadn’t been sent. I also noticed that the half of the refund I had been told was sent (and even had email confirmation that this had been sent) also had not left my account. Concerned, I called Airbnb again and was assured by a second member of staff that there was no problem, and the payments coming to me and the refund I was sending back had simply been delayed.
Another day passed and I then got an email saying that I was not getting any funds from the cancelled reservation despite my strict cancellation policy and despite being told twice that I was. I was sent links which pointed out;
“We generally require claims to be submitted no later than 14 days from the original check-in date and we may require valid supporting documentation.”
Obviously this was not the case as the booking was cancelled 4 days prior to the 7 night stay.
I did complain again, moreso simply for the fact that Airbnb had completely misinformed me twice about what was happening with this case. I changed my cancellation policy to strict previously for the reason cancellations really hit my cashflow and I rely on a whole week’s booking to cover finance against the properties and I felt that Airbnb after telling me that I was well within my rights to decide how much of a refund I could offer then completely back tracked and in my mind lied to me about the situation. There was little support for me and they in my mind completely sided with the guest despite policy that is clearly outlined. I suffered quite significantly financially through no fault of my own, a pill I could have swallowed if I wasn’t misinformed along the way.
For these reasons I have closed my calendars on both flats after bookings early next year and won’t continue to use Airbnb which is a shame because the system generally works well.