Airbnb Accused in Lawsuit of Ripping Off Hosts and Guests With Covid Refund Policy

A lawsuit seeking class action status, filed Thursday in San Francisco on behalf of Airbnb hosts, alleges the company’s refund policy in the United States during the first wave of the Covid-19 crisis ripped off both hosts and guests, and that the short-term rental giant secretly profited by retaining some of the monies in question for itself.

The lawsuit ( embedded below ), filed by the Gibbs Law Group and Traverse Legal, seeks class action status on behalf of the thousands of Airbnb hosts, treble and punitive damages, and injunctive relief. This includes an accounting of what Airbnb did with the money after announcing in March that it would unilaterally issue full refunds to guests caught in the Covid-19 travel collapse, and leaving hosts in financial distress.

The lawsuit filing takes place as Airbnb is poised to make public, perhaps next week, its initial public offering registration paperwork with the permission of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The above post includes links to the legal documents. One of the gems there: The plaintiff is filing because he initiated the required arbitration process, which required AirBnB to pay the arbitrator within 30 days of receiving the notice. They didn’t, and California law (under Air’s TOS) the host can withdraw from arbitration and file in court. Since he’s a Texas resident he can file in Federal court, and TOS requires it be in San Francisco.

Everyone in this forum should read the complaint. Discovery is going to produce a lot of info about Air’s operations, and its organization or lack thereof.

This ought to help the IPO.


I predict a settlement with most of it going to lawyers.


As is the case for pretty much all class-action lawsuits.

I actually got about $8K from this class-action suit. Of course, it was estimated to have cost me over 3 times that much.