On Saturday, I received a message from our guests who had booked our cabin for the New Years holiday. They regrettably informed me that they needed to cancel, because " our 94 year old Grandma is not doing well and with COVID my family and I feel it’s best we stay quarantined as much as possible for her".
She made no request for a refund. (We have a strict cancellation policy and she would have only been entitled to a 50% refund.) About 30 minutes later I received a notification from AirBnB that they had refunded her in full, due to the Extenuating Circumstances Policy.
For context, our rental is located in the Big Bear, CA. The State of California has put out restrictions on gatherings of more than one household and non-essential travel. It also states ‘Nothing in this Order prevents any number of persons from the same household from leaving their residence, lodging, or temporary accommodation, as long as they do not engage in any interaction with (or otherwise gather with) any number of persons from any other household, except as specifically permitted herein.’
AirBnBs own Extenuating Circumstances Policy states: COVID-19 related circumstances not covered include: transportation disruptions and cancellations; travel advisories and restrictions; health advisories and quarantines; changes to applicable law; and other government mandates—like evacuation orders, border closures, prohibitions on short-term rentals, and shelter-in-place requirements. The host’s cancellation policy will apply as usual.
The way I see it, it’s simple: Was this guest entitled to a refund based on AirBnB’s current policies and my strict cancellation policy? NO. Did AirBnB unilaterally and without my involvement or consent give a full refund? YES
AirBnB has overstepped it’s bounds. Not the guest’s fault, not my fault, 100% AirBnB’s fault.
My question is, how do I speak to an actual person at AirBnB who understands their own policies? The person that I have been dealing with thru messaging keeps sending me back the same statement about this being a government mandated restriction (which, BTW, is not covered, under their own policy.)
Note: this is not a question about my moral or other responsibility to refund this guest their money - it is about AirBnB’s involvement in the situation.
Thanks in advance for input.
(Sorry this is so lengthy - I wanted to present all of the info to prevent a lot of back-and-forth.)