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Post Covid bookings and refunds

I tried to find similar posts on this topic but cannot so hopefully this is not a duplicate of another one.

In my country NZ, we have been Covid free for most of this year. So we lived life normally and people were free to travel anywhere in the country but no tourists of course. Then a leak appeared and Delta case got through the border in our largest city which caused the whole country to go into lockdown at the highest level. That meant no travel anywhere, not across the country but in your own city. While that lockdown has been eased for most of the country our largest city (Auckland) is still travel restricted apart from essential travel.

Also one of the restrictions is the number of people at gatherings so people have had to cancel concerts, sports games and other functions.

I have been getting requests from people saying they want to cancel and get a full refund because

  1. they cannot travel because they are in Auckland
  2. the concert/sports game/conference they were attending has been cancelled (they don’t live in Auckland so could travel)

From my understanding under current AirBnB (and also Booking.Com) rules any travel post mid 2020 is not covered by Covid anymore since it’s expected that everybody knows about Covid and the potential impact on travel. So just because you could travel when you booked and then the Govt blocked travel because of a Covid outbreak, doesn’t mean you qualify for a refund - you booked knowing that such an event could recur. I am not sure I should provide a refund in that situation since people in other parts of the country (or locally) could have booked and paid and I now have lost that income.

On situation 2, this is consequential impact and even clearer. While the event you planned to attend has been cancelled that’s no reason why I should have to bear the cost. You can still come and do something else.

On 1. I think offering a credit is a good compromise. On 2. I think I don’t think I should have to compensate at all if they have forfeited 50% of their cost.

I might be a voice in the wilderness here but would be interested in what other hosts would do.

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I am in Australia
I have refunded every covid / lockdown situation on Airbnb and B.com.
I am lucky that I don’t have a huge mortgage to manage.
I have ensured that every one of those guests has my direct contact information and requested that if they wish to book, to please contact me directly.

I am doing what I would want to happen if I was in the same situation.
Airbnb in Australia is getting a poor reputation due to the cancellation policies of hosts - which I completely understand …but in the long term will affect the business if it is seen as untrustworthy.

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It’s good to get a view from somebody closer to home :slight_smile: For situation 1 I normally provide a credit for another time and have refunded people. Then I ask them rebook with me directly the next time as you have indicated what you do.

For situation 2, I don’t think I am obligated to provide a refund when some event they cannot attend has been cancelled. I do offer a credit though sometimes.

I think their policy says if you can’t travel because of government imposed restrictions you can cancel penalty free.

Yes yiu don’t need to offer refunds outside your policy if an event in your area is cancelled because of Covid .

That seems reasonable. I certainly am not motivated to provide a refund if some event they were attending was canceled because of Covid restrictions on number of people in a gathering. That has occurred many times recently with conferences and exhibitions canceled because of the limitation on the numbers in a gathering.

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We got a same day cancellation this A.m. The guest said she could not find a car to rent and had been trying for several days, so she cancelled her trip from Ft. Worth, TX to Los Angeles. (The rental car shortage is indirectly due to the pandemic.)

I gave her our book direct info and offered her a future discount and we think we will give them a partial refund of about 1/2 the $ a little later. She was very nice about it and did not expect a refund.

I refund all or part on a case by case basis. There was one guy who made up an entire story about why he couldn’t come and his “friend” at Air etc, etc, he didn’t get any; others have gotten full or partial for various reasons and both parties get good karma!

As we have a building project that might be completed due to this cancellation, and a full next week, I am actually relieved, happy and relaxed that she couldn’t come!

Not if it’s related to Covid. Airbnb’s position is that travel restrictions and other government mandates related to Covid have been foreseeable for a long time now, so they are not an extenuating circumstance. Currently, the only Covid related extenuating circumstance is if the guest or host is currently sick with Covid.

@lchiu7 This is the link that applies to your cancellations:

It is up to you, your guests will not qualify for a free cancellation, but there’s a lot to consider, I support you either way. It’s a tough position.

Try looking here @JJD

I’ve had over 30 sets of guests that were refunded because of government Covid travel restrictions after March 2020

You can’t expect to be paid for a service that by law you can’t deliver .

I understand the spirit behind your statement but that is not the policy. The policy that you have shown in your screenshot is the standard extenuating circumstances policy but it does not apply to Covid related cancellations. I’ll post the covid extenuating circumstances policy again below and provide a screenshot as well.

I know you have different laws in the UK, so if you are saying that is illegal to take a cancellation fee then you might not have the same Covid Extenuating Circumstances Policy.

To clarify, is it illegal for you to keep a cancellation fee when a guest cancels? I can’t imagine that guests don’t receive a penalty for cancelling.

What do you mean? Are you referring to @lchiu7 ? From I what I understood, he is able to host but the guest cannot come. That is the same as anytime a guest cancels because they cannot come. How does your law interpret that? I’m curious.

Airbnb gave guests back their money when guests couldn’t travel because of government imposed Covid restrictions under their EC policy last year, way after March 20, so for you to say they won’t is incorrect.

Nothing to do with our UK wider consumer laws. Although these also say you cannot expect to be paid for a service you aren’t able to offer.

I didn’t say what Airbnb will do, I know better, no one knows what Airbnb will do. I only posted the current policy, for your viewing pleasure and for no other reason than that. Take it or leave it. I got no skin in this conversation.

You or someone else has mentioned that before. Sounds like a just law. You’ve mentioned it a few times here but I am not making the connection. In OPs situation, where he is able to offer the service, but the guest is not able or unwilling to come, then that law wouldn’t apply to him, correct? It would only apply to him if he was not able to host?

Your approach is reasonable. People have had the option of travel insurance. Given the unpredictability of COVID, travelers should have considered it.

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There was some press locally on this topic where people who could not travel because of government restrictions did not get their deposits refunded and the backlash against the hosts. Of course like any news item no one posted the deeper story about how people should know about potential travel disruptions and take out insurance. It just made for a good story from a consumer protection point of view and the bad business practices of Airbnb and booking.com which are international organizations.

I guess they were taking a lead from the national air carrier who would allow you to move your flight to another date but they would not provide a refund. So my policy of allowing a credit seems to quite reasonable in that light.

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Including Air feckin Bnb.

I do wish they’d grow up…

JF

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Are there travel insurance policies that cover for COVID-19 infections?

We have used https://www.worldnomads.com/ many times. Their policy covers many Covid-related situations.

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Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. I have yet to find a policy that would cover a trip when governments mandate no travel. I’d love to see one if someone can find one.

I looked at @Jefferson link to world nomads and they don’t either. While travel insurance might cover you if you get sick before or during the trip, that’s about it. Insurance companies have written themselves out of any responsibility, including AirBnB because they say it’s a known epidemic. I’ve been so frustrated with these policies overall!!! I’ve repeatedly read the fine print on these and see that travel insurance is not going to help in most of the Covid situations unless you get sick.

Right up front world nomads says: “Cover is not available for loss arising from: government intervention including travel bans, border closures or broadly imposed quarantine requirements; events for which the Government (see your policy) has issued a ‘Do Not Travel’ warning or its equivalent, for your destination(s); or failure to follow advice from official bodies.”

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That was why I asked……I haven’t been able to find a policy that covers me in Australia.

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