What would be “bad business decision” about enforcing it?
Here’s what I have done in similar situation.
Make it clear that she had a choice when she booked the reservation to pay full fare, or to accept a 10% discount in return for giving up her right of refund if she cancelled.
.."I offered you a fully-refundable reservation but it was you who clicked the button declining a refundable arrangement in favour of an $80 discount. If this was clicked in error, you had an obligation to immediately contact the host or Airbnb and ask for a correction – you did not.
As an aside – anyone who goes to small claim court and says ‘Your honour, I booked a no-refund reservation in exchange for a discount, but now I want a refund.’ will – I am sure – be greeted by laughter and snark from the judge, so I am not at all concerned about the prospect of you taking me to small claims court.
I have no legal obligation to provide a refund – we have a contract that is very clear about that. However I am prepared to voluntarily offer you a CONDITIONAL goodwill full or partial refund on the following basis:
- I will offer you the goodwill refund if I get another guest booking some or all of the nights you wish to cancel. If that “replacement guest” covers all of the fees you are paying, I will return all of the fees paid to me from you by Airbnb, even though I have no legal obligation to do so. This does not cover Airbnb service fees or taxes, as Airbnb hangs on to that money, and you will have take that up with them. Any conditional refund funds will be sent to you by me from my Airbnb account via Airbnb when the fees from the “replacement guest” land in my bank account, usually about week after the guest arrives.
- This conditional voluntary refund is made by me entirely as a goodwill gesture, and will be withdrawn if the goodwill on my side is not matched 100% by goodwill on yours. A two-way goodwill relationship is characterized by a lack of aggression, an absence of harassment, an absence of argumentative dialogue, and a civil and respectful tone in all communications. Given your behaviour in the past few days (40+ phone calls, bogus threats to sue me for money you have paid Airbnb, abusive language) we are already at the zero-tolerance point – a single departure from “goodwill” deportment at your end will void my generous offer of a voluntary conditional refund.
- If you want to accept my offer of a goodwill arrangement the first thing you need to do is cancel your reservation so it goes back on the market at Airbnb and is available top prospective “replacement guests.” Although there is no guarantee, at this point there is four weeks lead time for someone else to discover and book the [cabin] for the weekend you cancelled, and then put me in a position to issue a refund for my component of the money you paid to Airbnb. The longer you wait to cancel, the less likely someone else will book those dates.
Once you have done that, I will report back to you if and when I have a replacement reservation. There is nothing I can do to speed up someone booking the cabin, so there is no need for you to contact me while I am waiting (and hoping) for this to happen, and any contact from you during this period will be considered harassment, and will void my goodwill offer and trigger a complaint of host-harassment to Airbnb, something they have little tolerance for.
This strategy, in my view, provides you with the double satisfaction of feeling like you are bending over backwards to be fair (and not letting her toxicity divert you from the path of fairness) and at the same time using financial incentives to force a psycho bully to “bend the knee” (as they say in Game of Thrones), something bullies always hate doing.