AirBNB and a host in Argentina

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Oct 6, 2016
21
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Hello,

So here's my dilemma. I'm supposed to visit Buenos Aires relatively soon. May 24th to be exact and I find myself not being able to. That's because the government of Argentina is not allowing regular tourists into the country yet. Their embassy in DC told me as much too. So I've had to deal with a big issue; getting a refund from the host. My original thought was simply to change the dates, but that's something the host said they wouldn't agree to. They then said cancel, get a refund then rebook. I didn't want to do that, but I've since caved into the thought of doing so.

Here's the problem. The reservation total cost for 18 nights was $1,820.41. I have until the 17th of May to get 50% or so back. When I went to the cancel/refund page it said I'd only get $800-ish back. Basically, I'd lose out on $1,000. I find it unacceptable. I had every intention of going and staying there, but the host won't budge on a date change, for now, won't budge on a full refund right away and only suggested that come June 11th (my intended checkout date) that IF they got someone to rent the room for the dates I originally had then MAYBE they might consider giving me an additional amount for a refund. Not a guarantee, but a maybe. I get the host has a typical cancellation policy, but given the circumstances, it's completely unreasonable for them not to refund me. I had always had good communication with them leading to this point.

AirBNB is saying that the reservation is outside of their covid/extenuating circumstances policy so they aren't willing to do anything extra now to give me a full refund. They said they'd talk to the host again, but I don't know if that would change anything.

If the government of Argentina is saying I can't legally enter then I don't know how that couldn't be an extremely extenuating circumstance.

At this point, I no longer wish to change the dates. I want a refund so I can go to the bank, pull out the money and keep the cash at home until I know I can enter the country. When that happens I would rebook a place. I might be crazy, but I kind of still want to stay at that very listing and told the hosts as much. But they didn't budge.

To sum things up I can't enter the country legally yet, the host won't give full refund, AirBNB isn't doing more to help and if I can't get full refund I may not be able to book that same place when I am able to enter the country, which I've repeatedly told the host and AirBNB that I'd like to do, and I'd still like to stay at that exact listing.
 

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Neil Maley

Staff Member
Forum Moderator
Dec 27, 2014
26,133
29,488
New York
www.promalvacations.com
When did you book this? Unfortunately if you booked with a strict refund policy, you are stuck with it and they may be current about the Covid policy spending in when you booked.

Never book a restructure refund policy. You entered a legal agreement by choosing accommodations with the cancellation policy you agreed to at booking.
 
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Jun 24, 2019
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I have two comments.

first, once you paid the 1800 you are out 1800. If the host will refund you 800 that will be 800 more than you now have.

second, thinking about the problem by describing a host as “unreasonable” clouds the issue. The host did not cause COVID, nor is the host preventing you from traveling. In any such deal someone must have the risk of loss if things go awry. Here, the host has assigned the risk of loss to you as you have described the deal you made with him. If you want to avoid having this risk of loss, either because the contract says so or because you have parted with the money, then you need to book at the Hilton and not prepay. If instead you want to pay 100 per night with ABB instead of 300 at the Hilton, but the host has a no refund policy, then that is the deal you struck.

personally, if you could get 800 back today, I’d take the money.
 

smd

Mar 14, 2018
910
2,008
If the government of Argentina is saying I can't legally enter then I don't know how that couldn't be an extremely extenuating circumstance.
Unfortunately, Airbnb's policies are quite explicit that border closures are not extenuating circumstances:

Reservations for stays and Airbnb Experiences made after March 14, 2020 will not be covered under our extenuating circumstances policy, except where the guest or host is currently sick with COVID-19. 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.​
Our extenuating circumstances policy is intended to protect guests and hosts from unforeseen circumstances that arise after booking. After the declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization, the extenuating circumstances policy no longer applies because COVID-19 and its consequences are no longer unforeseen or unexpected. Please remember to carefully review the host's cancellation policy when booking and consider choosing an option that provides flexibility.​

I assume the reason you are getting back less than 50% of your booking is because of Airbnb service fees? If so, you might try appealing to Airbnb to refund those.

Refunding the lodging fee is completely up to the owner. Airbnb contractually can not force them to refund. Your best bet there is to cancel and hope they can rerent the unit.
 
Oct 6, 2016
21
9
When did you book this? Unfortunately if you booked with a strict refund policy, you are stuck with it and they may be current about the Covid policy spending in when you booked.

Never book a restructure refund policy. You entered a legal agreement by choosing accommodations with the cancellation policy you agreed to at booking.
I forget the exact date, but I believe it was sometime in October of 2020. I say I find it unreasonable because I initially wanted to change the dates to a much later day in which hopefully I could enter the country. My first thought wasn't about getting a refund. I like the listing and want to stay there. For some reason the hosts wouldn't let me change the date which would free up the current dates so they could rent it out. I really meant what I said about wanting to stay at this specific listing. It would be easier for me to rebook it with a full refund. So I was confused as to 1) why they wouldn't just let me change the date and avoid the whole refund stuff and 2) why they would be against a full refund when I have every legitimate intention on rebooking that very same place.

It would be my first time in the country and I wanted to opt for a nicer place that had a private patio area where I could invite my friends over who made me the godfather to their newborn and have a little bbq (which, btw, I already asked them about and was told guests were ok). So yeah that's why I'm confused about all of this. No change of date and no refund when I still want to stay at the same listing.
 
Oct 6, 2016
21
9
I have two comments.

first, once you paid the 1800 you are out 1800. If the host will refund you 800 that will be 800 more than you now have.

second, thinking about the problem by describing a host as “unreasonable” clouds the issue. The host did not cause COVID, nor is the host preventing you from traveling. In any such deal someone must have the risk of loss if things go awry. Here, the host has assigned the risk of loss to you as you have described the deal you made with him. If you want to avoid having this risk of loss, either because the contract says so or because you have parted with the money, then you need to book at the Hilton and not prepay. If instead you want to pay 100 per night with ABB instead of 300 at the Hilton, but the host has a no refund policy, then that is the deal you struck.

personally, if you could get 800 back today, I’d take the money.
Considering they wouldn't budge on a date change or refund me the money so I could book with them at a later date when I'm legally able to enter the country considering it "unreasonable" isn't such an absurd thing to say or think regarding the situation. I didn't approach them from the start demanding a refund. I asked for a date change. I always kept great communication with them leading up to this point so they knew what could, and ultimately did, happen. I was always asking "Hey did you hear any updates about the border reopening, etc." If I just decided for no good reason that "Eh, I just don't want to go." then perhaps I'd be more inclined to not post on a forum or reaching directly out to staff on this site for help, but I'm not in a position to just comfortably write off $1,000 loss like it was nothing. This really could've been avoided if they just let me change the dates.
 

Dwayne Coward

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Forum Director
Apr 13, 2016
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St. Louis
I forget the exact date, but I believe it was sometime in October of 2020. I say I find it unreasonable because I initially wanted to change the dates to a much later day in which hopefully I could enter the country. My first thought wasn't about getting a refund. I like the listing and want to stay there. For some reason the hosts wouldn't let me change the date which would free up the current dates so they could rent it out. I really meant what I said about wanting to stay at this specific listing. It would be easier for me to rebook it with a full refund. So I was confused as to 1) why they wouldn't just let me change the date and avoid the whole refund stuff and 2) why they would be against a full refund when I have every legitimate intention on rebooking that very same place.

It would be my first time in the country and I wanted to opt for a nicer place that had a private patio area where I could invite my friends over who made me the godfather to their newborn and have a little bbq (which, btw, I already asked them about and was told guests were ok). So yeah that's why I'm confused about all of this. No change of date and no refund when I still want to stay at the same listing.
Unfortunately, the reason really comes down to because the host can in accordance with your contract. Basically, you're asking them to agree to change the terms of your contract, which is totally at the discretion of the other party. I'm afraid if the other party is not willing to negotiate a change to the conditions of your booking, that is their prerogative. Your options at that point are basically limited to what is allowed per the booking conditions. Also, you can decide to take your future business elsewhere.
 
Oct 6, 2016
21
9
Unfortunately, the reason really comes down to because the host can in accordance with your contract. Basically, you're asking them to agree to change the terms of your contract, which is totally at the discretion of the other party. I'm afraid if the other party is not willing to negotiate a change to the conditions of your booking, that is their prerogative. Your options at that point are basically limited to what is allowed per the booking conditions. Also, you can decide to take your future business elsewhere.
I wasn't seeking additional perks to be tossed into the reservation so I didn't, and still don't, see a date change as something so unrealistic of a request to be basically turned down considering I can't enter the country legally. Especially when I was always communicating with them about this as well as other issues/questions leading up to this point. Sure I can take my business elsewhere and the further this prolongs I might even warm up to that thought, but I really like this listing and the reviews are great. It's unfortunate the whole experience soured as I was really looking forward to staying here after originally planning on going last May (I had a different reservation for last May and for some reason, that host didn't want to change the dates either after the initial covid cancelations happened everywhere).

The plan was to go to Curitiba and Rio after Buenos Aires. For Curitiba, I know it's a different host so I don't need a reminder about that part, I'm staying at the same place I had booked for last year. They let me change the dates. Had I been forced somehow to get a refund and got a full one I would've booked the same place again because I stick to my word. If I like a place I'll stay there. My same way of thinking applied to this Argentina listing as well. I really meant what I told them that I would rebook with them when I can enter the country if they wouldn't just let me change the dates.
 
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Comicman

Jul 13, 2020
1,008
2,090
I have to agree with the others it is doubtful you will get anything other then the amount you have been offered unless this accommodation closes doors BEFORE you cancel.
Remember AirBnB is not much more then a want adds for places to stay. All they do is mediate between the renter and the property.
 
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Nov 22, 2019
254
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Irvine CA
Considering they wouldn't budge on a date change or refund me the money so I could book with them at a later date when I'm legally able to enter the country considering it "unreasonable" isn't such an absurd thing to say or think regarding the situation. I didn't approach them from the start demanding a refund. I asked for a date change. I always kept great communication with them leading up to this point so they knew what could, and ultimately did, happen. I was always asking "Hey did you hear any updates about the border reopening, etc." If I just decided for no good reason that "Eh, I just don't want to go." then perhaps I'd be more inclined to not post on a forum or reaching directly out to staff on this site for help, but I'm not in a position to just comfortably write off $1,000 loss like it was nothing. This really could've been avoided if they just let me change the dates.
Airbnb is not an hotel chain but just a company publishing ads (and since I do not like them, I would add taking generous comissions and spending a lot to avoid paying tax...). so it is basically a contract between you and the host. In this difficult times, you do not want to loose $1000, the host doesn't want to loose $1000. So unfortunately, there is no much to do.
 
Oct 6, 2016
21
9
Airbnb is not an hotel chain but just a company publishing ads (and since I do not like them, I would add taking generous comissions and spending a lot to avoid paying tax...). so it is basically a contract between you and the host. In this difficult times, you do not want to loose $1000, the host doesn't want to loose $1000. So unfortunately, there is no much to do.
I didn't see it as the host losing money when I stated I wanted to just change the dates and avoid refunds altogether or get a full refund and rebook with them later. Mind you it was the host themselves that first brought up getting a refund and rebooking. I was doing whatever I could to avoid that. I was simply asking them to keep in mind the situation I'm in, that being not being able to enter the country which they knew and let me go later.
 

Neil Maley

Staff Member
Forum Moderator
Dec 27, 2014
26,133
29,488
New York
www.promalvacations.com
I wasn't seeking additional perks to be tossed into the reservation so I didn't, and still don't, see a date change as something so unrealistic of a request to be basically turned down considering I can't enter the country legally. Especially when I was always communicating with them about this as well as other issues/questions leading up to this point. Sure I can take my business elsewhere and the further this prolongs I might even warm up to that thought, but I really like this listing and the reviews are great. It's unfortunate the whole experience soured as I was really looking forward to staying here after originally planning on going last May (I had a different reservation for last May and for some reason, that host didn't want to change the dates either after the initial covid cancelations happened everywhere).

The plan was to go to Curitiba and Rio after Buenos Aires. For Curitiba, I know it's a different host so I don't need a reminder about that part, I'm staying at the same place I had booked for last year. They let me change the dates. Had I been forced somehow to get a refund and got a full one I would've booked the same place again because I stick to my word. If I like a place I'll stay there. My same way of thinking applied to this Argentina listing as well. I really meant what I told them that I would rebook with them when I can enter the country if they wouldn't just let me change the dates.
It doesn't matter what you think is realistic or unrealistic. What matters is the cancellation agreement you made when you booked. You chose a cancellation that was strict and the owner is sticking to their policy. I would not have booked anything in the middle of a pandemic not knowing when the rest of the world would open up.

If they are offering you $800, I would take it while you still have that option. You also experienced this before according to your post about your stay for last May.

Never book a nonrefundable rate or anything with a strict cancellation policy.
 

Comicman

Jul 13, 2020
1,008
2,090
I didn't see it as the host losing money when I stated I wanted to just change the dates and avoid refunds
If the host is unable to rent your dates again and you book a new stay in the future the host is basically renting 2 times both at 1/2 price ( he would lose money on this with costs and fees). So that may be why the host will not let you change your dates.
 
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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
11,163
13,514
San Francisco
I'm sorry you've had to learn such an expensive lesson. It's really very important to read all the Terms and Conditions before giving up your money. You can't find the terms unacceptable because there's a virus disaster; the time for that is before you book the property. Owners/managers living outside the US have no reason to give you back your money, or even rebook you for that matter. Many owners are upstanding citizens and renters encounter no problems, or renters are able to ask for assistance. But there are all kinds of unethical people in the world, and they're able to function quite well using the internet. All prepaid, non-ref monies need to be insured with good travel insurance. Everyone keeps statingloudly that they've "done it this way for years" but there's never been such a mess as this virus lockdown. Have you checked your credit card to see if you have any trip insurance as a perk?

My advice is that you carefully review all the Terms and Conditions of your agreement to see if there's anything there that might be helpful to you. You might review the many threads on Abb for some intel.
 
Jun 24, 2019
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Considering they wouldn't budge on a date change or refund me the money so I could book with them at a later date when I'm legally able to enter the country considering it "unreasonable" isn't such an absurd thing to say or think regarding the situation. I didn't approach them from the start demanding a refund. I asked for a date change. I always kept great communication with them leading up to this point so they knew what could, and ultimately did, happen. I was always asking "Hey did you hear any updates about the border reopening, etc." If I just decided for no good reason that "Eh, I just don't want to go." then perhaps I'd be more inclined to not post on a forum or reaching directly out to staff on this site for help, but I'm not in a position to just comfortably write off $1,000 loss like it was nothing. This really could've been avoided if they just let me change the dates.
Understood. To me, anything north of $20 is significant. However, as others here have noted, once you book with a service like Air B&B and one of its hosts you may be stuck with the terms, no matter how reasonable it seems to you that they agree to your proposal. The host might have been thinking that he had the place rented during a time period, due to border restrictions, where finding an alternative guest was likely impossible, and letting you move the reservation to a later date when the host thought he could find takers means giving up $1800 worth of income.

I don’t use VRBO or Air B&B, so my perspective is entirely on the outside looking in. (I’ve looked at the listings from time to time, and each time we located a place there was some wrinkle, before I even got to refundability, that made me walk away. Once there was an odd check in time (a topic on which Chris has written.). Once after we made a deal, we were told that in this apartment in Paris for two couples that there would be another guest sleeping on the couch. Crazy. Probably “reasonable” in the eyes of the host, nuts in our view.)
 
Dec 19, 2014
842
2,975
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I too like @SoCalTraveler do not use AirBNB or VRBO so my perspective is from reading and responding to posts on elliott.org or reading experiences on social media.

I sympathize with you, in that the host should make allowances because travel restrictions prevent you from entering the country. But the host is not under any legal obligation to do so outside of the original contract.

The host may as a gesture of goodwill, offer refunds or reschedule, but they don't have to. The only recourse is to remember who the host is and not give them any future business.
 
Oct 6, 2016
21
9
It doesn't matter what you think is realistic or unrealistic. What matters is the cancellation agreement you made when you booked. You chose a cancellation that was strict and the owner is sticking to their policy. I would not have booked anything in the middle of a pandemic not knowing when the rest of the world would open up.

If they are offering you $800, I would take it while you still have that option. You also experienced this before according to your post about your stay for last May.

Never book a nonrefundable rate or anything with a strict cancellation policy.
With the original stay for May 2020, I made that reservation sometime before covid happened, probably winter of 2019, so AirBNB's covid policy made that situation a bit easier. It's true I did try adjusting the dates on that one as well when everything, everywhere was getting canceled to avoid getting a refund and try to stay there still, but the host wouldn't even bother to respond to a single message. So I ended up going with the refund. Had he bothered to reply to a message I likely would've rebooked there. So there were some differences between the two situations. One similarity is that in both instances my initial thought was to keep the money with that host and go later when it would be possible. Not to get the money and stay elsewhere. I really did want to keep the reservation and not try to get over on the host and take money away from them.

I do not understand the difficulty in changing the dates. I asked for that for extenuating reasons and not because I just woke up and changed my mind. I'll reach out to the host again and see if they might change their minds on the refund part to try again. Right now I'm hoping it works out because I need this headache to end and I'm still going through it with Avianca on 2 different flight cancellation issues plus their ongoing bankruptcy on top of this.
 
Jun 24, 2019
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The difficult in changing the dates is that you want to move an 18 day reservation starting on May 24, when the host figures he has no alternative guest (shortness of time, border closing, etc) to a later time when the host thinks he will more easily find guests. The host is selling a perishable product. That the host is willing to give a partial refund is already remarkable.
 
Oct 6, 2016
21
9
The difficult in changing the dates is that you want to move an 18 day reservation starting on May 24, when the host figures he has no alternative guest (shortness of time, border closing, etc) to a later time when the host thinks he will more easily find guests. The host is selling a perishable product. That the host is willing to give a partial refund is already remarkable.
Yet in giving me the full refund and letting me book again they would make more in the long run. If not then they'll make much less and likely also wouldn't have someone fill those dates. So them losing out on more money ultimately and I'll take a guess here and say an additional good review too is confusing to me. I was trying to change it to a similar or the exact same time frame just later when things are open for more people to come.

Also, there must be a lot of locals or diplomats staying in that building because I don't understand how other dates coming up soon can be booked when the embassy tells me, more or less, no one can come in unless you're a citizen coming home, a person reconnecting with direct family or some important person on official business.
 
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