Families struggle to get refunds for short-term rentals cancelled due to pandemic
TORONTO -- A family from Caledon, Ont. say they are struggling to get their short-term rental money back after their planned Florida vacation had to be canceled due to COVID-19.
Adriana Locurto, booked the vacation rental through the website VRBO, but was repeatedly told, “you cannot get a refund and you cannot get a credit.”
She said that after telling the company she couldn't travel due to the pandemic, she was told the host was keeping the $3,500, but that the cleaning fee of about $200 would be refunded.
Locurto said she was shocked she wasn't at least offered a credit for a future date.
“We are very understanding and we have every intention of going back to Florida and this home appeals to us. We just want a credit for another time," Locurto said.
VRBO told CTV News Toronto that it wants its hosts to “work with guests and give full credits for a future stay or at least a 50 per cent refund if future stay dates cannot be found.” However, Locurto said that didn’t happen in her case.
Dian Abulencia of Toronto said she was supposed to get married last week, but she had to postpone the wedding due to COVID-19. Her parents were flying in from the Philippines, and she booked a place for them using Airbnb.
When they couldn't come she cancelled the booking, and while she paid $1028 for the Airbnb rental, she was refunded only $493.
“Because of the pandemic no one is going to stay there. It doesn't make sense that they are not going to refund me all the money," Abulencia said.
Airbnb told CTV News Toronto that it does have an extenuating circumstances policy and that guests may be eligible for full refunds. The company also said “guests who cancel will have a variety of cancellation and refund options…”
Abulencia was told she didn’t qualify for a full refund because of the date she cancelled her booking.
“That money would really help me out right now,” Abulencia said.
Locurto said that losing more than $3,000 is difficult for her family.
“We are worried about what tomorrow brings and maintaining a household, so it’s a big deal,” she said.