personal finance

Airbnb cancelled our booking out of the blue, wrecking our holiday

In February we booked an Airbnb holiday home in St Ives, Cornwall, and we were really looking forward to going away next week.

This morning, out of the blue, I received an email notifying me that my booking had been cancelled and my deposit refunded. When I tried to log in to my Airbnb account it wouldn’t allow me to do so. Instead, it said that it was “under review”.

I contacted the owner of the property who said he’d had a message from Airbnb saying it had cancelled our booking. Our cottage has since been snapped up by another person.

The only thing I can think of that may have affected my account is that I have a new mobile phone and maybe this has flagged a security issue. I just cannot believe Airbnb would cancel the booking before investigating. I’ve used it for years and have a history of excellent reviews.

We have been left with no holiday at very short notice. There is nothing in our price range for us to rebook and we have lost money on gallery bookings, and accommodation to break up the long journey there. We are so disappointed.

LU, by email

I should imagine that you would have had more chance of a Premium Bonds win than finding a last-minute place to stay in St Ives this summer. Airbnb told me that a “security concern” had led it to suspend your account, but only for 24 hours. It has not explained why it cancelled your reservation.

Your phone number appears to be the only thing that has changed, so maybe others should beware switching their phone number if they have a valuable holiday reservation coming up. If that was the issue, this is a flaw that the site should sort out urgently.

Needless to say, you lost your holiday as you were unable to find anywhere else in Cornwall to stay. However, following Guardian Money’s intervention, Airbnb has offered you a £1,500 voucher which should get you a decent stay when this Covid holiday madness finally stops, and it will also cover the extra costs that you incurred.

You are happy with the outcome, even if you are now spending the week with the in-laws.

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