A disgruntled Airbnb host said he had to refund an 11-night booking after his guests canceled.
Kyle Toomey took to TikTok to share his story and encouraged viewers to tag Airbnb in the comments.
The host said he was later reimbursed by Airbnb and got a new booking for the same time period.
An Airbnb host who said he initially lost thousands of dollars after a booking was canceled at the last minute shared the story on TikTok and went viral. He said he was later reimbursed alongside extra profit he made from a new booking, and he pledged to give away hundreds of dollars to those who showed him support.
On November 9, Kyle Toomey, a 31-year-old real-estate agent from Alexandria, Virginia, posted a TikTok where he said he was "getting absolutely fucked by Airbnb" as his guests had booked an 11-night stay at his property but were allowed to cancel and leave shortly after their arrival, which meant he was left without payment.
Toomey said his property was in an old neighborhood with a lot of construction in the area, which meant there were sometimes rodents nearby. He said there were periodical visits from pest control to his property, including the day before his guests were set to arrive. But after a neighbor mentioned they'd seen a mouse in their own home, Toomey said, he decided to give his guests a heads-up as well and sent them a message about it, which he shared in the video.
Within hours of their arrival, Toomey said, he received a call from Airbnb support telling him the guests wanted to cancel and leave because they had expected a private parking spot. Toomey shared screenshots in the video, which appeared to show he'd made it clear in his listing and to his guests that there was only street parking available, and he said he sent this information to Airbnb, too.
But he said an Airbnb representative later called again to tell him the guests wanted to leave because of Toomey's message about the mouse.
"Airbnb basically was saying because there was a mouse in the neighborhood, the guest didn't feel safe, and could, in fact, check out and leave early," Toomey said in the video, adding they said he would receive no money from the stay.
According to a screenshot seen by Business Insider, Airbnb support told Toomey the reservation was canceled because it fell under their Rebooking and Refund Policy, which addresses issues ranging from cleanliness to listing inaccuracies for which hosts may not be refunded.
In his video, Toomey suggested he thought this was unreasonable and asked viewers to tag Airbnb in the comments to get their attention.
The video received 1.1 million views and more than 5,100 comments, though they weren't all on his side. Many expressed a lack of sympathy for Toomey and criticized Airbnb hosts in general for having multiple properties, making it more difficult for first-time buyers to purchase their own homes to live in. Others seemed to have the opposite view, saying they thought Toomey had been too nice by telling his guests about the mouse the neighbors had seen.
Toomey estimated that about 400 people left comments tagging Airbnb's TikTok account in a bid to bring the video to their attention. And it may have worked.
The host said he eventually received his money back and thanked his followers for their help
A few days later, Toomey stitched his own video and said that he hadn't heard from Airbnb in days but that the company had just called him and refunded "the entire booking amount from that 11-night stay." Screenshots of a purported conversation with Airbnb seen by BI say the company agreed to reimburse $2,439.58 after reviewing the case.
Toomey told BI he was also able to secure a new booking during the 11-night period after his former guests canceled so ended up making additional money from the situation. He said he couldn't be sure whether Airbnb Support had seen his viral video, as it did not mention it when getting in touch, but after a comment suggested the host should share the refunded money with his viewers, Toomey posted another video saying he loved the idea.
Toomey said he would write down the names of everyone who tagged Airbnb in the original post, put them into a random name generator, and pick out three winners who would receive $100 each as a thank you just in case they had helped get the company's attention.
On Friday, Toomey posted a video in which he once again thanked everyone who had tagged Airbnb and appeared to randomly select the prize winners.
Aaron Swor, a spokesperson for Airbnb, told BI in an email statement: "Our support team was able to thoroughly review this issue, and we have made things right with our Host. We are also taking steps to address the original handling." The company declined to comment on whether the viral TikTok was a factor in its decision.
Read the original article on Insider