AirBnB holding reservation on funds after host rejected the request
May 14, 2016 7:09 AM   Subscribe

My friends and I are planning a holiday in Paris this summer. We've been looking for places on AirBnB, and found one that looked like it might suit. My friend created an AirBnB account, and submitted a booking request. Unfortunately the host refused; fair enough. But a day later, the money's still showing up as 'reserved' on my friend's bank account. Is this normal?

The payment went through PayPal. We want to submit another request for a different property, but can't do so without the money being available.
posted by Acheman to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total)
Unfortunately PayPal is not ideal for this stuff. They can take your money instantaneously but when you try to get it back it can take 2 weeks! I had this experience with Zara...Now I never use it unless it's something I'm sure of.
posted by flink at 7:51 AM on May 14, 2016 [4 favorites]

Yes, because bank transactions are not instantaneous, and basically don't happen at all on weekends. Have you never noticed that debit card transactions over a weekend don't actually hit your account until Monday afternoon? A withdrawl that was pending on Friday and not processed will be pending until Monday-ish. In this case you are dealing with two banks, and Paypal in the middle., so it might even take longer.
posted by COD at 8:27 AM on May 14, 2016 [4 favorites]

Paypal has the worst customer service, which paired with the general incompatence/unreliable/glitchy systems is a total nightmare. If you used your bank account to transfer funds to PayPal (as opposed to already having a balance) call your bank. Have them file a complaint with PayPal. The bank might free your money in the interim. Good luck and avoid PayPal as much as possible in the future!!
posted by KMoney at 8:30 AM on May 14, 2016 [4 favorites]

It can indeed take a couple days for this to happen. But your friend can call their bank and ask what the deal is, and maybe get them to help.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:52 AM on May 14, 2016

Are you sure the charge is related to this situation? On Airbnb you pay *after* the host has approved your booking request. Was this an instant book which the host then canceled? If yes, as others have said, Paypal will take a few days.
posted by frantumaglia at 9:10 AM on May 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

If this was an Instant Book booking (which it sounds like), the money will not be returned automatically - Airbnb will give your friend the option either of a refund, or to use that money for another booking. The advantage of re-using the money is that you should get an additional credit because the host cancelled on you (like maybe 10% of the cancelled booking). However, in order to get to this point of choosing between refund or re-use, the host has to free up your money first - i.e. register the cancellation within the app - which may not necessarily happen immediately.

I had a situation like this recently: I booked an Instant Book for an entire apt, and the host informed me that she'd actually be there at the same time, so I declined and asked her to cancel the reservation. She agreed to do this - communicating through the Airbnb messaging system - but never actually cancelled the reservation within the app, and so I was unable to get to the funds (and it took a *lot* of explaining that agreeing to cancel over email wasn't sufficient, and that she needed to go into the app and formally cancel/ release my funds).

I honestly don't think that this experience shows that some hosts are trying to rip folks off: I think it's more that it's not so clear to them from their (host) end that your money is now being held, and that you're dependent on them to release it.
posted by 7 Minutes of Madness at 1:00 PM on May 14, 2016

The hosts don't put money on reserve -- the only time they have access to your money are once the booking has been confirmed and you've stayed there. They don't get an instant deposit, and they never see your account info: AirBnB does that through an automated payment system. If the host did not confirm, either the money hasn't been released by the AirBnB system, or your friend's bank hasn't processed the cancellation of the pending transaction yet.
posted by ananci at 2:42 PM on May 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

This is all Paypal and none airbnb. I've had exactly the same situation using a visa card with airbnb and never had the money held, and I've had a similar situation with other vendors using Paypal and had the money held for just ages. Call paypal and complain, but don't expect a lot of love. They suck.
posted by Capri at 6:55 PM on May 15, 2016

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