By Kurtis Ming

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The stay-at-home order is forcing some to cancel holiday plans. Those who have shelled out thousands for rentals are upset they can’t get that money back.

Tru Yang of Sacramento canceled his December 11 weekend booking at a South Lake Tahoe Airbnb and lost nearly $350.

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“It kind of sucks when you know you’re trying to be safe and they tell you ‘Yeah, no, we’re gonna keep your money,’” Yang said.

If you booked a trip before mid-March, you can get a refund because no one expected the pandemic. But for bookings made after that, Airbnb essentially says, that’s on you, and it’s up to the host to determine how to handle refunds.

Airbnb says none of this should surprise the booker because it shows the host’s cancelation policy before you pay, classifying it as “flexible,” “moderate” or “strict.”

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Flexible policies allow a full refund for cancelations up to one day before arrival. Moderate policies allow a full refund for cancelations made up to five days before arrival. Strict policies allow a 50% refund seven or more days before arrival.

You can learn more about Airbnb’s cancellation policy tiers here. The rental company also explains its policy for extenuating circumstances during COVID here. 

In Yang’s case, the host had a strict policy and he canceled too late to get a refund.

If you miss a host’s refund window, you will not get Airbnb’s fee back either. In his case, that was $57.

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