DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently paid for an Airbnb rental for four days. The host was extremely attentive and accommodating leading up to my check-in date. When I arrived, the place was not what I was expecting at all. It looked nothing like the pictures. I immediately contacted the host and requested a refund, then canceled my reservation through the app. The host apologized profusely and was very kind. He said it was a big misunderstanding, and I believe him. A few days later, I received my money back from Airbnb directly, not the host. The host wrote me an email explaining that he is now banned from hosting because I took my complaint to the company and didn’t allow him to handle it himself. I feel guilty. Was I wrong? -- Misunderstanding
DEAR MISUNDERSTANDING: You were not wrong. The host is not your friend, even though he was kind. He is the one who used the app. That’s how you connected with him. The host knows that the space you got is different from the one he advertised. While it is unfortunate that he got banned, it is not your fault.
What you could do is write to Airbnb to tell them how gracious the host was to you, even though the space wasn’t up to par. Your follow-up note through the app may soften the repercussions, but please remember that you did nothing wrong and the host certainly did.