Family almost loses money with Airbnb gift cards – NBC Los Angeles

If you are planning a getaway, maybe you are renting a house. If so, the NBC4 I-Team cautioned against a popular vacation rental site: your rental could cost you more than you expected.

Jodee Peko and her daughter planned a family getaway to Las Vegas to celebrate graduation. Peko wanted to help her daughter pay the travel bill, so she gave him $ 1,200 in Airbnb gift cards to rent a house.

“It was just for her to get away and go see the family for the first time with her baby,” Peko said.

When you book an Airbnb rental, you have two payment options: prepay, in full; or deposit a deposit and pay the balance later, which is the option chosen by Peko. She used the gift cards to pay the deposit, but when she later went to pay the balance with the gift cards, Airbnb rejected them.

“The person said to me, ‘Oh, you can only pay for everything with gift cards,’” Peko said.

That’s right. Airbnb doesn’t allow you to use gift cards to pay off balances – you can only use them for deposits or to pay everything up front. The gift cards Peko bought still contained hundreds of dollars, and with no plans for future travel, she says the family was throwing that money away.

“I just cried,” Peko said. “It was heartbreaking, and the people at Airbnb were so heartless. “Sorry, it’s our policy, read it, you should have read it.” If you search Airbnb’s website, you’ll find its policy on gift cards. The I-Team has asked Airbnb for the reason for this policy, but we have not received a response.

“It’s really against the consumer, it looks a bit of a trap,” said Mark Ostermann, who called Airbnb on his travel blog for what he calls a hostile consumer policy. He thinks the company should display a clear warning when consumers use a gift card.

“You should see a pop-up window saying, ‘Hey, you’re paying with a gift card and when you make a second payment you won’t be able to use a gift card,’ Ostermann said. . “Some type of warning.” But until that happens, Peko leaves some advice for fellow Airbnb travelers.

“Don’t buy their gift cards, don’t do it,” she said.

Things finally worked out for Peko’s family. The host ended up canceling their reservation, so they booked a new rental house, and this time they were able to use their gift cards to pay for everything up front.

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