Consumer NZ finds Airbnb and Bachcare cancellation policies unfair

  • November 24, 2020 02:23 PM AEDT
  • Team Kalkine
Consumer NZ finds Airbnb and Bachcare cancellation policies unfair

The consumer advocacy group, Consumer New Zealand, lodged a complaint with the Commerce Commission against the accommodation booking sites Airbnb and Bachcare over how they charge people who cancel bookings.

The Consumer NZ finds it a breach of the Fair Trading Act as the site's policies are unfairly biased towards the service provider and resulted in many customers losing a massive amount of money.

Consumer NZ receives many complaints against the websites

Chief executive, Consumer NZ, Jon Duffy finds it "plainly unfair" that the companies denied a full refund to the travellers who could not travel because of the pandemic induced lockdown.

The consumer advocacy group is calling for these companies to be taken to court on their cancellation policies. The Group has received many complaints from the consumers who could not travel due to the second lockdown in Auckland.

These websites charged extortionate fees to those who booked accommodation out of the country but cancelled it later as they could not travel to their respective destinations due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

These sites are charging steep fees if consumers want to cancel their accommodation. Also, in some cases, they are charging the entire amount they have paid for the booking.

The trips are cancelled due to the government restrictions where people can't go to travel as per their plan, so definitely it is not travellers fault, and the way the sites are exploiting the situation looks that they are breaching the Fair Trading Act.

Image Source: ©Kalkine Group 2020

Did You Miss Reading; Gear up travellers! Air New Zealand’s new digital tool for credit redemption just went live

Consumer NZ urges Commerce Commission to take Airbnb to court

As per one of the sections of the Fair Trading Act's, if normal consumer contracts are imbalanced in favour of one party over another, then they are unfair.

In such cases, the Commerce Commission can take these companies to court to have those provisions struck down. Consumer NZ has said that right now when there are chances of potential further lockdowns, the Commission should act and take Airbnb to court on these policies.

Also read: Commission Takes High Court Action Against Retailer Ace Marketing

There have been instances where the accommodation provider, Airbnb charged 100 per cent of fees to the person cancelling them even where it was done in a circumstance to give sufficient time for the accommodation provider to make the property available again.

In several of such instances, the accommodation provider could successfully charge twice for the same property, and the first consumer gets penalised for not using their property. Thus, the policies are proving harsh on consumers’ pocket.

Airbnb allows hosts listing on its site to use cancellation policies, which results in the consumer who cancels the accommodation lose 50 per cent to 100 per cent of the accommodation fee even in the case where they give reasonable notice that they need to cancel the trip. However, when Airbnb host wanted to cancel a booking, the maximum they get charged by Airbnb was NZD 145. 

Bachcare's policies were comparatively stricter, which states that the customer would lose all accommodation fees and the service fee, even when they cancel two months before starting their stay.

Consumer NZ questioned these entities whether they reviewed their terms for compliance with the Fair Trading Act and received no satisfactory answers.


The website is a service of Kalkine Media New Zealand Limited (Kalkine Media), Company Number: 8107196. The principal purpose of the content on this website is to provide factual information only and does not contain or imply any recommendation or opinion intended to influence your financial decisions and must not be relied upon by you as such. Some of the content on this website may be sponsored/non-sponsored, as applicable, but is NOT a solicitation or recommendation to buy, sell or hold the stock of the company (or companies) or engage in any investment activity under discussion. We are neither licensed nor qualified to provide investment advice through this platform. In providing you with the content on this website, we have not considered your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should make your own enquiries and obtain your own independent advice prior to making any financial decisions.
Some of the images that may be used on this website are copyright to their respective owner(s). Kalkine Media does not claim ownership of any of the pictures displayed on this website unless stated otherwise. The images that may be used on this website are taken from various sources on the web and are believed to be in public domain. We have used reasonable efforts to accredit the source (public domain/CC0 status) to where it was found and indicated it below the image. The information provided on the website is in good faith, however Kalkine Media does not make any representation or warranty regarding the content, accuracy, or use of the content on the website.


We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. OK