An Auckland woman has negotiated a partial refund with the owner of a Queenstown holiday home after the property's managers offered her back only a fraction of her $3000-plus booking.
Monica Mathis had booked the Weaver St property for a week's stay with her husband and two children from today, through online platform Bookabach.
After the Covid-19 alert level 4 lockdown was announced on Tuesday, she asked the property's managers if she could cancel, but was refused a refund or credit to rebook a shorter stay in October.
Mathis said she knew the property's cancellation policy did not oblige them to give her a credit or refund, even for Covid-19-related cancellations.
However, she had read an advisory to property owners on the website of Bookabach owner Vbro that encouraged them to do so, even if not allowed for in their cancellation policy.
That was why she had found the property manager's lack of flexibility "truly unethical and mind-blowing".
Only after pushing the company "extremely hard" did they offer her $500 back.
But she managed to directly contact the property's owner, who was more sympathetic.
They had offered her a refund of about 60 per cent, "which I'm happy with", she said.
In contrast, Bookabach had immediately refunded her traveller service fee of just over $300, and all the other businesses they had made bookings with for the trip, including Air New Zealand and Ezi Rental, had offered credits or refunds.
In an emailed statement, a Bookabach spokeswoman said cancellation policies were decided by individual homeowners, and it was important travellers checked the policy applying to a property before they made a booking.
"While we encourage our hosts to adopt flexible cancellation policies, ultimately it's their decision to choose."