10:22 AM PT -- We have learned that Airbnb has started issuing full refunds to some customers who booked around Coachella. We're told a big factor into the company's decision was the fact that local health officials declared the outbreak an emergency situation.
Thousands of people who were stoked to attend Coachella next month aren't only disappointed, they're stressing out too ... over getting their money back from Airbnb.
As we reported ... the music festival's been postponed to October due to the coronavirus crisis, which means the folks who planned to travel to the Coachella Valley-area and booked a place to stay on Airbnb, are now scrambling for their refund.
That's because, so far, the online booking company is only offering full, automatic refunds to people who were traveling to countries like China, Italy and South Korea ... a fairly short list considering the virus has spread worldwide.
So, renters looking to get their money back have instead been instructed to cancel their reservation -- which automatically refunds 50 percent of their payment -- but they then have to reach out to the host, explain the extenuating circumstance for the cancellation ... and request return of the remaining 50% plus cleaning fees and other expenses.
The good news -- if a host rejects the full refund, renters can file a claim with Airbnb for a special review, and this policy includes some language that seems to support giving folks their cash back.
The policy reads ... "Epidemic disease or illness that suddenly affects a region or an entire group of people" qualifies as a special review circumstance, and policy decisions will be "based on announcements by the World Health Organization and local authorities."
Considering local officials declared a public health emergency in the county where Coachella's located, which clearly contributed to the postponement ... it should certainly fall under this category.
But, the ball's in Airbnb's court ... and so far, refunds are no guarantee.