Had almost exactly this experience with Airbnb this week… I came out slightly better, as I made a successful booking on the third attempt. However I was still left over a grand out of pocket for over a week because of the first two declined bookings. I completely agree that their user experience is at best unclear, if not downright misleading. I don’t see why they need to pre-authorise payment prior to a booking being accepted at all, why can’t they just take payment when the host accepts? If the payment is declined, then the booking isn’t made. It seems they’re far more concerned with not having their host’s time wasted than their guests.