EC and European Union authorities push Airbnb to comply — EU consumer rules

Lloyd Doyle
July 19, 2018

The commissioner said the prices displayed to those using the Airbnb website fail to reflect the fees and charges later passed on to the consumer, including cleaning costs.

In addition, the company must clearly indicate whether the offer is submitted by a private or a professional entity in the accommodation sector. "But popularity can not be an excuse for not complying with European Union consumer rules", said commissioner Jourova, commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality.

She said there should be fair rules, for example on cancellation of accommodation by the owner.

The European Union is giving Airbnb until the end of August to answer some EU complaints that the US company's pricing presentation does not meet consumer standards.

Therefore the European consumer authorities and the Commission have demanded from Airbnb a number of changes.

Failing to submit a response or propose appropriate corrective action could cause Airbnb to face an enforcement action.

The EU said the platform needs to align itself with EU consumer rights laws by ensuring prices shown on the platform are inclusive of all fees, and should empower consumers to take legal action against their hosts, should they have reason to do so. The Unfair Contract Terms Directive requires that standard terms and conditions do not create a significant imbalance between the parties' rights and obligations, to the detriment of the consumer.

Finally, the Commission says Airbnb should provide an easily accessible link to the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform on its website and all the necessary information related to dispute resolution, pursuant to the ODR Regulation.

Furthermore, Airbnb can not change the terms and conditions without clearly informing consumers in advance and without giving them the possibility to cancel the contract, while, compensation and the collection of damage claims should be clearly defined and should not deprive consumers of their right to activate the available legal remedies.

For example, Airbnb can not "deprive consumers from their basic legal rights" to sue a host in case of personal harm or other damages and must clearly define its policy on refunds, compensation and the collection of damage claims.

This is not the first time this summer that Airbnb has had trouble with regulatory authorities.

"Guests are made aware of all fees, including service charges and taxes, prior to confirming their decision to book a listing", it said.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

Discuss This Article