Airbnb EU consumer compliance negotiations lead to improved practice

airbnb eu consumer
© iStock/volcjoks

Holiday marketplace platform Airbnb has agreed to update its consumer protection practices in line with EU law after extensive negotiations.

The European Commission, along with a number of national consumer protection bodies led by the Norwegian Consumer Authority, challenged Airbnb in July 2018 over a lack of transparency regarding the platform’s presentation of prices. In accordance with the Commission’s demands, Airbnb EU consumer protection and pricing structure clarity have been amended to meet EU regulation.

The changes made to Airbnb EU consumer practices include:

  • Airbnb must now clearly indicate whether accommodation offers are posted by private hosts or professional operators;
  • Online search results for accommodation on the platform must display the full price, including any mandatory fees such as city taxes or cleaning charges, on the search page; and
  • Airbnb must provide its users with clear directions to its online dispute resolution procedures.

Further changes to Airbnb EU consumer terms of service include:

  • The terms now make clear that users may bring legal action against Airbnb within their country of residence;
  • Users are reminded of their statutory rights to sue a host if they incur personal harm or other damages as a direct result of their stay; and
  • Airbnb pledges not to alter its terms and conditions without first informing users.

Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said: “For these summer holidays, Europeans will simply get what they see when they book their holidays. Comparing and booking online hotel or accommodation has made it fast and easy for consumers. Now consumers can also trust that the price they see on the first page will be the price to pay in the end. I am very satisfied that Airbnb stood ready to cooperate with the European Commission and national consumer protection authorities to improve the way its platform works. I expect other platforms to follow suit.”

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