European Commission welcomes steps taken by Airbnb to improve how offers are presented and its compliance with EU consumer law
On Thursday 11th July 2019, the European Commission announced that accommodation platform, Airbnb, has improved and fully clarified the way it presents offers to consumers so that it is now in line with the standards set in EU consumer law.
This follows a call from the European Commission and national consumer protection authorities (led by the Norwegian Consumer Authority) in July 2018 for Airbnb to bring its practices and terms fully in line with EU consumer rules.
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.”
The main improvements and changes are as follows:
- In accommodation searches with selected dates, users see the total price in the results page, including all the applicable mandatory charges and fees (such as service, cleaning charges and local taxes). There are now no surprise mandatory fees appearing on later pages;
- Airbnb clearly distinguishes if an accommodation offer is put on the market by a private host or a professional;
- Airbnb provides an easily accessible link to the Online Dispute Resolution platform on its website and all the necessary information related to dispute resolution.
Airbnb also revised its terms of service in which it:
- Makes clear that users can bring a case against Airbnb before the courts of their country of residence;
- Respects users’ basic legal rights to sue a host in case of personal harm or other damages;
- Commits not to unilaterally change the terms and conditions without clearly informing users in advance and without giving them the possibility to cancel the contract.
More information is available in the Airbnb Enforcement Action Factsheet:
The Consumer Protection Cooperation Network carried out a joint assessment of Airbnb’s practices and terms of service, under the facilitation of the European Commission and the lead of the Norwegian Consumer Authority (Forbrukertilsynet). The action was launched in July 2018.
The EU Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulation links national consumer authorities in a pan-European enforcement network. On that basis, a national authority in one EU country can request the assistance of other authorities in another EU country to stop a cross-border infringement of EU consumer law.
The cooperation can be activated to enforce various bodies of EU consumer legislation, such as for instance the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, the Consumer Rights Directive or the Unfair Contract Terms Directive.
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