EU: Airbnb Violates Consumer Rules


The European Union (EU) has ordered Airbnb to bring its terms and conditions into line with the bloc’s consumer rules after a recent review found violations. According to Reuters, an EU executive revealed that “some of Airbnb’s terms, and the way it presents its prices, breach the bloc’s unfair commercial practices directive, the unfair contract terms directive and the regulation on jurisdiction in civil and commercial matters.”

The review was started after national consumer agencies, in June, investigated Airbnb’s business practices. Rental platforms have grown in popularity in recent years because of their competitive prices over many hotels.

“But popularity cannot be an excuse for not complying with EU consumer rules. Consumers must easily understand … how much they are expected to pay for the services, and have fair rules for example on cancellation of the accommodation by the owner,” said EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova.

Rental platforms have also received heat as the cause of rising property prices, as well as a housing shortage in Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam and other major cities.

Airbnb has until the end of August to respond to the criticism, then its proposal will be reviewed by the Commission and national consumer authorities. The company could face fines if it does not comply with EU rules. The EU executive said Airbnb needs to include whether accommodation is offered by a private individual or a professional and details of the price in a clear way, then modify its terms of service to make them fairer to consumers.

Airbnb said it wants to be as transparent as possible.

“Guests are made aware of all fees, including service charges and taxes, prior to confirming their decision to book a listing, and we will work together with the authorities to clarify the points raised,” the company said.