The company has until the end of 2018 to make these changes on all EU language versions of their website.
Věra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, said: "The online players have revolutionised the way we travel, find accommodation and experience our holidays. But they also need to fully comply with the rules and take responsibility when things go bad. But EU consumers enjoy rights both off-line and online. I welcome Airbnb's willingness to do the necessary changes to ensure full transparency and understanding of what consumers pay for. This action is part of a larger push for stronger protection of consumers online. That's why we proposed reinforced consumer rules under the ‘New Deal for Consumers' a few months ago."
Price transparency and other unfair commercial practices
Airbnb has committed to presenting the total price of bookings, including extra fees, such as service and cleaning charges. When it is not possible to calculate the final price in advance, they have committed to clearly informing the consumer that additional fees might apply.
In addition, Airbnb has committed to clearly identifying whether an offer is made by a private host or by a professional, as the consumer protection rules differ for each.
Clarified terms and removal of illegal terms
Airbnb has committed to a series of changes in its terms of service to bring them in line with EU consumer rules:
- It will be clear that consumers can use all the legal remedies available and in particular their right to sue a host in case of personal harm or other damages;
- Airbnb will make it clear to consumers that they are entitled to bring proceedings against Airbnb before the courts of their country of residence;
- Airbnb will have to inform consumers when it decides to terminate a contract or remove content and will offer to consumers the right to appeal and to compensation if appropriate.
The company is expected to finalise its proposals and proceed with the implementation of the changes in all EU/European Economic Area language versions by the end of December 2018. In the case of non-compliance, consumer authorities could decide to resort to enforcement measures.
Airbnb presented the changes to its terms of services and the way it presents information on prices during a meeting with the Commission and EU consumer authorities.
The Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Network carried out an assessment (common position) of Airbnb's business practices under the coordination of the Norwegian Consumer Authority (Forbrukertilsynet). The authorities called upon Airbnb to propose by the end of August detailed solutions on how to bring its conduct in compliance with EU consumer legislation (see press release). The European Commission facilitated this action.
The EU Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Regulation links national consumer authorities in a pan-European enforcement network. Based on this framework, a national authority in one EU country can request the assistance of their counterpart 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.
For More Information
Press release on the launch of the Airbnb enforcement action (July 2018)