US home rental platform Airbnb has agreed to comply with European Union consumer legislation following a call in July from the European Commission and EU consumer authorities.
Airbnb has until the end of the year to harmonize certain terms and pricing policies with EU consumer rules across all of its EU sites. Failure to implement the changes may lead to enforcement measures by consumer authorities.
“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,” said Věra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality.
More specifically, Airbnb has agreed to present the total price of bookings – extra fees such as service and cleaning charges included – or to clearly state that additional fees might apply in cases where these cannot be calculated.
The popular home sharing firm has also agreed to clearly state whether the host is a private individual or a professional entity.
Other changes include stating that consumers have the right to sue a host in case of personal harm or other damages and that they are entitled to bring proceedings against Airbnb before the courts of their country of residence.
At the same time, 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 online players have revolutionized 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,” added Jourová.