EU gives Airbnb until end of August to change ‘unfair policy’

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The European Commission has given rental service Airbnb until the end of August to adjust its policies and conditions. According to the Commission, the company is in breach of several rules regarding unfair commercial practices.

The Commission divides its criticisms into unfair practices and the use of illegal terms. In the first category, the Commission requires Airbnb to display the total price of a booking in advance. If that is not possible, the service must warn users that the final amount may be higher. In addition, it must be clear whether the provider is a company or a private individual, as this affects the applicable consumer protection.

In the second category, the Commission requires a series of adjustments to the terms of the service, such as excluding a lawsuit against a landlord or unilaterally adjusting the terms without informing users. Also, Airbnb should not grant itself unlimited rights when it comes to removing content on its platform.

Věra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice and Consumers, among others, says: “More and more consumers are booking their holiday accommodation online and this sector has offered holidaymakers many new opportunities. But popularity should not be an excuse for not complying with EU consumer rules.”

According to the Commission, if Airbnb does not come up with amendment proposals, it will be up to national consumer authorities to take enforcement action. The network of national regulators has formulated a joint position on Airbnb.

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