Airbnb Risks Facing Legal Action Over EU Consumer Law

Today, the European Commission and Consumer authorities challenged Airbnb, the short-term rentals marketplace, to comply with the consumer law of the European Union. The company was given until the end of the summer to abandon a series of practices, including that of belatedly applying extra fees to the prices that it promotes online or else it will be compelled to face legal action.

The Commission says that the terms and conditions and the transparency of Airbnb in the way that the company presents its prices fail to comply with a number of consumer laws of the European Union. Instead, it says that the company should do more to empower its users to sue the hosts that break the rules of the site. The Commission also said that the company should be more clear on whether a host is considered to be private or a professional.

Vera Jourova, the commissioner for justice and consumers, stated: “Popularity cannot be an excuse for not complying with EU consumer rules.”

She added: “Consumers must easily understand what for and how much they are expected to pay for the services and have fair rules, [including] on cancellation of the accommodation by the owner.”

The commissioner informed reporters in Brussels that the firm had to show that it was reforming its ways or it could expect that the national regulators across Europe will initiate a coordinated action.

She also said that the company should put an end to its policy of attempting to tackle legal complaints that are made by its clients in courts that are outside the country where the complainant resides.

Once the proposed changes of Airbnb is not able to satisfy the Commission, the company would possibly face legal action in any of the 28 member states of the European Union.

In a statement, Airbnb disclosed: “We take this issue seriously and are committed to being as transparent as possible for our community.”

The company also said that its users are made aware of all the fees even before they book a listing. It says that it will work together with the authorities to clarify on all of the points that the Commission has raised.