Airbnb has breached the European Union’s consumer rules, the EU Commission said, and has until the end of August to propose changes to make its terms and conditions fairer and easier to understand.
To meet consumer standards, Airbnb can no longer “decide unilaterally and without justification” which terms remain in effect after a contract is ended and cannot refuse consumers their basic legal rights to sue a host in case of personal harm or other damages, the EU authority said in a statement on Monday.
Airbnb must also make hidden fees transparent, giving customers a total price that includes all mandatory charges and fees upfront, such as service and cleaning charges. The distinction between private and professional hosts has to be made clear, as well.
“Consumers must easily understand what for and how much they are expected to pay for the services and have fair rules,” said EU Commissioner for Consumers Vera Jourova. “Popularity cannot be an excuse for not complying with EU consumer rules.”
In response, Airbnb said in a statement: “We take this issue seriously and are committed to being as transparent as possible for our community. 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 Commission wants the San Francisco-based company to come up with "detailed solutions," before deciding on enforcement measures if they fail to comply with consumer protection rules.