The EU Commission and consumer authorities warned Airbnb (online accommodation marketplace) to align its terms and conditions with EU consumer rules and to be transparent on pricing. The presentation of Airbnb’s pricing, as well as the distinction between private and professional hosts currently does not comply with the requirements of EU law, says the Commission, in particular the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive and the Unfair Contract Terms Directive.
According to the EU Commission, Airbnb needs to, among others, modify the way it presents information on pricing from the initial search on their website, in order to ensure that the consumer can easily calculate the total price (including all the applicable mandatory charges and fees, such as service and cleaning charges), furthermore, to identify clearly whether the offer is made by a private host or a professional, as the consumer protection rules differ.
The Unfair Contract Terms Directive requires that Airbnb’s standard terms and conditions do not create a significant imbalance between the parties’ rights and obligations, to the detriment of the consumer in the future (for example, the company should not mislead consumers by going to a court in a country different from the one in their Member State of residence, or the Terms of Services should not confer unlimited and discretionary power to Airbnb on the removal of content).
Airbnb had to propose detailed solutions on how to bring its conduct in compliance with EU consumer legislation until the end of August 2018. If they are not considered satisfactory, Airbnb could face an enforcement action.