Airbnb, a website for short-term accommodation rentals, has breached EU consumer rules, according to the European Commission’s announcement.
The EU executive has given the US company until the end of August to propose changes in order to comply with EU legislation, adding that the company should clarify whether an accommodation is offered by an individual or a professional, provide greater details of the price, and alter its terms of service to make it fairer for consumers.
The Commission has said Airbnb must provide customers with a total price that includes all mandatory charges and fees, such as service and cleaning charges, or when it is not possible, to calculate the final price in advance, and to clearly inform the consumer that additional fees might apply.
Airbnb must also not unilaterally decide, without justification, which terms may remain in effect in case of the termination of a contract and the company cannot refuse consumers their basic legal rights to sue a host in case of personal harm or other damages.
Furthermore, Airbnb cannot change the terms and conditions without clearly informing consumers in advance and without giving them the possibility to cancel the contract, while, compensation and the collection of damage claims should be clearly defined and should not deprive consumers of their right to activate the available legal remedies.
The Commission will wait for Airbnb to propose detailed solutions on compliance before deciding on enforcement measures if Airbnb’s proposals prove unsatisfactory.