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Airbnb: Changes of T&C

Against EU law

Airbnb has to change its Terms & Conditions on the European market as they don't comply with the current EU law.

Already in July 2018, the European consumer protection authorities and the EU Commission therefore asked the platform to make some amendments. The deadline for those changes is the end of August. If Airbnb doesn't react accordingly, the company has to expect consequences.

UPDATE, 21.09.2018: Airbnb committed to changing it's Terms & Conditions according to the proposal. After an evaluation by the consumer protection authorities and the EU Commission, the platform will have until the end of 2018 to make the respective amendments. Read more about it below and in the current press release of the EU Commission.

Total price and contractual partner

Airbnb should improve the price transparency on its platform. A consumer should be able to see all costs of the accommodation at once. If it is impossible to state the total price, the consumer should be informed that further costs may occur (e.g. for the final cleaning).

The original idea of Airbnb was that private persons could offer their homes to tourists for a cheap price. Meanwhile, a lot of commercial traders use the platform as well. The Commission and the consumer protection agencies therefore claim that Airbnb should make it more clear to the consumer whether an offer is private or commercial - as that imposes different consumer protection rights.

Conditions regarding cancellations or in case of damages

Consumers profit from several protective rights within the EU. Those build a standard which no company that operates in or towards the EU can undermine. One example is the right to clear and comprehensive information.

The EU Commission and the European consumer protection authorities therefore prompted Airbnb to amend several of its Terms & Conditions. In a press release, the EU Commission lists the following change requests:

  • Airbnb should not mislead consumers by going to a court in a country different from the one in their Member State of residence;
  • Airbnb cannot decide unilaterally and without justification which terms may remain in effect in case of termination of a contract;
  • Airbnb cannot deprive consumers from their basic legal rights to sue a host in case of personal harm or other damages;
  • Airbnb cannot unilaterally change the terms and conditions without clearly informing consumers in advance and without giving them the possibility to cancel the contract;
  • Terms of services cannot confer unlimited and discretionary power to Airbnb on the removal of content;
  • Termination or suspension of a contract by Airbnb should be explained to consumers, governed by clear rules and it should not deprive the consumer from the right to adequate compensation or the right to appeal;
  • Airbnb's policy on refunds, compensation and the collection of damage claims should be clearly defined and should not deprive consumers from their right to activate the available legal remedies.

(Source: Press release of the EU Commission, 16-07-2018)

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