Europe: Airbnb is to modify its terms of service to better inform consumers of their rights and list its prices in a more transparent way.
EU commissioner for justice Vera Jourova called on the San Francisco-based short-term rental accommodation website to make the changes as it has been breaching EU rules by not differentiating between ‘professional’ and ‘amateur’ hosts.
Jourova said: “The changes will be fully functional by the end of the year. We have been saying that EU consumers must have the same rights selling and purchasing online and offline.”
When it was founded in 2008, Airbnb began as a means of renting out spare rooms but as it has grown in popularity, visitors can now book larger vacation rental homes which require greater legislation.
Under the joint agreement with the EU, Airbnb has committed to displaying the full price of all its bookings, which includes supplementary fees, local taxes or cleaning fees which may arise, in the final price.
Furthermore, the company is now required to clarify on it site whether an offer is made by a private host or by a professional host, as both have differing consumer protection rules. It will also modify its terms of agreement to make sure consumers understand all of the legal remedies available to them.
Airbnb said it ‘regularly analyses and updates its practices’, including making its terms of service and policies clearer and easier for its visitors to use and understand.
“We are continually looking at ways to update and improve our price display to ensure it is as efficient for our community as possible,” it added.