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Airbnb Pricing Policy Targeted By EU, Issues Warning To The Company

Airbnb Pricing Policy Targeted By EU, Issues Warning To The Company
Airbnb has been given a time per4iod of until the end of Summer by the European Commission to stop a number of its practices as the company has bene found to in violation of EU law. The practices include application of belated additional fees to promoted prices displayed by it online.
The company has been accused of making the same mistake as a number of other global digital companies of “forgetting its responsibilities” and of letting down its customers by the European commission and national regulators.
Airbnb has been given till the end of August top exhibit that it was attempting to change some of the identified practices or face a coordination action by national regulators throughout Europe, said Věra Jourová, the commissioner for justice and consumers, in Brussels.
Airbnb charges additional costs – like cleaning charges, to users apart from those that are displayed on the website of the company as last minute charges. Such costs are never displayed on the advertised rates on its website.
The allegations further said that the company website does not clearly identify whether the accommodations being offered were being offered by amateurs or professionals. This aspect assumes importance because there is difference in consumer rights depending on the status of the owner as well as in the necessary health and safety regulations applicable.
There is no clarity in the terms and conditions of Airbnb, the commissioner said. Further, the company should also bring an end to the policy of resolving legal matters brought in through complaints by its customers in courts which are outside of the country of residence of the complainants, she said. 
Jourová said: “More and more consumers book their holiday accommodation online and this sector has brought many new opportunities to holidaymakers.
“But popularity cannot be an excuse for not complying with EU consumer rules. Consumers must easily understand what for and how much they are expected to pay for the services, and have fair rules, [for example] on cancellation of the accommodation by the owner. I expect Airbnb to follow up swiftly with the right solutions.”
There were about 6,000 complaints against Airbnb accommodations that were received by the EU last year but that is regarded as just “the tip of the iceberg”, Jourová added.
It is said that Airbnb has aims to achieve a target of 1 billion guests annually globally by 2028 and therefore the warning could not be considered to be “out of the blue” for the company, she added.
An Airbnb spokesman said: “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.”

Christopher J. Mitchell

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