The European Commission has reached a series of agreements with the online rental platform Airbnb to “clarify the way it presents its accommodation offers to consumers, the Commission said in a statement on Thursday.
The improvements were achieved after negotiations with the US company, which the EU had threatened with sanctions if failed to comply with EU consumer protection legislation.
Among the changes made by the platform include the display of the total price of accommodation on the first page of results. Consumers “are no longer at risk of discovering mandatory fees on the following pages”, says the Commission.
These additional costs include, in particular, so-called “service” or cleaning fees, or various local taxes which, at the time of payment, add to the price that must be paid by consumers.
“For these summer holidays, Europeans will simply get what they see when they book their holidays. Comparing and booking online hotel or accommodation has made it fast and easy for consumers. Now consumers can also trust that the price they see on the first page will be the price to pay in the end,” Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said.
The platform will also indicate more clearly whether the accommodation offered is placed on the market by a private host or by a professional. And it will simplify access on the site to its dispute resolution procedure.
The Commission also pointed out that the company had revised its terms of service. Among the changes, it will now be specified that users can bring an action against Airbnb in the courts of their country of residence.
In July 2018, the EU executive joined consumer protection authorities in EU countries to demand these changes from the rental company. “Airbnb has responded to all requests,” said the Commission.