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Transparency: European Commission asks Airbnb to improve its conditions of use

On Monday, July 16, the European Commission gave the online rental platform until the end of August to bring its conditions of use into line with European rules and make its fees more transparent.

The terms of Airbnb's contracts and the way the company presents its fees to its users do not conform to the legislation, to the detriment of consumers, the European executive deplored.

The online accommodation booking sector has "brought many new opportunities to holidaymakers" but "popularity cannot be used as an excuse not to comply with EU consumer protection rules," Consumer Commissioner Vera Journova warned on Monday.

"Consumers need to understand easily what they are supposed to pay for and how much," she told the press, citing the need for clearer rules on the conditions of cancellation of a lease by a landlord and a more explicit indication of whether the landlord is an individual or a professional.

Airbnb now has until the end of the summer to respond to the Commission's requests. If the company's proposals "are not considered satisfactory, Airbnb could face enforcement action" by European consumer protection authorities.

Asked about the nature of these potential measures, Vera Jourova replied that they would be taken by the consumer protection authorities in the different EU Member States, in the absence of a common entity at a European level.

"The authorities will be able to open proceedings against Airbnb, and there we could end up with different sanctions" depending on the country in question, the Commissioner continued.

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