02:39 GMT +319 December 2018
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    A woman browses the site of US home sharing giant Airbnb on a tablet in Berlin on April 28, 2016.

    EU Commission Warns Airbnb: Popularity Not Excuse to Break Consumer Rules

    © AFP 2018 / John Macdougall
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    You have "until the end of August to propose detailed solutions on how to bring" your "conduct in compliance with EU consumer legislation."

    The European Commission has warned the online marketplace and hospitality company Airbnb to align their terms and conditions with EU consumer rules.

    Airbnb "could face an enforcement action," if it fails to be transparent on their presentation of prices."

    "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 e.g. on cancellation of the accommodation by the owner. I expect Airbnb to follow up swiftly with the right solutions," Commissioner Vera Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said.

    According to the EU Commission, the presentation of Airbnb's pricing, as well as the distinction between private and professional hosts currently does not comply with the requirements of EU law, in particular the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive.

    The European body warned Airbnb against misleading consumers by going to a court in a country different from the one in their Member State of residence.

    The organization cannot decide unilaterally and without justification which terms may remain in effect in case of termination of a contract. Moreover, Airbnb cannot deprive consumers from their basic legal rights to sue a host in case of personal harm or other damages.

    Referring to the company's financial growth and success, Jourova said that "popularity cannot be an excuse for not complying with EU consumer rules."

    If required, the EU Commission and the consumer authorities will meet with Airbnb in September 2018 to solve any outstanding concern and assess if the company's proposals are considered satisfactory.

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    consumers, Airbnb, European Union, Vera Jourova
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