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Airbnb to facilitate negative reviews

Posted: 13th September 2017   In: Corporate Commercial

Airbnb is becomingly increasingly popular. The website allows users to rent out their homes, rooms or apartments to others. The frequently lower prices and greater choice available makes Airbnb an attractive choice for many vacationers.

However, Airbnb recently came to blows with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) regarding the way in which their guest review system operates. At present, guests who arrive at the accommodation and choose not to stay there or leave early (for example if the accommodation is dirty or did not correspond with the description and photographs online) cannot automatically leave a review. Their booking is instead shown as ‘cancelled’, and it is only those who are persistent enough to go through Airbnb’s customer services department that are able to leave negative reviews for other users to read. This means that often the worst listings where individuals refuse to even stay in the accommodation can escape negative reviews.

The position will soon change thanks to the CMA who have now intervened. Changes coming into force on 31 August 2017 mean that guests who reject the accommodation or leave early can leave reviews regardless of when they cut their stay short.

Gordon Ashworth, CMA Project Director has commented “We were concerned that, if someone cut short their stay, it was too hard for them to leave a review under Airbnb’s existing reviews system and so we are pleased that Airbnb engaged constructively with us and committed to making the necessary changes.”

The CMA is the UK’s primary competition and consumer authority, and is responsible for carrying out investigations into mergers, markets and the regulated industries and enforcing competition and consumer law. This change will hopefully protect consumers and ensure that the worst listings can no longer avoid reviews.

Please contact Sarah Liddiard or Holly Baker if you would like further information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of consumer law.

Posted by: Sarah Liddiard
Corporate Commercial
Luton Office