Airbnb has agreed with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to change its online review system. The change means guests who decided not to stay at a property will be able to leave reviews. This comes as part of the CMA’s on-going work to ensure online reviews do not mislead consumers and breach consumer law.
Before Airbnb agreed to implement the change, people who arrived at an Airbnb property but decided not to stay after seeing it or left early were unable to leave reviews through the automatic system. The only way they could leave reviews was by contacting Airbnb’s customer services department. The CMA considered that if people cut their stay short, it was too difficult for them to leave a review on Airbnb’s online system.
The CMA has been looking into online reviews and endorsements for the last couple of years. Whilst it considers that online reviews can be useful to consumers, it has concerns about fake reviews being posted onto review sites, negative reviews not being published and businesses paying for endorsements in blogs and other online articles without this being made clear to consumers.
The CMA has previously released summaries of advice for businesses on how to comply with consumer protection law on online reviews and endorsements available here.
More information on the Airbnb agreement with the CMA is available here.