Airbnb ordered to reimburse booking fees, cost could rise to 200 million euros
Online booking company Airbnb faces a bill of up to 200 million euros after a court ruled it was not entitled to claim booking fees from its Dutch customers.
The Amsterdam District Court said the platform violated a Dutch law that prohibits intermediaries from collecting fees from both parties in a transaction.
Airbnb has been ordered to reimburse € 470 in fees to a customer who brought the case, but the ruling applies to all bookings made by tourists based in the Netherlands, according to lawyer Nicolaas Huppes.
Huppes, who brought the case, told Het Parool that Airbnb now faces complaints from anyone who has paid the 15% hosting fee since 2015. The platform will only be allowed to keep the fee for 3.6% that it takes from owners.
‘It’s no small thing. It’s a 16-page judgment. Three judges examined this case. I’ll be interested to see how they react, ”Huppes said.
The Dutch Supreme Court ruled in October 2015 that the ruling prohibiting intermediaries from representing both parties applied to all real estate, employment mediation and financial products, and cited Airbnb as an example.
Huppes said he would now seek to pursue individual or group claims against Airbnb for a 30% commission. “We have already received several hundred notifications for an average of € 200. I don’t think Airbnb will give the money back voluntarily. ‘
Airbnb told Parool it will appeal the decision, arguing that similar claims were dismissed by judges in Rotterdam and Utrecht.
“This decision is against European law,” said a spokesperson. “The European Court of Justice recently ruled that Airbnb is an online platform and not an agent. The application of Dutch law violates this decision.
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