CLASS ACTION AGAINST AIRBNB ADMITTED IN BARCELONA
The Association of People Victims by the Conflict between the Barcelona City Council and Airbnb (ACABA), composed of more than a hundred hosts who have been fined for renting their habitual residence sporadically through the platform, has successfully started and unprecedented form in the world a class action lawsuit for unfair practices against Airbnb.
Barcelona’s Commerce Court 10 has issued a court order to both Barcelona’s City Council and Airbnb to deliver in 30 days all information concerning platform people received fines for renting out tourist apartments in the last two years. Up to 5.077 people belonging to Airbnb platform have been sanctioned. According to public records, more than 2.500 fines of 30.001€ each were issued and 2.577 fines of 60.001€ each. All of these amounts to a total of 229.620.000€. Theses rather stratospheric figures are clear evidence that some serious disloyal Airbnb practices were perpetrated in a massive way under the pretext of some sort of non-professional collaborative economy, resulting in high legal risk for thousands of people. According to Mr. Dylan Tarín, a lawyer representing the Association, “Airbnb has not only prevailed in the market of a competitive advantage acquired through a breach of the law, consisting of publishing tourist offers without the corresponding authorization, also has committed unfair practices against consumers; inducing for their own benefit the breach of the law and knowing its illegality, creating the impression that the habitual residence could be rented without the corresponding authorization, which has meant incalculable damages to its users as well as to the general public. ”
The class action seeks not only to compensate for damages incurred by the platform in Barcelona, also to prohibit Airbnb from publishing advertisements for tourist accommodation without a proper license and confuse people with misleading advertising claims; because it will hopefully avoid any future damages, as this platform works with the same pattern in all over Spain. Furthermore, the said class action creates yet another controversy in the going debate concerning the responsibility of collaborative economy platforms such as Uber and Glovo towards their users, whether they may be considered consumers or workers.
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