9 February 2021, Budapest – The Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) has imposed a fine on Airbnb due to the undertaking failing to fully fulfil its commitments made to the GVH concerning changes to the information it made available to consumers.
The GVH accepted the commitments of Airbnb Ireland private unlimited company (Airbnb), which operates an online marketplace for travel accommodation, in 2018. Based on the decision, the undertaking was obliged to amend the information it provided to consumers in order to ensure that those looking for accommodation would receive more detailed and more accurate information regarding the prices.
The GVH has recently concluded its follow-upinvestigation concerning the fulfilment of these commitments, which it conducts with respect to all such commitments. The investigation revealed that the international undertaking complied with the majority of the provisions included in the decision; therefore, the proceeding of the GVH was successful in achieving the goal of improving the quality of the information provided to consumers. However, not all of the commitments were fulfilled as the undertaking failed to demonstrate that the deadline for fulfilment had been met, thus, the fulfilment was delayed. The investigation uncovered certain additional deficiencies as well, all in relation to the documentation of compliance with the commitments.
The GVH imposed a fine of HUF 40 million on the undertaking for these omissions. The fine thus imposed is not going to be borne by Hungarian accommodation providers since the entity responsible for the deficiencies discovered and thus the obligant of the GVH decision is the international undertaking registered in Ireland.
In certain cases, instead of imposing a fine, the GVH may decide to accept commitments offered by the undertakings concerned which are able to compensate consumers for the harm caused or otherwise directly serve the public interest. However, in such cases, the undertakings are bound by official requirements to comply with their commitments, including all provisions thereof, such as the measures concerning documentary evidence. This is due to the fact that these play an important role in the verifiability of compliance; therefore, they affect the social benefit of these commitments: in the case of Airbnb for instance, the precise implementation of these measures affected a large group of accommodation providers and consumers. Therefore, the GVH strictly monitors whether all of the commitments have been fully complied with in each case.
The official registration number of the case is: VJ/9/2020.
GVH Press Office