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Several French Hotels Launch $10 Million Lawsuit Against Airbnb for Unfair Trade Practices

The plaintiffs seek a total amount of 9.2 million euros in damages

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on June 21, 2024, 14:24:26

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A total of 26 hotels in France have launched a lawsuit against the San Francisco-based short-term rental company Airbnb for unfair trade practices.

The plaintiffs seek a total amount of 9.2 million euros ($9.9 million) in damages, with each hotel claiming an average of Eur355,019, said the hotels' lawyer Jonathan Bellaiche.

They are accusing the company of allowing and failing to control illegal ads on its platform, and of not paying its tourist tax in 2021 and 2022, Bellaiche added.

The case alleges loss of opportunity to attract clientele, adding that the platform attracts consumers illegally. It also claims commercial disruption, with undue advantage given by the illegal ads by avoiding the cost of commerciality.

"This claim is not the first attempt by a hotel lobby to restrict Airbnb's lawful business in France and, as such, hosts' right to let their homes," Airbnb said in a statement. By the end of 2023, the company had remitted more than Eur187 million in tourist tax to French communes on behalf of hosts, it added.

The company claims that French law gives families the right to share their space and welcome guests across the country, and Airbnb follows the rules applicable to its platform, including sharing data and paying taxes.

The hotels, of which some are independent and others are members of chains, are located in about a dozen cities in the country, including Nice, Strasbourg and Cannes.

The case was filed in commercial court in Lisieux, in France's Normandy region, and the hearing will take place within a year, Bellaiche said.

If the lawsuit is detrimental to the company's activities or the ability of families to share their homes, Airbnb will consider all legal options to protect these rights, it said.

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