Airbnb’s Forced Arbitration Policy
Recently, the online rental agency for private homeowners, Airbnb, sent a note out about modifications to its terms of service. It is believed that few participants bothered reading through the details of the terms updates, but many could soon learn the changes have a significant effect on their situation. Airbnb included details of its data sharing plan, and information about how it examines personal history of participants. There is also information about how disputes will be settled between renters and rentees in the future.
Airbnb’s data collection practices now include criminal background checks, and participants will now be forced into arbitration should a dispute arise. The changes will take effect in May and many accuse the new terms of service of compelling users to forfeit key legal rights. Others are upset the significant changes are “hidden” in the fine print and claim most users will ignore the updates and be caught by surprise should they need to utilize dispute resolution or be concerned about their private data. Some even accuse Airbnb and other companies of “writing their own laws.”
Unfortunately, some say, for many, user agreements are a part of everyday life, especially with the rise of online businesses. As a result, controversy is arising from all corners, ranging from social media user agreements to problems with online retailers. Many online companies face scrutiny over how they use data uploaded by users – Instagram, Google, and Facebook have all been named in accusations regarding ownership rights of data.
According to Airbnb, the changes were necessary since user of the service has grown so much in recent years.