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How can Airbnb ensure the ethical treatment of consumers?
It is necessary to address this separately between the two types of consumers that Airbnb
has. First of all, Airbnb faced multiple complaints about discrimination based on race, disabilities
or gender. Airbnb’s response to these multiple complaints and even lawsuits was that its User
Agreement barred guests from suing Airbnb and had to enter arbitration (Vara, 2016). Airbnb has
been accused by prosecutors of hiring PR and investigation teams to fight guests that make
serious complaints about the company and even try to hide crimes (Carville, 2021). Obviously,
these are not the best possible responses. Someone might think that the company has updated its
policies in order to address negative issues, but it didn’t.
In 2022, the State of Oregon legally forced Airbnb to hide guests’ names and pictures
from hosts (Olson, 2022). Sadly, this type of policies only apply to states or cities that require it
by law and is still not a general practice for Airbnb. Generally, Airbnb’s response to
discrimination claims is a private matter between the company and the host, but in some cases
due to public backlash it has disclosed that the company warns hosts about this type of actions
(Dickey, 2019). The problem is that a warning is not enough since the host is violating federal
and state laws against discrimination and Airbnb found a way to avoid legal liability. I
understand that it must be extremely complicated to handle mi …
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