HomeAway assigned by the fraud crackdown for its management of scams

This sumptuous villa in Cap Ferret, Henri Lavaure did not really own it. Nor did Ludovic Gayral own a house on the Île de Ré. But, under these usurped identities, crooks would rent out properties on the Abritel platform, invite rental companies to contact them by email and get fired for a few thousand euros – a price slightly below the market for these very destinations. valued – on a bank account abroad. On site, the real owners could only drive away vacationers.

According to the alleged victims of these scams, HomeAway has been negligent and has dispensed with its responsibilities as an intermediary. This is also the opinion of the Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and the Repression of Fraud (DGCCRF), which announced on Tuesday August 17 that it had assigned the platform for the rental of holiday accommodation in front of the Paris court for “deceptive commercial practice”.

Bad publicity for this pioneer of the sector in France, launched in 1997 and since bought, like its competitor Homelidays, by HomeAway, a subsidiary of the American tourism giant Expedia. HomeAway is ahead in France by its competitor Airbnb. But the case has an impact on all intermediation sites, historically suffering from a lack of consumer confidence.

Abritel says it has “clearly alerted” its users

It was reports of Abritel users at the end of 2019 that prompted the Bercy service to take an interest in the measures put in place by the site. “On the website and the mobile application, the emphasis was on the trust, reliability, security and guarantees offered by the platform. But the investigation showed that in its general conditions, the platform did not commit to what its communication promised, we explain to the DGCCRF. In our opinion, there is a contradiction between the commercial promises and the end result. Ads flagged as fraudulent have been delivered to the platform. We understand that there are checks of the announcements a priori but their results are not conclusive. ”

The site says it has “Always clearly alerted to the need to use the online payment tool made available by the platform in order to secure reservations”. In a press release, Abritel adds: “We are very confident that we will be able to demonstrate to the court the reality of our constant efforts to encourage vacationers to be cautious and not to make transfers outside of our platform. ”

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