Jump to the content zone at the center

City Ombudsmen: Vacation Rentals through Airbnb, AK House, Trivago, and Other Online Sites May be Risky

In light of a recent incident involving carbon monoxide poisoning of Singaporeans staying at a short-term vacational rental in Taipei, the Department of Legal Affairs issued an advisory reminding consumers to be aware of the risks when reserving vacation lodgings through websites such as Airbnb, AK House, and Trivago.
According to chief ombudsman Chen Hsin-cheng, currently the majority of vacational rental suites in Taiwan are illegal, as they do not have registered hotel licenses and have not undergone public and fire safety inspections. Vacationers renting these apartment units do not have any form of assurance and may have problems filing complaints in the case of consumer disputes.
Chen pointed out that the headquarters of vacation rental sites such as Airbnb, AK House, Trivago, and Expedia are located abroad. Advertised properties on these websites offer email, Facebook, and Twitter accounts as contact information, but do not provide important data such as company registration, name of owner, contact number, and address. The lack of such vital information may create difficulties for consumers in the case of any dispute.
In addition to the aforementioned sites, Chen remarked that many online shopping sites also provide inadequate information regarding sellers. He called upon consumers to review the completeness of such information and select vendors with good credibility records, actively attending consumer dispute mediation meetings, and offering transaction through third-party payment platforms.
When encountering consumer disputes, please call the Consumer Hotline (TEL: 1950) for assistance.