June 25, 2017

Airbnb industry group files FTC complaint against ad calling for D.C. regulations

Flag of the United States Federal Trade Commission
By United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

An industry group opposing D.C. legislation to regulate Airbnb-style short-term lodging has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission claiming an ad promoting the measure is deceptive and misleading.

But a former FTC official said in an interview that the agency is unlikely to take up the case.

The Travel Technology Association sent a formal request Tuesday to acting FTC Chairwoman Maureen Ohlhausen, saying her agency “has guidelines for testimonials and D.C. residents deserve an honest conversation on short-term rentals.”

Travel Tech claims an ad against short-term lodging sites by the advocacy group Share Better DC runs afoul of FTC endorsement regulations.

Share Better DC last month aired a television ad that opens with the title card “ Anacostia , Washington, D.C.” A woman appears and says, “I was 5 years old when we moved to the neighborhood, but it doesn’t feel like the place I grew up or where I raised my children.”

The woman describes how the neighborhood has turned into a place for tourist rentals and says landlords kick out tenants and rent out entire buildings to tourists for short-term stays.Airbnb hosts in Anacostia said on Twitter that they had never seen the woman in the neighborhood. The company slammed […]

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