Los Angeles, CA: Yapstone, the payment processor for Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO) is facing a data breach class action lawsuit filed by a customer in New Jersey who claims the company is negligent and in breach of contract because it failed to protect customer data from a possible breach.
In the complaint, Plaintiff, Jonathan Koles alleges YapStone Inc, has failed to take reasonable measures to protect its customers' personal information, promptly notify them of the possible breach and specify exactly what information may have been compromised.
According to the lawsuit, "As a result of Defendant' ongoing failure to notify consumers regarding what type of [personally identifiable information] has been compromised, consumers are unable to take the necessary precautions to mitigate their damages by preventing future fraud."
Kiles alleges that he was notified by letter by YapStone on September 11 that his "[e]mail and [b]ank [a]ccount were potentially exposed"in a possible breach that happened sometime between July 2014 and August 2015. According to the letter, Yapstone had first learned of the potential hack on August 4th.
As a result of the data breach, Koles now pays $29.99 a month for identity protection services, has had to cancel credit cards and faces "imminent danger"that his personal information could be used for fraudulent purposes, the lawsuit states.
Because VRBO customers were required to accept payments online and provide their bank account information, YapStone breached an implied contract with customers in failing to safeguard their financial information, the complaint adds.
In addition to his claims of negligence, breach of contract and unjust enrichment, Koles filed claims for violations of California' Unfair Competition Law and the state's Data Breach Law on behalf of a nationwide class. The suit also raises claims for violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act and the New Jersey Data Breach Act on behalf of Garden State consumers.
Koles asked the court to order YapStone to adopt "appropriate methods and policies"for consumer data collection and disclosure of personal information, pay for three years of credit card monitoring services and notify customers of the breach. He also seeks to recover damages, including actual, compensatory and statutory damages, as well as equitable relief, restitution, disgorgement, costs and attorneys' fees.
Koles is represented by Tina Wolfson, Robert Ahdoot, Theodore W. Maya and Bradley K. King of Ahdoot & Wolfson PC. The case is Jonathan Koles v. YapStone Inc., case number 3:15-cv-04429, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
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Since the criminals at Expedia acquired VRBO they are screwing everyone. I have been a VRBO client for 20 years and they threw me off my three listings with zero refund. In addition they have not paid me the rent they collected from a renter. They have taken approximately $3,000 from me and say tuft luck. What can I do ???
Posted by angela schifano
I would also like to be added to the list!! I have been using home away now for 5 years last week I had a guest check in my beach house its worth about 600,000 in florida all remodeled. she calls me after staying 5 nights and ask for a refund because it is raining out and cant go to the beach. I tell her nicely I can refund for rain or weather and told her some fun stuff in the area to do when it rains. the next day I get an email from home away she said she seen a RAT outside of my pool area and left... I went to the house called an exterminator to do a inspection 4 hours and $350 later he tells me NO rats no mice no bugs house is perfect … she left a huge mess cost me $300 for cleaners to clean the place and home away did a charge back to my account for the whole amount she paid even their fees they lost and refunded her money after staying in my home for free!!! making a mess and costing me money for the inspection. two days later new renters move in and now they wont pay me fore the new renters stay and don't give me a reason or tell me where my money is for this new rental. I am out thousands and thousands of dollars!! I call support 100 times and no one helps me or can even tell me what is going on. I emailed all my invoices and inspection report showing she lied but they still gave her the money back and took it from me... I want to sue them also please contact me
Posted by jennifer jones
Add me to the list. I have been with VRBO (owner) since 2008 and have had almost all these situations above. Plus the bad reviews stem from vacationers feeling like they over paid for house and slamming my review because of offset anger. I had to lower my nightly rate to accommodate the fees. Get rid of management company & fee just to make the house payment and maintenance. Moved way down the list and forced into the online payments. I want another option! I have tried with vacationrentpayments for 6 months to remove the email of my previous management company. He gets all my emails which i feel are confidential of each payments. Although I was able to change the bank account, it is virtually impossible to get the email address changed. They are idiots. Trying to find a way to report them to FTC.
Posted by Steve Walsh
I wish to join all and any class action suits against VRBO / HomeAway / Yapstone ....
Posted by Jan Hill
Same thing happened to me . Action group details
Posted by Cindy Giovacchino
I am leaving VRBO! Total corporate GREED! my changes did not implement until spring of this year of which my rentals after 5 years have decreased to none! I just went on my Mac computer and could not find my listings and they told me that they are not longer compatible with Mac and I need to let my renters know to use a different computer. are you serious? not one rental in two properties for fall foliage, usually have a dozen. just signed up for a new rental sight. HOPE VRBO GOES INTO THE SH*TTER!!!!
Posted by shawn holt
I had people rent my cabin. They said it was 2 adults and one child. My neighbors told me at least 20 adults showed up and had a party. The renters then called to say they didn't like my place and wanted their money back. VRBO gave them all of their money back even though they stayed one night for their party. I went up to the cabin the following day and while I was their the renters tried to break back in.
Their fees have gotten ridiculous and they don't work in favor of the owners.
Posted by extensive damages bc of a 4 billion company's negligence
I had nearly 7k stolen bc of a Home Away hack. They refused to help and suggest I sue the property owner. I was going to celebrate my gf's cancer recovery but instead they stole my money and we had no vacation and I had no money left for her December bday or Xmas bc it was supposed to be one big celebration. I notified the banks before the money was disbursed but Chase bank was apathetic and slow and they took too long to confirm that this alert to the Belgium KBC bank was true and they gave the criminal my money. The police have no jurisdiction. This apparently has been going on from 2011. We need to get a class action suit. I have evidence the scam is still being permitted on their website.
How it works: theguardian.com/money/2014/aug/23/holiday-book-online-owners-direct-homeaway-scam
"HomeAway, which owns such sites as HomeAway.com, VRBO, VacationRentals.com and 32 others around the world, has acknowledged that customers and vacation rental owners advertising on its sites have been targeted in a phishing scam since 2011 that may affect $1 million in transactions in 2012 alone."
Posted by Michelle
I recently suffered from a security breach with VRBO, book now button that was hacked and my money was taken. I need advice on how to participate in this class action lawsuit. Please
Posted by Wayne simmons
I have received identical pressure to go with the same VRBO issue. No proof yet on whether renter got billed, but no site showed of my house on last check and only 1 requests to rent for weeks. Spokesman claims this is what renters want--to rent online. At their additional charges ??Puzzling !
Posted by David Eastridge
need a class action lawsuit by owners against vrbo and homeaway,,,,,,, not happy with the new forced changes,, and fees,,, and loss of control of booking process,,,,,,help,, help,,, help,,,,,it gets really deep with all the different ways the new forced changes will affect property managers and home owners alike,,,,Mahalo for your time David and Kim ( owners)
Posted by Heather Upton
Same problems on my end, this service fee has caused every booking I've had in the past few months requires the tenant to pay an extra $499 on top of everything else just to line VRBO 's pockets. Here we owners for all the hard work to make our homes great rentals and they screw us and future tenants with this ridiculous fee? The book it now is also such a scam. They take out more and more fees with the credit cards (when I've always received a check in the mail instead) these service fees and the subscriptions they require us owners to pay. Shame on you VRBO ,home away and Expedia.
All horrible companies. My bookings have gone down. People have become more indecisive about moving forward and it's all due to this new service fee that adds zero value to the customer. I hope a class action gets started. We have been tricked,mislead and manipulated.
Posted by J. Jens
For all of those who presently use VRBO to advertise your rental house get ready for the new scam they are forcing owners into.
I have been a member for over 9 years. Throughout those years the cost to advertise with their website has increased 330%. They claim this was due to adverting costs and 24 hour customer assistance.
When I first advertised with the company I was at the top of the listing for my area and stayed there as long as I continued to pay the higher plan pricing which was GOLD at the time (of 3 levels in the beginning). Now there are 5 levels of pricing and the top is Platinum costing owners $1300 now to advertise their home for rent.
I decided not to pay the platinum price one year to see where I would fall in the listings. I fell to below 20 from the top 3. I called the company and they told me that if I renew my home rental account using the top level pricing I would go back to the top of the list. I asked what was my guarantee this would happen and they told me because I had been with the company for such a long time and due to having such a low rental number which i received when I opened my account with VRBO. I was guaranteed to be in the top 3 again.
This year I found myself again low down on the list of other rentals. I found this strange because I have one of the lowest rental numbers (meaning I am a long time customer of the site). Even with paying the top level 5 Platinum pricing I found myself down at 16 on the list.
When I called customer service they initially tried to tell me my ad needed improvements to be placed back in the top. I told them my ad was exactly the way I wanted it and I presently have the most positive reviews of all the other houses listed. They then said the problem was that I had not joined their new ONLINE BOOKABLE HOMEAWAY PAYMENTS PLAN.
I asked them to tell me about this plan and they said I had to give them credit card information, social security number, and banking information for them to have access too and for them to receive payments on my behalf from my future renters. I told them they were crazy I wasn't giving anyone that much information to receive my payments. I have no problems accepting payments now from my customers using my current plan. They said then thats why your listing will stay lower on the list of other home rentals. So I confirmed that my listing will never go back to the top of the rental listing because I will not join an ONLINE BOOKABLE ACCOUNT." They told me that was correct. I said what does not joining your plan have to do with my rental listing at all? They told me that with the ONLINE BOOKABLE ACCOUNT they can now tax my future renters up to 10% of the rental cost (up to $499) prior to me receiving my charges. I told them I would never screw my customer with a fee to book my rental. They told me that the fee goes to the VRBO not the home renter. The fee was needed because they need the money to improve their adverting costs and 24 hour customer assistance (sound familiar).
I told them, wow so now the home owners cost to advertise has jumped 330% and now the renters have to pay a fee just to rent my home. Sounds like VRBO is screwing both parties in the transaction. If you know of another rental site its now time to start using and building up the competition. GOD send me an honest lawyer to put a stop to VRBOs scandalous and possibly criminal ways.
Posted by Wendy Davis
VRBO has imposed mandatory fees without notification to its members. They appear on the rental quote page as part of the owner's charges, to be paid by the renters. There is no way to edit or remove the fee from the quote, and it forces the owner to reduce rent to accommodate this substantial amount imposed by this fee. In my case, $330 fee is added to the cost of a one week stay.
I want to leave VRBO and be refunded my membership fee of $399, which was renewed in February - I have not had any new customer s since it was imposed.
Posted by Amy Pitti
I would like to add my name to this action. I understand that this is a new business model for VRBO but they owe me a refund on my fees. and the time and effort to point this out to the rude #ssholes who run the company.
Posted by Karen holmes
There is a long list of people who are not happy with VRBO and their book it button. I told them I did not want to participate because they already had too much of my information. They are trying to make it mandatory for us to use it and charging us even more fees to do it. My bank account and credit cards were compromised through a text message that came from home away and the malware continues daily. I hope vrbo and their card processing company get what they deserve. They are getting out of control.
Posted by albert de la rosa
this is happening to me and I was also shut down from their services which has created my rental propertys to suffer an enormous decline in rental revenue.
Posted by Pablo Yurkievich
This happened to me too. Could I join this class action lawsuit? Thank you for your time and advice.
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