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Sunday, October 2, 2022
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Vrbo Sued for Camera Found in Rental Property

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Close-up of a surveillance camera. | Image by Matthias Kulka, Getty Images

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Two homeowners and the vacation rental website Vrbo were sued after a camera was discovered in a leased vacation house in Comfort, Texas. Comfort is about 20 miles south of Fredericksburg.

After investigating the residence, the police notified the plaintiffs that the homeowners had illegally installed video cameras around the house, including in the plaintiffs’ bedroom.

According to the lawsuit, the bedroom camera was set up to allegedly record unauthorized footage of the plaintiffs “in various states of undress or other private and intimate moments.” The homeowners allegedly concealed the fact that there were surveillance cameras on the premises.

Just Well Law‘s Kristina Baehr is representing the plaintiffs. According to Baehr, her clients were unaware of the surveillance cameras until the local authorities contacted them many months after their trip.

She mentioned that it brought up a traumatic memory for one of her clients. “Their first reaction was just shock and awe, but then also, it triggers all of these traumatic feelings that you have to go and address.”

The clients are now participating in therapy to recuperate from the traumatic experience, according to Baehr. The lawsuit alleges that Vrbo failed to enforce its policy on the use of surveillance.

Vrbo has stated that “surveillance devices capable of photographing the inside of a house are never permitted in listings on our platform.”

External surveillance equipment, such as security cameras and smart doorbells, are permitted only in certain circumstances and must always be disclosed by the host on the listing page.

Vrbo stated, “our trust and safety team actively investigates any complaints about bad actors and takes action accordingly, including permanently removing any host in violation of our policies.”

According to the lawsuit, the event left the plaintiffs with a sense of having been violated, and the plaintiffs are now terrified of traveling and hotels.

The individuals who own the rental property and Vrbo are being sued for negligence, fraud and misrepresentation, and private nuisance.

The plaintiffs also filed a lawsuit against the homeowners, accusing them of gross negligence and invasion of privacy. They are seeking over $250,000 in damages.

According to USA Today, you can search for hidden cameras by turning off the lights and shining a flashlight, looking for reflections, and checking vents and holes in the walls and ceiling.

If you do find a camera, you should first call the police and file a report. Afterward, contact the rental property.

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