Short-term rental company Vrbo is facing another lawsuit involving a property known as Cielito Linda Ranch, located off Saddle Wood Trail in Comfort. According to law enforcement, the owner of the property secretly recorded guests with an undisclosed camera.
The new lawsuit was filed Friday in Travis County by two couples, or four people, who make up the plaintiffs. According to the document, one couple stayed at the property in May 2021 and received a call from the Kendall County Sheriff’s Office a few months later telling the couple “they had been watched and recorded during their stay.”
The lawsuit said the couple identified themselves in over 40 images deputies showed them, including photos of the couple in “various stages of undress, and engaged in intimate activities together.” The lawsuit said the couple was “humiliated and embarrassed” and has suffered damages because of the incident.
The second couple in the lawsuit stayed on the property in November 2020, the document stated. This couple actually looked into booking the ranch again for their anniversary the next year, but they couldn’t find the listing on Vrbo.
The lawsuit states that the couple received a call from the Kendall County Sheriff’s Office in December 2021 telling them about the hidden camera and possible invasion of their privacy. The suit says that the couple was “shocked, appalled, and worried about pictures of them in private and sensitive moments; possibly being broadcasted and watched by strangers.”
The lawsuit claims Vrbo was deceptive, saying the company “misrepresented the safety and privacy of the property.” The couples also said the company was negligent in that it “had a duty to exercise ordinary care as a hosting website” as well as manage its landlords’ properties.
The lawsuit said the plaintiffs are seeking monetary relief of more than $1 million. A previous lawsuit about the ranch property was filed earlier this month.
Last November, Kendall County authorities filed charges against homeowner Jay Allee for improper photography. Authorities confirmed Monday the investigation is ongoing, and the new lawsuit said a law enforcement search of Allee’s electronics found over 300 photos of guests.
Vrbo said it has a “strict, long-standing policy” against surveillance devices that violate the privacy and security of guests. The company added, “Although these occurrences are rare, our trust and safety team actively investigates any complaints about bad actors and takes actions accordingly, including permanently removing any host in violation of our policies.”
Vrbo’s corporate headquarters are in Austin.