The vacation rental service HomeAway has been served with a class action lawsuit over its customer service advertisement claims. The plaintiff accuses the company of falsely promising consumers to provide 24/7 customer service support for any issues related to the rental process.
In addition to the price of the rental, customers who book through HomeAway are required to pay a 5-12% service fee. According to the company, this service fee helps cover the cost of the ‘premium customer service that is available 24/7’ to assist customers with any issues they may have.
The lead plaintiff, Karen Meyer, filed the lawsuit in response to an incident she experienced while renting through HomeAway. In February 2017, Meyer booked a stay through the website and believed she would be provided with 24/7 customer support as advertised. After completing her booking, she needed to change her plans and shorten her stay. She alerted the property owner that she would be staying one less day than originally expected. The property owner agreed to adjust Meyer’s bill but told her she would need to contact HomeAway customer service to be reimbursed for the service fee.
Meyer called the customer service department repeatedly to discuss a fee adjustment. Contrary to HomeAway’s promise of 24/7 customer support, Meyer was unable to connect to a representative from the company. After she returned from her trip, she was able to successfully contact the customer service department. The company refused to reimburse the service fee or offer a credit for the shortened reservation which, according to the lawsuit, is in violation of California law.
Meyer claims she would not have booked her rental through the HomeAway service if she knew they would fail to uphold their promise of 24/7 customer service. “Based on Defendant’s representations made on their website,” the lawsuit states, “Plantiff reasonably believed that HomeAway’s customer service would be available 24/7 as advertised and that it would not charge an illegal penalty for reservation modifications.”
In addition to Meyer’s experience, numerous complaints from former customers can be found online about HomeAway’s failure to uphold the promise of 24/7 customer support.
The suit is filled on behalf of the plaintiff Karen Meyer and any other customers who rented in California through HomeAway between Jan. 1, 2014 and the present. The lawsuit accuses HomeAway of violating California’s Consumers Legal Remedies Act, False Advertising Law, Unfair Competition Law, breach of contract, and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Meyer is asking the court for injunctive relief; restitution or restitutionary disgorgment compensatory, consequential, actual and/or statutory damages; punitive and exemplary damages; prejudgement interest; attorney’s fees and costs; and other relief deemed proper by the court.
Alexander M. Schack and Natasha N. Serino of Law Offices of Alexander M. Schack are serving as representatives of Karen Meyer. The HomeAway 24/7 Customer Service Class Action Lawsuit is Karen Meyer v. HomeAway.com Inc., Case No. 3:17-cv-02243, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.