Complaint Category: None of the Above - Sales Complaint Issue
Complaint: Pictures of the inside of my home, including valuables and personal items have been displayed on the Deeb website without my consent.
Deeb Realty entered my home, which I rent, without my permission sometime between *******-******* . Pictures of the inside of my home, including valuables and personal items have been displayed on their website without my consent, along with all other real estate website that pull content from their site. My first request to have photos removed by the Deeb agent was ****, and several times since.. Each time, the agent assure me the photos will be removed, but they continue to be up on their site.
On Thursday morning, I wrote an email to Deeb email address listed on their website, which explains my complaint in detail (see below). Shortly after sending the email, I received a call from the agent. She assured me she would take the photos down. I also received a call from her supervisor, who also assured me the photos would be taken down within 1-2 hours and he would check on the website to ensure the photos would be taken down.
It is now over 24 hours since that conversation, and all of the photos are not down.
Email written to Deeb on *******:
To Whom It May Concern:
The purpose of this message is to notify your company of my complaint and my next steps if this is not resolved immediately.
I currently rent a duplex at *******************. After I was notified by the property manager last week regarding the sale of the duplex, I was under the impression realtor ***** ****** would contact me to arrange taking pictures of the inside of the duplex, as well as future showings.
***** first contacted me on Sunday to notify me of a showing that would take place the following day. Later Sunday evening, I found the duplex listing online, which included photos of the inside of my home. Not only had ***** and a photographer entered my home without my permission, photos of my living space, valuables, and personal and very private items were posted publicly on the internet. My privacy has been severely violated and I was shocked by the business practices displayed by Deeb Realty.
On Monday morning, I attempted to reach the realtor to address this issue and request the photos be removed. I left a voice mail stating this. I also called the office phone number listed on the website and spoke to a Deeb employee about this issue.
***** contacted me via phone on Monday afternoon. She assured me the photos would be removed and apologized for the misunderstanding on taking the photos. She noted during our conversation that it appeared I may not have known my home was going to be photographed due to the amount of personal belongings left out in the house. However, this did not stop her from taking the photos and posting them online.
Monday evening, ***** contacted me via text to set up a showing for Tuesday evening. Through this texting exchange, I informed her that the photos had not been removed. She said she would attempt to remove them again that day.
It is now Thursday, and this issue is not resolved after my repeated attempts. I am appalled by the lack of integrity of Deeb Realty and disgusted with the unethical business practices that have been displayed. These photos of my life have been on public display since last week without my permission with complete disregard to my privacy. My husband and I have been accommodating for the showings of the house in spite of our increasing frustrations with the lack of resolution of this issue. We now have serious concerns with Deeb Realty entering our home when we are not there given the overwhelming amount of poor judgment displayed thus far.
If the photos of my personal property that were posted online without my consent are not removed by Deeb, and I have not been contacted by Deeb management via phone with confirmation that this action has been taken by 10:00am Thursday *******, I will take further action immediately.
Initial Business Response
In response to ***** ********* complaint, I first want to provide a summary of events that occurred, and actions taken by the listing agent of the property ***** *****. The following is ******* account of how the situation transpired. The property is a duplex that currently has both sides rented.
I met the property manager to get the keys to the property. I told him that I would be meeting my photographer at the duplex when I go over to put up the lockbox and sign. I asked him to notify the tenants in regards to when I would be there with the photographer.
When I arrived at the property, one of the tenants was home and mentioned he knew I was coming. We took pictures, visited and then went to the adjoining unit (***** ********* unit). No one was home. I stayed with photographer while he took pictures and we locked up and left.
A day or so later we had someone that wanted to see the property. I notified *****, and she said ok. The next day ***** contacted me to tell me that there were pictures on the internet that she didn't give permission to take. I called the seller (my actual client who contracted me to sell the property), explained the situation and asked what would you like me to do? He said to see if there were particular pictures that she wanted down. I called ***** and asked what pictures she wanted down. She told me to take down the bedrooms/basement, and pictures of the guitar room. I deleted the pictures from the *** the same day (the *** data feed provides the pictures and information to all of the other websites).
A few days later she complained to the property manager and the DEEB Realty office that the pictures were still up. I called her and was confused as I had taken them all down. I went through a bunch of websites and noticed that the pictures were in fact down. It wasn't until the next day when I spoke with her that all the pictures were down except 2 that I must have missed? I quickly removed both pictures and told her it would take a while for all websites to refresh. When I removed the pictures from the ***, I apparently did not "move" the pictures back in order. I had left "blanks" (this was the explanation my office received from talking to the website hosting company about why the pictures were not being deleted from the third party websites) so it was stopping the DEEB Realty website and a few others from refreshing the data properly. I really don't understand the technical side, but this is why I was told it took longer for the pictures to be deleted. Our office was in contact with our website hosting company multiple times about the issue. The company did a manual refresh of all the data, and it was still showing the two pictures she didn't want. Finally, the hosting company discovered the data wasn't refreshing because of the "blanks" between photos.
I emailed the tenant a link to the *** listing after I removed ALL of the pictures she requested so she could see that I was trying to rectify the situation and not ignore her request. She was happy at that point, but it took another 24 hours for the DEEB Realty website, and a few others, to display the correct photos because of this *** error of the blank spaces. She was not happy about that.
So fast forward to today, we have had a lot of showings, I am contacting her every day and she has been very pleasant. I am sorry that this mess happened. It was really miss-communication that lead to a situation I could not clean up fast enough, partially due to events that were out of my control.
***** and a staff member at my company were first notified of this issue on Monday ***********. Both ***** and the staff member at my office presumed the problem had been rectified once the pictures were removed from the ***. I was first notified of this issue when I received the email referenced in this complaint at approximately 9:00 am on Thursday ***********. By 9:15 AM I had spoken with ***** and *****. I told ***** that I apologized for any inconvenience this has caused, and that we were going to do everything we could to get it taken care of right away.
When I initially spoke with ***** she was unsure what I was talking about because she said she had already removed the requested photos. I called *****, got the details of what occurred, and then called ***** back. I explained to ***** that there were still apparently two additional photos Mrs. ******* wanted removed. ***** said she would remove them right away. I explained to ***** (and Mrs. *******) that there is some delay from the time data is refreshed in the *** system to the time it is reflected on third party websites. We syndicate listings to hundreds of different sources to provide maximum internet exposure to our client's properties. Each one of these websites has different refresh rates so it is impossible to monitor all of them in a short period of time. However, ***** said she would keep an eye on some of the main sites (including GoDeeb.com), to make sure they were getting updated.
In addition to ***** monitoring the websites, I also contacted our staff technical manager and our web hosting company, and informed them we needed this data feed refreshed as soon as possible. As explained in *****'s account above, there was some difficulty getting the data refreshed because of the "blanks" between photos when they were removed from the ***. This caused a problem with the data feed. This was finally worked out by the next day after several interactions between our office and the web-hosting company. The time frame was longer than we wanted, but there were technical issues that we were not aware of.
I believe this depiction of events demonstrates the great concern our company has for any problem that is brought to our attention. We immediately addressed the issue upon becoming aware of the problem, and spent considerable time trying to get it corrected in a swift manner.
As of the time of this response, I again spoke with ***** to make sure everything was ok with the photos that were being displayed. She told me that everything was good, and in fact she had gotten permission from the tenant to go back out to the property and re-shoot her unit. The new pictures have subsequently been uploaded and are displaying on the syndicated websites at the approval of Mrs. *******.
Complaint Resolution: Company resolved the complaint issues. The consumer acknowledged acceptance to BBB.